Friday, February 28, 2020

Change 3-on-1 Feb 28

This week's topic, submitted by Ramana, is fittingly enough about change. This is the first week of the new 3-on-1 blog as we have been joined by another blogger, Padmum, aka Ramana's sister.

There is an old saying - the only things certain are death and taxes. I suggest that is incorrect as change is another constant we all face. Change is with us every day, in small and large instances.

As further proof of change, the lyrics to Bob Dylan's anthem to change have been updated (changed) reflecting things in 2018

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. That is a call to arms to stand up and try to affect change in the world - and it works for any political party or cause. In 2016, we here in the USA elected perhaps the most effective agent of change in our history. We are now in the throes of that change and are about to decide if 45's notion of change is one we wish to continue. The electorate will once again become the agent of change - new or continued. Democrats are in the process of nominating their preferred agent of change.

There are the simple changes we perform daily - changing clothes, the food we eat, perhaps the way we get to work and countless others. There are more impactful changes we deal with - get married, get divorced, birth of a child, death of a loved one. These all have huge impacts on our daily lives. Our lives really are about change and our capacity to deal with it.

Something that has changed over time is how and where we shop.  There was a time when salespeople were required to make change to purchasers. The customer would hand you a $20 for his or her purchase and the sales clerk would count back the change - for example a $15.23 purchase would have changed counted back something like this - that's 14.23 +.02+.25+.50+5.00 makes $20. I'm afraid that talent has gone the way of the dodo bird and other extinct creatures. Cash registers include pictures of the items being purchased and tell the clerk how much change to return. Without that basic skill, I could not have succeeded at several of my jobs but alas, the world is changing.

That's my brief shack-take on change and it marks the end of the line for the weekly 2-on-1 blog. Be sure to check Ramana's Musings  and This and That, There and Here  for  their take and I'll see you next week, same bat time and new bat channel. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

What is your Kryptonite? 2-on-1 Feb 21,2020

This week's topic is my idea. It is a somewhat fun topic or a serious one, depending on the context. Be sure to visit Ramana's blog, Wisdom by Hindsight to see what he has to say.

Most people are aware that kryptonite is the thing that  takes away Superman and Supergirl's powers. Unfortunately, we common folk do not possess super powers so the question is more rhetorical than real. When someone asks me what my kryptonite is, my response is "cookies". Yes - it is true - the common cookie is my kryptonite - beginning with the the shortbread cookie followed by the more sophisticated oatmeal/raisin/cinnamon variety and the snickerdoodle. You may find it hard to  believe but the infamous chocolate chip variety can be easily resisted by me just as the Oreo can.  But show me a shortbread cookie or a snickerdoodle - especially when I already have a fresh cup of coffee at hand and my will power evaporates. The aforementioned oatmeal/raisin/cinnamon variety is best dunked in a glass of cold milk (my opinion, based upon 65+ years of research).

Kryptonite is really, then, a metaphor for the thing that makes you lose your resolve and renders you easily coerced. One might make the argument that Donald Trump is half of our population's kryptonite.  Personally, I prefer cookies.

Musically my kryptonite is the sounds of the sixties and seventies. I do like some later stuff, and I am a fan of the  Baroque period, but nothing compares to the decades listed - that stuff gets me every time I hear it. 

I stumbled upon a list of celebrities who listed their kryptonite - are any of them the same as yours? 

  • Brandon Routh (Superman Returns): his girlfriend, Courtney Ford. “You bring me to my knees. You humble me,” he told her.
  •  Eva Mendes: Cheese – on a margarita pizza with crushed red pepper.
  •  Jorge Garcia (Lost): I’m scared to death of spiders. But I also like to sometimes touch a web with a stick to see if I can make the spider move, then I’ll run away screaming like a girl.
  •  Jesse McCartney: I’m a double-shot espresso kind of guy in the morning. I’m addicted.
  •  Loretta Devine (Grey’s Anatomy): Self-doubt takes your power from you. Anytime I start questioning myself or my abilities or I let fear get in the way is no good.
  •  Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live):Real World marathons – especially since they started casting hot people that have sex all the time.
  •  Kelis: Humidity and rain because it totally ruins my hair. Humidity and rain are evil.
Anyone who knows who Kelis is gets bonus points - no fair googling her.

Other things that can be someones kryptonite include overconfidence, arrogance,  certain foods (hmm - fried chicken anyone?), biscuits and gravy for folks from the southern United States. I suspect  most of us had a kryptonite in school - mine was calculus. One of the great things about being human is wE are flawed. IMHO, that keeps life interesting and gives us myriad things to talk about.

Kryptonite in sports? In football my kryptonite was a guy named Ed Galigher - a guy I was friends with since our little league days. If Ed and I went one-on-one a hundred times, he beat me ninety times, was sick five times and got really pissed at me the five times I beat him. I console myself with the knowledge that Ed played in the NFL for seven years. I had one in wrestling too - I guy named Bill Currier. I beat him the first time we met, he beat me the next three times.  Bill and I  also became good friends so kryptonite can at times be not all bad. Older baseball fans and may recognize that Willie McCovey was the great Don Drysdale's kryptonite. Any Giants or Dodger fan in the sixties will recognize that fact.

That is my quick take on this week's topic. See ya next week for another 2-on-1 blog.

Friday, February 14, 2020


This weeks topic is arguments. Ramana chose it and I encourage you to  visit Ramana's Musings and see his take on the subject.

 I am a staunch supporter of George Carlin's comment on arguments - "Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience" 

Of course there are two sides to every argument - Adam Gopnik says "Maybe I’m strange and perverse, but I’ve always thought there was something sexy about a compelling argument." (I'd never heard of him either but I like the quote).

Arguments can be very helpful in certain situations. Believe it or not, there was a time in politics in the USA when arguments were very good thinigs, and much was accomplished with the judicious use of arguments. Why? Because compromise happened and legislation and appointents happened. Of course, in today's climate the political world here seems to be black and white. Both sides are so dug in they have not noticed the tunnel is collapsing and nobody is winning, especially the public. Compromise has left the building along with civil discourse, and so we are left with nothing but the arguments. Spokespersons on both sides simply puff up, stick their chests out and claim it is their way or the highway.

Wikipedia says "arguments attempt to show that something was, is, will be, or should be the case". That seems to agree with the notion that compromise is a good thing but then there is the study of statistics wherein there are three different averages. If ever there was a case to argue, determining whether the average of whatever you are counting is a mean, median or a mode  is it.

Have you ever noticed how a salesman argues the finer points of whatever he/she is trying to sell you? Remenber the salesman's credo - if you cannot dazzlethem with brilliance, dazzle them with BS - argument in the form of the sales pitch.

Family arguments.

Political debate/arguments at their best.

Are there ethics in arguments? Based upon the last three years of politics here I'd have to say there are no ethics. Both sides lie so often the truth actually becomes the lie - or so it seems. At least it seems  that about half of the population will assume it is true. The Big Lie (German: große Lüge) is a propaganda technique and logical trick used effectively in Germany during the rise of the Nazis and now it is being used here in the USA to disassemble the structures within government that hinder (so they say) capitalism and its free markets  and inpimge upon individual rights aka gun  - specifically assault type weapons - and everyone having the RIGHT to own one (or more). Then there is the abortion issue - arguments abound for both sides of that one and a large percentage of the gun owners think it is fine to regulate a woman's body. I am 100% pro choice - and if it is a "god" issue that is between the woman and her "god" - no government should have that control over someone's body.

Its clear to me that arguments are part and parcel of our culture these days. Arguments are used in mathematics to establish facts, they occur when someone is trying to sell you something or convince you thay are right about something and they are also used as a form of sport aka debating. Though the arguments can be irritating, frustrating and often times fun, it behooves us to understand how and why they are valuable and we should all learn how to handle arguments.

That's it for a shack-take on this week's topic. See you next week for another 2-on-1 blog where Ramana and I write on the same subject.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Supernatural

This week's topic is the Supernatural and it was my choice. Supernatural - certain things that some people believe are real but outside the realm of the laws of nature. That includes things like miracles, magic, souls, spirits, ghosts, demons, monsters, angels, devils, the reaper, religion and gods. One thing is certain - the Supernatural has made the entertainment industry  very substantial pile of money while entertaining and/or scaring a wide swath of the population. People like Stephen King,  John Carpenter, Anne Rice, JRR Tolkien, HP Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Wes Craven, Alfred Hitchcock, Tobe Hooper, George Romero, M Night Shyamalan and Clive barker - among many others - have earned nice living writing and/or directing Supernatural, aka horror fiction. Yes - in the interest of full disclosure - I am a fan of the genre and have been since I saw the original Godzilla, King of the Monsters movie as a kid in Pueblo, Colorado.

So is the Supernatural real? I say yes it is - do you believe in God? If you do, then you are well aware of his foil Satan. At the risk of offending Christians, they are both part of the Supernatural. The existence of either cannot be proven or not by any scientific method yet people of faith are convinced there is proof of God in things by what they call miracles. A miracle is an event so marvelous that it seems like it was sent from above. Miracle - a noun meaning “amazing or wonderful occurrence," comes from the Latin miraculum “object of wonder."  The fact that the so-called miracle can be a random event is readily refuted by the faithful. 
I happen to believe there is balance to the universe. Physics tells us for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Balance. So it is no  leap of "faith" to extrapolate that if you believe in "good" aka God them you also believe in"bad" - aka Satan. God  has his (or her) angels so Satan has his demons. And it is the nature of those competing sides to be in constant conflict with each other. Clearly the Catholic  church believes in the bad - as they sanction and perform exorcisms. 

Image result for reaper
One thing all people have in common is death (and maybe taxes) - setting aside for the moment life after death - when your time is up you are reaped. By whom or what? Why by a reaper of course. And it is no surprise that a religion based group wants its members to be God fearing folk would present a rather scary image of a reaper (see
Leave it to Hollywood to come up with a reaper in human form waiting to take your soul when your time has come - even if the individual to be reaped is a child (who knows what God's plan really is).

The above scene is from one of my all time favorite TV series called Dead Like Me. It is an outstanding series that takes a look at life, death and life after death.

I confess this is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek view of the subject matter but it is admittedly less dark than others would have us  believe, and in some eyes even blasphemous. But the net result is the same - balance. You can't have one (good or bad) without the other. And we are told we were made in God's image. Well here is an image -

I am clearly in the camp that says the Supernatural is real. That also means I have to believe in the other team for balance and I choose to believe there is balance in the universe. Karma. What goes around comes around. Is there really a God? Someone has to be in the control room behind the curtain. What
he/she really looks like is a matter of speculation based upon what that group (religion or otherwise)believes.

I did not intend to offend anyone with this little ditty so I apologize if that is what happened. I assure you I respect your right to believe whatever you choose. I simply ask that you respect my notion that the earth is round and that there is balance in the universe.

Please pop over to see Ramana's take on this week's subject at Ramana's Musings.

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