Thursday, January 30, 2020


This week's 2-on-1 topic is justice - the maintenance or administration of what is just, especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments as defined by Merriam Webster online. In plain English, justice is the morally fair and right state of everything as defined by culture. Of course that implies that justice varies by culture, and so is one man's justice anothers tyranny?

How often have you encountered street musicians playing and singing in public places? In Singapore it could cost you up to 3 months in jail, a fine or both.

Homosexuality in Singapore is illegal. It was in the UK for years. Chewing gum is okay, but selling it is forbidden. According to Singapore Statutes Online, the punishment for smuggling gum into the country is up to 2 years in jail or a $100,000 fine. Spitting carries a fine of up to $1000 dollars. And do not wander around your house nude - well, at least do not get caught.

Well, I suppose we are lucky here in the USA.   We have a justice system that keeps almost 2.5 million bad people in jail. The Innocence Project, however, estimates between 2.3 percent and 5 percent of all US prisoners innocent. That makes for a lot of collateral damage. There was a time when we sought to rehabilitate prisoners and make them suitable to re-enter society, not something you hear much these days. Justice? That depends upon who you ask. Plus, the number of incarcerated people here is much larger.

Half of the world's prison population of about nine million is held in the US, China or Russia. Prison rates in the US are the world's highest, at 724 people per 100,000. In Russia the rate is 581.At 145 per 100,000, the imprisonment rate of England and Wales is at about the midpoint worldwide.
Many of the lowest rates are in developing countries, but overcrowding can be a serious problem. Kenyan prisons have an occupancy level of 343.7% 

CountryPrison populationPopulation per 100,000Jail occupancy level %Un-sentenced prisoners %Women prisoners %
N IRELAND1,3757991.537.42.2
SOUTH AFRICA158,501334138.627.52.1

Clearly the Justice systems vary from country to country.

Studying Justice exposes you to sveral types of Justice and I tend to side with there being 4 types of justice: commutative, distributive, legal, and social. The above is concerned with legal justice. Again - justice varies by culture. The decade of the sixties offered a fight against social injustice waged by the Baby Boomer generation against their parents generation and the government. We are now witnessing a rebellion of sorts by Millennials and the current occupant of the White House, ironically a boomer. Again, it shows how Justice is not static but rather fluid, much to the chagrin of many Boomers.

Social justice

Take a gander at things like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, among others to see for yourself just how fluid Social Justice/injustice can be.

Distributive justice

Distributive justice, also known as economic justice, is about fairness in what people receive, from goods to attention. Its roots are in social order and it is at the roots of socialism, where equality is a fundamental principle.

Retributive justice

Retributive justice works on the principle of punishment, although what constitutes fair and proportional punishment is widely debated. In other words it is very fluid. The intent may be to dissuade the perpetrator or others from future wrong-doing, the re-offending rate of many criminals indicates the limited success of this approach.

Punishment in practice is more about the satisfaction of victims and those who care about them. This strays into the realm of revenge, which can be many times more severe than reparation as the hurt party seeks to make the other person suffer in return. In such cases 'justice' is typically defined emotionally rather that with intent for fairness or prevention. Look at jury awards for various lawsuits, like cigarettes

Commutative justice

Justice bearing on the relations between individuals especially in respect to the equitable exchange of goods and fulfillment of contractual obligations
Fairness is the principle that should guide your quest for justice. Most western theories of Justice are rooted in Judeo/Christian history. Looking at Justice with an unbiased eye will probably make you doubt tht statement. Once planted our tree of Justicwe undergoes some serious and at times radical pruning and reshaping. Does that constitute a perversion of Justice? I suppose that depends upon which side you are on.

That is it for my quick look at Justice. Be sure to chack Ramana's comments at Ramana's Musings.

And for any football fans reading this - GO Niners!!

Thursday, January 23, 2020


This week's 2-on-1 topic is anticipation - that excitement (or even dread) you feel, waiting eagerly for something you know is going to happen.We've all felt it, both the excitement and or dread over what  is about to happen.

It can be about someone you are traveling to see 

It can be about a relationship you are trying to work out 

Anticipation visits us at any age

Image result for peanuts cartoons about anticipation

It's about paying $250 for concert tickets and waiting to hear your fave tune

Or  paying $6.00 per seat and waiting for your fave tune  

 Can you see me in the second deck between home and first base? I was there -

It can be sitting and waiting for your first wrestling match of your senior year looking across the mat at a guy that looks like he will tear off one of your limbs and beat you with it like I did in 1966 - because football season carried over into wrestling season and I had only been to one practice and damn but that Mission San Jose heavyweight looked mean and nasty. But, when the dust had settled, I won 19-2 - all that dread was much ado over nothing.

Remember how you felt as a child around Christmas if you celebrated the holiday? The anticipation grew exponentially that last week before the big day. And then you swore you'd stay awake and catch Santa in the act.  
Alas, the cookies you left for him were eaten and you fell fast asleep but were up at the crack of dawn.

Was your anticipation for an event and the excitement it generated ever met by the actual event? Absolutely and in many cases it far exceeded  the level of anticipation - but on occasion the event failed to live up to my expectation. At times my expectation was simply unrealistic. My high school Senior Ball was frankly quite underwhelming - we were the first class to have our Ball off campus and  our expectations were high. It was at a place called the Claremont in Berkeley - a lovely place. But our organizers dropped the ball on entertainment and food.

The class of 68 did a better job, selecting a hotel in San Francisco and choosing a local band for their entertainment - a quiet little band called Creedence Clearwater Revival. Their Ball was a few weeks before the band's first big hit, Susie Q hit the airwaves.

All in all, anticipation has been a good thing for me. I have been realistic en0ugh to manage my expectations and all in all life has been pretty good to me.

Be sure to check Ramana's blog and see what he has to say Wisdom by Hindsight.

See ya next week for another 2-on-1 blog.

Thursday, January 16, 2020


This week's 2 - on  - 1 topic is Satisfaction. Satisfaction is basically the fulfillment of a need or a want. I'm certain most of you have been  asked to respond to a Customer Service (CS) survey at one time or another, and it wasn't long ago that when you called a support line the guarantee of an unhappy experience was assured by the heavily accented agent on the other end of the call.

At one time, when I was a supervisor in a call center in Fort Worth for RadioShack products, I had an excellent phone agent named Dinesh Dave. Dinesh was of Indian descent and he had a fairly strong Indian accent,  several times per week customers would refuse to speak with Dinesh and demand to speak to his supervisor so the call would be transferred to me. The first thing said to me was usually where are you located? About 50% of the time I was called a liar when I responded "Fort Worth, Texas". Obviously I was in India and my Texas accent was very poor. When I explained that my accent was from California many still accused me of lying and  claimed they would stop shopping at RadioShack until we had USA based support centers.

Occasionally the caller would be reasonable and we'd have a good laugh and then I went ahead with solving the problem but there were always callers who simply wre not satisfied, insisting we clearly were not USA based. I would then give them the RadioShack main switchboard number - it had an  817 area code,  not a toll-free 800 number. Then they would complain about having to pay for a call and I'd say call that number and ask for me - or they could simply let me solve their problem.

It was always fun to get a celebrity caller - I regularly dealt with the wife of conservative commentator Bill Kristol. She was always cordial but the best celebrity caller I dealt with was Noel Paul Stookey - known to most as the Paul in Peter,  Paul and Mary. He too was cordial but said he had been promised a cell phone he purchased would do certain things which it could not do. He simply said I could have him as a  satisfied customer advocate who would always be happy to spread the good word or he could simply say he'd never shop with us again and happily say why that was.

I then contacted the District Manager responsible for the offending store manager, explained the situation and said I was going to give Noel a new phone that did perform as promised and he agreed but told me to send Noel to his office - it seems he did not quite believe the customer was who he said he was. I called Noel back and gave him the info and the next day I got a call from that District Manager who admitted he did not think it was  really the Paul Stookey. I laughed and he said all was now good. Noel then called to express his satisfaction with my efforts on his behalf and invited me to a CD wrap party for a new children's CD that was about to be released (that company is called Hugworks). Of course I went and when we met face to face I guess I stared a bit and Noel asked what was wrong. I just laughed and said other than  athletes, most "famous" people I met were much shorter than my 6'2". He laughed and  said that happened a lot - because Mary was so tall many people were surprised how tall he and Peter really were. I had a great time talking music with the ex-rock and roller that became a folkie.  We were both satisfied with the results of that encounter and yes, I left with an autographed Peter, Paul and Mary photo.

There have been several posts on Facebook recently that suggest one cannot be truly happy until he or she becomes satisfied with what they have. That seems to suggest that setting high goals is a bad thing - and that is something i totally disagree with. Setting goals high enough that achieving them requires real effort - and learn to appreciate what you obtain while you continue moving in the direction you have chosen. Most importantly, never be satisfied with what you know. As long as you are breathing,  keep learning.

That's my quick shack take on this week's topic. Be sure to visit Ramana's blog for his take on the topic he selected at Ramana's Musings.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Perception 2-on-1 Blog 01/10/2020

This week's topic is perception. Wikipedia says "Perception (from the Latin perceptio) is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information, or the environment."

Anyone who has been involved in sales at one time or another has heard the tome "You cannot make a second first impression". In other words you'd better look and sound like you know what you are talking about, whether or not it is true. Then you were likely trained to "sell the sizzle, not the steak". That is business speak for sell them what they want, not what they need. Sell based on their emotion. Sell the benefits, not the features. Ya gotta love marketing folks. Anything to make a sale.

Now there are times when selling the benefits are not enough, Think of the saavy IT head looking to replace his companies computers. That individual is likely interested in the features  aka technical stuff about the systems he/she are to purchase. In other words, know your audience -  their perception of you as a sales professional is tied to what you know of the real features of the hardware you sell. Know your audience.

Reality as seen through each individuals eyes will vary somewhat so when does perception meet reality? That is an interesting question as we all have our own perception of reality. We each see reality through our own eyes and judge it based upon our individual experiences. One's perception of popular music, for example, may be that rock and roll is junk if all they have ever listened to is classical music. A reader my have the perception of popular mystery as light reading when compared to classics like War and Peace while I - an avid mystery buff - find a good mystery author like Dana Stabenow for example is just as accurate at covering the human condition as any "classic" author.

Perception is involved in nearly every decision we make and we need to be careful not to let a decision be unduly slanted by a preconceived notion - a perception.  Take your time and get the facts straight. Know the power of perception.

That's a quick take on perception. Please check Ramana's take over at Ramana's Musings


Friday, January 3, 2020

Passing the Buck 2 - on - 1 01/03/2020

Passing the buck - aka - the blame game is Ramana's choice for our first 2 - on - 1 blog in 2020. Be sure to see what he has to say by checking Ramana's Musings.

It is interesting to me how this seemingly innocuous phrase from poker playing has evolved to the level it has. Wikipedia says "
Passing the buck in international relations theory involves the tendency of nation-states to refuse to confront a growing threat in the hopes that another state will. The most notable example was the refusal of the United Kingdom, United States, France, or the Soviet Union to confront Nazi Germany effectively in the 1930s. With the Munich Agreement, France and the United Kingdom successfully avoided armed confrontation with Germany, passing the buck to the Soviet Union, which then passed the buck back to the western powers by signing the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

Russia has made passing the buck a generic catch all for drumming up "legitimate" reasons for nearly any action they choose to take in the international scene. Russia has been a master at buck passing ad lying about nearly everything and have had no serious rival until perhaps 2016.

Speaking of 2016 - there was some initial buck passing related to our choice of Presidents. For a while there was a cry of "don't blame me - I didn't vote for him. Alas that changed to a groundswell of those who truly love and support 45. Of course there are still a fair number of members of the GOP that pass the buck by saying they do not appreciate what he says but after all - he is a counter puncher and they support what he does regardless of what he says.

Seems to me that as the popular election was lost by 45 by around 3 million votes, the fault of our choice was the framers - they created this silly Republic wherein smaller states cannot be dictated to by the few very large states and their substantially larger populations. Nope - that is bad, good is allowing population centers and large states be dictated to by the smaller states. Apparently a family farmer's vote is worth much more than a business executive's vote. And, as a very close friend of mine said recently, with the deep division in our society these days she is happy to be on the side with the most guns.

So what happens when there are essentially only 2 sides to every discussion - at least publicly? The buck is constantly passed back and forth and nothing gets done.  The spin gets faster and faster and the lies come in waves. From both sides. Which makes me think of some lyrics in a popular song from a while back -

Now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well somethings lost, but somethings gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life
At all

These are, quite frankly, dire times we inhabit these days. At a time when our politicians cannot agree on simple facts and pass the buck on literally everything, our culture and society are in danger of becoming laughing stocks. Fairness and truth have seemingly left the building and gone on a vision quest with civility. As a member of the Baby Boomers generation, our pledge - or rather duty - to leave the world in better shape than it was when we inherited the leadership mantle is in serious jeopardy. There are times I fear for the future we are condemning our grand children to. Have we messed up the world so badly as to leave nothing but a bleak future for future generations? Or is it the fault of the generations we have raised to inherit leadership?If indeed those generations are not prepared to inherit the mantle what the hell is wrong with them? Or did we simply beat them into submission with our nonsense and blame the deplorables or the so - called progressive left for their inability to see clearly what is standing before them? Are those generations simply waiting fr we boomers to cross the River Styx and get out of the way so they can take over?

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life
At all

It is time to wake up folks.

That is my quick shack-take on today's topic. Hopefully the sarcasm  won't be lost on everyone. I'll see ya next week, same bat time and same bat channel for the next installment of 2 - on - 1.