Friday, March 29, 2013

Broken relationships

Ramana brings this weeks LBC topic to the table.

Can there be a darker image of a broken relationship than this?

John Lennon may have been a musical genius but he had a darkness about him. It shows in that song. Perhaps in the innocence of the sixties one could get away with calling that tongue-in-cheek but it doesn't fly any more.

 I suspect that at some point when a relationship is broken we feel like this:

Or maybe this:

Broken relationships are something we've all dealt with.  Not all revolve around a member of the opposite sex - I suspect some of the most devastating, hurtful broken relationships happen when good friends fall out.  Then there are those caused by the death of a loved one -

Broken relationships.  These words meant something to me a long time ago -

Perish is the word that more than applies
To the hope in my heart each time I realize
That I am not gonna be the one to share your dreams
That I am not gonna be the one to share your schemes
That I am not gonna be the one to share what
Seems to be the life that you could
Cherish as much as I do yours

Oh I'm beginning to think that man has never found
The words that could make you want me
That have the right amount of letters, just the right sound
That could make you hear, make you see
That you are drivin' me out of my mind

Oh I could say I need you but then you'd realize
That I want you just like a thousand other guys
Who'd say they loved you With all the rest of their lies
When all they wanted was to touch your face, your hands
And gaze into your eyes

It has always been ironic to me that the song those lyrics come from is considered one of the most popular love songs of the sixties.  The irony wasn't lost on the songs author - Terry Kirkman - either. But as he said - ka ching . Money trumps art when you're a young artist under contract to a record company.

As with most things, I survived the broken relationships those songs above brought to mind.  One that has no song - however - is the broken relationship caused by a not-yet fatal disease.  One in which the relationship is irretrievably broken yet must endure simply because it must.  When you figure that one out please let me know. In the meantime, check out the other LBC bloggers for teir take on today's topic todays.  They're listed over there on the right.........

Friday, March 22, 2013


Today's LBC topic comes from Conrad - the Old Fossil. Frugality.  Avoid excessive waste in the use of resources.

On the surface frugality is a wise decision to make. Waste less, gain more. Makes perfect sense.  Waste not, want not. I'm sure there are many other little saying you can recall.

To me frugality imlplies a balance between wants and needs in resource allocation.  Resources can be anything from time, money, effort, natural resources - almost anything we need/use in our daily lives. The risk/reward relationship in the activities of our lives.

Many things we do are done out of habit.  Stop on red, go on green, look before crossing, etc. That's by design - can you imagine having to make a conscious decision about everything every day?  There's be a flashing light and siren in our head screaming meltdown - danger Will Robinson, danger by 9AM.

It's all about resource allocation.  A prime example is food and world hunger.  We've produced sufficient food supplies worldwide to feed the entire population of the planet since the Green Revolution. That begs the question why so many starving children  around the world? Indeed why starving children in this country?  Allocation.  Or - more appropriately misallocation of resources.  The distribution system is broken. Too many people along the distribution channel takling their cut so the allocated resource - food - never makes it to the targeted population. Greed and corruption.

Of course there's a segment here in this country claiming it's abuse of the system that causes the problem - too many people feel they are entitled to a free ride consuming too much of our very limited supply of money to address the problem of hunger. We cannot afford to do more. In the long run the resulting misallocation of our most precious resource - our children - is simply collateral damage. Say what??? Well what the hell - they're probably here illegally anyway. What's mine is mine and to hell with the rest of 'em.  Let 'em get  a gun and hunt their own food. Indeed.  Scuse me while I head to a Tea Party meeting.

Resource allocation.  It's the key.  Got $10.00 in your pocket? Spend it quick.  Don't bother saving some of it in case you might need it later. Oil? well that one is political. Natural gas?  That's political too. That means the odds of rational thought entering into the discussion are slim and none - sound bites do not count. Oh - unless of course that rational thought concerns profit for the oil companies.  Then there is an abundance of "rational" thought. Medicine? Oh - remember - we have the greatest medical system in the world. Really.  The WHO is lying when they rank us at #37 and everybody knows France - #1 - is nearly bankrupt so what good does it matter having a healthy population.  Truth is - if you are extremely wealthy our system may be one of the best.  If you can afford it.  Affordable healthcare.  Where have I heard that term before? 

So where does all of this lead us? How does it apply to Fos's topic? Admittedly I've taken a somewhat sardonic approach to the topic.  Its resource allocation, stupid. If we don't get batter at it our grandkids may be in trouble.

Check out the other LBCers - see what they have to say about frugality.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Peeling an onion

Couldn't sleep last night and as I tossed and turned my mind ran freely back to earlier times.  Sometimes I am amazed at what I remember from my past - by the clarity and detail.  Then again - if I am the only one who remembers maybe it's all just a fantasy. This one isn't though.  It's a vivid, fun memory I have of my grandfather Mac, my dad and I. 

Near the end of his life my grandfather was under hospice care at the condo he shared with my dad.  I've mentioned before that my last name is an adopted name - my dad adopted me when he married my mother and so his name is on my birth certificate. Now my dad Jack shares the adopted last name as he was adopted by Mac when Mac married my grandmother Mary.  Still with me? Well it turns out that Mac was also an adopted member of the clan - he was adopted by a Canadian McConvey in his youth.  I did not know that until one evening when the three of us strolled across the condo parking lot to the local neighborhood bar for an adult beverage or two. Mac loved his highballs.

So - the three of us were sitting in the bar drinking and chatting. The cocktail waitress asked what our relationship was and Mac simply said this is my son and grandson. The waitress and bartender were so impressed they immediately said it was clear we were related as we looked so much alike. At that point I suspected they'd been hitting the sauce a bit themselves as we do not look alike at all - Mac always reminded me of Jackie Gleason and Jack - my dad - is the spitting image of his mother as I am of mine. The three of us all laughed out loud and thanked the barkeep for the compliment and the round he offered gratis. There we were - the adopted son of an adopted son of an adopted son being celebrated as family - which we most certainly were in the most important sense of the word.

Mac was an interesting guy. He and Mary lived in Los Altos - about 40 minutes south of San Francisco where he worked.  He was in the magazine  business - think Publishers Clearing House before it became Publishers Clearing House. He was a huge baseball fan too.  Upon learning we were moving to California from Colorado the first thing he did was put a swimming pool in his back yard.  He also took me to many baseball games at the old Seals Stadium in SF.  If memory serves, I was i n the stands for the debut of a young infielder named Willie McCovey.  Baseball fans will recall that debut - 4-for-4 against Robin Roberts. 

Mac road the train to work every day - he'd get up and drive his old car Charlie - a 30 something Buick I believe - to the train station.  Occasionally on a Saturday while we were staying with them until our house was built my dad and I would go along to the office - always a treat as we were guaranteed at minimum lunch at Lefty O'Douls.  Turns out Lefty O'Douls is till around - Lefty O'Douls - and I am now dreaming of freshly carved roast beef sandwiches.  And maybe a ball game. Good times for sure, especially for a transplanted 9-year old kid.

That's it for this installment - more later.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A talent for the arts.

Let me begin by stating at the outset that when it comes to the arts I am a talentless hack. And color blind to boot.

That said, I recently made a fun discovery via Facebook.  I reconnected with an old high school friend recently and discovered he has a real talent for painting landscapes. I happen to love landscape art so I am now in the process of determining which of his prints I will have hanging in my home.  I have narrowed the choice to 10 - here is a sample and one of the 10 I have selected 

Hmm - is this more of a barnscap? Regardless - I really enjoy it - colors (I see colors - just not what you see - given a 60 chart test with colored dots I saw the correct number in the colored dots twice), subject matter and composition.  Here's a real landscape example - also one of my selections.

If - like me - you enjoy this type of art, check out Daves web site The David Wolfer Gallery and see more of his work.  His site is new and presently only a small percentage of his offerings are available.  He promises to add more when he returns from a trip to California shortly. If you're on Facebook you might be able to see more samples in his photos - he's David Wolfer.

Dave's what I consider something of a renaissance man.  He designs RC boats, has sold antiques, loves motorcycles (which his wife has banned him from riding these days - just as mine did before she became ill and he sold two businesses and retired a number of years ago.  It's nice to see old friends being successful.

I'm currently trying to decide what size prints I should purchase to make the Wolfer Wall in my living room do justice to Dave's work. Who woulda thunk hanging art would be so complicated - geeze. :-) 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Music That Changed My Life

This week's LBC topic comes from  Maria - The Silver Fox Whispers.

Here's what started it all .....listen to a couple of them.

A bit more sophistication is aquired

But good old rock & roll is still king

But life changes, we move on

And when I need a beer and its time to relax

That's my take on the opic.  As I've said - I'm a simple guy.  Hope you enjoyed some of the tunes.

Now how did the rest iof the gang do? Check them out - Delirious, The Old Fossil, Grannymar, Padmum,

Ramana, Maria - the Silver Fox, Maxi, Gaelikka, Paul

Friday, March 8, 2013

My childhood goals for my life.

Todays topic forces me to enter the wayback machine and transport myself to Pueblo, Colorado in the mid-to-late 1950s. Back when Tommy Samberson, Kenny Lockard and Dave Perkins were my best buddies.

Tommy & Kenny were neighborhood pals - Dave was a schoolyard pal but we were forever linked in the minds of parents and teachers by his older brother and my namesake uncle Chuck.  I never got all of the details but my uncle did admit that their shenanigans (good word for those times) left Dave's brother deceased and Chuck headed to the Marines as the better of 2 judicial options offered.  The goal therefore became to keep Dave and I apart lest we emulate the example previously given.  Now you know what happened - Dave and I did everything we could to be pals and "hang out" together.  We competed in everything - even having 4th grade crushes on one Susan Taylor - but Dave had an advantage as he lived closer and I was impossibly shy. Dave and I were closely matched in schoolwork - about 50/50 as to who got done first/got the best grade, etc.  We were dead even re Susan too - she moved to California and broke both our hearts but more on her later.  I often wonder what happened to Dave - I know he became a star quarterback in HS but that's about all I know.  Kenny is a small businessman in Spirit Lake, Iowa and Tommy was killed in a car accident.  Goals? To beat each other and be good at whatever we did.  Simple stuff - we were after all just kids. Cards in the bike spokes, football and baseball junkies all. I moved to California in 1959. Goal accomplished.

Slip the wayback ahead to the 1960's and high school. More serious times as I grew older.  I hooked up with a group of guys on my first visit to Southgate School when my mom was registering me. I stood up to the neighborhood bully - Jimmy Kirk (he smacked me a good shot and I just smiled at him - he then left with his chest puffed out like a real badass while I just laughed) - but I became pals with a couple of guys I am still close to - Dave & Brian. In that 5th grade class I met another Dave. In 6th grade 3 of us were transfered to a different school where we met Rick. We're all friends to this day and of the group one of us never obtained the career focus of the other 4 - never set serious goals like the other 4.  Dave H is a successful architect, Dave W flies for US Air/ American, Brian is a successful dentist, Rick is retired from the Forest Service and a fairly well renowned kumuhulu (he has his own Polynesian dance troupe). And then there's me.  You guessed it.  No-goal chuck never got passionate about anything.  Things came way too easy - no real challenges (beyond getting the nerve to talk to girls - if you are a fan of the Big Bang Theory think Raj - the Indian character) as I thought having the friends I had made me a successful guy.  Oh - I was still painfully shy.  Turns out Susan Taylor was pals with a girl that transferred into our HS late in her junior year - a factoid discovered in a hangout session at our group pal Anne's house.  Charyn - the transfer student - checked with Susan and told me Susan fairly well described me so thats kinda scary - the same at 16 as at 9? LOL Goals? I really wanted to play baseball - unfortunately I was built like a lineman so I kept playing football with the goal of playing in JC and getting a scholarship to a 4-year school. I discovered in those 2 years of JC ball that I was not passionate about football - I was good enough to play on but lacked the requisite passion to make the commitment to move up the ladder to a division I school.  Goal change time. The new goal became simply to graduate from college. Mission accomplished after I discovered I was passionate about Political Science and got my BA in International Relations.  Also got married so goals changed. 

Dreams? Truth is I always only wanted to love and be loved.  Have real friends that matter. I'm a simple guy. I'd have to say those were fulfilled -

Since this topic specified childhood goals the wayback stops here. Sure there's more to tell  Maybe another day. Just not this one.

Now how did the rest iof the gang do?  Check them out - Delirious, The Old Fossil, Grannymar, Padmum,
Ramana, Maria - the Silver Fox, Maxi, Gaelikka, Paul

Friday, March 1, 2013

Getting things wrong in a foreign language.....

Paul offers our weekly topic - getting things wrong in a foreign language  - 

I confess that - somewhat to my chagrin - I have not traveled anywhere that doesn't claim English as its primary language nor a destination that does not rely on American tourists' dollars for survival so the odds of my making a linguistic blunder are somewhat limited. Besides, I butcher English enough as it is.

My Spanish is sufficient  - mas cerveza por favor - y dos tacos
ditto my German - zwei Bieren bitte - once in a  galaxy far far away I was actually fluent in German and I can still tell you to perform a physically impossible feat to yourself.

So - lets take me out of the equation and speak in general terms.  Lets talk about translating the written word.  Translate a book from it's native language into another. How about translating a book written in Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek then another language.  Any new language. What are the chances something gets lost in the translation? Perhaps only a butterfly's flapping of its wings size loss but we've all heard what that can do. Languages are not static - they are incredibly nuanced.  Hoch Deutsch - as my teacher Fraulein Hartmann used to say - is very different from colloquial German. Hence translations vary. Translations bear the "bias" of the translator - and I do not mean that in a negative way at all nor am I tring to start a battle of words over the translation of the Bible - just citing it as an example of what happens when a document is translated. And who can deny the importance of the Bible as a document - whether you believe it literally, take it as a series of metaphors or somewhere in between those two.

The movie Das Boat is a great example of getting things wrong - at least if you've seen the English dubbed version. Nothing seems quite right, everything just feels odd.  But - watch it in German with subtitles and the film comes alive.  The fear of being in a metal tube underwater is palpable. Just thinking about being in a submarine during WWII frankly creeps me out thanks to Das Boat.  The translators simply did not get it right when coming up with the English version of the script.

Ever see some subtitles in a film/TV show that seem a bit off?  Same thing -  I like mysteries and there's an excellent Danish TV series - Ørnen: En krimi-odyssé (The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey) (2004) that I watched via Netflix.  They kept the native language but boy do some of the subtitles make me scratch my head - LOL.  English with a Danish mindset.  The mind boggles. And do Danes really need to see a psychiatrist that often?

Then there're regional dialects - I'm not sure how big a country has to be but I watch enough British TV to know that England has many.  Ditto here - as I discovered on a cross country drive when I wanted to pay for gas with my Diners Club card (and boy does that date me).  I asked the attendant in the West Virginia gas station if they accepted Diners Club and I got a muffled we take Donners Club. The blank stare I gave him in response was enough to irritate him sufficiently that he loudly repeated himself several times before he pointed to the door to the establishment.  The door had a series of those little decals of the cards accepted.  Yep - there it was - the Diners - ne Donners - club card was indeed accepted. Whew.  I settled the bill and quickly headed once again for civilization - aka the interstate. I'm sure the attendant was as unfairly judgmental as i was in thinking what an idiot the other was. 

So now the question is "What does it really mean?" "What did he/she really mean?"  

That's my take on getting things wrong in a foreign language.  Time to see how the other LBC folk interpreted Paul's topic.  Check out Delirious, Maxi, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, Padmum, Ramana, The Old Fossil &  Will Knott.