Down with exercise.

 Posted by at 11:01  Down with
Feb 232015
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Old age isn’t for wimps!

I’m OK with the cantankerous old coot moniker. Cantankerous is fine. I sure don’t want to be just one of the herd. Even Coot has a raffish charm. It’s the ‘old’ that’s begging to bother me. Calling yourself old is fine so long as you can continue to exercise plausible deniability about the reality. So long as you can continue to deny that the old prune looking back at you in the mirror each morning is you. Even the best deniers eventually have to face the truth. And the truth comes in a way that you can’t avoid- pain. I stay away from mirrors these days but you can’t do much to deny that your joints hurt and moving hurts.

CouchI’ve long been an enthusiastic advocate of exercise as a tool in the fight against getting old. It won’t stop the process but it can mitigate and delay. Unfortunately I’m an advocate but not always a practitioner. I’ve been slacking off. It seems easy enough in your head to take a few minutes several times a week to exercise. Actually exercising, however is harder. I’ve been doing more thinking about exercising in the recent months than actually doing it. Last week, however, I got back in the game with walking, sit ups and push-ups. Now I’m paying the price.

The relentless aging of my body has brought aching knees, loss of balance and an awkward clumsiness that I haven’t experienced since my growth spurt at 15. With my youthful optomism and energy long gone, none of these recent developments feels good. I can’t expect to ‘grow’ out of my awkwardness and pain has become my invisible friend. Still I believe that more exercise can help. I need to use my muscles, work my joints and be more active if I want to get back some of my grace and mobility. It’s not an option. So for the past week or so I’ve exercised and what do I get as a reward? Continue reading »

Feb 102015
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Originally posted 2012-11-05 13:27:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Hablo un poco de Espanol.

This old coot is counting down the days.  It’s not the days until November 6 and the Presidential Election.  It’s not the days until Veteran’s Day.  And it’s not the days until Thanksgiving.  I’m counting down to December 4 when my wife and I travel across the Mason Dixon line to Houston, Texas and then on across the equator to Sunny Argentina.  Vamos al Buenos Aires!

The Argentine Flag

I can’t say for sure that the heading above translates as Hello! Cantankerous Old Coots.  My Spanish lessons so far only confirm Hola.  I don’t believe that Google would lie but I understand that there are subtleties that might escape on-line translations so if I said something I shouldn’t, dame un pase.

This trip we aim to function passably in Spanish.  In Italy, we just pointed or waited for someone to speak English.  In Argentina we intend to engage.  I have to say that learning Spanish by listening is muy bueno. The one problem is that I have no idea what some of the words look like in print and the sounds I mimic don’t correspond to the way we say those letters in English.  I may be able to converse but the printed word may turn out to be a complete mystery.  Qué desastre!

Still we are excited.  We hear that Buenos Aires is called the Paris of South American and the pictures we find on the web seem to confirm.  My wife will be busy taking pictures while I absorb the culture and drink mate.  Will I find anything to be cantankerous about?  Que sas!   Will I miss the dreary Winter weather in Sacramento?  No en su vida.

Tropical Christmas!

We will be arriving in Summer for the Southern hemisphere; December is equivalent to July up here and temperatures will be in the 90’s with humidity.  This suggests that we will celebrate siesta during midday even though it is apparently not so endemic in Argentina as some other countries.  We don’t have definite plans and no big urgency like we might have on a 5 day trip.  I have always wanted to take a vacation where I could actually take a day off instead of rushing from one place to another.  Como un pollo con su cabeza cortada.

Still there is work to do.

Meanwhile, during the countdown there are details to arrange.  For the Venice trip I reached a near panic state during the last week.  It was completely irrational and totally unnecessary but I just couldn’t turn off the worrying about imaginary problems.  Right now I’m convinced that I’ll be fine when the countdown gets close but who knows.  Argentina is not Italy.  Buenos Aires is not Venice.  United Airlines is not Iberia.  My wife may have to knock me out just like last time.

I still have Spanish lessons to complete, cell phones (or Argentine sim cards) to arrange, and details like airport transportation and getting Pesos before we go.  And then, of course, we need to book Tango lessons.  So much to do.  Tan poco tiempo.


Feb 102015
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Originally posted 2012-03-30 11:28:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Main Street at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney ...

Main Street at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA. The photo is taken presumably from the roof of the Walt Disney World Railroad, and the US Flag is in the foreground. In the background is the regal Cinderella Castle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it just me or was Friday just yesterday.  Must be me becasue Friday was last week!  And then March is gone as well.

Oh Well.  These days it seems like time is fleeting and going faster than is really necessary, but it is still going!  We are trying to figure out what we will be doing when we get to Florida for Amelia’s Wish and there is an amazing amount of crap to do in Disney World.  It seems like we should be able to sit down and have the whole thing planned in an hour or two but we are going on a week or more and still don’t have everything nailed down.

When it does get nailed down, it will change though.  That is the only thing I am certain of.  Maybe I need to get Ralph to help out.  He has been halfway around the world.  I have a 6 hour trip.  With 4 kids.  Maybe I can get “Uncle Ralph” to come and we can pick up “Uncle Bob” on the way through.

That would be wild.  3 coots in the Magic Kingdom.  Sounds like a novel where at least one gets arrested.  Maybe I should write that as a series of shorts while we are gone.  I am going to be making videos and writing about the trip anyway over at  I am rambling and have now forgotten the original point of this post.

Maybe the sands of time that I started with should be compared with the brain cells that seem to be deserting me at much the same rate. I could blame it on sleep deprivation or getting older, but I don’t know the cause.

How fast is your hourglass being emptied?  And what should be the more pressing question, are you going to be able to turn it over?  If you remember, Dorthy tried in vain to turn over the hourglass that the witch set for her….is that where we are here?

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Feb 102015
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Se la vie

Life has a way of slapping you in the face just when you think everything is under control. During our stay in France, for the first time in our foreign travels there wasn’t a Starbucks. Whenever we saw a Starbucks, we asked ourselves why anyone would want to visit Starbucks when there so many good places to get coffee in Buenos Aires or Rome. In France, while there were many places to get coffee, if you wanted a croissant to go with it, it wasn’t so simple.

You needed to visit a boulangerie (bakery) and then take your croissant to the coffee shop. Since everyone (meaning the French) understands that there is no explanation provided to anyone else. You have to figure it out yourself. Somehow it never worked out so smoothly when we tried it. Once in while you would find a lunch type cafe where you could get coffee along with your sandwich or pastry but these were not the norm. Now that I reflect on our French experience it is clear why it wasn’t until we visit France that we missed the Amercan ambience of Starbucks. Continue reading »

Dec 232014
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Originally posted 2010-06-18 07:00:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

I don’t know about you but I’m fed up with Search Engine Optimization, Page Rank and kowtowing to the great god Google. What do they want from me? What do they want from the world and can anything stop them?

Google says their mission is ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ Did you ever hear anything more like big brother in your life? Even Obama hasn’t suggested doing this as he eliminates the private sector economy. And these clever people at Google have figured out how to make us pay for it without thinking unlike those clumsy and ineffective taxes the government uses to get our money.

But back to the SEO. Have you read the helpful instructions you can find everywhere on the web about how to make Google happy?  Even if you read them, do you have a clue about what Google really wants? You hear all the time that if you create high quality content, the web is a piece of cake but when you begin to study SEO you learn that it is bull crap because Google can’t read and wouldn’t know good writing from from the typing of 10,000 monkeys. If you write good copy but fail to appease the god Google, nobody will ever find you, read you and appreciate your effort. Why bother?

To make Google happy, don’t waste your time refining your prose because writing is old fashioned and irrelevant. Nobody cares because thanks to Google, nobody will know that it even exists. If you want to be successful you have to pack your collection of words (why even call it writing?) with a  word or phrase that somebody might search for. Salt enough of those keywords throughout your word aggregation and Google will send you readers. No muss, no fuss and best of all, no tedious writing effort. Anything will do.

Google has spawned a whole new industry of products and services to help witless people with more money than they can spend to propagate their word aggregations around the web to provide ‘credibility’ (in the form of back links) to your aggregations. Put those mutated word aggregations in enough places and rearrange their words in enough ways and Google will reward you with a higher page rank. Just like the annoying TV ads that finally get etched into your brain and make you mindlessly grab the products when you shop, if you saturate the web with your word aggregations, you overwhelm the competition and achieve value to Google.  After all nothing else matters any more.  And all it took was a few hundred dollars and some software.

So today I say to Google, ‘Do no harm’. If Google can’t read and won’t even try to learn, then stop pretending that Google knows how to find value and content. Call a spade a spade. Google isn’t about writing or content – unless you value keywords. I can’t get too excited about them but then, I’m a Coot. They are probably all that Tweet- addled Gens X and Y can handle. Google doesn’t care a rat’s ass for writing. What Google loves is picture frames for keywords.

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