Monday, May 13, 2013

The Game of Golf

The game of golf means different things to different people: Tiger Woods, funny pants, an expensive hobby, nap time when on TV, the Golf Channel, eagles, birdies, pars, bogeys, snowman,  business meeting, charity event, cheaters.

To this writer it means two things: an opportunity to stay competitive in a game as I become an “O.G.” and to give back to the community I live in.

Every year I play in about ten charity fundraising golf events. They range from helping a University Law School, baseball and football teams, the American Red Cross, a local Hospital Foundation, Wounded Warriors, and the most recent one a local food and social aid organization.

To participate in these charity golf events provides the opportunity for me to give back to local and national groups I support. This past week the Inland Valley Hope Partners held their annual golf event to raise funds for local food banks and shelters for the homeless. I find it amazing in a country with so much wealth and technology we still have to raise money so a family can eat, so a family can have a roof over their head, so a family has the opportunity to battle an addictive disease. This organization, like many unrecognized organizations, does so, so much to help our fellow citizens. The commitment of its’ volunteers is a true pleasure and honor to witness.

This is why I like and play the game of golf; forget the prima donna Tiger Woods, forget the expensive resorts, forget the fancy equipment – I love the game, the friendships I develop playing it, and the people and organizations I help. Now if only I COULD PLAY THE DAMN GAME!!!!

FOOD ADDICTION - "Obsessed: America's Food Addiction -- and My Own," by Mika Brzezinski, with Diane Smith (Weinstein Books, 239 pages) - Chapter 2, "The Value of a Healthy Thin": " Weight is almost the only place where people are willing to speak bluntly about their prejudices toward an entire group of people. ... That willingness to stereotype reflects a prevailing idea that obesity results from lack of willpower and discipline. It totally ignores the reality of our contemporary food environment, which makes high-fat, high-sugar foods easy to access, and it shows ignorance about how such foods can get a grip on us that is hard to release. It shrugs off the mixed messages we get: one that tells us 'being thin is worth just about any price' and one that says 'this food is cheap, available 24/7, and designed to stimulate pathways in your brain that keep you coming back for more.' ...

"New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ... is often in the spotlight, not only because of his leadership role, but also because of his size. Like any politician, he's had to develop a thick skin, but he's still deeply hurt by some of the hateful comments and tweets he gets. He read me these two: HEY GOVERNOR, WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST TODAY, ONE STICK OF BUTTER OR TWO? and THINK GOVERNOR CHRISTIE CAN BE VP? HE'S TOO . . . FAT, AND AMERICANS HATE FAT PEOPLE. People would never say such vicious things about someone with any other type of health challenge. "It is extraordinary how brutal people will be about my weight," the governor said. He thinks people assume he is lazy or lacking discipline because of his weight, and wonders, "Do they think I got this far in life without discipline?" I've heard Oprah say the same thing ... 'For somebody like me who's had so much success in my life, and really been successful at everything I've tried, to not be able to be successful at this is incredibly discouraging,' revealed Christie.

"The attitude he encounters ignores the many complex factors involved in losing and regaining weight. Getting to a "healthy thin" certainly takes personal discipline and determination, but it also requires some changes in the world around us. It is not enough to say "eat less, do more." Or to follow columnist Eugene Robinson's simplistic advice for anyone with a weight problem: take a walk and eat a salad. 'That is the height of ignorance about what this issue is really all about,' Christie avows. 'I'm well beyond the taking a walk stage. I work out four days a week with a trainer. I'm riding the bike and lifting weights and doing floor exercises for an hour a day. For people who have never had issues with their weight, they can't understand it."

"Insiders said it was the only thing keeping the straight-talking executive from higher office. Despite Christie's denials, political fund-raisers say that the surgery is a clear sign that he's going to join the 2016 race ... Sources said Christie didn't make the decision lightly - he even had private conversations about the operation with once-rotund Jet coach Rex Ryan. Ryan lost about 100 pounds - down from a massive 350 - after he had the same procedure done in 2010. Christie has never revealed his weight, but estimates have run from about 300 to 350 pounds. He hired the same ace laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon as Ryan - Dr. George Fielding, head of NYU Medical Center's Weight Management Program. ... [H]e never went into Fielding's office for medical visits - instead, the doctor came to the governor's house in Mendham ... Christie said he went under the knife at 7 a.m. for 40 minutes and was home the same afternoon. The Doctor inserted a cone tube around the top of his stomach, where it restricts the amount of food he can eat at one time and makes him feel fuller, faster. 'A week or two ago, I went to a steakhouse and ordered a steak and ate about a third of it and I was full,' he said ... Sources said he has already shed nearly 40 pounds. ...

"As he drops pounds, doctors will pump more saline solution into the lap band, restricting his stomach further and forcing him to eat even less. In 2006, Christie said in an interview that getting a more involved surgery - gastric bypass - was never a consideration because it was 'too risky.' ... 'I know it sounds crazy to say that running for president is minor, but in the grand scheme of things, it was looking at Mary Pat and the kids and going, "I have to do this for them, even if I don't give a crap about myself."

--"Onward: What I've Learned Today ": "I want my girls to see me at peace with eating, and I might just be making progress in becoming a better role model. These days I'm eating more, and I don't feel hungry all the time. Today I made myself a sandwich with three eggs, Swiss cheese, and arugula on two big pieces of wheat toast, grilled in olive oil. I didn't measure the olive oil and I didn't worry about the fat in the cheese. And I ate all three eggs, including the yolks. ... I rarely take the path most people follow, and things usually work out best for me that way ... Talk to your friends and the people you love -- have the conversation about being obese. Confront them about their health and their weight, and then offer your support. ...

"I'll continue to speak out about the obesity crisis in our country, but when you hear me talking about healthy eating on TV, know that I'm not the skinny know-it-all who knows nothing about food obsessions. Know that I am struggling, too. As for Carlie and Emilie, they're beautiful just as they are. That's all they need to know. It took me way too long to understand that about myself, but thanks to my family and friends, better and more beautiful days lie ahead. With all my heart I wish the same for you."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: George Brett (60), Pierce Brosnan (60), Bill Dillhoefer …has the greatest practice golf swing in the game, Michelle Lamotte …famous hotel/resort consultant.

COMMENCEMENT 2013 – The 2013 college and university commencement season week number three, here are this weeks’ notable speakers – May 13 – University of Pennsylvania; Joe Biden, VPOTUS. May 16 – LSU; Cookie Roberts, Political Commentator. May 17 – Wheelock College; Maria Shriver, Journalist and Author. May 18 – University of Virginia; Steven Colbert, TV Host. May 19 – Yale University; Cory Booker, Newark Mayor: University of Vermont; Wynton Marsalis, Musician: Morehouse College; Barack Obama, POTUS.

WHAT WE'RE READING: "The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 ... Volume Three of the Liberation Trilogy," by Rick Atkinson, author of "An Army at Dawn" and "The Day of Battle" (Henry Holt, 896 pages): "In 1947, the next-of-kin of 270,000 identifiable American dead buried overseas would submit Quartermaster General Form 345 to choose whether they wanted their soldier brought back to the United States or left interred with comrades abroad. More than 60 percent of the dead worldwide would return home, at an average cost to the government of $564.50 per body, an unprecedented repatriation that only an affluent, victorious nation could afford. In Europe the exhumations began that July: every grave was opened by hand, and the remains sprinkled with an embalming compound of formaldehyde, aluminum chloride, plaster of Paris, wood powder, and clay. Wrapped in a blanket, each body was then laid on a pillow in a metal casket lined with rayon satin. Labor strikes in the United States caused a shortage of casket steel, and repatriation was further delayed by a dearth of licensed embalmers, although government representatives made recruiting visits to mortician schools around the country. ... Thus did the fallen return from Europe, 82,357 strong.

"As the dead came home, so too the things they carried . ... The Army Effects Bureau of the Kansas City Quartermaster Depot filled a large warehouse ... just below a majestic bend in the Missouri River. From a modest enterprise that had begun with half a dozen employees in February 1942, the Effects Bureau had expanded to more than a thousand workers, and by August 1945 they were handling sixty thousand shipments a month, each laden with the effects of the American dead from six continents. Hour after hour, days after day, shipping containers were unloaded from rail freight cars onto a receiving dock and then hoisted by elevator to the depot's tenth floor. Here with assembly-line efficiency the containers traveled from station to station down to the seventh floor as inspectors pawed through the crates to extract classified documents, pornography, ammunition, and perhaps amorous letters from a girlfriend that would further grieve a grieving widow. The prevailing rule ... was said to be 'Remove anything you would not be returned to your family if YOU were the soldier.' Workers used grinding stones and dentist drills to remove corrosion and blood from helmets and web gear; laundresses took pains to scrub bloodstains out of field jackets and uniform blouses. ...

"Banks of typists in an adjacent room hammered out correspondence to the next-of-kin, up to seventy thousand letters a month, asked where the soldier's last possession should be sent. Over the years Effects Bureau inspectors had found tapestries, enemy swords, a German machine gun, an Italian accordion, a tobacco sack full of diamonds, walrus tusks, a shrunken head, a Japanese life raft ... [and] thousands of diaries ... Even when the last old soldier has gone to his grave - and may the earth lie lightly on his bones - the cause for which he fought is sure to live on. The war and all that the war contained - nobility, villainy, immeasurable sorrow - shall light us down to the last generation."

Can you recommend any summer movies coming up, every year at this time I find it difficult to select a few goods movies out of the crush of summer releases.

Thank you.
Movie Buff

Dear Movie Buff –

We like the following for this summer:
May 10 – “The Great Gatsby”; star-studded remake of the great American novel.
May 15 – “Star Trek Into Darkness”; 12th Trekie movie, but a good one.
May 17 – “The Iceman”; a contract killer’s double life.
June 7 – “Hey Bartender”;  a documentary about a former Marine and a white collar worker trying to reinvent themselves tending bar.
June 28 – “Copperhead”; the Civil War viewed by a farmer from upstate New York.
July 3 – “The Lone Ranger”; anything with Johnny Depp as a star, a must see.
Aug 2 – “2 Guns”; Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as federal agents both thinking each other is a bad guy.

Rink Rats.

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS: NHL Playoffs, First Round – Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadians, Washington  Capitals, Boston Bruins. Season to date (0-0)

THE PREAKNESS STAKES – the 138th running this Saturday here are our picks: (Win) Orb, (Place) Govenor Charlie, (Show) Will Take Charge.

DRIVING THE WEEK –  President Obama has a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron this morning at the White House ... Obama and Cameron hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden later in the morning ... In the afternoon, Obama heads to NYC for a trio of fundraisers, two for the DNC and a joint DCCC/DSCC event at the Waldorf ... CBO this week releases its analysis of President Obama's FY 2014 budget proposal, including estimates based on the impact of sequestration and the fiscal cliff deal ... National Association of Realtors holds its mid-year legislative meeting in D.C. starting Monday ... Senate Banking has a hearing Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. on attracting more private capital into the mortgage market ...

AEI has an event on the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Wednesday at 2 p.m., including remarks from former NEC member James Parrott ... Retail sales this morning at 8:30 a.m. EST expected to drop 0.3 percent, 0.2 percent ex-autos ... Industrial production at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday excepted to drop 0.1 percent ... Housing starts at 8:30 a.m. Thursday expected to rise to 920,000 from 907,000 ... Consumer prices 8:30 a.m. Thursday to drop 0.3 percent overall and rise 0.2 percent ex-food/fuel ... University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m. Friday expected to rise to 77.9 from 76.4.

Next week: the Original Six, student debt saga on the horizon and the words of the month.

Until Next Monday, Adios!

Claremont, CA
May 13, 2013

#IV-4, 161

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