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Saturday, July 8, 2017

IT'S OFFICIAL, I'M NOW A CURMUDGEON

A curmudgeon is one who is crusty and grumpy.  I certainly qualify.  According to one study, you need to be male and at least 70 years old.  Check.  Further, read two of my posts this week:
  • 4 July 2017:  I argued for the banning of fireworks, leading to wondering why everyone is against Kim Jung-un's  desire to have missiles with nuclear warheads.  Not totally with sarcasm,  I provided a simple solution on  how North Korea's chubby leader could become the World's Greatest Peacemaker of All Time.  Pixar would benefit.
According to Movie Guide, here are the Gumpiest Old Men:
  • #1  Walter Matthau as Max Goldman
  • #2  Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski
  • #3  Burgess Meredith as Mickey Goodwill
  • #4  Jack Palance as Curly Washburn
  • #5  Alastair Scrooge as Ebenezer Scrooge
  • #6  Edward Asner as Carl Fredriksen
  • #7  Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall
This list of ten places ends with Alan Arkin as Grandpa Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine.  And while we're here, you've got to watch that final dance scene.  In fact, here are more dance scenes, 13 minutes and 48 seconds to make your day.   Heck, another ten, and what about a mashup of Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk featuring your favorite dancers from the past.

American television has Dr. Gregory House as #1, with #2 Red Forman, #3 Al Bundy, #4 Sheldon Cooper and #5 Archie Bunker.  The top ten curmudgeons in history appear to include Andy Rooney, George Carlin, Socrates, William Jennings Bryan, Oliver Cromwell, Samuel (from The Bible), James Randi, Frederick Nietzsche, Statler & Waldorf (Muppet Show) and Wilford Brimley.

Have you noticed that since Donald Trump became president, two senators have also now become grumpy old men:  Bernie Sanders and John McCain.  Come to think of it, you can, too, add any U.S. Senator.

Research shows that the mentality of men is such that they can better shrug off stress, anxiety and depression up until the age of 65.  There is sometimes a surge of happiness from retirement until 70.  Then this slump occurs usually because of health problems, mental decline and losing loved ones.  Thus the onset of grumpiness.

As I think back, my professional life was dedicated to helping people succeed, which is what teachers do.  Why did I change?

In my case, I was also mostly a research director, but came to a personal conclusion that the optimal way to save Humanity and Planet Earth was to engender cooperation.  At most universities, there is a tendency for the top researchers to only focus on what he does best with "his" staff and colleagues.

To begin, whenever I hired anyone, the first thing I said was that I work for you to make you successful.  The bigger problems to be solved are multidisciplinary, and, in fact, multi-cultural and more.  Thus, in forming teams dealing with climate warming, hydrogen, the blue revolution and the like, faculty from across the campus and throughout the nation and world had to be convinced to work together with us.  I served as general coordinator on a range of these initiatives, and with a lot of effort generally succeeded in planting a few seeds, giving all the credit to those around me.

Thus, when I retired almost 18 years ago I mostly continued this mode of thinking.  However, it was only a couple of years ago when I said to myself, wait a minute, what about myself?  The theme of 15 Craigside is to live life your way.

I was still chairing all kinds of things and one day showed up at the Residence Council meeting and essentially indicated that in the short time I had available I would live life my way, resigned from all responsibilities and went on to enjoy life my way.  With some minor reluctance I still accept a few requests for presentations, for there remains my hope for things like the Blue Revolution.  This week I give two talks at 15 Craigside on my recent world adventure, for I do live with 200 people and am not entirely anti-social.

So, all in all, more and more, my postings will balance the optimistic and hopeful with stark realism.  Fortuitously, Donald Trump has made criticism absolutely necessary, so, while I might seem to be increasingly negative, I do try to inject some humor into the process.  In any case, those grumps above were not bad people, for most had heart and many actually  were lovable.  Thus, I'm comfortably settling in as a curmudgeon for Planet Earth and Humanity.

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Tropical Storm Eugene will shortly become a hurricane in the East Pacific.  However, all signs indicate a weakening long before reaching Hawaii:


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