In a feeble effort to clean up my home library desk a little on the cusp of the New Year, I noticed a small notebook sticking out of a pile, and carefully pulled it out, so as to not upset the stack.

To my surprise, and then alarm, I saw it had a list of 8 items titled: Chuck: 2018 To Do. It contained my resolutions for the year ending tonight! I had obviously thought this out a year ago, and decided on my priorities.

First, the list was all about things and what to do with them (guess I’m at the age where thinning out seems a growing priority, even it much of if does not happen). In fact, I’d accomplished NOTHING on the list for 2018. I won’t go through the dismal failures, but the first words of the eight must-dos were: Clear, Review, Sell, Publish, Organize, Update, Clean and another Organize.

I’ll keep my track record in mind tomorrow morning as I think about what To Do in 2019. Perhaps I’ll resist making a list at all. Or maybe, I’ll think about how I would have to change to relieve any of this burden of things, and perhaps focus more on what I want to do for myself and the people around me, aside from rearranging the stacks of things on my personal Titanic.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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P1010075I grew up in an age of portholes on graceful boats and yachts. They were beauty personified. They reflected an appreciation for elegance and style and a clean interface with the vicissitudes of nature. Like the Turkish royal yacht above or my own little trawler of recent years below, yachts with portholes were the only way to go. In my log, they still are.

But today’s ultra-modern yachts sport giant picture windows, both horizontal and vertical, punctuating their hulls. Some even have decks that fold out sideways like balconies and terraces. And upright bows and vertical lines that seem to sit upon the sea like stacked boxes rather than the sleek lines of good, classical nautical design that is one with the sea.

What these absurdities reflect, to my mind, is a growing inwardness in modern well-to-doers — viewing the world not as part of nature but as part of self, not looking out at the beautiful world but in. They care more about their personal “space” than they do about connections with the waters and land around them. It is, in effect, a degrading of man’s connection with the sea.

The result is distressingly ugly, fractured and disassociating. I won’t even show pictures of these “yachts” of today, because I can’t stand them. YACHTING Magazine, a long-time favorite of mine, is now chock full of these monstrosities. Are the “end days of yachting” upon us. I hope not.

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Chuck's boat in Grant Pk Harbor 1972

 

cider and his Packer snowman buddy are ready for the big game today!

Happy Haloween to beloved cats everywhere!

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Hodge, Samuel Johnson’s beloved cat, surveys London’s Gough Square, looking toward the home of his master, who would go to the market to buy oysters for him. Johnson, greatest wit of 18th century London, wrote the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language in this now restored house, which we visited a couple years ago when researching “Samuel Johnson and His Clubbable Friends” for my essay presented to the Chicago Literary Club (www.chilit.org).

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I have a home near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin — surrounded by farm country — and traveling back and forth frequently to Chicago, I pass by many fields where scattered cattle contentedly graze. But more and more often I also pass the growing number of factory farms, where I see these long open-sided barns with the rear ends of hundreds of cattle, tails wagging in tiny pens under bright lights 24 hours a day.

I guess they are being fattened up for market. But I find the sight of these cattle, being treated as so much walking meat instead of proud animals enjoying some vestige of normal life, depressing and upsetting. Yes, I once worked for a prominent fast food company, and I know that burger places want to keep their prices low by buying less expensive meat. So do homemakers. But I’d willingly pay the extra few cents to know that cattle are treated humanely while they live.

When I was a boy, my father had an “ooo-ga” horn installed on his car, and when we went on country drives, he would pull up to a field fence and sound it, and cows and steers would sidle up to the fence and “moo” back. I guess those days are gone, but I still like to see cattle in the field, contentedly grazing with their young ones. That’s worth something to me.

I always look to CBS’s “Sunday Morning” program to add brightness to my spirit over coffee, before the later news shows bring it back down. What a crying shame that the geniuses at CBS chose to preempt the wonderful “Sunday Morning” today for some lousy football game!

Bring back “Sunday Morning,” one of the last scraps of American culture on television. My knee is down on CBS until they wake up and smell that coffee again. “Sunday Morning” is a weekly “Super Bowl” of uplifting, educational and meaningful entertainment. Shame on CBS!!!!!

I don’t often weigh in on Trump online, because, where does one start? However today, I’m motivated, because in addition to smiling through the assassination of a Washington Post journalist, Trump has lashed out at his former treasured personal lawyer Michael Cohen as nothing but a “PR person who did small legal work.”

Then, of course, he decided to crunch down on the porn star that he had Michael Cohen buy off after he had an affair with her while he was married by decrying her as a “horseface.”

My only comment is that the President of the United States is a very small person; too small to waste any time on, if he hadn’t been raised to such an exalted position by people who are amused by such revelations.

As an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, and someone who is proud of my lifetime of work building communications bridges between organizations and the public, I am offended by this very small person who is temporarily cluttering up office space in the People’s House.

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Interesting to see some background on top associates of the Trump White House, as reported in Craig Unger’s new book, “House of Trump. House of Putin.”

“By the 80s, attorney Patrick “Paddy” McGahn had become the new boss of Atlantic City, and with his brother state legislator Joseph McGahn, brought legalized gambling and Donald Trump to New Jersey. Trump, it turned out, was lucky to have them on his side.

“One of the first problems Trump encountered was that part of the land he wanted was owned by Salvatore “Salvie” Testa and Frank Narducci, Jr., two mafia hit men who worked for Atlantic City mob boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo and were known as the Young Executioners.

“Some of Trump’s acquaintances who were close to individuals associated with the New Jersey mafia proved to be valuable allies in the future.  Dan McGahn, the nephew of both Paddy and Joseph Mcgahn, later became White House counsel to the Trump Administration. In addition, White House counselor Kelly-Anne Conway, who also served as Trump’s campaign manager, is the grand daughter of Jimmy “the Brute” DiNatale, an associate of LIttle Nicky Scarfo.”

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