I HATE SNAKES!

I HATE SNAKES!

Like Indiana Jones, I HATE snakes. Notice how the king cobra has lifted up its head, flattening it into a hood? This means they’re pissed and about to strike. I know. A king cobra did this to me.

Like Indiana Jones, I HATE snakes. Notice how the king cobra has lifted up its head, flattening it into a hood? This means they’re pissed and about to strike. I know. A king cobra did this to me.

My namesake (and second cousin on my dad’s side) Indiana Jones and I share several attributes in common: We both have a fascination with ancient mythology; in the end we both ended up with a gorgeous babe (just trying to score points with my wife here – How am I doing, sweetie?); And, most importantly, WE BOTH HATE SNAKES!

I cannot overstate just how much I despise those disgusting creatures. Everything about them gives me the creeps. There is no such thing as a cute snake. They have no fur, no legs, not even eyelids. How bizarre is that? Worst of all, they can paralyze or kill you with a single venomous bite – unless they’re the kind that suffocates you to death with their viselike grip.

I cannot think of a single redeeming thing about this evil being. Okay, well, maybe one thing. Apparently, some snakes actually like to eat other snakes. In fact, the favorite food of king cobras is, you guessed it, other snakes. How sick and twisted is that?

Snakes will never win any medals for intelligence either. Did you know that some snakes actually eat themselves? True. I’ll admit, when I was a one-year-old, I sometimes obsessively sucked my thumb. But I never gave serious thought to devouring my hand. Some snakes are idiots.

But back to my main point: I loathe those slimy, slithering serpents. (I wrote the previous sentence primarily to show my 9th grade English teacher, Mr. Santee, that I still remember what he taught me about the importance of using alliteration in storytelling.  How’d I do, teach?)

Fun fact: The snake on the left will kill you instantly. The snake on the right is totally harmless. Good luck figuring which is which the next time you stumble onto one of these.

Fun fact: The snake on the left will kill you instantly. The snake on the right is totally harmless. Good luck figuring which is which the next time you stumble onto one of these.

When I was young, even the sight of a common garter snake would make me anxious, in part because there was no way for me to tell a harmless snake from a deadly one. (See image at right.) It would be extremely helpful if deadly snakes came with a warning label. Are you listening, God?

I once went tubing in the wilderness with a buddy of mine. He shared my snake phobia. As we drifted lazily down the slow-moving river, other more experienced tubers warned us to keep an eye out for water moccasins. Turns out this is a highly venomous snake that loves to hang out on rocks by the edge of the river, primarily to terrorize novice tubers like me. Its bite can be deadly.

Here’s a question: What’s more alarming than seeing a water moccasin basking on a rock by the edge of the river? Answer: Two seconds later when you turn to your buddy to point out that there’s a water moccasin on a rock by the edge of the river, only to notice it’s no longer there – because it’s decided to make like a torpedo and head straight for your inner tube. Luckily, he changed course and decided to pursue some other tubers, and we finished our journey without incident.

I once heard that snakes can actually swim through the sewer system and up into your toilets. I don’t know if that’s true, but ever since then, I’ve always closed the toilet lid after use. You may say I’m being paranoid, but I have yet to have a single snake attempt to bite my bum while on the toilet ever since I implemented this policy.

Perhaps the event that forever cemented my fear of snakes was the time my wife Michele and I attended a talk at the Miami Zoo by the zoo’s Director of Herpetology (think reptiles and snakes). During his presentation, he brought out several lizards and snakes of various levels of weirdness, including (I’m not making this up) a two-headed ball python.

In the background, I noticed a king cobra which the presenter had kept safely confined inside a glass aquarium. Then he removed the deadly snake from its glass enclosure with a long metal rod with a hook on the end. He delicately placed it on the floor. It immediately started winding its way towards the metal chairs each of us in this 30-person audience were defenselessly sitting on – make that standing on, as we each immediately jumped up in an anxious attempt to avoid the snake that was suddenly checking all of us out. Did I mention I was in the front row?

As the cobra sauntered in my general direction, the presenter grabbed it with his pole hook to pull it back. But then the snake just jumped off the hook again – and was now slithering towards me.

Fun fact: When a king cobra is angry or feeling threatened, it will rise up and flatten its head into a hood. Not so fun fact: The king cobra in our room was pulling that exact same move and was now less than four feet from me.

I saw a trailer for this terrifying documentary called Snakes on a Plane. All I know is that I will NEVER EVER fly that airline – not even if they offered me a seat in First Class and all the peanuts I could eat. No way.

I saw a trailer for this terrifying documentary called Snakes on a Plane. All I know is that I will NEVER EVER fly that airline – not even if they offered me a seat in First Class and all the peanuts I could eat. No way.

The presenter desperately snatched the snake again with his pole and thrust the misbehaving cobra into the aquarium, slamming the lid. When the director resumed his presentation, the angry snake kept smashing its head against the side of the aquarium. But his many escape attempts were completely in vain – that is, until he tried smashing the lid of his jail cell instead. Yeah, that worked like a charm. The lid instantly popped off.

In a heartbeat – and mine was beating extremely fast now – the villainous venomous viper (how’s that for alliteration, Mr. Santee?) had leapt out of the aquarium and was back on the floor. He made the same threatening move as before, elevating his head and flattening it into a hood. Once again he was coming right at me. Fortunately, my wife was closer to him than I was, so her body partially blocked him from getting a clear shot at me. Thanks, sweetie.

The presenter, now obviously a bit shaken himself, was able to snare the snake and wrestle it into a burlap bag. He then shoved the bagged beast into a box. I later thought about how close my wife and I came to becoming the lead story on the evening news:

“KING COBRA KILLS COUPLE.” (Kudos to the headline writer who came up with that. He knew a thing or two about good alliteration.) 

I will thank you not to post comments reassuring me that most snakes are harmless or how they help farmers by eating mice and other varmints. I don’t care if a goddamned snake knocked on my door and offered to paint my house for free. Get him away from me! Besides, I’m pretty sure he’d probably do a piss poor paint job.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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Our Adoption Story

Our Adoption Story

This is my family (2012 photo). At left is our younger daughter Emily. At right is Rachel (older by one year). The guy next to Michele, attempting to hide their receding hairline, would be me.

This is my family (2012 photo). At left is our younger daughter Emily. At right is Rachel (older by one year). The guy next to Michele, attempting to hide their receding hairline, would be me.

My wife Michele is originally from Toronto, Canada. I was born in Albany, NY. Somehow, through an odd circumstance of good fortune, we ended up moving to Seattle in 1991. (But that’s a story for another time). We are adoptive parents of two high-spirited daughters, Rachel and Emily. I often tell people Rachel is the greatest Christmas gift I ever received, while Emily is the greatest birthday present I ever received. I will explain why in this story about how our rather international family came to be.

When we began thinking about starting a family, we eventually learned we would be unable to have biological children. While for some couples, this is a source of tremendous grief and loss, I never felt that way. To me, it just meant we would start our family in a different, admittedly unexpected way – through adoption.

We eventually decided to adopt from China – in part because we had read that each year there were tens of thousands of children without families – mostly girls – that were forced to grow up in orphanages. And conditions in these orphanages varied greatly from city to city. China required the adoptive parents to travel to China (unlike some nations where the babies are flown to the states to meet their new parents). We would be required to spend roughly ten days in China to complete the adoption and get approval to leave the country with our new baby. We had no idea what to expect.

We quickly let go of the notion that our child might have blue eyes, reddish hair, and freckles. But still, it was more than a little surreal to think that many thousands of miles away in a city we’d never heard of, there would be a tiny, four-month old baby who was somehow destined to become our daughter. And then, twelve months later, we would fly to China to adopt a second baby to complete our family.

Our daughters, Rachel (now 28) and Emily (27) will someday tell their own adoption stories. But this is how I experienced it. In the late 1970s, China adopted a one-child policy. The rationale was to reduce the growth rate of China’s enormous population. (China discontinued this policy in 2016.)

This is a photo from our very first evening with Rachel – while we were still in China. At first, Rachel protested vociferously against going to sleep. I quickly learned to pat the bed next to her in a constant thumping sound, which soothed and quieted her down.

This is a photo from our very first evening with Rachel – while we were still in China. At first, Rachel protested vociferously against going to sleep. I quickly learned to pat the bed next to her in a constant thumping sound, which soothed and quieted her down.

In rural China, the tradition going back 5,000 years was for young couples to move to be near the husband’s family and take care of his parents when they grew old. As a result, in rural China, if you could only have one child, it made economic sense to prefer having a son over a daughter, so you’d have someone to take care of you in your old age. It was a form of social security throughout most of China.

An unfortunate result of this one-child policy was that every year, for decades, thousands of baby girls were abandoned (or worse) – often placed in early morning hours outside of a government building, in the hopes they would be quickly rescued and taken to an orphanage.

In August 1994, we began the paperwork to adopt. About the same time we submitted our application, a tiny baby girl, later given the name of Yong Li by the orphanage, was born in a rural village in southwestern China outside of the city of Kunming. A few months later, we were matched with her and assigned a travel date to fly to China: Christmas day.

As a toddler, Rachel loved food – especially playing with it. On her 1st birthday, she tried a piece of birthday cake for the very first time. At left, she is contemplating what exactly to do with her cake. At right, Rachel about ten minutes later, having annihilated the cake.

As a toddler, Rachel loved food – especially playing with it. On her 1st birthday, she tried a piece of birthday cake for the very first time. At left, she is contemplating what exactly to do with her cake. At right, Rachel about ten minutes later, having annihilated the cake.

But our adoption almost fell apart the night before we would leave for China. We were planning to travel with Michele’s mother. We celebrated the holiday the night before, at my brother Bob’s house. Because I had arrived at Bob’s house from work, we had taken separate cars, with Michele and her mom driving to Bob’s house from home.

Around 9pm, I arrived home before Michele and her mom. I  saw that the answering machine had a message. It was from Bob: “Tim, go to Evergreen Hospital as soon as you can. Michele and her mom have been involved in a very bad car accident. They’re in the hospital. I don’t know how serious it is.” 

I drove to the hospital with competing anxious thoughts racing through my mind: How badly were they hurt? Would they both be okay? What would happen to our plans to fly to China? Would we lose this baby? Would I be flying there on my own? Once at the hospital, I learned that Michele was okay – badly shaken, but okay. Her mom was badly bruised, but no broken ribs. The car was a total loss. But they were cleared by the doctor to fly to China – barely.

We got to the airport on Christmas morning. Michele’s mom required wheelchair assistance in order to board the plane. We arrived in Kunming in Yunnan province and filled out the first of what would be many rounds of paperwork. The next day, they brought us, along with three other couples, to the orphanage where little Yong Li had been since she was born in late August.

Emmy loved to play with the most unusual toys. She decided to try this new fashion statement, and I think she figured out she was being funny, because Michele and I laughed out loud.

Emmy loved to play with the most unusual toys. She decided to try this new fashion statement, and I think she figured out she was being funny, because Michele and I laughed out loud.

When they presented a little baby girl to us, Michele and I were confused and concerned. The baby they gave us, Michele knew, was NOT our baby – based on the one photo we had previously been given. She handed the baby back and told the orphanage staff person, “That’s not our baby. Can you please look for our baby?”

A few minutes later, our facilitator came with another baby. And we knew in an instant this was little Yong Li. We kept her Chinese name as part of her name, because it meant “forever beautiful” and because we felt it would be a way to remind her of her Chinese heritage.

The moment I first held our four-month old baby in my arms I fell in love. I knew in that instant that I could not possibly love a child more than I loved this little baby. She didn’t look anything like me. I didn’t care. I am convinced to this day, she was destined to be our daughter. I bonded with her in a heartbeat. Then she threw up violently all over my clothes. That’s when I learned about the need to pat a baby’s back after she’s consumed formula.

I thought about how terrifying this whole ordeal must have been for this tiny infant. We didn’t look, smell or talk like anyone she had ever seen. Here we were, two complete strangers ripping her from the only world she had ever known. Then we would whisk her thousands of miles away to a world she knew nothing about. She had no say in any of this. She had to be feeling some level of panic.

We always knew we wanted to adopt a second baby from China. We’d probably wait three years, like many families do between kids. But in the ensuing months, we read news stories that China was preparing to close international adoptions to the United States, in part due to some negative news coverage in the US about Chinese orphanages. Concerned that the door might close forever, we accelerated our plans and filed an application to adopt a second child who we were pretty sure would be another girl. We would name her Emily.

By the time she reached pre-school, Emily overcame her introversion and blossomed into a very outgoing, energetic person. She was always very short for her age, so other kids liked to carry her around like a doll.

By the time she reached pre-school, Emily overcame her introversion and blossomed into a very outgoing, energetic person. She was always very short for her age, so other kids liked to carry her around like a doll.

When we were approved, we were matched with a baby girl, estimated to be around 3 months of age at the time (but it’s just an estimate – they rarely know the actual birthdate of these babies – unless someone pins a note to their clothing). We were assigned a travel date of January 10, 1996 – my birthday. Ours would be the second to last group of American families permitted to adopt from China, before they closed the door on adoptions with the USA for several years.

We flew to Nanchang, in the province of Jiangxi, China, along with eight other couples. The baby waiting for us was named Jiang Qiu (pronounced “Ji-AHNG Choo”). It meant “Autumn River” (well, technically, “River Autumn”) and we decided we would keep her Chinese name as part of her middle name, like we did for her sister.

When we landed in Nanchang, our facilitator asked us all if we would like to see pictures of our babies. Until that moment, none of us had seen a photo of our matched child. I will always cherish the photo of Emily that they handed to me. In the photo, she had the most intense expression on her face. I  remember thinking to myself in that moment, “I have a feeling this little baby is going to be VERY high-spirited.” I had no idea how accurate my prediction would eventually turn out to be.

We were supposed to go to our hotel and get a good night’s sleep before meeting our babies the next day. But then, in the airport parking lot, our facilitator asked, “Would you like to meet your babies tonight?” I distinctly recall thinking to myself, “Um, I really could use one final good night’s sleep” but everyone else shouted, ‘Yes, Yes, Yes!!”

So, we got to our hotel and within minutes, the nine babies were presented, one after another. The very last one called out was “Jiang Qiu” – our baby. She was so tiny – the smallest of the nine infants. And beautiful. Wrapped in five layers of clothing, the outermost layer being a red sweater, which we have kept to this day. Unlike Rachel, who was almost completely bald when we met her, Emily had a full shock of thick black hair.

We had a couple days in Nanchang to go sightseeing. So picture this: nine middle-aged Caucasian couples, walking around, carrying Chinese babies. We stuck out noticeably. We never saw another Caucasian our entire time in this city. I was carrying Emily on my chest. A man wearing a snuggly no doubt must have appeared even more unusual to the local population.

One of the many photos of Rachel (L) and Emily (R) from early childhood. I am guessing they are roughly 5 and 4 in this photo.

One of the many photos of Rachel (L) and Emily (R) from early childhood. I am guessing they are roughly 5 and 4 in this photo.

Before long, we became a bit of a curiosity for onlookers, especially elderly women, who seemed confused about why all of these white people were walking around carrying Chinese babies. One woman came uncomfortably close to me. She appeared to be scowling in disapproval. Then I presented to her a note, written in Chinese, that I had asked our facilitator to compose. The note read: “We are from America. This little baby girl is an orphan and has no home. We have come to adopt her and give her a forever home.”

Upon reading this note, the woman paused, looked at me, then at Emily, and suddenly her scowl turned into a huge smile. She gave me two enthusiastic thumbs up, then stroked Emily’s cheek gently. She could not speak English any better than I could speak Mandarin. But  there was a quiet, unspoken connection, as she nodded, smiled, and showed the note to many of the other dozen women who had gathered around us. All of them started smiling and patting the babies’ cheeks.

By the time we arrived home with Emily, then about four months old, Rachel, almost 17 months old at the time, was thrilled. To her mind, we had brought her back her very own doll to play with. At first Emily was a bit overwhelmed by Rachel’s overpowering personality. But as the months and years went by, Emily stepped out from behind Rachel’s shadow to discover her own equally strong-willed personality.

In their early years with us, every night, we would hold them before putting them down for bed. I would kiss them on the top of their heads and tell them, “I love you to the universe and back.” I have often thought, yes, this is the family I was meant to have.

When Rachel (L) was 17 and Emily (R ) was 16, they traveled with Michele to China for three weeks. During that trip they visited three orphanages. It was their first trip back to China. This was, I believe, a life-changing experience for them. The photo of Emily is my single all-time favorite photo ever taken of her.

When Rachel (L) was 17 and Emily (R ) was 16, they traveled with Michele to China for three weeks. During that trip they visited three orphanages. It was their first trip back to China. This was, I believe, a life-changing experience for them. The photo of Emily is my single all-time favorite photo ever taken of her.

When Rachel was 17 and Emily was 16, they went back to China with Michele one summer as part of a group of adoptive families that visited several tourist sights of China, including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. They also spent several days volunteering at three different orphanages. It was a powerful experience for both of them. Both girls told me how heartbreaking it was to have to say goodbye to these innocent children who most likely would never have the kind of lives Rachel and Emily had experienced.

A day does not go by that I don’t stop to reflect on the miracle that is our adoption journey. Like any other parents, we have had our challenges. And we have made our share of parenting mistakes. Both our girls went through the terrible teenage years in which at times, they would cause us many anxious moments and sometimes endless frustration. But both of them made it through those turbulent years and are leading for the most part happy and productive lives. We are deeply proud of both of them.

I often think about their birth parents and the pain and sadness they must have felt – and continue to feel – over having to make the most difficult decision any parent could possibly make – to let their beautiful babies go, for whatever reasons compelled them to do so. If I could wave a wand and make it possible for Rachel and Emily to meet their birth parents I would do it in a heartbeat. I wish I could somehow meet them just to let them know their baby girl found a good home, had a happy childhood, and is deeply loved.

People have said to Michele and me countless times that our two girls are “so lucky to have been adopted by you guys.” But I don’t see it that way. To me, Michele and I are the lucky ones. As we wrote on our adoption announcements: We didn’t give our two daughters the gift of life. But life gave us the gift of them. And they will forever be the greatest gifts Michele and I have ever been blessed to receive.

That’s the view from the bleachers. And no, I’m definitely not off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

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Trump Exposes Obama’s Long History of Scandals

Trump Exposes Obama’s Long History of Scandals

[Author’s note for the humor-impaired: This is political satire. It is not an actual letter from Trump. I can’t believe I need to include this disclaimer. Geez. – TEJ]


This is your 45th President, Donald J. Trump, here to set the record straight. Lately the Radical Left’s FAKE NEWS media has been airing a series of horrible lies about me and the roughly 47 federal and state civil and criminal investigations targeting me – all of which are totally made-up racist witch hunts.

Every single lawsuit is based on nasty lies. I mean, who are you going to believe: 500 newspapers, most major news networks, the Department of Justice, the House January 6th Committee, the FBI, Attorneys General from multiple states, constitutional scholars, Harvard Law professors, and Liz Cheney? Or me?

All the people attacking me are just jealous they’re not as rich, powerful, or successful as me. I will soon be restored to the White House where I belong. If you don’t believe me, just ask any of my 437 million loyal QAnon followers. They are great people. They love me. And I love them (so long as they help me win in 2024).

My fellow Americans, this is your rightful president, Donald Trump. I’m here to set the record straight. When it comes to corruption, I’m like a perfect Eagle scout compared to the countless nasty crimes and scandals of Obama. Next to Obama, I’m better than Jesus.

My fellow Americans, this is your rightful president, Donald Trump. I’m here to set the record straight. When it comes to corruption, I’m like a perfect Eagle scout compared to the countless nasty crimes and scandals of Obama. Next to Obama, I’m better than Jesus.

I didn’t want to write you this letter (along with my request that you send me another $100 for my legal defense fund). I really didn’t, but if people are going to attack me over a few minor misunderstandings, then I need to fight back. So I’m here to tell you that what they’re trying to dig up on me is nothing compared to the thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands (nobody really knows for sure how deep the corruption goes) of shocking scandals committed by my predecessor while he was in office.

First, all those documents I took to Mar-a-Lago were mine – except for the ones that the FBI planted there. I de-classified all of the documents – even the nuclear codes – like any president has the absolute right to do. All I had to do was simply close my eyes, click my heels, and say three times, “There’s nobody as smart as me.”

But Obama has literally thousands and thousand of documents he stole from the White House at the end of his presidency. He is keeping them – totally against the law, mind you – at his own secret hideout, which the leftwing media and the radical National Archives call “The Barack Obama Presidential Library.” And he refuses to give any of them back. That’s because he’s worried I’ll finally locate his Kenyan birth certificate. It’s probably hidden in some file cabinet in the basement, right next to Hillary’s emails. At least, that’s what Mike (My Pillow) Lindell told me.

And now New York state’s racist, incompetent Attorney General Latitia James has filed a civil lawsuit trying to wipe out my business and go after my three kids, Ivanka, Don Jr, and whatever the other one’s called. She claims I have committed dozens of examples of tax fraud and bank fraud by misrepresenting the values of my real estate holdings. That’s an insane lie and an attack on our country.

If you look at the fine print at the back of the appendix, written in Latin, you’ll see in each document that it says, “The estimated value may be off by a factor of 2,000 percent. I cannot be held liable for any misstatements of value because, let’s face it, I don’t read.” So, if the banks and the IRS relied on my written statements, well, frankly, that’s on them. Besides, who really knows what anything’s worth these days with the market as volatile as it is?”

But whatever minor rounding errors in estimating the value of my properties may have occurred, that’s nothing compared to the financial scandals lurking in B. HUSSEIN Obama’s closet. He sold his house in Chicago for $15,000 OVER-ASKING, in a down market. And the inspection failed to report that the wood floors totally needed to be re-finished. Very suspicious if you ask me. Why isn’t anybody investigating that?

When Biden stole the 2020 election, it was the biggest fraud in our nation’s history – unless you count the time Obama said he’d get us out of Afghanistan – and didn’t!. Okay, so I didn’t either, but he didn’t do it first, so it’s totally his fault. Such a liar.

Obama should have been impeached for this fashion faux pas alone. A beige suit in the White House? Seriously? And his boring tie didn’t even go all the way down to his crotch like my ties do. Truly criminal.

Obama should have been impeached for this fashion faux pas alone. A beige suit in the White House? Seriously? And his boring tie didn’t even go all the way down to his crotch like my ties do. Truly criminal.

Ask any MAGA supporter of mine. They’ll tell you that the 2020 election was stolen. And the only proof the Dems have to offer is that their candidate got 7 million more votes than me. But most of those were from mail-in voters (and blacks and gays), so those votes should never have been counted.

After the election, I created my totally legit Election Defense Fund and raised over $250 million. Now the January 6th Fake Select Committee is claiming I ripped off all those donors. And their only argument is that they can’t find any evidence the Election Defense Fund ever existed. I say, they’re not looking hard enough.

They also claim I pocketed all the money for my own personal gain. But that’s simply not true. I split the money with Jared, Ivanka, and some Saudi friends who guaranteed that if I needed to move there I could not be extradited. Besides, if my supporters want to give me their money, that’s their patriotic right to do that. Did I mention, they love me?

But Obama once was caught stealing from the American people in broad daylight. He stole an entire pack of Topps Major League Baseball cards. And yet he never served a single day at Guantanamo. Perhaps because he was seven at the time. Lame excuse.

A tiny number of women – by which I mean way less than a hundred – have accused me of sexual assault or rape. But they’re all liars – like Stormy Daniels, who claimed I paid her $130,000 to stay quiet about our affair. Not true. I only paid her $100K. (The other $30K was for an espresso maker she sold me.)

Again, this is little league stuff compared to Obama. While president, he was caught helping a woman undress in the Lincoln Bedroom. I refuse to believe his lame explanation that the woman was his wife Michelle and she had just gotten her dress’s zipper stuck.

Because of all the pressure of being president, I will admit that I golfed now and then. I can’t count the exact number of times I golfed at Mar-a-Lago or one of my other resorts at taxpayer expense. I want to say seven, but I could be off by a couple (thousand). But according to Rudy, Obama golfed over 25,000 times during his presidency – that’s practically all he ever did. So lazy. And not once in all of those outings did he ever score a hole-in-one. But I made ten holes in one while president. Just ask Lindsay Graham. He’ll vouch for me. (Because I totally own him.)

Speaking of cheating, I was told by Sean Hannity that he once saw Obama blatantly foul Rep. Louie Gomert in a pickup basketball game with members of Congress. He clearly shoved Louie in the process of shooting. But Obama got away scot-free. No charges were ever filed. Clearly the ref was on the take.

Obama claimed he advocated healthy eating. He said he liked arugula. What is arugula, anyway? Probably some Muslim food. But he lied. Here he is eating a chili dog at the Iowa State Fair. What a hypocrite – something no one has ever accused me of being – EVER!

Obama claimed he advocated healthy eating. He said he liked arugula. What is arugula, anyway? Probably some Muslim food. But he lied. Here he is eating a chili dog at the Iowa State Fair. What a hypocrite – something no one has ever accused me of being – EVER!

But perhaps the biggest scandal of all is that Obama was even allowed to serve as president in the first place. In addition to not being born here, and secretly being a Muslim terrorist, he’s black. Since when did we allow those kind of people to run for the presidency?

When I’m restored to the throne in 2024, I will put an end to allowing blacks and other minorities to hold political office – or vote or live near me. In the meantime, keep following me on my Truth Social. Check out today’s post in which I reveal the shocking truth about Joe Biden: When he was a kid, he used to stutter. Such a loser.

Your Majesty Your REAL President,

 

 

 

Donald J. Trump

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my new View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos. And check out my new book, THE SECRET TO SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS (is Something I Have Never Figured Out. I’ Open to Suggestions).

What You Should Know About Pickleball, America’s Favorite Sport

What You Should Know About Pickleball, America’s Favorite Sport

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country. Why? Personally, my theory is because it’s easy to learn and requires minimal skill or physical exertion – and if you fall, there are three people who can drive you to the hospital.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country. Why? Personally, my theory is because it’s easy to learn and requires minimal skill or physical exertion – and if you fall, there are three people who can drive you to the hospital.

By now, unless you’re living in a cave somewhere in the steppes of Mongolia, you’ve no doubt heard about the fastest growing sport in North America: Pickleball. And if by some odd circumstance you ARE living in a cave in the steppes of Mongolia, how in the heck did this article reach you? Just curious.

As for the rest of us non-Mongolian-steppes-cave dwellers, it seems that everybody is taking up the sport of pickleball – including me. So, here is a quick primer on what you’re missing and what you need to know in case you were curious what all the buzz was about.

Even though few people had ever heard of this sport until three years ago, it’s actually been around a fairly long time: Invented in 1965 by three people from Bainbridge Island, WA, it was named after the dog of one of the three inventors. The dog’s name was “Ball.” I meant to say “Pickles.” I’m just glad his owner gave his dog a normal name like Pickles instead of their original naming idea: Lord Chesterton of Belvedere. Otherwise we’d all be talking about LordChestertonofBelvedereBall.

The first thing you should know about LordChestertonofBelvedereBall, l mean Pickleball, is that you MUST BE OLD in order to play. In most states, the legal minimum is 60 years old. But check the applicable age restrictions in your region. (In North Dakota, you must be 85 – I have no idea why.) The penalty for underage pickleballing is being forced to watch old people play pickleball. Personally, that strikes me as cruel and unusual punishment.

This sport has become wildly popular all throughout America. According to one study, pickleball surged by nearly 40% between 2019 and 2021 to 4.8 million active players. Compare that to the Mayan sport of Pitz, a team sport popular in ancient Mesoamerica which involves a heavy rubber ball that teams try to get through a hoop on the wall. That sport’s popularity has declined markedly to the point that you almost never hear the results of a Pitz match on ESPN anymore. Experts theorize that its dramatic decline in popularity was because it’s a very difficult game to play – and because the losing team’s players had to be sacrificed to the gods.

In stark contrast, in pickleball, losing players are almost never sacrificed to the gods. At worst, they may have to buy a round of beer for their winning opponents at the neighborhood pub. Why is this sport so popular? The answer is that it’s easy to learn, takes only nominal skill to enjoy (a definite plus for me), and does not require much moving around. Perfect for seniors or anyone who is chronically lazy.

The box closest to the net is the KITCHEN. Don’t even think of standing here. If If you’re caught volleying while in the kitchen, you’ll be shunned from all future pickleball matches and pelted with wiffle balls. Pickleballers are a tough crowd.

The box closest to the net is the KITCHEN. Don’t even think of standing here. If If you’re caught volleying while in the kitchen, you’ll be shunned from all future pickleball matches and pelted with wiffle balls. Pickleballers are a tough crowd.

And thanks to COVID, the sport took off in the past two years, as people looked for a safe way to interact with others that did not require them to be indoors or talk about whether they’ve been vaccinated.

Increasingly, longtime tennis and racquetball players have started transitioning to pickleball. This is because they’re getting older and slower, and their younger, faster former tennis / racquetball partners have hinted to them, “Have you ever considered switching to pickleball, buddy?”

Pickleball blends aspects of ping pong, tennis, racquetball, and Pitz – but mostly just the first three aforementioned sports – to create a game that moves quickly and gives players a false sense that they are actually getting a lot of vigorous exercise. They are not.

The game can be played as a singles game between two players or doubles with four. In rare instances, there have been groups of up to 20 players on the court at once, but that’s mostly just when Ms. Warner’s kindergarten class at Beaverton Elementary School storms the pickleball court in in an attempt to create chaos. Kindergarteners are notoriously bad at following the rules of pickleball – or for that matter any other rule Ms. Warner asks them to obey.

To play the game, all you need are a net (slightly lower in height than a tennis court net), a paddle, a wiffle ball, and the ability to count to 11. Skill is not a pre-requisite to play this sport, as evidenced by the fact that several people familiar with my lack of athletic ability have invited me to play.

The rules of pickleball are simple:

  • The ball must land inbounds.
  • Serving must be done at the baseline.
  • The ball must bounce once per side the first two times over the net.
  • The serve must land beyond the back line of the kitchen.
  • Games are played to 11 (win by 2).
If you’re a senior looking for a new sport, and pickleball is not your thing, there are many other sports you can consider. This amazing 78-year-old woman even tried her luck at javelin. Unfortunately, she was facing the wrong direction and almost impaled her Yorkie, Daisy. I’m happy to report Daisy was shaken but otherwise unharmed.

If you’re a senior looking for a new sport, and pickleball is not your thing, there are many other sports you can consider. This amazing 78-year-old woman even tried her luck at javelin. Unfortunately, she was facing the wrong direction and almost impaled her Yorkie, Daisy. I’m happy to report Daisy was shaken but otherwise unharmed.

At this point, you may be asking, “Tim, what is the kitchen?” Glad to see you’re paying attention and didn’t bail after you read the part about Mongolian steppes cave dwellers. Well, the kitchen is an area next to the net where players are not allowed to volley.

“Why is it called the kitchen, Tim?” Because calling it the “laundry room” just sounded silly.

“But Tim, why can’t you volley in the kitchen?” I have no idea why, okay? I didn’t make up this sport. No more questions, please! You’re starting to get annoying.

Pickleball is often played on tennis courts. They paint the pickleball court lines in a different color to help avoid confusion with the tennis boundaries. This is irritating to tennis players. But this is just a short-term problem because within five years, there will be nobody left who still plays tennis. Such a pity.

So, if you’re over 60 and you’re looking for a way to become more active and meet lots of interesting people, my advice is this: Try golf or basketball or kayaking or aerobic water jazzercise. But if none of those sounds like your cup of tea, then definitely give pickleball a try. But if that still sounds like too much effort, then maybe shuffleboard is more your style. I hear it’s making a comeback.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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Put Down Your Dumbbell – Exercise Your Smart Bell Instead

Put Down Your Dumbbell – Exercise Your Smart Bell Instead

Ever since I was young, competing to earn a spot on my high school’s freshman track team, I have regularly exercised. So much so that when I was 35, I even competed in the New York City Marathon. I say I “competed” because that sounds much more impressive than “I jogged and walked” and gives the impression I might have stood a chance of winning. Alas, I came in 5,217th – barely overtaken by the other 5,216 runners ahead of me.

New research shows that exercise can be all in your mind. You can tone your muscles by thinking. So put down the weights and exercise those brain cells instead. And have a carrot. It’s healthier than those M&M’s you’ve been eyeing.

New research shows that exercise can be all in your mind. You can tone your muscles by thinking. So put down the weights and exercise those brain cells instead. And have a carrot. It’s healthier than those M&M’s you’ve been eyeing.

Over the years, I have jogged, cycled, used the treadmill, lifted weights, swam, and played against my brother John in the Summer Olympics on Play Station 4, all in an effort to lose weight and build muscle tone in pursuit of those impossible-to-achieve six-pack abs. The results could only be described as disappointing, as anyone who’s seen me without a shirt on lately will attest.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce I am never going to exercise again. Ever! From now on, I will just think about it. That’s because, I just read an incredible report in the Daily Guardian with the following headline:

Scientists discover just IMAGINING exercising can make you stronger, tone your muscles, and delay or stop muscle atrophy!

Talk about a game changer! In a study by Ohio University, researchers concluded that just thinking of exercising can have the same effects as actually hitting the gym.

First thing tomorrow, I’m putting my elliptical up for sale on Craigs List. I’m confident I can get $50 – just so long as they don’t inspect it too closely or try peddling at any level above 3 (which is when it makes that grinding noise and starts bellowing smoke). In place of the elliptical, I will move in my plaid La-Z-Boy recliner that my wife has always hated. I guess I’ll no longer need all those dumbbells sitting in my basement. I’ll start using my smart bell instead. Get it? (I’m talking about my brain. It’s a play on words – dumbbell, smart bell? Do I have to spell everything out for you?)

I will begin slowly, so that I don’t strain a mental muscle. I’ll probably start out thinking about exercise only fifteen minutes – which, according to my wife, is about ten minutes more than I currently use my cranium in an average day.

Man, am I exhausted. I just spent the past 30 minutes watching this Pilates class video on my phone. Those guys were working out so hard, and I thought about what they were doing the entire time. I could use a massage right about now.

Man, am I exhausted. I just spent the past 30 minutes watching this Pilates class video on my phone. Those guys were working out so hard, and I thought about what they were doing the entire time. I could use a massage right about now.

Over time, I will build up to thinking for 30 minutes about exercising, then 45 minutes, and then eventually, after a few months, a full hour. But I don’t want to over-extend myself, lest I pull a temporal lobe or strain a basal ganglia. I need to pace myself if I am going to succeed at my new regimen of mental gymnastics. Then, before long, I will have the physique I have always dreamed of, plus a lot more time to sit in my new recliner and get caught up on past episodes of The Office.

But I don’t intend to think just about exercise. I intend to expand my cerebration. With this new outlook on life, I’m excited to apply my new cognitive skills to many other activities. Starting next week, if I can stick to my plan, I will start thinking about doing yard work and power washing the driveway. I might even start thinking about helping my wife with making dinner.

Suddenly, I have never felt so motivated to think about helping around the house. I just hope my wife appreciates how much mental energy I have expended thinking about all of this.

As exciting as this breakthrough study is, I want to make sure I don’t abuse my new cranial capacity. For example, I heard about a guy who tried applying this technique to his driving. He was driving 95 mph – a full 40 miles over the posted highway speed limit. A cop pulled him over and the dude tried to explain that he was THINKING about going 55 the entire time. Despite hearing about the study’s remarkable conclusions, the officer still ticketed him. I guess the policeman was not a believer in science.

It’s time for my first workout. They say it’s important to give yourself little rewards along the way in order to keep yourself motivated whenever you begin any new challenging exercise program. That’s why I’m going to reward my mental conditioning session by eating a bowl of Rocky Road ice cream. And no, I’m not just going to think about eating it.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.