Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Good Old Days.

This week''s topic - The Good Old Days - was chosen by Ramana. Be sure to visit Ramana's Musings to see his take on the topic.

Who among us hasn't at some point in time shrugged their shoulders and said back in the day we we would never get away with saying that, doing that or something similar in response to some action by a less than respectful (in our mind) young person? How many pictures of push mowers have been posted in response to a complaint about mowing the grass with a power mower? How many times have you heard or read that you ate what was put in front of you or you ate nothing ar all? For me that usually referred to Tuna Casserole on Tuesday nights when Sea Hunt was on. To this day I cannot look at a can oan of tuna without this flashing through my brain - 

Think about it. Were things really better back in the day? I find it hard to believe a member of the LGBTQ community looks back on the fifties with warm, fuzzy feelings about living a lie and having to deny who they really were. And African Ameericans look back on Amos 'n Andy or Rochester warmly? The Jim Crow south? Or were  the sixties and the Black Panthers more nostalgic for them? Confession time - I thought Amos 'n Andy was hilarious and so were The Honeymooners. Both shows were laden with stereotypes and of course we all know that is political correctness - a serious no-no these days.

The good old days is largely generational - each generation has its very own good old days. Younger generations these days enjoy blaming the baby boomers for today's problems.We rebellious boomers started the participation awards nonsense and our children picked up that ball and ran with it Most of the current politicians - whose failings and actions are directly responsible for the election of Donald Trump as POTUS45. Apparently we never learned to be careful what we ask for as we got it - a non-politician in the white house. In this instance the good old days might be considered to be any time before Trump was  elected. 

A fair number of Catholics consider the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965 as the delineation point for the good old days in their faith, meaning anything before that is valid after it not so. Think Mel Gibson and his traditionalist Catholic beliefs as an example. In fact Christianity has several changes which could be considered defining points for the good old days. Think any Protestant sect. Think Church of Jesus Christ for Latter Day Saints.

Every generation claims to have the best music. I laugh when I hear a kid these days disparage the Beatles. It is highly unlikely that without the Beatles, popular music would have evolved to what is popular today. The Beatles turned popular music on its ear as they broke new ground with things like Sgt Pepper and inspired people like Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen and others. The Beatles went from being a standard guitar band to a highly complex mixture of orchestral sounds and experimentation that is all the more amazing when you consider the band members could neither read  nor write music (not to be confused with and was inspired by them and others and so today we have rap and hip hop. Not surprisingly we encounter a good old days speedbump here - I just heard these 50-year old tune on the radio and enjoyed them  as much as ever. If you have a sudden nostalgic urge to hear  these just click the link.

I Will.

You Didn t Have to Be So Nice
 Will this next song be as popular in 50 years? My guess is no. But my mixed- race grandkids disagree.

Naughty by Nature

There is a certain nostalgia for film noire that has been around fordecades. Some folks simply perefer black and white as a medium - listen to the hue and cry whenever a classic film is colorized. As many hate the newly colorized version as perefer. Many a Good Old Days moments here. 

It has become the custom in many  a competition these days to have no winner or      losers and lets give everyone aparticipatipn trophy too while we are st it. Sadly ths seems to have evolved from my very own Baby Boomer generation. So this Good Old Days moment is very valid - lets get back to the good old days of teaching kids how to play a sport fairly and to be good winners or - perish the thought - losers. Kids need to learn how to compete to get along in the world today.

So where are we with the topic? Are the old days really the Good Old Days? Are they really better? The answer is a great big old sometimes. But older is no guarantee of better. This line from another favorite song of mine gets it - "Yesterdays over my shoulder but I can't look back for too long. There's just too much to see wauring inn front of me and I know that I just can't go wrong"

Don;t recognize it? Here's a link to the song

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Atitudes

While some things never change, we are really bettere off culturally when things evolve and grow. We may not love the changes as they occur but progress comes from adapting to change and adopting changes. These days corporal punishment - or really a lack thereof - is another big Good Old Days rant. Both sides vehemently defend their choices. A few other somehat common Good Old Days flashpoints include Kids growing up playing outside vs the electronic devices; Violence in video games (and remember - my generation grew up playing some form of gun centered game, deending on what the latest popular movie was. And some of those guns shot plastic bullets - I had one of these

And of course I had a Rifleman rifle and Josh Randall's (Steve McQueen) Mare's Leg from Wanted Dead or Alive. And several friends had big backyards in which to play guns. We played them all - Paladin, Rifleman, Josh Randall, Wyatt Earp, Matt Dillon, Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry - even Audie Murphy. I am not sure a video game is as much fun as gunnunn'down Virgil Barnhart or Kenny Lockard in a serious bout of guns in Virgil's back yard. And yes the Indians could be good guys - Broken Arrow had Michael Ansara as Cochise and Tonto was no stereotypical Indian to us - he was one of the good guys. And the Mexican kids had The Cisco Kid, Zorro and El Fego Baca.

So that is my quick shack take on The Good Old Days. I confess I am occasionally guilty with some of my nostalgic trips back in time - I do think in a few instances those times were better, But I believe looking forward and constantly learning is the way to go. And you do know what they say about the past - if we do not learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it. One last thing - none of my neighborhood buddys was ever Bat Masterson Nobody had the requisite cane and derby hat.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The First Time I Saw an Ocean

The first time I saw an ocean was the summer before we moved from Pueblo, Colorado to California. We were trekking west to see my new grandparents and decide if we would  make the big move. We made the drive in 2.5 days and had 4 days to check out the lay of the land.

My first real ocean view was Ocean Beach in San Francisco. I loved it. Of course in typical tourist fashion,  we rolled up our  pants and took off our shoes and socks and went wading.   n knee deep water, when the wave was receding from the beach it felt like the ocean was making a serious effort to pull me out to sea.That's when I got my first real sense of the power of the ocean. I knew I was a strong swimmer but it made me nervous as hell just the same. Plus, it was summer and the water was frigid.

Ocean Beach SF Surf Cam.  The surf is treacherous and as I said, the water is frigid. Plus, there is a great white shark breeding ground nearby, just outside the Golden Gate Bridge.

Mt next view of the Pacific Ocean was Half Moon Bay - a fairly typical state beach .It was a fun place with some  great restaurants. The water was still frigid but at least we were further away from those pesky sharks.

We continued south down Highway 1 to Santa Cruz , which rapidly became my favorite ocean spot. I wonder why. Must have been that roller coaster - The Big Dipper and  the Mad Mouse. Funnily enough I remember neither the water temperature or the distance to the great white breeding grounds. Must have been that bumper car ride.

A little furthersouth was the last stop on our ocean/beach tour, Monterey. The thing I liked best about the entire highway 1 trip was the ruggedness of the coast. There were normal beach places but th e coastline is basically rugged - and gorgeous.

My dad  insisted we take the boa1t tour of Monterey Bay. When looking out to the bay and seeing nothing but whitecaps, I was not really interested but alas my 8y-year old vote was quickly smashed by those cruel parent types. If the Santa Cruz roller coaster had been on the water it would have only been half as scary as that darn boatride.Of  course I asked if there were shatks on the bay. You bet said the cheshire cat-ike ggrinning captain. It just dawned on me that perhaps Mr Speilberg was also a passenger on the trip as I am sure I said something like  "We need a bigger boat". The boat captain and my dad had a great time - me not so much. My Mom was somewhat neutral, perhaps fearing for the sanity of her firstborn child.

That day in  Monterey ended my first exposure to the Pacific Ocean. I even stopped thinking about that boatride when we stopped at the Giant Artichoke Restaurant  and I go-t myfirst taste of deep-fried artichoke hearts. It is true - everything is better fried.

The trip was a rousing success. The next summer we  packed  up our 1957 Dodge Cornet, loaded  UHAUL trailer and headed off on the new life adventure in a land called California.

Besure to check Ramana's Musings to check on Ramana's first encounter with an ocean.