12/31/18 – Happy New Year



I thought it was an interesting and fun read; but I could not help wishing it was more about The Most Interesting Man in the World and less about Jonathan Goldsmith.

A memoir told through a series of adventures and the lessons he’s learned and wants to pass on, Stay Interesting is a truly daring and bold tale, and a manifesto about taking chances, not giving up, making courageous choices, and living a truly adventurous, and always interesting life. (Source: Amazon)


I thought this movie was very appropriate for this week, plus it is clever and entertaining.

New Year’s Eve (2011)


I’ve checked out a number of songs for starting out the new year and for me, I can’t find one better than this to start our 2019.  It has stood the test of time.


By Prince


I think nature is one of the best artists.


This isn’t the first time that I have made Father Time the extraordinary person of the week, but I thought why not do it again.

Father Time

Father Time is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man […], dressed in a robe and carrying a scythe and an hourglass or other timekeeping device (which represents time’s constant one-way movement).

Around New Year’s Eve, the media uses Father Time as the personification of the previous year (or “the Old Year”) who typically “hands over” the duties of time to the equally allegorical Baby New Year (or “the New Year”) or who otherwise characterizes the preceding year.





The beginning of the year is a good time for reflection.


Just in case you didn’t already know this.


When it is all said and done, the only thing that matters is what you have done, not what your ancestors have done.  


In 2018, did you become a better person?

Yes  47.37%  (9 votes) 

A little better  36.84%  (7 votes) 

No, but I tried  15.79%  (3 votes) 

No  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 19

Are you a reader of books?

Yes  93.75%  (15 votes) 

No  6.25%  (1 votes) 

Total Votes: 16
Regarding the movie “Scrooged”

I’ve seen it and liked it.  50%  (7 votes) 

I haven’t seen it, but I want to see it.  35.71%  (5 votes) 

I haven’t seen it and I am not interested in seeing it.  14.29%  (2 votes) 

I’ve seen it and didn’t like it.  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 14

Regarding the Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

I’ve never been, but I want to go there.  61.54%  (8 votes) 

I’ve never been and don’t wish to go there.  23.08%  (3 votes) 

I’ve been there and liked it.  15.38%  (2 votes) 

I’ve been there and didn’t like it.  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 13
Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle?

Yes  71.43%  (10 votes) 

No  28.57%  (4 votes) 

Total Votes: 14

Which would you rather receive from a dear friend or relative?

Their presence  93.33%  (14 votes) 

A present  6.67%  (1 votes) 

Total Votes: 15
Do you think the “Blind Man” description of the USA does the country justice.

No  80%  (8 votes) 

Yes  20%  (2 votes) 

Total Votes: 10


Warning:  This book will not change your life, only you can do that.

My Final Cover

12/24/18 – Did You Become A Better Person?


Another year is coming to a close and I always like to ask myself this question.  Unfortunately, I don’t always like the answer, but I did try.


“Reading is your first line of defense against an empty head. … like an athlete in training, the more you read, the more mentally fit you feel.”

“I read for growth, firmly believing that what you are today and what you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read.”

Source: Twyla Tharp


I have been watching updated versions of A Christmas Carol and I can’t recommend any of them; other than, Bill Murray’s Scrooged. I believe it is still the best updated version of A Christmas Carol.

Scrooged (1988)


The Christmas season in always a bit stressful.  

This song has a great message.

Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)

By The Ramones


I didn’t visit Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier in Chicago this year, but I have been there many years in the past and it has something for everyone in the family.

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier, Chicago

There are a number of cool rides for kids

There is the huge Christmas Tree

And Christmas displays from all over the world, here are just a few.







Ebenezer Scrooge

George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge

The extraordinary person of the week is Ebenezer Scrooge. Unfortunately, his last name has come into the English language as a byword for miserliness.

I say unfortunately because Ebenezer Scrooge is proof that regardless of how old a person is and how mean-spirited that person may be, redemption is still possible.

Although his name today is a byword for miserliness, in his time it was always said of him that, “he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”



Exercise is considered by many medical scientists to be the magic bullet for good health.  This time of the year, many people make New Years Resolutions to get healthy by exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and trying to reduce stress in their lives.

According to James P. Owen, author of Just Move, 75% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions will stick to them no longer than one week. 


I know this is a stressful time of the year and we may have a tendency to want to bark at other drivers,  but instead we should still try to be considerate and understanding to other drivers. 


This time of the year many people are spending more than they can really afford on presents or stressing themselves out with gift buying.

Perhaps, you should consider giving more of your “presence” and less “presents”.  Your time is worth more than any gift you could give.


Visit the USA

The following is the best description I can come up with for describing what it is like to visit the USA.

A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: “We must inspect and know it by touch”. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it.

In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said “This being is like a thick snake”.

For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan.

As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk.

The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, “elephant is a wall”.

Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope.

The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.



Do you feel it is incorrect to publicly say “Merry Christmas” or describe events as “Christmas” parade, party etc.?

No  86.96%  (20 votes) 

Yes  13.04%  (3 votes) 

Total Votes: 23

How much do you know about Russia?

Something of its history  70.59%  (12 votes) 

Nothing other than what I hear from the USA Media  23.53%  (4 votes) 

Considerable knowledge of Russia  5.88%  (1 votes) 

I’ve visited Russia  0%  (0 votes) 

I have considerable knowledge of Russia and I have visited Russia  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 17
What do you think of the “Baby It’s Cold Outside” controversy?

It is absolutely ridiculous  93.75%  (15 votes) 

It is a legitimate concern  6.25%  (1 votes) 

Total Votes: 16

How many birthdays have you had?

71 to 80  42.86%  (6 votes) 

51 to 60  28.57%  (4 votes) 

41 to 50  14.29%  (2 votes) 

31 to 40  7.14%  (1 votes) 

More than 80  7.14%  (1 votes) 

20 or less  0%  (0 votes) 

21 to 30  0%  (0 votes) 

61 to 70  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 14
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions or set goals for the new year?

No  53.33%  (8 votes) 

Yes  46.67%  (7 votes) 

Total Votes: 15

What is your opinion of “picky” eaters?

Generally negative  71.43%  (10 votes) 

Generally positive  28.57%  (4 votes) 

Total Votes: 14
Do you consider yourself a picky eater?

Yes  53.33%  (8 votes) 

No  46.67%  (7 votes) 

Total Votes: 15


Warning:  This book will not change your life, only you can do that.

My Final Cover

12/17/18 – Merry Christmas or Season Greetings


I’ve been around for over 70 years and I recall the word “Christmas” being used to describe parties, sales, and a host of other events around this time of the year.

I can’t help observing that I see the word “Christmas” used far less frequently today in any sort of public announcement.

It seems to me like the word “Christmas” has fallen victim to political correctness.

I don’t always say “Merry Christmas” and especially to people I know are Jewish or Muslim or of some other faith, but when I do say Merry Christmas


When considering a purchasing a book, what initially attracts you to a book?

Author of the book  50%  (10 votes) 

Title of the book  25%  (5 votes) 

Cover of the book  25%  (5 votes) 

Total Votes: 20

When actually purchasing a book, what factor has the greatest influence on your decision?

Subject matter  65%  (13 votes) 

Cost of the book  25%  (5 votes) 

How easy it is to read the book  10%  (2 votes) 

Total Votes: 20
Which is your favorite version of “A Christmas Carol”?

A Christmas Carol (1984) with George C. Scott  31.25%  (5 votes) 

A Christmas Carol (1938) with Reginald Owen  18.75%  (3 votes) 

Other versions  18.75%  (3 votes) 

A Christmas Carol (1951) with Alastair Sim  12.5%  (2 votes) 

A Christmas Carol (1999) with Patrick Stewart  12.5%  (2 votes) 

Scrooged (1988) with Bill Murray  6.25%  (1 votes) 

Total Votes: 16

Do you find the song itself, “Baby It’s Co ld Outside”, offensive?

The song itself is fine  94.74%  (18 votes) 

Its offensive  5.26%  (1 votes) 

It is offensive and should be banned for the airwaves  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 19
Of the two versions of the painting, “The Creation of Adam”, which to you prefer?

The first, also known at the finger  80%  (12 votes) 

The second, the one Bill remembers  20%  (3 votes) 

Total Votes: 15

Have you waited in a restaurant bathroom, that has a sign saying “Employees must wash hands.” and no one has come in to wash your hands.

No, because most restaurants can’t get dependable help  41.18%  (7 votes) 

Yes, the employees never show up  35.29%  (6 votes) 

I’ve always had the employees come in and wash my hands for me.  23.53%  (4 votes) 

Total Votes: 17
Do you plan to start some sort of exercise program for 2019?

No, I will just continue with my current exercise program  57.89%  (11 votes) 

No  21.05%  (4 votes) 

Yes  21.05%  (4 votes) 

Total Votes: 19

Are you letting something stand between you and your dreams?

No  64.71%  (11 votes) 

Yes  35.29%  (6 votes) 

Total Votes: 17
Are you neglecting individual family members, good friends or a loyal pet?

No  66.67%  (12 votes) 

Yes  33.33%  (6 votes) 

Total Votes: 18


I don’t believe this is a fair portrait of Russia, but that seems fairly typical of the books you find on today’s Russia in America bookstores.  I read it anyway, because I wanted to learn more about Russia.

I’ve met a few Russians over the years and I found them to be excellent people and when I was at the WPC World Championships in Portugal back in 2015, other than Team USA, the Russian were my biggest fans.


This particular version of A Christmas Carol didn’t do that well in last week’s poll, and I think the “Spirit of Christmas Past” in this version was lame.

I have watched a number of versions of this story, so I wanted to see this rather well-known version.  Perhaps, you might also wish to see it, if you are watching various versions of “A Christmas Carol”.

A Christmas Carol (1999)


For all you people offended “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, here is something for you.

Baby, Just Go Outside

By The Holderness Family


Zoos all over the country are generating some additional much-needed revenue, while also providing a unique Christmas experience.  We again went to the Christmas Light Show at the Detroit Zoo with some friends.

Christmas Lights At The Zoo


This week I chose one of the greatest managers of all time.  One that I tried to emulate myself, but never came close.

Mr. Fezziwig

Here is an exchange one of Mr. Fezziwig’s employees had to say about him in an exchange with a spirit at a Christmas Work Party.  I wish every employee could speak this way about their manager, but unfortunately many can’t.

Spirit, “A small matter to make these silly folks so full of gratitude.”

“Small!” echoed Scrooge.

Spirit replies, “Why! Is it not? He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four, perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?”

Scrooge, in defense of Mr. Fezziwig, “It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light of burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ‘em up: what then? The happiness he gives is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”

The following is taken from http://www.chiefoutsiders.com

Employees who feel valued and respected are happier. They provide better service. They’re more creative and more productive. They work harder, bounce back better and support one another more vigorously.

As a result, your products and services are delivered more enthusiastically. Problems are solved more quickly and the “vibe” your prospects get when considering a relationship with your company is better. 

By setting high expectations, providing the resources to meet those expectations and celebrating great outcomes, you can make your company a place where everybody – employees, neighbors, suppliers, customers and prospects – are all happier. With “words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ‘em up…”. You can can build a culture where “the happiness he is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”



You can’t argue with science..


This is always a good question to ask, but especially this time of the year when many are making their New Year’s Resolutions.


More and more people are trying to eat healthy, but some do seem to carry a good habit to extremes.




Warning:  This book will not change your life, only you can do that.

My Final Cover

12/10/18 – Baby It’s Cold Outside


Please scroll down to the “Music of the Week” section for this week’s topic – “Baby It’s Cold Outside”


How do you find Christmas & New Years Holidays?

Same as any other time of the year  57.14%  (8 votes) 

Stressful  35.71%  (5 votes) 

I use Goggle Maps to find the Christmas and New Years holidays  7.14%  (1 votes) 

Total Votes: 14

Regarding the movie, “Roman Holiday”

I’ve seen the movie and I enjoyed the movie  86.67%  (13 votes) 

I haven’t seen the movie and I don’t want to see it.  6.67%  (1 votes) 

I’ve seen the movie and I did not enjoy the movie  6.66%  (1 votes) 

I haven’t seen the movie but would like to  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 15
Do you believe your body talks to you, when you are harming it?

Yes, and when I ignore it; my body speaks louder  100%  (13 votes) 

No  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 13

Do you do anything to remember family and friends who have passed on?

Visit or decorate graves of family members  38.89%  (7 votes) 

No  22.22%  (4 votes) 

Once in a while  22.22%  (4 votes) 

Visit or decorate graves of friends  16.67%  (3 votes) 

Total Votes: 18
Ladies, do you think your husband could be better?

A little  44.44%  (4 votes) 

No, perfect as he is  33.33%  (3 votes) 

A lot  22.22%  (2 votes) 

Total Votes: 9

Have you ever not done something and seen other people less qualified than you do that same thing?

Yes  75%  (9 votes)

No  25%  (3 votes)

Total Votes: 12
The majority of people you have contact with are:

Assertive  57.14%  (8 votes) 

Passive  42.86%  (6 votes) 

Aggressive  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 14

The majority of drivers are:

Assertive  50%  (6 votes) 

Aggressive  41.67%  (5 votes) 

Passive  8.33%  (1 votes) 

Total Votes: 12



There are many excellent film versions of this movie; however, this is one of my favorites.

A Christmas Carol (1984)


Things need to be taken into context.  I saw the original 1949 movie version of this song and by today’s sensitivities, I was uncomfortable watching it.  But in 1949 the film was classified as a musical comedy.

I have heard it said may times that we see the world not as it is, but as we are. I suspect the problem isn’t the song itself, but how we view it.

Below is a modern-day interpretation of this song.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

By Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga


The Creation of Adam

The Creation of Adam is a fresco painting by Michelangelo, which forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, painted c. 1508–1512. It illustrates the Biblical creation narrative from the Book of Genesis in which God gives life to Adam, the first man. The fresco is part of a series of panels depicting episodes from Genesis.

The image of the near-touching hands of God and Adam has become iconic of humanity. The painting has been reproduced in countless imitations and parodies. Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam is one of the most replicated religious paintings of all time. (Source: Wikipedia)

I have been to the Sistine Chapel and I have seen this painting.  However, I remember it looking much different.  Perhaps, it has been touched up a bit since I’ve seen it; but here is how I remember this painting.


I chose Santa Claus as the extraordinary person of the week, frankly because I have no desire to receive a lump of coal from him on Christmas Eve.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa, is a legendary figure originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved (“good” or “nice”) children on Christmas Eve (24 December) and the early morning hours of Christmas Day (25 December).

The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas (a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver), the British figure of Father Christmas and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (himself also based on Saint Nicholas). Some maintain Santa Claus also absorbed elements of the Germanic god Wodan, who was associated with the pagan midwinter event of Yule.

Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, jolly, white-bearded man—sometimes with spectacles—wearing a red coat with white fur collar and cuffs, white-fur-cuffed red trousers, a red hat with white fur and black leather belt and boots and who carries a bag full of gifts for children.


Have You Experienced This

You go into a restaurant bathroom.

There’s a sign on the mirror that says employees must wash hands.

Have you wasted hours waiting for somebody to come in and wash your hands for you.

You probably ended up washing your own hands.

Besides, if someone does come in and washes your hands, what kind of tip are you supposed to give them?


Every Year

I’ve spent a lot of years in gyms and this happens every year.


Don’t let anything stand between you and your dreams, not even the laundry.


Most people feel they are just too busy to spend even a bit of time with individual family members, good friends and even pets.  Besides, they tell themselves that there is always tomorrow, next week, next month or the usual next time.  Well, there isn’t always a next time.


One must know their limitations.


I frequently recommend traveling, but no matter where one goes; there is no better places than these:


Warning:  This book will not change your life, only you can do that.

My Final Cover

12/03/18 – George Bush, 41st President, Dies at 94


41st President, Dies at 94

Former President George H.W. Bush (L) and former first lady Barbara Bush

Mr. Bush, a Republican, was a transitional figure in the White House, where he served from 1989 to 1993, capping a career of more than 40 years in public service. A decorated Navy pilot who was shot down in the Pacific in 1944, he was the last of the World War II generation to occupy the Oval Office.

Mr. Bush was a skilled bureaucratic and diplomatic player who, as president, helped end four decades of Cold War and the threat of nuclear engagement with a nuanced handling of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of Eastern Europe.

Yet for all his success in the international arena, his presidency faltered as voters seemed to perceive him as detached from their everyday lives. In an election that turned on the economy, they [ ] chose a relatively little-known Democratic governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton, a baby boomer, ushering in a generational shift in American leadership. (Source: NY Times)


What do you primarily see?

The Good  100%  (15 votes) 

The Bad  0%  (0 votes) 

The Ugly (Sorry I could not resist, it is Clint Eastwood’s Movie, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 15

Who was the best Sherlock Holmes?

Jermey Brett  38.46%  (5 votes) 

Robert Downey Jr.  23.08%  (3 votes) 

Basil Rathbone  23.08%  (3 votes) 

Benedict Cumberbatch  15.38%  (2 votes) 

Jonny Lee Miller  0%  (0 votes) 

Other  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 13
Do you plan to see “A Christmas Carol”?

No  46.67%  (7 votes) 

Yes, both the play and a movie  33.33%  (5 votes) 

Yes, a movie  13.33%  (2 votes) 

Yes, a play  6.67%  (1 votes) 

Total Votes: 15

Do you do any type of strength training on a regular basis?

No  42.86%  (6 votes) 

Yes  35.71%  (5 votes) 

No, but I plan to start  21.43%  (3 votes) 

Total Votes: 14
Regarding the above three Christmas rules of behavior, which do you agree with?

All three rules  53.85%  (7 votes) 

Only rule 1 & 2  46.15%  (6 votes) 

Only rule 1  0%  (0 votes) 

Only rule 2  0%  (0 votes) 

 Only rule 3  0%  (0 votes) 

Only rule 1 & 3  0%  (0 votes) 

Only rule 2 & 3  0%  (0 votes) 

Total Votes: 13

Are you a procrastinator?

No  41.67%  (5 votes) 

Yes  33.33%  (4 votes) 

I’ll answer later  25%  (3 votes) 

Total Votes: 12


The Christmas and New Years Holidays are a very hectic time for most, so perhaps this extremely easy to read book might help.

How To Be Calm

by Anna Barnes

With a bit of help, the methods of truly relaxing your mind and body, and letting go of stresses and strains, can be learned, practiced and perfected. Bursting with tips, centering statements and soothing activities, How to Be Calm will help you to feel more at ease in the world and better equipped to deal with the things that really matter. (Source: BarnesandNobles.com)


This movie was filmed in Italy and if you have ever been to Rome, you will enjoy seeing in the film many of the sites you saw in Rome.

Roman Holiday (1953)

A bored and sheltered princess escapes her guardians and falls in love with an American newsman in Rome. (Source: IMDB)

Critics Consensus: With Audrey Hepburn luminous in her American debut, Roman Holiday is as funny as it is beautiful, and sets the standard for the modern romantic comedy. (Source: Rotten Tomatoes)


Although I am a fan of Christopher Walken, Dean Martin does this song much better.

Walking in A Winter Wonderland

By Dean Martin


Meadow Brook Hall is a work of art in and of itself; however, at this particular time, it is even more so as it is all decked out in Christmas trees and other Christmas decorations.

Meadow Brook Hall

Christmas Walk

Meadow Brook Hall is a Tudor revival style mansion located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. It was built between 1926 and 1929 by Matilda Dodge Wilson (the widow of auto pioneer John Francis Dodge) and her second husband, lumber broker Alfred G. Wilson. In 1957, the mansion and the surrounding property and buildings were donated to the State of Michigan in order to fund Michigan State University–Oakland, now known as Oakland University. I

Covering 88,000 square feet (8,200 m2) and with 110 rooms, the mansion is the fourth largest historic house museum in the United States. It was designed by William Kapp in a Tudor-revival style. The building features stonework and a plaster dining room ceiling created by Corrado Parducci. Much of the original artwork collected by the Wilsons is still found at Meadow Brook, as well as Tiffany glass. (Source: Wikipedia)

There was a Christmas tree in each room that I viewed.  I took a couple of pictures of the trees.


Given the role that the story, “A Christmas Carol” plays in our society at this time of the year, I thought it was appropriate to again make Charles Dickens the extraordinary person of the week.

Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era.

His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.

His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre.


Some of you many be wondering when you should retire; perhaps, this will help you in making that decision.




As I was decorating some graves last week, I was struck my the devotion of this family for their 18-year-old son, who died in 2015.  Although it has been 3 years, look at how he is being remembered.  The picture doesn’t do justice to the remembrance since you can’t see the solar lights or the marker below of their son in various stages of his life.  I don’t know the family, I was just a visitor passing by, but the family’s devotion struck a chord with me.

Please check all that apply


Last week I provided a suggested for a gift for someone who has everything.  This week I received an idea from Susan for you ladies out there looking for something to give to your husband.


Sometimes, we are our own worse enemy 


To be passive is to let others decide for you.

To be aggressive is to decide for others.

To be assertive is to decide for yourself

Source: Edith Eva Eger


Warning:  This book will not change your life, only you can do that.

My Final Cover