Welcome to Bud’s Blog

Posted March 1, 2009 by oldereyes
Categories: feeling older

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes – Marcel Proust

Sometimes Older Eyes work, too Bud

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Necessary Definitions

Sage – a wise man; a man of gravity and wisdom; especially, a man venerable for years, and of sound judgment and prudence.

Curmudgeon – an ill-tempered old person full of stubborn ideas or opinions.

Fool – A person with poor judgment or little intelligence; a jester, a person whose role was to entertain a sovereign and the court, often with foolishness.
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I’ve been wondering lately what it would be like to be able to relive my life knowing what I know now. Or if I was able to give my grown children a view of the world through my Older Eyes, would it change their lives? Here’s a provocative proposition: If I could get every twenty-year old to look at the world through sixty-four year old eyes for just a few minutes, it would either change them for the better or kill them. Provocative but probably not true. I doubt there are many young men making bucket lists as a result of watching Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

With a do-over unlikely and getting my children to listen to my archaic opinions only slightly less so, I’ll record the view through my Older Eyes here in Bud’s Blog.   As you read each post, you decide … Sage, Curmudgeon, or Fool … we can agree to disagree on which is which. Your comments are welcome, whatever your age.   If what you read changes you for the better, I’d especially like to know.   Hopefully there will be no casualties.   If you are new here and want a taste of my Older Perspective before diving in, The Best of Feeling Older offers a few of my favorite posts on aging.  Finally, if my work inspires you to try blogging … or even if you think, Jeez, I can do this better than Older Eyes – there are a series of posts on doing just that on my page, Starting a WordPress Blog.

The Eclipse Curmudgeon

Posted August 22, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: curmudgeonly rants

Tags: , , , , ,

Clipboard01When I was a boy, I saved up my money and bought a 3 inch reflector telescope from Edmund Scientific.  I believe it cost $29.95, which tells you how long ago it was, in the 1950s.  I don’t remember how old I was … I would guess twelvish.  With this telescope, from the hay field behind our house I could see the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, some of the larger nebulae, double stars and of course, incredible detail of the surface of the moon.   Nobody ever told me not to point my telescope at the sun.  Nobody had to.  I was a smart kid.  But when I learned about sunspots and heard a report of exceptional sunspot activity, I certainly wanted to.   I don’t know where I found the piece of green plexiglass that became my solar filter.  To the eye, it was opaque but if I held it up to the sun, I could see the sun through itplexiglass … which gave me an idea.  Using my Dad’s jigsaw, I cut a circular piece the size of my telescope tube and taped it over the open end.   Wallah.  Sunspots at 60X power.   I seem to remember watching a partial eclipse using my improvised solar filter, too.  Those was the good old days … or the bad old days, depending on your point of view.  No one checked the transmittance of my plexiglass disc, checked if it was compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.   Was my tape job sufficiently secure to assure the filter wouldn’t fall off, vaporizing my eyeball?  Yep, it was.  I still have two working Older Eyes.

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Biased

Posted August 12, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: opinion

Tags: , , , , ,

I posted this on my other blog, Both Sides Now, but I’m posting it here because it’s relevant to the purpose of both blogs.   It’s also think it’s a good post and gives me an opportunity to promote my new blog to readers of Older Eyes.  If you are one of the few who already subscribe to both, I apologize.

biasI like to begin my day with a cup of coffee at my side and my tablet in front of me, seeing what is going on in the world from the various news outlets. I have searched for years for a source of unbiased news (a phrase that should be a truism but turns out to be an oxymoron) but have finally settled on reading biased news from a variety of sources, then drawing my own conclusion. Over in the blogosphere or on social media, it is worse. Opinions masquerading as facts may not win the day but they dominate it. It is as if we are pre-programmed to be biased, which we are. The culprit is not some brain-hacker out of The Matrix but a fundamental characteristic of our species known as Confirmation Bias. Our Creator (or Evolution, you choose) has endowed us with a very strong tendency to sort through the array of information available to us at any instant and choose that which supports our currenttiger2 opinions, thus strengthening our belief. Some scientists explain that for our ancestors, dealing with simpler (but more critical) situations (like Is that a Sabre-Toothed Tiger and is it likely to eat me?), reaching a quick decision in the face of sensory overload was a matter of life or death. If this is the case, then Confirmation Bias is strongly linked to our Flight or Fight Response, becoming strongest when the situation seems threatening.

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The Light Touch

Posted August 12, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: feeling older

laughing catMost people think I’m funny.  I am given to wisecracking and awful puns and humorous observations on life, even in business meetings.  Not everyone laughs at my jokes … that is the nature of comedy … but I’d guess that 70-80% of the people I encounter do.  I won’t even attempt to guess the percentage of those that are laughing to be polite. There are people that like to sit near me at dinner because I make them laugh and I even have a friend who says I’m like Robin Williams.   I’d suppose I’d rather be compared to Billy Crystal given the sad end to Robin’s life but we take our good reviews as we can get them, don’t we?   My lovely wife, Muri, sometimes gets tired of my continual puns and wisecracks but that’s OK … she gets to hear more of them than anyone.  She probably checks in at 35% headshakes, 25% polite chuckles and 30% real laughs.  10% of the time she just ignores me.  My sister-in-law, GeorgeAnn reports similar statistics with my wisecracking brother, Glenn.

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Can You Believe … 49?

Posted August 11, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: love and marriage

Tags: , , , ,

marriedWe have a group of four couples that we go out for dinner with for Christmas.  They are all friends we made when we moved into our first house in 1972.  We see each other sporadically during the year but Christmas is the only time we go out as a group.   One of the remarkable things about this group is that we have almost 200 years of marriage between us.   My wife, Muri, and I are doing our part with our 49th anniversary today.  Given our fairly long courtship at the University of Connecticut, we have known each other for 53 years.  Looking back at the immature, arrogant young man I was at 21, I have to believe I had some guidance in choosing her to be my wife.  Perhaps there’s some truth to the Jewish notion of a Basheert,  the name of the woman a man will marry announced by a voice from heaven 40 days he is born – literally a match made in heaven. Read the rest of this post »

Bad Reputation

Posted August 10, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: curmudgeonly rants

Tags: , , ,

shower.jpgWe have recently been doing some renovation on our guest bathroom.  As is often the case in tract homes, the builder used a cheap bathtub that rusted through and began to leak water into the garage, which is directly below the bathroom.  Some heavy-duty caulking stopped the leakage for a while, but in July, the drip-drip-drip started again.   We called our friendly neighborhood plumber (he really is, here) and had our tub replaced with a high-quality cast iron one.  The plan was to remove the lower portion of the tile tub enclosure, but when that was done, it revealed some water damage to the framing behind the tile, so we had the entire enclosure removed and the framing replaced.  Then it was time to call our friendly neighborhood masonry guy (also really is, here) to redo the enclosure.   This was turning into a marathon (to the tune of the ka-ching ka-ching of money leaving our bank account). Read the rest of this post »

Both Sides Now

Posted August 8, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: opinion

Tags: , , , ,

both sidesI am 73 years old. I have watched two generations of parents live their lives then slip away to whatever comes next. It seems to happen in one of several ways. The easiest way out seems to me to be what most people consider the most tragic … a sudden accident that snuffs out a life in its tracks.  Then there are the injuries and illnesses that gradually drain the life from those we know.  According to Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying, that can be a time to finally appreciate life and be the man (or woman) you were meant to be. Somehow, I suspect that doesn’t come easy. Then there are those that just getstranger old and slip away. Certainly that is sometimes just due to the aging of the body, but I have a theory why others just decide to let go and die. I think as we age, we look at the world that’s changed around us and don’t like what we see. We feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land (to shoplift the title of Robert A. Heinlein’s classic sci-fi novel). And at some point we just say, I’m ready for whatever’s next. It can’t be worse than this.
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Metaphorically Speaking

Posted August 6, 2017 by oldereyes
Categories: spirituality

Tags: , ,

park sunrise

In 12-Step programs, we spend a lot of time talking about God because they are spiritual programs based on no particular form of religion.  God first appears in the 2nd step as a power greater than ourselves (who) could return our life to sanity … or, more simply, a Higher Power.   For some reason, in men’s meetings, some guys choose to abbreviate this to HP, as in, I’m better off if I turn my problems over to HP.   Because I’m an engineer, HP has always meant Hewlett Packard and there’s no way I’m turning my problems over to them … or to Dell or Lenovo for that matter.   But then again, turning things over to God under any name has always been a challenge to me.  12-Step people often say that when they turn things over to God, God does for them what they couldn’t do for themselves.   People tell stories of difficulties turned over to God that resolve themselves miraculously  … often sounding as if that’s how the world always works.  With these cynical eyes God gave me, sad or tragic outcomes are as likely as good ones whether I turn my problems over to God or Hewlett Packard or no one at all.  Cliches like, Sometimes things that initially appear bad turn out to be good, and Everything happens for a reason, don’t help much, even though both have been true in my life sometimes.  But for twenty plus years I have been turning someone I love over to God and that someone continues to struggle.  I don’t blame God for his problems but I do wonder why God’s help doesn’t help.  Likely something to do with free will.  There are those who tell me I should banish this person from my life as a way of getting out of God’s way.  That doesn’t feel right but I’m certainly not certain. Read the rest of this post »