Friday - December 2, 2022
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Tom Lashnits

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Are You Happy Where You Live?

      There are several lists of U. S. states where people are the happiest . . . and the unhappiest. According to one list, the most miserable people live in California and New Jersey. But another survey cites Alaska and Maine.     Some of the happiest people live in states like Colorado, Wis…

      There are several lists of U. S. states where people are the happiest . . . and the unhappiest. According to one list, the most miserable people live in California and New Jersey. But another…

      There are several lists of U. S. states where people are the happiest . . . and the unhappiest. According to one list, the most miserable people live in California and New Jersey. But another survey cites Alaska and Maine.     Some of the happiest people live in states like Colorado, Wisconsin, Washington and Idaho. Everyone else, presumably, is normal -- not depressed but not euphoric either.     Of course, this assumes that where we live can make us happy. Do you think it does?     Surely, people who hate the cold shouldn't retire to Michigan or Minnesota. People who hate t…

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I’m Giving Away My Fortune!

     I just found out that I have some surprisingly valuable art hanging on the walls of my house. I am also in possession of a remarkably prized collection of rare, antique shoes. But more on those in a minute.     I live a modest lifestyle, but you should know that many of America's wealthie…

     I just found out that I have some surprisingly valuable art hanging on the walls of my house. I am also in possession of a remarkably prized collection of rare, antique shoes. But more on thos…

     I just found out that I have some surprisingly valuable art hanging on the walls of my house. I am also in possession of a remarkably prized collection of rare, antique shoes. But more on those in a minute.     I live a modest lifestyle, but you should know that many of America's wealthiest people live fairly modest lifestyles as well. Investor Warren Buffett famously lives in a house in Omaha, NE, that he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Now it's worth a little over $1 million, but that's pocket change for someone worth more than $100 billion.     I paid much more than $31,000 for m…

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Games People Play

      I just finished doing today's Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. Later, I'll do the New York Times crossword. I do it online. I started doing crossword puzzles during Covid as a way to pass the time. But somehow I've become addicted, and I've continued doing them pretty much every day, lon…

      I just finished doing today's Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. Later, I'll do the New York Times crossword. I do it online. I started doing crossword puzzles during Covid as a way to pass …

      I just finished doing today's Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. Later, I'll do the New York Times crossword. I do it online. I started doing crossword puzzles during Covid as a way to pass the time. But somehow I've become addicted, and I've continued doing them pretty much every day, long after our lives have returned to some semblance of normal.     My wife turned to jigsaw puzzles during Covid. She started with a few 500-piece puzzles, then graduated to 1000-piece puzzles. When she completed one it sat on the dining room table for a few weeks to show off her accomplishment. Ho…

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Oh Man, I Don’t Feel So Well

     Yesterday I got my second shingles shot. And today I don't feel very good.     The same thing happened after my first shot, back in May. I didn't get a cough or a sore throat; didn't have a headache. Well, maybe today I have a little headache. I also have a low-grade temperature. But most…

     Yesterday I got my second shingles shot. And today I don't feel very good.     The same thing happened after my first shot, back in May. I didn't get a cough or a sore throat; didn't have a…

     Yesterday I got my second shingles shot. And today I don't feel very good.     The same thing happened after my first shot, back in May. I didn't get a cough or a sore throat; didn't have a headache. Well, maybe today I have a little headache. I also have a low-grade temperature. But mostly I just feel tired. I slept in this morning until 8:30, got up for a while, thought I was okay, then found myself flopping onto the couch and napping from 9:45 to 10:30. Now I'm awake again. Had a bite to eat. Feeling a bit better.     Last May. the symptoms lasted throughout the day. Then the …

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How Did We Get Here?

     How did we end up in this situation where everyone is so polarized, so surrounded by like-minded people, and so dismissive of others who have a different opinion or different lifestyle?     It all started with television, according to Harvard historian Jill Lepore. When television started…

     How did we end up in this situation where everyone is so polarized, so surrounded by like-minded people, and so dismissive of others who have a different opinion or different lifestyle?    …

     How did we end up in this situation where everyone is so polarized, so surrounded by like-minded people, and so dismissive of others who have a different opinion or different lifestyle?     It all started with television, according to Harvard historian Jill Lepore. When television started broadcasting the news, back in the 1940s and 1950s, it put newspapers in a difficult position. Everyone already had the news from TV, so why would they want to read it the next day in the newspaper? So newspapers reinvented themselves by focusing more on analysis than straight news, and before long…

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My Useless Skills and Knowledge

      Admittedly, our children and grandchildren know more about technology than we do. They can play enormously sophisticated video games. They know how to Snapchat and TikTok, they can upload photos on iCloud and text using their watch. They can pay for a purchase in the store just . . . just b…

      Admittedly, our children and grandchildren know more about technology than we do. They can play enormously sophisticated video games. They know how to Snapchat and TikTok, they can upload pho…

      Admittedly, our children and grandchildren know more about technology than we do. They can play enormously sophisticated video games. They know how to Snapchat and TikTok, they can upload photos on iCloud and text using their watch. They can pay for a purchase in the store just . . . just by thinking about it.     But there are plenty of things I can do that they can't. And plenty of things I know that they don't. They're not smarter than I am. My skills are more like fine wines . . . they've been aged and matured and are only appreciated by the, uh, the cognoscenti.      For e…

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We Got a Raise!

      The news this week for us seniors:  It was just announced that Social Security benefits for next year will increase by 8.7%. That comes after a 5.9% increase for 2022. The average monthly benefit for a retired worker currently stands at $1,660. So the average retiree will get an increase o…

      The news this week for us seniors:  It was just announced that Social Security benefits for next year will increase by 8.7%. That comes after a 5.9% increase for 2022. The average monthly be…

      The news this week for us seniors:  It was just announced that Social Security benefits for next year will increase by 8.7%. That comes after a 5.9% increase for 2022. The average monthly benefit for a retired worker currently stands at $1,660. So the average retiree will get an increase of a little over $140, to about $1,800 per month.     That's pretty good when you consider that, according to The Conference Board, a nonprofit business think tank, the average U. S. salary increased by only 4.1% in 2022, and is expected to rise 4.3% in 2023.     That's the good news for senio…

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Words of Wisdom

     I don't know about you, but I sometimes wonder what getting old is all about. The whole notion seems strange to me. Why do I find myself taking a nap in the afternoon? Those little bumps and bruises that show up on my body -- where do they come from? Why don't people speak a little louder . …

     I don't know about you, but I sometimes wonder what getting old is all about. The whole notion seems strange to me. Why do I find myself taking a nap in the afternoon? Those little bumps and b…

     I don't know about you, but I sometimes wonder what getting old is all about. The whole notion seems strange to me. Why do I find myself taking a nap in the afternoon? Those little bumps and bruises that show up on my body -- where do they come from? Why don't people speak a little louder . . . and maybe talk a little more slowly? And most of all: who is that stranger staring back at me from the mirror?     When I'm confused about life, or questioning what's happening to the world, I usually go back to the writers and philosophers who guided me earlier in life. So here are a few quo…

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The Accident

     We just returned from what was going to be a 12-day vacation to the beach in South Carolina. We came home a day early, chased out by Hurricane Ian. We found out later, in Charleston, there was plenty of street flooding and some wind damage, but nothing catastrophic like there was in Florida.…

     We just returned from what was going to be a 12-day vacation to the beach in South Carolina. We came home a day early, chased out by Hurricane Ian. We found out later, in Charleston, there was…

     We just returned from what was going to be a 12-day vacation to the beach in South Carolina. We came home a day early, chased out by Hurricane Ian. We found out later, in Charleston, there was plenty of street flooding and some wind damage, but nothing catastrophic like there was in Florida.     The way home for us is straight up I95. It's one of the most heavily traveled roads in America, and we expected heavy traffic, especially since we thought we'd run into people fleeing Florida. In fact, the traffic wasn't that bad -- until we got to Washington, DC, where traffic is always bad…

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Close Call at the Beach

      This time of year my wife B and I often take a trip to Cape Cod. We love it there -- the seafood restaurants, the lobsters and clam chowder, the quaint towns along the shore, even the broad New England accents.      One problem: fall comes early to Massachusetts. The days are brisk; the …

      This time of year my wife B and I often take a trip to Cape Cod. We love it there -- the seafood restaurants, the lobsters and clam chowder, the quaint towns along the shore, even the broad N…

      This time of year my wife B and I often take a trip to Cape Cod. We love it there -- the seafood restaurants, the lobsters and clam chowder, the quaint towns along the shore, even the broad New England accents.      One problem: fall comes early to Massachusetts. The days are brisk; the nights are chilly; the Atlantic waters . . . well, the north Atlantic waters never get very warm. New Englanders think 68-degree water is warm.     So instead, this year we decided to head to South Carolina. Of course we have grandchildren there. We usually spend February in Charleston for that v…

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The Things They Don’t Want

      I have a beautiful old clock sitting in the garage. I bought it for $200 back in 1973. Last time I had it fixed, a few years ago, the guy told me, "This is a museum piece!" He said it was worth thousands. But my wife won't even let it in the house. And leave it to my kids? Hah. There's a jo…

      I have a beautiful old clock sitting in the garage. I bought it for $200 back in 1973. Last time I had it fixed, a few years ago, the guy told me, "This is a museum piece!" He said it was wor…

      I have a beautiful old clock sitting in the garage. I bought it for $200 back in 1973. Last time I had it fixed, a few years ago, the guy told me, "This is a museum piece!" He said it was worth thousands. But my wife won't even let it in the house. And leave it to my kids? Hah. There's a joke. They think it's an old piece of junk.     My wife has an old icebox. It's a beautiful piece of furniture, made of oak, and it weighs a ton. Somebody ought to prize this piece of furniture, too. But no one does, except us. My antique clock      We have a friend who recently downsized from…

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What Happens After Covid

      My wife B started feeling bad a week ago Wednesday. She decided she'd better test for Covid. And sure enough, she was positive.     The next day I felt a tickle in my throat, and some sniffles. I figured I'd better test as well. Also positive.     B is about as healthy as anyone can g…

      My wife B started feeling bad a week ago Wednesday. She decided she'd better test for Covid. And sure enough, she was positive.     The next day I felt a tickle in my throat, and some snif…

      My wife B started feeling bad a week ago Wednesday. She decided she'd better test for Covid. And sure enough, she was positive.     The next day I felt a tickle in my throat, and some sniffles. I figured I'd better test as well. Also positive.     B is about as healthy as anyone can get. Her mother lived to age 103 -- and B expects to do the same. She has the luxury of not believing in doctors, and rarely darkens the door of a medical office. She gets a checkup about half as often as she should, and when her blood tests come back she clearly qualifies for the honor roll.     …

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