Friday, March 27, 2015

A Sacred Song; A Working Peace System

It's catch up time here in shackland. First up is Sacred Song - courtesy of my old HS friend Lin. Lin is the opposite of me when it comes to faith, God and religion. She is a very devout lady. I am  not. I am not a believer but I do not deny the existence of Jesus. He was simply  the most interesting person who has ever lived.  But the son of God? Virgin birth? Nope. But I am not an atheist that belittles those who believe in those things. This song most definitely describes my feelings on the matter -

I have found, however, certain songs do calm mne and make me more reflective.  Here's one of them -

On to this weeks topic - A Working Peace System. Since I submitted the topic I didn't have to Google it :-).

Peace is not merely the absence of war, as some would have us believe. There was a school of thought championed by a gentleman named David Mitrany called the functional theory of international development.  It was rather simple, straight forward and oh so logical sounding. Nations should focus on those things they shared in common. Develop small regional international agencies to work together to solve those issues.  A working example here in the USA was the Tennessee Valley Authority. The hope was there would be a web of agencies working for the common good.

Sounds great.

In practice we got the UN.   It's the greatest display pf chest thumping and sabre rattling we have.  The Security Council is virtually useless. But - there are arms of the UN that work.  WHO, UNICEF, FAO and others.  These agencies focus on the human condition .  So maybe there is hope that if we keep working we can develop a working peace system.  Clearly though, the functionalists did not contemplate a radical religios movement hell bent on turning the clock back to the dark ages.

The challenge is great but so are the stakes. 

Now it's time to see what the other LBC folk have to say.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Travails of Blogging

Today's topic comes to us from our Dame Quixote - Padmum.

Truth be told, I do not find blogging to be painful or difficult. That's because I typically only post 3 or 4 blogs monthly beyond the weekly LBC topic. That may change shortly when I retire but only time will tell.  My point is simple - I do not run out of topics upon which to pontificate or bloviate as Mr O 'Reilly likes to say.

I actually find blogging to be quite pleasant and a good way for a shy guy like me to open up a bit. I have opinions on almost everything and they are fun to share and discuss. It is rare when a topic causes any consternation - only the post I wrote when Lynn died comes to mind.  Yet even that post was written in the style that I use for these LBC posts.  I just sat down and began writing. What came out were the emotions I was feeling at that moment. I am fortunate to be able to organize my thoughts and get them out without  revision - these posts are essentially off-the-cuff as it were. I look up the topic, write and am typically finished within 15 or so minutes.

The musical selections are also off the cuff. I have a fairly substantial and somewhat eclectic music library in my mind - a virtual steel-trap of useless information.

So that's a quick shack take on this weeks topic.  Time to see what my pals at the LBC have to say.

For this week's musical interlude I suggest we make this little ditty the unofficial LBC anthem...

Friday, March 6, 2015


Imagine a world wherein the hunters of the group could hardly wait for the opening of cabbage season.  Or cauliflower season. Would you believe broccoli season? Welcome to the world of vegetarianism.

Vegetarianism is a lifestyle chosen by many and it is just that - a lifestyle choice. Why - some of my best friends are vegetarians though I'd be hard pressed to name a friend that is vegan - the extreme vegetarian that eschews any animal byproducts as well as meat/fish/poultry. I promise I am not a vegan bigot - I simply haven't come across any in my circle of life.

Vegetarians are said to live longer than we carnivores although I suspect adherents to a Mediterranean  lifestyle (when it comes to food) do as well as vegetarians.

Why am I not a vegetarian? Let me count the ways - rare steak, smoked anything, fried fish for starters. Those undoubtedly account for several of the Xs in front of the L on my buffalo petite frame but so be it. But I freely admit that I have enjoyed many fine vegetarian meals and I often joke with my friend Ramana that I'd make a great vegetarian. Quite frankly I  intend to lean much more heavily on vegetarian cuisine once I make the upcoming change in   my living arrangements in a couple of months. As the door to Texas slaps me in the rear when I cross the border headed for a new location - most likely North Carolina - and a new residence with only my dog Ginger as a companion I intend to learn how to properly create vegetarian meals.

Now don't get me wrong - there will always be room at my table for a well grilled steak or some slowly smoked ribs but I look forward to the challenge of learning a new style of cooking.  There're definitely some Indian and Chinese cookbooks in my future.

That's this weeks quick shack-take on the weekly LBC topic, Now it's time to see what the others have to say on the topic.

Friday, February 27, 2015


This weeks LBC topic comes from Conrad - our old fossil pal who has in fact been on a sabbatical of sorts for quite some time.

Who could blame him - or anyone for that matter - for wanting some time to recharge the batteries and  tend to neglected  issues that bombard our daily lives.  There's even an anthem of sorts -

It's very easy these days to burn yourself out - change comes at a frighteningly rapid pace.  As Heidi Toffler said, "Change is the only constant".

The real meaning of sabbatical relates to the sabbath.  What better way to recharge your batteries than to revisit/re-evaluate the spiritual or faith based side of your life. I separate the faith/spiritual sides because frankly I am not one of the so-called faithful. I'm more like Thomas Jefferson in that regard.

While I've never really taken a sabbatical I suppose you can say I will soon be taking one as regardless of the bankruptcy courts decisions  I will be leaving RadioShack in about two months - if not sooner - and Texas shortly thereafter. I am currently seeking Sabbaticals for Dunmies to assist in the endeavor.  One must certainly be prepared, don't you think? I'm looking forward to this...

Now I think it's time tyo see what the other LBC gang has to say.  Hopefully they haven't all gone on a sabbatical this week.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Child abuse

This week's LBC topic comes from Ashok.

Everyone is opposed to child abuse - or it seems they pay lip service to being opposed to child abuse.  If, however, I had a nickel for every time I've read a comment like "If I spoke to my parents like kids thee days do to theirs I would not be here" - or something similar. Or "my parents used to beat me with a switch....".

So why is it that there was such hue and cry when professional football star Adrian Peterson was accused of child abuse for doing punishing his son by hitting him with a switch? I'm sure the fact that Peterson is a rich black athlete had nothing to do with it. Ahem.

My point is that definitions of child abuse vary widely among different cultures.  My exposure to black culture has shown black parents to be much more willing to engage in corporal punishment than white parents. White parents are much more likely to view corporal punishment as abusive in my experience.

Now - in steps the government to establish rules and laws.  It's what they do.  Whereas in my youth corporal punishment was accepted, these days - at least here where I live -  a child can have a parent arrested on a domestic abuse assault charge for the simple act of corporal punishment. Imagine that.  Back when I was 15 I could have had my dad arrested for assault when I chose to pick a fight with him, even though he hit me with my guitar and broke it. I deserved it by-the-way - but the fight ended when I held him against a wall and told him to back off before he got hurt. File it under stuff happens.
We need to use caution and utmost clarity when determining what constitutes abuse - for the sake of all involved.

Clearly our children are our future - and steps must be taken to protect them. But we need to be careful that we do not create a larger problem.  Statistics regarding child abuse are staggering. We spend vast sums of money on government assistance programs trying to feed children yet many people want the amount scaled back.  They cite fraud as the reason - along with the notion the assistance has created generations of people who expect nothing but hand outs from the government (states and federal).

I am of the opinion child abuse - in all its forms - is the most dangerous issue faced by this country today, ISIS and their ilk get all of the press and attention but they are pose much less danger.  W have much work to be done.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What is the most surprising thing about you?

What is the most surprising thing about me??  Well frankly I'm a what you see is what you get - or in the case of blogging, what you read is what you get kind of guy.  I'm a baby boomer awaiting my first SS check and have most traits associated with my age group.

Oddly enough though - or is it ironic - that considering I earn a living by writing and I love blogging, I am the world's worst typist. Yes I know - it is not an earth shattering surprise but a surprise none the less.  And the other that immediately comes to mind - I have NEVER  smoked an entire cigarette in my life.  I suspect that alone is the primary reason the multiple Xs in front of the L on my frame have not yet yet allowed Rube Sofer and his team of reapers to collect my soul as of yet.

I cannot make the same claim about that other herb but in general I was known for my spaghetti sauce with an oregano substitute I used - not smoking the stuff.

So there ya have it.  I'm pretty boring though a nickname change is likely in the works considering the plight of my employer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yesterday - February 10 - marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of my wife and companion of 45 years, Lynn.  It's been a long year in many ways, made even more so by the bankruptcy filing of my employer of 30 years - RadioShack.

Upon reflection, I have been very lucky to have spent such substantial portions of my life with one woman and one company.  Both seem largely at odds with our society these days and I think that's a shame. In these days of "what have you done for me lately" loyalty and commitment seem to have lost their luster.  More's the pity. Today it's cut and run at the first sign of trouble. And so today I salute my friends Ramana, Conrad, Marie (aka Grannymar), Maxi and the others who know or have known that level of commitment, loyalty and love in their lives.

For Lynn - well I wouldn't be me without some musical commentary so here we go.....

I sure hope my friends that say the hurt gets more bearable with the passing of time are right.