Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I've always thought of myself as the world's healthiest person. Sure, I'm a bit (well, more than a bit) overweight as well as having other small issues, but, overall, I do pretty well.

Except for this one "thing". And it's a biggie - I'll leave it at that.

"The thing", as I will now refer to it, rears its ugly head from time to time and causes me great misery. I am on the downside of such an episode right now and this one was a doozie. Painful? You bet.

I read that alcohol exacerbates the occurrence and severity of "the thing" so I decided to eliminate alcohol from my diet. No more happy hours on the back deck, no more enjoying a glass of wine with good friends, no more glasses of beer while watching Seahawks games.

Pink lemonade, here I come. Oh, joy.

It's not that I drink that much; but I DO enjoy a beer or two each day. I have declared that over. As Bob Hope once said:

"Give me a grape soda...in a dirty glass."

Medical marijuana was a possibility but a daily happy hour consisting of lighting up a joint doesn't have the same appeal as a cold Port Townsend Brewing Company IPA.

Alas, it's the end of an era. An era that saw me drinking beer at Expo 67 in Montreal, of having a few cold ones with the guys in the barracks, of college keggers, of Coronas on the beach in Mexico, of sampling the various ales in England and Germany. The list is endless.

I read in this morning's business section that the brewing industry is fearing a downturn in sales volume. They are scared and they should be.

I'm going to take a break from writing this column to take my meds, which so far have been unsuccessful at taming "The Thing". I'll be back in a few hours.


Alright, I'm back. Looks like the meds have finally kicked in. The pain is gone.

Maybe that decision to quit drinking was premature. After all, I didn't really give the meds a chance to work. Maybe I was a bit impatient; I've been known to be a bit impulsive at times. Besides, the brewing industry needs the business.

Ultimately, quitting drinking was a stupid thing to do.

It was the longest 12 hours of my life.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Friday, June 26, 2015


One of my two readers (thanks, Kris) sent me a picture today after reading my blog about Irish sheep. Here is the picture:

I'll call them Rainbow Sheep.

Like many of us, they are overjoyed about today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling which opens the way for same sex marriage in our country.

Embracing diversity is a wonderful thing.

Readers, enjoy your day.


We call it oatmeal, the rest of the world calls it porridge. Truthfully, I love the stuff. Nothing gets your day going well like a good bowl of oatmeal...er, porridge.

A problem that I have is that I just can't bond with the word "porridge". It sounds like a word out of a Dickens novel - small boys at an orphanage or reform school being threatened by the headmaster.

"You'd better eat you porridge or you'll be punished!"

Furthermore, the word porridge sounds a lot like things that are unpleasant in nature, such as damage, silage, spillage, breakage, blockage, hostage and wreckage.
Even in the absence of these, the word porridge doesn't sound like something that tastes very good. It sounds more like feed than food. I can imagine a farmer saying to his wife, "I'll be back in a few minutes; I'm just headed to the pen to feed the hogs their porridge."

Now, let's take a look at the word oatmeal.

What a perfect word. "Oats" are wonderful things. Pure, natural, simple. Wilford Brimley eats them three meals a day. "Meal" conveys the fact that oatmeal is a MEAL, not just a namby-pamby snack.

So, to our friends and neighbors around the globe who persist in using the term porridge, the term oatmeal is much more civilized.

And it doesn't sound like garbage.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Having just returned from a two week walking trip in Ireland, I consider myself an expert on the subject of sheep. Having closely observed these fascinating creatures, I hereby offer some stunning insights.

Sheep make one, and only one sound:


Young sheep, old sheep, males, females, black, white - the sound is the same:


At first, I thought that "baaa" was part of some sort of philosophical discussion between and among the sheep, described as follows:

Sheep #1: "Baaa" (Translation: "How do you justify one's belief in existentialism? It just doesn't work for me.")

Sheep #2: "Baaa" (Translation: "That's a bit heavy for me. I'd rather talk about Beethoven, Brahms or Bach.")

After a few days I realized that sheep are probably not engaging in deep discussions when they say "baaa". But what are they saying and what does it mean? So, while quaffing a pint of Guinness Ale in an Irish pub, I asked my fellow quaffers for opinions about sheep communication.

What are they saying? Could they be telling jokes?

Interestingly, very few Irish people know about or care what sheep are saying.

I find that disturbing.

But I pressed on in my quest. In so doing, I found a man who seemed to know a great deal about sheep. He told of the fact that sheep are not especially smart (no surprise there) and that they are members of a tight social group known as a "herd". (Again, nothing new here.) When they say "baaa" they are basically saying "I'm here, where are you?" to other members of the herd. To which other members of the herd reply "baaa" which is saying "I'm over here". In so doing, the sheep communicate in simple terms and satisfy their need to be part of the herd.

I was blown away by this. Spurred on by these insights, I pondered this newly acquired knowledge in this simple Irish pub:

"Paddy, another pint of Guinness...and a shot of Jameson, too."

Summing up my knowledge about sheep:

Sheep are not especially smart, follow a herding instinct and communicate in very simple sentences (if you will) which really don't say very much.

Sounds a lot like Twitter users.


Readers, enjoy your day.