Friday, April 11, 2014

Hysteria - LBC topic

Hysteria.   Behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess according to Merriam Webster.  

To me  hysteria is much easier to discern when many are involved.  Mass hysteria.  The insanity (hysteria) feeds upon itself and it grows.  Like calls for gun control immediately after a mass shooting.  A few folks get so worked up they issue GAGs (guaranteed applause getters) at every opportunity.  Those are the times I most enjoy shows like Bill O, Bill Maher and Sean Hannity.  Maher's is the most fun as he loves to argue - not just bully folks like Hannity and O'Reilly - although all three can certainly be classified as practitioners of intellectual thuggery/bullying. O'Reilly is a master at shouting down folks who disagree with him. 


I know several people who are prone to hysterics. They all share common traits - a distinct lack of self confidence and an above average dose of paranoia. Often very small, seemingly insignificant things set them off.  It can be quite scary if you are there when it happens. It can be even scarier if you are near a group that goes off in a bad way.  Apparently we live in a time when it is acceptable to go nuts when your local team wins a championship of some kind. Take a look at any city that wins the World Series, NFL championship, Stanley Cup or an Olympic team title in a major sport.  Talk about mass hysteria.  Millions of dollars in damage all because some folks seem to be looking for an excuse to set off a mass frenzy. Remember Los Angeles after the  Rodney King verdict? Mass hysteria of the absolute worst kind that lasted for six days.





Relationship hysteria? Been there.  Done that - as I am sure most of us have.



That's this week's quick shack-take on hysteria.








Friday, April 4, 2014

Pen Pals - LBC topic

Pen pals. The name  says it all.  There was a company called The International Youth Service in Turku, Finland that hooked up willing folks between the ages of 10 and 20 so they could write letters to each other, develop friendships.  Learn about other cultures.

I availed myself of this service and had several pen pals - one in particular that lasted a long time.

Dieter and I met through IYS my freshman year of high school - 1963. My mind being a steel trap for useless information - I still remember his initial address - Filserstrasse 11, Balingen Germany. We traded letters pretty much on a monthly basis until Dieter entered the army 6 or so years later. We lost touch after that save for a few holiday cards. All in all it was a pleasant experience that lasted about 20 years or so. I distinctly recall the anticipation every 4 or 5 weeks when I expected a letter and when the mail arrived, his leters immediately stood out because of the light blue ultrathin paper he used. On occasion the letters were a single page that folded into an envelope. We discussed everything from music, sports and even politics a bit.

Flash forward to the early 2000s - I am now in Texas working at RadioShack. One morning my email  notification goes off (the Dudley Do Right them at that time  )
and what do I see?  an email asking if I am the same Chuck McConvey  that used to live in Hayward, CA.  It was Dieter - he had found me. via the Internet - somewhat ironic and the Internet was ultimately responsible for the IYS shutting down in  2008.

We traded a few emails and caught up.  Dieter was a judge in Germany at that time.  He'd actually been on a vacation to the SF Bay Area and looked up my old address. Catching up was fun.  Although we have not been in contact since that time, it was a great time and I still consider him a friend.

These days email has supplanted writing skills for many folks but frankly IMHO emailing does not make up for the things a letter brings to the table.  I miss writing them.  I miss the initial stages of Lynn's and my relationship when she was still attending BYU and we wrote back and forth.



 When she passed away last February, one of  the cards I received included a lengthy note from one of Lynn's 2 best friends - Donna.  Donna shared some wonderful recollections of her and Lynn and they were so much more meaningful because she  sent them n that card, handwritten and signed.

Don't get me wrong - I love being email pals with folks too.  The LBC has opened up some vistas that way in places like India, Ireland  and others.

That's my take n this week's topic. Check out the other LBC folk for a different take on the matter.

Friday, March 28, 2014

My favorite poem

I have a confession to make - as much as I love  music - that's how much I dislike poetry - unless of course it is set to music.  It's gotta be the dumb jock in me.

Hence my favorite poem:



Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.


Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.



Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.



Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.



The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last

For the times they are a-changin'.


And just for giggles one more Dylam poem set to music

Monday, March 24, 2014

Howdy pardner.

A couple of the blogs I follow have been focusing on movies of late,.  As such I thought I’d compile a list of my favorite westerns  - just for giggles. – so off we go. There are some missing classics that easily make my top 20 but these are my favorite 10:

10. Silverado – not a truly great movie but it makes the list because it came at a time when westers were not being made and jump started the genre again. Plus, it has arguably one of the best movie themes ever made –


9. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -  Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef – nuf said.  Also a great theme – coincidence???


8. Outlaw Josey Wales – classic Eastwood

7. The Wild Bunch – this one put the shoot in shoot ‘em up – great cast, Sam Peckinpah directing – who could ask for anything more?

6. Tie – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Horse Soldiers – classic Duke westerns –

4. The Searchers – early proof Wayne was a vastly underrated actor – a darker portrayal, excellent in every respect

3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – quintessential buddy pic set as a western

2. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – Duke again with Lee Marvin, Jimmy Stewart – very close to being my fave

1. The Magnificent Seven – everything a great movie should be – inluding again arguably the best western theme ever




Friday, March 21, 2014

Fate - the development of events beyond a person's control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power. That’s this week’s LBC topic.



That’s one school of thought. What will be will be.  It’s all worked out for us.

I don’t attend that particular school.  There is much randomness and personal choice involved.  While certainly some things can de fated – should you be in the 50% of eligible people with a parent with HD and you get that gene your fate is sealed.  But it was random;ly passed – each child of ah HD afflicted parent has a 50% chance of getting the gene. There are other genetic conditions passed down as  well. But not with 100% probability and hence not fate.

There are those religious among us that believe our fate is determined by whether or not we follow the dictates of their god. They say your choices determine your fate.  They got the latter correct.

Fate as defined above does not exist as far as I am concerned.  I deny the supernatural involvement.  Fate hinges on the choices we make and every road down which we travel offers a selection of outcomes.  Those outcomes are determined by the choices we make along the way. You choose what gets The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate award by your action and/or inaction.

Consider this – if you stepped into Mr Peabody’s WayBack Machine and had your life to live over would it be exactly the same? If you had no more information than original you would the outcomes be the same? What about those random choices – say a coin-toss decision. Would a different toss outcome lead you down a different path with different life outcomes? I think maybe so.

If things were predetermined would there be  any magic in our lives?  Could we feel this?



Life is an adventure. It isn’t scripted. You have the ability to determine your own fate as it were.  As Buddha said, I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.



That’s my quick take on fate.  Check out what the other LBC posters have to sa

Friday, March 14, 2014

Are we troo busy for what really matters?

I certainly hope not.

Future shock.  I've mentioned it before.  Things change so rapidly it becomes almost impossible to keep up with it. It's a fast paced, hectic world full of stress and strain. To stop and smell the roses - as it were - is more important than ever. Otherwise you can easily get caught up in one of the many traps lying in wait.

A classic example - as most of you know I recently lost my wife to Huntington's disease. I most definitely had made the changes necessary to care for her during this ordeal - I have worked exclusively from home for over three years while being her primary caretaker.

None of that mattered in the days after she passed.  Nothing could have prepared me for the emotions and loneliness that followed.   A week or so after her death I got an email from my friend Dave - a fellow I have been friends with for 55 years or so.  The email was straightforward and heartfelt, expressing his sorrow over my loss.  But the last line was the kicker - he and Brian - another friend of the same length of time - the three of us were 5th grade classmates - would be out to see me the next Saturday. They'd let me know when they would arrive as soon as travel arrangements were finalized.  The next day another friend - Rick - emailed he'd be coming as well but because his dance troupe was performing on Saturday he'd be arriving on Sunday.

Dave is an architect - here's some info on an important project he and his firm helped spearhead - the fellow speaking at theionset is Dave.



Brian is a dentist with a very successful practice in Palo Alto  plus he is involved with the American Dental Association  in a big way and visits offices and meetings around the country regularly. He flew in to visit me in lieu of returning home from one such visit.



Rick is  retired from the park service - he is the Ranger Rick I've mentioned in the past - and he now has a Polynesian Dance Troupe - a  Hālau and is a successful kumu hula - spreading the culture of Polynesia - something that has always been his passion. Rick is the gray-bearded fellow top left.


These guys took time out of their busy lives to simply hang out with a grieving friend. Over 3 days we laughed, a lot, shed a few tears and basically they  got me going again. A clear example of what can be accomplished when you are NOT too busy to do what is important. What they did meant the world to me and rest assured if I am ever able to do something for them or any other of my real friends the lesson of what they did will not be lost on me.  In the terminology so favored by the youth of today - these guys are trully  BFFs  in every possible way. By the way - they all live in California.

Thanks again guys.


Friday, March 7, 2014

LBC post

Separation.  Hmmm.  I suspect the smart money is on the “avoid religion and politics” notion but that is a perfect separation to my way of thinking.  Having religion dictate national policy is to me trouble squared, regardless of the religion or country involved.  While it is natural to have a culture shaped by its beliefs that is not the same as having rule of law from the pulpit. 

Separation is a natural for some things.  Think oil and water, a fool and his/her money – I’m sure everyone can add several examples.

There are some handy gadgets that help with separation.  I like to cook and those handy gadgets that separate the fat from your sauce are great. I have managed over the years not o separate a digit or 2 while merrily chopping away.  Sharp knives are the key to that! Or a whopper chopper - for those old enough to remember that little gadget.


Then there’s personal separation.  I’ve just gone through the worst possible version of that.  Over the, years there were other separations – my 6 months in Hawaii (made worse because I had more fun than Lynn thought I should have), numerous business trips.    Separation is something that simply can’t be avoided but the negative effects can be managed to a degree. Just know that some will be heartbreaking,  some will be maddening and some will bring great joy.