I am a Christian.  I know that will surprise some of you.  I also, like Jesus, am very tolerant and sensitive to other beliefs.  One of the great things about Christmas is that it has morphed into celebration that anybody can enjoy.  Gifts, lights, happy children, reaching out to the poor, those are things anybody can be a part of, no matter your persuasion, or lack of.  By the way, I realize Christmas does not evoke good memories for some folks.  To you may I suggest you just enjoy the day off work and maybe go see a parade, or show.  You never know, maybe the joy will rub off on you.

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The only sure thing in life is death and taxes.  That’s what I’ve always heard, but I believe there’s one more thing. CHANGE.  The unexpected always happens in life.  Sometimes it’s good, not so much other times.  Usually it’s just different, not good or bad.  Unfortunately for some folks it’s always hard.  They resist and refuse, stuck in the past with their buggy whips and bell bottoms pants.  It’s usually older people, like me, who don’t want to do email or facebook, etc.  May I suggest you cancel your membership to the “Flat Earth Society” and embrace the future and all its changes.

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The world is different. The world is the same. I mean no matter where I’ve traveled, Italy, Austria, Switzerland or Des Moines, Iowa, some folks are nice and some folks are jerks. It’s amazingly true. You walk into a restaurant or store anywhere on the planet and you meet the same sorts. The point I’m getting around to is this. If you’re going to work with the public, smile and be nice. If you can’t do that, get a job on a factory line or learn how to fake it! Yeah, fake it. Sure you hate your job. You probably hate people including yourself, but fake it for me. You know some nights I don’t feel that great, but I dare someone to name a performance when I didn’t smile. Tony Bennett said it best. “When I’m onstage I act like there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than right there.” When I heard that, it really rang true with me. And guess what? When I make myself smile, after a while I actually feel better. Faking it is good for both the fakee and the faker. So store clerk, food server, fellow entertainer and anyone else working in the public sector just fake it for me.

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“Somebody shot the President!”  I was walking to the cafeteria at Maryvale High School when I heard someone utter those words in a panicky sort of voice.  “What?” I thought.  To this day I don’t remember who said it as they scurried by.  I don’t even remember if it was a boy or a girl.  I do recall exactly where I was.  In fact, if you took me back to my old school today, I could show you within a couple of feet where I was walking when I heard those unbelievable words.

I’m pretty sure most Americans of my demographic have a similar recollection.  To me, high school is a bit of a blur, but that moment is etched in my memory.  I remember my feelings at that moment.  Shock and disbelief gave way to anger.  Then the dominoes began to fall – Vietnam, more assassinations and riots in the streets.  Camelot ended.  Not just for the Kennedys but for us too.

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I believe America’s future is bright.  By the way, I also believe that the sky is NOT falling and we’re NOT going to hell in a hand basket!  I’ve been around over sixty years now.  We’ve survived many tough times – the Cuban missile crisis and near nuclear war, the 60’s when our president was assassinated and cities went up in flames after Dr. King’s murder.  Don’t forget Nixon.  Our president resigned in shame after he thumbed his nose at the Constitution.  We’ll get through this current mess pretty soon.

The answer to our financial problems is pretty clear to me.  I believe in the end this will happen.  Spending has to be reined in.  Social welfare programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. have to be modified or cut back.  Next, we will ALL be paying more taxes.  In my opinion after all the BS and after all the dust has settled in Washington, that’s what’s going to happen.  Higher taxes and less spending.  It’s not rocket science boys and girls!  Winston Churchill said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”  Hey you folks in DC, get your asses to work!  It’s time to do the right thing!

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Got my BEACH FIX! Sending out the pre-orders now! Look for a new blog next week!

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It’s interesting how adults act on vacation in a beach town.  I think they’re trying to recapture a piece of their youth.  So some, not all, seem to act about 10 or 15 years younger than they really are.  A little drunker, a little louder and quite a bit goofier.  The guy flirts with the waitress right in front of his long suffering wife.  She’s usually cool about his flirtation because of all the people in the world; she knows how harmless he really is.  Of course, women aren’t exempt from this phenomenon either.  They’ll dress a little hotter than they’d ever do at home just hoping and praying some doorman will card them.  Now the doorman knows how flattering women find this so they card a lot of older women.  Could there be a better way to greet a cute 35-90 year old woman at a drinking establishment?  “Is everybody happy?”  YEAH!!!

They go home after a week to their normal humdrum lives and I’m still here at the beach waiting for next week’s cast of characters.  That’s my observation from the bandstand. 

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The end times are near.  That’s what quite a few Americans I know really think.  I say “Poppycock”!  I’ve been hearing this crap since I was a kid.  At least when I was a kid we had some legitimate fears.  The Russians had thousands of nukes pointed our way.  But that doesn’t matter.  Every generation has these kooks.  They just seem more numerous to me now.  They store food, buy gold, guns and lots of ammo, of course.  Why?  Because you’re gonna have to kill your neighbors as they come to your house to steal your food.  Lord, if it gets that bad, I don’t want to live.  I don’t want to live life with that cloud of doom following me around.  Think about it.  These people live every moment knowing in their minds that Armageddon is right around the corner.  That’s not a good life.  It must be like living on death row.  If I’m wrong and the world ends, I’ll be worried about how well I’ve lived my life and my accountability as to how I’ve treated the people in my life.  My concern for that, I hope, will make me a better man today.

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I really enjoy life.  Of course, it’s easier to enjoy life when things go well as they have most of my life.  It’s not that I don’t have down moments, but all in all I am pretty enthusiastic about today and tomorrow.  Now I am aware that I’ve led a charmed life in many ways.  I know people who are better looking and rich who I sense are not really having a fun ride in their lives.  How tragic to be living a life those less fortunate would envy and not even realize it.  Money, fame, fortune and misery.  I’ll be happy with my little piece of paradise here at the beach.  For you rich miserable people, I have a suggestion.  Find a way to help someone less fortunate.  Volunteer at your church or any charity.  I believe you will find a least a little bit of serenity.  If you don’t, shame on you for not enjoying your success more.

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I am so curious about the future.  I want to live a long life just to see what’s next.  My grandmother was born in the horse and buggy era and lived to see a man walk on the moon.  WOW!!!  Seems unreal.  Yet, we didn’t have a TV until I was around four years old and our telephone didn’t even have a rotary dial.  You’d just pick up the phone and an operator would say, “Number please.”  Antibiotics were new and polio was ravaging America’s youth.  Cancer was a death sentence.  It was before stents and open heart surgery, seat belts and airbags.  Flying was expensive and traveling abroad was mostly for the well to do folks.

Oh sure, doctors made house calls and cars had those real cool fins.  But give me today and, I hope, the future.  There seems to be a lot of pessimism out there these days.  Not me.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!  I hope I live long enough to find out.

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