Showing posts from April, 2004

Retirement Planning

They say you should start planning early for your retirement. So, while I’m only 44 I’m weighing my options now. I can’t decide if I want to be a Dirty Old Man or a Cranky Old Fart. I can see advantages and disadvantages to both of these, but I don't think I can be both.   The DOM option fits in with my lifelong appreciation of feminine beauty. One can’t continue looking at pretty young women at age 70 without being thought of as a DOM. And if I’m perceived that way, I might as well live the part. The disadvantage here is that the only really successful DO Men are the ridiculously rich ones. Wealth is the only real attraction a DOM has. That means I’ll have to do some serious financial planning, something I’m not too good at.   The COF option has its merits. A COF can say pretty much what he wants whenever he wants to, which is appealing because I like to speak my mind. People will just dismiss my comments by saying “Don’t mind him, he’s old.” I’ll also be able to get away with no

Bush vs Kerry

I was a supporter of John Kerry before it was fashionable, when Howard Dean was the alleged "front runner." That was before people actually voted.   Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear. I am not a Democrat. Nor am I a Republican. I am a former Republican, registered independent. I think for myself, thank you. Republicans generally don't encourage that sort of behavior anymore. Just ask John McCain.   This election is supposedly about which candidate is strongest, particularly on national defense. In this regard popular punditry (the same process that anointed Howard Dean) declares Bush as the stronger candidate. That in itself is questionable, but not really important because this election is not about strength. It is about wisdom.   Bush often has the right idea. Invading Afghanistan after 9/11 was the right idea, and was reasonably well executed. I fully supported the President during this campaign. Removing Saddam was a good idea in theory, but poor

Do I need a banjo?

I posted that question on a forum at Banjo Hangout and the answer came back as a resounding YES! No surprise there. I had a 5 string banjo once. It was an Aria. I bought it for $99 circa 1980. It today's dollars that would be about $225. I never learned to play it very well, but I had fun with it. Alas, I lost it in a  rental truck fire when we moved back to California in 1984. Every now and then I wish I still had it. Maybe if I did, I might have become reasonably proficient by now. Fast forward to last March 1. We were on Amtrak's Coast Starlight returning home. There were some bluegrass musicians playing in the Pacific Parlour Car. The banjo player asked if we played any instruments. Mrs Toy plays the piano. I hesitated to say anything, but he could see I wanted to say something. Finally I told him I had a banjo 20 years ago. Immediately he put his into my lap, as if I could remember anything. I sorta plucked at the strings then gave it back to him. Now I want one. I don&#

Crossing safely

Pet Peeve Department: Every day when I go to work, I have to cross a two-lane one way street. And today the routine annoyance happened again. It goes like this: A driver in the near lane sees me waiting for an opening. They will stop and motion for me to cross. When I don't budge they look at me like I'm stupid. What they seem to forget is that traffic in the far lane is still whizzing by! I'm really not interested in getting half way across the street alive. I am quite content to wait 15 seconds until the signal two blocks down turns red. It blocks traffic sufficiently to cross freely and safely. This points to a larger lesson, though. Individual perspective is often assumed to be the final reality. The driver sees nothing but a constant swarm of cars, and assumes that pedestrains have no safe way to cross unless someone stops. If they are always driving, they never see the periodic clearings caused by the stop light. They only see the road when it is full of cars. Driver

Lord of the Rings

I finally finished my book last night. Lord of the Rings was probably the longest book, save for the Holy Bible, that I have ever read from cover to cover (I bought the one-volume version). I started it just after New Years, having finished the prequel, The Hobbit , just after Christmas. I have wanted to read Lord of the Rings ever since high school, when everyone else was reading it. The Hobbit was recommended to me even earlier, as a pre-teen, by my trombone teacher, Mr. McTeague. But I never quite got around to it. Then the movies came out. I didn't want to see them until I had read the books. I wanted to form my own images of characters and events before I saw someone else's interpretation. Still it was hard to avoid the movie stills on the cover flaps, which had some effect on my imagination. Overall, the story was a good adventure. Tolkien writes in such a way as to keep you going with little effort, yet gets into great descriptive detail without dragging things down.


Today is the last day of the first part of your life. Thus I begin a new Journal. I learned about this AOL feature maybe 30 minutes ago, so I have no idea where this will lead, if anywhere. I started to write a lengthy piece about the latest book I'm reading. Then AOL crashed and I lost the whole thing. This will have to do for now, and perhaps I'll find time to put it back together again. But now I've got to go back and finish my book.