Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cooking LBC 12/08/2017

This weeks topic was offered by Ramana. Back in the early days of our relationship, Lynn cooked me dinner for the first time She did a spectacular job. However, the next time she cooked things did not go so well. When I asked what happened she admitted she could only cook that first dish and in fact did not enjoy cooking. I then proposed that from that day forward, I'd do the cooking and she would do the cleanup - aka the dishes. That deal stuck  for the entire 45 years we were together.

I am a good cook, though I no longer enjoy it much. I live in an environment wherein we all keep different hours and gathering for a meal is unheard of. I refuse tone a short-order cook in my own home.

I never developed a specialty and I don't bake. Baking is way too scientific and requires much stricter adherence to recipes. My favorite flavor profiles are Cajun/Creole and Indian but I don't cook much India n - only an occasional curry dish. I cook a lot of Cajun spiced stuff.

The kids here have an aversion to onions which makes things difficult. I sneak a few in but not enough to suit me. I use Vidalia sweet onions whenever available.  And of course, garlic is a mainstay in my spice cabinet.

I cook a lot of Italian food. It is relatively easy and who doesn't like a nice plate of pasta? I do make a mean lasagna but am more likely to wash it down with a cold beer than  a glass of wine. The trick with Italian especially is good ingredients, bit of course that is true with most cuisines.

Th. e foodie population has greatly expanded in recent decades, thanks to the popularity of TV chefs and a best selling book about the restaurant industry by chef Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain himself has become a famous TV chef personality, which is ironic as his disdain for several of them is obvious when he speaks of them. That hasn't stopped fans of chefs !like Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, the late Paul Prudhomme and others from causing a rise in the foodie population. I confess - Iam a fan of several cooking shows and watch them regularly. I draw inspiration from chefs Prudhomme, Lagasse and others. I particularly enjoy the trave!l/food related shows of Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern on CNN and The Travel Channel.

This weeks topic has been fun to discuss.  Be sure to check on Ramana and the others to see what they have to say. I know Ramana is an accomplished cook.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


This weeks topic comes from Pravin. As is typical of his topics, it requires a bit of thought. How related are these three things? Are they really the same? Atr they synonymous with each other? Can you become so intoxicated with a fantasy that it becomes an obsession?

That is entirely possible and depending on the circumstance the obsession could be harmful. Many a mystery tale has been spun about unchecked obsession that leafs down a dark path. Some of those tales are actually true. Consider the followers of the recently deceased Charles Manson.

Not all obsessions need be harmful. Consider my obsession with the Zodiac Killer - and his string of unsolved murders dating back to the sixties of the last century. Now coupled with my love of the !music of that same era I could, I suppose, become completely obs essed with all things sixties. Alas, I am not. I remain well grounded in the present.

Everyone has fantasies. Some people live in a fantasy world filled with alternate facts and fake news. There is no harm in that, unless of course that person is the President of  the United States and in that world a free press is called the enemy of the people and so-called facts are demonstrably false , regardless what POTUS's spokesperson may sau regarding  the veracity of POYIS's comments not mattering - only his supposed intent matters.

On occasion, intoxication is a good thing. I have posted in the past about the night I met the woman who would become my wife. It is safe to say I found her intoxicating and became obsessed with making the fantasy world I created for us a reality. As we were in together for 45 years I think it is safe to say I succeeded.

Recently a decision was made to disband the LBC. As the song goes, they say that all good things must end some day and for us that will be the last Friday in December.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Drones vs Right to Privacy

So here we are, relaxing in the back yard with a friend and we both hest a whirring sound above us and we look up to see a drone with a cameta hoverimg above us. My friend, a very conservative, alt- right kind of fellow, quietly unholsters his Glock and  calmly blows the drone out of the sky.

There is a shreik followed by the sobs of the neighbor:s 10-year old son. My friend with the Block. simply shtugs and says the kid needs to he taught not to invade the privacy of others without being invited.

The next sound is my irate neighbor shouting and swearing about the dirty SOB that shot his kids toy out of the sky

Imagine if that drone was owned and operated by law enforcement or some other governmemt agency

Many folks alrady resent the use of CCTV and see that as an invasion of their privacy. Drones are the next logical sy in the use of CCTV - the dreaded eye in the sly. History tells us governments often abuse
some legiti!ate tools in their pursuit of criminals. The potential for abuse. Is enormous and serious restrictions need to be in place. We seem to be inching toward a note totalitarian government makes me nervous.

I apologize for the brevity of this LBC entry but of was made using a very small tablet

Thursday, November 9, 2017

You Need to Believe

Any baseball fan worth his/her salt is familiar wth Tug McGraw's Ya gotta believecrusade  during a the 1980 World Seried between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Kansas City Royals. The rallying cry actually originated when McGraw was a member of the New York Mets a few yeas earlier. 

The sentiment it evoked helped inspire the Phillies to their first world championship. It was an exciting series 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Constraints LBC 09/29/2017

This week's topic is Constraints. What is holding you back? Is it lack of money, lack of education or maybe as simple as attitude? Do you need an attitude adjustment? Rules and regulations holding you back?

Business constraints? That is an easy one - regulations. Every business claims regulations make it impossible to do business. Ahem, it was not that many years ago when the auto industry was screaming about seatbelt restraints, mileage objectives and a whole batch of other regulations.  Thee days we jump into our safe, well-regulated cars and oh - yeah - there are several makes.  Those smart enough to comply with the regulations and savvy enough to market their products are successful and profitable.

A balanced budget? Those constraints are part of a larger issue here in the USA. We are in the midst of a cultural civil war of sorts. The far right and the far left monopolize the news cycles and bang their drums loudly. Our government - with one party owning the three branches of government is still seemingly paralyzed and accomplishing very little of consequence, with no change in sight. At this point, a balanced budget and deficit reduction are simply a pipe dream.

Personal constraints? Look back to paragraph one.  Is it lack of money, lack of education or maybe as simple as attitude? Do you need an attitude adjustment? All of these constrain us in life. and they are all relatively easy to address.     Attitude is the one that can impact the others, so it behooves us to pay close attention to our attitudes in life.

Constraints help shape our lives and culture. The USA - for example - is not a Christian nation, it is a nation with primarily Christian faiths and our culture is largely defined by Judeo/Christian values, much to the chagrin of many atheists and members of other faiths. That does not, however, mean Judeo/Christian icons can be displayed in government locations - much to the chagrin of many Christians.  We can't seem to please anyone but we keep plugging along.

Be sure to check my cohorts at their blogs - RamanaPravin and Ashok.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Media Bias LBC 9/22/2017

This weeks topic is Media Bias - it's a subject that has been in the news daily for well over a year,  thanks to our recent presidential election It includes a couple of other synonyms - fake news and mainstream media bias. The latter implies the conservative media is unbiased whereas mainstream media is not and the former is a term coined by POTUS45 before he was even elected as a way to create mistrust of the mainstream media. The term Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth leaps to mind regarding fake news. At least it becomes the illusion of truth. Think crowd size.

Political mudslinging has been part and parcel of our electoral process since the beginning. Thomas Jefferson hired a writer to make claims that John Adams was a repulsive pedant and a hideo s hermaphroditical character. Davy Crockett accused Martin Van Buren of wearing women's corsets. For a fun read on these types of things, go here.

Newspapers have a long tradition of supporting one candidate or another but we always expected them to tell the whole truth when reporting the news. In reality people like William Randolph Hearst have always slanted their media empires. These days the right wing considers the NY Times and the Washington Post to be standard bearers for the left. An interesting factoid - the Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos - the uber wealthy scion of Amazon.

Media bias seems much worse in the current climate because of the prevailing 24 hour news cycle. That is a byproduct of the news for profit competition that is so prevalent these days. Every media provider is on the hunt for the next new story and cable news is the engine that drives the cycle, along with Internet media companies like Breitbart News, Huffington Post, Politico and others.

Talk radio is, for the most part, the bastion of the right wing in this country. The left has tried but not been successful at establishing a foothold in radio. The airwaves are ruled by Ruch Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Mark Davis and others.

Cable news' distribution is more balanced with Fox on the right and MSNBC and CNN on the left. Of course the right claims CBS, ABC and NBC are all biased against the right. I find the news operations of most of the networks report the news fairly but when it comes to their personalities - the Tucker Carlsons, Sean Hannitys,  Chris Mathews, Rachel Maddows and Keith Olbermans, etc. are proud flag wavers for the right or left. Do not expect anything truly fair or balanced from them.

Long story short, pretty much all media is biased. Anyone who single sources their information is quite frankly a fool IMHO. Even for political junkies like me, it's a jungle out there.

I do not think this situation will change anytime soon, so it behooves us as consumers to be smart about our news intake.  Fact check regularly.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cause and Effect LBC 09/15/2017 cause

Why do things happen? Does A cause B?  Consider the following - a boy enters high school. He is given an option by one of his parents - either try out for the football team or get a job. He chooses to try out for the football team.  During the course of that season, he finds he really enjoys playing football and continues to play all four years of high school and college. He does so well he is selected  ALl American and wins the Heisman Trophy. He is drafted by the NFL and signs a multi-year multi-million dollar contract. Is his newly earned wealth the result of that first decision all those years earlier to try out for the freshman football team? Partly. Many other decisions made after that first one led to that result.

Cause and effect can be defined as the concept that an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event; also written cause-effectcause/effect.

Cause - the US president is elected by a electoral college resulting in the possibility that a president can be elected in spite of losing the popular vote by nearly three million votes. POTUS 45 is the latest example.

Cause and effect is a large part of Buddhism, expressed through Karma.
If X is a necessary cause for Y than the presence of Y indicates the prior presence of X.  However, the presence of X does not necessarily mean Y will follow.

So how do cause and effect affect our lives? Every effect has a corresponding cause so it stands to reason that changing the causes will change the effects. To change your life change your choices. Perhaps the desired effect really requires multiple causes. Simply adding a new cause may be all that is necessary to achieve a desired effect.  At a restaurant, the menu includes your favorite cut of steak but a satisfying meal requires more than just meat so you order sauteed mushrooms, asparagus, and a dinner salad. Now in my case, a double Glenlivet added to that order would achieve the desired effect - a satisfying meal.

There are some who believe the two recent powerful hurricanes that hit in Texas and  Florida were the result of climate change. We have never had two such hurricanes come ashore in the same year let alone within weeks of each other.  Surely climate change has caused an increase in size and intensity of the hurricanes.

Unfortunately, the only thing odd about the two hurricanes is that they came ashore.  Of course, the evangelical right thinks that was God punishing us for things like gay tolerance and the general disintegration of our cultural mores. The fact is hurricanes of that size occur annually, they just do not all come ashore. They typically spin out to sea.  The Weather Channel experts suggest there is still much work to be done to link hurricane size and intensity to climate change - man made or otherwise.

Cause - I have discussed the weekly topic. Effect - that's all folks - tune in next week for another LBC blog. To see what the other LBC bloggers have to say check their blogs:  RamanaPravin & Ashok. Maris is on holiday in Ireland.