Monday, October 21, 2013


I tried to watch the new TV series "The Blacklist" the other night. I wanted to like it and tried hard to keep watching, but thought it had serious problems of logic and heavy handedness.

I like the main actor, James Spader, but he plays a cliche--a former top-gun American hero who went bad for no reason.

OK, I thought. I can live with one cliche.

Then Spader's character, Reddington, picks up a mysterious briefcase in a public park. Another cliche, this one from spy movies.

Reddington goes into a gov’t office bldg and reveals his identity. Red alert! Red alert! Everyone goes nuts. Soon a dozen guns are pointed at him. Yeah, right. We are supposed to believe he scares the crap out of the whole national security apparatus.
But why?
Isn't anyone well trained enough to keep their cool? I guess not.
Then Reddington will only talk to a pretty young woman FBI profiler, on her first day on the job. First day? How likely is that? And he knows intimate details about her life. Well, that is hard to swallow, but I kept watching.
We are supposed to be jacked up and think this guy is so dangerous he scares the poop out of everyone in Washington, D.C.
Then he tells her that a dangerous terrorist is going to kidnap a young girl, age 8 or 9, who is the daughter of a U.S. general. For some reason her bosses suddenly gain respect for her and let her run the rescue operation.
Sure. Of course. Just what you would do, right? I don't think so. The show gets more and more preposterous as it goes along.

But wait, the BS gets deeper and deeper.  

The FBI's secret black-ops division mounts a protective mission to save the little girl, but the terrorists know the exact route the convoy takes. They stage an elaborate attack where they block off a bridge and blow the hell out of everything in sight. It’s like a scene out of “Terminator 2.”

Say what? How did the bad guys know where they’d be? It makes no sense. It looks like Reddington may have set them up. If he hadn’t told them, there could have been no big attack. But how would he know where the kid would be? How would he know the route of the convoy? Makes no sense.

How would the terrorists know any of this? I didn't buy it.
And of course the pretty woman barely survives the preposterous attack and shoots one of the baddies. She feels bad about losing the kid, and we are supposed to feel bad for her.

The show is all razzle-dazzle with no logic. The purpose of every scene is to jack up the audience, not to reveal character or plumb the depths of the human condition.

So now the bad guys have the kid and you would think the FBI would suspect that Reddington set them up and tipped off the terrorists. That is what I thought.
But no. The FBI, including the cute profiler, now trust Reddington. What? It makes no sense. So then, they let him out of custody and set him up in his favorite 5-star hotel. WTF?

None of this makes any sense. Check your brain at the door.  

Now the attractive FBI profiler goes home and the terrorist is there, torturing her husband. What? How did the terrorist know where she lives?

The show is remarkable only for its use of magical knowledge and gratuitous violence.
I was going to record the series and watch each episode. Alas, I didn't make it through the pilot. That was enough hokum for me.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle




Thursday, July 11, 2013


I tried to watch the much advertised and highly touted new FX series THE BRIDGE last night. 
The show presents itself as highly realistic. Indeed, it goes to great lengths to seem realistic, but then it gets hokey, unbelievable and heavy handed.
The first episode seemed to be written to manipulate the audience, not to be believable, or to develop story, or to reveal character, or to teach us about the real world of the border or the police.
In the show, the bad guys shut off the electricity for the whole international border. Very dramatic to see, but not remotely believable. Still, I kept watching. You can forgive one shovel full of BS.
Then they dump a body right on the border line? Why? No point that I can see, except to jack up the audience. Why not dump the body in the river, like everyone else? They want to make a big statement. OK. I kept watching.
The female detective won't let the ambulance through? Ridiculous. And heartless. The crime scene is a major highway. One more set of tires is not going to matter forensically.
The cop runs after the ambulance like a little kid? Wait, she is supposed to be a grownup homicide detective. What are we supposed to think, that she throws a childish fit when her authority is questioned? Does not make me admire her or want to keep watching.
That was it for me. I turned it off and stopped recording. Three (no, four) strikes and you're out.
Why not have pigs fly and elephants dancing a jig?
Because you lose the audience.
That's what happened to me here. 
It is very disappointing to see so much time and talent and effort expended on a show that is so ham-handed and hokey. I thought this was supposed to be the golden age of long-form TV. I don't see it here.
-- Roger  
Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Monday, May 6, 2013


I finally managed to struggle through "Django Unchained," the most recent movie by Quentin Tarantino, who seems to be an overgrown 12-year-old with an exaggerated sense of his own self-importance.

Here are my notes:


Tedious. Hours of boredom punctuated by moments of light entertainment. How did Q. Tarantino get to be such a big deal? His sense of timing alone puts me off. His humor is juvenile and what he finds meaningful is absurd.
In one sequence, Django is separated from his long-lost wife for months or years and then decides to do a winter’s worth of bounty hunting before going to rescue her. Meanwhile, she is probably being beaten and raped. He doesn’t seem to care. Finally, he finds her. Then, unbelievably, he waits behind a door while the good doctor Schultz rambles on and on, pointlessly. The first delay is sort of forgivable, as we are only told about it. The second delay is maddening.
The ending does not honor the characters or pay off what has been set up. (SPOILER ALERT) For example, the formerly clever Dr. Schultz gets stupid (for the sake of the script) and shoots Calvin Candie (stupid name, both for him and for Candyland) and then is shot by a minor character. Yet Schultz has been the pivotal character, the linchpin for the whole plot. Boom, he is gone. No grand finale here. And his action violates the character. An opportunity for drama wasted.
Overall, this was a good idea for a movie—white bounty hunter rescues black man from slavery—but this movie is slow, stupid, and juvenile, a long slow form of torture.
One would hope that a "major" Hollywood writer/director could do better.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Monday, April 15, 2013


Why are there so many creepy people in TV dramas and in the movies?

TV shows that seem sick to me:
I have tried to watch these shows and they seem to wallow in human pathology.

"Criminal Minds" usually starts out with innocent people being assaulted by depraved criminals. Do we really need to see that? What is the purpose? To show us that the bad guys are really bad? Or are we supposed to get turned on by the violence?

"Game of Thrones" is about people who sell their souls for power. Seems sick to me. It's about manipulation and depravity. I liked the opening of the first episode, in the great white north, but after that, it lost me. Turned my stomach.

"Dexter" is about a sick man, a serial killer who kills other killers. I didn't last long. I watched part of one episode. Yuck.

"The Following" features a psychopath who is admired and followed by other sickos who imitate him. We are treated to rooms full of slaughtered women, some hanging upside down with their throats cut and their eyes gouged out. What could be sicker than that?

What is the purpose of all this depravity? To turn our stomachs? It certainly is not uplifting and offers no insight into human nature, except perhaps into the nature of the audience.

Have we become like ancient Rome, where powerless citizens cheered actual violence, mayhem and murder? Where demented people got off on violence done to others?

That is what it looks like. After years of pointless, stupid wars and senseless slaughter, have our sick politics crept deeply into our souls and turned us into parasites that feed off violence?

I think so.

Welcome to Sick America.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Monday, April 1, 2013


To update an earlier blog post, I am even more in love, if that is possible, and I did enter the Inkubate contest. The deadline was yesterday. The website was confusing, but with some help from my GF, we got it done. It's nice to have help.

This whole love thing is a lot more profound and moving than I thought. I opted out of it for about 15 years. But now I am back into it, deeper than ever before. At least, that is the way it feels. So far, so good. Very good.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle


Here is an article in the L.A. Times about a good Republican, former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.):,0,1336372.story

This dude tells it like it is. Pulls no punches. Takes no prisoners. Calls it like he sees it. All the good cliches apply.

Why aren't there more Republicans like this?

I don't know, but I suspect there are two reasons:
  1. They don't have the guts.
  2. Their political future is tied to big business of some kind, most likely oil or finance. They have been bought and paid for. Some Democrats are like that, too.
The solution to gutless politicians, I think, is to get the money out of politics, as much as possible.

Get rid of Citizens United, the shockingly unfair Supreme Court decision that declared, irrationally, that corporations have the same legal status as people and that there are no limits to political spending.

Right on, Alan Simpson.

We may not see your like again.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Now I know why most Americans are overfed and undernourished: They eat sugar on top of sugar, not to mention fat and salt.

I made the mistake the last few days of trying to eat like "normal" people. I was at Grandparents Day at my grandsons' school, and for treats they had fresh fruit, which of course is very good for you. But they also had pastries made with white flour.

I ate some fresh fruit, which is yummy, but then like a fool I gobbled up some berry compote, which tasted so very good. Fruit, white flour, nuts, and sugar. Not good but not terrible for you. But I also ate a mini-donut, and three or four small pieces of cake.

Yargh. Empty calories with no nutritional value.

Then, on Saturday, I went to a pancake breakfast for opening day of the kids' baseball season. Of course, the pancakes were made with white flour. Why in the world don't they use whole wheat? I will never understand.

And they serve it with syrup, which is of course mostly sugar. The white flour converts rapidly into blood sugar, so your body is assaulted with sugar on top of sugar.

Here is a link to a site that explains glycemic index and what happens in your body when you eat white flour, white rice, or white sugar, and other foods that convert quickly into blood sugar. It is a disaster:

If you are hypoglycemic, like I am, you feel sick the rest of the day. I got light headed and a headache and felt sick to my stomach until I ate two cheeseburgers to stop the downward spiral of low blood sugar. But that is using grease and starch--unhealthy food--to stop the effects of unhealthy food. The hamburger has a lot of protein, which I needed.

Here is another link, to a site explaining what junk food does to your brain and the brains of your children:

Here is another link, more information on the effects of junk food. If these links don't get you away from junk food, I don't know what will:

Why do most Americans eat food that is bad for them, and why do they feed unhealthy foods to their children?

I have no idea. I thought when we discovered health food, way back in the 60s and 70s--"you are what you eat"--that no one would eat junk food any more. I thought MacDonald's would go out of business and IHOP would serve nothing but whole-wheat pancakes with unsweetened apple sauce and low-fat cottage cheese for toppings.

Boy, was I wrong.

Americans consume bad food by the ton. I want to say like pigs at a trough, but I don't want to be unkind.

For me, the effects are immediate, within minutes. I still have a headache from yesterday. I had to eat some raw nuts and raisins and some high-fiber, high-protein cereal with low-fat milk to get back to normal.

But most people don't have those warning signs. The effects of bad food come slowly, over time. Heart disease. Diabetes. Effects on the brain.

Here is another site, explaining the long-term effects of junk food:

I wish everyone could see the consequences of their diet. Warning buzzers. Red flags. I wish they had a nutrition coach who would yell, "Stop! You are killing yourselves!"

In a way, I'm glad I can't eat junk food. Because if I could, I probably would, like everyone else.

Thank God I can't.

If I could have one wish, I'd fix it so that junk food made everyone as sick as it does me.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Here are some topics I have been meaning to blog about:

  1. Falling in love at 74, really for the first time, is amazing, so different from anything I ever experienced before. I have gone through a dozen profound emotional changes. Feel like a character in an ancient myth about a traveler who has to slay his own demons to get to the Garden of Bliss. Fortunately, my GF is very patient and understanding.  
  2. Am about to finish a new draft of my novel "The Prince of Newport," a mainstream novel with thriller elements set in Newport Beach. An idealistic young reporter tries to stop a killer/con-man.
  3. I plan to enter a contest for a literary blockbuster, exactly the kind of novel I am trying to write:
  4. Am working on a short story called "Alien Love" about a man who finds love and death and a mystery at the border with Mexico.
  5. I thank my lucky stars every day that Mitt Romney didn't win the election for president of the USA. What a total disaster that would have been. There are enough lies and deceit already in the world. He and Paul Ryan never told the truth about anything. They live in a parallel universe that most resembles "The Hunger Games."
  6. The stupid "War on Drugs" is utterly and profoundly misdirected. Why don't we outlaw belching and farting and bad TV shows? How about junk food, which is much worse than marijuana, for Christ's sake. Where did our politicians get the idea that the way to stop addiction is to throw people in jail? There is an anti-drug industrial complex like the military-industrial complex. Billions of dollars wasted. So dumb. Much like these insane, punitive foreign wars -- Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. Oh, let's gear up, spend tons of money, and send in people with guns. That'll fix the problem. Yeah, right. No, no, no, that is the problem. Reminds me of a quote from Will Rogers: “If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?”  
-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Sunday, February 3, 2013


When you get older, you don't have a lot of time in your future--you don't know how much time, it could be decades or years or minutes--so you tend to focus partly on the past.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Stephanie Eve Bernstein. She was one of my best friends in graduate school, at UC Irvine, 1970-72. We got our MFAs at the same time, and she gave the commencement address for master's degrees that year.

We hung out together a lot, and she was one of our rising stars in the literary world. The prestigious Paris Review published one of her short stories, and she met George Plimpton and Gina Berriault and other literary lights.

She was smart and funny and fun to know. I loved her as a friend and wondered if we should be romantic together. One time, sitting outside at UCI, I asked her to marry me, knowing she would say no.

She did, and suddenly the world came into sharper focus. The trees looked like cardboard cutouts, like a stage set, and I was relieved. Nothing focuses the mind, they say, like that.

After graduate school, she moved to L.A. and then New York, as I recall, then back to L.A. She worked for Jeremy Tarcher and I think she worked for Harper & Row (now Harper Collins).

She got New Agey and dragged me to a couple of events involving some guru with a name like Swami Satchidananda or something. I said, "Didn't he play third base for the Brooklyn Dodgers?"

She laughed, but we never saw eye-to-eye on that stuff.

Anyway, I loved her, and the world lost her on April 23, 1990, when she was brutally raped and murdered in her Venice apartment, apparently by a guy who was out on parole for rape and robbery.

The cops arrested a suspect, and the newspaper printed his name, Kermis Taffy Thompson Jr., 29, of Venice. I tried off and on for years to find out what happened to him, but I never was able to. (See note below.)

If he was guilty--and there seemed little doubt--I hope he was executed. I know that is barbaric and all, but she was my friend, and she didn't deserve to die.

Anyway, over the years, I think about her once in a while, maybe once or twice a week, and wish she could have lived to fulfill the promise of her life.

It's too bad she didn't. I wish she had. I miss her, even now.

-- Roger

PS: Two friends, Phil and J.B., found Kermis Taffy Thompson Jr. for me. He was convicted of Stephanie's murder on May 22, 1991, and sentenced on June 13, 1991. He is currently serving life without parole in Calipatria State Prison, in the desert south of the Salton Sea. His prison number is C17112.

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Sunday, January 27, 2013


When I lost 15 pounds over six months, I did it by cutting calories, but the key was eating foods that lasted but were low in calories.

Now that I have gained 5 lbs back, I need to rededicate myself to losing some lard.

I need foods that are high in protein, fiber and healthy fat. One of my staples was Go Lean cereal by Kashi. Problem was, I ate too much of it, and it has so much fiber that it can be hard to digest.

What any weight-loss program needs are foods that make you feel full, don't make you even more hungry, and provide basic nutrition.

Here are some websites that help:

Self magazine:

I love its slide shows on diet tips and diet mistakes.

The Mayo Clinic:

Getting lean and staying slim comes down to a choice you make every time you pick up a spoon or pick up a weight.

Yesterday, I got hooked on trail mix. Boy, that stuff tastes good. But it is sky-high in calories. One-fourth of a cup has 160 calories. That isn't even a handful. It's easy to lard up.

The opposite of that is lean meat, which has a high ratio of protein to calories and is low in fat.

We all need to find the foods that work for us.

Good luck. To you and me. We all need it.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Pardon my French, but old age is a bitch.

These are NOT the "Golden Years." Where the hell is the gold?

I'm 74 freakin' years old, and this is, as one doctor put it, "The Age of Pain."

It is also a time of weak hands and swearing. The words I most hear out of my mouth are curse words. "Damn it to hell." "F**k." "Sh*t."

I drop things, I trip over things, I stub my toe, I screw things up.

I don't intend to do any of these things, they just happen.

And that is part of the problem. I feel young inside, sometimes 18, or 35, or 50. I sure as hell don't feel 74, whatever that feels like. I don't want to know.

Nobody wants to get old, including me. Especially me, young at heart as I am. Hell, I'm still flirting with women, even though they are not as young as they used to be.

Of course, that does NOT apply to me.

I still want to go mountain biking and body surfing and scuba diving. I don't, but it sounds like fun. I still want to race my road bike against my bicycle buddies.

Your hands get weak, but they don't FEEL weak. Jars are a lot harder to open. You can't fix things like you used to.

This morning, I tried to take the top off a spray can of olive oil. My hands were slightly oily, so I couldn't get it.

I got out a kitchen tool used to remove lids. I squeezed the hell out of the plastic top, crushing it, and twisted the hell out of the little bastard, and sure enough, it finally popped off.

So did the little squirt top inside, which skittered across the floor. "F**k!"

Why are these simple everyday things so hard to do?

No reason, they just are. I think it's nature's way of telling you something.

It's a message I don't want to hear.

-- Roger

Friday, January 25, 2013


Why do people work really hard for months and months to lose weight and then turn right around and gain it all back? Some people say they have lost and gained hundreds of pounds over the years. Why is that?

Fattening back up has happened to everyone I've ever known who has lost a lot of weight. A year or two later, that flab is back, big time. 

One buddy of mine was built like a beach ball. Then he went into a program at the local university -- walking, lifting weights, eating right. After a few months, he looked great. Now a few years later, he looks like the same old beach ball.

Not a long-distance runner, but a long-distance muncher.

Recently, I experienced that myself.  From March to November, I lost 15 lbs and 4" off my waist. From 174 lbs to 159 lbs, and from 44" to 39 1/2". I lost a protruding gut that looked like I had a basketball under my shirt.

I did it by counting calories for a few days and learning how to eat. My baseline is 2,000 calories. If I eat more, I gain. If I eat less, I lose. Simple as that.

Find your own caloric baseline:

My first day, I ate normally and added up the damage. I had consumed 2995 calories. That included chocolate coated almonds, plus various snacks, including raisins and nuts, adding 570 calories that one day. I consumed almost 1000 calories over my baseline. No wonder I had a gut.

Here is one way to find out how many calories are in the food you eat:

The second day, I watched what I ate and consumed only 1715 calories. I cut out the chocolate and the nuts. Also, in addition to eating fewer calories, I exercised (climbed stairs, rode my stationary bike, went to the gym)  and burned off 840 calories, so my net intake was 875 calories. That was a huge difference.

Here is a good way to estimate calories you burn during exercise:

So for the next few months I worked out three times a week and kept my calorie intake down. Cutting down the intake and increasing the out-go was easy. I didn't starve myself. I didn't sweat my brains out. I did not deny myself anything that I really wanted.

It was a lot easier than I thought. In fact, it was the easiest thing I ever did. Especially easy since everyone thinks it is so hard. I kept doing that, and the pounds came off. I felt pretty good about it.

Then in December, for some reason, I started making different choices. I ate some ice cream, a quart and a half of Breyer's Rocky Road. My favorite. Yum. Tasted so very, very good. M and M's Peanuts. Delicious. A cheeseburger here and there. An extra beer or two.

I tried not to admit that I was gaining weight. I tried to ignore that possibility. I didn't want to think about it. I just wanted to enjoy the food. Then I noticed that my jeans were getting tight again. I was on the third hole in my belt, not the tightest one. So I started to think about it. What was I doing?

I finally figured it out: I was in denial. I just didn't want to face the truth. (Put me on a river boat in Egypt, for I am the king of de Nile.)

I was hoping somehow that the extra calories wouldn't matter. Hoping I could get away with it. Maybe somehow, magically, I would stay lean. 

Well, guess what? I was gaining lard by the day, by the spoonful, by the pound. But I did not want to face it.

I think we are all like that. The road to hell is paved with you know what, the best of intentions. But intentions don't lose the weight or finish the job.

I don't know why we go into denial like that. I guess we want to avoid the unpleasant consequences of doing something that makes us feel good. We want to live it up tonight and not worry about tomorrow.

However, what we eat and drink today does matter. And it will matter tomorrow, and next week, and next year. Every single calorie matters, in or out. Yesterday, at the doctor's office, I was up to 164 lbs. On the road to Fat City. I had gained back 5 lbs.

It doesn't take much. All you need to do is eat 200-300 calories a day more than you burn up, and guess what, your weight goes up. (One pound = 3500 calories, on or off.)

So if I want to be thin, I have to face the facts. Calories do matter. In fact, they are the only thing that matters when gaining or losing weight. So back to eating 200-300 calories less than my baseline.

It's not easy, but it is a choice you make, every day, every time you face the food. Every time you think ice cream sounds good. Remember what you are choosing to do, spoon by spoon, gulp by gulp, each time you munch more than you need. Ask yourself: Fat or thin? Fat or thin? Fat or thin?

Do these choices matter? Yes, they do. They matter to me.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle


Thursday, January 24, 2013


I think Kevin Bacon is a fine actor. He becomes the character, goes all the way. So I recorded the pilot of his new TV series, "The Following," thinking it had to be damn good.

Boy was I disappointed. Then I happened to read a big cover story in TV Guide (at the doctor's office) about "The Following." The magazine article talks about how bloody and brutal the show is, which is true, but they don't talk about the show's content. Or lack of content.

After all, isn't the point of drama to deliver some insight into human nature, some revelation that sheds light on the human condition? Shouldn't the drama be after some kind of truth? Shouldn't we learn something about ourselves?

Apparently not. 

For me, the trouble with "The Following" is not so much the brutality, which is almost impossible to watch. How many slit throats and bodies covered in blood do you want to see? The problem is that all that bloodshed serves no purpose. Where is the drama? The insight? The revelation?

I don't mean a message. Samuel Goldwyn is supposed to have said, "If you want to send a message, use Western Union." (Today it would be a text or e-mail.)

This new TV show almost leans toward meaning a couple of times. What is the price cops pay for dealing with all this horror? And how do they deal with it? The show starts to confront that question then shies away from it. Too heavy, I guess. We don't want to engage the intellect of the audience, do we? Why would we do that? We might strain their collective brain.

For any kind of insight into cop life that I have seen, you have to go all the way back to early Joseph Wambaugh's novels like "The Choir Boys" and "The New Centurions."

Those were great funny true books, full of insight into what it's like to be a cop and what that does to human nature. I remember one scene where two cops are dealing with a fatal car accident. A motorist's head has been severed. One poor woman pulls up and asks what happened. A cop holds up the severed head and makes a smart-ass remark.

Brutal, but funny in a macabre way. The brutality serves a purpose in the veteran hands of former cop Wambaugh. But not so in this new TV show.

The only purpose for the over-kill (so to speak) of brutality in "The Following" seems to be to convince us that the bad guys are really bad. They are evil and they are dangerous. Duh. I guess we couldn't figure that out with fewer bodies. These TV producers must think we are awfully thick-headed.

Have we sunk to this? Do we have to see buckets of blood and rooms full of dead people to be entertained?

I sure hope not.

I still admire Kevin Bacon's work as an actor. But I don't know if I can keep watching the show.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I decided to blog about aging because nobody warns you. Nobody tells you what it's going to be like when you get old.

I'm 74 now, but I'm one of the lucky ones. I won the genetic lottery. People take me for 55, on a good day. I'm what they call "young-old."

When you are actually young, you don't look at an old person -- all wrinkly and hobbling around and groaning when they bend over to pick up something, having trouble getting up and down the stairs -- and say to yourself, that's gonna be me someday.

We view old people as aliens, as if they came from another planet. But guess what, young people, you are gonna get old some day. If you're lucky. It beats the hell out of the alternative.

Today, I want to talk about strength. I've been working out for 30 years. Yes, that's right, 30. And I'm not one of those people who intends to go to the gym someday. I actually do it.

I've been active, a runner, body surfer, mountain biker, weight lifter, minor body builder, student of boxing and martial arts.

I used to mountain bike a 1,000-foot elevation gain two or three times a week. Plus ride my road bike 20-30 miles once a week. Plus lift weights and play tennis. My resting heart rate got down to 48, a good measure of cardiovascular fitness. When Mohammad Ali was heavyweight boxing world champion, his resting heart rate was 52. So I was in damn good shape. I was in my 50s.

So I've been active, all right. And if I get weaker as I age, imagine what it's going to be like if you don't exercise.

The most surprising thing is that your muscles feel just as strong as they ever did, but things that were easy are now difficult. Things that were difficult are sometimes impossible. I especially notice it in my hands. I have three types of jar opening tools in my kitchen.

When I'm with my grandsons, if I can't open a jar, I hand it to Jake or Eric and pop, it comes right off in their little hands. They are 10 and 11 years old.

I may have been strong once, but not any more. I would bet that's gonna happen to you, too. There is no point in whining around about it. Get used to it.

One of my physical trainers, John O'Brien, told me one time, "Something's gonna get you some day, and you want to be in the best shape you can when it happens."

Amen to that. So I keep working out, but lighter and lighter, with less and less intensity, as I get older. I get weaker, but I fight against it. Trying to stave off the inevitable.

That's the only thing you can do. You can't afford to quit.

NEXT: The Age of Pain.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I just read a profile of former U.S. Congressman and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen B. West of Florida.

West is a notorious right-wing crazy. He sees bogeymen in every closet, behind every tree and under every bed.

People like West--and my former friend Doug--are guilty of stereotyping and over-generalizing. They live in a fantasy world of their own making.

It is very weird that they don't see objective reality. As someone once said, "We don't see the world the way it is, but the way we are."

This is extremely true of Allen West and other right-wing nuts. My former friend Doug called the Koran "a terrorist manual." He believed there were hundreds of secret terrorist cells across the USA, and they were going to launch coordinated attacks to kill thousands of Americans, all at once, say on Super Bowl Sunday or some other such time.

Of course, this has not happened. I doubt if that has dampened his ardor. He thought liberals were dangerous because we didn't see the danger all around us.

I used to make fun of him. There goes a terrorist now. Oh, wait, it's just the mailman.

Doug was scared to death of anyone who didn't look like him and speak like him. He was scared of The Other. So is Allen West.

I have been trying to develop some sympathy for people like West. But that is hard to do. So many of the nation's mistakes have been based on such fear fantasies.

The U.S. war in Vietnam and the U.S. invasion of Iraq were based on paranoid fantasies. Oh, the communists are going to take over the world. Oh, we're going to see a "mushroom cloud" over Washington, D.C., if we don't invade Iraq.

Now Vietnam is our trading partner and we have left behind billions of wasted dollars and thousands of wasted lives after accomplishing nothing in Iraq.

Fear has driven us to destroy parts of the world and parts of ourselves. It is amazing how much destruction these paranoid fantasies have caused.

No doubt there are real threats out there. A few, not as many as the fear mongers imagine. So let's find them. Let's qualify our targets, as military people say. But let's focus on real threats, not imaginary ones.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle