The Five-Day Accu-Weather Solar System Forecast

The Five-Day Accu-Weather Solar System Forecast

The five-day accu-weather forecast calls for sunny and seasonably hot weather – on the surface of the sun. Temps are forecast to be somewhat cooler as you head further away from the sun. Going to Neptune? Bring a winter coat.

The five-day accu-weather forecast calls for sunny and seasonably hot weather – on the surface of the sun. Temps are forecast to be somewhat cooler as you head further away from the sun. Going to Neptune? Bring a winter coat.

And now for the latest five-day Accu-Weather Solar System Forecast, we turn to our Cosmological Prognosticator, Venus-Ann Mars. Venus, I hope you have another sunny forecast in store for us.

Thanks, Brad. A lot happening in this portion of the Milky Way galaxy for a Thursday. So let’s get started.

Today’s weather on Mercury – I use the word “weather” loosely, since technically Mercury has no atmosphere – calls for intense radiation and scattered plasma tornadoes. Lows will be – 275 F with an expected high topping out around + 840 degrees. That may be a bit toasty for fans of planet Earth, but for Mercury, that’s actually quite seasonal for wintertime.

Mercury’s two sunset times today are expected to be somewhat later than yesterday, but at this time of year, expect the retrograde motion of the Sun between them to remain the same. And sunset on Mercury is incredible, with the sun appearing two and a half times larger in the sky than seen on Earth. But if you want to catch both sunsets, be patient, as the Mercurian day lasts 58.6 earth days.

As is typical for this portion of its orbital journey, Venus maintains its consistent and perpetual cloud cover with a somewhat uncomfortable high of 870 degrees F and a low of, well, 870 F. And for the next 24 hours, if you’re anywhere near Venus’ equator, I suggest staying indoors unless you absolutely have to go out. That’s because there’s a storm watch for this evening calling for scattered showers of sulfuric acid. Atmospheric pressure stands at 1,350 psi – so, be sure your Venetian vacation venue is adequately pressurized, to avoid being pulverized within seconds from the bone-splitting pressure.

Another reason you might not want to venture outdoors this week on the Venetian surface is due to another expected spike in greenhouse emissions caused by larger than normal levels of CO2 trapped in the planet’s thick atmosphere. And thanks to global temperatures consistently in excess of 800 degrees F, it looks like any remaining liquid on the oceans will be completely boiled off again – for the 4 billionth year in a row. So, if you were looking for oceanfront property on the “Morning Star” planet, my advice is to hold off for another millennium or two.

Turning our telescope to Mars, I’m calling for equatorial highs to reach an unseasonably comfortable 80 F tomorrow. But before you start packing your bathing suit, I should warn you, the lows on the red planet will drop to – 200 F degrees. So, also pack a few layers of yak skin fur coats, just to be safe. And, if you suffer from asthma, you might want to stay indoors because there is a planetary dust storm watch in effect as well.

Looking at the big guy in our solar system, Jupiter once again is experiencing back-to-back hurricanes. A level 9.9 lightning alert has been issued by NASA. Be sure to avoid lower elevations, by which I mean anything near the core of this gaseous giant, as temps are expected to reach 43,000 F degrees. Intense radio emissions will continue at northern latitudes. In fact, radiation in general this time of year is 1,800 times that of the Earth, so, before you head out on a day trip exploring the Jovian planet, you might want to pack some extra Jupiter Screen. I recommend a protection level of 500 or greater.

A special advisory has been issued for Jupiter’s moon Europa. It appears that water geysers have been detected in its southern hemisphere. Divers are advised to remain 500 miles away from these zones, as the tumultuous currents could result in being ejected into deep space. That would be a horrible way to end your European vacation, eh, Brad?

If your travel plans call for a trip to the Ringed Planet, a reminder to avoid attempting to go for a stroll while visiting Saturn. If you tried to walk on its gaseous surface, you’d literally begin a long, perilous descent into the planet, experiencing unpleasantly lethal high temperatures and body-compacting pressures until you were crushed to the size of a walnut as you approached the planet’s core.

If you have a hankering to explore the outer boundaries of our solar system, Uranus or Neptune, be sure to take along a few books because travel time to Uranus, given current space travel technology, is estimated at three years. And during your stop-over on Neptune, eliminate its Great Dark Spot from your tour itinerary. That’s because the Great Dark Spot, which is the size of Earth, is expecting wind gusts topping out at over 700 mph by Thursday. That would be a new wind speed record for planets in our solar system. Good luck holding onto your hat – or surviving.

Here’s a quick look at our forecast for Venus. Same old, same old. Hot and very humid with a chance of late afternoon lava showers.

Here’s a quick look at our forecast for Venus. Same old, same old. Hot and very humid with a chance of late afternoon lava showers.

And if you’re one of those people who still believes Pluto is a planet, I’m pleased to report that spring should arrive on the dwarf planet in just under 60 years, which should give you plenty of time to work out your travel arrangements and update your will.

For you adventure seekers, just a friendly reminder that the methane lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan offer a unique choice for boaters, if you don’t mind the devastatingly toxic fumes. Don’t forget to pack your chemical safety goggles, face shield and CM-7M Military Grade gas mask, before you leave shore.

Just a few other weather reminders. The view of the Sun on Neptune’s moon Triton is expected to be obscured in southern latitudes by the dust and gas geyser. And if you’re planning a pleasure trip to the Mars’ polar ice caps, remember that radiation suits are now mandatory when you’re not confined to a NASA-approved hermetically sealed facility.

Finally, don’t forget about tomorrow’s lunar eclipse on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. Should be quite the sight to see – if you happen to be anywhere near the surface of Jupiter. Unfortunately for me, I’ll still be stuck in Seattle traffic, so I’m afraid I’ll miss it.

That’s it for the weather. Now back to planet earth and Lenny Johnson for sports. Hey, Lenny, are my Seattle Mariners going to have a decent bullpen this year?

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

This week’s post was conceived by and co-written with my good friend William Maxwell, a serious astronomy buff who does astronomical photography and writes about celestial phenomena for various publications. You can check out William’s astro images at www.astrobin.com/users/WilliamM.

 

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.

Undiscovered History: The Secret Jefferson Letters

Undiscovered History: The Secret Jefferson Letters

Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States, Founder of the University of Virginia, and, unfortunately, the father of a heretofore unknown son named Bradley who’d forever embarrass his dad.

Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States, Founder of the University of Virginia, and, unfortunately, the father of a heretofore unknown son named Bradley who’d forever embarrass his dad.

[Note: As a nationally respected historian, I am proud to share never-before-seen correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and his rarely mentioned youngest son, Bradley.

These riveting letters were written between 1786 and 1787, when Jefferson was living in Paris, serving as America’s Ambassador to France. They reveal a side of our third president which few people ever knew. – Tim Jones]

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September 4, 1786

My Dearest Bradley, I miss you, my youngest offspring, more than words can convey. Paris is resplendent. Notwithstanding, I sorely pine for the September leaves of our fair Charlottesville home, Monticello. Know that would that it were up to me, I would be staring upon your youthful countenance at morrow’s dawning. I trust you are faring well as a robust lad of 19 and making the soundest of decisions. Pray tell, how goes thee on this autumnal day?

Your Proud Father, Thomas Jefferson

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October 27, 1786

Dearest Father,

Hello.

Bradley

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November 18, 1786

My Fine Issue, I confess to being modestly disconcerted by the brevity of your rejoinder. Hoping was I that there might be some news of your goings on and the state of affairs at our plantation. I miss you painfully, as I miss our dear bloodhound, Bailey. Do reply anon with an account of your affairs.

Your Humble Father, Thomas Jefferson

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December 4, 1786

Dear Father, I miss Bailey, too.

Bradley

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December 28, 1786

Dearest Bradley, Your most recent missive – if you can call a four-word tiding a “missive” – left me startled and bereft of joy. Is our faithful Bailey indeed no more? Pray assure me, he is merely on the prowl. Details, my lad. I implore you.

Your Concerned Father, Thomas Jefferson

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January 19, 1787

Dear Father, I am as mystified as you. When I returned from prison, Bailey was gone.

Bradley

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One of many drawings and paintings of Jefferson’s beloved home, Monticello. That’s Jefferson on the left, tending to his crops, and Bradley at right, asking his dad if he could lend him $5 until Tuesday.

One of many drawings and paintings of Jefferson’s beloved home, Monticello. That’s Jefferson on the left, tending to his crops, and Bradley at right, asking his dad if he could lend him $5 until Tuesday.

February 10, 1787

Dear Boy, Prison? As in penitentiary? Have my enemies besieged you? What outrageous conspiracy have they spun to detain you thusly? Please delineate, as my fretful state elevates with each passing day.

Your Deeply Troubled Father, Thomas Jefferson

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March 2, 1787,

Dear Father, Do not grieve, pondering a wrongful charge or that some affront to justice prevailed to deprive me of my liberty. I could not have been more guilty. In retrospect, I discern I should not have taken leave of my senses, imbibing insatiable quantities of spirits. Such dereliction diminished my ability to reflect upon the wisdom of my ways before robbing that bank. Lesson learned, papa.

Bradley

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March 18, 1787

Bradley, In God’s name, what hath thou embarked upon? I comprehend it not.  A Jefferson plundering the reserves of a bank? More importantly, when did my young son start taking to the drink? I beseech thee, for the love of our Lord, explain to your father what possessed you to ransack a depository institution?

Your Distraught Progenitor, Thomas Jefferson

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April 8, 1787

Dear Father, I blame myself. I felt my pecuniary options were limited after I sold Monticello to those Egyptian fraudsters, who promised in return we would take ownership of one of the great pyramids. Imagine my chagrin upon learning they had no such title of ownership to grant us said pyramids. I shall never again endeavor to engage in commerce with grifting Egyptians.

Bradley

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April 22, 1787

Son, Surely ye jest! It cannot be that my cherished Monticello, of which I was the architect and builder, is no longer my place of refuge? How could you permit this? Are you daft?

Your Father – for the moment at least, TJ

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May 6, 1787

Father, I guess I just was not thinking straight, ever since Mother passed.

Bradley 

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May 19, 1787

Frivolous Boy, What in a French Harlot’s name (forgive my foul discourse) are you declaring now? That your mother, the love of my life, is with God? How came this to be? Answers! Now! Answers!

TJ

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Jefferson loved his dogs, especially his pride bloodhound, Bailey, shown here. Jefferson, while a genius in many ways, made several mistakes in life – most notably entrusting Bailey to his son, Bradley.

Jefferson loved his dogs, especially his pride bloodhound, Bailey, shown here. Jefferson, while a genius in many ways, made several mistakes in life – most notably entrusting Bailey to his son, Bradley.

June 3, 1787

Father, I did not want to bother you with trivialities. I know you’ve a full plate, feasting with French Kings and Viscounts. Be assured, Mother suffered no pain, as she was sound asleep when her rowboat careened over Niagara Falls. I am comforted knowing she no doubt met her Maker in an instant.

Bradley

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June 22, 1787

Muttonheaded Moron, I almost pause in dread, pondering the sagacity of imploring you for an elucidation of your mother’s passage on a rowboat destined for such treacherous waters. Withal, I can hold back no longer. What possible circumstance emboldened her to embark on such an ill-fated terminal voyage?

Jefferson

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July 4, 1787

Father, I can merely speculate as to her motive for taking that ill-omened journey. But were I to hazard a divination, I might posit that she was ill-suited to a life of homelessness and prostitution.

Bradley

PS: Happy 4th of July, father!

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July 20, 1787,

F*ck 4th of July!, Homelessness? Prostitution?! We have countless properties suitable for dwelling, though not of the magnitude of Monticello. I am befuddled with consternation.

Jefferson

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August 3, 1787

Dad, I was low on funds. Gambling is a surprisingly tricky business.

Bradley

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August 22, 1787

Son, Bradley, Gambling? You dimwitted toad! Just how much of my assets did you squander?

Father TJ

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September 3, 1787

Dearest Dad, If you count your landholdings, farmsteads, and stock, along with the gold coins and other financial instruments, plus the horses and cattle, not to mention the slaves, well … all of it. However, nothing could part me from the quill pen with which you signed the Declaration of Independence. That will be worth thousands someday.

Bradley

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September 30, 1787

You Treacherous, Capricious, Malevolent Cad, I will be on the first ship bound for Baltimore. When next I gaze upon you, my reckless, foolhardy former heir, I assure you, I will seize that quill pen from your wretched hand and deposit it where no light shineth. You are no son of mine.

Thomas Jefferson

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That was the final correspondence between father and son. Interestingly, little is known about Bradley Jefferson’s life after that last communique. Some historians point to a report of a dead body found at the base of Niagara Falls, with a quill pen and a copy of the Declaration of Independence stuck up his posterior. Could that have been Bradley? We may never know.

On a positive note, they eventually found Jefferson’s dog, Bailey. So the story has a happy ending.

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

[Postscript: Because once in a while there is a reader who can’t tell fact from fiction, let me set the record straight. Jefferson never had a bloodhound named Bailey, nor a son named Bradley. I also made up the character named Thomas Jefferson. No such person ever existed.]

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021. Edited by Betsy Jones.

Trump’s Final Days – As Reported by Different Media

Trump’s Final Days – As Reported by Different Media

[The following is political satire and not necessarily the news.]

OANN is the first major conservative news media outlet to report on President Trump’s flawless speech at his Jan 6th DC STOP THE STEAL rally where he urged his fervent supporters to break into the Capitol and force VP Pence to certify the election for him – but do it in a polite, orderly, non-violent, totally legal fashion.

OANN is the first major conservative news media outlet to report on President Trump’s flawless speech at his Jan 6th DC STOP THE STEAL rally where he urged his fervent supporters to break into the Capitol and force VP Pence to certify the election for him – but do it in a polite, orderly, non-violent, totally legal fashion.

In looking back over Donald Trump’s tumultuous final 2 & 1/2 months in office, the storm of chaotic tweets, rallies and related events only intensified, as the countdown clock ticked down the final days and hours of his historically scandal-plagued presidency.

But you might not know that, based on how some of the rightwing news media outlets covered these same events.

Here are some of the more notable “breaking news” events of the final weeks of the Trump Administration, as captured by headlines from the mainstream media – and by some on the far right.

November 3, 2020 – Election night in America

The New York Times: Trump Leads in Early Tallies; Biden Closing Gap as Mail-in Ballots are Counted.

The Washington Post: Too Close to Call. Trump’s Election Night Lead Dwindling

Fox News: Trump Wins in Historic Landslide. Biden on Suicide Watch After Humiliating Defeat 

Breitbart: If You Don’t Count Blue States, Trump Delivers Biden Crushing Defeat 

November 7, 2020 – the day the presidential election is officially called for Biden 

Politico: JOE BIDEN DECLARED 46th PRESIDENT OF USA

CNN: BIDEN WINS, 306 to 272 Electoral Votes; Wins 7 Million More Votes Than Trump

Newsmax: Massive Election Fraud Temporarily Delays Nationwide Celebrations for Trump’s Comeback Re-election Landslide Win 

Info Wars: Joe Biden Continues to Deny He Held Under-Age Girls as Sex Slaves in his Wilmington Duplex 

December 12, 2020 – the day Trump’s STOP THE STEAL rally in DC erupted in chaos and injuries 

Fox News Trump, having successfully completed his historic 4-year plan to Make America Great Again, will take time off from his presidential duties for some down time. But he promises to get right back to work as your president after a brief 4-year golfing sabbatical.

Fox News Trump, having successfully completed his historic 4-year plan to Make America Great Again, will take time off from his presidential duties for some down time. But he promises to get right back to work as your president after a brief 4-year golfing sabbatical.

NPR: 4 Stabbed, 33 Arrested After Trump Supporters, Counter-Protesters Clash In D.C. 

ABC News: Violent clashes between pro-Trump protesters and Black Lives Matter supporters as Trump Rally Goes Off the Rails

One America News Network (OANN): Antifa Black Lives Matter Protestors Mar Peaceful Trump Rally by Jumping in Front of Trump Supporters’ Knives, Assault Rifles, and Mace 

Rush Limbaugh: God Told Me in a Dream That Anyone Who Opposes Trump Will Burn Forever in Hell 

January 2, 2021 – the day Trump called the Georgia Secretary of State to pressure him to find him 11,780 votes 

The Wall Street Journal: Trump, in Recorded Call, Pressures Georgia Sec. of State to ‘Find’ Him Votes

The Atlanta Journal Constitution: Trump, in Taped Call, Pressured Georgia Official to Find Votes to Overturn Election

The Drudge Report: Georgia Sec. of State Offers Trump 11,780 Votes. Offended, Trump Politely Declines

Fox News: Tennessee Woman Fosters 100 Cats; Neighbors Consider Her a Saint 

January 6, 2021 – the day Congress convened to certify the election results, which was marred when fanatical Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building 

CNN: Incited by the President, Pro-Trump Rioters Violently Storm the Capitol

Reuters: Trump Supporters Storm the Capitol to Attack Democracy

Newsmax: Breaking News: Eating Apple Pie Can Help You Lose Weight 

Hannity Radio: Alaska Jogger Smashes Ice to Rescue Dog, Then Continues His Run 

January 8, 2021 – the day Twitter permanently banned Trump from its social media platform 

The New York Times: Twitter Permanently Bans Trump, Capping Online Revolt

USA Today: Twitter Bans Trump’s Account, Citing Risk of Further Violence

OANN: Trump Quits Twitter to Protest Media Bias. “I’ll never be back,” He Defiantly Proclaims!

The Daily Caller: Trump Bails on Twitter to Launch a Competitor. Twitter Loses 90% of Its Users in 4 Hours.

January 13, 2021 – the day the House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time

Newsmax’ Top Story for January 20, 2021: Mrs. Gladys McCloskey of Brattleboro, VT is the grand prize winner in the Wyndham County Quilting Fair. She wins for the third time in five years. Way to go, Gladys.

Newsmax’ Top Story for January 20, 2021: Mrs. Gladys McCloskey of Brattleboro, VT is the grand prize winner in the Wyndham County Quilting Fair. She wins for the third time in five years. Way to go, Gladys.

The Los Angeles Times: House, With Some G.O.P. Support, Votes to Impeach Trump a Historic Second Time

The Huffington Post: President Trump Becomes First President Ever to be Impeached Twice 

Fox News: Breaking News: Hillary Clinton’s Emails Finally Prove She’s the Anti-Christ 

Epoch Times: New Poll Shows 79 Million Americans Want to Ban Congress Permanently 

January 20, 2021 – the day Joe Biden was inaugurated as our 46th President 

US News & World Report: Joe Biden Becomes 46th President Amidst Grave Threats of Further Violence

The Atlantic: IT’S OFFICIAL. BIDEN IS 46th PRESIDENT!

Newsmax: Trump Announces Plans for a Four-Year Hiatus to Rest Up for Historic Second Term

The Glenn Beck Program: Trump Shocks World by Voluntarily Leaving White House, Calling it a Dump; Plans to Move to a Much Classier Residence (just as soon as he can find a country without an extradition treaty with the USA)

It appears I have been missing out on several important news stories that the mainstream media simply refuses to report.

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

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.

You’re as Good as Anyone Else – Well, Almost

You’re as Good as Anyone Else – Well, Almost

Look at all these happy, successful, well-adjusted people. Makes you feel a tad inadequate, right? But you have a basement apartment and live alone with Chester, your parakeet. I’m certain none of them has that. So who’s the real winner in this story?

Look at all these happy, successful, well-adjusted people. Makes you feel a tad inadequate, right? But you have a basement apartment and live alone with Chester, your parakeet. I’m certain none of them has that. So who’s the real winner in this story?

In our technological world, nonstop streams of tweets, Instagram photos, Facebook posts, and texts bombard us by the minute – unless you’re Amish. As a result, we non-Amish folk are exposed to an onslaught of messages reminding us we’re not good enough, not attractive enough, or not successful enough – or all of the above, like my shiftless, irresponsible nephew Axel, who wins the trifecta. Alas, we live in an increasingly superficial world.

Most people can’t live up to the impossible standards imposed by TV and online ads with perfectly proportioned people telling us how to become slimmer, earn more money, and save up to 15% on our car insurance.

My advice: STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE. You are as good as anybody else in this world (except, of course, George Clooney or Scarlett Johansson). It would also be foolhardy to compare yourself to an incredible success story like me. You might be surprised to learn that I’m a nationally sought-after expert on how to lead a happy, successful and emotionally fulfilling life. (That’s because it is a lie. I do tend to lie a lot, but in my defense, I only do this when I’m conscious.) I have written countless books on leading an effective life, including such titles as  YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE – Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time, and …, um, well, okay, just that one book, actually.

Let’s look at some common areas where people yearn to keep up with, and surpass, the Joneses – or at least this Jones.

Wealth: Why is everybody obsessed with being rich? Experts like me agree that lasting happiness can’t be measured by one’s net worth. It’s about being present each day and enjoying the small pleasures in life, like a walk in a park, reading a good book, or taking a month-long Mediterranean cruise in a first-class cabin. Look at that ostentatious Maserati in your cavernous three-car garage. You’re not fooling anybody. That man toy isn’t going to bring you long-term joy. Let me take it off your hands, so you can plant a garden instead. There’s nothing more heavenly than plunging your hands into the rich earth (unless you consider driving a Maserati – that’s Heaven).

It is perfectly natural to envy people who seem to have it all. Take this couple. They are rich beyond your wildest dreams, own five houses, and spend their winters on Mykonos. Two weeks after this photo was taken, she caught him cheating and ran over him in her Bentley. He’s dead. She’s in prison. So, the story has a happy ending.

It is perfectly natural to envy people who seem to have it all. Take this couple. They are rich beyond your wildest dreams, own five houses, and spend their winters on Mykonos. Two weeks after this photo was taken, she caught him cheating and ran over him in her Bentley. He’s dead. She’s in prison. So, the story has a happy ending.

Career Success: I remember as a twenty-something always trying to impress my work colleagues. I was determined to claw my way over those co-workers to scale the corporate ladder of success. Then I became a dad and realized the true meaning of success: making sure my two toddler daughters didn’t claw their way over each other and accidentally kill their sibling.

So what if you never make it to VP, with a corner office on the 27th floor? Based on your 2.0 college GPA and your series of odd jobs arranged by your uncle, it’s amazing you landed that job at Dunkin’ Donuts. Don’t fret that you might be a disappointment to your parents – that’s a given. In my book you’re a superstar, buddy.

Physical Beauty: Stop what you’re doing and go look in the bathroom mirror. What do you see? No, I’m not talking about that zit that wasn’t there yesterday. Look at the face staring back at you. Look deep within those eyes. Even if you’re not technically “attractive” or you’re just “average looking” or even “mildly repulsive,” my point is that real beauty is on the inside.

The only people who care about your external appearance are members of the opposite sex, your own sex, potential employers, and anyone with a vowel in their name. Personally, I like you just the way you are – but I would suggest trimming your beard. You’re starting to look like a Duck Dynasty dude. And consider covering up that “I Love MY Mom” tattoo; a nice sentiment, but not a winner with the ladies.

Creative Talent: My wife is an annoyingly talented artist, having been commissioned to paint the official portraits of governors, symphony conductors, and Pentagon officials. Next to her, it would be easy for me to feel insecure about my own artistic capabilities. That’s because the most creative artwork I ever produced was a clay bear in first grade – but in hindsight it does kind of look a toaster. No wonder my teacher used it as a door stop.

Do these peoples' chiseled bodies make you feel bad about your own physique? Don’t fret. They were born that way. So how can you feel better about your paunch? No clue. Nope, I got nothing.

Do these peoples’ chiseled bodies make you feel bad about your own physique? Don’t fret. They were born that way. So how can you feel better about your paunch? No clue. Nope, I got nothing.

Furthermore, I live on an island of exceptional people, Take Jack down the road who makes violins by hand. Or the O’Shea’s who built their own home using nothing but debris they found lying on the beach. Perhaps driftwood wasn’t the most sound choice of building materials, but you get my drift.

My point is that we all have our own creative gifts if we look hard enough. For example, scrunching up your laundered clothes rather than the traditional folding represents a free and uninhibited spirit. Or how about the innovative way you’ve let your dirty dishes stack up for the past three weeks. Very Jackson Pollock. And pungent.

Popularity: Everybody wants to be liked. It’s only human. I’ve been wanting my kids to like me since 2003. But sometimes we have to stop worrying about the opinion of others and ask ourselves, “Do I like myself?” In the end, isn’t that what really matters?

Who cares how many Facebook friends you have? (For the record, I have 5,857.) Or your number of Twitter followers (4,242). It doesn’t matter. This isn’t a competition (though good luck topping my numbers). I would rather have one close friend than 500 casual acquaintances – unless one of those acquaintances could introduce me to Scarlett Johansson, in which case, Adios, Amigo.

In the grand scheme of things, it comes down to this: Before you try to get others to love you, start by learning to love yourself. And if your life is such a mess that you simply can’t love yourself (I‘m looking at you, nephew Axel), don’t worry. Just get a dog. He’ll unconditionally love you more than your parents ever did.

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.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021. Edited by Betsy Jones.

Twelve Teachers

Twelve Teachers

Top Row (L to R): My mom, my older brothers Bob and John Second Row: My sister Betsy, Bill Anderson, Steve Fisher Third Row: Dale Willman, Mark Gravel, Tim Fletcher Bottom Row: My elder daughter Rachel, my younger daughter Emily, and my wife and soulmate, Michele

Top Row (L to R): My mom, my older brothers Bob and John; Second Row: My sister Betsy, Bill Anderson, Steve Fisher; Third Row: Dale Willman, Mark Gravel, Tim Fletcher
Bottom Row: My elder daughter Rachel, my younger daughter Emily, and my wife and soulmate, Michele

Growing up, I had many dedicated teachers. A decades-belated thank you to Mrs. Perkins (4th grade), Mr. Nash (English), and General Verbeck (biology), and Mr. Vandenberg (Latin I, 2 and, thanks to my friend Steve Fisher, who knows what he did, Latin 3). My learning, however, did not end with my formal education. I have been blessed to have had many capable managers and mentors throughout my career. Thank you, Alan Horton, Jerry Parichy, Valerie Sanford, Chris Noble, and Cynthia Clay, to name a few.

As I look back over the past 65 years, I realize that some of the most impactful educators I’ve had have been family members and friends. There are twelve individuals who stand out as the most influential teachers in my life. This week’s column is about them.

My mom, Betty Clark (she remarried). At one month shy of turning 100 years old, she is, amazingly, still with us. A WW II veteran and mother of five, she endured a difficult marriage to a husband who suffered from serious, untreated mental illness and chronic anger management issues. She had the courage to leave this situation in an era when women did not seek divorce. Having not worked outside the home in 28 years, she set out to get a job and became a dietician at the VA. She reclaimed life by traveling to many countries, her favorite being Israel. Now in a nursing home, she rallies on, showing all around her that she still has a wit. She is always game for a good laugh – just check out her photo above, taken at age 97. People ask me, “Tim, why is it that you smile so much?” That’s simple. Thanks, mom.

Bob Jones. Our nine year age gap kept me from getting to know my oldest brother when I was young. But as I entered my career, we became re-acquainted by discussing career and life challenges. Bob became a “big brother” mentor to me and taught me the importance of understanding myself and my impact on others. From Bob, I learned to look for the positive in situations and people. As a result, throughout my career, I posted on my wall these words: “Catch them doing something right.”

John Jones. My second oldest brother, five years my senior, John was the All-American boy. Growing up, he was my role model. I wanted to be just like him. I still do. He is modest to a fault and has always been the rock of our family. When there was a crisis, John was the steady hand willing to intervene to calm the waters. Over time, I have come to appreciate how kind and caring a person John is – and funny. And he taught me to love sports and playing board games – I can’t forget about that!

Betsy Jones. I could write a book about my younger sister. She has been the editor of my blog these past 11 years. (I’ll be curious to see how she edits this description of her.) When we were little, because we were the two youngest, we became very close. She is the historian of my childhood, with a memory of details I had long forgotten. Nobody I know has endured more hardship and heartbreak than my sister. But every time she has been knocked down, she gets back up. Betsy is the most resilient person I have ever known – and one of funniest. She has an expanding universe of friends because like me, they see in her one of the most giving, selfless people you will ever find. [No edits. Thanks – Your editor] 

Bill Anderson. If you want to know why I sometimes (okay, usually) act like an 11-year-old, blame Bill. Bill is my oldest friend. We met in 4th grade because our dads were best friends. For the past five decades, Bill has reminded me of the importance of staying young at heart and not taking life too seriously. When we get together, we revert to high schoolers. Bill is a person of deep faith, and one of the most high-integrity people I have ever known. He has taught me, better than just about anyone else, the importance of working to maintain a close friendship, despite the physical distance between us most of our lives.

Steve Fisher. Some may ask where I developed my warped sense of humor. Look no further. Steve is the funniest person I have ever met. I launched this humor blog, in part, to honor him for teaching me how to make others laugh. We met in 7th grade and he has kept me howling with laughter ever since. Steve also taught me the meaning of courage. Ten years ago, he almost died from a devastating illness that left him with life-altering physical injuries. But through it all, he has demonstrated enormous courage and self-deprecating humor. Steve is my hero.

Dale Willman. Dale and I met early in our modeling careers. Yes, we were models, for a one-off fashion shoot, hired by a  mutual friend, for reasons neither of us will ever understand. Shortly after we met, my father died quite unexpectedly. Dale responded in a way that sealed our lifelong friendship: he came to the funeral. He turned out to be an unexpected source of strength that I leaned on in my time of grief. A journalist, Dale has worked and taught all over the world, and instilled in me the value of broadening my worldview. Like me, Dale has a small teddy bear called Grumpy that he takes to exotic places, although only my Grumpy has been to the North Pole (get over it, Dale).

Mark Gravel. I worked in the newspaper industry for 9 years and there is only one person I keep in touch with from that era: Mark. In addition to possessing a wickedly sharp sense of humor (he has co-written several of my humor articles), Mark loves doing surprises and practical jokes. But even more importantly, Mark exudes a genuineness, a kindness, and a deep desire to put the needs of others before himself. In the dictionary under the word “Gentleman” there should be a picture of Mark, for he truly is just that – even if he is Canadian, like my wife.

Tim Fletcher. I have always admired Tim’s first name. But beyond that, my soft-spoken friend is a remarkable dad. We became friends while working at an internet startup, When I was struggling with trying to unlock the mysteries of parenting my then teenage daughters, Tim repeatedly provided an understanding ear and wise counsel to help me become a better dad. For several years, Tim has grappled with a serious illness. But through it all, he has accepted his physical limitations with positivity, grace, and a stubborn refusal to be blocked from pursuing a full life.

Rachel Jones. From a young age, my elder daughter has demonstrated a strong independent streak. I will always remember when at four years of age, as I tried to help her, she insisted, “I do it myself, Daddy.” She became extremely self-reliant and responsible far beyond her age. Her sense of determination and her work ethic astound me, be it on the soccer field or pursuing her passion of becoming a nurse. Now 26 and a cardiology nurse, Rachel has matured into a confident, hardworking adult. Most inspiring is her deeply caring heart, for her patients, her family, and her cats (not sure in which order). She teaches me all the time what it means to put the needs of others before one’s own.

Emily Jones. When she was a teenager, she and her sister taught me the importance of patience in parenting. At 4’11” tall, Em has always been the shortest person in any group photo. But she’s never let that stop her from pursuing the highest of goals in life, and with a passion. She is fearless and doesn’t let obstacles deter her from her dreams. Extremely smart and resourceful, in college she once asked me, “Dad, do you know anybody at Space X?” Of course, I didn’t. Two days later, using just LinkedIn, she corralled an interview. A week later, Space X hired her in their elite intern program. Over the years, she has amazed me with her giving heart, often surprising my wife and me with the most extraordinary gifts out of the blue (including my very cool Space X shirt.)

Michele Rushworth. When we said our wedding vows, I told her, “I want to grow old with you.” Those words ring just as true 33 years later. I am proud of everything she has achieved with her art. She has helped to push me outside my comfort zone to try new things (even fish). A voracious reader, she has educated me about other cultures, history, and science. It was Michele who suggested we pursue international adoption. She had the idea for us to move to an island I had never heard of. And whatever I learned about being a caring, patient parent, I learned in great part from my best friend’s example. Our daughters could not have asked for a better mom. It has been a privilege and a joy to be growing old – that is, older – with my wife, Michele.

I have had many truly wonderful friends throughout my life, including many people who space constraints simply don’t permit me to mention. As I get older, I’ve learned that true wealth is measured not by the size of one’s bank account but by the number of meaningful friendships we have in life. On this scale, I’m rich beyond my wildest dreams. I owe a debt of gratitude I’ll never be able to repay to these twelve funny, kind, extraordinary teachers, and to others not mentioned (due to witness protection constraints). Thank you all.

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

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020. Edited by Betsy Jones