Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Routine generally gets a "bad press". Many people hate the idea of any "routine" in their lives. I feel differently. My belief is that a basis of routine makes it easier to accomplish change. Some family members find it amusing that I have a standard breakfast item for each day of the week. I am not totally wedded to these choices, but I find it helpful that i don't need to wait for an agreement with my wife before starting to prepare my food. She is always welcome to her own choice of breakfast, and sometimes we share an item that is not one of my regular choices, for example, on Tuesday I came down after she was already busy in the kitchen, and I was delighted when I found that she had made huevos rancheros. I simply moved my day for bacon and mushrooms to Thursday, normally a day when I would have a fried egg. My preference for routine goes far beyond food preparation. For example, I usually know what clothes I am going to wear each morning, so I don't waste time wondering what shirt or cardigan I will wear that day. Barbara and I like to watch the PBS News Hour, starting an hour or so before we start preparing dinner. That's on weekdays: on Saturdays and Sundays we watch "Newshour weekend" (actually a half hour program) Yup: in our advanced ages we have become a boring old couple...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


To most of the world, those initials stand for "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria". Others will recall that it is also the name of a major Egyptian goddess. But to the residents of Oxford and too all the University community, the name refers primarily to the stretch of the Thames above Iffley Lock which flows through the university and past Christ Church. It is also the name given to the second Eight, the first Eight being the boat which competes against Cambridge annually. Particularly to Oxonians the use of the word "isis" for the radical Islamist group is an anathema! Fortunately, there is an alternative set of initials for the radical group: ISIL, meaning "The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant". However, I do not expect to convert the media into using that alternative, instead, I believe that before the end of the present century, the traditional meanings of the word will prevail

Monday, January 12, 2015


Like everybody I know, I have my favorite foods, but I'm not fussy about what I eat. Perhaps living through the rationing years of WWII in the U.K. is one factor, but being frugal by nature is probably also relevant. In any case, I can truly say that I eat what is put in front of me. This is certainly helpful to Barbara, who also believes in the saying "Waste not, want not". Another saying is "Happy wife, happy life." Despite my mother's comment to Barbara--"My dear, I don't know how you can stand him"--Barbara & I have been together for over 45 years. I never complain about "leftovers". Admittedly, I may gripe if the same soup appears as the main course for three consecutive dinners. There are, however, days when other folk supply our food. In particular, we have a wonderful neighbor who loves to cook. She was widowed a few years ago, so we are often the beneficiaries of her cuisine. If the dish she brings over contains red meat, I am the one to eat it all. Recently, a family member passed on to us most of a deep-dish pizza, featuring anchovies. Luckily, we had a houseguest who is helping us consume this, so i have only one more evening to finish it. However, I learned last night that the generous neighbor has already brought over a chicken dish, so it will be several days before I can expect to enjoy the fresh fish for which I am hoping...

Monday, January 5, 2015

Should They be Suspended?

In recent months, there have been a number of stories about athletes, mainly if not exclusively male, being charged of domestic violence, drunken driving, or theft, for example. Sometimes these players have remained on the active roster of their team, the rationale being that they are "presumed innocent until found guilty". I think this is missing the point. I believe that suspension or the imposition of a fine is appropriate in most circumstances. Usually there is no doubt about the commission of some infraction of the law or of civilized behavior. Usually, the incident has been blazoned in the press and often in other media. It should not be necessary to await the outcome of a criminal trial before the employer, usually a professional sports team- has determined guilt in a court of law. The time for the management of the team to take action is as soon as possible after the event.