I frequently run into the term “bucket list”, which makes little sense to me. I have come to learn that it is a list of things someone wants to do before he or she dies. Perhaps, the bucket comes from kicking the bucket. It does not matter. Needless to say, I do not think like that and can think of nothing special that I must do before I die. If something comes to mind, I will try to do it. Having it on some stupid list will make no difference.
I did notice an article in the Guardian on this subject, especially since it was phrased in the negative. After reading the article, I agree with the author. Having done/visited some of what is mentioned, I know that she is correct in her assessment. Of the items that I have missed, I do not feel that I have missed anything essential.
There are a few places that I might like to visit and a few things that I might like to do or repeat. I am content with my choices and happy that I can still choose. I will die as happy as one can be on kicking the bucket, which is probably not all that happy…
And, now, for some stream of consciousness. I must be conscious, because I am putting words on a “page”…
Ever since I started this blog—because someone suggested that a blog would help sell my trash fiction, which it hasn’t—I have felt obligated to post something each day, in case somewhere in the world, some poor soul with nothing better to do might want to read something witty or worthless, to take his or her mind off all the troubles of the day, big or small, at home or abroad. Some days, I offer a link to something worthwhile—of course, written by someone talented. There are a few regular favorites, some humorous, some intelligent, and some both: Borowitz, Collins, Jenkins, Non Sequitur, and so on. If I like and respect them, then everyone should. Duh!
Today, when thinking about what to write, I could find nothing to offer the world…except my thoughts, as I was trying to take a nap. I have found that a nap is a good way to waste time, when I can think of nothing better to do or as an excuse to avoid things I could do. Ronald Reagan took naps and look at all the damage he did. This line of thinking led me to consider what I should be doing. At the highest level of consciousness, I realised that the only thing required of me—as a human being—is to eat and sleep. I have fulfilled my purpose on this earth by reproducing two fine children, who are attractive, intelligent, and good humans. I have no other purpose.
Because of that, there is no crime in taking a nap…whenever I want. As far as the eating part goes, I am lucky. When I consider the fate of overweight Americans, I know that there but a good metabolism go I. At times, I will eat an entire bag of potato chips or a pint of ice cream. The appealing flavor helps me to understand why folks put on pounds: it tastes good, therefore I eat. Self-discipline—which I have—is not at issue, it’s metabolism. Either one puts on weight or one does not. I am lucky.
So, I can eat and sleep all I like, being content that I am harming no one and not avoiding any useful purpose. That’s what I call a good life. The only aggravation comes at the times when I am foolish enough to flip through the news channels and pause at Fox News or glance at the headlines on Salon, which scream about the idiots on the right side of the political spectrum. And, believe me, these people are evil idiots.
Which reminds me to finalize my next trash novel, in which some bad folks play a role. I have written a rough draft, but can’t find the needed motivation to finish the damn thing and share it with the world…which is not interested in another trash novel…
I recall lying on the floor of an empty new house on an air mattress with nothing but a small, black & white television. This time was summer 1968 during the Democratic convention in Chicago. News footage showed police (or, perhaps, National Guard) battling with demonstrators. Alone in an empty house, this had an affect, which influenced major decisions in later life. One decision was to become a helicopter pilot (there were other factors, as well) and to request stationing in Germany following my tour in Vietnam. I was an officer and a large portion of the soldiers were black. I could not see myself leading troops against fellow citizens, especially black against black.
When I see footage from the United States, like is being aired on the world’s media this week, I am happy that I made those decisions. I do not want to live in a militarised country…especially one that is not at war (except with itself!). And, I left a country that has turned its back on most of the Constituion and Bill of Rights….except second one.
This is a so-called “stream of consciousness” ( I don’t actually know what that is, but it sounds cool), or something like that.
I just read a Vanity Fair piece on Scarlett Johansson, which included many (supposedly) alluring photos. I am sure that she is a nice person, but she is not my dream female. She is not a five, but she is also not a ten, for those that believe in a scale. She must be a good actress, because others have said so and she keeps being cast.
Sadly, she had a major role in one of the dumbest movies ever made: Lost In Translation (one of many dumb movies by the same director…who is haled as being great…which I do not see). I must be dim, because I do not understand how anyone could have liked this film, much less raved about it. However, she did play in a movie I liked very much: A Good Woman, a modern adaptation of an Oscar Wilde play (Mrs. Windemere’s Fan). She played a rather dim American woman, married to a rich man. I assumed that she was acting the role and not playing herself.
I have been—foolishly—enthralled by movie actresses, but this one does not make the cut. I’ll leave her for others to drool over…
This is a lame one, because most people should know this word...
I had heard of Wanderlust, a German word that has insinuated itself into usage of English speakers, but have not really suffered too often from the urge. I am happy to stay at home, but do enjoy a good trip. Lately, I have had the urge to travel somewhere interesting. Perhaps, that is because summer suggests vacation travel or because I have difficulty waiting for future travel that I have booked.
Summer school vacation—when students have no classes, schools are closed, and families tend to go somewhere (if they have money)—tends to demand travel. The problem is to find lodging that is available and not over-priced. In Europe, prices tend to sky rocket in the summer. This is understandable, since many establishments must earn their money in a few months. The highest prices tend to be in August.
German states stagger their vacations, which tend to last for six weeks, and the times rotate each year. For example, if a state has vacation from mid-June to the end of July one year, it might have vacation from early August to mid-September in another year. Early vacations tend to be more favourable, because European vacation spots are less crowded than in August, when all France and all Italy head for the beach.
The state in which I live, has a late slot this year, so we are faced with the dilemma of finding something adequate at a decent price. In the past, we would often fly to Florida, where low season prices offset the cost of flying. I do not want to travel to a state that requires everyone to carry a firearm, so I considered options. I like Asia, but monsoon rains can spoil even a low-priced hotel stay. I like the Maldives and the Seychelles, but ditto. Dubai is too hot, with daytime temperatures often hitting 50 degrees centigrade (that’s boiling point in fahrenheit, I believe). I thought about South Africa, but it is winter in the southern hemisphere and ocean currents deliver cold water from the Antarctic.
Viewing a world map, my eye fell on Mauritius. We have avoided this island in the past, because there have been more attractive alternatives closer to home. Even the Seychelles and Maldives are closer. Although winter reigns in Mauritius, temperatures are only slightly lower than in their summer and it is the “dry” season. If I read correctly, the climate is fairly mild all year, not unlike Hawaii, but with hurricanes (cyclones in the southern hemisphere, for the pedants out there) in their fall (our spring).
So, we have booked a trip to Mauritius in August. Everyone can now look forward to hearing my opinion (which is why people check this worthless blog!). Because it is off-season, prices for flights and hotels are less than half the peak season costs. And, I do not expect to find crowds, like those one must endure along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Stay tuned…or stop by in August…
The German word Mist has many meanings: manure, when applied to animals and rubbish or garbage, when applied to human worthless acquisitions or verbal worthlessness. It is often used as an expletive, as a polite scatalogical burst or a like saying “crap”. As with most German words, one can add prefixes, so ausmisten means to muck out a stall or to discard collected and useless junk. To screw up something is Mist bauen (“build crap”).
There’s a saying about stuff accumulating, until it fills all available space. I can assure you that this is true. Most of it is Mist or becomes so over time.
After years of procrastinating and threatening my children with leaving the thankless task of ausmisten my house to them for after I am in Heaven, I decided to start. With or without this generous effort, I expect to end up there, because that is what I was promised as a child every Sunday.
I have decided to ausmisten in the cellar. I have tended to save things—even if there was never a chance that they would ever be used again—because I thought/think that I might use them. I never discarded unused paint or wall paper remainders, from the days when I used to do everything myself. I now pay someone to do most renovations, but I still keep everything I need…just in case the doubtful ever happens.
For some unexplainable reason, that changed yesterday. I started to sort out items in the cellar and carry them to the garage for pick-up by a disposal service. I started with luggage, of which I have several sets. Although we always use the same suitcases and bags, I keep a collection of old ones. No one needs eight suitcases, unless you are some fake celebrity, which I am not and never will be. No one needs 25 sports bags. That is the legacy of working for a sporting goods company, which provided a new bag for every major sporting event. That was just the beginning. I won’t bore you with every screw and washer I saved (and will not discard), but the list is long and the garage is filling up.
The weather is perfect for working in the cellar. Outside, there is the English form on mist, while I am deep in the German form of Mist.
I do not care who wins the World Cup. Because of that, I tend to root for the underdog in any match/game I watch. For example, I would have liked to see Iran win or Chile…or Algeria, even if that would have meant potential divorce proceedings.
The Argentina-Switzerland match/game is currently playing in the background. I would like to see the Swiss win, because everyone expects Argentina to win, not only this game, but also the World Cup. I am not impressed. Switzerland has had better chances to score. We’ll see.
Later, USA plays Belgium. In most minds, US is the underdog, so i guess that I should root for them. I am not a nationalist, so citizenship does not demand support for a national sports team. Each must earn my support. I would like to see US win, only because no one expects them to even be able to kick a ball. I have nothing against Belgium, the ultimate underdog, but soccer needs a boost in the land of WWF, demolition derby, and Jackass.
How about something pleasant?
The weather is fine, albeit cooler than past weeks. I am happy with sunshine and blue sky, so will accept temperatures in the 70s.
Tomorrow is another holiday in Germany, again with some religious background. Many holidays fall on a Thursday, so Germans take one day of vacation and have an extra-long weekend. This is called ein Bruckentag or bridge day. This wrecks havoc on many businesses, but the socialist nature of the country accepts this hidden employee benefit. Many companies simply shut down, whenever a Bruckentag blights the calendar.
As mentioned many times before, Germans are not particularly religious but hang on the religious holidays. Most are happy to have a day off or the ability to create a long weekend. Highways are jammed at the beginning and end of each artificial vacation break. Because so many of these holiday are tied to Easter in their timing, the calendar is packed in the second quarter of the year. Clever planners are able to take fourteen or fifteen days of official vacation and stretch that to a month using weekends and Bruckentage, if the holidays fall in just the right constellation. Those are the ones that know how to play the system.
Because every day is a holiday for me, I do not need Bruckentage. I simply have to pay attention, because all shops close on holidays. One must stock up for the day. I do feel less guilty about having such an enjoyable life on a day when others should be enjoying theirs...
I hired many women during business career: all performed well and caused few problems. I like strong, confidant, intelligent women; most men do not. I cannot trace the source of my feelings, but perhaps it comes from early relationships with girls and women and being in environments where women counted (except the US Army, of course).
I do not like pushy women that do not have the intelligence, talent, or skill to back up their brashness. The same is true for men who talk a good game, but cannot deliver, or feel that having an opinion makes them smart.
I found the below article interesting, but my conclusion is that women lose out to men, if the man is deciding, because most men are uncomfortable working with women or have ego problems dealing with a smart female.
The forthcoming long weekend (this is Germany, so it has some religious origin) provides a good opportunity to avoid garden work. We will fly to London for a few days. Of course, this means enduring Heathrow, my least-favorite airport in the world. News reports suggest that a new terminal (old one remodeled) might--might--improve the traditional miserable time one is gifted arriving and departing London. I’ll let you know.
During my days of traveling about once a week to London, I threatened to write a book with the title “Fix England”. The first chapter would have been devoted to Heathrow, which is the usual first point on injury infliction.
I have written about my love-hate relationship with London, which will persist regardless of change. Mostly, I moan about things I dislike, because the choice is so wide. But, there are many aspects that are better than some other cities.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.