April Letters to Jim: No Groundhogs nor Homes for the Homeless but Lovable Puppies

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The first quarter of the year has passed, and spring is in the air, unless you live in the southern hemisphere. With Saint Patrick’s Day behind us,  March Madness in front of us, and tax bills soon to hit, it’s easy to forget something called Easter. However, like a lighthouse is to a ship on a foggy night, my answers to your fan mail are a steadying force in their own right. Let’s see what readers have on their minds.

Dear Jim,
I have a huge tax bill to pay this year. On top of it, I have massive credit card debt, healthcare bills, and a job that hasn’t provided me with a pay raise to keep up with the cost of living. Have you any suggestions for how I can get ahead financially?

Dear Desperate,

My suggestion is to find a better paying job. I know, that is easier said than done, but I have a great lead for you. Fill out an application to be Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter. I hear it pays quite well.

Dear Jim,
Have you given any further thought to our homeless situation? It’s clearly not just a state problem. Is there anything that we can do to help ease the problem?
Concerned for the Homeless

Dear Concerned,

Fortunately for you, I am just the sort of the outside the box thinker who can help solve this national problem. It’s time the feds and state governments work together to create national homeless shelters that people who live on the street will want to live in. I would create the first of these centers in Florida and it won’t cost us a dime. It just requires taking Mar A Lago and turning it into a homeless shelter.

Dear Jim,
We are coming up on six months of war in Gaza and the Israelis show no sign of letting up. What will it take for them to back off and start rebuilding Gaza?
Deeply Saddened

Dear DS,

It’s going to take a new leader to emerge before there will be significant change. Keep one thing in mind, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel’s Donald Trump. If he was not the Prime Minister of Israel, he would be sitting behind bars for the crimes he previously committed before this war. It is in his best interest to drag this thing out, or completely crush an enemy that hides among the masses, so that he doesn’t rot in jail.

Voters in this country should keep this in mind because it is well known the only way Trump does not face further convictions is if he is elected in the fall so that he can pardon himself.

Americans at least have someone well qualified to remain in the White House in Joe Biden, something lacking in Israel.

Dear Jim,
Can you please explain to me why MLB began their season in South Korea with a two game series between the Dodgers and Padres, only to have them return for two more weeks of spring training? This makes no sense.

Dear Flabs,

No. However, they more than made up for it by bringing out 29-year-old South Korean actress Jeon Jong-seo to throw out the first pitch of the season. She has forever changed the game and should be voted into the Hall of Fame immediately.

Dodgers Super Star Shohei Ohtani (Claudia Gestro)

Dear Jim,
Can you easily explain why we should fear AI? It seems to be our best option for saving mankind.

Consider the following: How has the internet played out for the average person? Computer games? Social media? Cell Phones? These are just a small representation of the last few decades of technological advances. Keep working backwards and see how we have misused many advances all in the name of making a buck for the super-rich. I have no doubt that AI will make bigger fools of those who get looped into its applications.

Dear Jim,
Does the candidacy of RFK jr. help one candidate over another? It seems to me it stands to benefit Trump more than Biden given that Kennedy has a progressive as his running mate? Am I wrong?
Election Follower

Dear EF,

This election comes down to about seven swing states. Given that many of them show the two major candidates within one or two points of each other, a third candidate does stand to hurt either Biden or Trump.

On the surface, RFK jr. stands to hurt Biden more than Trump in this scenario. However, what is still not completely clear is how many Republican voters are repulsed by Trump and who do they turn to? If their numbers are greater than Kennedy’s, then they stand to hurt Trump simply by not voting for him.

As it is now, the election is too far off to call and too many voters are still trying to sort through this mess. Polls tend to show the mood of those whose minds are already made up and I think it is safe to say too many voters are still undecided.

Dear Jim,
In the film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray is forced to relive the day over and over until he manages to change his outlook on life so that he becomes a better human. If given the choice, would you prefer to relive a day where your wrongs bring out the worst of you or would you rather relive a day that you already cherish?
Just Wondering

While it would be nice to correct your worst wrongs, I have to admit I have far too many to correct that I could fix by repeating one day. Besides, if I did, it would change the trajectory of my life in such a way that it would not play out as it has. There is no telling what would have happened to me in that case.

So with that in mind, I’d just repeat a day that I just could not get enough of. It might be playing tackle football with the guys at Happy Valley School, body surfing in Maui, partying with friends from college, or a summer day with my kids.

If I have learned anything from a life of mistakes it is to forgive yourself and move on while embracing the days that bring you joy.

Dear Jim,
What has been the biggest challenge of raising two puppies at the same time?
Dog Lover

Dear Dog Lover,

On their best days, Laverne and Shirley are a hoot. On their worst days, I end up thinking I should have named them Al Qaeda and Isis. They can be destructive terrors who drive me nuts.

At night, when I go to bed, I never know if they are going to sleep the night away in my room or go out to the front room and tear it apart. Nothing is safe because they are now tall enough to pull things down from my desk and kitchen counters.

However, what drives me crazy is waking up and heading out to the front room to see they have managed to pull back large throw rugs that have been weighed down by tools and pulled out the pee pads under them. Then I look outside and see the lawn littered with pads they have torn apart only for the next day to scoop up dog poop with pieces of pads mixed in. It’s as close as they come to using them for their designed purpose.

Dear Jim,
Since you are old, I thought I would turn to you for advice on getting married. I am 27 and female and always planned to be married by now. Many of my friends are married and have kids and I feel like I am falling behind them. My current boyfriend is not marriage material so should I dump him or remain with him. Help me.
In Need of Grandfatherly Advice

Dear In Need,

Thanks for making me feel really old.

Here is what I suggest. Quit planning out your life. Too many people set such specific goals on big ticket items like marriage, kids, and careers that they forget to live life more organically. Just let your life evolve naturally and see where it takes you. So, your friends are married and have kids. Both come with plenty of ups and downs and just because they have checked off two of their boxes doesn’t mean they ended up with the right partner for life.

As for your boyfriend, quit shopping for a husband and just enjoy his company. He may not be marriage material now but in a few years time he might be. What’s the rush? You have the luxury of no longer having societal expectations about the order in which your life unfolds. Quit thinking long term with your life and enjoy the moment.

Dear Jim,
Help me understand how a ship can knock out an entire bridge like what happened in Baltimore. If it was not taken over by terrorists, then how does such a tragedy happen?

Dear Perplexed,

If terrorists were behind this, they would have taken out the bridge during rush hour and not while Baltimore was asleep.

My guess is the company that owns the ship will be shown to have failed to properly maintain it causing its ability to steer to fail. If not this, then we will learn whoever was in charge at the time will have massively failed a drug and alcohol test.

Wreckage of Francis Scott Key Bridge and the cargo Ship Dali
Screenshot from CNS

Dear Jim,
You have said you are not a believer in religion. What do you say to someone who believes Christ died for our sins and rose from his grave?
A Believer

Dear Believer,

I believe I have said I am not a follower of organized religion, especially large powerful churches. I believe in religion because there is ironclad proof there are religions throughout the world that exist. I do not follow any major Christian religions because I see them as corrupt entities that have bastardized the way Christ is purported to have lived his life. I see little in The Bible that is historically or scientifically substantiated, so Christianity is built on the principle of faith. I prefer proof whenever possible and when it is lacking, I lean toward logic, and logic tells me most of today’s Christian-based churches fail to follow Christ’s teachings. However, individuals often live more in accordance to the teachings of Christ that the leaders of their church.

I have no qualms with those who do believe, especially ones who are able to live a life modeled after Christ and not after the deliberate misinterpretations of a church for financial or political gain.

I feel the same way toward any other major world religion. There are billions of people on this planet and who or how they worship means far less to me than how they live their lives. We’re all flawed so it helps to be forgiving and most of us do far more good than bad.

Now, if you will forgive me, I have a Trump Bible to purchase. I can’t wait to see what his Ten Commandments call for.