Saturday, October 25, 2014


One of my favorite mustached heroes, Ron Swanson (aka Nick Offerman),
sporting the perfect mustache.An exemplary example of true masculinity

Ok, dear readers, now for one of my more edgier* and serious blog topics: Movember.  One week from today begins the important month, Movember. Yes, Movember. It is a time in which some of the masculine among us will begin growing mustaches.  Movember is actually fun and humorous, but it also is a worthwhile global movement about a serious issue: to increase awareness & raise money for men's health issues, particularly testicular & prostrate cancer.  

As one who had a mustache for over twenty-five years (with a few exceptions; I did cut it off when my youngest son was born in 1995). Two years ago I grew a beard, something I often do during the winter. I have always considered myself a red-head, although in recent years it has become darker and a different color (especially after several months of chemotherapy a few years back). But when I grow facial hair, it comes in much brighter red, much like when I was younger. Although there is some noticable gray here & there in the mustache & beard, too.

In the Spring of 2013, I shaved off both the beard & mustache. I've now been without a mustache for a year and a half. Although I've gotten used to it, it took a long while to get used to being entirely clean-shaven. I was told I looked different, even 'funny' without it. Someone even referenced Homer Simpson (I presume this wasn't complimentary). I thought it made me look ten years younger. This is the longest I've been without a mustache during my adulthood.

After thinking about the extremely harsh winter last year, I thought it would be entirely appropriate to grow the beard (and mustache) in anticipation for another frigid winter. My bare face about froze dozens of times last winter. Recalling the 'Movember' event, I thought, "what a great time to grow the facial hair back." It would only be for a few months, because my wife dislikes my beard. Just only until the threat of scraping ice off the windshield has passed. Then I'll probably return to my 'ole clean shaven, baby-faced countenance.

However, after some very diligent research at the Movember website, I discovered there are 5 rules for Movember. Among these rules: no beards. Just the 'stache.' So beginning next Saturday, I will be growing only the mustache. The beard will have to wait until sometime later, probably sometime shortly before the snow is knee deep and the outdoor temperature can freeze boiling water in seconds.

So, back to mustaches. A good mustache compliments a man's face. It should exude confidence, strength and virility. Many great men of history have carefully cultivated the 'stache (e.g. Ron Swanson). There are certain characteristics of mustache growing that a man should follow. One needs not try to mess with it much during during the first month (which is about the time it takes to properly grow out). After the first month, a guy should ensure it is well-groomed. Then there is the issue of what kind of mustache you want to grow (there are whole website devoted to the many different styles...and arguments seem to be infinite. Your significant other will most certainly appreciate an occasional trimming of the 'stache, especially during instances of smooching. They probably don't enjoy sharing whatever leftover crumbs of lunch you may have hiding there. May I also suggest for your mustache research needs perusing an excerpt from Mr. Swanson's Mustache Manifesto (warning, there are some off-color things on this site).

So while assiduously delving into this most austere of subjects, I thought about some of the more famous guys sporting great 'staches. (Not to leave out any of the fairer sex, I just can't think of many attractive & popular ladies with hairy upper lips).  I would argue that most of the ladies out there find some of the more handsome and attractive men sporting the 'stache. My I suggest looking closely at these gentlemen's fine mustaches:

And then there are some guys that mustaches provide a certain distinguished look:

And then there are some rather funny looking mustaches:

And, of course, how could I leave out one of my most favorite political & historical figures, a true American Hero: President Teddy Roosevelt.

Possibly the Greatest President!

So, as we approach the hallowed month of Movember, I encourage any of my potential male friends to join the movement. Become a Mo Bro. You can sign up here! And remember, all silliness and kidding aside, it does help bring awareness of serious men's health issue, something that is often ignored, perhaps because of the its seemingly awkward and sensitive nature. The Movember site even has the ability for us to join/create teams, if so desired.

And, just because I do enjoy a bit of trivial things, take a look at the following famous mustaches and see if you can correctly guess who they belong to:

You can also play TV Guide's Mustache guessing game here.

Happy mustache growing, my Mo Bros!

*See Diveboard-Dave Makes a Return. This statement here is my sad attempt at humor & facetiousness. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Never Waste a Crisis

"You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before"            
                                                                                                                                               ~Rahm Emanuel, former Obama Chief of Staff

Presuming that you have not been living in a cave during this past month (and if so, hopefully, it wasn't in a bat cave in Kenya),  you cannot have possibly missed the ubiquitous media discussions about the CDC, NIH, and Ebola. You may have even watched the recent political television commercial, "Republican Cuts Kill" produced by Agenda Project, a New York City-based progressive political non-profit group. You just might get the not-so-subtle hint that Republicans are solely responsible for most of the world's evils (and from the tone of the video, after they spend time denying crucial funding for the CDC & NIH, they probably eat babies in their leisure time).  

As a student of politics, I'll admit it's a rather impressive video, with powerful, heart-breaking images. It gives the appearance that the homework has been done, and ties it all together so nicely at the end, with a call to action: Vote.  Project Agenda has produced a convincing and poignant video. It's also extraordinarily deceitful and misleading.

The fact is that the National Institute of Health's budget more than doubled between the years of 1996 and 2005 from $14.8 to $32.4 billion. After the stimulus bill, NIH spending shot up to $36.1 billion. The Centers for Disease Control's budget follows a similar pattern. CDC's annual budget in 1996 was $3.1 million, skyrocketing to a high of $7.5 billion in 2010. The CDC's 2014 budget has been tempered to $6.8 billion, but still quite a chunk of change.


Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, stated, '"Aid that a decade of stagnant spending has "slowed down" research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe. NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'" Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. "Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready."'

Now for the absurd things that have been largely unreported and ignored by most in the media.  National Review's article, "The CDC's Laughable Pet Project"  reports a colossal waste of the additional funding. Among the various projects National Review reports that the NIH & CDC paid for: 

  • "The new Arlen Specter Headquarters (named after the chairman of the CDC’s appropriations committee) cost $110 million — including $10 million for furniture alone — a cost of $12,000 per employee. The nearby fitness center included $200,000 for light-shows, saunas, and zero-gravity “mood chairs” — all free for employees on CDC’s Atlanta campus."

  • $1.7 million spent to make sure "Hollywood's portrayals of medical portrayals on TV shows are accurate."

  • A CDC-funded Stop AIDS Project in San Francisco included a four-part erotic-writing workshop, “practical tips for friendly relations” with prostitutes, and a “bar night” for HIV-positive men. 

  • $667,000 for a study on the health benefits of rerun television.

  • $1 million on the sexual proclivities of fruit flies

  • The agency also spent $117,000 in taxpayers' grant dollars to discover that most chimpanzees are right-handed
  • Other winners of NIH grants consumed $325,000 to learn that marriages are happier when wives calm down more quickly during arguments with their husbands.
  •  $257,000 to make an online game as a companion to first lady Michelle Obama's White House garden. 
  • $939,000 to find out that male fruit flies prefer to romance younger females because the girl-flies' hormone levels drop over time.
  • $550,000 to determine that heavy drinking by people in their 30's can lead to feelings of immaturity.
  • Researchers at the University of Kentucky were given $181,000 to study how cocaine 'enhanced' the sex drive of the Japanese quail. 
  • Another NIH project included $2.4 million to develop 'origami' condoms designed with Japanese folding paper in mind.

During a time of alleged austerity and tight budgets (all federal employee's wages were supposedly frozen between 2010 and 2013), there were still some creative ways to dole out $25 million dollars in bonuses to certain elites at the CDC.  Think about the roughly $7 billion dollars per year spent at the CDC over the last few years, and then we are told that "Republican Cuts Kill."  Well, you know what else kills? Stupidity. Precious resources have been squandered on trivial pet projects at the expense of critical research that could save lives during a pandemic. Stupidity. Unfortunately, those in charge who allowed the gross mismanagement of tax money will likely never be held accountable.  

Progressive groups like the Agenda Project can put together a campaign to assign blame and quickly politicize the Ebola crisis, essentially using volatile situations and hot button issues to further their own political goals. They are good at distilling a potential crisis and turning it into a means to further their agenda. 

Americans need to see beyond the propaganda. Duplicitous pundits can spin things in such a way that can give primate scat the appearance of fine European chocolates.  Take the time to dig a little further and get the facts. Truth should win every time, but we must be courageous enough to withstand the adversarial rhetoric when asking legitimate questions. Get past the smoke and mirrors, and you will discover a bureaucratic government that has not only allowed gross mismanagement and frivolous spending on pet projects, but propagated it. No doubt some U.S. officials are more concerned about avoiding political blow back and saving their own backsides, than how such a mess was permitted in the first place.  If there was competent leadership at these government agencies, the United States wouldn't seem so unprepared for Ebola and other potential pandemic viruses. The red herring of 'lack of funding' (insert: by a certain, evil party in Congress) makes for a much easier and sensational scapegoat.  Left-wing groups can repeat falsehoods enough times, and soon myths become facts in some people's minds.    

Maybe I'm just a good 'ole frugal and simple-minded Hoosier. Call me provincial, but it frustrates me to no end to read about abuse and mismanagement of hard-earned American tax money which we regularly and willing fork over to Uncle Sam, for ludicrous pet projects which have no merit or value. Worse, the diverted funds never went to the things that could prove to be life-sustaining during a national crisis. This wasted money is gone, forever. These precious resources should have been responsibly allocated in accordance with the NIH & CDC's mission to truly ensure the health & safety of our fellow citizens.  Let someone who believes studying why monkeys fling their dung, or creating designer origami condoms to be of such national importance, fund it on their own darn dime!

Meanwhile, beware of scary videos that simplistically assign blame, and conveniently fail to mention the rest of the story. It's what they don't say that says the most. 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Diveboard-Dave makes a return.

For those who follow my blog, my long absence from writing may have been noticeable. I'm no different than lots of other folks when real-life happens. Sometimes, no matter how much one wants to do the things they love, other important things (read: work, family, life's unexpected surprises, and any number of things that takes precedence) leaves little time for other stuff.

Time is one of those ever elusive things. We all wish we had more of it, and there's seemingly never enough hours in the day to do everything one enjoys. As you may guess, I love to write. If fate would permit, I would love to spend a great deal of my time writing. My dream is sit in my home office, overlooking the fields and woods in the distance, with a great cup of strong coffee and typing away about whatever issue has stirred my literary indulgence, with the terrific silent countryside (aww...silence--a post for another day) interrupted only by the occasional sound of fingers tapping on the keyboard. But alas, my life over the last few months has been decidedly distracting. 

And as byways lead to other byways, the longer one gets away from something, it's harder to jump back to the way things used to be. I'll leave the details for future blog posts. I have promised myself to try to get back into writing regularly, including on this blog. My goal is to post at least three times per week.

Recently, I have had some ideas about new topics and subjects. I have given some thought about the tone & vein of this blog, and decided I am open to it being a bit more edgier then it has previously been. As one who loves history, politics, social issues, and as an admitted news junkie, sometimes it's difficult for me to refrain from being totally candid. I like considering each side of the coin (story).

However, working for a not-for-profit company, for which I am sometimes in the public eye, I have tried hard to be cautious in writing nothing that could be considered in bad taste or cause potential embarrassment for my employer. As Falstaff in Shakespeare's Henry IV rationalized, sometimes 'discretion is the better part of valor.'

Nevertheless, it would truly be a boring world if we were all identical, thinking alike all the time. Differences make for interesting conversations (and topics for blog posts). If we truly believe in liberty and a free society, then one should be free to express ourselves without fear of the political correctness that would extinguish the marketplace of ideas and discussions that someone may find disagreeable.

I have friends with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Some have vastly different views of faith and God. Others have extremely different views of politics and social issues. There are those of us who actually enjoy a good debate every now and then. And then there are a few of us who, well, let's just say we just agree to disagree and leave it at that.

I do not want to seem to be an arrogant egomaniac, pretending to have all the answers. I am far from perfect. Perhaps more human than I care to admit, even with some of the basic things. Sometimes, I find myself wishing for a volunteer editor (I am often aghast at finding simple typos or grammatical errors. Kinda embarrassing.  Well, perhaps more than just a little).  So, no, I don't have all the answers. I want to always be respectful and mindful that humanity is fraught with imperfection, frailty, and often given to self-deception. We live in a lost, broken, and hurting world. I've always thought the solution to bad ideas and misconceptions isn't censorship, but the freedom to have better and more frequent, thoughtful discussions. By doing so, perhaps we can leave the world in a better place than we found it. And, paradoxically, maybe we'll find that in spite of all our differences, we just might find more common ground than expected.

Well, anyhow, the Dive-Board-Dave blog is back from hiatus. I encourage you occasionally test the waters and take a dip. Poke around and take a look. Dive in & don't be afraid to disagree. Maybe we'll have some fun and make a splash along the way.



About Me

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I work for a Community-Based, Not-for-Profit agency. I have worked in the disability field for over twenty-five years. I am the father of two boys, and have been married to my teenage sweet-heart for 23 years. I live and work in the same town where I was born & raised.
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