Friday, October 19, 2018


This week's 2-on-1 topic  for discussion is Horoscopes. Merriam Webster 
defines horoscope as  diagram of the relative positions of planets and signs
 of the zodiac at a specific time (as at one's birth) for use by astrologers in 
inferring individual character and personality traits and in foretelling events of a 
person's life. An astrological forecast.

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If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS. That seems to be 
the goal of Astrology. Dazzle them with fancy charts and complicated graphs.
Throw in lots of star charts but do not remind anyone those images are thousands
of years old - do the math. We know the speed of light so if you know how far
away the stars are you do not need to be Sheldon Cooper to calculate how long
that light takes to reach us.

Here, for example, is one of my Horoscopes for today, 10/18/18: Recent gains are a 
credit to your efforts, but thank everyone involved. Note - I said one of my
Horoscopes. There are as many floating around as there are newspapers. 

I suppose I could check out several and cherry pick the best.

OK - so I am not a believer. Many people are. My grandmother took Astrology quite
seriously - she made magnificent charts for people. She had a large following and 
they were all quite happy with the entire process so it all seems fairly benign to me.
No harm, no foul as it were. Reading a Horoscope is the intellectual equivalent of
reading a fortune cookie after Chinese food. The degree of accuracy is similar too.

Be sure ti check Ramanas Musings for his take  on Horoscopes.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


This week's topic is grudges - a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury. I cannot think of anyone who has not held a grudge at one time or another. Hollywood has been the site of several serious grudges - Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis; Joan Crawford & Betty Davis; Bud Abbott & Lou Costello; Vivian Vance & William Frawley;  Orson Welles& William Randolph Hearst.

Many of these folks worked together for years before something set one of the pairs off. In the Welles/Hearst case, Welles parodied Hearst in Welles' most famous film - Citizen Kane. Hearst was none-too-pleased.

You will note too that most of those involved have egos the size of Manhattan. All -i n-all, these great feuds were most entertaining. They were the gossip fodder of their times and the latest additions were eagerly awaited daily. The journalists who specialized in gossip were called Muckrakers. Arguably the last, great Muckraker was Jack Anderson. These days the void is filled by shows like Real Houswives of name a city. These decidedly lower class shows still command quite an audience and fill the gossip void. Think Kardashian or Hilton. These days it seems your ticket to grudge fame can be filled by a 20-30 minute tape of you having sex with your significant other. If you can claim said tape was stolen off you smart phone or the cloud, even better.

I'm afraid I'm pretty boring when it comes to this stuff. Most grudges I had were sports related and resolved pretty quickly on the field of play by a bruising hit or a fastball to the ribs. I freely admit they were quite satisfying. I once resolved a wrestling gruge by recording my fastest pin - 18 seconds.I was not a particularly pleasant fellow when it came to sports - LOL.

Be sure to check Ramana's Musings to see what Ramana has to say about this week's topic.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Status 2-on-1 blog 10/05/2018

This week's blog topic is STATUS. It was suggested by Ramana and you can see his take on the topic here Ramana's Musings.  

Status is everywhere. We are label happy and so that makes status a label easily applicable to us all. And we have even created emojis to further clarify our status,

We are born with status, Every country has a status system built in. I believe India's caste system is the most widely known and perhaps least understood.

Here in the USA we seem headed on a collision course with race becoming the most dominant identifier/status. Now don't get me wrong - race has always been a dominant status here but it has been closeted and now, fueled by white paranoia about losing "our" country to  non whites times are becoming very interesting. and the dominant status appears to be "red neck". Alas, I do not fit the bill - despite where I live (an admittedly trashy trailer park i the deep s I am a fish out of water here because I am no fan of college basketball and the mere mention of Duke or North Carolina do not cause me to genuflect. One has to wonder how Native Americans feel about their country being over run by the victorious conquerors. But wait - we won, therefore we got to write the history. Yay us. Who cares what they thought or think. History is written by the winners, always has been and always will be. Of course it usually has to be rewritten when the various and sundry inaccuracies are so glaring - as in the recently disclosed saga of POTUS 45  and his wealth accumulation techniques.

Having status is not enough -  we need a Master Status "in sociology, the master status is the social position that is the primary identifying characteristic of an individual. The term master status is defined as "a status that has exceptional importance for social identity, often shaping a person's entire life." Now that is something I can get behind and support. My Master Status is - drum roll please - Curmudgeon.

It is all downhill from here - Curmudgeon, free thinker, smart ass (a sub set of curmudgeon) - I'm sure we can add a few to the list. Father, Grandfather, Uncle, College graduate, retired, musicologist, member of Facebook, cook, avid reader - dang - this status stuff is quite extensive. And then there is the fun stuff- baseball player, football player, wrestler, softball player, Trivial Pursuit master, Pictionary player,

A recent change has occurred.  I am no longer a political junkie The tribalism has worn me down. My registration has changed to Independent. I cannot deal with the extremes of the two parties. The religious right has sold their souls for 2 SCOTUS judges, The progressive left wrote the book on political correctness. So I will just have to muddle through and see what will be.

That brings today's little ditty to a close. We'll see all y'all next week, same bat time and same bat channel

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Is Modern Marketing Intrusive? 2-on-1 09/28/2018

Is modern marketing, with all of the digital data available, intrusive? You bet it is. The question is - is that a bad thing? I expect that depends on whether or not you enjoy shopping. Personally, I'd rather go to the dentist than go shopping. Oh - and I hate the dentist, in spite of the fact one of my oldest, best friends and his wife are both dentists. Clearly shopping is not something I am particularly fond of.

Data mining is the new gold field - how often have you been  browsing the Web, jumped on to Facebook and IMMEDIATELY seen ads for the item you were just looking at or similar competitive items? It happens to me daily. Check the page header age for Yahoo the next time you open yahoo. Effective data mining. All  tailored specifically for you. Personally I enjoy the fact that some algorithm does the work and I an led to sites that have exactly what I am browsing for. 

Now this is not necessarily bad and it is easy to stop. You can always use a browser like Tor or you can browse incognito, both of which I find to be a pain in the butt. I deal with it by deleting my browsing history several times a day and each day when I am finished with the computer.  It is quite simple - I use Google Chrome but Edge and FireFox both work the same way. In Chrome simply click on the 3 vertical dots st the far right of the address bar, That opens a menu and and you click on More Tools - which opens another menu to the left. Click the Clear Browsing History option. I personally click the four top options and then the Clear Data box in the bottom right corner of the screen. Problem solved for a while. At the end of the day repeat the procedure and you will have a fresh start the next time you loginf

Remember - these sites earn their money on site clicks and advertising. They have a powerful argument to make about effective targeted marketing. I do not understand why so many people are offended by this - welcome to capitalism. Plus, each browser has their own set of rules for clearing browsing data so do a little exploring.

That's it for this weeks 2-on-1 blog. Be sure to check Ramana's take here.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Pain 2-on-1

This weeks 2-on-1 topic is pain.  There's physical pain and emotional pain. Both have multiple causes and I'd wager most people would say emotional pain often surpasses even the deepest physical pain. Personally, that is the case as other than a couple of serious back sprains, emotional pain has pretty much always been stronger.

I don't know where we went wrong but the feelings gone and I just can't get it back. That is powerful pain.

 The pain these songs are meant to assuage is that really deep, mind numbing pain only a relationship collapse can cause.

Now nobody is suggesting that the actual physical pain of a cancer patient, for example, is not significantly greater than emotional pain. Is it not ironic that two of the most significant physical pains are giving birth and a slow, painful death due to cancer?

Here's a quote I love - One day I hope you look back at all we had, and regret every single thing you did to let it end. That is firing back with both barrels.

Pain is a huge part of life, including our learning processes. We learn from our mistakes - you don't stick your finger into a flame too many times before you realize it hurts and it would be a good idea to stop. That makes pain a great motivator. If you are interested in the various types of pain and the how and why of it check Wikipedia here.

That's a wrap on Pain - this weeks topic, Be sure to check what Ramana has posted here. I'll close with a couple of appropriate tunes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Life on the simple side (inspired by Tammy)

This weeks topic was my choice and it was inspired by one of our friends and readers, Tammy James. Tammy is a vocal proponent of the simple life. She calls it her minimalist experience. So what's it all about? What's this minimalist experience?

 More and more people are joining this movement. What makes it one of the coolest and most beneficial lifestyles to follow in today’s cluttered world? Everything I have read indicates minimalism is a lean, agile lifestyle. It may be necessitated by financial restrictions or handicaps like mine - that monthly SS check. Others choose minimalism even though financial limitations do not apply. Think the Tiny House movement. You can read about it here. The American Dream has shifted to an uncluttered one with a tiny house on wheels.

Now I tried downsizing but my tiny house turned out to be a 3BR2BA single wide trailer and that did not work out to well. My daughter and her kids crashed the party and trashed the house. By the time you read this I will likely be without power, hunkered down
 with the family and our pets as hurricane Florence blows across North Carolina.
  You don't have to purchase a tiny house to be a minimalist - a small apartment will do just fine. The goal is to declutter your life and strip it down to what you need. To a minimalist that loves books you my keep scores of books.I - on the other hand have eye problems so I read a Kindle. My book storage requirements are the kindle itself and some "cloud" space.

Decluttering can be a hard thing to do - most of us get emotionally attached to our stuff and so when it's  time to bid adieu to that stuff you may find yourself in a deep emotional
 conflict. Keep at it. Don't give up. when it's done it's  really done. 

My ideal minimalist space is a simple 1BR1BA apartment - maybe even a studio apartment. Need room for a guest, my dog Ginger and my wide screen HDTV. I really do need that. Hockey season starts soon. That makes me a happy guy.

The secret to having it all is knowing that you already do. It is a wise person that understands the truth in that statement. Tammy is a wise person - and generous as she shares that nugget with her readers regularly.

One of the joys of life on the simple side is you are in control of it. You own it - the clutter is gone so there is no excuse to not do what you want, listen to a song whenever you wish.

You can even choose to be a social butterfly if you wish. Tammy is something of a social butterfly in the very best essence of the term. One of the very best things about blogging is the interaction with people from all over, and Tammy's comments can be seen in several places. Her level of contentment is amazing as I have never seen a  negative comment save maybe disliking a song by a fave singer of mine. If memory serves, he held a note so long it bothered her - LOL. Well lets try that one again Ms James - lol

By the way - do you know that our pal Tammy is related to a gent named Jesse James? I wonder if she inherited his shooting prowess - or if maybe the Marine did.

So that is my little tribute to my buddy Tammy - an absolute sweetheart and a good friend, even if she is in Oklahoma ( that's a Texas thing) and the person that kick started my interest in the simple life. We'll see ya next week with another 2-on-1 topic featuring eastern (Ramana) and western takes on the weekly topic.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Curiosity 2-on-1 09/07/2018

Curiosity - this weeks topic du jour was offered by my friend Ramana. Be sure to check his blog here for his take on the topic.

According to Merriam Webster, curiosity is simply the desire to know and  one that arouses interest especially for uncommon or exotic characteristics Tobacco was once regarded as a curiosity in Europe. an unusual knickknack curio The antique shop was full of curiosities curious trait or aspect.

Should one believe old wives tales, curiosity is responsible for wholesale cat slaughter but the current cat population is substantial enough to bring the veracity of that saying into question. And, the sheer volume of cat videos on Youtube certainly supports that notion.

IMHO, curiosity is the single most critical  behavioral trait responsible for mankind's growth and development. Science itself is based upon curiosity - why do things react the way they do? Curiosity drives all of those scientific experiments. We have a nearly insatiable desire to learn - and that is a very good thing. 

How can you look at a picture like this and not be curious?

Curiosity is the key to our intelligence. It keeps us moving forward and drives our successes and failures. The curious mind is not derailed by failure - like the professional salesperson that sees every no as the removal of an impediment to the next yes, the curious mind sees failures as moving a step closer to the truth.

Curiosity got us to the moon (with some serious mathematical help). Curiosity got the Mars Rover all the way to mars and curiosity got the voyager program going. Per NASA, the twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft are exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. Continuing on their more-than-39-year journey since their 1977 launch, both Voyager spacecrafts carry a greeting to any form of life, should that be encountered. The message is carried by a phonograph record - -a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the divers Check out The Cabinet of Curiosities of life and culture on Earth. The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earth-people in fifty-five languages.

Curiosity is fueled by many things, but a primary motivator has always been money. The desire to open up trade across the entire continent for economic reasons kick started the Lewis and Clark expedition. The desire to create the most bizarre - but tasty - fried food has motivated food vendors at fairs since time began. I personally draw the line at fried butter - even I have my limits. Fried ice cream, though, is perfectly acceptable. 

Curiosity fuels fans of mysteries. One of my favorite series is the FBI Special Agent Pendergast books by Lincoln Preston and Douglas Child. Check out The Cabinet of  Curiosities or check out the wide range of titles in the series here. I heartily recommend the series as an enjoyable read with quirky characters, wide ranging story lines and more than a few surprises. 

I have always been a curious fellow. That has led me to being what is known as a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.  That is the trait that allows me to sit down and write these little dittys pretty much off the top of my head. Over the years my mind has been a steel trap for useless (read trivia) information. I assure you it has saved me a fair amount of money in bars over the years. My friend Brian Scott and I form a virtually invincible Trivial Pursuit team - BS is a dentist and our skill sets are very complimentary. It does not hurt that BS is also one of  the two or three most intelligent people I have ever known.

Curiosity has been crucial in our development and will continue to be - we need to guard against losing that spark inside us that drives us to learn.

That's it for this week's topic. See ya next week, same bat time, same bat channel for another installment of 2-on-1.