May 25, 2009


I recently bought a book entitled, StrengthsFinder 2.0 which includes the opportunity to go online and by answering about 20 minutes worth of questions, determine what our 5 key areas of strength are. Many of you may already know yours ( or think you do) and I must admit that after doing the tests and reading the comprehensive reports they sent me, I was able to look and say, "oh yeah, I guess that is true." One area of strength is my need, or drive to learn and assimilate knowledge and another strength is my ability to take information from a wide variety of sources and disciplines and put it together in some sort of cohesive package of researched facts and make sense out of it on a larger scale. Until I did the tests, I didn't necessarily see these things as strengths as I always assumed that it was better to specialize and focus our efforts on increasingly smaller areas of study. After all, in medicine, it's the specialists who make all the money and perhaps this is true in most other areas of business, marketing, writing, education, science, etc. This would account for my increasing frustration with people and organizations that just can't seem to see the big picture, i.e. governments, schools, religions and other bureaucracies.

Over the past few months I find myself totally immersed in several disparate areas of study and haven't thought too much about how it all comes together, until now. I realize that some of it has to do with approaching retirement age, not being sure of our ability to afford retirement, seeing so many people around me having serious (and worse) medical conditions, personally being irresponsible with weight, food and fitness choices and the general malaise that seems to come with economic meltdowns. It also occurs to me that I am not alone in these struggles as so many of us try to make sense out of a world that is moving increasingly faster with annual pandemic panics that are starting to happen twice a year, food that is unsafe to eat, wars, pestilence, diseases that have been raising billions of dollars with no cures in sight, government agencies rife with corruption (including ones responsible for our health and nutrition safety), multi-national pharmaceutical companies that have created junkies out of everyone, taxation that punishes the successful and independent and a laundry list of other depression inducing nonsense that would drive one to a good bottle of wine - if one could afford one.

Out of this field full of fertilizer a few flowers must eventually sprout and I have decided to create or at least plant, a flower of my own. I will continue to use this space for my excess Mind Gas and general ranting about whatever suits my fancy but I am initiating a new blog dedicated to providing positive options as a result of all of the seemingly unconnected reading, research and interests that I have been working on. It will be focused toward people who are considered to be "baby boomers" and looking for alternative ideas about everything from health to income opportunities, retirement planning to travel and fitness solutions to safe food choices. I will do my best to boil down some of the interesting research and new information into plain language with connections to my sources so that the reader can continue their own investigation.

Some of you may be aware of my like for contradiction and whenever I find information that flies in the face of conventional and accepted wisdom, I devour it. I use the excuse of keeping an open mind when I stumble into that kind of research - really, it is just plain glee at pricking a hole in all of those pompous gas bags that try to control our lives. You won't need to be a contrarian to enjoy the new blog but I really believe that there is an enormous amount of BS in most of the fields I study and that some professions (and you know who you are) shroud the truth in obfuscation and diatribe that is intentionally designed to make it more difficult for laymen - see, I can do it too.

OK, so the new blog is called Health Full Boomer and I plan to offer information on the complete "health" areas of our lives including medical, fitness, nutritional, financial and anything else that contributes to the whole person and our enjoyment of life. Life is for living, not waiting and it is a lot easier (as I have recently found out) when we are physically fit. I don't know about you but I come from the school of 'no pain - no gain' and during that pursuit I have discovered a program developed by a doctor (of all people!) from Florida who has turned the entire idea of long, boring, exhausting workouts on its head. He claims, and has the research to back it up, that we need 12 minutes per day of intense workout to reclaim the fitness that our bodies were created for. No expensive gym memberships, hour long jogs or $2,000.00 electronic clothes hangers in the basement. I currently have his program open on my desk as I put together a new 12 minute routine for next week. I have been using his ideas for about a month and a half and can happily report that it really works! So, if you are curious, my first posting at Health Full Boomer will be about the PACE program developed by Dr. Al Sears, MD.
In the new blog, I will try to keep the tone light and informative and save my whining for this space. I am also hoping to drive more traffic to Health Full Boomer and will be writing some magazine articles, etc. that will reference it. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate your help in spreading the word about it and will be offering some FREE reports and information exclusively available to followers of the blog.

To your continuing prosperity and good health...

May 12, 2009


The older I get, the more often I seem to be confronted with the passing of someone in my life, but this time is different. Both of my sisters knew it when they called me last Saturday to tell me of the passing of a woman from my home town. A woman who held more influence in my life than I, she or her family would ever have realized. Somehow, I suspect that my sisters sensed this when they called.

It started with the lady's daughter whom I met after changing high schools from an all boys one to the public system and we began to date - a situation that lasted almost 5 years. But what a 5 years it was for a kid from the wrong side of the tracks both literally and figuratively. I still remember the first date when a door opened to a world that I didn't know existed. I had no money - barely enough in my pockets to pay the entry fees to the dance - I certainly didn't have a car - high school kids didn't drive Beemers in those days and I didn't yet have an old beater like most of my friends. I took the City bus from my house to hers and in the process got drenched by the cold rain that was falling that night. We were meeting mutual friends (who had a car) and going to a typical kids' dance for those times, held in an indoor shopping mall after the stores closed. I even remember the name of the band, David Clayton Thomas and the Fabulous Shays, (DCT went on to become lead singer with Blood, Sweat and Tears), but I digress.

I arrived on her doorstep like a drowned rat; soaked jacket, shoes and slacks and rivulets of water running down my face but I suspect that my palms were wetter than my clothes as her father opened the door and welcomed me to a home full of warmth, humour and acceptance. After the de rigeur chat with her dad, who has remained a role model in my mind for 45 years, I then met her mother but I was so darned nervous that I barely recall the introduction and besides, I only had eyes for the young girl at her side. As the months and then years passed, this charming woman who was filled with grace, beauty, intelligence and a deep caring for the world slowly but surely came to represent, for the rest of my life, the portrait of the ideal woman, wife and mother. I have often suspected that she knew a lot more about me than I did myself. I think that she had a very keen and developed sense of intuition and many times over the years when I visited my home town, I wondered what it would be like to call and invite her for a chat. I now regret never having done that. I suppose that dovetails nicely with a bunch of other regrets emanating from that period of my life.

Most good homes, in my experience, revolve around the mother and theirs was no exception as she brought a sense of style along with life standards that demanded integrity, truth, hard work, achievement, open-mindedness, charity, intellectual pursuit, discussion and a willingness to listen (even to the bleatings of a raw edged teenager) that resulted in joy, laughter, good natured ribbing and a deep seated love of her family. I suspect that her legion of friends gravitated to this lady who was the unassuming centre of all of this. It is too bad that we often wait until someone's death to spend the time thinking about what sort of meaning they brought to life and specifically what they meant to us personally. Mrs. B became a source of inspiration to me when it came to choosing the life I wanted to create for myself and my own family. She demonstrated the value of caring for others, the gift of inclusion and the joy of giving without expectation. I suspect that most of us are exposed to great teachers in our lives and I also suspect that most of them go unrecognized. That is the case in this instance but I can't allow myself to go forward without acknowledgement to myself, if no one else. I'm not so sure that she was very thrilled about me dating her daughter (I wouldn't have been either) but this gracious person who defined the word "lady" allowed me to do so, welcomed me into her home, treated me with kindness and gave me a role model that lasted a lifetime.

I realize that there is no one in my circle of family and friends who can possibly understand the impact that Mrs. B had on my life but without question, she may be the singular reason that I eventually took a turn in the road. Thank you Mrs. B for showing me that road and the possibility and joy that exists in this world. By the way, she was one heck of a cook too - a sure way to influence a teenage boys life. Thank You

May 7, 2009


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was..
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed..
'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car..
The sand is everything else---the small stuff. 'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18.. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand. One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'
The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.
Please share this with someone you care about. I JUST DID!