Sunday, September 28, 2008

Young @ Heart

My wife and I watched an excellent documentary last weekend. Young @ Heart2008, on DVD was directed by Stephen Walker.

A group of elderly men and women get together to practice singing. These folks are in their seventies and eighties, from different backgrounds, and possess all features common with elderly people. Their smiles, attitudes, and attempts at singing were amazing.

My favorite scene was when the ensemble sang in a prison.  They sang on the prison grounds to incarcerated men and their guards.  They sang "Forever Young". The humbled look on the prisoners' faces suggested rehabilitation if only temporary.   My wife and I wiped tears.

Another outstanding scene was when they performed in a bowling alley.  The grand finale, however, was when the group performed on stage in a theater to a sold out crowd.  The overflow crowd of all ages went wild with applause at the end of the performance.

The senior I admired most was Fred Knittle who was heavy with a rotund abdomen and an oxygen tank at his side.  He was so witty and had a deep baritone voice.  The conductor of the group was Bob Cilman and the work he did with the group warmed my heart.  I dabbed many tears throughout the film.

You can view the trailer at iTunes.

If you get the opportunity, watch this movie.

Have a good day!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Walking Exercise

Since 2003, I have walked 4,545 miles on the trails in a nearby public park. I record this walking data by entering the date, time elapsed, and walking speed into an Internet based system. Several days per week I walk for one hour and cover a distance of 4 miles which calculates at 4 mph.

During the past 12 months, I walked 828 miles for a weekly average of 16 miles.

Thousands of people across the United States record their exercise data into the same Internet based system. The chart above shows a comparison of my walking to 4,939 participants across the nation who walk at the same speed of 2.5 - 5.0 mph. Click on the chart if you desire an enlarged view.

I like to accumulate meaningful data in a simplified and easy to read form. Statistical analysis of exercise, volunteer hours, financial portfolio tracking, days worked, and other data on activities help me budget time and set goals.

Do you collect data about yourself?

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Senator Barack Obama wants to be Commander-in-Chief of all the U. S. Armed Forces.  That is weird.  He has never been in the military yet he wants the top command position.  

Modern U. S. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Carter, Bush, and Bush all had some or a lot of military service.  Presidents need military experience in order to get respect and appropriate action from the armed forces and the Pentagon.  A president without this experience must lavish unending praise on the military to get their attention and cooperation.  

Senator Joseph Biden wants to be second in command of the armed forces. That is strange.  Mr. Biden said, "no" five times when his local draft board requested him to serve in the military when he was young. He was granted five deferments (a deferment is a postponement usually due to college).  He was finally given a medical deferment status because of an asthma condition. Persons with asthma can have difficulty breathing when under stressful conditions.

Current Vice President Richard Cheney also had five deferments when he was young and he, too, never served in the military.  Some people feel he has been problematic with the current war and the rationale for the need of war.

My point is this:  if one desires to be Commander-in-Chief, one should serve in the military first. A hundred generals and admirals retire from the military each year.  Surely there must be a dozen or more from this group who are capable of becoming U. S. presidents.  Why are they not running for this office? Why are the political parties not recruiting them?  Why are some voters enamored by a potential commander with no military experience? 

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Quality Parenting

Look at the picture above.  Here are two young girls watering plants consisting of cucumbers, herbs, and flowers. These girls assisted their mother, standing in the background, in setting timbers on edge, hauling topsoil, setting out young plants, and sowing seeds.  This garden is centered in the yard beside their home.  A thin nylon webbed fence surrounds the plots to prevent wildlife from eating the growing plants.

Their father and grandmother are seated as they admire the results in the girls' and mother's garden.  I took this picture recently when my wife and I visited our son and his family in Chapel Hill. 

I was struck by the marvelous idea of these parents teaching these young girls about growing plants.   The parents led and engaged their children in the garden plots which allowed them to watch blossoms appear, see cucumbers grow large, and smell the scents of herbs and flowers.

This gardening activity by these children is in addition to their public schooling, private music lessons, competitive running and swimming, reading of books, computer work, board and card games, camping, biking, hiking, summer camps, vacations, travel, museum visits, household chores, and many more activities that are teachable moments.

Parenting is a big deal.  When it's done right, children grow up to become quality parents themselves.  See the picture below where the garden work started.

All of us should monitor and review our parenting skills and strive to improve as we balance activities against our family values and personal goals. Goals should be set high for children to prepare them well for adult living.

Have a good week!