Since Brad has been attending Eastern Michigan University, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time in the Ann Arbor – Ypsilanti area. Each time I go there, I do my best to find new places to go and hangout for a bite to eat. I have my usual favorites that I’ve documented here and here. This time around, I managed to discover a few new places.
A little over a year ago, I made the decision to curb my carb intake significantly. Yes, it was a choice. I was so influenced by the books Grain Brain and Wheat Belly that I decided it was best to cut out breads and grain-based products. It was tough for the first month or two. I like bread, and I missed it.
Fast forward a year later, and I’ve gotten over it. I don’t miss bread. I don’t miss grains either, with one exception. Pasta was one meal I just couldn’t give up. Spaghetti dinners are a staple around our house. With our homemade sauce, I just couldn’t let go. I had to find some way, any way, that I could rationalize and enjoy a good bowl of noodles drenched in marinara and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
How did I rationalize my decision to eat pasta? We make it ourselves. Granted, it’s still eating wheat, but I choose the ingredients.
The first presidential election that I voted in was 1992. George Bush was running for re-election against democratic challenger Bill Clinton and Texas businessman Ross Perot. Nearly 25 years later, our most recent election had another Clinton running for office. Within those 25 years, we’ve also had another Bush as president and yet another Bush who attempted his own presidential bid in 2016.
After thinking about it, it occurred to me that a Bush or Clinton has been involved in every presidential election since 1980 with the exception of 2012. They have either been the Republican or Democratic choice for president, been involved in the primaries, or been on the ticket as vice-president. Put another way, a Bush, a Clinton, or both has been a part of 9 of the past 10 presidential elections.
The prominence of these two families in American politics made me question, are we living in a democracy or an oligarchy?
January 2016 – “OK, so I wasn’t going to grow it again this year, but I did. This time let’s retire the beard for a few years, for real.”
October 2016 – “I guess I should grow it out again. This time I’ll start earlier and keep it trimmed much shorter.”
November 2016 – “Short is good, but I should let it grow out over the end of year holidays.”
December 2016 – “Letting it grow out wasn’t such a good idea. Let’s cut it back for the beginning of the new year.”
January 2017 – “I don’t know why I did this again. This time around, I’m serious about retiring it.”
So yeah, I was a little all over the place this year. The lead-in photo was the longest and thickest it got. That photo was taken around the end of 2016. To be honest, I’m not sure why I let it go, but I did. After that, I cut it back and wore the look below for the first two weeks of this year.
I just finished organizing my book wish list. It’s grown to nearly 180 books. if you look at my reading pace, around 25 books a year over the last three years, I have seven years worth of books in my queue. Given the pace at which I add books to my list, there are books I will never get to. Therefore, I have to have a system for creating and prioritizing my annual reading list.
After coming up woefully short of my reading goal of 36 books in 2015, I set a goal of 30 for last year. I managed to get in 25. It’s the same number I completed in 2015, and just shy of the 27 I read in 2014. Out of the 25 books I read last year, the good news is that 21 of them came from my 2016 reading list. It’s good sign that I managed to stay true to my plan for the year. I attribute it to having goals, reading themes, and trusted sources that I use to populate the list. I’m going to use the same process for my 2017 reading list, which I will be publishing in the next few days.
Even though the number of books read in 2016 were the same as 2015, it felt like 2016 was a more productive year for reading. I read quite a few good books. Here’s the best of the bunch that I would recommend you add to your reading list for the upcoming year. As in the past, I’ve broken the list into General Recommendations, Business Books, and Fun Reads.
For 2016 I had three main fitness goals around working out, walking and diet. I’m pretty pleased at how I did for the year, but there is always room for improvement. For 2017, I’m not planning any major changes in my routine, just some refinements. I’m also going to put a stretch goal or two in place to challenge myself a bit more.
Here’s a more detailed look at the results of 2016 and my goals for the next year.
Overall, I’m fairly pleased. Just the fact that I’ve kept it at for longer than a month or two is more than can be said of 95% of the blogs that are started. I would like to post more, but I’m still working at becoming a more prolific writer. Believe me, it’s not a lack of topics that’s holding me back. I have a backlog of approximately 75 items. In other words, having something to write about it isn’t a problem. As those who know me can attest, I have (too) many opinions on way too many diverse topics.
Anyway, let’s get on with the 2016 state of the blog.
The college football bowl season, or what I like to call the “football silly season”, is underway. How silly are the games? Even star, NFL-caliber players are realizing that risking a future career in the NFL and their earning potential is not worth playing one more meaningless game.
What college football needs is more games with meaning. When I see NCAA president Mark Emmert say that he would like to see the college football playoff expand to eight teams, my quick response is, “So do I!” I’m so serious about my desire for an expanded playoff that I put together my proposed bracket based upon the final CFP rankings.
Let’s look at all the reasons why an 8-team playoff makes sense.
After this past election, in which the two party system failed us, it’s time we dropped the label of third-party for candidates who aren’t a democrat or republican. While I can’t say that I relate to Penn Jilette, he’s right. A vote for people representing parties other than democrats or republicans is not a wasted a vote. Plain and simple, it’s a vote.
What’s most disappointing is how the mainstream media, and even prominent figures, continue to label the other parties as “third” parties and a waste of effort. It was very disappointing to see Seth Godin, whose blog I follow, promote the two party system. It feels like we have all been brain-washed to believe that there should only be two candidates that we should consider for office which are put forth by the powers who be. I don’t get it, and I don’t like it.