Archive for April, 2016

Getting Older!


I remember very well thinking that people in their fifties were “old.”  When I was in my thirties I rather dreaded reaching that point.  My life had a future ahead of it, and so much of my psychic energy was spent dreaming about, planning for or being anxious about the future.  What would life be like if I didn’t have that future to focus upon?

Oh how silly I was.  I should have spent that time really embracing the present, experiencing “now” as it happened – because that’s all we have.   Now that I’m in my fifties I actually find myself very comfortable getting old – it really isn’t a bad thing!

First, perspective.   I’m excited about life – what I’m doing, the choices I’m making and where I’m going.  That involves thinking of the future to some extent – planning research, trips, etc.  But for the most part I’ve learned that when one is focused on NOW age is not a problem.  Now is full of opportunity and excitement.  There are always new things to learn, changes one can make to explore life in different ways.

Second, experience. I remember the Cold War!  I remember Watergate and the final years of Vietnam!   I was in Berlin in the summer of ’89, experiencing the last weeks of normalcy before the world changed and the wall came down.  I toured the eastern German states in the nineties, talking to people who were going through an historic transition.  I talked with elderly German women in the 80s about the Third Reich and their experiences.

I cheered the Twins World Series victory in 1987!  I learned e-mail when it was year, and got on the internet back before it had images because they took too long to download (especially on dialup).  In fact, I’ve experienced the information revolution from my excitement at getting color TV when I was 8, cable TV at 14, and then being amazed by my college roommate’s personal computer – a Radio Shack Tandy, one of the first made!

I would not want to not have those experiences.  I would not trade them for youth.   Moreover, my life has put me in a position where I have unique opportunities and a job I love.  I get to now enjoy that, explore my options, and live I life I can honestly say I love.  Sure, I’m divorced, things have gone wrong – but I learned from them and I’m still on really good terms with the people who have been important in my life.  And if I ever have another serious relationship, I’ll bring those lessons into making it the best it can be.

Not that aging is all good.  I’ve come to grips with the fact that my body gets sore more easily and I have aches and pains that probably will never go away.   The face looking back at me in the mirror isn’t the youthful face I feel like I have when there are no mirrors around.   I hurt my knee last year, which kept me sedentary, and now I’m finding it frustrating that I can’t go run and jump like I used to.  But I have the now!  So I’m going to the gym every day (it’s just two blocks away) and I have the opportunity to get in good shape for my age.  I embrace that!

To be sure, teaching at a university means that I’m surrounded by youth.  I get a sense of cultural trends, have to keep up with technological change, and that definitely keeps my mind fresh and open to new things.   And it has been exciting!   I get how people my age feel like the country has become something different than it was – a strange place with everything from gay marriage to transgender bathroom rights!  But being with youth I’ve experienced and embraced these changes as part of our continued cultural development – I’m not stuck in the 80s!

I also have two children still in school – that helps keep my perspective fresh, seeing the reality they’re dealing with.

So overall – aging isn’t bad!  The formula is simple: stay in shape, keep up with society, and embrace the now.  The experiences and memories from the past are priceless, and have created who I am and the conditions in which I find myself.  The future still holds promise, and in any event we’re all occupying the present.  Now lasts forever!



If Trump Loses Wisconsin

<> on April 2, 2016 in Rothschild, Wisconsin.

Donald Trump remains, despite two very rough weeks, atop the GOP race for the nomination with 736 delegates.  1237 are needed to win.  Ted Cruz has 463 and John Kasich 143 delegates.  Only Trump can realistically win the nomination before the convention in Cleveland.

Right now he is on the ropes.  The Republicans have gone after him with unprecedented fury; never has a leading candidate received so much vitriol, insults and anger.  The conservatives over at Red State have made attacking Trump their primary focus.  It seems the entire party is out to stop Trump.  Will they?

Despite my last post predicting a Kasich-Rubio ticket, let’s go through the numbers and see what Trump’s chances are.  Here are the remaining contests:

April 5:  Wisconsin – 42 delegates, winner take all
April 19:New York — 95 delegates, proportional
April 26:  Connecticut — 28, proportional
Delaware — 16, winner take all
Maryland — 38, winner take all
Pennsylvania — 71, winner take all
Rhode Island — 19, proportional
May 3:  Indiana — 57, winner take all
May 10:  Nebraska — 36, winner take all
West Virginia — 34, direct election
May 17:  Oregon — 28, proportional
May 24:  Washington – 24, proportional
June 7:  California — 172, winner take all
Montana — 27, winner take all
New Jersey — 51, winner take all
New Mexico — 24, proportional
South Dakota — 29, winner take all

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that it is likely to come down to California – a winner take all state with 172 delegates.  The latest poll from the LA times shows Trump and Cruz neck and neck – and that was taken way back on March 23rd.  A Cruz victory looks likely if Trump doesn’t gain back momentum.

Assuming Cruz wins Wisconsin, what next?  If Trump keeps his comfortable 30% lead in New York, he’d likely get about 55 delegates.  He has a good lead in Pennsylvania, which is winner take all with 71 delegates.  There’s no real good polling on the rest, but let’s assume that Trump can win Maryland with 38 and New Jersey with 51.   Those states alone would give him 951.

Removing California for now, there would be 322 seats left. So if Trump loses California, he would need 286 of those 322 seats.  That’s not going to happen.  If he were to win California he’d need 114 of those 322 seats.  That is very likely to happen.


Second place is the best Cruz can do, and it may not be good enough.

From Trump the job is pretty straight forward.  Stop the bleeding, win where you’re expected to, and then win California.

His main challenger, Ted Cruz, may be on a quixotic mission.  He could deny Trump the nomination, but if you deny it to the guy with the most delegates, it’s hard to justify giving it to the guy with the second most.  The smart money would be on finding someone who can unify the party, perhaps John Kasich or Paul Ryan.

The anti-Trump blitzkrieg from Republicans is an amazing spectacle to behold.  It’s rare to see a candidate so mercilessly and personally lambasted, especially a leading candidate could be the standard bearer this fall.  If Trump can withstand this barrage and come out on top, Republicans will have no choice but to line up behind him.  He’ll have taken all they can give and withstood it – despite committing so many of his own unforced errors.

Bottom line: Trump has to stop his free fall,  win where expected, and then win California.  If he does win Wisconsin on Tuesday then path becomes much easier – and he’ll have momentum back.  For those wanting to dump Trump: California on June 7th will either be your victory or your Waterloo.   Then the fun begins.