5.22.2023 – just give it all back

just give it all back
go home, then you don’t have to
do that anymore

Right from the beginning, Palmer got celebrity — he understood it and embraced it.

When Curtis Strange — who always bridled at being a public figure — became the No. 1 player in the world in the 1980s, he complained to Palmer, who had been close to Strange’s father, about the responsibilities that came with stardom: signing autographs, dealing with the media, spending time with sponsors.

Palmer shrugged and said, “You don’t have to do any of that if you don’t want to.”

Strange was stunned. “I don’t?” he said.

“How do I not do any of that?”

“Go home,” Palmer answered.

“Don’t get paid to play golf for a living.

Don’t take money from sponsors.

Don’t get paid to wear a shirt or a hat or play with a certain kind of golf club or golf ball.

Just give all that back and go home.

Then you don’t have to do any of that anymore.”

Adapted from The Classic Palmer by John Feinstein (Stewart, Tabori and Chang (April 1, 2012).

I am not a golfer.

I am more of public danger on a golf course than a participant.

My Dad took me along to a driving range when I was in High School and showed me the basics of the grip and swing and such and then had me take a swing at a ball.

I put my head done, having read once, in an article by Alistair Cooke, how Jack Nicolaus’ Coach would stand behind Nicolaus and hold his head for hours so he would keep looking down when he swung, and I swung as hard as I could at the ball.

I followed through with my swing, hit the ball, and kept my head down.

Then I brought my arms down and noticed something.

The club was missing.

Using the golf club grip with my left thumb inside my right fist, I managed, without noticing, to let the club slip through my hands and fly up and away somewhere.

I turned to my Dad and held out my hands.

Look Dad, No Club!

He looked at me.

I looked at him.

We both tried to hunker down and look up at the same time.

The club came down to earth about 10 yards away on the concrete sidewalk with a whanga whanga whanga that attracted a lot of attention.

I haven’t picked up a club since.

But I have always been aware of golf.

Even before cable TV, golf was on TV a lot.

Growing up when I did, I would have watched algebra on TV if it was the only thing on so in the spring before baseball season started, if you were going to watch Sunday afternoon TV, you watched golf.

It was the only thing on.

It is an interesting historical aspect of televised Golf that it got terrible ratings.

Except among one group.

And that one group being those people in sales who bought TV advertising time.

Those people loved golf.

Playing golf made them happy and expansive.

Watching golf made them happy and expansive.

TV Stations were happy to make them happy.

So TV Sales people played a lot of golf.

And TV networks broadcast a lot of golf.

And we watched a lot of golf.

And the names of the golfers became familiar to us as household items.

And no name more familiar than Arnold Palmer.

The other night I was thinking about a passage of writing by the author, John Feinstein.

I enjoy Mr. Feinstein’s writing.

He found a formula that works and does a good job making it work.

His first book, A Season on the Brink, is an inside look at the Indiana University basketball team and Coach Bobby Knight during the 1985-86 season.

I love this book.

In 1985, my team, Michigan, had a pretty good team that won the Big Ten and Mr. Feinstein goes into detail on the two games between Michigan and Indiana.

Michigan won both games.

Michigan winning at Indiana is fairly rare in my lifetime.

Michigan blew Indiana out of Crisler Arena 80-52 to win the Big Ten in the final game of the season.

Both games are wonderfully described in Mr. Feinstein’s book.

But I digress.

As I said, I was looking for another Feinstein book when I came across his book, The Classic Palmer.

I really enjoyed Mr. Feinstein’s book on golf.

“A Long Walk Ruined.”

So I took a chance on the Classic Palmer.

It isn’t a long book.

Took me about 30 minutes to read.

And I came away with the feeling that Arnold Palmer was a good guy who happened to be good at golf, really good, and he let his ability take him where it would and enjoyed the ride.

I remembered a conversation about football I had once, that it was a game that used to be played by guys who were athletic enough to play football.

Now it is like we have football players, who through specialized training, medical prowess and determination, also happen to be guys.

I mean when I read the book Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile by Nate Jackson and Mr. Jackson described how he had to give some blood so a specialized super glue could be created just for him that would be kept frozen until he needed a muscle glued back together in way that that his body wouldn’t reject, well sir …

AGAIN I digress.

Back to Mr. Palmer, I came across the passage quoted above.

I read it a couple of times.

I thought of soooooooooooo many notables in today’s news cycle.

The whining.

The moaning.

The whiny moaning.

About being a celebrity.

Don’t whine.

Don’t moan.

Just give it all back.

Then you won’t have anything to whine and moan about.

On the other hand, this clearly is the case between fame and celebrity.

Most golfers are just that.


People who are celebrated.

And celebrations come to end.

Mr. Palmer was famous.

Fame has a way of sticking around.

You can’t go out to eat and order a Tiger Woods, a Kardashian or even a Trump now can you?

5.21.2023 – what is the good of

what is the good of
putting stone reading ‘Here lies
Nobody Nowhere’

The Cat in the Lifeboat

A feline named William got a job as copy cat on a daily paper and was surprised to learn that every other cat on the paper was named Tom, Dick, or Harry. He soon found out that he was the only cat named William in town. The fact of his singularity went to his head, and he began confusing it with distinction. It got so that whenever he saw or heard the name William, he thought it referred to him. His fantasies grew wilder and wilder, and he came to believe that he was the Will of Last Will and Testament, and the Willy of Willy Nilly, and the cat who put the cat in catnip. He finally became convinced that Cadillacs were Catillacs because of him.

William became so lost in his daydreams that he no longer heard the editor of the paper when he shouted, “Copy cat!” and he became not only a ne’er-do-well, but a ne’er-do-anything. “You’re fired,” the editor told him one morning when he showed up for dreams.

“God will provide,” said William jauntily.

“God has his eye on the sparrow,” said the editor.

“So’ve I,” said William smugly.

William went to live with a cat-crazy woman who had nineteen other cats, but they could not stand William’s egotism or the tall tales of his mythical exploits, honors, blue ribbons, silver cups, and medals, and so they all left the woman’s house and went to live happily in huts and hovels. The cat-crazy woman changed her will and made William her sole heir, which seemed only natural to him, since he believed that all wills were drawn in his favor. “I am eight feet tall,” William told her one day, and she smiled and said, “I should say you are, and I am going to take you on a trip around the world and show you off to everybody.”

William and his mistress sailed one bitter March day on the S.S. Forlorna, which ran into heavy weather, high seas, and hurricane. At midnight the cargo shifted in the towering seas, the ship listed menacingly, SOS calls were frantically sent out, rockets were fired into the sky, and the officers began running up and down companionways and corridors shouting, “Abandon ship!” And then another shout arose, which seemed only natural to the egotistical cat. It was, his vain ears told him, the loud repetition of “William and children first!” Since William figured no lifeboat would be launched until he was safe and sound, he dressed leisurely, putting on white tie and tails, and then sauntered out on deck. He leaped lightly into a lifeboat that was being lowered, and found himself in the company of a little boy named Johnny Green and another little boy named Tommy Trout, and their mothers, and other children and their mothers. “Toss that cat overboard!” cried the sailor in charge of the lifeboat, and Johnny Green threw him overboard, but Tommy Trout pulled him back in.

“Let me have that tomcat,” said the sailor, and he took William in his big right hand and threw him, like a long incompleted forward pass, about forty yards from the tossing lifeboat.

When William came to in the icy water, he had gone down for the twenty-fourth time, and had thus lost eight of his lives, so he only had one left. With his remaining life and strength he swam and swam until at last he reached the sullen shore of a sombre island inhabited by surly tigers, lions, and other great cats. As William lay drenched and panting on the shore, a jaguar and a lynx walked up to him and asked him who he was and where he came from. Alas, William’s dreadful experience in the lifeboat and the sea had produced traumatic amnesia, and he could not remember who he was or where he came from.

“We’ll call him Nobody,” said the jaguar.

“Nobody from Nowhere,” said the lynx.

And so William lived among the great cats on the island until he lost his ninth life in a barroom brawl with a young panther who had asked him what his name was and where he came from and got what he considered an uncivil answer.

The great cats buried William in an unmarked grave because, as the jaguar said, “What’s the good of putting up a stone reading ‘Here lies Nobody from Nowhere’?”

MORAL: O why should the spirit of mortal be proud, in this little voyage from swaddle to shroud?

From Further Fables for Our Time by James Thurber, Hamish Hamilton, Ltd. 90 Great Russell Street, London, W.C.1

5.20.2023 – we read to have a

we read to have a
good time, not an easy time

Martin Louis Amis (25 August 1949 – 19 May 2023) 

Back in 2020, the NY Times By The Book Review asked Martin Amis, How have your reading tastes changed over the years?

Mr. Amis said:

I find myself increasingly committed to the pleasure principle — first formulated by John Dryden in 1668.

We read for “delight and instruction,” while bearing in mind that literature “only instructs as it delights.”

In plainer terms, we read literature to have a good time.

Not an easy time, necessarily, but not a hard time and not a bad time.

So I like fiction that makes me welcome, and I’m quickly exasperated by the freakish, the introverted and above all the compulsively obscure.

For months now I’ve been trying to penetrate the bristling bastion of William Faulkner.

He is like Joyce — all genius and no talent; he just isn’t interested in pushing the narrative forward.

Well, I suppose his readers have enough to do anyway, trying to establish who is who and what (if anything) is going on.

5.18.2023 – misty gray morning

misty gray morning
shadows through glass and darkly
glasses need cleaning

I have been wearing glasses since about 1969.

I do not expect my glasses to provide perfect vision.

Though I am always shocked and a little sad when I look at things like my hand or read without my glass (with a kindle 3 inches from my nose) at how CLEAR everything is.

Today I have what is known as ‘progressive’ bifocal glasses.

What that means is when I put my glasses on, I have to change the angle of my head to my reading surface until I have a level of focus that allows me to recognize text at a point that I can read it.

I find that this angle changes through out the day if not by the hour or even by the minute.

It is like my vision is in a constant state of flux to reach optimum angle and distance for reading comfort.

This has been going on so long that I no longer even notice that I am doing this.

It is all by second nature.

Then there are those mornings.

Gray mornings.

Misty gray mornings.

The world is a dark, murky place of shadows.

And I take my glasses off and look at them to find that both inside and outside surfaces of the lenses are coated with crud.

Sure this has been going on forever as well but moving to the Atlantic Coast has raised the level of the crud.

I have no hard data to back this up but it seems to me that the salt air or the salt in the air adds a layer of sticky, slimy greasiness to the crud.

Not only is this salty slime part of the problem but it is also a dust magnet that makes it all that much worse.

Diabolically this salty slime is also ‘wiping resistant’.

The traditional ‘breathing on the glass’ and wiping with a cotton shirt tail only manages to smear the crud around leaving gucky finger prints and rainbows of prismatic crud.

Using sprays and fancy wipes don’t seem to help much.

The tried and true soaping under running water and then drying with a clean cloth is about the best but it is a lot of work.

Once clean, I am still along the coast and the salt air goes right back to work.

It isn’t long until once again, it is a gray misty morning and I am seeing shadows through a glass and darkly.

5.17.2023 – eight years spent longing

eight years spent longing
for Hollywood’s realism
and sincerity

Lawyer, Actor and Politician Fred Thompson described his thoughts on who he might include in his autobiography.

Mr. Thompson wrote:

There were the early days when I was a federal prosecutor.

Then there would be a part about my role as counsel for the Watergate committee, and my part in revealing the taping system in the Nixon White House.

Then, of course, I would relate some of my experiences in the movie business as well as on the TV show Law & Order.

And there would be the eight years I spent in the U.S. Senate (which made me long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood).

The U.S. Senate made me long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood.

I am reminded of something I heard Jim Harrison say in an interview that the only way he, Mr. Harrison, could stand being in Hollywood was the knowledge that, due to air travel, he could be back where he lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in just a matter of hours.

Mr. Thompson’s time in the US Senate made him long for Hollywood.

Mr. Harrison’s time in Hollywood made him long for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Have you have been to the U.P.?

I’ll let you draw any conclusions but often I think it is not a question of whether or not this Republic WILL survive, but HOW did we make it this far?

*From Teaching the Pig to Dance: A Memoir of Growing Up and Second Chances by Fred Thompson, Crown, 2010.

5.16.2023 – rise in morning torn

rise in morning torn
desire improve, enjoy world
makes day hard to plan

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy.

If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem.

But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world.

This makes it hard to plan the day.

E. B. White: Notes and Comment, interview with Israel Shenker, July 11, 1969; New York Times; quoted in E. B. White: A Biography, by Scott Elledge, p. 3

5.15.2023 – you call a meeting

you call a meeting
no one shows up, probably
you’re not a leader

As quoted in the article, Back-to-Office Battles Underscore a Change in Workplace Authority by Stefan Stern (New York Times – May 11, 2023).

The article has the blurb: As workers push back on mandates, business leaders are wrestling with a new, post-pandemic identity.

As you might guess, the article deals with the all important topic of how to deal with an out of the office work force when you have an in-the-office leader mentality.

Most folks feel that work-from-home started with the recent pandemic in 2020.

I started managing a corporate website in 1995.

I started working from home in 1995.

Sure, I was in the office Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, but I was aware of the website 24×7, 365.

Still am.

The recent article however focuses on adjustments for management for today with the number of workers who still work but work from home full time or at least 2 or 3 days of the work week.

Much like the tree falling noiselessly in an empty forest, do workers working away from an empty office really work?

And if workers are working or aren’t working, how do leaders lead?

The article goes on to quote a Terri Kelly who had discussion with a Mr. Gary Hamel who is billed as a “management guru”.

Ms. Kelly was quoting an associate.

Being transparent here, I didn’t realize this got so complicated.

I mean here is my passage in question:

Ultimately, leadership authority is granted by willing followers. Terri Kelly, who led the textiles and high-tech firm WL Gore for 13 years, until 2018, put it best in a discussion with the management guru Gary Hamel in 2010: “One of my associates said, ‘If you call a meeting, and no one shows up, you’re probably not a leader, because no one is willing to follow you.

Anyway, this associate of Ms. Kelly was quoted by Ms. Kelly in a discussion with Mr. Hamel as saying, “If you call a meeting, and no one shows up, you’re probably not a leader, because no one is willing to follow you.”

While this is all in reference to today’s post pandemic workplace, the quote is referenced back … to 2010.

Ultimately, leadership authority is granted by willing followers.

That seems to go back a lot further than 2010.

5.14.2023 – grown up in an age

grown up in an age
permeated by noise of
24-hour news

Adapted from this passage:

You have grown up in an age permeated by the noise of a 24-hour news cycle, by needless political polarization, by devastating gun violence, by the isolating effects of “social” media. You have seen hard-won civil rights rolled back. You have come of age at a time of existential threat — to the planet, to democracy, to the arc of the moral universe itself — and none of it is your fault.

In the Guest Opinion Piece, Against Despair: An Open Letter to Graduates on May 15, 2023 written by Margaret Renkl.

Ms. Renkl is a contributing Opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.

She, as is evident in the headline, writing to High School and College Graduates in the Spring of the year 2023.

All she says is true.

These graduates have … grown up in an age permeated …

by the noise of a 24-hour news cycle,

by needless political polarization,

by devastating gun violence,

by the isolating effects of “social” media.

You have seen hard-won civil rights rolled back.

You have come of age at a time of existential threat — to the planet, to democracy, to the arc of the moral universe itself …

and none of it is their fault.

But, I have to ask, it is within their ability to realize … there was a time, there was a place when life WAS NOT permeated

by the noise of a 24-hour news cycle,

by needless political polarization,

by devastating gun violence,

by the isolating effects of “social” media.

My children never spend a minute imaging a world without a cell phone.

My grand children, digital natives as they are called, grew up in a world that I am fond of pointing out, never existed anywhere.

Never existed not even in the wildest dreams of worlds that Science fiction and non fiction writers ever imagined.

A world where we all carried some of the most power computers ever designed.

Computers that we carry so we can send pictures of ourselves in places that other people aren’t at.

Now they are a part of life.

They replaced what we now call land lines.

Are they missed?

Do these graduates miss these other things.

They are just as gone.

That they are gone is not the graduates fault.

Can it be their fault that they don’t know them well enough to miss them?

5.13.2023 – the smile on your face

the smile on your face
lets me know … this IS the best
country in the world

Yes, I ripped off Alison Krauss and the lyrics to her song, The Smile on Your Face.

See, I was watching the NBC Nightly News last night and their report from the Texas/Mexico border.

The reporter was interviewing a family from Venezuela.

A young man with his wife and two little daughters.

A group you would see in Walmart or McDonalds or at the beach and never notice.

Just a family.

They had made across the border into the United States.

How they got to the border from Venezuela is left to the imagination but I bet the story with make any Indiana Jones type narrative seem pretty tame.

But they had made it across.

The family had made it through the border security.

The family had made it through US Immigration screening.

They had a court date to plead their case for asylum.

Their court date was for an appearance in Federal Court in New York City.

The father explained they had no where to live.

The father explained they had no way to get to New York City from the border.

The father explained they had no money left, what they had was spent getting to the border.

The reporter then asked, simply, “Was it worth it?”

The father smiled.

I don’t mean the half grin, half reluctant, somewhat questioning, shrug smile that said, boy oh boy I don’t know, if I had only known, but what they heck, here we are, kind of smile.

But a ‘Hey! I just won the lottery’ kind of smile.

But a “Hey! Michigan just beat Ohio State’ kind of smile.

From the heart.

Without hesitation.

No coaching.

Without thinking.

Without planning.

A smile on his face, that for me, let me know that throughout the rest of the world, this IS the best place on earth.

No matter what the politicians do to it.

No matter what the interest groups do to it.

No matter we what do to ourselves.

As Mr. Lincoln put it:

 “… we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve.

We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.

Other means may succeed; this could not fail.

The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just

a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.“*

Read this out loud.

We assure freedom to the free.

The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just.

A way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.

I hope it made you think about the border.

It should make us proud.

It makes us all free.

That should be something to smile about.

*Concluding Remarks Annual Message to Congress — December 1, 1862Washington, D.C.

5.12.2023- each one has a place,

each one has a place,
in their heart there is a space
world cannot erase

Based on the lyrics written by Eddie Del Barrio, Maurice White and Verdine White for the song, Fantasy by the group,





It was a nice start to the day to listen to this song as I crossed over the water to the island this morning.

Here are the complete lyrics.

Every man has a place, in his heart there’s a space
And the world can’t erase his fantasies
Take a ride in the sky, on our ship, Fantasy
All your dreams will come true, right away

Every man has a place, in his heart there’s a space
And the world can’t erase his fantasies
Take a ride in the sky, on our ship, Fantasy
All your dreams will come true, right away
And we will live together, until the twelfth of never
Our voices will ring forever, as one
Every thought is a dream, rushing by in a stream
Bringing life to our kingdom of doing
Take a ride in the sky, on our ship, Fantasy
All your dreams will come true, miles away
Our voices will ring together until the twelfth of never
We all, will live forever, as one
Come see victory, in the land called, “Fantasy”
Loving life, a new decree
Bring your mind to everlasting liberty
As one
Come to see, victory in a land called, “Fantasy”
Loving life, for you and me, to behold, to your soul is ecstasy
You will find, other kind, that has been in search for you
Many lives has brought you to
Recognize it’s your life, now in review
And as you stay for the play, fantasy, has in store for you
A glowing light will see you through
It’s your day, shining day, all your dreams come true
As you glide, in your stride with the wind, as you fly away
Give a smile, from your lips, and say
I am free, yes I’m free, now I’m on my way
Come to see victory
In a land called, “Fantasy”
Loving life for you and me
To behold, to your soul is ecstasy
You will find other kind
That has been in search of you
Many lives has brought you to
Recognize, it’s your life now in review