Letters to the Writer: June edition

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Wow!  Summer is here and the time is right … for me to answer all my burning questions. Let’s get right to them.

Dear Jim,

What changes have you made in your life that you believe others can make to improve their happiness? I have been miserable for too long, well, really just since the 2016 election, and want to make changes to improve my outlook.

Glad you feel you can turn to me for quality advice for improving your life. June tends to be a gloomy month here in California so I decided to nip things in the bud before the month arrived by doing something pretty radical. First, let me explain what not to do.

Don’t go to a book store looking for a self-help book. It will just make you depressed to see how many there are before you realize most are written by celebrities who know nothing about how to help us regular people or they are written by so-called experts who have found a way to make themselves rich by telling us how miserable we are.

I am now into my third week without the news. Actually, I am into my third week without any news related sites feeding me crap via social media. It’s nice to scroll through Facebook without all the same crap we get hit with, most of which is related to Dr. Orangelove in the Oval Office. In their place, I have found more uplifting sites devoted to music, humor, and of course pimple popping videos (I am mesmerized at how large blackheads can get).

Another thing that I find adds to my happiness is a clean and well organized garage. Since my wife and I do not use ours for parking our cars, like many Americans, it ends up playing host to stuff, mostly stuff we no longer need or can find when we do need it. As my garage has become better organized and my old stuff donated to the local Goodwill Store, I find my happiness has increased.

Sandra Bullock And Cate Blanchett in Ocean’s Eight (Warner Bros.)

Hey Jim,

Any suggestions as to what summer blockbuster films to go see? 

Nope. I ca’’t think of a single one. I can’t tell the difference anymore between what is a “Blockbuster” and what is just a film. I think for it to be a blockbuster, it has to involve some sort of comic book super hero. Since I never was into comic books as a kid, I can’t tell the difference between all the characters I see promoted in TV commercials.

I do have two suggestions. First, avoid Ocean’s Eightat all cost. This will be nearly three times worse than the Charlie’s Angelsflicks since my math tells me eight women are almost three times more than three women. However, the film won’t be any worse than the male Ocean’s films. Of course, I did not see any of them so I really have no idea if they were any good.

Instead of going to the movies and paying though the nose, I suggest you attend the many free concerts in city parks. My wife and I have ours all lined up. I’m still singing songs in my empty head from the Neil Diamond tribute concert we saw last summer. Tomorrow night, it’s a Michael Jackson tribute. Even if the music stinks, I can’t wait to see a bunch over weight, middle aged men moon walking while holding their plastic cups filled with wine.

From Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas (Claudia Gestro)


I am a bit disappointed in you. The feel good story of the year came and went and you seem to have ignored it. Why haven’t you written about the Vegas Golden Knights?

You are right, I have failed to do this rag tag bunch of misfits justice. After all, I can’t think of an instance where an expansion team made it to the finals of their sport in their first season of play. I was saddened to see their season end with their game five loss to the Washington Capitals. Still, their season is the stuff they make films about.

Just think about what they have done. Hockey is not the most popular sport in our nation, I think it falls between beer pong and Pokémon Go. The best comparison I could make is imagine if this coming football season we see the Cleveland Browns make it to the Super Bowl. They are the closest thing the NFL has to an expansion team. It’s simply unheard of and I salute the Knights for what they did this year.

What do you think will be the outcome of the summit between our president and Kim Jong-Un? Should we expect much?

Let me just say this, you should never expect anything of significance from our president. If anything comes from this meeting of the mind, it will be self-promoting in nature, filled with stupid drama, blamed on the Democrats, and designed to make you think Trump is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Personally, I think a slice of bread can do a better job of running this nation than Trump.

Dear Jim,

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the protests in the NFL last year (Claudia Gestro)

Is it just me or do you find it odd we are making such a big deal about the playing of the National Anthem before the start of sporting events? What are your thoughts on the new NFL policy?

I have said it before, but it bears repeating. Has anyone ever tuned into a sporting event or attended one just so they can hear the National Anthem played?  Sports is entertainment and I do not recall the anthem being played before sitting down to watch a film, concert, dance recital, or comedy show. Why is it played before a sporting event? Why is it wrong to take a knee during it, but okay to buy hot dogs and peanuts or make a run to the bathroom while it’s played?

This is just one more distraction to make us forget what a pitiful job our president is doing and what an equally pitiful job the NFL is doing when it comes to making the game safer. We are okay with grown men destroying their bodies for our entertainment just as long as they do not have a social conscience or desire to exercise their freedom of speech.

The concern I have is not the damage not done by 300 pound athletes using their heads as weapons for our enjoyment, but rather, from the greedy bastards who care more about how thick their wallets are than they care about our constitutional rights.


Is there anything in life you find over-rated? Also, is there anything in life you realize you cherish more than you realized when you were younger.

My college roommate, Walter, was cheaper than me. He used to buy Old Milwaukee beer because it was the cheapest beer you could buy. It was the only beer I ever drank that could give me a hangover and it tasted worse than an IPA. I’d ask him why he bought it and he would say, “After two beers, they all taste the same so why go broke getting drunk?” While I understood the logic, it never made sense to me to drink something you know you don’t like. That said, I have to say I find any and all IPA’s over rated and if you have to drink one, at least add a shot of gin to it.

As for what I cherish, I have a long list of things and people. My wife and kids, my dogs, my running to name just a few. However, I find I cherish my freedom to do pretty much as I choose more than I thought possible. I do not mean this in the sense of America, the land of the free. I mean, here I am at two in the morning, wide awake and answering my letters to myself. I am retired, so I am free to sleep when I want, or when I can. I can work a part-time job or full-time job if I choose or not work at all because I managed my money well even though I was one of those horribly under paid teachers you read about. My life is pretty much mine to do as I choose for now.

However, I know it will not be this way forever. There will come a day I have less control over my life and see it placed in the hands of whoever is charged to look after me. But for now, I will enjoy being free while I can.

Until next month, remember, now that summer is here and the kids are out of school, don’t change the way you drive because kids no longer go outside to play. Just rejoice in knowing we got to enjoy a life much different than theirs. Have fun.