Pilates No More

Move Over, Pilates

Doc says I need to exercise more and lose some weight.

More? I get plenty of exercise.

Like when I forget my keys upstairs and have to run back for them. Or my wallet, or a dozen other things I misplace during the day and have to go back and retrieve them.

Or when I put something down to pick up the thing I forgot….it’s a vicious cycle.

There was the time I drove thirty miles back for tickets left at home.

Not much exercise to be had but my heart rate did get up there for awhile.

Likewise when looking for something in the clutter of my office.

Lots of pacing and swearing but I don’t think that counts.

Let’s see, two flights of stairs from office to bedroom. Twenty-six steps in all. I only have to forget three or four items a day and I’ve climbed enough to tackle Mount Everest.

It’s not that I’m forgetful, just busy.

My coffee maker is in the kitchen upstairs which means four to six more trips up and down with another one or two to find my phone left lying on the counter.

Added to that, two trips to the mailbox, one to look for a royalty check and another to make sure that the US Mail didn’t forget (guess I have to sell something first).

Then there are meals, up one flight x 3 plus a nap (two flights up).

Probably forget the phone again.

Researchers tell me that each step going up burns .17 calories while a step down takes care of another .o5 calories.

At that rate I would have to do about one thousand two hundred forty-five steps to cancel out  the handful of chips I grabbed on the way back from my nap.

Still, some consider stair climbing to be “vigorous” exercise.

Works for me.

Then there’s that list thing.

After being chided by my wife to make a list before going to the store I have finally done it. Then while entering the store I realize that I forgot the list. Forty yards to the store, back to the car and race home, returning to do it all over again. That’s exercise.

There is a reported connection between obesity and memory loss.

Experts say being overweight can lead to poor memory but that is precisely the way I get more exercise.

So now I have to  choose between losing weight in order to help remember things or rely on my poor memory to help lose weight.

Now, where was I?







I made the comment  recently, “I’m tired of learning new things.” I Don’t want to learn anymore.”

Having been slightly chastised by that remark, like a politician, I’ll  have to “walk it back” a little.

I’m 66 and only want to learn what I want to learn.

Like how to catch more fish; walleye, bluegill, just about anything that I haven’t caught for a lifetime.

There are other things I would like to learn. How to hit a golf ball straight. How to write more convincingly. How to get paid for my writing, things like that.

I would like to nurture my relationship with those I care for.  Learn a little more about God.

Did I say I want to catch more fish?

Those are the things I would like to learn.

The following are things that I could easily live without.

Things like flossing, and losing weight.

I have no desire to know more about social media; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and all the rest.

Tagging, being tagged, posting a tweet etc.  is about as exciting as a salad of watercress, unless it’s smothered  in Peppercorn Ranch.

Email is tolerable.

I hate it when every ad that pops up on my screen is now somehow linked to a website I have visited.

How “Single girls from DePere” could possibly have come from a recent trip to Cabela’s is beyond me. Really sweetheart, I don’t know how that happened.

Netflix and Amazon are OK, but there is a rate of diminishing returns as far as my time is  concerned.

If it takes longer to search 300 or so movies, trailers and reviews,  than the actual run time of the show-I don’t need  it.

I would cancel the internet altogether, but it’s the only way I can play solitaire.

I don’t really care to learn another language, get a degree or study physics. Especially study physics.

I don’t want to know any more about those “Five fruits never to Eat.” or “The Seven Retirement Facts You Thought You knew.”

Dear Microsoft: “I do not want Windows 10!”

Other habits like exercise no longer appeal to me. Didn’t I just walk a 10K last year? “Been there, done that.” Let’s move on.

Not to say that I’ve never done anything to change my attitude or lifestyle. After all, I did quit smoking (but could easily start any day if you don’t get off my case) many years ago.

Besides, it’s my right to be obstinate-right?

Maybe I do need to learn more about social media. After all, that’s the only way to develop a platform for getting my writing noticed these days.

I Phones, smart gadgets and all other make and manner of devices are a requirement if a person is to communicate with millennials and their parents.

Blogs, texts,  tweets, face book timelines and pages are all necessary evils in the working world of words and pictures.

Grandpa used to scare us with his false teeth in a glass. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

OK, I probably need to floss and save what’s left of my teeth.

And lose 30 pounds to save what’s left of my wardrobe.

It  shouldn’t be that big a deal but it is. Simply get up five minutes earlier, floss, brush and rinse after breakfast and coffee or, coffee and coffee, which is more accurate.

Then sometime during the day make a point to take a walk, ride a bike, work up a sweat or cut down on  potatoes. http://lpwilsonwriting.com/?p=124

I could probably start to learn a little more about a lot of things-except for anything math related.

But I don’t have to like it.

Hats Off


I never was much of a hat guy.                                       

None of my heroes wore hats. Not my Dad or JFK.

James Dean wore cowboy hats in one of his movies, ‘Giant’ and owned a motorcycle cap, like Brando.

I doubt if he wore one while driving his Porsche Spyder, however.

It might have blown off…

John F. Kennedy delivered his iconic inaugural address on a blustery January day in 1961, brown wavy hair blowing in the wind-chilled air, as he and Jackie ushered in the era of Camelot.

My Dad always had a full head of hair, parted down the middle and combed back. Until his later days when he too started wearing a hat to protect a thinning head of hair.

That must be it. In Wisconsin especially, hats are a necessary evil as we age and stay in this climate.

And, I don’t have to comb it as often.

I have several. None that say “Old Fart” or anything like that.

A Green Bay Packers cap of course.

A limited edition one that says “2003 Lambeau Field Project Team.”

That one I got, not so much due to my being involved, but on the off chance of being there at the right time and knowing a guy who knew a guy-that sort of thing.

Another Packers cap honoring veterans. That I like.

Another from NYFD. Goes without saying.

And one dedicated to “Our Real Life Super Hero.”

I also have an authentic Stormy Kromer original gray felt hat with the ear flaps.

That’s my winter cap. The ear flaps don’t quite cover my ears anymore but then my ears aren’t the problem.

I need another “Stormy.” The one I have is used for business, pleasure and even worn to church.

It’s getting kind of beat up for anything but basic warmth.

Would like to get another original, this time the classic red plaid style.

As Leif HerrGessell states in ‘Courage Is A Plaid Hat’, Elmer Fudd did not wear a Stormy Kromer.   http://www.chuckhawks.com/courage_plaid_hat.html

I once had a genuine Davy Crocket coonskin cap complete with tail. Somewhere out there is a synthetic raccoon still looking for his fur.

I have a hard hat that I don’t use anymore. Probably should though, when cutting trees for firewood.

I could get a cap that reads, “Old Fishermen Never Die, They Just Smell That Way.” Not enough room on the hat.

Don’t own a Milwaukee Brewers hat. No particular reason. Maybe if they won some games?

Stocking caps are ok for when it gets really cold but they don’t have a bill to block the sun. That’s another issue I have, eyes and glare.

I could wear one of those golf hats, you know, the ones with no head covering just a headband and bill. But then the bald spot comes into play.

Caps as we know them today weren’t always the fare.

Bowlers, fedoras, straw and cowboy hats were popular until a  couple generations ago when sports teams began to push fan-based caps.

A $10 baseball cap can be just thrown away after 6 or 7 years without washing, but a handmade Panama at $200-that’s a forever hat.

A Green Bay Packers Division Championship Cap from 2016 can be had for around 35 bucks.

A 2016 NFC Championship hat-not available.

Hats may have just been around, like forever.

Wikipedia presents the case of someone named “Venus” of Brassempouy, France who had one some 25,000 years ago, back in Paleolithic times. Not much left of it now.

EBAY might refer to it as “vintage.”

There are many styles to choose from. Ascots to Fezzes, Pith helmets to the Zucchetto, which was recently snatched from the Pope’s head by a rambunctious 3 year old.

Just about everyone in America wore a Fedora at the turn of the century, except for women that is.

Theirs were adorned with big bird feathers, sequins and such, or were just big, loud and floppy.

The Military of course has always depended on hats or helmets for recognition and protection, along with a large assortment of weapons and ammo.

So, there you have it. The Mad Hatter, hats in hand, keep it under your hat, ‘Hats off for Larry’ (Dell Shannon), tip your hat, and a tip of the hat goes to…, Top Hats and Tails.

A doff of my cap, to you.


In Search of Honey

    Imagine if you can, a middle aged, slightly balding man, cook’s apron flying while banging on a kettle with a wooden spoon, chasing a swarm of honey bees through neighbors’ yards in an attempt to stop and capture them.

Me, I was about 14 years old with my own kettle and spoon running alongside, making noise and dodging the flower gardens, shrubs and trees just because he told me to.

“Wilson, come on we’re going to get some bees.”

We followed across the alley, through Yeska’s yard being careful not to fall off the path between their garage and garden, across the street and through a vacant lot next to Mrs. Wooward’s, while the swarm alighted in a cedar tree in Carl Wiking’s yard which was right next to my own.

“Just climb up there, Lawrence” he said, while producing a pruning clippers from somewhere under the apron. ” Cut the branch.” I’ll catch them in this box.” Where he found the box, I have no idea.

While climbing I never thought about sitting ten feet up in a tree next to a few thousand live bees while hanging on a branch.

Carl Wiking was not a fan of what we were trying to do. He started arguing, something about destroying his tree and then my mother came out to see what the commotion was all about.

The banging? That was to block the communication between the queen and her workers so they wouldn’t swarm, or sting.

He couldn’t however hold the box, continue the noise and contain Mr. Wiking all at the same time so, the bees took off along with our dream of free honey.

Tom Mankowski, like so many others of the day, was nurtured by The Great Depression and tempered like steel from a world war; A tall man, full of tales and hard work, a picture of responsibility.

His day began at 5 AM in his “Call Again Restaurant” making the soup of the day and  the daily special. That usually consisted of a hot beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy, fish on Friday and chicken on the weekend.

Burgers and fries with a malt were staples.

Morning counsel was held at the big table near the kitchen door where local businessmen would gather to discuss everything from politics to the hundred weight price of milk.

Tom held court in between frying eggs and pouring coffee.

He enjoyed stirring up more than just the soup.

As soon as the noon time dishes were done he headed for his side hussle; raising Christmas trees, digging graves, mowing cemeteries, looking for bargains and otherwise finding ways to improve the life of his family of ten.

That, I think was the real gravy of his life.

Then returning for the dinner hour, cleaning up and heading home for the night.

He also had the town’s first ambulance.

I was working but not always getting paid, peeling potatoes in the back room of the restaurant when Tom came rushing through.

“Wilson, let’s go on an ambulance run.” I don’t think he even took off his apron. We jumped into the ’65 Ford station wagon, drove down the alley to the garage behind the funeral home where we picked up a stretcher and portable oxygen tank. We then headed for the rural home and a patient who had suffered a stroke.

My job was to help carry the gentleman down a flight of stairs and then, while Tom drove in excess of the posted speed limit, I was to sit in the back to keep the stretcher from rolling around.

As far as I know, the patient survived.

My dad was a medic in the Army during WWII and then an orderly in a hospital so this stuff was right up my alley.

I later spent 30 years working as a paramedic/firefighter and investigator.

Tom, well he gave me the business schemes. Some good, others not so.

He was the master of recognizing opportunities. Need your lawn mowed? Ask Tom. Need to find an antique hay rake? He probably knew where to find one, for a price. Have some old coins to sell? He would buy them, but watch yourself. He could deal with the devil and come out ahead. Might even sell him a bowl of chili afterward.

He would ask me years later, “well, have you found the big money yet?”

Known to only a few until after he died, he gave away food to all who needed it.

He and the family always took up the last pew in church. That was so they could leave after communion and get back to the restaurant for the dinner hour.

When he died he was buried wearing bib overalls, a sport coat and an old engineer’s cap. His Navy emblems, American Legion Cap and a Flag.

There  wasn’t room in the casket for all the symbols of his life.

That’s a Wrap!

  First the election and now the Oscars.

Will the Russians never stop trying to hack our most sacred institutions?

There’s nothing lower than announcing the wrong “Best Picture” winners unless it was Jimmy Kimmel’s jokes or some of the necklines on the gowns.

It only took J.K. about three minutes to unleash the first of dozens of jokes aimed at the Trump Administration (not that hard to do, really).

At least Donald failed to take the bait and respond. Maybe someone hid his phone.

These one per centers got together for yet another gala celebrating glitz and glamor and well, themselves for the 89th time.

Actually the actors overall took the high road with the exception of a few. One in particular Ezra Edelman, director of the best documentary feature for the film, ‘O.J.: Made in America’,  proceeded to afford “The Juice” sanctuary with other “victims of criminal injustice” while offering only lip service to the real victims; Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Maybe Mr. Edelman will help get O.J. paroled later on this year so he can continue his pursuit of the “real killer.”

On the red carpet a formal dress faux pas resulted when both Michael Strahan and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson showed up sporting tuxedos that one commentator explained as  “embracing the fall velvet”…..

All ended well as the two shook hands and jokingly resolved to consult one another before choosing their outfits for next year.

Kimmel did hedge his bets by offering both a candy and donut drop over the crowd. He also arranged for a bus load of tourists to make an impromptu stop at the Dolby Theater to exchange pleasantries with the Oscar crowd.

Matt Damon was pleased.

After sitting through 18 hours of watching all nine movies nominated, and eating something like a bushel of popcorn while washing it all down with carbonated syrup and then sitting through another three and a half hours of the red carpet parade and presentations-it wasn’t all that bad.

Now, for a look at the ‘Best 20 films of 2016’ according to Matt Wilson, who really does know what he’s talking about, follow the link below. http://thejankfiles.blogspot.com/



It’s Oscar Time! (Ugh, Gag)


When it comes to watching movies, I do it for an excuse to eat popcorn ’til I can’t. Especially at the theater lathered with the yellow stuff they call butter flavoring, salt and a liter of watered down cola drink to wash it all down.

Price, somewhere short of a car payment.

The experience is entirely sensory. Soon as I walk out I forget all about it.

Thankfully, there is one in the clan who actually pays attention to and appreciates movies.

Here is Matt’s take ‘At the Pictures’. http://thejankfiles.blogspot.com/search/label/At%20the%20Pictures%21

Win, Place, or Show?


I was the first in my family to play the accordion, at age 4.

The first to jump out of an airplane-with a parachute. The first to be crown bearer at the junior Prom with Sally Colligan (both age 6).

I was much cuter then.

Was the first in my family to be audited by the IRS.

I had a First Communion, a first kiss, a first fish and the first sibling in my family to reach the age of reason, driving, voting and old.

The jury’s still out on the “reason” part.

These were just a few of the “firsts” in my life.

I was the first born  son and grandson of the clan in 1950. The news clipping stated, “The Bauers (my Mother’s family)have an Heir.” It went on to site the various statistics of my birth; height, weight, male and so on. Along with the names of my parents, grandparents, aunts and an uncle. It was two column inches and might have been on the first page.

Just so happens that Grandpa was a linotype operator at the local newspaper so there was a little journalistic bias involved in reporting the arrival of his first Grandchild.

Speaking of nepotism, I played on a Little League baseball team. My Uncle Hank was the coach and my dad was an umpire from time to time.

I was the first to pitch a no hitter. In one inning I walked every batter.

Despite that connection, I was the first I think, to be suspended from the team for swearing. Imaging that, a twelve year-old swearing. My cousin was the one who ratted me out. A@@!$%&.

Along those same lines, I was the first of the third generation to work at the Milwaukee Journal. Not as the usual apprentice but a part-time copy desk clerk while attending Bryant & Stratton Business College. Both my uncle and Grandfather worked there and got me the gig.

In 1969 Milwaukee was still in the throes of the civil rights movement and experiencing the aftermath of the riots of ’67. Many black protesters had been arrested for damage done to Macy’s and Gimbel’s department stores in conjunction with The Welfare Mother’s March in September.

While walking through the Milwaukee County Jail with a reporter, I was spat on and cursed by grandmothers behind bars. That was a first.

Until then the only black person I ever saw was probably Hank Aaron.

I was also the first of the third generation, to be fired from the Milwaukee Journal. Because I was from the small town of Wild Rose I took a lot of ribbing, most of it good nature d but one 18 year old punk just wouldn’t let go of it, so I punched him out. Another first.

I was not the first in my family to graduate from college. That honor goes to my ten years-younger sister, June.

I did attend many more schools than she did. Five or so, I think. No degree to show for it but I sure had a lot more fun.

I was the first in my family to get drafted into the Army but there were a lot of us back in the day. Doesn’t really count.

While in Basic Training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky we were all mustered into a small classroom and while sitting at attention a sharp dressed Special Forces Ranger in his spit shined jump boots and green beret on his head came strolling down the aisle proudly asking, “who’s got what it takes to jump out of airplanes?”

Now the first rule in the military was “never volunteer for anything.”

Oops, too late.

Jump school took place in the 90 degree heat of Fort Benning, Georgia with the blow sand drop zones peppered with scrub brush surrounded by tall Georgia Pines.

And running, always running. Like Forrest Gump running.

“Up the hill, down the hill, around the hill, through the hill…..Airborne!”

Out of the first 300 or so jumpers on their first jump from a C-130 Hercules aircraft I was the first and only one to be medivacked off the drop zone.

You see, there was one preferred way to execute a successful parachute landing fall or in the Army vernacular, a PLF.

It involved landing on either right or left sides of the body in a gentle roll beginning with touchdown on the toes of the feet, lateral surface of the leg, thigh, torso and shoulder with arms extended. After landing you would then spin around to put yourself in a position facing the chute, then jump up and run around it to expel any air remaining inside.

Another technique to be used when drifting forward, was to twist your body to either the right or left when touching down so as to get into the proper PLF form as described above.

The last landing form and the one that was to be avoided at all costs was precisely the position in which I found myself.

After exiting the aircraft at 1200 feet my chute deployed properly (which was nice) and I was enjoying the bright sunshine and quiet air through which I was gliding back to earth.

At some point I realized that the wind was causing me to drift backwards. Now, you have to remember that there was no  control of the T-10 parachute. Not at all like the equipment of today. You simply went with the direction of the wind.

In my mind I could hear the drill sergeant proclaiming, “When drifting backwards gentlemen, your points of contact will be your toes, butt and head, in that order if you fail to conform to the proper PLF attitude as you touch down.”

Oops, too late.

The next thing I remember was the drop zone officer screaming at me for running circles around my chute (while unconscious) as he was trying to collapse it, so I wouldn’t be dragged off through the brush, and pop red smoke at the same time. He continued the tirade while I was being helped by Medics, into the Huey with the red cross on the sides.

Not to worry though, as I was flying back over the drop zone I looked out through the open doorway of the chopper and saw the DZ Captain loading my gear into his jeep while at the same time the other 299 were humping their stuff a mile or so to the waiting buses.

Came in first. Again.