Thursday, April 16, 2015

Legends Of My Hometown

I am from a modest sized town in southern Colorado called Pueblo. It was a steel town - the largest employer being Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I) but of course when the US made steel industry collapsed so did that company. here is still a steel presence there though,

Pueblo is the home of four Congressional Medal of Honor winners - William J Crawford,   Carl L sitter,  Raymond G Murphy and Drew D Dix. Must be something in the water as that seems pretty remarkable for a city with 100K or less population.

David Packard of Hewlett Packard (HP) fame is from Pueblo.
Benjamin Guggenheim lived in Pueblo and he had the misfortune to take a ride on the Titanic.
NFL Hall of Famer Dutch Clark is from Pueblo.
Former NFLer Gary Knafelc is from there. Family rumor has it he dated my mother for a bit.

On a lighter note at one time there was a Brooklyn Dodger Class C farm teamin Pueblo. Notable players who passed through induded Walter Alston, Dick Bartell, Sparky Anderson, Roger Craig, Roy Face, Jim Gentile, Larry Sherry and Mauiry Wills. For several years our basement apartment was home to Dodger players, most notably Jim Gentile. I was around  then but too young to remember much.

Here's what my house looks like today - when I lived there it looked pretty much the same = but the yard was all grass. It was built by my grandfather.

A head of the Denver mafia family was born in Pueblo and there was a mafia presence that I recall from my years there (1949-1959) along with a corrupt police department. A notable member of said corrupt PD was my spemr donor father  - a guy named Paul Wesley Brooke - a fellow so bad that his family refuses to speak to me.
Pueblo these days is famous for its Chiles - here's a good bit of info on them for anyone interested - Pueblo Chile

That's it for my hometown but now I'm curious to see what the others have to say about where they're from.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Rough and smooth

Here I am - late again. But this weeks topic is somewhat similar to last weeks -

The rough

the smooth



Of course there is rough water that prevents smooth sailing although to some smooth sailing is an oxymoron.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The long and the short

This week's topic comes from Maria. As the resident LBC music guy I simply harken back to those halcyon days when AM ruled the wave and FM was just getting a start - sans the time restrictions imposed by AM station prgrammers.  The popular music world has not been the same since are a couple of excellent examples

The long

and the short

The long

and the short

Of course in college there was the long novel and the short Cliff'sNotes short version.Not that I ever cheated and only used the Cliff'sNotes version. No sir. Not me. Ahem.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Retirement" report card - the adventure begins!

I have been officially retired sice March 17. Time for an initial look at the beginning of the adventure that will carry me through the end of days (mine at least).

For starters - it is very difficult to walk away from something that helped define me for so many years. OK - not that difficult as RadioShack ceased being the great fun place to work some years ago under the misdirection of a man named Julian Day - a Brit bean counter that effectively destroyed the morale of the company in his brief reign (2006-2011).  I remained loyal due to the attitude of my bosses and department during the end of Lynn's life. They were spectacularly supportive.

So now I have time to do almost anything my heart desires - within the restraints of a somewhat limited pocketbook.  No world cruises - but room for many more fun things.

First up is eye surgery. Time to dump the glasses with cataract surgery. That should happen in the next 6 weeks or so.  Then it will be relocation - final destination yet unknown but I suspect my time in Texas is about to come to an end.  That does not bother me at all.

I have rediscovered Netflix and have just watched a 13 episode original series called Bloodline.  4 stars out of 5. Binge watching can be fun - next I'll catch up on Longmire in preparation for the new season currently being filmed by Netflix.  Longmire is one of my 2 favorite TV shows of all time- the other being Justified - which now has only 2 episodes remaining until the series ends.

My days are filled watching my 5-year old grandson. We spend a lot of time outside with Ginger - our dog.  While I have no reason to be up early old habits die hard.  I suspect I'll remain an early riser.

I definitely need to find a hobby - something to occupy the remaining brain cells. Plus I now have no excuse to not finish my novel.  I see crossword puzzles in my future. And a myriad of brain teasers. Can a trip to New Orleans be far off? I think not as I  definitely hear the call of zydeco and crawfish along with some good beer.

So that's the opening chapter. It's hard to believe I'm not still 18 0r 19. I occasionally wonder who that stranger in the mirror may be.  Time to find out!

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Sacred Song; A Working Peace System

It's catch up time here in shackland. First up is Sacred Song - courtesy of my old HS friend Lin. Lin is the opposite of me when it comes to faith, God and religion. She is a very devout lady. I am  not. I am not a believer but I do not deny the existence of Jesus. He was simply  the most interesting person who has ever lived.  But the son of God? Virgin birth? Nope. But I am not an atheist that belittles those who believe in those things. This song most definitely describes my feelings on the matter -

I have found, however, certain songs do calm mne and make me more reflective.  Here's one of them -

On to this weeks topic - A Working Peace System. Since I submitted the topic I didn't have to Google it :-).

Peace is not merely the absence of war, as some would have us believe. There was a school of thought championed by a gentleman named David Mitrany called the functional theory of international development.  It was rather simple, straight forward and oh so logical sounding. Nations should focus on those things they shared in common. Develop small regional international agencies to work together to solve those issues.  A working example here in the USA was the Tennessee Valley Authority. The hope was there would be a web of agencies working for the common good.

Sounds great.

In practice we got the UN.   It's the greatest display pf chest thumping and sabre rattling we have.  The Security Council is virtually useless. But - there are arms of the UN that work.  WHO, UNICEF, FAO and others.  These agencies focus on the human condition .  So maybe there is hope that if we keep working we can develop a working peace system.  Clearly though, the functionalists did not contemplate a radical religios movement hell bent on turning the clock back to the dark ages.

The challenge is great but so are the stakes. 

Now it's time to see what the other LBC folk have to say.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Travails of Blogging

Today's topic comes to us from our Dame Quixote - Padmum.

Truth be told, I do not find blogging to be painful or difficult. That's because I typically only post 3 or 4 blogs monthly beyond the weekly LBC topic. That may change shortly when I retire but only time will tell.  My point is simple - I do not run out of topics upon which to pontificate or bloviate as Mr O 'Reilly likes to say.

I actually find blogging to be quite pleasant and a good way for a shy guy like me to open up a bit. I have opinions on almost everything and they are fun to share and discuss. It is rare when a topic causes any consternation - only the post I wrote when Lynn died comes to mind.  Yet even that post was written in the style that I use for these LBC posts.  I just sat down and began writing. What came out were the emotions I was feeling at that moment. I am fortunate to be able to organize my thoughts and get them out without  revision - these posts are essentially off-the-cuff as it were. I look up the topic, write and am typically finished within 15 or so minutes.

The musical selections are also off the cuff. I have a fairly substantial and somewhat eclectic music library in my mind - a virtual steel-trap of useless information.

So that's a quick shack take on this weeks topic.  Time to see what my pals at the LBC have to say.

For this week's musical interlude I suggest we make this little ditty the unofficial LBC anthem...

Friday, March 6, 2015


Imagine a world wherein the hunters of the group could hardly wait for the opening of cabbage season.  Or cauliflower season. Would you believe broccoli season? Welcome to the world of vegetarianism.

Vegetarianism is a lifestyle chosen by many and it is just that - a lifestyle choice. Why - some of my best friends are vegetarians though I'd be hard pressed to name a friend that is vegan - the extreme vegetarian that eschews any animal byproducts as well as meat/fish/poultry. I promise I am not a vegan bigot - I simply haven't come across any in my circle of life.

Vegetarians are said to live longer than we carnivores although I suspect adherents to a Mediterranean  lifestyle (when it comes to food) do as well as vegetarians.

Why am I not a vegetarian? Let me count the ways - rare steak, smoked anything, fried fish for starters. Those undoubtedly account for several of the Xs in front of the L on my buffalo petite frame but so be it. But I freely admit that I have enjoyed many fine vegetarian meals and I often joke with my friend Ramana that I'd make a great vegetarian. Quite frankly I  intend to lean much more heavily on vegetarian cuisine once I make the upcoming change in   my living arrangements in a couple of months. As the door to Texas slaps me in the rear when I cross the border headed for a new location - most likely North Carolina - and a new residence with only my dog Ginger as a companion I intend to learn how to properly create vegetarian meals.

Now don't get me wrong - there will always be room at my table for a well grilled steak or some slowly smoked ribs but I look forward to the challenge of learning a new style of cooking.  There're definitely some Indian and Chinese cookbooks in my future.

That's this weeks quick shack-take on the weekly LBC topic, Now it's time to see what the others have to say on the topic.