Thursday, November 14, 2019

What is a Real Friend 2-on-1`Nov 15,2019

This week's topic was my suggestion. You might say I had an epiphany of sorts when I reconnected with an  old friend/girlfriend after about 50 years, KT. We met back in those halcyon days fresh out of high school and starting to find our way in the world  - we both worked at Sears. We met when she spent a day working in my department - the Bedding and Bath Shop. She was also a nursing student at Chabot, where I was taking classes and playing football.

I have often mentioned how shy I was and in fact in many ways still am. In my life I can count three times when my shyness evaporated around the opposite sex and KT is one of those three, the other two being Lyn from HS and my late wife Lynn. One common thread between each of those three and me is that we were great friends as well as couples.

Those were interesting and often trying times because - you see - high school does not prepare you for the real world. You get to figure that out by yourself with the assistance of your friends and some times family. So, for the next three years or so we wandered down the yellow brick road, never quite finding our way. I had met Lynn and so for a time I was dating a pair of extraordinary young ladies. KT and I were in the process of no longer being a couple but still being friends - in someways closer than ever.

After Lynn and I were married KT and I drifted apart - I stopped working at Sears and she was running full steam ahead in her nursing career and was married herself.

At one point I emailed her via Classmates and we exchanged emails and then again went about our lives, knowing that things were apparently fine.

A week or so ago, on  a whim I searched Facebook and found her. I let a couple of our old Sears pals know, and they immediately sent KT friend requests, one - her old roommate Jan - telling her I had passed on the info. And then a  friend request came to me with a "snippy" note suggesting we be Facebook friends as well. I laughed out loud at that as I could see her eyes twinkling with  mischief as she politely suggested I was being an idiot by not asking.

Since then we have been catching up. She had an interesting, varied career in nursing, was married nearly as long as Lynn and I but had unfortunately lost her husband last year. We both have  had good lives filled with the joy and heartache that comes with life on the third rock from the sun.

What does this have to do with the topic this week? You never know when a real friend will come along and in life there will be milestones, both good and  bad. While some folks may think they can get through life alone my experience has been to the contrary. When you come across an individual that has your back, is honest with you even when you don't want to hear what they are saying and has your interest and well being at heart, be thankful because if that is the case you will never be lonely. You will have a friend. I do not have many real close friends and renewing this one has been an amazingly fun process. So thanks KT - welcome back - my world just got a little brighter and I got a great idea for a new mystery series LOL.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cellphone Addiction

Ramana suggested this week's topic -Cellphone Addiction. Merriam Webster (online) describes addiction as a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted.The question, then, is does cellphone use fall into these categories and the answer is a resounding yes. I'd say that when family members inside the same  house text each other or call each other rather than take a few steps and meet face to face their cellphone use has reached addiction levels.

There is a terrific article on smartphone addiction on I urge you to read here. 
Could cellphone addiction be changing your brain? CNN seems to think so CNN says "Cell phone addiction is a psychological dependence on the use of a cell phone. This addiction type shares many of the same traits as a behavioral addiction like compulsive gambling but is considered an impulse disorder. Those who suffer from cell phone addiction tend to pay an excessive amount of attention to their phones and are unable to control urges to use."

 My daughter is addicted to her smart phone - in fact before cellphones she was addicted to our regular phone.  One ring would get her moving faster than I thought humanly possible to answer the darn thing. She would spend hours talking on it - sadly that behavior extended eventually to certain chemicals as she truly has an addictive personality.

Me? no - I am not addicted. I have a bad habit of not carrying my phone with me and I almost never check voicemail. I relish the point at which the mailbox gets full and no more messages can be left. Cell phone addiction is a psychological dependence on the use of a cell phone. This addiction type shares many of the same traits as a behavioral addiction like compulsive gambling but is considered an impulse disorder. Those who suffer from cell phone addiction tend to pay an excessive amount of attention to their phones and are unable to control urges to use. My blogging partner, Ramana, is trying to get me to use What's App. He can attest to the fact that I have  yet to respond successfully to one of his messages - guess I need to delete and reinstall the dang program.  And no - I am not suggesting Ramana is addicted to his cellphone LOL.

Hawkeye says  "Cell phone addiction is a psychological dependence on the use of a cell phone. This addiction type shares many of the same traits as a behavioral addiction like compulsive gambling but is considered an impulse disorder. Those who suffer from cell phone addiction tend to pay an excessive amount of attention to their phones and are unable to control urges to use. Their article, which can be found here ends with some common sense -
Cellphone addiction is no laughing matter and could often lead to many problems. Sure, there are good ways to utilize them, but it is important not to get carried away. While it seems society has plunged itself deep into the void of technological dependency, we still have the opportunity and the responsibility to end this epidemic before it’s too late."

Hmmm - do ya think 45 is addicted to his cellphone or is his a Twitter addiction. 

So what does the future hold in the battle for humanity being waged by cellphones? I honestly doubt things will get much better/worse - depending on your viewpoint. Until the next great communication technology arrives I expect cellphones to be the order of the day. Do I expect society to collapse (assuming it has not already done so)? Nope - but we should all be aware of the ways in which cellphone use can be abused and prevent that from happening. It is somehow ironic when you consider some of te most paranoid folks on the planet embrace technology that can so readily be used to keep track of us.

I'll close this tome with this brief Ted Talk - out of the mouths of babes.

See ya next week for another 2-on-1 blog.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Favorite Song Lyrics;Most Over Rated Book Series; Favorite Movie Last Yr,

Okay - I picked the lazy topic for this week's blog. I admit it. Go on - yell at my laziness. What actually made me come up with these are thinking about how these lists like this can and do change - in my case quite often. The past couple of weeks have seen an uptick in those "Tell me about yourself posts". You know - those that usually start with how many tattoos you have, your favorite color (0, Chicago Bears Blue) and so on. I freely admit they are fun, especially when they are fresh and new. My favorite song change weekly, depending  on the play list of the radio station I listen to. My favorite color has not changed since I realized the Bears uniforms were dark blue, not black.

Song lyrics as a whole - I have always loved Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds . My favorite single line of lyrics is from a song by the Association written by Terry Kirkman - the opening line of Everything That Touches You - In my most secure moments I still can't believe I'm sharing those moments with you.

As a voracious reader I have been known to binge read an entire book series on occasion. Were I to re-read any of those series it would be the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher or the Travis McGee series by John D  MacDonald. One I wouldnot bother with is the Steven Saylor series featuring Gordianus theFinder -,a mustery series  set in ancient Rome. Why?  The Lindsay Thomas series featuring Marcus Didius Falco is simply much more enjoyable.

Hands down, my favorite recent movie is John Wick 3 - Parbellum.  I hope Kenu Reeves hasstoh  movies are great popcorn flicks with absurdly overdone violence and fight scenes. Keanu Reeves is in his element. I admit my movie going is way down since Lynn died as we used to every Sunday. Now once every couple of months is about it.

That's a quick toe in the entertainment water these days. Clearly my tastes are not particularly sophisticated - just like when I was a kid a good shoot'em up keeps me happy and the same is somewhat true in literature. i do read the occasional non-fiction book but I am  far happier in the made up worlds of fiction.

Se ya next week for another 2-on-1 blog in which my blogging buddy Ramana offers an eastern take on that topoic while I am the western flavor.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Success and Failure


This week's topic was selected by Ramana. Be sure to check his take on Ramana's Musings.

There are those who suggest you cannot have success without failure -Thomas Edison reportedly failed 10,000 times before coming up with a successful light bulb.  Old Tom was a patient guy, apparently.

It is interesting to note that the standard for success in any endeavor also indicates the relationship of failure to that endeavor. it is October and the World Series is being played between the American and National league champions. Baseball is interesting in that it offers a relatively high degree of failure for players when examining their batting standards. A player that fails 70% when batting has a batting average of 300. Ted Williams - considered one of the greatest hitters of all time had a career average of .344, Babe Ruth .342. That means every thousand at bats during his career, Williams failed 756 times and Ruth failed 758 times. Pitchers, on the other hand, that fail at those same rates likely will be out of the leagues and considered failures. Sandy Koufax, arguably the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time finished his injury shortened career with a 165 and 87 won/loss record.  Nolan Ryan, a right-hander, pitched 7 no hitters and ended his career with a 324-292 Won Loss record. He was barely a 500 pitcher yet any right-minded GM or manager would do literally anything to have either Koufax or Ryan on their staff.

Sales is another endeavor wherein Failure is a necessary step to success. Every "No" you receive puts you one call closer to that magic Yes that pays the bills. Any sales course by the likes of Zig Zigler or Tony Robbins will pound that into your brain.

On occasion the Gods will manipulate things and you will succeed on your first try, but I suggest you do not expect that result all the time, you will likely be disappointed much more often than not. Have you ever seen a baby that learned to walk without falling?

If you are a fan of cooking, try examining the history of your favorite dish. You might just might find that dish is the result of a culinary accident like the chocolate chip cookie, beer, potato chips and Coke.

Clearly, success and failure are inextricably linked. Every time we learn from our efforts and our mistakes, we are succeeding - succeeding in getting closer to success. Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success.

 That's a quick tale on success and failure. See ya next week, same bat time, same bat channel.

Friday, October 18, 2019


Leadership is this weeks two-on-one topic. It was my suggestion which came about from a related Facebook post. According to Wikipedia, "leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual or entire organizations to "lead" or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. Specialist literature debates various viewpoints, contrasting Eastern and Western approaches to leadership, and also (within the West) United States versus European approaches. U.S. academic environments define leadership as "a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task".

Image result for peanuts on leadership

That's quite a mouthful for a weekly little blog like this one - surely leadership can be boiled down to a few basic principles or actions in a structure that addresses leadership in most incidences. Lets see - a quick google of the topic offers articles on 5,6, 10 and 12 different styles. Hmmm - perhaps leadership is more sophisticated, complicated or pick your own adjective than I initially suspected.

I think I'll start with the following statement - all leaders are managers, not all managers are leaders. Leadership and  management are really quite different - although I am certain that good, effective managers are also leaders. 

Effective leadership requires excellent communication skills. Most importantly, effective leaders need to be good listeners, effective delegators and they must be able to explain their vision. If the project at hand cannot be articulated how can it be completed?

Good leaders need to  be personally motivated and possess a desire to achieve and improve. Optimism is the key - has a pessimist ever motivated you to do anything?

Good leaders act with honesty and integrity, and understand how to explain something negative in a positive manner.  Giving and receiving feedback in a positive manner  is a key to leadership skills IMHO. Be flexible enough to seek and accept feedback when required - and creative enough to realize there could well be a better way to get something done than yours.

Sports fans are all too often well aware of how changing a coach can make a huge difference in the performance of their favorite team. Most of you know I am a huge fan of the San Jose Sharks in the NHL. A simple change in coaches from Todd McLellan resulted in a higher level of play.  The team has been playing much better under Pete DeBoer - and though that may change in the future and necessitate additional changes it can always happen.

Another important leadership quality IMHO is to not use fear to try and motivate a team/organization/individual on a regular basis. It simply is not a path to long range success although there may be an occasional moment when as a last resort Fear can work as a motivating force. But it will not work long term- it will simply create resentment - at least that has been my experience on both sides of the leadership equation. I have tried it myself both as the leader and a team member.

Frequent leadership changes - for example a coaching change - may be indicative a leadership change higher up the food chain (General Manager to continue with the sports analogy) is called for. The same leadership principles apply all the way up a management chain in an organization.

As with any endeavor, change is the norm even in leadership - ideas should always evolve and change as the times or business indicate. An individual who accepts change as inevitable will almost always be better equipped to deal with the stresses of daily life and he or she who handles (manages?) stress successfully has a better chance of successfully navigating life.

That is my quick take on Leadership - emphasis on the "quick". Leadership is complex and a complete discussion of the topic could easily warrant an entire book. My book in progress is a mystery - LOL. Be sure to check Ramana'sMusings to see what my friend Ramana has to say on this week's topic,

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Retirement 2-on-1 Blog 10/11/2019

Retirement. Ramana selected this weeks topic so be sure to checkout his blog  - Ramana's Musings. 

Back in my high -school days there was some serious competition between popular radio stations that played pop/rock music. For many years the leading station was KYA and my favorite deejay back then was Gene Nelson. He called his listeners Royal Commandos and we had membership cards. Ultimately the station was purchased by Gene Autry and became part of the singing cowboys radio empire. Now Gene Nelson had a habit of every Friday playing Take this Job and Shove It at the end of his work week. Nelson as not particularly fond of Autry's company and rules so on his last day there he boldly stated "this one's for you Autry"  and proudly played the Johnny Paycheck classic.

Myself - my retirement was not nearly so spectacular. RadioShack  filed bankruptcy when I was 67 so my retirement was more of a "Come get your damned computer outta my house" kind of thing. I was retired in the last round of layoffs after a rather undistinguished 30+ year "career"ll SSI benefits which I promptly filed for and began receiving have been the order of the day since then.

So, upon entering retirement what happens? Can you afford to retire? Where should you live when you retire? And to think you were looking forward to a lack of stress upon retirement. Unfortunately for many people that stress is magnified by trying how to keep fed while retiring. Golden years? For many, retirement begins the most stressful part of their life. Me? Not so much. While not having been smart enough to sock a bunch of cash away for retirement my SSI is sufficient to take care of my needs. There aren't any  cruises in my future but did take one helluva train ride.  Should I live in a retirement home? Who the bloody hell wants to live with old people. Not I LOL. That 70 year-old face I look at in the mirror each morning hides a rebellious teenage teenager's spirit inside. Your health care needs should be covered by Medicare and of course your retirement decisions will be largely governed by your health. Take care of yourself along the highways of your life

On a serious note, retirement needs to be carefully thought out if  you want to actually have your golden years be golden. Save money, plan ahead where you want to live.  Save accordingly. Truth be told, had Lynn not passed away we'd probably be living somewhere on the west coast of Baja. It is inexpensive and the weather is spectacular. Life there would be fun.

Retirement is what you make of it. It requires a degree of discipline but that discipline can make your retirement years some of your happiest.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

You can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at. What makes you laugh??

I selected this topic for our weekly 2-on-1 blog. Why? For the laughs - why else? We all need to laugh or IMHO we'd bat-shit crazy. Especially these days. Does the same thing that made you laugh 50 years ago still make you laugh? Caution - you may find some of the language in these clips offensive.Get over it - LOL.

There's no point in talking about it - just relax and hopefully enjoy some comedy through the ages that makes me laugh. 

A classic and one of the most beloved routines of all time. Especially for baseball fans.

I'm sorry but I have no earthly idea why this simple routine always makes be laugh log and hard but it does. Whenever I see or hear the name Niagra Falls I laugh.

When I was young my grandmother had a batch of what she called "party records" - most were by Redd Fox or Rusty warren. Occasionally my friends and I would sneak a listen.

Times were different. Political correctness had not established a firm foothold. Nothing was sacred it seemed.

 As time marched on the targets of humor became more and more ingrained in mainstream culture. Now it is even more so. IMHO, the finest comedian of all time is a gentleman named George Carlin and in an almost neck and neck tie, Robin Williams. Williams was at his best in unscripted moments IMHO.

 On the American dream
On Stuff

Reality check

On soft language

On Letterman

That is my take on what makes me laugh. Whatever reflection that has on my intelligence is a mystery to me. Perhaps that is why the quote I used was unattributed. For Ramana's take, be sure to check Ramana's Musings.