Perhaps a little indulgent, but for my fiftieth birthday, I made a list of 50 things about myself, Jim Stalker.

  1. I have eaten cookie dough for breakfast.
  2. I proposed to my wife in Stanley Park, Vancouver BC, overlooking the Lion’s Gate Bridge, I got down on my knee (it was romantic).
  3. As a child I performed as a ventriloquist. I was good, I could say “the doy dought a dasketdall!”
  4. I believe the University of California Santa Barbara to be the finest campus real estate on the West Coast and maybe the world.
  5. I taught high impact aerobics for over 25 years – over 5,000 classes.
  6. I met my wife in one of those 5,000 classes.
  7. My favorite Philosopher is Plato, primarily because he writes about my favorite historical figure, Socrates. The issues he raised are timeless.
  8. Jerzy Kosinski was my favorite writer for many years. Why did he kill himself?
  9. If I were to do it all over again, I would do it differently just to find out what that would be like.
  10. Calling my parents (they are divorced) every week for years – has had many unpredicted rewards. Namely, I feel love for my mom and dad in a way I never have before, warts and all. I appreciate them more than ever. Cherish your parents, whatever and whoever they are.
  11. Team America and Austin Powers International Man of Mystery are both very funny movies.
  12. Standard Poodles are the best breed of dog. Non-allergenic, smart, mellow, and regal-looking. They are also a lot like me, happy when keeping to themselves.
  13. I wish I could be funnier.
  14. I wish everyone was funnier.
  15. Citizen Kane is a great movie. Orson Welles may have made the most audacious debut in the history of cinema (with a lot of help). This has never been duplicated.
  16. The two greatest pieces of guitar music are Steve Vai’s For the “Love of God” and Eric Johnson’s “Cliffs of Dover.” Both complex while being accessible – technically stunning with every note perfect.
  17. I am surprised I became an Apple groupie.
  18. Speaking of Apple, the Beatles are the greatest band ever. “Beatles Love” in Vegas. Beatles Rockband. Beatles Forever.
  19. Nothing beats breakfast at a nice coffee shop with a fresh Wall Street Journal.
  20. It’s better to “do what you like” than “like what you do.” Over time liking something you really don’t like doing can be impossible.
  21. It’s best to want what you have. If you have stuff you don’t really want, get rid of it, chances are someone else wants it.
  22. You can’t have too many friends. Keeping friends surprisingly requires little effort, whereas making friend requires effort and a bit of kismet.
  23. Roger Federer will win 18 majors then retire.
  24. I married my wife on Zuma Beach in Malibu California. It was cold and windy. I would not change a thing.
  25. Godfather 2 is the best movie ever.
  26. I have taught over 1,000 spinning classes which means I told 5,000 marginally funny jokes.
  27. Favorite Joke – What did the dead head say when he stopped smoking dope? What the F am I listening to?
  28. The serenity prayer pretty much says it all with respect to spirituality.
  29. Of the three ex-Yardbirds, Clapton is the best singer, Page the best songwriter, and Beck the best guitarist.
  30. High School Reunions don’t work for me.
  31. Brian Regan is the funniest comedian working today. George Carlin was the best ever. RIP George and go F yourself in his honor.
  32. I can survive without sushi – although within the world of sushi nothing beats fresh Toro.
  33. My wife and I honeymooned in Paris.
  34. I was nervous and frightened to have a child, but did it anyway. Best thing I ever did. Big lesson there.
  35. My wife makes me laugh. So does my son.
  36. The best cigar I ever smoked was a Montecristo #2 from 1982.
  37. Most of us need to be pushed a little bit. I know I do. Friends, if you care and are inclined, please push me to be and do better.
  38. Tiger Woods big shame, huge disappointment.
  39. Steely Dan epitome of pop music. Third World Man their best song.
  40. Local TV News, blows hard everywhere. You have to question people who watch it.
  41. I have been totally wrong about so many things in my life, which means I am probably wrong about something right now.
  42. The Wire was the greatest TV series ever.
  43. Peanut M & M’s are way better than plain.
  44. There is nothing comparable to watching, feeling, and smelling the ocean. It’s worth visiting as much as possible and letting your mind wander. Maybe the Greeks were right and Poseidon is God.
  45. Yosemite Valley is breathtaking but if you are going, do yourself a favor and stay at the Ahwahnee.
  46. Lake Tahoe is sublimely beautiful but all things considered, I would rather stay at Interlaken in Switzerland.
  47. I have too many opinions. Learning to keep them to myself has been a lifetime project. No matter how thoughtful and well-formed they may be, the truth is most people just don’t care what I think.
  48. The word is real-tor NOT real-a-tor. If you are a Realtor, learn to say the word correctly please. It will enhance your credibility.
  49. Same goes for triathlon. It is not triath-a-lon.
  50. Warren Zevon was right, “Enjoy every sandwich.”