Friday, January 31, 2014

LBC time - My Epitath

This weeks topic may make for some interesting reading.

Mine is quite simple -

He played the hand he was dealt in life to the best of his ability, always believing.

It seems like I've been here before;
I can't remember when;
But I got this funny feeling;
That we'll all be together again.
There's no straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There's no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends

That stanza of course is from Circle by the late, great Harry Chapin. It's partner in importance to me is matched by

Yesterday's over my shoulder but I can't look back for to long - there's just too much to see waiting in front of me and I know that I just can't go wrong.

Together they do a decent job of defining my attitudes and either would be a suitable epitath.

Check out the other LBC bloggers for their take on this subject.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RIP Pete Seeger

The voice of several generations has passed away.  RIP Pete and thank you for trying to keep us honest.

There's a huge hole in our social conscience and we can only hope someone picks up the mantle.   I realize it is a generational thing and I suppose I am showing my age but what passes for social commentary these days is simply too hateful for my tastes.

Thanks Pete -

Friday, January 24, 2014

Speaking a Second Language

There's no better way to learn about a culture and its people than to learn their language.  Their fay-to-day colloquial language - not that formal from a textbook stuff.  Of course we here in the U.S.A. g=have turned that into a political football thanks to the immigration issue. When I was in school learning Spanish was considered a good thing - now many folks consider it a travesty to learn the language of our large neighbor to the south. Me? I know enough Spanish for the important stuff - Mas cerveza por favor.  Mas tacos por favor.  You see where I'm going, I'm sure.

My friends and I took German in high school and I took an additional 2 years in college.  At one point I was quite fluent and thanks to a couple of German brothers at the McDonalds where I worked at the time I could cuss you out fluently as well as tell you to perform a physically impossible act upon your self  - good old Merle.

The latter doesn't seem to translate quite as well as the former - Komm gibt mir deine hand - Come give to me your hand isn't quite the same as I want to hold your hand - LOL - but these were both classy shout outs to the land where the Beatles spent their early career playing dive bars and the like.

Some songs need no translation to get thir meaning across -

Then there's my all-time favorite foreign language song - one that had everyone I know humming and singing along even though for all we knew it could have been about bean sprouts and fish eggs.  It just sounded - and still does sound - wonderful.  In fact it is one of my all time favorite tunes - I'ma big melody guy.

I am also in the camp that the same language can be made new in different environments.  Who can deny the difference in English between  Canada, the US and UK.  In fact American English has many varieties - as do the other 2. Cuban Spanish is quite different sounding friom Mexican Spanish.   I suppose one's definition of a second language may need a bit of specificity attached to it.

Whatever your definition, I think learning a second language is a good thing and whenever possible something we should take advantage of.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Are newspapers of any value in the digital age?

Thus ponders the sage of FT Worth.  That'd be me.  I am to blame for this topic.

Why in the digital age where news reaches us as it happens would anyone want to read a newspaper? Isn't it just regurgitated old news? My goodness.

Truth is, I enjoy the newspaper - both hard copy and online versions. I find them quite relevant.  A good story, well written, beats the hell out of a talking head trying to get the scoop on-site as it happens any day. . In fact many - most? news stories happen over time and things change rapidly. Facts change as they are discovered, not speculated on.  I'd rather read a well-written recap of an event than stay glued to my computer/TV 24/7/365 as a story unfolds.

Here's a blog that discussed this same topic and I think he nailed it - Are Newspapers Relevant?

Two of the most important stories in my lifetime may not have happened without newspapers - Watergate and the NSA  scandal. Both required real investigative journalism. 

Without newspapers would we know anything about this guy?

Before social media there was this....

So yes my friends - newspapers are still relevant.  Maybe more today than ever,  progressive or conservative, don't give up on them. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Popeye’s Understanding of “Being”.

This week's topic comes via the Old Fossil.  It's not surprising since he and Lafawnda danced the Popeye dance at her wedding. Max Fleischer would have been proud.

Popeye was a simple guy.   Honest, hard working, dedicated and loyal. He's the epitome of the good man in the 30s  His girl Olive Oyl was way ahead of the slim craze so prevalent among models - she's the original string bean. And the epitome of fickle.

At his core is "I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam" A man who knows himself and is comfortable in his own skin.  That's about as good as you can be so in that respect Popeye is a great example of getting by in life. The fact that his girlfriend constantly throws him over for Bluto which always ends in battle of some kind is a testament to Popeye's persistence  and the benefits of the occasional can of spinach.  The cycle seems to be repeated in every cartoon.  Personally I'd consider dumping Olive but that's not Popeye's style.

So here we have a man who is  honest, hard-working, dedicated, loyal and persistent, I'd say his understanding of being and chances for a successful, happy life are pretty good if he could just escape that cartoon world he inhabits.  Traits any parent would  like to instill in their child. The constant brawling? Maybe not so much. But the generation that begat Popeye didn't have Playstations and Xboxs.  If they did would their heroes be as honorable as Popeye?

All of this poses a question though.  What do your favorite cartoon characters say about you? In coming up with this little ditty I was constantly reminded of Fos - who lacks the oversized forearms and pipe but certainly embodies the essence of Popeye's being.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Give us this day our daily..... LBC topic

I suppose most folks think of the prayer from Matthew when they hear that 
 phrase  Even I do although it means absolutely nothing to me ion a religious sense.

Now give us this day  our daily caffeine is a different story. Each day starts with my version of a Big Gulp - a 32 ounce cup of coffee. Hey - it takes a lot of caffeine to jump-start me.  Ahem.

Asking forgiveness and forgiving those who have trespassed (that's the version  I always heard) against me - well that's a different story.  Some things are beyond forgiving.  But  if forgiveness is what matters to you feel free to do so.  It's your  business, not mine.

While not religious in the most commonly accepted sense, I do find the philosophy of JC fascinating and a real blueprint for a life well lived.  Strip away the magic ala Thomas Jefferson and you find that blueprint.

It's about balance. To me that is the order of things.  Yes - what goes around comes around. Karma. To and for some people that boils down to  life's a bitch. Then you die.

Again - that's a quick shack attack on the weekly LBC topic.  Another layer of the onion revealed.  We're getting to the core and the trip is getting a bit darker methinks.