Thursday, January 12, 2017

Politics LBC

This weeks topic comes just as we here in the USA are preparing to inaugurate our next president while we begin the vetting/approval process for his cabinet selections. It marks the end of a contentious election on the heels of an equally contentious BREXIT  election in the UK.

Politics are pervasive. They intrude upon every aspect of our lives and these days  of  severe polarization leave very little room for respect for the other side's point of view. That in turn leaves both sides demonizing the other. This went on for so long here in the USA that we elected a  businessman that patted himself on the back for his multiple bankruptcy filings and bragged  about how he was so smart he paid few - if any - income taxes.  He vowed to make America great again.  We will see how that shakes out over the next four years, even as people like Cory Booker  and Marco Rubio begin  posturing for future runs at the presidency from their parties.  

It seems that politicians here seem to care more about being elected/re-elected than anything else. No small wonder when you realize the benefits and salaries - including "pensions" for life involved, not to mention the lucrative lobbyist positions that seem to gravitate to former politicians.  It is worth noting that our billionaire president-elect has said he will not accept a salary for his term in office.

Although Trump won the electoral college vote he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. Not quite the landslide he claims and it has sewn the seeds of discontent.

Marketing is as important as ideas in elections these days.  Maybe  even more important.  Ask Bernie Sanders. Toss in a few dirty tricks to make it even tougher on the idea candidate.  

All of this is made possible by a disinterested electorate,  one where nearly half of those eligible do not vote. Too many years of broken promises and missteps.  And now a new generation is ready to assume its rightful place in our society and their ideas and attitudes are quite different than ours. Once again the times they are a changing.  Watch the right wing scramble to leave  their indelible mark.  It is all politics - and it is going to be an interesting ride. It is almost like the sixties all over only now I am in the older generation.   I wonder if my parents felt the same way then as I do now.



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Imagination LBC 01/06/2017

Off we go into 2017 with a topic picked by Ramana. Imagination. Wikipedia says imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the creative ability to form images, ideas, and sensations in the mind without direct input from the senses, such as seeing or hearing.  

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”  Albert Einstein

It is often said that if we can imagine something we can produce that thing. I am not sure that is true in the real world but it certainly provides the impetus for creativity and new ideas which lead to progress and change.

One way we let  our imaginations run wild is through day dreaming. We let our minds wander.  Remember Buck Rogers, Dick Tracy and other cartoon characters from the last  century? Space travel is now real. Wrist TV and radio are real. They were imagined and now they exist in the real world. Someones idea inspired someone else to pursue that idea for real.

All it takes to make a daydream real is for there to be a daydream believer.

We are fortunate there are day dreamers -  people with wild imaginations. The world would be a dreary place without them. The arts would be very different indeed. Technology? WHo knows where we would be without the dreamers.

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” - J.K.Rowling

All of that said, I must confess to being one with a limited imagination. I am much more  suited to implementing ideas - not coming  up with them. It  has always been that way.

Check out what my cohorts have to say.  





Thursday, December 29, 2016

Farewell 2016 and Catch Up

Due to a stint  in the hospital and being  sick I missed a couple of LBC posts so I will catch up here.

The  person I admire most is Neil deGrasse Tyson - who says "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."The enthusiasm he brings to his discussions is infectious and you can see the sparkle in his eyes as   he speaks.   As  a black man he faced many hurdles on his way to becoming an astrophysicist.  He is easily one of the most interesting people on the planet.

Am I enjoying what I am doing ?  Not really. I should not have moved to North Carolina. I belong on the other coast to be frank. That aside, I have been frustrated by many issues here. Plus, I miss working. Maybe this is just a bad time - a blip in my timeline. Time will tell.

Lastly - this week's  topic - Farewell 2016. It has been a challenging year health wise and  otherwise. I now live with 5 other people - so much for a quiet retirement. But as things turned out health wise it is lucky for me I had those people around - and still do. So happy trails 2016 - I won't miss you. 2017 promises to be most interesting with Donald Trump as President.  Hopefully my health will continue to improve and the future will be brighter.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Outlaws LBC 12/9/2016

Truth be told,  I have been so sick the last 3-4 weeks I decided to pas on this weeks topic. Thn I saw it and was quickly energized by the thought of this - one of the most kick-ass tunes ever recorded

That should be enough energy to suck to finish the post.

Outlaws have been romanticizes since the tales of Robin Hood - feared by the bad, loved by the good. that sure hooked me as a 5-yr old in Pueblo, Colorado

Here in the USA we romanticize several outlaws - like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Did they get out of South America?

All of that is well and good but the fact remains - most outlaws are genuine bad guys. Bonnie and Clyde were stone cold killers. So too were Jesse James, Billy the Kid maybe even so-called hero of the west Wyatt Earp.

It's  tough to romanticize the outlaws of the 20h Century .  There was very little steal from the rich and give to the  poor -just steal and kill.

Enter the 21st century and suddenly things change. Hacking jumps to the fore. Sites like Wikileaks leak thousands of documents, exposing warts and flaws of anyone they hack. Part whistle blower, part activist - your point of view likely rests on which side of the coin you choose to support. But the fact remains - they are still outlaws.

Curious what my cohorts have to say??  Ramana   Pravin

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Favorite Fictional Character is..... LBC

This weeks topic was my suggestion - part of a string of our favorite things that tell  a bit about each of us that choose to write on the topics.

When I suggested the topic  I knew I could not give a single answer that would be totally honest. I have always been a voracious reader. This year alone I have read over 90 books. I freely admit most of my reading is recreational and mystery fiction.  Considering my age - 67 - I have read through multiple generations of fictional characters, beginning with Nero Wolfe, Sherlock Holmes, Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade to Spenser, the Nameless Detective, Kinsey Milhone, Lucas Davenport, Milan Jacovich  and many more.

With such a breadth  of characters to choose from I have chosen three - Spenser (Robert B Parker), Travis McGee (John D MacDonald) and Kate Shugak (Dana Stabenow).

Spenser appeared in 1973's Godwulf Manuscript and is currently being authored by Ace Atkins since Parker's death in  2010. Spenser is a former cop, extraordinarily literate, cultured hen it suits him and as you would expect  tough as nails. As originally written, Spenser  was at one time heavyweight boxer who once fought Jersey Joe Walcott - which gives a clue to his age. He is a seriously smart-mouthed guy with a committed relationship with his girl - Susan Silverman - and a best friend -Hawk- who defines the bad in bad-ass. His home base is Boston but there are stories based elsewhere.  Learn more about the character here  Spenser

Kate Shugak is a modern-era heroine based in Alaska. Dana Stabenow is a superior writer who has created a delightful series that captures the modern era - warts and  all - as viewed through Kate's eyes. I cannot recommend this 20 title (so far) series enough.  Kate is an Aleut and lives on a homestead in  a fictional park in Alaska. She has an assortment of family and friends - including her current boyfriend, Alaska State Trooper Chopper Jim Chopin and her adopted son (of her deceased former boyfriend) as well as an various Aunties. Kate's stories play out throughout Alaska and offer a look at the history and culture of the state.

Check out Kate and Dana here Kate Shugak.

Were  someone to hold a gun to my head and force me to choose one of the three characters to be my  favorite it would be Travis McGee, the Florida based creation of John D MacDonald. McGee resides at Slip F18, Bahia Mar Florida on a houseboat  - The Busted Flush - that he won in a poker game. McGee is a salvage consultant - he recovers things for people for a flat 50% of the value fee. McGee is the last resort for recovery so the fee is rarely an issue. The series hit the streets in  1964 with the Deep Blue Goodbye and ended with 1985's The Lonely Silver Rain.

McGee's philosophy of life was decidedly anti-group. His best friend and occasional partner in arms is a world renowned  economist named Meyer - who has the physique  and pelt of a bear and lives on a cabin cruiser called the John Meynard Keynes. Travis has attitudes about sex that are definitely a part of the times in which his stories were written but he does learn and grow with the times. He fights corruption, lies and deceit wherever he goes. His vehicle of choice is his customized 1936 Rolls Royce pickup painted a horrid blue by a previous owner that he calls Miss Agnes.

I think it is time to go read a bit. Be sure to see what Ramana 
and Pravin have to say on their blogs.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Free Will LBC 11/24/2016

This weeks topic was suggested by Ramana.

Wikipedia says "Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action." On the surface it sounds simple enough. Further examination suggests otherwise.

 Image result for free will and determinism

Christians, for example, claim to have free will. So the God that  created man in his own image created a bunch of flawed human beings that can choose their own way in life, but unless they choose to follow God's way they are doomed. That  is not free will in my book, simply the typical religious my way or the highway proposition. 

Consider  that we live much of our lives by habit. We  cannot handle the stress of making a conscious decision for everything so we make many decisions simply by rote. Coffee with or without cream, route to drive to work and things like that.  That frees up our brain power for the more important  daily issues which must be resolved. Are those  decisions the result of free will?  Some - not all. Some decisions are made as the result of a set of specific causes.

Yep - this free will stuff can be very confusing.  Religion, guilt, cause/effect, praise, sin, responsibility and more can effect decisions. .

Looks like free will is not often free after all. Fate? Is everything  in life predetermined? That's a topic for another day.

 One final comment - today is Thanksgiving here in the USA. I am relatively certain I exercised free will while eating far too much turkey, stuffing and roast pork to say nothing of  sweet potato pie.  Sorry Dr Tyson - we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

Check out my cohorts at Ramana 
and Pravin


Thursday, November 17, 2016

My Favorite Cartoon Character LBC 11/18/2016

This week's topic is my  suggestion. My favorite cartoon character is Charlie Brown's pet  Beagle Snoopy. I h ave been a fan as long as I can remember. Truth be told, each character in the Peanuts gang is deserving of the honor but a Sopwith Camel (that looks remarkably  like a dog house)  flying Beagle  is hard to resist.
Snoopy has his own twitter page, a Facebook page and even a  hit song about him.  Snoopy wwi ace lb.jpg 
Not bad for a Beagle. Snoopy is simply the most loyal, lovable pal a guy could  ask for. Just ask his owner, Charlie Brown. And to top it off Snoopy is a better man than most men. Since his debut on October 4, 1950, Snoopy has become one of the most recognizable and iconic characters in the comic strip (according to Wikipedia).Check out my cohorts at Ramanaand Pravin