Friday, December 21, 2012


I'm sure we've all been touched by something at some point in our lives. Clearly the recent events in Connecticut that took so many innocent lives touched most of us. The young man that committed the act was also clearly touched  -  unbalanced mentally.

Sometimes the most seemingly insignificant actions stir us emotionally -  a look, a smile or a knowing nod - something shared between two people.  Sometimes something as simple as a song -

A book can touch you in ways you never knew imaginable.  The bible is an obvious choice for many. Others prefer works by J D Salinger, Jack Kerouac and others. 

Sometimes a line in a movie touches us - stirs us emotionally

To be touched is to be human.  It is - some might say - at the core of our humanity. Most people at some point in their lives need inspiration. We need to be touched by someone or something to get past some crisis real or imagined. We are communal beings. 

And how did this all start?

Go ahead - make my day and be touched by another member of the LBC -  Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, The Old Fossil and Will. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


Tis an appropriate topic for today.  When you fail to have sufficient backups and your computer dies - as mine did 2 days ago - you RISK all manner of grief trying to get back online.  Trust me - all manner is real, especially when jumping into the modern world of Windows 8 and IE 10 from XP and IE 8.  So that's my tale of woe & risk - I know the sky is NOT falling but I resent having to read all this mew stuff.  GRRRRRRRRRR.

Please check out what my smarter cohorts have to say on the subject - Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, The Old Fossil and Will.


Friday, December 7, 2012


Music.  It's an art form that varies widely by cultures.  It's quarter notes, half notes, notes, scales, bars, 4/4, 5/4, harmony, octaves - does anyone really know what an octave is? Who really cares? Fact is, throw bits and pieces of all those things in a bowl, mix them up, add some cultural spice, an instrument or 20, some people and you have music.  Examples to follow - like you didn't expect that. :) Check out a couple of them.

You know music -  it soothes

It stirs the soul

Some "orchestras" use very few instruments

Music crosses cultural divides.  This song was a huge hit worldwide in the 60s in the US - all in Japanese.  We had NO clue what the words meant but the beauty of the melody and the emotion the song generated made it a hit.


Now about those octaves.... here're a couple of ladies with amazing vocal range

By now you've guessed  music is very important to me. It always has been but these days frankly it is a large part of what keeps me as sane as I am. If I had one day left and could listen to 10 songs only, today those songs would be - in no particular order - Pachelbel's Canon, Frank Sinatra's Cycles, Springsteen's Born to Run, Ed Ames - Who Will Answer,  Kenny Rankin's Peaceful, Beatles A Day In the Life, We Five You Were On My Mind, Stones Get Off My Cloud,  Gin Blossoms Follow You Down and Mozart's Symphony 40 and Dave Brubeck's Take Five. Yes - I know that's more than 10.  Oh well.  A somewhat eclectic mix that changes daily.  I leave you with this...

 Check out what Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will have to say on the subject of music.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Doom and gloom

Doom and gloom.  Woe is me. The sky is falling! Things are sooooooooo bad they cannot be fixed. It's an attitudinal thing. It's all around us and if you choose to buy into it in any given circumstance you'll pay a price. That price obviously has a direct correlation to the specific incident/circumstance involved.

Doom and gloom opens the floodgates for great comebacks and great leaders. History is full of them in every endeavor imaginable. Sports, politics, individuals.  People not giving in to doom and gloom and reaching deep inside to "win" the battle at hand. 

Sports are rife with great comebacks. Baseball has many including Bobby Thomson's  walk-off home run in 1951 - the classic "shot heard round the world"

More recently the current world champs from San Francisco had 2 amazing comebacks in consecutive playoff series to even reach the World Series which they promptly swept.

Life presents us with challenges on a daily basis.  Most of us have been behind the eight ball at some point on our lives.  Get behind on the bills - worry about making ends meet.  Just providing the basics becomes a challenge - shelter and food.  But somehow we muddle through.  Some believe it's God's will.  Others simply work hard to fix things. They don't buy in to the notion that the situation cannot be fixed - they simply press on until it is.  Again - it's an attitudinal thing. Some folks simply don't  have a glass - others work at keeping that proverbial glass full. The latter provide the rest of us with examples - they are leaders of a sort even though they may not see themselves that way.

Individuals have overcome great difficulties - think Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, that distant cousin that overcame drug addiction.  Heroes all because they did not give in to d&g.

These days there is doom and gloom here and in India to name 2 countries when it comes to politics.  Corruption is rampant in many levels of government. Here there is a great divide between the right and left - make that the extreme right and left. Both sides claim the end is near and our great country is doomed thanks to the other guy.  India has so many parties just keeping track of it all is confusing - and I have a degree in political science for crying out loud.  But I suspect a leader or leaders will emerge in both countries to find a resolution.  

Religion is a great contributor to d&g. Here in Texas a pastor at a megachurch has declared Obama's re-election signals end times. I suspect if he wasn't half black he might think differently but that's the subject for another blog.  Seems every Tom, Dick and Harry reads some tragic current event into something from Revelations.  Again. They keep trying. And then there were those pesky Mayans.  They gave real specifics to their d&g.  We'll know soon enough if they were correct.  

The reigning champions of d&g have to be the global warming crowd. There's "real" science to back both sides of the argument.  Can it be that this time the sky really is falling?  Sigh.  It's all so confusing - but it behooves us to solve this one  That is  certainty.

So thanks Padmum - for this enlightening start to our Friday. Wonder what the others have to say? Check out Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will.  

Friday, November 23, 2012


Rains - water from the skies.  Drought busters.  Flood makers.  Like most things, good and bad.  Not enough or too much can be very very bad. Anything in between is usually a good thijng.

Here in Texas - right smack in the middle of tornado alley - we are prone to thunderstorms on a regular basis. I must be odd - I love them.  When I was a kid in Colorado I'd lay on the front lawn and look up to the sky during thunderstorms - when I wasn't sailing boats in the gutter. Clearly I didn't know how destructive thunderstorms can be, although frankly even if I did it wouldn't have mattered. There's just something about watching the power of mother nature that is awe inspiring.

Then there's the rain I exeriencd n Hawaii when I ived there.  It'd rain for a block  and then the sun would shine and dry me out.  My Suzuki 550 was always looked clean. It was also my only mode of transport. Oh damn - poor me.  Stuck in Hawaii with just a motorcycle. Nothing like hopping on your bike in shorts, aloha shirt and flip-flops and cruising the neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights in the rain. I miss Hawaii.

Most interesting thuinderstorm I can recall was seen out the window if an airliner winging its way back to the Bay Area from a Caribbean cruise vacation.  Off to the north was a massive thunder boomer somewhere over Kansas and in the blackness you could see lightning bolts shoot all the way to the ground.  It was a spectacular light show, dfar better than any ever seen at a club in SF way back when.  Of course in the middle of such a storm all you wonder is who'll stop the rain.

The thing about rain I love is its cleansing effect.  The smell after a rainstorm is amazing. Its no wonder companies make a fortune trying to emulate that smell in shampoos and other personal care products. None really capture the purity though.

Nothing relaxes me quite the same way as the sound of rain. All of the days troubles seem to disappear when I sit back, close my eyes and just listen.

That's a quick take on rains from shacklandCheck out what the other LBC members have to say on this weeks topic - ....Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will.  

Friday, November 16, 2012


Pleasure.  A rare commodity for me these days.  Hang on a sec while I pour a glass of whiskey.....

We'll start here   with an Irish Show Band from the mid sixties....

That's a soothing start - nice to relax to while sipping that whiskey, just what's needed after a long day.

Now things are moving along nicely

Brit take on blues - sort of -

Time for a little reflection - I've heard this is Dylan's fave version

One more Dylan tune

A little rockin - a great road song while driving

Winding down now...

Last one - for I really am just an old folkie at heart

So now you see how music brings me pleasure - by listening to it and sharing it.  Ands that's a take on Pleasure 

Check out what the other LBC members have to say on this weeks topic - ....Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

This Will Be My Epitaph

This weeks LBC topic comes from Maria in SF -

I suppose in my case it will come down to one of two -

1) So I'm down and so I'm out but so are many others
2) Never confuse fat with stupid

Anyone that really knows me will probably think both choices somewhat logical and I'll leave it to the person I've selected to distribute my ashes to make the final call.  If these are in any way confusing you don't know me but not to worry.  It doesn't matter. The curious question is if it ever did.

Guess we'll never know.

Check out what the other LBC members have to say on this weeks topic - ....Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

LBC Topic - Discipline

Todays topic is discipline. Discipline - the engine that drives western civilization. Did I just hear jaws dropping and thudding on the desk/floor?? Bear with me as I justify my comment.

Merriam Webster offers 6 definitions ranging from punishment  to a rule or system of rules governing conduct or an activity. Interesting.

Discipline is the driver of nearly every successful endeavor in Western society. Lack of discipline leads to chaos or simply nothing being accomplished - depending on the endeavor in question.

Consider the following: Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy and the Zodiac Killer.  All highly successful practitioners of their chosen craft - murder. Each was disciplined enough to carry out their respective endeavors many times.  Why - two of them in fact were so successful they were never caught.  Each of them exercised an orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior - that'd be definition 5b in Webster.  It brings up an interesting point about discipline - discipline is in and of itself amoral.  It relies strictly ion the morality - or lack thereof - of its practitioner.  They each exhibited high levels of self discipline.

Now of course self discipline comes in many flavors.  Take me for example - clearly my circumferentially challenged self lacks dicipline (self discipline) when it comes to food and drink.  But I am extremely well disciplined in my work habits.  So discipline may indeed vary within an individual.

Western religion is based on discipline. If you do not do right you will surly burn in, go to or some variation thereof encounter hell  when you pass on to the next plane of existence. Unless of course you end up in purgatory like Dean Winchester recently. A simplification for sure - but accurate none the less. The so-called loving God of western religion is quite a disagreeable fellow oif you cross him.  Or her.  Can't say for sure which. And with the place in Western society held by religion once again discipline - in the form of religion - drives our society for many of us. Please note I am not - here at least - suggesting religion is good/bad or otherwise. One need merely examine - to the degree she has shared - the life and times of our buddy Delirious Delores - aka "D" - maybe that should be D-squared - and see what a positive religious experience can bring to a life.

Now back to the premise - successful endeavors driven by discipline.  While clearly there needs to be a vision for an idea to begin - without discipline that vision/idea either evaporates into the ether or collapses into chaos.  Apple grew from the vision of Steve Jobs and a friend named Wozniak,.  But without Jobs' discipline where would Apple be? Would there be an iPad or iPhone?  If Edison had not stolen the vision for the light bulb and had the discipline to develop it where would we be?

Note - discipline does not guarantee success. Many failures were disciplined all the way to the end. Again - discipline is the engine driving society.

So ultimately discipline is a tool.  A tool for society to grow - or not.  We discipline our children.  Government disciplines us.  That amoral tool that cares not of right/wrong, only of the path taken to the end. In this case the end does justify the means.

That - my friends - brings to a close today's ramblings from Shackland. As usual this was composed on-the-fly. A mental exercise that I have disciplined myself to continue every Friday.

Today's musical selection is off topic - just a song I felt like listening to and sharing

See what the others have to say - ....Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will

Friday, October 26, 2012

Does my bum look big in this?

Ah yes - if it's Friday it must be LBC time.

When todays question was posed to my wife, her response was straightforward - "Of course.  He's fat.  A He looks big in anything."

Were the question posed to me by said wife the response would be an immediate "Of course not"

Never confuse fat with stupid.

Wonder what the others have to say????

Check out ....Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will.  

Friday, October 19, 2012


I'd tell you who suggested this weeks topic but I can't.  It's a secret.

We all have secrets of our own, secrets shared with us by others and I'd wager a bet we all expose some secrets.

Families keep secrets.  Some hide their true dysfunction from the world as they put on the face of the happy, perfect family.  My family tends to wear its dysfunction like some  odd badge of honor.  Look at us - we are dysfunctional.  But we are still a family. You can't take that away from us.

So what's a secret? It can be any old thing.  A closeted relative in a homophobic society. A genetic anomally in another.  Knowledge of a deed not meant to be publicized - for whatever reason.

The question becomes are secrets valuable? Are they a good thing?

Like most things the answer lies somewhere in the middle.  For example, I kept Lynn's HD a secret for years. Not really sure why - it just wasn't discussed. Now that cat's out of the bag.  And of course governments have secrets.  Things about which we common folk are best left ignorant.  Or so the powers that be decree.  Who really wants to know how many attacks were blunted, how many nuclear missles the bad guys have - I mean wouldn't you be more terrified knowing they could kill us 100 times, not just 50??? Or the secrets about the lies they've told?  (for our own good of course - ahem)

Secrets mask lies, hurtful truths, embarassing moments - just about anything is secret material under the correct circumstances. 

Big secrets in my life? Well - how about information about the guy that is responsible for half of my genetic makeup.  His name was Paul Wesley Brooke.  Apparently the guy was so bad his family is trying to remove his existance/memory by ignoring him away.  They refuse to speak to me - I am after all his seed so I guess I am evil as well. Maybe they're right. Time will tell - and as the drain is being circled it will be told sooner rather than later. 

Secret loves?  Anyone have one? Songs about secrets?  There're a gazillion of those - here's one of my faves.  Know what its secret is??? It has one.

What secrets are y'all holding tight?  Come on - I won't tell anyone. No even Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will.   

Friday, October 12, 2012


Reality bites.  Hollywood made a movie that says so (1994 directed by Ben Stiller) and Hollywood doesn't lie. I'll pause a bit here to allow y'all to clean your screens or pick your self up off of the floor. I truly hope nobody injured themself laughing.

My point is really quite simple.  There are beginnings -

And there are endings.  As painful or embarassing as they can be, we need to accept the endings. And move on.  Respect the past for what it was, try not to repeat the mistakes - but keep moving. 

I realize this may seem somewhat simplistic but frankly so is the notion of acceptance.  Do everything in your power to get your desired result in any circumstance but when the time comes - accept reality.  Go down kicking and screaming if you must but accept reality. And of course it's a blinding flash of the obvious that occasionally some herculean efforts generate results that defy the odds.  Maybe you'll get lucky. 

On a personal level, we all have traits that identify and describe us. Me?  I'm a multi-X in front of the L certified smart ass. I've accepted the fact that skinny and handsome are never gonna be traits ascribed to my overly verbose self. Saves me an enormous amount of mirror time. But like the Beatles said, I'm a clean old man. A mouthy but clean old man.

At the end of the day - with any luck at all, we can all be in this place more often than not - and that is my wish for us all...

Our topic this week comes from the Emerald Isle and Grannymar. Take a look at what the others have to say - ....Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

It will come as no surprise to those of you that know me that when I thought of this topic I was thinking of Lynn and her HD. Having it actually become a topic for discussion caused me to ponder the notion beyond that single event.

Essentially life is full of speed bumps. Nothing remains quite the same. Dealing with those speed bumps is the meat and potatoes (hmm - tofu & veggies ramana?) of the story that is our life. Everyone has dreams.  Some are even lucky enough to live those dreams. The HS jock made it all the way to the show.  He scored the winning goal, hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series, wrote a blockbuster novel, broke a life-changing story.  Or not.  He met a girl along the way, they have 2 kids and 5 grandkids, or he gave up his scholarship, got married and started a different life. He became a copywriter, she became a nurse and is living out her dream with him.  Fate?  Randomness?  Or just stuff.  Stuff as in life.

life is after all what you make it.  Or make of it.

So keep on dealing with those changes and speed bumps. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward - taking the occasional sidestep or backstep as is necessary. But keep moving.

Music man - as Paul says - has only one song to offer today. It's from one of the most successful singers and songwriters on the planet - more popular today than ever and no hit records in decades.  He got it right....

Buffet's words to live by.  What do the other LBCers have to say oin the topic?  Check out Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulRamana The Old Fossil and Will.  

And what the hell - when life gives you lemons, the speedbumps are high, the changes fast and furious Jimmy offered another reasonable solution - so here's a second offering.  I lied -this is a blogger speedbump -

Happy Friday all.  Have a great weekend.