Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Today I Felt a Bit Older Than Usual.

There are moments in life when a certain –sometimes direct, other times subtle- realization comes to your mind
The understanding that a good deal of your allotted time on this Earth has already been utilized, is present in everyday activities. In fact, it is fully accepted. This is ever present in many ways, in many expressions. There is no question that father (mother?) time does pass on and takes no prisoners…

But, despite this last factoid, the truth is that today’s medicine, care, diet knowledge and general exercise activities do have a great deal to do in extending one’s enjoyable time on this planet. So, I have lost weight this year, done some exercise, limited severely the intake of red meat (Oh Lord… my Argentinian friends would expel me from their ranks for that one!!) have NOT eliminated my intake of red wine (well… I follow those researchers who tell me that red wine is good for whatever ails me… and it is!!), increased my dancing time (great cardio exercise, you know…) and the end result of all this somewhat boring daily routine is a BP of 120/74 and a heart rate of right around 68.

According to my MD (Bless her!!) I should be around (barring an unforeseen event… Hmmmph!) for a while, much to the chagrin of certain people.

Yet, there are other areas where we not-yet-extinct dinosaurs definitely can be picked out (other than the thinning hair). Well, yes there is that rap thing, the pants below the knees, modern math (Lord… whoever invented that should be shot and then hung next to Baldor’s tomb –those who studied algebra in Latin American schools will know the reference…), the constant Tetra-Bite increases (well, Mega and Giga are no longer enough… after all there is Instagram, twitter, snapshot and snapshat, what'sup, who'sup, when'sup and all those forever changing new apps) in all the little machines we carry around and without which we couldn’t live 24 hours…

I have told anyone who may want to listen (and some who didn't) that, no matter how long one stays in and becomes one with a new country, there are some topics which are always best expressed in one’s original language: Prayers, math and cussing. To this, I have to add –in my case, anyway- reading.

You see, I started reading when I was 5 years old or thereabouts and have never stopped. Hope never to. Yes, we now have the walking, talking bookshelves we can carry anywhere we go. You now, the Amazon, Kindles, I-Books and all the tablets and Phablets of the world. Each one holding up to 1000 books. Fine and well. If this is the way to get the younger generation to read, I’m all for it. Yet, in my personal case, there is something special about carrying a book, passing the pages with a wet fingertip, creasing the paper at an important passage, going back and reading again a paragraph I missed, getting ink on my fingertips… I guess this separates me from the younger generation.

This afternoon, I took my wife to a dental appointment and waited for her while the Doctor did his magic… There were 5 of us in the waiting room, ranging from ages 12 to 45ish (yes, and me…. Be quiet!) and there were 4 people with eyes glued to their respective phones, thumbs flying in a well-coordinated choreography… then, in this corner, there was me with a book, reading and passing each page to find the mysteries put forth by the author on the next page.

Generational gap, anyone?

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
·       Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
·       Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora

·       Any comments please send to rjalcazar@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Today we Honor Our Veterans.

(This is a piece -with very minor changes- which first appeared on this blog 4 years ago. Not much has changed, or will change) 
In this great country of ours, sometimes we overlook those rights and freedoms we so adamantly exercise… forgetting these came by at a price, a very steep one for many.

Those of us who have come to this grand country looking for a place to live and to have a life (not always the same, you know!!) actually tend to appreciate those liberties found here, sometimes even more than those men and women who have been born and raised within them.

I am not an advocate of war; have seen up close the damages it causes. Not only to the places where they are waged but also, and foremost, to the people involved in them. In several instances, a service death might have been a more charitable consequence than having lived and survived the horrors many service men and women have experienced. There are many lifetime scars that are not visible to the naked eye.

Yet, what sometimes in the midst of heated discussions is forgotten is that we in this country enjoy liberties and guarantees which are often not available in many other places. Is everything in our country perfect? No, it is not.  But we have the structures and venues in place which will allow us, the citizens, to change that which we deem necessary to change. When we begin to take for granted what we have, we run the very real risk of losing it. Younger generations sometimes forget these rights were not always there; that their forefathers, in coming here and wearing uniforms to defend this country and what it stood for, did in fact guarantee they would have those choices which are not so well understood. 

In these times of austerity and difficulties for many families, many are quick to blame others; blame the economy downturn on the “Big Cats”, the political issues on the politicians and the superfluous living on every one else. Yet, in the end, we are the ones who always wanted to buy “longer, lower, wider, more powerful…” (remember the car adds from the 50’s and 60’s), the ones who wanted to keep up with the neighbor’s latest acquisition, the ones who “just needed” to have that little electronic gadget which would find its way to the bin and be forgotten after a short while.

Perhaps we are the ones who need to have our ears pulled and be re-taught to first buy what we need and then, with a degree of constraint, what we want. I really won’t die if someone’s known designer name is not emblazoned across the front of my shirt. And, as far as politicians go… we fools are the ones who put them where they are … if we wise up, we will get them the hell away from there as well. It is called the voting process.

We, in this great country of ours, have rules, systems and processes in place to handle most anything that comes up. We can protest, we can write, we can use the system(s), we can scream at the top of our heads that we “hate” the government… these are not given rights; they are earned rights and freedoms. And the price has been high.

So, the next time you feel like exercising any one of those earned rights, thank a Veteran for his/her sacrifice, allowing you to do so. Take it from someone who lived under a system which abolished all those rights many so easily take for granted. If you think a Veteran’s personal sacrifice on behalf of the nation had nothing to do with your present available rights and freedoms… You Are WRONG.

Be Well … Be Back!!

Doña América and other memories.

I know she has already been mentioned somewhen along this line of sometimes unhinged memories as they relate to moments of my life , but y...