Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sunrise or Sunset

This week's topic was my idea.  Sunrise or sunset. Start the day or end the day. What is your preference?  

Honestly, it is a tough question - a fresh cup of coffee and depending upon the season, a warm jacket makes almost any sunrise special.  I have been to the spot this shot was taken - it is one of my favorite places in the world - Monterey Bay in California. It is one of the many reasons I miss northern California - the best place I have ever lived.

The only negative about loving a sunrise is the early hour you need to get up to view that sunrise - unless of course, you are young enough to have been out all night and just happen to catch a sunrise that way. In my youth, I confess that happened on occasion. And on several of those occasions I had be to work by 8:00 AM - those were long days and much coffee was consumed.  

Sunsets are equally as lovely and typically much easier to view unless you work the night shift. Here is a shot of San Francisco at sunset - 
another of my favorite places and yes - another reason I miss California. I am not sure where the photographer was when this shot was taken - perhaps on a bay cruise or across the bay in Berkeley or Emeryville. I used to hang out at a great seafood restaurant in Berkeley called Spangers.  I have been away for so long it is now part of a large chain. But it did not have this view - even before several drinks. The seafood and sourdough bread were compensation for the missing view.

Ultimately I ll go with the sunrise as my preferred choice. It is the start of a new day, a new experience is about to happen. You have a chance to make it a great day. Give it a shot. and whatever happens, a nice glass of wine at sunset is a proper way to end the daylight portion of any day. Hmm - a cold beer is better on a hot summers day though. 

Be sure to check my cohorts blogs to see what they have to say about this week's topic- RamanaPavinMaria and Ashok.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


History. A straightforward topic. Could not be any easier - unless you are looking for the truth. Then, perhaps things are not so straightforward.

Let's take Native American history for example. When told from a white man perspective, do you think it reads the same as from a Native American perspective? History is history, is it not?  We conquered them in battle and then we gave them land to build their "new" lives on. Such benevolent conquerors.

But we devastated their culture, took away their real lands and lied on most if not every treaty we made with the Native Americans.  Is that the same history from both sides of the equation? Bear in indthat history is typically written/recorded by the winners.

Consider next the enormous economic and industrial expansion that is the hallmark of the U.S.A.. Consider the industrialists here in the US that were known as Robber Barons - people that would do anything to get rich. Here is a list of some -

The people here are listed as  Robber Barons or in the various sources,

  • Surely there are some recognizable names there. Their businesses provided much of the growth that helped make the U.S.A.the wealthy giant we are today, but their business practices would in many cases be illegal, immoral or both. But that is rarely discussed because of how their history was written.
Times were different back then. It was the time of colonial expansion around the world. AT one time or another world powers included Spain, Portugal, Holland and of course England.  The landscape is much different these days.

Now, more than ever, alternative histories that attempt to tell the whole story are appearing. Gain the full historical perspective on any given time/event. Not surprisingly there is some resistance in certain quarters. Be sure to check multiple sources just as you should for news about current events. Remember - if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it - or at least repeat its errors. 

One final thought - it is not my intent to question every historical record - I am merely suggesting that you exercise caution and use good sense when studying history..  Now please excuse me while I research aligator canons..


Now more than ever alternative histories oare appearing. Histories that tell a full story - offering both sides of events. Now you can read the whole story and gain the perspective of both sides in the story. Of course, that is a source of severe consternation for some, and simply righting a wrong to others. It is up to you to decide where you fall in that equation.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind

The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind - this week's topic - was offered by Pravin. It is a popular self-help book written by Dr. (Psychology PHD from University of Southern California (USC)) Joseph Murphy in 1963. Murphy was born in Ireland, raised a Roman Catholic but eventually left Catholicism and became a  divined minister in the New Thought  Church of Devine Science, a brief history of which is available here

Murphy spent considerable time in India with gurus learning Hindu philosophy. I'll leave it to Ramana, Pravin and Maria to connect those dots to today's topic.

Murphy - in  The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind - says “The way to get rid of darkness is with light; the way to overcome cold is with heat; the way to overcome the negative thought is to substitute the good thought. Affirm the good, and the bad will vanish." To me that is a typical power of positive speaking notion. Nothing that has not been said many times before by other proponents like Norman Vincent Peale.

“I like money, I love it, I use it wisely, constructively, and judiciously. Money is constantly circulating in my life. I release it with joy, and it returns to me multiplied in a wonderful way. It is good and very good. Money flows to me in avalanches of abundance. I use it for good only, and I am grateful for my good and for the riches of my mind.” 

“Trying to accumulate wealth by the sweat of your brow and hard labor is one way to become the richest man in the graveyard. You do not have to strive or slave hard.” 
Now those are interesting quotes.  Positively think your way to happiness and fortune.  Frankly, if it was that easy I suspect the church of  Divine Science would be a bit larger.  As the city of my birth and subsequent first 10 years of my life played a large part in Divine Science and I have never heard of it until today seems to confirm it as a relatively minor player. That does not, however, lessen the value of  Murphy's ideas.
I find the inherent positivity of Murphy's notions to be quite valid as a roadmap for life. Those who know me know I am not particularly religious so I tend to dismiss god references fairly quickly.  But I have also been accused of being a spiritual guy - and in that light the god references make sense. I am not convinced there needs to be god to make them valid though I suspect Murphy and any person of faith would disagree with me.  Concepts of god would make a good discussion as it relates to Murphy's book. I am not, however, going there today. I will only say that when it comes to god U2 says it best for me - I Still Haven't Found What I;m Looking For.
I'll end this little ditty with one last Murphy quote from the book - 
“Success means successful living. When you are peaceful, happy, joyous, and doing what you love to do, you are successful.”  Now that is something I can agree with completely.  I can see why so many folks are enamored of Dr. Murphy and his book.

Be sure to check on my cohorts to see what they have to say on this topic - RamanaPravin and Maria.

See ya next week, same bat time and same bat channel.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Movies or theTheater

This week's topic was my suggestion.

I have always been a movie buff and from my grade school days at Carlile Elementary in Pueblo, Colorado I have loved stage plays. The local Junior  College regularly staged plays for kids. I have fond memories of walking from Carlile to PJC for the show. I saw things like Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and many others. Those were fun. times

Of course I was also laying the groundwork for my love of films with classics like The Thing, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Tarantula, the Bowery Boys and too many more to name. Gotta love those Saturday matinees at the Uptown Theater. I still remember the first movie I ever saw in a theater - Tarantula. The first one at a drive in was Hell and  High Water.

Jump ahead to 1976 - Lynn was offered a promotion to Hartford and we were in striking distance of  New York and Broadway. Back then it did not cost a month's salary to see a show. Our first was  Sherlock Holmes. Dinner at Mama Leones (Italian) and tickets combined were an affordable $75 or so for us and we had a great time. 

By then I was also a big fan of musicals on the big screen. I saw them all - my favorite being Camelot. My folks used to buy records of the soundtracks of the Broadway shows so I regularly listened to those along with the pop/rock standards of the time. I knew all of the songs to West Side Story, Camelot, Music Man and the rest. An off Broadway show called The Fantastiks was a favorite of mine. 

Here is a tune from that show - performed by an amazing octogenarian - 

Of course I kept up with regular movie going - in fact rarely a month went by when Lynn and I did not see at least 2 movies. We made a deal early on - she would sit through the guy movies and I would sit through her chick flicks. In almost no time we were fans of both genres.

Somewhere along  the way stage productions became so elaborate the cost of seeing one grew out of our reach. There were a couple of exceptions, both Camelot. We saw touring productions of Camelot in San Francisco with both Richard Harris and Richard Burton as King Arthur. Burton was the most famous stage Arthur and Harris owned the role on film. Truth be told, IMHO Harris owned the role on stage as well.

The last musical films I recall seeing were Darling Lily and Paint Your Wagon.  The genre was almost nonexistent from those two until recently when musicals have made a comeback of sorts.

If given a choice between the latest blockbuster film and a stage production I would opt for the stage production almost every time, especially if it is an older show.  It makes sense if you consider the fact that I prefer live music to studio recordings.

Be sure to check my cohorts blogs to see their take on this topic.  RamanaPravin and Maria

Thursday, April 20, 2017


This week's topic was suggested by Ramana - Time.  Merriam Webster offers several definitions - I think I will borrow a few.

a moment, hour, day, or year as indicated by a clock or calendar what time is it

  1. conditions at present or at some specified period —usually used in plural times are hardmove with the times
    1. an opportune or suitable moment decided it was time to retire 
    2.  the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues :  duration
    3. Then there is the question - can we bend time? Is time travel possible in theory or otherwise?  Since we cannot bring back the past is  time really anything more than the present? Is  the future  real before it becomes the present? It is all so confusing.  But in confusion there can be beauty.

    4. That is it for the shack take on time. I hope you enjoyed the brief musical interlude. If you really want to know about time, go here. To see what my LBC cohorts have to say, check their blogs - RamanaPravin and Maria.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Do Dreams Create Reality?

Our topic this week was suggested by Pravin.

Dreams. Reality. Chicken. Egg. Freud. Wow - that is a bunch of one-word sentences. Hopefully the method to my madness will become clear as you read on.

For a dream to create a reality the reality must follow the dream and the dream should, by necessity, be lucid dreaming IMHO. That is, the dreamer should be self aware of the dream. Dreams are known to have the ability  make a creative thought occur or cause an inspiration - either of which could aid in the creation of a dream-based reality.

It is my opinion that a dream cannot create a reality but it can inspire a thought or action that does create a reality. I have known people that occasionally awaken in the night and jot down a dream - or the idea that came in that dream so that it could be followed up on the next day. 

I suppose a very esoteric, spiritual discussion on dreams and their meanings could be had. Maybe if I had a history of dreams that were not easily explained I would be inclined to engage in such a discussion, but I simply haven't had them. My dreams are fairly easily explained, most recently being mainly about Lynn. In  my dreams she disappears and I spend the dream searching for her. Frankly it does not take a rocket scientist to analyze those dreams. And they certainly will not create a reality - Lynn has been gone for over three years and I know exactly where she is. And, I simply do not have the faith required to be sure of seeing her again "on the  other side". I would really love to believe that, but I cannot. The irony that one of Lynn's all-time favorite movies was Ghost is not lost on me.

Dream interpretation has gone from the belief they were supernatural communication (Egypt, Greece) to today's psychological/neurobiological schools of thought. Freud still carries much influence in dream interpretation as does Carl Jung. Science? Pseudo science? We know what their supporters think.
Image result for carl jung

To circle back to the topic, again   do not believe dreams create realities. The closest dreams can come is by being the inspiration that gets the ball rolling on something. To me that is a far cry from the causal dynamic the topic asks about.

Be sure to check the other LBC posters - Ramana, Maria and Pravin  for their take on the topic.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


This week's topic comes from the fertile - er - stagnant? imagination of yours truly. Pals can mean different things - to me pals are close friends. The closest. In my case that includes Brian, Dave H. and Ranger Rick.  I have known those guys for well over 55 years. Our 50th year high school reunion is in October of this year.,

I have written before how the weekend after Lynn died, Brian, Dave and Rick showed up on my doorstep in Ft. Worth just to hang out with me and assure my well being. After 10 years of caregiving, the last 18 months of which were brutal, I was a basket case. You see - Lynn gve up on life when she received her diagnosis. She literally refused to fight or resist  the ravages of Huntington's Disease. She physically attacked our daughter and I fairly regularly as HD robbed her of her personality and focused her anger on us both. Yes it was the disease, not Lynn, but when you are regulrly blocking left hooks I assure you that fact is easily lost. Stifling your anger becomes increasingly difficult. Stress levels rise to seemingly impossible heights. The last time I saw my wife of 43 years (together for over 45) she was being zipped into a body bag and about to be transported to the mortuary.

I received a phone call during the week and was simply told the guys would be arriving Friday night and I  should be ready to go when they arrived. There was a bit of fun as they used their phones to get directions to our place from Dallas' Love Field - but they made it. And so began the 3-day period that literally saved me and made me want to get on with life.  Isn't that what friends are for? I will admit to a fair amount of alcohol being consumed and lots of reminiscing. And - perhaps surprisingly - a lot of relaxing. 

That is the Cliff's Notes version of 3 days that literally saved me. It defines for me why old friends - pals - are so important.

Be sure tosee what my LBC cohorts have to say on their blogs.  Ramana,  Pravin and Maria.