Wednesday, October 16, 2019

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOObesity

When I was a Sophomore in high school (back in 1980), the obesity rate in the U.S. for youth ages 12 to 19 was five percent. Now, about 40 years later, it is 20 percent. Yes, 20 PERCENT! American teenagers are heavier than ever and it has become such a 'norm' in our society that people are truly just accepting it as the new normal.

What about adults? Adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in nine states, 30 percent in 31 states, and 25 percent in 48 states. Mississippi and West Virginia have the highest adult obesity rate at 39 percent and Colorado has the lowest at 23 percent. Between 2017 and 2018, the adult obesity rate increased in Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, and Utah, it decreased in Alaska, and remained stable in the rest of states and in Washington D.C.

Yesterday, one of my sons -- who is in attendance at a university -- sent me a text to tell me that he was writing a paper about obesity and that he was including information about me and my ultra-endurance running endeavors to promote youth health and fitness. It's nice to know that my son remembers what I did many years ago when he was between the ages of 6 and 11.

I have written countless times in this blog about America's (and the world's) obesity problem. Unfortunately, things are not getting better. I'm proud of my son for writing about the topic in one of his university classes. It's going to take young people talking more about it in order to turn things around. I'm in my mid-50s and I can often see the eyes of young people glaze over when I start to talk about America's obesity issue. However, younger voices stand a greater chance of actually being listened to. So, let's go young people! Get talking about it, and then get to changing it!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Friday, October 11, 2019

Scientific and Technical Inventions and Innovations Since 1965

A recent conversation with my 21-year-old son, Kyler, was about technology and advancements that have occurred over my lifetime. I took a look at some of the most prominent and/or popular inventions for each year since my birth in 1965.

In fact, there have been numerous scientific and technological innovations that many would say have revolutionized our lives, including:
  • 1965 -- Kevlar (body armor)
  • 1966 -- Surveyor 1 Satellite
  • 1967 -- Coronary Bypass Surgery
  • 1968 -- Integrated Computer Systems
  • 1969 -- Smoke Detector
  • 1970 -- Fiber Optics
  • 1971 -- Floppy Disk
  • 1972 -- Electronic Ignition
  • 1973 -- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • 1974 -- Rubik’s Cube
  • 1975 -- Digital Camera
  • 1976 -- Supercomputer
  • 1977 -- Video Game Console
  • 1978 -- Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • 1979 -- Sony Walkman
  • 1980 -- Compact Disc
  • 1981 -- Personal Computer
  • 1982 -- Artificial Heart
  • 1983 -- Microsoft Word
  • 1984 -- DNA Fingerprinting
  • 1985 -- Microsoft Windows
  • 1986 -- Electronic Mailing List
  • 1987 -- Disposable Camera
  • 1988 -- Caller ID
  • 1989 -- World Wide Web
  • 1990 -- Photoshop
  • 1991 -- First Internet Website Launched
  • 1992 -- Text Messaging
  • 1993 -- Cell Phone
  • 1994 -- Sony PlayStation
  • 1995 -- Scroll Wheel (on a computer mouse)
  • 1996 -- DVD
  • 1997 -- Hybrid Car
  • 1998 -- International Space Station
  • 1999 -- Bluetooth Version 1.0
  • 2000 -- Camera Phone
  • 2001 -- Wikipedia
  • 2002 -- Blu-ray Disc
  • 2003 -- Digital Guitar
  • 2004 -- Facebook
  • 2005 -- Google Maps
  • 2006 -- Nintendo Wii
  • 2007 -- iPhone
  • 2008 -- Android-powered smartphone
  • 2009 -- Bitcoin
  • 2010 -- Siri
  • 2011 -- Medical Mirror
  • 2012 -- Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset
  • 2013 -- Google Glass
  • 2014 -- The Selfie Stick
  • 2015 -- Self-balancing 'Hoverboard' Scooter
  • 2016 -- Amazon Echo
  • 2017 -- Fidget Spinners
  • 2018 -- Metal 3D Printing
  • 2019 -- Solar Roadways
Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Have You Ever Heard of the St. Therese of Lisieux Sacrifice Beads?

I was recently given some very special beads by my friend, Rita — who is the Director of Religious Education at the church my family attends. The background of the beads begins with St. Therese of Lisieux, a Patron Saint of Missions that died of an illness at the young age of 24, back in 1897. As a Carmelite nun, she actually never went on missions, never founded a religious order, and never performed great works. However, her conscious choice to do good deeds and to make little daily sacrifices showed that even the smallest of gestures can have a profound and lasting impact.

As a child, St. Therese of Lisieux carried a string of beads with her, to count the little gifts of sacrifice and virtue she offered to God every day. She wrote: “What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love.” The beads, which are in my pocket and not just for kids, are a simple way to keep count of little acts of love and sacrifice offered to God. A bead is pulled toward the cross for each act — and it stays in place. Ten beads... ten daily acts! Thank you, Rita, for my 'Good Deed Beads!'

1 Timothy 6:6 — "Godliness with contentment is great gain."

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

I Wore a Pink Dress for 8 Hours -- But Kept My Head Out of The Toilet!

I was recently digging in the back of my closet and came across a shirt that I've had since 1980 -- when I was a Sophomore in high school. In fact, it's the oldest piece of clothing I have. You're probably wondering why in the world I would keep a shirt for nearly 40 years... a shirt that I haven't worn since I was 15 years old. Well, there's a story behind the shirt!

First of all, I must say that the shirt is in pretty good condition after nearly 4 decades! It's a blue Adidas shirt with three white stripes down each arm. I probably only wore the shirt a couple dozen times before it got pushed to the back of my dresser -- but somehow it always managed to make it into a moving box as I relocated here and there throughout the years.

At the start of my 10th grade year in August 1980, I joined the high school cross country running team. I had a good season running with the varsity squad and "lettered" -- earning another running pin to my high school letter jacket. Immediately after the cross country season, I was invited to pledge to our high school's Lettermans' Club. The club was for those who earned a varsity high school letter and wanted to join other letterman in promoting the school and (supposedly) be role models. However, getting in the club was actually an experience I'll never forget.

Back in 1980, the high school I attended allowed the seniors to control the "initiation" process into Lettermans' Club. I'm sure that many of the tactics that they employed back then would result in suspensions if done in today's academic world. The instructions I was given by the senior Lettermen were clear: Show up at the school Monday morning at 6:30 A.M. to begin a day of "initiation." That was it! I remember showing up at the crack of dawn one late October day at my Alaska high school along with 6 other brave guys willing to do what was necessary to get into the club. Girls were also allowed to go through initiation, but they were separate from the guys.

I recall standing shoulder to shoulder with other wide-eyed guys facing the senior Letterman on a sidewalk next to the school... in the dark... seeing nothing more than the cold fog from each breath we let out. The first challenge was to run around the entire school as fast as possible. The first one to complete the challenge wouldn't have to do the next challenge. Suffice it to say, I wasn't going to lose -- and I didn't. By doing so, I didn't have to get a candy bar out of the toilet with only my mouth! Yes, that was the sort of thing that went on!

We were then brought inside and taken to the boys' locker room, where we had to strip down to nothing but our underwear. We were given girl dresses to put on (mine was pink with a white lace around the collar) and were instructed to wear them all day until school was dismissed at 3:00 PM. If we took our dress off, we were eliminated from consideration for Letterman's Club. I put the dress on and then felt a slap to the top of my head from behind. One of the seniors had slapped grease on my head and I was told to keep it on all day... under a little plastic red fireman's hat, which clashed badly with my pink dress. I recall having to cross my legs in class the entire day, and the amount of whistles and teasing I endured for the next 8 hours was terrible. Regardless, I wore the dress and fireman's hat all day.

We were told that whenever a Lettermans' Club senior told you to do something in between classes, we were to do it or be eliminated. One of my most embarrassing moments came when a senior put a roll of toilet paper on the crowded hallway floor and told me to roll it up a ramp -- while on my hands and knees -- using only my nose. Of course, in my pink dress and fireman's hat, it wasn't easy, and my backside was exposed several times as my dress was lifted up by others. However, I managed to accomplish the challenge... but definitely lost dignity in the process!

There were other challenges that we had to do, some before school and some after. For instance, when we were told to undress before being given our girl dresses to put on, we were blindfolded temporarily -- which was just long enough for the senior Letterman to bring some girls into the locker room to see us standing there in just our underwear. Again, if some of their actions were done today, they would likely be suspended or expelled. We had to do a naked obstacle course, or sorts, in the locker room and other embarrassing tasks. Regardless, I endured the entire day and was given the shirt that I've had for almost 40 years.

Every time I look at the shirt I remember what I endured to get it... the humiliation, the teasing, the downright juvenile and idiotic treatment. It was as though I willingly accepted being bullied just to get into a club of morons. I guess the shirt is a reminder to me that a person should never put aside their principles or shelve their self respect for the mere amusement of others and a chance to join a club. At the end of the school day I handed the senior Lettermen the pink dress with one hand and took the blue Adidas shirt with my other hand. The shirt meant that I was in the club, and I took it home.

It was then that my father announced, to my great surprise, that our family would be moving out of town within the month. All that I had endured was for nothing. However, the humiliating experience did instill in me a deep conviction to never again compromise my principles or self respect. It was my first and last initiation experience!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Monday, September 30, 2019

Some Schools Are Starting to Install Vape Detectors to Curb Vaping

Earlier this month, the Olentangy local school board in Ohio voted to install vape detectors in its four high schools. They are spending nearly $64,000 on the detectors. Many other American schools have either installed or are considering vape detectors. The sensor devices, which resembled smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, can detect vaping in places such as bathrooms or closets -- the kind of places where kids have tried to smoke for decades.

Some of the vape detectors are even equipped to detect THC oil, a compound found in marijuana, and pick up sound abnormalities like shouting, which could be helpful in preventing bullying. Once detected, a notification is sent to administrators, who can then step in and stop the culprit.

Ten schools in New Jersey have implemented vape detecting technology, and several schools in Chicago, Illinois have done the same. Instead of punishing students, schools are encouraged to provide them with counseling. Also, anti-vaping clubs and assemblies have been increasing in schools across the country.

It's great to see proactive steps being taken in preventing students from smoking e-cigarettes.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Friday, September 27, 2019

Too Much Physical Exertion Appears To Make The Brain Tired

On my drive to the office this morning, I was listening to NPR on the radio and it was reporting on a study of endurance athletes that was published this week in the journal Current Biology. Researchers found that after several weeks of over training, athletes became more likely to choose immediate gratification over long-term rewards. At the same time, brain scans showed the athletes had decreased activity in an area of the brain involved in decision-making. The finding could explain why some elite athletes see their performance decline when they work out too much — a phenomenon known as over-training syndrome.

Essentially, when an athlete trains too hard, a sort of brain fatigue sets in and the person has less ability to push their body. Other research teams have also found evidence that physical exertion can affect both decision-making and brain activity.

One of the researchers said, "We find that people as they have repeatedly exerted effort over time, they tend to be less willing to continue exerting effort for rewards. But the brain may not be simply choosing between long-term goals versus immediate gratification. The calculus may be more about cost and benefit."

Research suggests that when the body becomes physically depleted, the brain begins to experience "motivational fatigue," which affects decision-making. When that happens, the brain may not consider it worth it anymore to wait for higher rewards. The brain appears to be constantly reassessing the value of a goal. So, your brain is constantly asking: is it still worth the effort? And the answer to that question may change as the body's level of fatigue increases.

Having pushed my body to extreme levels for many years (2005 through 2011) as I ran solo across the United States, Germany, Alaska, the Mojave Desert and other locations, I can tell you that motivational fatigue is real and there were certainly times when my brain was telling my body to stop... but I pushed forward anyway. I accomplished every ultra-endurance run I attempted. There was a price to pay for that, both physically and mentally. As many know, I retired a few years ago from extreme endurance running. Since running across the Mojave Desert in 2011, I haven't taken on any ultra-running challenges. In many ways, I feel that my life as a whole is now much healthier, more balanced, and more enjoyable.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Thursday, September 26, 2019

How Often You Poop Should Tell You Something About Your Health

Some might say that my blog topic choice for today stinks!

Did you know that your bowel movements are one of the easiest ways to gauge your wellness and predict any oncoming or current health issues? The characteristics of your poop can indicate everything from bacterial infections, to letting you know if you need more of a particular food group in your diet.

A recent survey of thousands of people showed that 50 percent report pooping once a day, on average. About 28 percent report pooping twice a day, and slightly more than 5 percent report only pooping once or twice a week. How often you poop can be impacted by a number of variables, including your fluid intake, diet, exercise, hormones, and stress.

In some cases, the frequency of your bowel movements may indicate that you have a health issue, or that you may be developing one. Before you get your colon in a knot, you should know that pooping more than once a day doesn't mean that you should be dashing to see a doctor. Alcohol, sugary drinks, and eating your food too fast can make you poop more regularly. However, if you’re making several trips to the bathroom in a day, and your stool is mushy, loose, or watery... there may be some need for concern.

Often times, the amount of fiber intake is a cause of more frequent bowel movements, but depending on the consistency of your poop, it may indicate that you have an underlying digestive health issue that needs to be addressed. Be sure to check out the Bristol Stool Chart.

Also, experts say that pooping more than once a day may mean that you're feeling more stressed or anxious than usual. In fact, research has shown that your digestive health is directly linked your mental health. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control, diarrhea is also a universal symptom of many common illnesses, such as food poisoning and a stomach virus.

Medical experts agree that chronic health conditions may also impact the amount you poop -- these issues involving the intestines, pancreas, or gallbladder because these organs are essential for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and removing waste. Also, people with food allergies, food intolerances, and pancreatic insufficiency may have more frequent bowel movements.

Knowing and understanding your own body and what frequency of bowel movement is 'normal' for you is essential to determining whether or not the frequency should be cause for concern. As noted from the survey results, pooping once a day is a solid average. Just be aware of how much you poop on average, and if it fluctuates it will be an indication into the state of your health.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

A New Children's Book by the Director of the Boston Marathon

Its been almost 13 years since I ran into the Atlantic Ocean to finish my solo run across the United States. Back then, I was encouraged by Dave McGillivray -- the Boston Marathon race director who has personally run 156 marathons, including 47 Boston Marathons (32 of them were run after the race was over and he was off the clock as race director, including last year after having triple bypass surgery). Dave sent me words of encouragement as I worked at running over 3,200 miles across the country.

This month, Dave released his second children’s book: Running Across America: A True Story of Dreams, Determination and Heading for Home -- which he wrote with Nancy Feehrer. The book is about his 3,452-mile run across America in 1978, from Medford, Oregon, to Boston, Massachusetts.

Here's what Dave has said about the book: "There’s a lot of messages in “Running Across America” ... about understanding your own ability, setting goals and then the hurdles along the way. Sometimes you don’t anticipate them or you can’t train for them, so you have to deal with them as they come at you — whether it’s running over the Rocky Mountains or running through a swarm of grasshoppers. Whatever it might be, we’re all confronted on a daily basis with challenges and hurdles. It’s just a matter of how you process them and how you deal with them."

Shortly after finishing my coast-to-coast run, I thought about putting together a children's book that would feature my support stroller as sort of a character... and which would be the voice of what it's like to go across the entire country. My book project never left the starting line, but perhaps in my retirement years I'll pen it out.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Odds of One Person Fulfilling 300+ Prophecies: Only Jesus!

Recently, I saw an elderly gentleman standing on a street corner holding a white board with black writing announcing that Jesus is coming back soon. There are many Scripture verses which contain words about Jesus Christ returning to earth from Heaven (such as Matthew 24:36; Revelation 1:7; John 14:3). In fact, a national survey conducted a few years ago showed that 48 percent of American Christians believe that Jesus will return in the next 40 years.

Scholars have determined that the Bible contains more than 1,800 predictions (some that are very specific!) and that about 25 percent of the Bible is prophecy. Unlike any other book in existence, the Bible offers a multitude of specific predictions (some hundreds of years in advance!) that have been literally fulfilled or point to a definite future time when they will come true.

For instance, the Bible contains hundreds of fulfilled prophecies specifically about the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, such as: He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); He would sojourn in Egypt (Hosea 11:1); He would live in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1–2); He would enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9); He would die with transgressors and be buried in the tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9, 12); He would be resurrected after three days (Matthew 12:40; Hosea 6:2).

Hundreds of Bible prophecies accurately foretold specific details of Jesus' life, centuries before He lived. How do Bible prophecies compare to today's predictions by men and women? A recent survey found that nearly 40 percent of Americans believe in psychics. However, a study of 25 top-rated psychics revealed that 92 percent of their predictions were completely wrong, while the remaining 8 percent could be explained by chance or general knowledge of circumstances.

The prophecies about Jesus are in the Old Testament, which is the part of the Bible that was written before Jesus was born. The Old Testament was completed hundreds of years before Jesus' birth and it contains over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled through His life, death, resurrection and ascension. Mathematically speaking, the odds of anyone fulfilling this amount of prophecy are unfathomable. Mathematicians put it this way:
  • 1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000
  • 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power
  • 1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Only Jesus!
The 22nd chapter of the Book of Revelation, verse 12, quotes Jesus as saying: "... I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." Based on the number of prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ, I'll choose to believe -- regardless of how Jesus may define the word "soon."

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Monday, September 23, 2019

My Dad is as Old as Chocolate Chip Cookies!

My father's 86th birthday is next week and my mother recently took this photo of him -- which she modified the color of in a photo editor. You can see him sitting in an old wooden chair outside of a rustic Alaskan cabin. He's been married to my mother for 65 years and they enjoy living in the middle of Alaska's wilderness in a beautiful home that my father built himself (not the cabin shown in the photo!). They raised seven children and are quite content to see out their remaining years side-by-side in the beauty of Alaska.

Recently, I was thinking about all that my father has seen develop in the world during his lifetime. He was born in 1933 when Franklin D. Roosevelt was the U.S. President. The average annual wage was $1,550.00 and a gallon of gas cost 10 cents. My father can say that he's older than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco since construction began the year he was born and wasn't completed until 1937. Also, back in 1933 Wiley Post became the first person to fly solo around the world, and Albert Einstein emigrated to the United States from Germany. Also, my father was born in the year that the first drive-in movie theater was opened in America.

Can you imagine being born the same year that the chocolate chip cookie was invented, or when the board game Monopoly was created? My Dad can say that he was born when those things came into existence! He has certainly seen a lot in his 86 years! His path in life has taken him to many places, and at the age of 43 he took our family to Alaska to live and that is truly home for him. He likes to share that beautiful state with others through his drone photography, which you can see here.

My Dad was born 32 years before I was and although he gets to say that he's as old as chocolate chip cookies, I can say that I was born in the same year as The Pillsbury Doughboy -- 'Poppin' Fresh' (1965). Hmm... just doesn't sound as cool as saying you're as old as a cookie!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Thursday, September 19, 2019

How Many People Have a Jogging Stroller With 10,000 Miles On It?

As most people know, a few years ago I retired from running across states and countries. Over the course of several years, I had pushed a B.O.B. Ironman Sport Utility Stroller thousands of miles across states and countries while promoting youth health and fitness -- giving countless presentations at schools and on military bases. When I first got that stroller in the spring of 2006, it came with an owner's manual that outlined many warnings of what to do and not do. Of course, I wasn't pushing a child in the stroller, but rather gear -- food, water, tent, clothes, electronics, and more.

Here are some of the "Warnings" from the manual that came with my 2006 B.O.B. Ironman Sport Utility Stroller -- and some comments about my use of it.

"The parking brake is not designed as a stopping brake. The brake should not be used to slow or stop the stroller." -- When you're running down the Rocky Mountains or the Appalachian Mountains at a grade of 6 to 11 percent with a heavy stroller of gear, believe me... you will use any braking options available! So, I did indeed use the parking brake as a brake to slow and stop the stroller. It broke about two-thirds of the way across America and had to be replaced.

"Do not attach parcels or bags to the handle or frame of stroller... as stroller can become unstable and tip over." -- I chuckled when I first read this. As you can see from the photo accompanying this writing, I had gear bags on the stroller, a food bag, and water reservoirs hanging off of each side. I had all of it pretty well balanced so that the stroller would stay upright.

"The maximum load of the stroller is 70 pounds. Do not exceed maximum load as stroller will become unstable." -- As I ran across America, Germany, Alaska and Montana, the weight of the stroller was around 70 pounds. However, when I ran across the Mojave it was weighing in at around 100 pounds due to the amount of extra water that I had on the stroller. It did just fine and definitely proved to me that it can withstand more than 70 pounds.

"The stroller is not equipped for use after dark." -- I regularly ran with the stroller in the dark. In order to be safe, I placed reflective tape on the stroller as well as lights that illuminated from the front and back.

"Do not use stroller on stairs or steep inclines. Stroller can tip over." -- The maximum incline I had the stroller on was an 11 percent grade in the Appalachian mountains, and also in a portion of Germany. It took some strength to keep it under control, but I managed. Also, I typically hauled the loaded stroller up and down stairs in hotels and other locations. The shocks on it held up just fine.

"Never pull a loaded stroller backwards up stairs. Doing so could damage the suspension system - leading to frame failure." -- I did this many times due to the extreme weight of the stroller. it was much easier to haul it upstairs by pulling it backwards. After nearly 10,000 miles, the frame has yet to fail.

"Always use Wrist Safety Strap." -- I never used it. Not once. The strap was just a nuisance considering the amount of hours I was on the road each day. However, if  you had a child in the stroller, using the safety strap would be wise!

If you'd like to see my B.O.B. stroller in action, click on any of the links below -- which will take you to online photo albums from my running adventures:
By the way, Runner's World magazine ranked the B.O.B. stroller as its Editor's Choice for 2019. After all of these years, the B.O.B. (Beast Of Burden) stroller is still coming out on top!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

"Tempest" -- My High School Garage Band From 1982-1983



During my senior year of high school (1982-1983), some friends and I formed a garage band. We primarily played to an audience of four people... ourselves! Gerald, Dwayne, Frank and I would try to play some popular songs of the early 80's. We didn't really get 'gigs' -- especially anything that paid money, but did play at a couple of bonfires. Each of us had some average teen music abilities. I was primarily on acoustic guitar and provided some vocals; Gerald was on electric guitar; Dwayne played guitar and bass, and sang as well; and, Frank was on drums and saxophone. Again, it was truly a 'garage band.'

We decided early on that we should have a name for our band. Since I was the yearbook editor and a writer on the school newspaper, I was nominated to come up with the name -- because I was supposedly good with words. I listened to some recordings of us playing our instruments and there was a certain roar to it, perhaps because we primarily played guitars and were inexperienced with reverb settings on our amps. It reminded me of a strong, raging wind. So, I chose the name "Tempest" -- which literally means a violent, windy storm. In the years following, I would learn of other bands forming under the name "Tempest," including a Christian rock band and a Celtic rock band.

When it came time to graduate from high school, we all went our separate ways. The raging wind of "Tempest" blew out and I haven't been in touch with those guys for over 30 years. Since high school, my 'band' involvement has primarily been on church worship teams. However, I haven't done that for about 15 years or so.

Recently, my 22-year-old step-daughter Rachel (who has a wonderful singing voice!) and I have been talking about possibly putting some songs together for "Open Mic" nights at local spots. In fact, my sweet wife recently purchased a six-string guitar for me so that I'll have a new one that can plug into an amp. Of course, I also have my 12-string acoustic guitar that I enjoy as well. So, perhaps I'll be playing my guitars again in front of people. Its been 36 years since the days of Tempest, but I think I can still manage to put some songs together.

I've shared before in this blog that I've been playing guitar since 1975, when I was ten years old. I'm self taught and although I have no idea how to read sheet music, I tend to figure out songs by ear. That's how I first learned how to play nearly 45 years ago. Back then, I listened to a lot of John Denver music on the radio.

Guitar has been, and always will be, a part of my life. My guitars have gathered a lot of dust over the years as I've been busy with other things -- such as raising children; working at my office; running across states and countries; and, so many other things that have taken priority in life. I no longer look like the 18-year-old guy I was with Tempest, as shown in the photos accompanying this post. My hair has receded over the years and I no longer wear sunglasses just because I think it's cool. However, I still love playing the guitar and when it comes right down to it... you have to love the instrument more than the hair. The instrument has more staying power!

These days, the sound from my guitar isn't like a raging wind, but perhaps that's a good thing!  And, I don't have to worry about my hair getting in my eyes when I play. Yep... I have to try and find the positives anywhere I can!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Staso Standard Bleich-Soda of the 1930's

I'm always interested to learn about something related to my last name, Staso. Earlier this year, I wrote a post about my surname. Recently, I learned that the name 'Staso' was also on a German detergent package back in the 1930's. The "Staso Standard Bleich-Soda" was used for bleaching cotton and linen in the textile industry, for bleaching wood pulp in paper factories, and for bleaching washed clothes in laundry.

The Staso brand of bleaching soda never became popular enough to truly compete with "Henkel's Bleich-Soda" -- the leading bleaching soda product in Germany at that time.

I wonder if my German ancestors used the Staso Standard Bleich-Soda.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso

Monday, September 16, 2019

"Stop And Smell The Roses" -- Count Your Many Blessings Everyday!

The phrase "stop and smell the roses" is a way of saying slow down, enjoy life, notice the beauty along the way. I find that the older I get, the more I understand that phrase. As a 54-year-old man who works a full-time job, is a father and step-father of eight, and partners with my wife on maintaining our home... I stop more. I not only notice beauty in nature, but I'll pause to really take it in. The photo accompanying this writing is one that I took last week on my drive home from the office. I could have kept my foot on the gas pedal and just glanced at the scene in front of me, but instead I actually pulled the car over, got out, and stood there taking it in. The green grass with hints of yellow combined with the brown road, the red barn with it's white roof, and the deep blue sky with a pending storm truly captured my attention. It was a "stop and smell the roses" moment -- and I decided to capture a photo of it.

If you haven't stopped lately to appreciate things, make today a day to do so! When I was 9 years old, a singer by the name of Mac Davis released a song titled: Stop And Smell The Roses. I want to share those lyrics with you:
Hey Mister
Where you going in such a hurry
Don't you think it's time you realized
There's a whole lot more to life than work and worry
The sweetest things in life are free
And there right before your eyes
 
You got to stop and smell the roses
You've got to count your many blessings everyday
You're gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don't stop and smell the roses along the way
 
Before you went to work this morning in the city
Did you spend some time with your family
Did you kiss your wife and tell her that she's pretty
Did you take your children to your breast and love them tenderly
 
You got to stop and smell the roses
You've got to count your many blessings everyday
You're gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don't stop and smell the roses along the way
 
Did you ever take a walk through the forest
Stop and dream a while among the trees
Well you can look up through the leaves right straight to heaven
You can almost hear the voice of God
In each any every breeze
 
You got to stop and smell the roses
You've got to count your many blessings everyday
You're gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don't stop and smell the roses along the way
Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso