Previous month:
September 2017
Next month:
November 2017

16 posts from October 2017

Are grandparents running Michigan and the rest of the country?



Is Michigan government being run by grandparents?
Are grandparents calling the shots in Michigan government, forgetting millennials ?


Check out this Beme News video.  It's part of a news delivery experiment by CNN and Casey Neistat, a major YouTube content maker.  

The video screed about how Michigan government and most others are run by people of grandparent age. Millennials are saying that their interests are not being represented by grandma and grandpa.  

In the video piece, Michigan Rep. Jewell Jones touts that he's the youngest legislator in state history.  He fails to mention that former Gov. John Engler was elected to the Michigan House when he was 22.  Russell Strange was about the same age and so was George Cushingberry.

Do millennials have the life maturity and experience to do the job?  Does the job take more than fire and enthusiasm?  

Watch the video and leave your opinion.

Has medical marijuana been a good or bad thing for Michigan's State Capital city, Lansing?

Marijuana billboard
These billboards could be seen throughout Lansing this past year

What about medical marijuana in the city of Lansing?

Marijuana shops dominate the city's landscape, particularly the south side.  After more than a half decade the city passed an ordinance to regulate this growing industry to sell a substance that many say is harmless and has medicinal qualities.  Others say, it's a gateway to addiction.

Depending on who you talk to the city has had between 75 to 100 dope stores where "weed" can be purchased legally with a card from the state of Michigan which has to be endorsed by a physician.  

Attempts by the Lansing City Council to regulate it have been feeble at best.  A new ordinance is being challenged by advocates for the stores.

Where does this all stop?  Will the local political inertia continue in the direction of more and more shops?  Will there ever be a realistic discussion about what this all means for the city and this region of central Michigan?

Because of a lack of leadership on this issue, Lansing is becoming harder and harder to take seriously as a well-governed city.  

The above billboard shows what Lansing has turned into.  It has moved from being the home of Oldsmobile to the marijuana capital.



My wife's fat quarters are not chocolate covered cherries or raisins

Fat quarters at our house.
Fat quarters are not chocolate-covered

When my wife mentioned the "fat quarters" in her sewing room, I was thinking something chocolate-covered like raisins or cherries.  I took a brief look in the room where she works the magic with cloth and I couldn't find any.

Then she educated me about how fat quarters are a yard of cloth cut in four pieces.  Now I know.  She has a collection of fat quarters for grandkid sewing projects.

I'm a lifelong learner.  It's a continual adventure.

Many state lawmakers joined the legislature married and came out divorced

My newspaper column about legislative marriages.
I found my column I wrote in the 1970s for Panax Newspapers.

I wonder how many candidates for the Michigan Legislature join either the State House or Senate as married people and leave divorced.  Both legislative bodies should have staff lawyers and counselors assigned to members to handle marital difficulties.  

Serving in the legislature is tough on relationships.  There's all the time spent away from home and all the people around you who want your attention and who constantly tell you how great you are.  

As a newspaper reporter working in the legislature, I saw this happen more to men than women and I saw it less when I was a staff member, possibly because I was more isolated.

I found the above column while I was going through old clippings and other papers.  It was true in the seventies and I'm sure it's true today.

Maybe candidates need to come to agreement about how they split their assets and child custody before they take office, just in case it happens. 

This is not a function of one party being better than the other.  It's purely a character issue.

Is it "fake news" that Trump was a draft dodger during Vietnam War?

Me and my M-16.
Shooting my "gun" while in the Army in the early 70s.

There's a story this morning in Politico about how President Trump got five draft deferments from the Army during the Vietnam War.  Four were for college and one was for a bone spur in his foot.

This raises all sorts of questions about his patriotism which he seems to tout all the time.  He should talk openly about this.  Does he ever talk openly about anything that might be unflattering to him?

I got a draft deferment for college and then the draft board told me that was it.  I remember our local draft board was composed of big shooters in our local community who made sure their sons stayed out of the draft.  These dads made it clear that power and position made a difference in keep their sons out of the Army.

It worked for Trump.  He and I are the same age.  I know how disruptive the draft was to daily life back then.  A sledge hammer seemed to be hanging over my head all the time.

By the way, I need to disclose that I got into an active U.S. Army Reserve unit and that my active duty was all in this country.  I have a cousin who wasn't so lucky.

So, is this fake news about Trump?  Is it the truth?


Burger Kings gives good lesson about what to do when you see someone bullied

Burger King bullying video.
Burger King makes a point with this public service announcement about bullying. Click on the You Tube video below

 It's hard to avoid the topic of bullying in our culture right now with so many people calling each other names and making fun of them.  When it happens to kids in a public place what should you do?  Anything?

Burger King made this public service announcement to illustrate the situation and how most people react to it.  It's worth a view.


Zaytoon in Holt, Michigan is my new favorite restaurant

Zaytoon in Holt is our favorite restaurant.
Zaytoon on Aurelius Road in Holt is our new favorite restaurant

Our first real taste of Mediterranean cooking was a couple of years ago when we had a family reunion on the Island of Viz in the Adriatic Sea, not too far from Greece and Italy.  Our son-in-law Adam Jones treated us to a big dinner created in a big pot called a sac.  It was incredibly delicious and pretty memorable.

When we moved to Holt, a bedroom community south of Lansing, we found a restaurant about a mile south of us, Zaytoon which promoted itself as offering Mediterranean food.  We tried it.  

We went in with minimal knowledge, but quickly learned the basics like what shawarma is.  Everything seems to be served with hummus.  

During meal times, it seems to be crowded, including takeout customers.

Lunch box at Zaytoon.
This is the lunch special that I usually get.


How many of you still have your Promise Keepers t-shirts?

Promise Keepers T-Shirt
This Promise Keepers T-Shirt from the 1990s seems more than relevant today.


Remember the men's ministry, Promise Keepers?  Every year they'd have a different t-shirt billboarding their theme for that year.  My son and I went to 10 of their rallies in different parts of the country where I got a shirt from each one.

Because I have trouble retiring t-shirts, I still have this one about how our country is due for a spiritual storm because of its rejection of God.  As a result, things will get worse.

The challenge is to "take on the storm."  

Does anybody know what happened to Promise Keepers?  Is it still around in a scaled down version?

Why would Republicans want to cut $500 billion from the Medicare program?



I got this news release in my email from the Michigan Democratic about how the Republicans in the U.S. Congress pushed through a budget bill that would cut $500 billion from Medicare and transform it into a voucher program.  

Upton Votes to Cut $500 Billion from Medicare, Convert to Voucher Program

House Republican Budget Also Includes Huge Giveaway to Big Oil

LANSING –– Today, Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) voted for the House Republican budget that cuts almost $500 billion from Medicare over a decade and turns it into a voucher program, which means older people will have to pay far more out of their own pockets for health care. 

How does this affect senior citizens with that insurance coverage?  Why aren't Republicans talking about it?  What about the voucher program?

It seems like Republicans are trying to slide one by people who need the healthcare the most.

Anybody got links to show the thinking.


Reading our pastor's blog post about questions to ask before listening to a sermon

Pastor Marvin Williams Blog
Pastor Williams of Trinity Lansing has a blog that seems pretty relevant

Tonight our church--Trinity Lansing--starts a new sermon series on prayer.  We've heard that it will be built off of the Lord's Prayer.  I'm excited to hear how Pastor Marvin Pastor Williams presents the whole category of talking with God.

It's an area where I feel very immature experience wise.  The denomination I came from, of course, encouraged prayer.  But, it seemed that the only people who really prayed were the pastors during a church service and maybe some elders.

Since then I've learned that it's just talking to God in my own words and listening for his response.

That's what got my attention when I read Pastor Williams' blog post on "8 Questions to Ask Before We Listen to a Sermon."

I read the post twice and I can't recite what he wrote.  But it seems to center around preparing my heart to listen to and respond to what is taught.

What do you do before you listen to a sermon?  What if it's boring?  Suffer through it?



Drinking Siberian Night stout from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company on a Friday night

Siberian Night from my son.
This Siberian Night Imperial Stout was a gift from my son for my birthday.


What do you get your 71-year-old dad who has at least one of everything for his birthday.  My son Justin Thorp got me a generous gift certificate from Horrocks here in Lansing.  And I got a six-pack that included this Imperial Stout.

It's dark and thick and has plenty of taste with its 9.5 ABV.  I'd drink it again.  But I'd need to be relaxed on the couch with no need to drive.

I see the potential of me becoming a beer snob.  Wait till I show you my birthday gift from my daughter and her husband.  Same theme.

Older Baby-Boomers: When was the last time you had a portrait taken with your spouse?


Our new portraits
When was the last time you had a picture taken with your spouse?

When our kids were young, we would have family portraits taken pretty regularly.  We tried a variety of photographers like Olan Mills and Sears.  We love pulling them out and looking at the pictures taken usually every year.  

And we look forward to getting the school pictures from our grandkids.  All of these pictures are potent reminders of how blessed we are.  We started as two and now have a family of 11.  

What about husband-wife portrait when you are firmly in your senior citizen years?  

When the church we are attending offered free portraits for members and attenders, we decided to do it.  And the above photos are the result.  I love it.  It will assume a place of honor in our living room.

How accurate are blood pressure readings taken at Sam's Club or a drug store?

My blood pressure reading.
This is my blood pressure reading taken at a neighborhood RiteAid from a few days ago.

I did a quick stop at the neighborhood Rite Aid a few days ago and spotted a machine where I could take my blood pressure.  Ordinarily, I would not take the time, but I couldn't resist.  This was my reading.  It seems to be pretty decent.

How accurate are these machines?  Is it like the difference between stepping on the scale at home and the one at the doctor's office where the numbers seem to be inflated?  Just curious.


Getting familiar with the new scanner on iOS11 on my iPhone

Scanned Documents 3
This picture was taken in the back of a van while on a mission trip to West Africa.

I just discovered the scanner that's part of the new operating system--iOS 11--for the iPhone.  I immediately tried it and here's the results with the top photo.  It's easy to use and the results with photos seem spectacular.  I have yet to try black and white print or text.  It's not OCR.  It can be accessed through notes on the iPhone and I presume on the iPad.  Just go to a new note and tap on the + sign and the scan screen comes up right away.  



Nine years ago today I was "Father Of The Bride" to my little pumpkin

Krista and Adam's wedding.
I'm the guy with the bald head facing the pastor. What an occasion.


I remember when my daughter Krista called me while I was at Sam's Club and her saying, "You're really going to like this guy."  And I remember thinking "o-kaaay."  She was right big time.  

Today she and her husband Adam Jones celebrate their ninth  anniversary.  Being part of their lives as parents and grandparents to their three kids has been a big time joy.  They are high quality people and who with the synergism coming from being married only magnifies that.

As I age and as my memory of some events gets fuzzy, I hope I never forget the day I walked her down the aisle.  It's in the top tier of life events for me.  If there are any dads holding back on taking that walk, I hope they just hold their breath and do it.

At their wedding rehearsal and when it was our turn to practice walking down the aisle, I remember that the tears were sandbagged behind my eyes.  My face may have not shown it, but I was really happy.  It seemed like a video kept playing in my head starting with when she was born.  Now it's a DVD with remembrances of their kids being born and all the other scenes that come with being part of a family.

Her husband Adam has become a close friend.  I value our relationship.

I hope that they can celebrate today and the rest of the week.  Their kids are blessed to have such great parents.

Maybe it's the season, but I forgot that I called her "pumpkin" for many years.  Today, she's my pumpkin again.

How many pumpkins can you carry in your two outstretched arms?

Adam Jones carries pumpkins
My son-in-law Adam Jones carries pumpkins at Country Mill in Charlotte, Michigan

As you drink your pumpkin spiced latte this morning, think about the pumpkin, one of the biggest fruits on the planet.  Then think about how many you could carry between your outstretched arms.

My son-in-law Adam Jones tried that Saturday at the Country Mill in Charlotte, Michigan where they held a pumpkin carrying competition.  On a beautiful warm weekend day, he carried ten.  My daughter Krista carefully laid them on his outstretched arms with the biggest on the bottom.  He had to carry them 10 feet.

It was an armful and he got to keep what he carried.  Entry fee was $12.  How much do pumpkins cost in the store?  I don't know.  But, I'm sure that his kids will get $12 worth of pleasure making jack-o-laterns and sifting for seeds.

Here's a video of the carry: