Perhaps a little indulgent, but 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). And, she accepted.
  3. As a child, I performed as a ventriloquist. I was good. I could say, “the doy dought a basketball!” Even in third grade, I was a creative wanting to communicate to an audience.
  4. I believe my undergraduate alma mater, the University of California Santa Barbara, is the finest campus real estate on the West Coast and maybe the world. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, no ocean view like this.
  5. I taught high-impact aerobics for over 25 years – over 5,000 classes. Today, “what’s high impact aerobics?” Kelly Emberg was a regular.
  6. I met my wife in one of those 5,000 classes. She was far more important than Rod Stewart’s ex-wife (Kelly Emberg).
  7. My favorite Philosopher is Plato, primarily because he writes about the famous historical figure, Socrates. The issues he raised are timeless. What is justice anyway?
  8. Jerzy Kosinski was my favorite writer for many years. Why did he kill himself? His stark prose spoke to me unlike anyone else.
  9. If I were to do it all over again, I would do it differently to find out what that would be like despite this current one being pretty darn sweet.
  10. Calling my parents (individually as they were divorced) every week for decades – has had many unpredicted rewards. Namely, I gained an appreciation toward my mom and dad in a way I never had before, warts and all. Parenting, I found out, is hard work. Cherish your parents, whatever and whoever they are. When they past, everything had been communicated and we were current.
  11. Team America and Austin Powers International Man of Mystery are hilarious movies. Later in life I met an art director who went to art school with my brother in law who worked on many famous movies. I asked him his proudest work, “Team America!” without hesitation.
  12. Standard Poodles are the best breed of dog. Non-allergenic, intelligent, mellow, and regal-looking. They are also a lot like me, happy when keeping to themselves. And without Lucy, we might not have ever had our son, Riley.
  13. I wish I could be funnier. Seriousness, while necessary, isn’t all that fun all the time.
  14. I wish everyone were funnier. Laughter is the best medicine.
  15. Citizen Kane is a great movie. Orson Welles may have made the most audacious debut in cinema history (with a lot of help). This has never been duplicated. Maybe Tarantino.
  16. The two most incredible pieces of guitar music are Steve Vai’s For the “Love of God” and Eric Johnson’s “Cliffs of Dover.” Both are complex while being accessible – technically stunning with every note-perfect. Both make me smile and want to pick up the guitar.
  17. I am surprised I became an Apple fanboy. But, that first page I saw come off a laser printer had me enchanted.
  18. Speaking of Apple, the Beatles are the greatest band ever, still! Is there a more cool rockstar than Paul McCartney? “Beatles Love” in Vegas. Beatles Rockband. The “Get Back” movie. Beatles Forever!
  19. Nothing beats breakfast at a friendly coffee shop with a fresh Wall Street Journal, time for journaling myself, and some company for relaxed conversation.
  20. It’s better to “do what you like” than “like what you do.” Over time liking something you don’t like is exhausting. I wasted much of my career doing that. Why are we better at giving advice then taking it ourselves?
  21. It’s best to want what you have. If you have stuff you don’t wish to, get rid of it, chances are someone else wants it. Plus having fewer more precious things quietly makes a statement.
  22. You can’t have too many friends. Keeping friends requires surprisingly little effort, whereas making a friend involves action and a bit of fate. During COVID I called people on thier birthdays, rekindling instantly from where we left off years ago.
  23. Roger Federer may not have won the most grand slams, but is there a more classy and elegant global sports figure?
  24. I married my wife on Zuma Beach in Malibu, California. It was cold and windy. I would not change a thing. A few friends, beauty, the love of my life, and bare feet.
  25. Godfather 2 is the best movie ever. So much deeper than Shawshank Redemption.
  26. I have taught over 1,000 spinning classes, so I told at least 5,000 marginally funny jokes. Guy goes to a doctor and says, “I feel weird, like I am invisible!” Doctor replies, “I’d love to help but I can’t see you right now!”
  27. Favorite Joke – What did the deadhead say when he stopped smoking dope? What the F am I listening to? I respect the Dead, but, they aren’t my most favorite.
  28. The serenity prayer pretty much says it all concerning spirituality. “The wisdom to know the difference.”
  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. I can’t change who I was in high school irrespective of the time that passes.
  31. Bill Burr is the funniest comedian working today. George Carlin was the best. RIP George, and let’s all go F ourselves in his honor.
  32. I can survive without sushi – although, within the world of sushi, nothing beats fresh Toro. I was lucky to be educated on the art of sushi by my bosses from Japan while I worked at JVC.
  33. My wife and I honeymooned in Paris. Smelling bread in the early morning is a sensation no one should miss.
  34. I was nervous about having a child, but I did it anyway. Best thing I ever did. Big lesson there to walk through fear.
  35. My wife makes me laugh. So does my son. Nothing like a home full of laughs.
  36. The best cigar I ever smoked was a Montecristo #2 from 1982.
  37. Most of us need a little bit of encouragement. I know I do. Friends, if you care and are inclined, please push me to be and do better. It only took me ten years to take the advice to quit my job.
  38. Tiger Woods, big shame, a colossal disappointment. I don’t think anyone understands what it’s like to be on that stage.
  39. Steely Dan is the epitome of pop music. Third World Man is their best song and feature an amazing solo from their best collaborative guitarist, Larry Carlton.
  40. Local TV News blows hard everywhere. You have to question people who watch it. How about reading the Wall Street Journal over breakfast?
  41. I have been wrong about so many things in my life, so I am probably wrong about something right now.
  42. Breaking Bad was the most outstanding TV series ever, but Soprano’s and The Wire kicked open the door that made it possible for Walter and Jessie to cook meth.
  43. Plain M & M’s are way better than plain. Warning, this opinion subject to change based on inventory.
  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. The Alps blow away the Sierras.
  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 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. But, man, it was embarrassing to be corrected that first time.
  49. The same goes for triathlons. It is not triath-a-lon.
  50. Warren Zevon was right, “Enjoy every sandwich.”

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