Thursday, August 20, 2015

Simplicity - LBC post

This weeks LBC topic was provided by our resident Dame Quixote - Padmum. Merriam Webster (the online version) offers this:
  1. the quality of being easy to understand or use
  2.  the state or quality of being plain or not fancy or complicated
  3. something that is simple or ordinary but enjoyable   
 Sounds a lot like the KISS principle to me.  Keep it Simple Stupid.  Scholars might use the term Occums Razor - the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.  The famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes said "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

In other words don't over complicate or over think think things.  Sage advice if you ask me. Slow down and appreciate the moment.  It's really the only thing that matters since the past is gone and there is no way of knowing what the future holds. The here-and-now is all that you can control.

If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”  Albert Einstein

There's a reason we keep hearing "It's as simple as that" - it usually is. Maintain your focus and address the things that really matter. You'll probably enjoy life a lot more.

Remember - you can't always get what you want - but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.

And what do the other LBC folk have to say about simplicity?  Check them out - they're listed over there on the right ===>

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Be careful what you wish for!

The cycle continues. The election cycle that is. The land of the free, home of the brave is once again in the throes of a presidential election. Our first "black" president - the decidedly left-wing mulatto Barrack Obama is in his 7th year of an 8-year term. The big seat is up for grabs. The GOP race for the roses is just getting interesting as there are more than a dozen wannabes reaching for the prize - including a 4-times bankrupt Donald Trump to the current tea party fave Ted Cruz - the senator from the state wherein I live, the republic of Texas.

We hear the usual rhetoric daily about the so-called corrupt Washington establishment (that includes both parties) and how we need to change the culture  The right wants less government - much less. The left cries we need better government - not less. The language is decidedly negative, with civility making a stampede for the exits as both sides. depending upon which statistics you choose to quote (and remember - statistics are the big lie), we are living in the best of times or the worst of times. That's quite a spread - can the truth really be stretched so far??  Do the numbers really lie? Of course they do. There's a statistical spin to cover every statement. The moral of that story? NEVER accept a single source for your information - especially if that source is Fox News or MSNBC.

This year the surprising front runner in the  GOP is The Donald.  You can hear/read his "pontifications" daily - you'll see or hear nothing of substance yet. Just ranting and raving while he pats himself on the back. I hope he doesn't hurt himself with all that patting or flapping of his so-called right wing.

The Democrats? Well interestingly enough the first real challenge to Queen Bee Hillary is Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Bernie is a democratic socialist  and the right is apoplectic because of the term socialist. Bernie is a straight talker that actually offers some solutions to issues. It remains to be seen how long his campaign will have traction. The democrats appear to be in complete disarray as more and more negative information about the Queen Bee comes out.

To the folks here in the good old USA, I say be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Traveller in Me.

The Traveller In Me comes to us from Ramana.

Now there are a couple of distinct directions to follow with this topic. Being Irish, the term Traveller can can imply a traditionally nomadic people of Irish origin. One of v the largest groups of Travellers happen to live about 5 miles from me in a place called White Settlement. They are itinerant or nomadic handymen. That automatically disqualifies me as I am the least handy person I know.

So - the Traveller in me that I will tackle is the traveling man in me.

I'm not much of a traveler simply because I hate to fly. I always have. That limits my traveling to car/train/boat.

I've lived in Colorado, California, Connecticut, Hawaii and Texas. I've been to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Antigua, Martinique and St Maarten. It should be easy to pick out where we went on a cruise celebrating our 40th birthdays with a group of our friends.

I've driven completely cross the country twice and I think the only states I have not been in are Alaska, Minnesota, Wisconsin  and South Carolina. Upon reflection I have been around a bit.

Places I've visited include the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Bryce Canyon, Zion, Yosemite, Carlsbad Caverns, Pike's Peak,  The Smithsonian,  DC sites, Cape Canaveral, a bunch of old forts from the Civil War and the War of 1812 and probably a dozen more whose  names I have forgotten.

The most beautiful places I've been are Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite.  Check the links below and see what you think.


Bryce Canyon eTour


Important cities I've visited include San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland Oregon, Seattle Washington, Dallas and Ft Worth Texas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Boston, Hartford CT, Augusta Maine, St. Louis, Kansan City, New Orleans, Tampa Fl., Toronto, New York, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, SAn Juan PR and more.

So all-in-all I am  not much of a world traveler but I have done a fair job traveling this large and diverse country of mine. How about my LBC buddies? Time to travel with them!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Above and below LBC topic

This weeks topic is another in a somewhat similar vein provided by Maria of gaelikaa's diary in India.  Above and below is open to many interpretations. Take statistics for example. There are several ways to compute an "average" - take the following list of numbers for example: 13, 18, 13, 14, 13, 16, 14, 21, 13

To most of us the average (mean) is obtained by simply adding the numbers and dividing that total by the number of values in the list. Thus (13 + 18 + 13 + 14 + 13 + 16 + 14 + 21 + 13) ÷ 9 = 15. 15 is the average (mean) but oops - it's not in the list but  that's the way the mean  crumbles.

But like many things the average can be spun to suit the argument involved - thus we can use the median - the middle value.  13, 13, 13, 13, 14, 14, 16, 18, 21 - 14 is the middle value. Hey - at least this average is in the list.

For the truly esoteric there's the mode - yet another statistical average - and it references the number that occurs most frequently in the list. That number is 13 and hey - it's in the list too.

The moral of the story? Here we have 3 answers to the same question. 15, 14 and 13. Know your numbers before accepting any statistical values quoted in any discussion. Statistics can be used to support darn near anything - any spin on a topic. That's why a single source for things is in my opinion not a smart thing to use/believe. Especially if a politician or newscaster is involved.
    1. The Long And The Short
    2. The Rough And The Smooth
    3. Left And Right
    4. Right And Wrong
    5. Back To Back
    6. This And That
    7. Up And Down
    8. Above And Below  
    The list above includes the  to[pics this year that I believe have a similar theme.  I think his tune covers most of the angles :

    Do you suppose that if the captain realized there is more iceberg below the water than above the water the Titanic might  not have sunk?? 

    And how about this???

    That's a quick shack-take on this weeks LBC topic. Check out what the others have to say. they're listed over there on the right.

    Thursday, July 30, 2015

    Up and Down

    This weeks LBC topic comes from Maria in India - Up and Down.

    As a child I loved teeter totters. Remember those? Up/down Up/down.
    Up and down.  Unstable? or is the instability actually stability in disguise? That depends - I suppose - on what you are discussing. Take for example the ratings of a politician. They are typically up and down, depending on what gaff he or she committed on any given day. Unless of course the pol is Donald Trump. So far he seems impervious to foot-in-mouth disease. The mind boggles. One suspects he is such a breath of fresh air ad beholding to nobody - we must be cautious of the old adage "Be careful what you wish for". The thought of the Donald as president actually is frightening to me.

    Then there's the old Roman thumbs up or down scenario. Seems we got that one wrong in the movies over the years as thumbs down was actually the good sign and thumbs up spelled curtains for the recipient.

    Swing sets up and down


    Jazz - my oldest granddaughter - just got her very first job - at Six Flags Amusement Park in Arlington.  Talk about up and down. One could certainly get there fill of up and down there. Best benefit? Jazz gets free rides.

    Better her than me

    Personally, this old-fashioned wooden roller coaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was more than enough up and down thrills for me 

    As you can see, up and down has many connotations that apply to our daily lives.  May all yours be the fun kind.

    Friday, July 24, 2015

    New Rules

    This week's topic draws its inspiration from the somewhat controversial Bill Maher and the segment with which he closes his TV show broadcast on HBO - New Rules.  I am the guilty party - I suggested the topic.

    New Rules

    1.  Political correctness is an oxymoron and as such serves no useful purpose 
    2. Heinz yellow mustard - not French's . One taste and you'll agree.
    3. Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position
    4. The NHL should change the name of their game name to Ice Boxing 
    5. Paying workers enough to live should be logical and reasonable
    6. Ted Nugent's rantings are not really Ted Talks by an expert on anything
    7. Gay marriage is legal. Get over it. And if that decision means someone can marry their bicycle or parakeet why should I care?
    8. More than 6 companies should be in charge of the media
    9. New and improved are not inextricably linked
    10. There is still no known cure for stupidity
    11. If the new Texas Open Carry law does not demonstrable reduce violent crimes  within a year it should be repealed
    12. Fiscal  conservativism and liberal social ideals are compatible - not mutually exclusive
    13. Term limits would solve a lot of our governmental issues - 
    14. It's possible to disagree on matters and remain civil and solve a problem
    15. Tramps like us - baby we were born to run........
    For giggles here is an example of Bill's New Rules (language caution)

    That's my take on this weeks topic. What do the other LBC  folk have to say????

    ,  Ashok gaelikka  Lin Padmum  Pravin and Ramana

    Thursday, July 16, 2015


    This week's LBC topic was suggested by Lin.

    It has always amazed me how resilient the human spirit can be. History is packed with famous, successful people who cannot see - from Helen Keller to Stevie Wonder. Because of the value I place on music in my life, it will come as no surprise I've focused this little ditty on a musician. Rather than a better known talent like Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles I'll simply introduce all y'all to my all-time favorite guitarist - Jeff Healey from Toronto, Canada. If you've seen the Patrick Swayze movie Roadhouse you've seen and heard Jeff Healey.  Roadhouse was what I call a popcorn movie - good, mindless fun that I went to see with my late wife Lynn - a huge Swayze fan. By the time the movie ended we were both Jeff Healey fans.

    Jeff was more than a guitarist - he was an accomplished jazz trumpeter as well.

    From his website:

    Canadian music icon, Jeff Healey, was born in Toronto on March 25, 1966. Blind from early childhood due to retinoblastoma (a rare form of eye cancer), Jeff Healey’s guitar playing virtuosity and soulful voice saw him rise to prominence in the entertainment world in the late 1980s and ‘90s selling millions of albums worldwide.

    Getting his first guitar at the age of three, he developed a unique style of playing. Placing the guitar flat on his lap and playing it like a lap steel, with his hands over the fret board, gave him the flexibility of fretting with all five fingers and the power of pulling notes with the strength of his whole hand.

    For over two decades, Jeff enjoyed a successful music career that spanned rock, blues and traditional jazz. Grammy nominee and Juno award winner, he was a radio personality, a jazz historian and world famous record collector (owning a collection of 1920’s and ‘30’s jazz 78s that would ultimately top out at over 30,000 records).

    And what did his contemporaries think of him? Stevie Ray Vaughn, upon meeting Jeff and hearing him play wanted to perform with him. This is the result -

    As Swayze said to Jeff in Roadhouse - "Not bad for a blind white boy". Jeff passed away from cancer at 41 in 2008. RIP my man. I need to crank up the volume on my system for a while.