Thursday, January 11, 2018

Did school prepare you for the real world? 2 on 1 #2

This weeks topic asks the question "Did school prepare you for the real world? ". My answer is no, not at all if the school discussed is everything up to and including high school.

School did very little beyond teaching me to read and write. Granted, those are important skills required for any level of success in
life but they stop far short of preparing anyone for success.

Somehow our schools need to find a way to inspire students to discover what interests them and points students in a direction that leads to a career. In my high school there were vocational classes that focused on blue collar careers like
welding, auto mechanics and carpentry. Sadly, those have not been available for decades. No budget for them.  That is, in my opinion, rediculous.

Students need more elective classes to inspire interest in fields that are useful and more needs to be done in developing interest in math and science. We need to fill our colleges with math and science students from here, not from around the world. We need to take advantage of the educational opportunities we currently provide students from other countries.

Our college system does offer the tools necessary to launch a career. The trick is to get into college and then graduate without a crippling mountain of debt. My BA cost me a total of about a thousand dollars. I attended a state university that was essentially a commuter college - and also a community college (also called a junior college). There are opportunities available, our students need be aware of them.

That brings us to the students. Today's world is unlike any previous. The pace is faster, changes more frequent and information more readily available than ever. Along with that information is its evil twin, misinformation. Now more than ever it is critical to verify information and that is equally important when it comes to education choices. It starts with the parents, flows to the student and finally the educators.  Garbage in, garbage out definitely applies. You get out exactly what is put in, and now more than ever students need to be prepared.

While it may not be possible to earn a 4-year (well - six in my case 🎓) for only a thousand dollars like mine, it is possible to earn that degree and start a career. It requires hard work, and whether or not today's students are  up to the challenge is a topic for another

I picked this week's topic and so Ramana will choose next week's. Be sure to check Ramana's take on this week's here.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Museums. 2 on 1 #1

This week is the first weekly post from 2 on 1 - the dynamic blogging duo otherwise known as Ramana and shackman ☺. Ramana selected Museums as our first topic.

Museums come in all sizes and subjects. My particular favorite is the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.. I visited the museum on July 6,1976. That was a particularly good time to visit D.C. and the museum, being our bicentennial year. Just seeing the selection of flying machines hanging from the ceiling and sitting on the floor is mind boggling.
As you can see by the image, the museum has a substantial footprint. Not only is there much to see, there is much exercise to be had.

Museums offer a place to preserve artifacts and history, and can preserve aspects of history that may be offensive to some but should be preserved. An example of that is the display of Confederate icons of the Civil War as statues on public grounds. Some are offended by the public display of the supporters of slavery while others say we should not deny our history. A reasonable solution seems to be displaying those icons in museums open to the public. It is an example of political correctness that might work for everyone. Of course it can be carried to extremes if you consider that our country was founded essentially by white slave owners.
Like life in general, things are more often shades of gray, not simpler black and white.

Another favorite place of mine is Mesa Verde National Park, where you can explore Anasazi cliff dwellings and visit the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. Click this link if you are interested in seeing related info Mesa Verde.

Prior to our interstate highway system becoming s network of freeway systems, there was Route 66. Route 66 passed through the myriad of small towns and past an endless array of small, local musems. Though its glory days are long gone , there are still many Route 66 museums to visit - Route 66 Museums.

That's a quick look at this week's 2 on 1 topic. Be sure to check Ramana's entry here

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Roswell. LBC 12/29/2017

This week's topic is Roswell, the home of of limitless extra terrestrial and government cover up conspiracy theories springing from an incident In 1947 with an alleged crash of a flying disc.

What you believe about Roswell and that incident hinges on whether or not you believe we are alone in the universe. So - do you believe we are alone?? We discover planets capable of shorting life fairly frequently, but does that mean there are aliens out there?

As a lifelong fan of science fiction, starting with the 1956 classic film Forbidden Planet, I choose to believe we are not alone. I can offer no proof in support of my belief buy I choose to believe.

The official government position on the Roswell incident is that it was simply the crash of a weather balloon, nothing more. Those alien bodies? They never existed.

Of course a huge science fiction industry has emerged. There are the benevolent aliens here to he and warn us - 1951s The Day the Earth Stood Still to the not so benevolent aliens in the Aliens series and another classic, John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) as well as many others

Whatever you believe, there isn't much better than a good movie,
 Popcorn and good company

This is the last weekly LBC post Beginning next week, Ramana and I will endeavor bring two takes on the same topic as two on one. We will rotate topic selection weekly.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

People watching

This weeks topic is people watching - something I have enjoyed for as long as I can remember. I have spent many hours sitting and observing others.

Some of the best people watching happened in Hawaii. I'd hop on my trusty Suzuki 550
and ease on down the road. My two favorite spots were Waimea Bay to watch crazy people surf the giant waves.

There was nothing quite like sitting on my bike, enjoying a shave ice from Matsumotos store and seeing that. The other great place was a parking lot at the beach where the sail plane school was. I would watch the sail plane (glider) students swooping low and buzzing the beach for hours.
In college I would sit in the coffee shop and look out the window and watch my fellow students. Sometimes I would make up stories about them.

Fisherman's wharf on San Francisco was another goodm spot, usually to watch tourists. A loaf of good sour dough bread, a nice sized salami and a cold beer rounded out the package. Tourists were great fun to watch, especially when they were from land locked areas and were in awe of all things normal to a city by a bay with a large fishing fleet.

I spent a fair amount of time people watching in New York when Lynn and I had business trips there. Mostly I saw folks in a hurry to get somewhere. It was somewhat disappointing, to be honest.

The best thing about people watching is all you need are people. Since there are people almost everywhere, just grab a seat, sit back and enjoy.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Urban Legends

This weeks topic is Urban Legends those supposedly true tales that cover a myriad of topics from ghosts and other supernatural phenomena to legendary beasties that vary by locale. My first brush with an urban legend was at the Uptown Theater in Pueblo, Colorado when I saw s movie about the Abominible Snowman. I was 8 or 9 years old.

Fast forward 20 or so years, living in Northern CA and  tales of Bigfoot, including an alleged witness of a  50-gallon oil drum - full of course, thrown down a hill and you have the perfect recipe for a weekend camping trip complete with sufficient supply of beer, guns and cameras. The beer was consumed, shots fired, trees wounded and no film exposed nor were there any Bigfoot sightings but much fun was had.

There are Bigfoot legends I'm several states. West Virginia has a  Mothman and several states have Chubacabra legends. What do they all have on common? Movies. Urban legends here are great stories for horror movies. I have always been a fan of those

At this time of the year there is, of course, the tale of the guy that delivers toys to girls and boys around the world. That, I would suggest, is one of the largest and most universal urban legends

Ghost stories are fairly common in urban lore. The same group that hunted bigfoot looked for the Niles Canyon ghost one Halloween. Let's face it - when you're too old to trick or treat you have to find something to do on Halloween. I suppose it comes as no surprise we struck out on that quest as well, but it may be because we spent more time parked at our favorite spot doing other, more fun things. Hey - we were young. Ahem.

The digital world has ussured in a whole  new level of legend and has spurred the creation of sites like Snopes to check the veracity of posts. Poor Morgan Freeman has probably died a dozen times on Facebook.

Before there were movies there were books. Legendary tales were written down and became things
like Grimms Fairy Tales. Much of what we here in the USA think we know about out western heroes comes from cheap dime novels that spawned TV series based on those legends. Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Bill Hickcock were nothing
like they were portrayed on TV but their urban legends are what we think we know of them.

That's it for this week's topic- see ya next week. Be sure to check Ramana's take on the subject

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cooking LBC 12/08/2017

This weeks topic was offered by Ramana. Back in the early days of our relationship, Lynn cooked me dinner for the first time She did a spectacular job. However, the next time she cooked things did not go so well. When I asked what happened she admitted she could only cook that first dish and in fact did not enjoy cooking. I then proposed that from that day forward, I'd do the cooking and she would do the cleanup - aka the dishes. That deal stuck  for the entire 45 years we were together.

I am a good cook, though I no longer enjoy it much. I live in an environment wherein we all keep different hours and gathering for a meal is unheard of. I refuse tone a short-order cook in my own home.

I never developed a specialty and I don't bake. Baking is way too scientific and requires much stricter adherence to recipes. My favorite flavor profiles are Cajun/Creole and Indian but I don't cook much India n - only an occasional curry dish. I cook a lot of Cajun spiced stuff.

The kids here have an aversion to onions which makes things difficult. I sneak a few in but not enough to suit me. I use Vidalia sweet onions whenever available.  And of course, garlic is a mainstay in my spice cabinet.

I cook a lot of Italian food. It is relatively easy and who doesn't like a nice plate of pasta? I do make a mean lasagna but am more likely to wash it down with a cold beer than  a glass of wine. The trick with Italian especially is good ingredients, bit of course that is true with most cuisines.

Th. e foodie population has greatly expanded in recent decades, thanks to the popularity of TV chefs and a best selling book about the restaurant industry by chef Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain himself has become a famous TV chef personality, which is ironic as his disdain for several of them is obvious when he speaks of them. That hasn't stopped fans of chefs !like Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, the late Paul Prudhomme and others from causing a rise in the foodie population. I confess - Iam a fan of several cooking shows and watch them regularly. I draw inspiration from chefs Prudhomme, Lagasse and others. I particularly enjoy the trave!l/food related shows of Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern on CNN and The Travel Channel.

This weeks topic has been fun to discuss.  Be sure to check on Ramana and the others to see what they have to say. I know Ramana is an accomplished cook.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


This weeks topic comes from Pravin. As is typical of his topics, it requires a bit of thought. How related are these three things? Are they really the same? Atr they synonymous with each other? Can you become so intoxicated with a fantasy that it becomes an obsession?

That is entirely possible and depending on the circumstance the obsession could be harmful. Many a mystery tale has been spun about unchecked obsession that leafs down a dark path. Some of those tales are actually true. Consider the followers of the recently deceased Charles Manson.

Not all obsessions need be harmful. Consider my obsession with the Zodiac Killer - and his string of unsolved murders dating back to the sixties of the last century. Now coupled with my love of the !music of that same era I could, I suppose, become completely obs essed with all things sixties. Alas, I am not. I remain well grounded in the present.

Everyone has fantasies. Some people live in a fantasy world filled with alternate facts and fake news. There is no harm in that, unless of course that person is the President of  the United States and in that world a free press is called the enemy of the people and so-called facts are demonstrably false , regardless what POTUS's spokesperson may sau regarding  the veracity of POYIS's comments not mattering - only his supposed intent matters.

On occasion, intoxication is a good thing. I have posted in the past about the night I met the woman who would become my wife. It is safe to say I found her intoxicating and became obsessed with making the fantasy world I created for us a reality. As we were in together for 45 years I think it is safe to say I succeeded.

Recently a decision was made to disband the LBC. As the song goes, they say that all good things must end some day and for us that will be the last Friday in December.