Hypocrisy and the World of Contradictions

“Do what you will, this world’s a fiction and is made up of contradiction.” – William Blake

In essence, life is a contradiction, a paradox. We live to die. We lie to protect the truth. We wage war to achieve peace. We seek calm while creating chaos. We poison our bodies to improve our health. We create time-saving technology that increases our workload. We gather knowledge that denies our commonsense. We save money only to spend it. Our wants are not always our needs.

These contradictions flow through life often unnoticed. They’re accepted as part of life. We’ve learned to live with them and to rationalize their existence in thinking things will be better or that things just work that way.

Then there is the self-contradiction that leads to hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is an ugly word, a rotten seed that turns people ugly. No one likes to be called a hypocrite, yet we all harbor some hypocrisy by virtue of being human.

“Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the most part, hypocrisy is sublime. We don’t think about it when we display it. And if we do recognize it, we find a way justify it.

Hypocrites are fakers, sometimes two-faced. They pretend to have certain attitudes, beliefs, principles, values, or feelings when they really do not. They criticize others for doing things they do themselves. They act in a way that contradicts their beliefs and values. They pretend to be somebody they’re not.

Hypocrites lie to themselves without realizing it. They employ two value systems—one for themselves and one for others—and their value system trumps all others.

“No man, for any considerable time, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

How not to be a hypocrite:

· Be true to yourself. Know yourself and be honest with your feelings.

· Live up to your principles. In other words, practice what you preach.

· Understand and accept that every person is unique.

· Don’t ask others to do what you are not willing to do yourself.

Nobody likes a hypocrite, but the truth is, we are all hypocrites at times. Don’t believe it? Then check out the article 20 Ways You are Being a Total Hypocrite.

Photo by arvin febry on Unsplash

How to dress up a hamburger

I’ve eaten hamburgers my whole life, hundreds, maybe thousands of them. I love hamburgers and will always love hamburgers regardless of my almost healthy no-meat eating habits. The hamburger is the all-American food.

I’m not talking about the anemic, fast-food wanna-be variety. I mean the big, fat, juicy 100-percent ground beef burgers you find in the skillet or on the grill. The kind that sizzle, splatter, and pop and make your mouth water and raise your senses to a level of nirvana.

Ode to a hamburger—

Give me a burger with everything on it. Lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes, and onions, too, all stacked high upon it, with mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and a bun crusty and true—what do I care, I’m hungry and my stomach is too.

Yes, I love hamburgers. But a hamburger is just a naked piece of meat if not properly dressed. Too often, hamburgers are haphazardly thrown together. That’s wrong. The hamburger deserves to be served and eaten with honor and dignity.

Over the years, I’ve perfected my way of stacking a hamburger. Let me share it with you.

First, you need a bun, preferably toasted. Spread a layer of mayo on the bottom half of the bun. This is important. A hamburger is full of natural juices. Mayonnaise is a stable emulsion that will absorb the juices from the burger and keep the bun from getting soggy. It also provides a better taste.

Add your burger, and cheese if desired. Now, if you want to take your hamburger beyond the norm, you can add bacon, chili, or whatever. I prefer the true burger, though. Once you start adding, it becomes something else.

Next, add onions, a big slice of tomato, dill pickles, and lettuce. Do not place your lettuce directly on or under the burger. If you do, you risk eating soggy lettuce. Nobody I know likes soggy lettuce.

Take the top half of the bun and spread with mayo, mustard, and ketchup.

Presto! The perfectly dressed, highly fashionable, ready to eat burger. And oh so simple.

Who are my best friends?

We all have friends on one level or the other. Some, we’ve known our entire life, some we’ve never met, some are just work acquaintances, some are nameless conversations in a bar, some are distant, some are near, some are flesh and blood, some are virtual, and some are lost. Some we call our best friends, and they sometimes change. My best friends never change. They are always with me. My best friends are all I need. They give me comfort and a purpose to live. They make me happy. My best friends are my God, my wife, my animals, and myself.

Simple Pleasures

These days, I’m happy just sitting under a tree, walking down a forest path, kicking up dirt on a country road, lying by the shore of a lazy lake, wading a creek bed, sleeping under the stars, making love to the music of night owls and crickets, waking to bird songs, and getting high on the smell of cedar, honeysuckle, and earth after a summer rain.

I have come a long way to find myself in the simple pleasures of life.

“Dumb and Dumber”



GOD: Hey Frank, you know all about gardens and nature — what in the world is going on down there on Earth? What in the world happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and the stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of color by now. All I see are patches of green.

ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. They are called the Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But it is so boring and it’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, bees or birds, only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing it and poisoning any other plants that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and the warm weather probably makes the grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites very happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it has grown a little, they cut it — sometimes two times a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags. GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now let me get this straight: They fertilize it to make it grow and when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep the moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves become compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You’d better sit down, Lord. As soon as the leaves fall, the Suburbanites rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No way!! What do they do to protect the shrubs and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing the leaves away they go out and buy something called mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down the trees and grind them up to make mulch.

GOD: Enough!! I don’t want to think about this anymore. Saint Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE: “Dumb and Dumber,” Lord. It’s a real stupid movie about…….

GOD: Never mind — I think I just heard the whole story from Saint Francis!

My Road

Country RoadWe live in a small German village on a dead end road with only a few houses. The road is barely big enough for two cars—that’s cars, not trucks or tractors—to pass. It’s an old asphalt road that’s been patched up here and there over the years. As a road, it does what it’s suppose to do. It serves its function. It’s a road.

I never thought about that until we were recently informed that the road will be replaced with a new cobblestone road. During a community meeting to discuss the new road, it appeared to me that the 20 or so in attendance didn’t particularly like this plan, especially when we found out we would have to pay for it. Each resident will pay based on the size of their property. I found out that we will have to pay at least 6000 euro (that’s about $9000) for a road we don’t want. As I said, the old road serves its function.

To further show how ridiculous this is, one fellow who doesn’t even live on our road has to pay around 22,000 euro. His property includes some farm fields and about 20 feet or so of one of his fields borders the road. I’m wagering his fields are not even worth that much given that they are farmland not for developing.

Okay, this is Germany so it’s going to happen whether we like it or not. But it got me to thinking about something. I will probably retire in a few years, so Monika and I have started looking for a smaller retirement home somewhere in the world. Right now, we’re looking at Bulgaria. We want a place that is secluded, surrounded by nature instead of neighbors. A place located on a dirt road, or even a mountain or forest trail, where we will be the only traffic and the sole decision makers on what happens on that road.

Yes, I want to live on a dirt road and marvel at its simplicity and beauty every time I drive on it.

A Man and His Dog

Your dog can teach you a lot about life.  For instance:


Take plenty of walks and naps.

Drink lots of water.

Don’t think too much.

Make friends with everyone in the neighborhood.

Don’t go for a run without your ID.

Make the people you love feel welcomed when they come home.

Every now and then, stand out in the rain.


Why do some men have a dog and no wife? Here are some possible explanations.

The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you.

Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.

Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.

A dog’s parents never visit.

Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.

Dogs find you amusing when you’re drunk.

Dogs like to go hunting and fishing.

A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, “If I died, would you get another dog?”

If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.

A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.

If a dog smells another dog on you, they don’t get mad. They just think it’s interesting.

If a dog leaves, it won’t take half of your stuff.

To test this theory, lock your wife and your dog in the garage for an hour. Then open it and see who’s happy to see you.


My Tips for Staying Healthy

I recently turned 62 and over the years, I’ve heard and read all the changing wisdom regarding what we need to do to stay healthy. You have a lot of contradictory information being put out on the benefits and hazards of almost everything. When the so-called experts can’t agree on what’s good or bad for you, how can you possibly know. I think you have to make your own decisions.

Based on my experience and observations, I put together some simple ways to stay healthy. Here they are. You may or may not agree with them.

  • Have a purpose in life.
  • Find things you like to do and do them.
  • Laugh a lot. Be positive. Stay grounded.
  • Find time to relax. Meditate. Read. Do nothing.
  • Get a cat or dog or any pet and love it.
  • Appreciate and respect nature.
  • Find a good person you can share your life with and love that person.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits and fish than meat. Meat is good when eaten in moderation. So is butter and bread. Try to avoid processed foods. Eat natural foods.
  • Make olive oil a major ingredient in your diet.
  • Drink plenty of water. Coffee, tea, and especially red wine are good, too.
  • Exercise. Exercise is not only running, lifting weights, aerobics. It’s any activity that involves movement and burning calories. Walking, gardening, work, and even sex are also exercise. You don’t need a gym or fancy equipment to exercise.

Three Weeks of Silence

I just learned to appreciate the adage “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.” For the past three weeks, I’ve gone through life almost deaf.

It started one morning when I was shaken from my sleep by a loud rumbling, popping noise in my head. A few days prior to that, I had developed the symptoms of a cold, so my first thought was that the cold had reached my head. Then, lying in bed, I realized it was something more serious. My head felt like it had been encased in a concrete block. I couldn’t hear a thing.

When people talked to me, I could only hear muffled sounds. I couldn’t hear food cooking on the stove, couldn’t hear the dogs barking, couldn’t hear the car starting, couldn’t hear the alarm clock, couldn’t hear the telephone ring, couldn’t hear the wind blow, and I couldn’t hear the noisy shoppers as I walked through our busy base shopping mall (this last one was not so bad, though). I spent nearly three weeks in underwater silence.

I finally went to the doctor last week. She could not determine what it was, but prescribed some nasal sprays and allergy tablets. She also found wax buildup in my left ear and in the process of cleaning it out, pulled out a nasty little ball of what I will only describe as ‘stuff.’

My hearing is almost back to normal now, but that incident gave me something to think about. We too often take for granted normal things like hearing, seeing, walking, talking, not realizing how important these normal acts are. We wake up every morning assuming that everything is the same as it was the day before. We don’t even think about the possibility that we might not be able to hear or see or walk or talk or any of a hundred things we do to get us through the day.

Life is precious and fragile. Don’t take it or any part of it for granted. Appreciate what you have because you never know when you might loose it.

Ten Commandments of Human Relations

In today’s fast paced, ever changing, techno world, we’ve forgotten the simple, important things in life. One of those things is human interaction. I did not develop the following list, but I have modified it over the years. When I taught (no matter what the course was), I handed this out to my students as a reminder that we are all humans and should be treated with respect.


  1. Talk to people. Nothing is as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
  2. Smile at people. It takes 72 muscles to frown and only 14 to smile.
  3. Call people by name. To many, the sweetest music is the sound of their own name.
  4. Be friendly and helpful.
  5. Be cordial. Speak and act as though everything you do is a genuine pleasure.
  6. Have a true interest in people. Recognize the uniqueness of others.
  7. Be generous with praise, cautious with criticism.
  8. Be considerate of the feelings of others. There are two or three sides to a controversy: yours, the other side, and, at times, the right one.
  9. Be thoughtful of the opinions of others.
  10. Be alert to give service. What counts most in life is what we do for others. Give more than you take.