When Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate developer, inserted himself into the Republican candidacy for President, I barely batted an eye. Here was a celebrity whom I knew as a buffoon, a braggart, an egomaniacal bully but certainly not a candidate for President of the United States. However, despite, the naysayers, Mr. Trump continues to dominate the nomination process and could quite possibly become the Republican candidate. Are you kidding me? Except for denigrating every part of our government, he has no programs or plans, only “trust me.” In my opinion, Trump is the opposite of Sarah Palin. He is smart but certainly has no sex appeal. The other sixteen Republican candidates presently appear to be swimming in place, unable to compete and unsure how to move on. As a Democrat, I rather enjoy watching the adoration given Donald by those who are disenchanted with the party and who enjoy his bluntness and candor. Hopefully, though, by the time the campaign process has ended, Republicans will choose someone whom they can be proud of as their party leader.
On July 29th, I waited all day to hear from Microsoft that I could install Windows 10, giving up my Windows 7. Finally, I received a note saying that my reservation was good but that I might not be notified to install Windows 10 for days or even weeks. Meanwhile, my good friend Tom Walker received his notification on the first day Windows 10 was available. My spouse was notified two weeks later. I was still in limbo. Checking with Jim Scott, a computer friend, I was advised to go ahead and download the files manually. Now that was scary, but Jim urged me to do so, promising to back me up if anything went wrong. Well, nothing did go wrong–at least not until later in the day of the download and installation when the starter discs refused to go into the background and other processes became unusual and complicated. It was my buddy BJ Alexander who came to my rescue by checking in the settings and finding that the tablet icon was checked “on.” Switching that tab to off made the computer come alive again. I am now president of the Windows 10 fan club and so very grateful to my computer guru friends.
For years, while traveling to places like Istanbul and Scandinavia, I imagined how wonderful it would be to go to a sauna, sit around naked but for a towel, and watch the weight drip off, ounce by ounce. Well, I didn’t make it to the saunas in Istanbul nor in Scandinavia. It took a trip in 2014 to Finland to realize that dream. In Finland, my partner and I were staying with a born and raised Finn, who had built his own sauna. We watched him gather the wood and put it into the furnace that would heat the sauna. Finally, it was hot and ready and into the sauna we went. There were three tiers of seats, and I sat with Juha and Dimitris on the top tier for about five minutes before I realized I could not handle that kind of heat. I couldn’t breathe. I immediately moved to the bottom seats where I could feel some cold air drifting in through the slightly cracked door. My dreams of pleasure and an exotic setting cascaded off me with each glob of sweat. I ended up sitting outside while the other two basked. Sometime things just aren’t what you think they are going to be.
My partner is a coupon hound. When he opened Sunday’s paper and found that there were missing coupons, he hit the ceiling. He urged me to contact the newspaper and tell them that we take the paper only on Sundays in order to receive the coupons. I did his bidding and e-mailed the paper, reporting our “loss.” They delivered another paper, this one with all of the coupons Dimitris was missing. He particularly had his mind set on a coupon for a particular brand of deodorant that he uses. When he found the coupon, I urged him to go to Walgreens before they were sold out of that deodorant. He hopped in the car and took off. When he arrived back home, he said, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I got the deodorant. The bad news: I dropped my glasses getting out of the car, and I stepped on them.” His glasses looked terrible, probably impossible to repair. Thirty minutes later at Visionworks, the glasses were repaired–not quite as good as new but usable, and Dimitris has had no problem with underarm odor since.
When I was teaching in the English department at Northeast High School, I taught both regular and advanced classes. The advanced classes were a breeze as they contained students who were intelligent and eager to learn The regular classes could sometimes be quite a challenge. What I insisted on, regardless of the caliber of the class, was honesty and trust. When my literature textbook was stolen, I was not only angry but disappointed. I knew which class housed the student that had stolen it, but I didn’t know the student. The first day after the thievery, I got the class settled before removing my wallet and laying it on my desk so that all of the students could see it. My lecture was in regard to my trusting my students and counting on their trust so much that I wish I could lay my wallet down like that and know that, even if I left the room, it would still be there when I returned. I felt that I had made my point until one of my students with a “million” gold chains around his neck approached me after all the other students had left and said, “Mr. Cooper, I hope you won’t do that. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
In 1994, I made an unforgettable trip and met unforgettable people. I made the trip with my good friend, Dave Harrison. Flying to Europe, we began our trip in Athens, Greece, toured the area around Athens and then took a Mediterranean cruise of the Greek islands with a side trip to Istanbul. The islands were breathtakingly beautiful, especially Santorini. Istanbul was, at that time, the most unusual and different city I had ever visited. Two years later, I would visit St. Petersburg, Russia, when Istanbul slipped into second place. The awesomeness of Istanbul resided in its unique architecture which fascinated me. Learning of the cultural backgrounds connected with sites like the Blue Mosque and the incredible museum, Topkapi, I was even more fascinated with the influence which religion had forced upon this place. The only lasting remembrances of Istanbul reside now in my beautiful glass engraved bowl and the friendship I made there with Mike and Linda Scheible, marvelous friends who will always remember with me this trip of a lifetime.
West central Florida is the land of lizards. Fortunately, our lizards do not reach large sizes, and they are relatively harmless. In fact, I am told that they eat critters that we want to get rid of, such as roaches. They appear on the sides of walls, in the garden, and even occasionally take a ride on the hood of the car, hanging on for dear life. Some may remember my love affair with a lizard who resided in my home and survived for weeks and weeks. When I finally lost track of him, I feared pulling out the sofa and cleaning behind it for fear I would discover his carcass. This summer has seen a much larger lizard population in our house. When they come in, we don’t know, for they just appear. If they can be lured onto a piece of paper, they will stay put until they are deposited outside. However, getting them onto that paper can be a real chore. Recently, I noticed a tiny, tiny lizard cavorting just below my computer keyboard. I was able to “escort” him onto a sheet of paper to the door and outside easily. I don’t feel like a real hero, but being a lizard-saver does make one feel like a “critter-tarian” in a very small way.