Category Archives: Uncategorized

Confessions of a Sore Loser

If  there was such a thing as Sore Losers Anonymous, I could go to the meeting and say, “Hi, I’m Jack and I’m a sore loser.”  Then everyone would say, “Hi Jack.”  But there is no such thing.  I know, because I Googled it!

I told my son, Paul, that I was going to write on being a sore loser, and he said, “Dad, if you need any material, just let me know.”

When I was a little kid, I would bring my bat and ball to the neighborhood games.  If I were unhappy with how the game was going (or someone called me out, when I knew I was safe), I would take my bat and ball and go home.

When I was nine, we went on a vacation in the Ozarks.  My uncle, Bob, challenged me to a checker game.  What a fool.  Didn’t he know that I was the world’s greatest checker champion?  Some how he started jumping all my pieces.  I was furious.  I had three checkers in my hand.  They were made out of Bakelite (one of the early plastic products).  And before I knew it, I had crushed the pieces.  That was really dumb, because with the pieces broken, I couldn’t get a rematch.

Like many kids, I played sports all year round and my philosophy was that if you treat every game like a life or death struggle, you would lose less ofter.  There may be a grain of truth in that approach, but you end up as a basket case when you lose.  Sometimes I would blame the officials, sometimes I would blame my team mates.  One time I decided it was my fault.  But then I decided I was wrong!

Somewhere in my fifties, I had lost a sufficient number of times to where I realized it wasn’t the end of the world.  I retired from the Army and took an appointment as Chief Counsel for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation.  After I had been there a short while, one of my attorneys advised me that our office had a softball team and that we played the other offices in NHTSA.  I agreed to play with them.

Boy, were we bad.  And with no umpires, long drives down the foul line seemed to end up in long arguments.  At the end of our third game, I got into an angry argument with someone from the Planning Office.  I finally realized that I was no longer 12 and walked away.  The next morning, both of us sought the other out and apologized.

Later that afternoon, I gathered all the Chief Counsel players into the conference room and told them I had some good news and some bad news.  The good news was that as people grew older they mellowed and became less aggressive.  The bad news was that I had already passed through that phase and was still pretty bad.

I seriously considered not playing, but decided on a three-step philosophy.  First, don’t get hurt.  Second, don’t show your backside.  And lastly, if you can do the first two, then, by all means, win.

Is anybody up for a game of checkers with a former world champion?

Written by PJ Rice at

Copyright 2017


The Changing World


Isn’t satellite radio great? You never have to change your radio station. You can listen to “Willie’s Roadhouse” all the way from here to El Paso. Satellite radio also gives you a chance to listen to old time radio shows. They have a station (maybe now it’s called a channel) called Radio Classics where you can listen to Gunsmoke, Bob Hope, Jack Benny and even the Shadow. “Who know what evil lurks. . .” You know the rest.

The other day I flipped over to Radio Classics and guess what was on? Duffy’s Tavern, “where the elite meet to eat.” That got me thinking – where have all the taverns gone? When I was growing up, there were taverns everywhere. The corner tavern.

In high school, we were too young to go to a tavern. There were drive-in diners and our favorite place, the “Parkway.” You could go into the Parkway and for a reasonable price get a barbeque pork sandwich and a Coke. And when no one was looking, you could carve your initials on the table. You didn’t want to put your hand under the table.

I have fond memories of McDonald’s back in the 60’s. You could get a burger, fries and a Coke for 35 cents. Now that’s nostalgia. In fact, as we were struggling to get me through law school, that was a big night out.

Now there are all kinds of specialized burger places. I’ve only been to 5 Guys a couple of times. It seems like they only had about three tables, so I guess it’s mostly a carry-out place. The burgers and fries aren’t too expensive and the grease is free. Take a bunch of napkins. BGR, The Burger Joint is a little more expensive, but the burgers are bigger. BGR has on its menu “The 9 Pounder.” It cost $80.00 and feed 10-15 hungry people. It comes with a “river of Mojo sauce.” I could devote a whole column to the 9 Pounder, but I’m going to stop right here.

The Springfield Mall is now the Springfield Town Center. It was a major renovation and is a vast improvement over the Mall. You no longer have to fear being mugged in the parking lot. They have a BGR and a Zinburger’s. Zinburger is sort of an upscale burger joint. I knew it was upscale because when they gave me the menu listing the burgers, they also gave me the wine list! The Kobe Burger was $15.25. No fries, they are extra. But you can get double truffle fries for only six bucks. Maybe a cabernet sauvignon is in order. However, if you are ordering the Seared Ahi Sandwich, then, by all means, go with a white wine.

Written by PJ Rice at

Copyright 2017

First Christmas at The Fairfax – 2015

This year has been a scramble, but not really that big a mess,                   The poem has to go out early, so you have our new address.

We moved to The Fairfax, you’re never ready for the call,                         Sixty days to change your world, from oversize to small.                             For junk you need to haul – For a realtor you need to call –                         With movers there’s a brawl!

The sixty days was frantic, but we decided we needed a break,             We met the Suters, O’Roarks and Holdaways,                                                   Down at their Virginia lake.                                                                                                 A week away put us in the groove,                                                                                    We came back refreshed ready for the move.

As retirement communities go, The Fairfax seems the best,                            We scrutinized and scrutinized, and The Fairfax met the test.               The Community Center has everything, it really should be a hooter,         But suddenly you’re dodging a walker and cornered by a scooter.

There comes a time in life when your body needs repair,                            Doctors snipping and clipping and you start to lose your hair.                      The year was not so bad, it really wasn’t crummy,                                                   Jack had his eyes repaired and Carole got her tummy.

A 19-day cruise to Hawaii, we started the year full of glee,                                             But on our fourth day over, we rescued a pilot at sea.                                         (Film at 11:00).                                                                                                                       We moved in in May, took a break in June,                                                         RAJA in Colorado Springs was just the right tune.                                         Ken and Barbara Teel, old friends from V Corps,                                                    Came up early from Amarillo and we had laughs galore.

The kids are doing well, not much to really say,                                                       Life’s a series of episodes, living day by day.                                                         The girls came in June to help us unpack,                                                                       Alone with all the work, there was still time to kick back.                                                 Eastern Shore shopping, nothing too drab,                                                                 Then on to Harris’ for a taste of crab.

The Rice’s from C’Ville came up, and were helpful in a pinch,                         They moved a fully loaded buffet one critical inch.                                       Then Paul and Jack took over, to storage went boxes and a curtain, Jack is now 15 or 16, we’re never really certain.

Politics just makes me sick, I think Hillary’s a felon,                                                     I thing Donald Trump’s a nutcase and the world’s one sick melon.                                I’d like to see a bright spot, a world back on its feet,                                                                   Where people really accomplish things, not just sit around and tweet.

Christmas is a starting place, where people think of others,                               Where people lend a helping hand and don’t worry about their druthers.                                                                                                                                                So with that in mind and our thoughts of you clear,                                                      HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Jack and Carole

Copyright 2015