Friday, March 27, 2020

Common Enemies 5-on-1 Post 3/27/2020

This week's topic is Common Enemies. To many a common enemy is the great uniter - that unifying event or thing that will unite us and push us forward through these seemingly hopeless days of divisiveness in which we find ourselves mired. After all, is not the enemy of my enemy my friend?

For years the government of the United States embraced any leader or country that opposed our enemy -  a situation that gave us a strategic  ally in Iraq under the leadership of Saddam Hussein - in our struggles with Iran. That policy gave us Russia (actually the Soviet Union) as an ally against Nazi Germany and China as an ally against Japan during World War II. Clearly as a foreign policy tool we must be said to embrace as friends the enemy of our enemy when it suits us. Alas, we often change suits, and we have a very substantial closet with many suits.

But does our predilection for embracing the enemy of our enemy as our friend really serve us well? We certainly may not have been on the victorious side in World War II without the allies we had in the Soviet Union and China but where would we be today without our allies in Germany and Japan?  Need  we fear an alliance between Russia and China? What if we take foreign policy off the table?

If ever we had a circumstance that calls for unified action we are experiencing it today. The Covid-19 Pandemic calls for unified action on a level heretofore never witnessed. Humanity is facing off with Covid-19 and the survival of millions hangs in the balance. Covid-19 is a universal enemy - it cares not who or where it assaults mankind - rich western societies and the poorest cultures amongst us are equally at peril.

Though somewhat late (up to two months) to the party, 45 was moving in the right direction - or so it seemed.  In typical 45 fashion, our President has contradicted himself and his experts regularly in his briefing sessions. Here is a link to some of his stuff
Fact checking 45

The governor of Mississippi (Tate Reeves) on Tuesday signed an executive order that effectively overrode safety measures implemented by other officials during the coronavirus outbreak. It seems Mississippi's governor knows best how to protect its citizens. Reeves has, though, declared a state of emergency - care to wager whether that is a requirement for federal funding? 

Gov. Tate Reeves' order classified businesses including gun shops, department stores, and real-estate offices as "essential." It also urged employees to work from home "to the extent feasible." It sure makes me feel better to know that gun shops are essential. They cannot fight the next Civil War without those guns ya know, and surely some evil bastard will try to steal their grits or shine so the good citizens of Mississippi'd best be ready to defend them to the bitter end. And isn't it a pity that you cannot shoot those damned coronaviruses. Wait - if they declare coronavirus carriers non-essential then they'll just have to be considered collateral damage and that is to be expected in times of war. Good old Tate.

Tate advised citizens to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people but said that "this does not apply" to places such as offices, airports, and grocery and department store. One must disperse the virus efficiently.

Then there is the multi-trillion dollar rescue package bill just approved by the Senate. That'd be the bill in which the GOP blocked voting reforms that would make it much easier to cast ballots by mail in the fall presidential election that was unveiled Wednesday.

I am beginning to think we are incapable of even agreeing on something as basic as the Pandemic - and its threat. Of course the Millennials are blaming us Baby Boomers for all the problems we face these days. It's a  generational thing I suppose - regardless of the facts. And of course we have been told the virus is most dangerous for older people. Gotta love Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who seems to say those older folks - the grandparents -are expendable when he says “No one reached out to me and said, ‘as a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’" “And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in. That doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that. I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me." that would willingly sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Let's ask grandchildren if that is an acceptable approach, bearing in mind that younger people are now dying from the virus - or maybe we should just let the virus spread unchecked and let God sort it all out. We'll just let it burn itself out naturally and let those left standing take over.

We clearly have a common enemy in Covid-19, and we need to suppress that curve Dr Tony Fauci talks about. We need to be on the same page as we fight this thing and yes the battle will cause economic harm around the world. Recession and possibly Depression lie ahead. Been there, done that - and will do it again if required. The time to politicize everything is over. Regardless who is responsible for leading the fight, 45 will claim any  success is his. Let him. You need only listen to one of his updates to understand the truth. Let 45 beat his chest like an angry Orangutan. Just be sure to vote in November. And regardless how many times Mike Pence says thanks to your leadership Mr President you will know that 45 drug his heels and waited too long to get ahead of the curve on this one, and vote accordingly. 

Be sure to visit the other four bloggers in our group - there should be some interesting takes on our topic, They are Ramana, Padmum, Sanjana & Conrad 

One final note - Next Tuesday, 3/31 I board a big old jet airliner and head back to North Carolina. See ya next week, same bat time and different bat channel.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Panic 5-on-1 3/20/2020

This week's topic is Panic - that sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals, an instance, outbreak, or period of such fear ( Somehow I think everyone understands that meaning in these times dominated by the coronavirus pandemic we are currently experiencing.

Panic that generates fear that somehow induces people here in the USA to purchase vast quantities of supplies they think must be stockpiled. One thing is for certain - no matter how many people do not survive the virus, they will most certainly pass on with clean behinds. Most goods being purchased are quantity restricted, just like the grocery delivery order I just made for my daughter and grandson in Hickory, NC. Every item was restricted to a limit of 2. That is a new experience for me with Walmart.

Panic - the thing that causes governments to force people to stay at home and change their social interactions to a somewhat more restrictive version that is called for during these times.I freely admit I stayed home during most of the past 7 months. Now that it is mandated by officials, I am mildly perturbed - even knowing full well it is a necessity in these times. No shaking hands. Even bumping elbows increases one's chance of being infected. It has become a namaste world - loosely translated, I bow to you. India and its neighbors had it right all along. πŸ™

Travel restrictions abound. So far, my return flight to North Carolina is still on, but that could change any day. Traveling in an enclosed aluminum tube does not sound  like a good thing but it certainly sounds better than a 5-day train or bus ride or a 3-4 day car trip. I am not particularly happy with the lower level of medical resources available where I am headed either but I have a 10-yr old grandson to care for.

Businesses are being shuttered unless they are deemed "essential". Dunno about all y'all but I could sure use a stiff shot of single-malt but bars are not considered essential. I beg to differ, but I am just a single voice. A loud voice but still just a single voice.πŸ˜€

The Coronavirus is the first thing to come along in a long while to impact our western culture to this degree. We thought we were impervious to these things - we are not a third world culture after all. But Covid-19 is an equal opportunity virus. It does not care how sophisticated, wealthy or poor you are. Initially we even thought it was really only particularly harmful to older folks, specifically those with underlying conditions and repressed immune systems - people like me. Now we are seeing more and more serious cases in younger people. No free passes millennials - start paying attention.

So what do we need?

Its really quite simple, even if like me you are in the primary targeted group. Panic is the worst thing you can do. Use some common sense. Stay at home as much as possible. Order food delivery whenever you can afford it as restaurants are businesses with razor thin margins and are at risk of shuttering permanently. Order groceries for pickup or delivery. Keep interpersonal contact to an absolute minimum. Don't shake hands.

You probably pay a tidy sum for entertainment - now is a good time to binge that series on Netflix, Play some games with friends on your laptop or phone. I know for a fact I am contributing to the well-being of my friend Kathi because she keeps kicking my ample butt in Words 2.  Try having some real conversations with family members or friends. There certainly is enough going on these days so topics for conversation are plentiful. Snowed in? Stay warm and don't go outside. Read that book that has been collecting dust on the table. Listen to some music.

Remember - this too will pass, it will just take time. Yes there will be hardships and inconveniences but it will pass. Are you a person of faith? You know what to do. Driven by logic and science? Same thing. And should you somehow come down with the virus, do not quit fighting. Fight as long and hard as you can.

That is my quick take on Panic - be sure to visit our other bloggers and see what they have to say. See ya next week.

Ramana, Padmum, Sanjana & Conrad

Thursday, March 12, 2020

🀭πŸ₯“πŸ€ͺ🀩🧐🀯🀫πŸ€₯πŸ₯΄πŸ€ πŸ¦ž☘️⚡️️️️️ 4-on-1 03/13/2020


No - my blog was not taken over by nor was it invaded by a rabid tagger - it was taken over by the mad Emoji lady. Emojis - those  little graphical items that are included in emails and other written communications. Tagging by geeks? Who woulda thunk.

Do you know there is a reference website - Emojipedia  - that documents the meaning and common usage of emoji characters? If, like me, you are not an emoji user or would simply like to understand  what the little buggers mean, click on the link and wander through the world of emojis. Emoji enlightenment is but a mouse click away. Emojipedia even ran a adopt an Emoji program (now concluded). Check it out in the clip below.
Now you may be somewhat curious as to when Emojis came into being.  Through the Freedom of Emoji Information Act of 2000, I submitted a request for information on the creation of Emojis. I received several examples, including this  message entirely in Emojis that depicts a shopping list for a party and the Friday shopping list for pre-catholic cave wives and cave husbands.

Friday Dinner

Image result for cave drawings
Shopping list

Clearly Emojis have existed for eons, and they simply remained dormant until their discovery by computer users. So why the Renaissance we are currently experiencing? It is really rather simple if you think about it. Take that last sentence for example - on its own  it could be sarcastically, friendly or insert any adjective you prefer. But if you add an Emoji or 10 it can be more readily understood in the proper context - It is really rather simple if you think about it πŸ˜‚ Simply adding a smiley shows no sarcasm intended. Emojis help clarify things in text when the intent of a comment is not clear -add a ❤ emoji if you love a comment. Get a dear John/Jane email? If you are sad then add a πŸ’”(broken heart). Angry about it?  😠 Respond with an angry face. Glad to be rid of the person?  Try a Snoopy Happy Dance emoji. Really ticked off?  Try the Frankenstein Emoji. Your choices are virtually limitless.
Frankenstein clipart 4

 Are you a Windows 10 user? Press the Windows key and the . key simultaneously and see the emojis built in (go ahead - you know you want to try it!), Not enough for you? you can make your own - here's a link - Make your own emojis.There are several such links, Google emojis? Well you can Google Emojis and get a bunch of stuff but if you want Google "Emojis" then Google "Google Emojis".  FYI those "s are simply for emphasis - they do not need to be added to your Google search. Figure out how to use clip art like those above as Emojis,but beware of copyright infringement.

As you can see by now there is a world of emoji stuff available to you. You can just use the basics or get as sophisticated as you choose. Personally I am a minimalist when it comes to Emojis. Less is better. Try to make some unique Emojis so you can create your own brand - everyone seems to want a brand of their own these days. If you write, perhaps your editor uses or can use Emojis in his/her efforts to make your work more readable. I admit - my editor has a great point when she said Emojis can help clarify written text - something not necessarily required when spoken in conversation. 

That's it for my quick shack take on this week's topic. Be sure to visit my cohorts and see what they have to say - Ramana, Padmum & Sanjana. See ya next week, same

Unicode's New Emojis: 36 of the Most (and Least) Useful - Vanguard SeattleMay Wrap Up, Haul & June TBR | Drink Coffee and Read books


Unicode's New Emojis: 36 of the Most (and Least) Useful - Vanguard Seattle

Television Emoji

 the mad emoji lady's personal Emoji is below

Friday, March 6, 2020

Disappointment 3/6/2020

This week's topic is Disappointment and it was my suggestion. It is the first topic for the 4-on-1 blogging group,  being joined by Sanjana this week as our ranks continue to expand. There is further expansion in the wind as we will soon  be rejoined by one of the original Loose Bloggers. Please be sure to check the other 3 current members for their takes on Disappointment - Ramana, Padmum & Sanjana.

Life consists of a succession of events, large and small, happy and sad, good and bad. How we react to those events coupled with the events themselves offers the roadmap of our lives. Often - if not always - it is how we react to the disappointing outcomes that shapes the quality of our lives. For instance if in school you did poorly on an exam, you study harder for the next one to elicit a more satisfactory result on the next exam, or as  in my case to simply survive the course (calculus). I earned a hard fought C in that course, a grade that would be unacceptable in any other course. I studied my rear end off to get that C, and I was proud of it plus it convinced me I was at the limit of my mathematical competency, and so I would be ill-advised to pursue any occupation requiring higher math.

We are often told here in the USA that we can be or do anything we want if we work hard enough. That simply is not always the case - whether I wanted it or not I could never be a world-class sprinter, although for my size I was considered very fast as a defensive lineman and ran very competitive 40-yard sprints, something that is important to an American-style football lineman. As a child and through my teens the thing I most wanted to be was a baseball pitcher. I could
look the part, as the photo shows but alas - in coaches eyes I was more suited for football and eventually injuries put an end to my dreams of being a professional baseball player. I was able to continue with the sport well into my forties by playing softball. I adapted to the disappointment (no more baseball)by changing my expectations and more closely aligning them with my abilities. Although hitting a softball over 300 feet, it was not the same as hitting a baseball 400 feet (which I did on several occasions), playing softball was one of my favorite activities.

Of course the example above is  not one of life's major disappointments - there were certainly several of those aka the death of an infant sibling, the death of my wife, the loss of a close friend and more. In each case, my response to the event dictated how life would be from that event on. Choices I made after those events pointed me in directions that would land me in North Carolina, far and away my least favorite of the many places I have lived. In fact, I am headed back there on the last day of March, a major disappointment as I had hoped my return to California last August would be permanent. However, the way I respond to the disappointment will likely dictate how my relationship with my 2 children living there remains fractured or can be repaired. A very special friend has pointed out some of my shortcomings in that regard and suggested options that could very well be the salve that leads to healing. Time will tell.

Though we cannot eliminate disappointment from our lives, we certainly can impact it by aligning our expectations more closely with reality or by recognizing what was once a disappointment may be in hindsight the correct outcome. I am not suggesting we stop dreaming or telling our kids to dream big. I am  suggesting we recognize the value of realigning those expectations and realizing that what we want is  not always what we need.
 I firmly believe that by constantly realigning our dreams and actions to more closely reflect our individual realities as we travel down life's highways and by ways, life will never get boring and will ultimately not be disappointing when taken in total. Treat people well and you will stay ahead of the curve. 

That's my shack take on Disappointment, so I'll see ya next week, same bat time and same bat channel.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Change 3-on-1 Feb 28

This week's topic, submitted by Ramana, is fittingly enough about change. This is the first week of the new 3-on-1 blog as we have been joined by another blogger, Padmum, aka Ramana's sister.

There is an old saying - the only things certain are death and taxes. I suggest that is incorrect as change is another constant we all face. Change is with us every day, in small and large instances.

As further proof of change, the lyrics to Bob Dylan's anthem to change have been updated (changed) reflecting things in 2018

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. That is a call to arms to stand up and try to affect change in the world - and it works for any political party or cause. In 2016, we here in the USA elected perhaps the most effective agent of change in our history. We are now in the throes of that change and are about to decide if 45's notion of change is one we wish to continue. The electorate will once again become the agent of change - new or continued. Democrats are in the process of nominating their preferred agent of change.

There are the simple changes we perform daily - changing clothes, the food we eat, perhaps the way we get to work and countless others. There are more impactful changes we deal with - get married, get divorced, birth of a child, death of a loved one. These all have huge impacts on our daily lives. Our lives really are about change and our capacity to deal with it.

Something that has changed over time is how and where we shop.  There was a time when salespeople were required to make change to purchasers. The customer would hand you a $20 for his or her purchase and the sales clerk would count back the change - for example a $15.23 purchase would have changed counted back something like this - that's 14.23 +.02+.25+.50+5.00 makes $20. I'm afraid that talent has gone the way of the dodo bird and other extinct creatures. Cash registers include pictures of the items being purchased and tell the clerk how much change to return. Without that basic skill, I could not have succeeded at several of my jobs but alas, the world is changing.

That's my brief shack-take on change and it marks the end of the line for the weekly 2-on-1 blog. Be sure to check Ramana's Musings  and This and That, There and Here  for  their take and I'll see you next week, same bat time and new bat channel. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

What is your Kryptonite? 2-on-1 Feb 21,2020

This week's topic is my idea. It is a somewhat fun topic or a serious one, depending on the context. Be sure to visit Ramana's blog, Wisdom by Hindsight to see what he has to say.

Most people are aware that kryptonite is the thing that  takes away Superman and Supergirl's powers. Unfortunately, we common folk do not possess super powers so the question is more rhetorical than real. When someone asks me what my kryptonite is, my response is "cookies". Yes - it is true - the common cookie is my kryptonite - beginning with the the shortbread cookie followed by the more sophisticated oatmeal/raisin/cinnamon variety and the snickerdoodle. You may find it hard to  believe but the infamous chocolate chip variety can be easily resisted by me just as the Oreo can.  But show me a shortbread cookie or a snickerdoodle - especially when I already have a fresh cup of coffee at hand and my will power evaporates. The aforementioned oatmeal/raisin/cinnamon variety is best dunked in a glass of cold milk (my opinion, based upon 65+ years of research).

Kryptonite is really, then, a metaphor for the thing that makes you lose your resolve and renders you easily coerced. One might make the argument that Donald Trump is half of our population's kryptonite.  Personally, I prefer cookies.

Musically my kryptonite is the sounds of the sixties and seventies. I do like some later stuff, and I am a fan of the  Baroque period, but nothing compares to the decades listed - that stuff gets me every time I hear it. 

I stumbled upon a list of celebrities who listed their kryptonite - are any of them the same as yours? 

  • Brandon Routh (Superman Returns): his girlfriend, Courtney Ford. “You bring me to my knees. You humble me,” he told her.
  •  Eva Mendes: Cheese – on a margarita pizza with crushed red pepper.
  •  Jorge Garcia (Lost): I’m scared to death of spiders. But I also like to sometimes touch a web with a stick to see if I can make the spider move, then I’ll run away screaming like a girl.
  •  Jesse McCartney: I’m a double-shot espresso kind of guy in the morning. I’m addicted.
  •  Loretta Devine (Grey’s Anatomy): Self-doubt takes your power from you. Anytime I start questioning myself or my abilities or I let fear get in the way is no good.
  •  Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live):Real World marathons – especially since they started casting hot people that have sex all the time.
  •  Kelis: Humidity and rain because it totally ruins my hair. Humidity and rain are evil.
Anyone who knows who Kelis is gets bonus points - no fair googling her.

Other things that can be someones kryptonite include overconfidence, arrogance,  certain foods (hmm - fried chicken anyone?), biscuits and gravy for folks from the southern United States. I suspect  most of us had a kryptonite in school - mine was calculus. One of the great things about being human is wE are flawed. IMHO, that keeps life interesting and gives us myriad things to talk about.

Kryptonite in sports? In football my kryptonite was a guy named Ed Galigher - a guy I was friends with since our little league days. If Ed and I went one-on-one a hundred times, he beat me ninety times, was sick five times and got really pissed at me the five times I beat him. I console myself with the knowledge that Ed played in the NFL for seven years. I had one in wrestling too - I guy named Bill Currier. I beat him the first time we met, he beat me the next three times.  Bill and I  also became good friends so kryptonite can at times be not all bad. Older baseball fans and may recognize that Willie McCovey was the great Don Drysdale's kryptonite. Any Giants or Dodger fan in the sixties will recognize that fact.

That is my quick take on this week's topic. See ya next week for another 2-on-1 blog.

Friday, February 14, 2020


This weeks topic is arguments. Ramana chose it and I encourage you to  visit Ramana's Musings and see his take on the subject.

 I am a staunch supporter of George Carlin's comment on arguments - "Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience" 

Of course there are two sides to every argument - Adam Gopnik says "Maybe I’m strange and perverse, but I’ve always thought there was something sexy about a compelling argument." (I'd never heard of him either but I like the quote).

Arguments can be very helpful in certain situations. Believe it or not, there was a time in politics in the USA when arguments were very good thinigs, and much was accomplished with the judicious use of arguments. Why? Because compromise happened and legislation and appointents happened. Of course, in today's climate the political world here seems to be black and white. Both sides are so dug in they have not noticed the tunnel is collapsing and nobody is winning, especially the public. Compromise has left the building along with civil discourse, and so we are left with nothing but the arguments. Spokespersons on both sides simply puff up, stick their chests out and claim it is their way or the highway.

Wikipedia says "arguments attempt to show that something was, is, will be, or should be the case". That seems to agree with the notion that compromise is a good thing but then there is the study of statistics wherein there are three different averages. If ever there was a case to argue, determining whether the average of whatever you are counting is a mean, median or a mode  is it.

Have you ever noticed how a salesman argues the finer points of whatever he/she is trying to sell you? Remenber the salesman's credo - if you cannot dazzlethem with brilliance, dazzle them with BS - argument in the form of the sales pitch.

Family arguments.

Political debate/arguments at their best.

Are there ethics in arguments? Based upon the last three years of politics here I'd have to say there are no ethics. Both sides lie so often the truth actually becomes the lie - or so it seems. At least it seems  that about half of the population will assume it is true. The Big Lie (German: große LΓΌge) is a propaganda technique and logical trick used effectively in Germany during the rise of the Nazis and now it is being used here in the USA to disassemble the structures within government that hinder (so they say) capitalism and its free markets  and inpimge upon individual rights aka gun  - specifically assault type weapons - and everyone having the RIGHT to own one (or more). Then there is the abortion issue - arguments abound for both sides of that one and a large percentage of the gun owners think it is fine to regulate a woman's body. I am 100% pro choice - and if it is a "god" issue that is between the woman and her "god" - no government should have that control over someone's body.

Its clear to me that arguments are part and parcel of our culture these days. Arguments are used in mathematics to establish facts, they occur when someone is trying to sell you something or convince you thay are right about something and they are also used as a form of sport aka debating. Though the arguments can be irritating, frustrating and often times fun, it behooves us to understand how and why they are valuable and we should all learn how to handle arguments.

That's it for a shack-take on this week's topic. See you next week for another 2-on-1 blog where Ramana and I write on the same subject.