Sam Bauman: Good reading



I read a lot. Weekly news magazines, books, emails. Most is forgettable, but there’s one magazine I welcome and I think most seniors would as well. It’s The Sun ($5.95 a month, usually about 50 pages).

The back inside cover alone is worth the price, it’s called Sunbeams and is a collection of comments from all sides, such as, “When the book and the bird disagree, always believe the bird,” by John James Audubon.

Or, “In a way, nobody sees a flower, really, it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see it takes time — like to have a friend takes time,” by Georgia O’Keeffe.

There are usually 20 or 30 such quotes on the back inside page. Some political, but never nasty, not like the current political orations.

Letters to the editor are based on a monthly theme, such as bosses or jobs. They are all well thought out and offer insights into the subject. In the issue at hand, No. 484, Edward Abbey of ecology fame writing in The Sun with “The Serpents of Paradise,” a lecture on time, when it’s best to sit on your porch overlooking the desert with a cup of coffee in hand. After toying with a rattlesnake and a gopher snake, Abbey writes, “All men are brothers, we like to say, half wishing sometimes in secret it were not true. But perhaps it is true. And is the evolutionary line from the protozoan to Spinoza any less certain? That also may be true. We are obliged, therefore, to spread the news, painful and bitter though it may be for some to hear, that all living things on earth are kindred.”

It’s enough that The Sun brings Abbey to mind. I’d not thought of him or read him for months, years. Now I’ll rejoin his merry band as they destroy some of mankind’s or womankind’s follies.

If you’d like to read more from The Sun, like a thoughtful senior, call 888-732-6736. The letters section is awash in life stories of interest and amusing.

Info for all

Here’s data which seniors may find of interest from Yes magazine:

Total cost of Social Security in 2013: $823 billion; total income of Social Security in 2013: $855 billion; current accumulated surplus reserve of Social Security: $2.8 trillion. Looks good for seniors there.

Number of Chickasaw language speakers the 1960s: 3,000 plus; number of Chickasaw language speakers in 2014: 65.

Percentage of first-year college students who identified as having no religious preference 1980-84: 8. Percentage of first-year college students who identified as having no religious preference 2010-2014: 25. Percentage of current congressmen identifying as Christian: 91.8. Congressmen who identified as having no religious preference: one.

Percentage of children’s books written about children of color in 1999: 6. Percentage of children’s books written about children of color in 2014: 11 percent. Estimated percentage of U.S. children who are of color 2014: 48.2.

Average holding period of stock in 1945: 4 years. Average holding period for stock in 2000: 2 months. Average holding period for stock in 2011: 2 seconds. And stock is supposed to take time to mature.

Dr. K in the Appeal on exercise

I read him regularly because he casually tosses in words that strike home for me. Recently he compared different kinds of exercise for value. He matched strength exercises against aerobics. I’ve been doing a general exercise of various kinds for more than an hour daily for years. But I’ve been skipping aerobics because I have to go down a long hall to get to the exercise room. For a while I was doing a mile on the bike and a half-mile on the treadmill, but not recently.

Dr. K suggested that I have it wrong, I should do a lot more aerobic than strength, and I think he’s right. Aerobic gets me panting and tired, while my regular routine does neither. So I’m going back to aerobic and cutting down on the other stuff.

I remember once when I was teaching skiing and found myself tiring. A therapist advised more aerobics, so I did and it helped a lot. Hope it does this time.

Welcome to the Quandary

I think I share the quandary with other seniors about voting. No, not the Nevada ones, although I pondered about the mayoral vote. I mean the big one for U.S. president.

Do I go after political experience (First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State) or vote against the current political world for a real estate salesman with his own jet plane and who was once the pet of NYC columnists who referred to him as “the Donald” with a perfect hair style?

I’m not really ready to vote for the big one, I’m still weighing my vote for Carson City mayor.

But I do fear what would happen if the Trump voters were disenfranchised somehow, and Trump’s voters were not counted. That uproar could mean the end of our current political system, which has lasted a couple of hundred years.

Trump sums up our current political problems for his followers, and he does have a point. Look at Congress unable to agree that an AR-15 is not the gun of plain hunters (I speak as a longtime hunter in Ohio with a .22 or shotgun). No hunter needs an AR-15.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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