Friday, June 28, 2013

Puppy love. LBC topic.

Today's LBC topic comes by way of Pune, India and Ramana.

Puppy love.  Infatuation.  A crush. Hey - I know that one - it's what I remember feeling the first time I saw Julie Bowen on the TV show Ed - and later in the series when she totally rocked a suit of armor. Nobody has done it better - not before nor since. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Then there's love for a puppy -  aka our dog Ginger at the shelter before we brought her home.


Then there's this..(oh come on - you knew this was coming)
or this
 Fortunes and reputations have been made on the notion of young love/puppy love.  Collectively they have  been a huge moneymaker regardless of the era or generation label you apply. And in this day of openness and coming out ya gotta wonder to whom folks like Tab Hunter and Leslie Gore were really singing.  Speaking of crushes, I wasted one on Ms. Gore - LOL. But ya gotta love those eyes and the lady can sing her a$$ off.
And of course young love begat teen angst  which begat teen angst parody
Kidding aside, puppy love is as real to the participants as so-called real love.  Puppy love is just more fleeting and who is to say that's not a good thing? Don't we all wish our broken hearted moments were as fleeting?
Check out my LBC cohorts commentaries on puppy love - this oughta be interesting.

Friday, June 21, 2013

My First Kiss

Today's LBC topic comes to us from our buddy Delerious - currently on an extended stay in China.

I've joked in the past about my shyness but I assure you it is true.  Since discovering today's topic I have wracked my brain trying to recall that momentous event. To the best of my recollection, it was in the summer between my junior and senior year in high school. 

I can hear the guys laughing already.  Yep - I was a slow starter.
There was a girl - Eileen - that I always thought was really cute but she was my sorta best friends girlfriend. 
 Nelson and I were on the football team. Well Nelson secured a summer job along with my pal Dave in Yosemite  - one of the most spectacularly beautiful places on the planet. Remind me to tell you how a large portion of Yosemite was stolen from a very good friend of mine's family - imminent domain truly sucks.

In typical guy fashion Nelson asked me to "take care" of Eileen in his absence. He gave his blessing to my dating her - he was no dummy, realized how shy I was and so figured I was safe.

So - long story short - Eileen and I started going out. She kissed me on the first date (gotta love aggressive Catholic girls). It was as good as I'd imagined. We actually had a lot of fun that summer and she kinda brought me out of my shell. Our last date that summer was a big one -  a day in SF including lunch at Fisherman's Wharf  Grotto No. 9 - always my fave place to eat on the Wharf  - followed by a concert at Candlestick Park by 4 guys known as The Beatles. Yep - the historically astute among you will recognize the date 8/29/1966 as the fabs very last concert.  You can hear the audio on Youtube if that interests you.
Now 8/29/1966 was also the first day of double-session practice at Mt Eden - the start of footbal season. I was penciled in as a 2-way starter. When I showed up for practice the next AM I found myself listed as 4th string on the depth chart.  Coach Frederick  was gonna show me I couldn't flaunt his rules.  Ahem. Next day I was 3rd team, day after 2nd and by the 4th day I was again the starter. Along the way I beat the snot outta the guys that were placeholders - LOL. Once the mission was accomplished I became my pleasant self again - friend to all the underclassmen on the team.

Since Nelson was back my long hot summer with Eileen came to an end. All in all it was well worth the demotion as I genuinely enjoyed myself and it prepared me for the next step - dating someone that actually really cared for me - a cute blond named Lyn (no - not that one!) that I'd met on a double date - our Junior Prom
- to be exact the previous year.  Lyn and I hit it off and actually had more fun with each other than with our dates.  She had a rapier-like wit and we traded barbs and laughed all evening.  That's Lyn and her date Rich.

Eileen did do a really nice thing for me - she threw me a surprise 17th birthday party a month or so after our Beatles date. And our song?? The very prophetic Cherish by the Association.   I'd love to say we are still friends but I haven't seen or spoken to her since 1978.  We did have a somewhat humorous "reunion" of sorts when her step daughter dated my step brother - a link she was unaware of and that Brian (step brother) and I had some fun with.  Lyn on the other hand still emails occasionally and updates me on her happily married life in Oregon.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip through my back pages....
That's my tale of my first kiss.  Check out what the other LBCers have to say. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

What I Do (did) for a Living

Today's LBC topic comes to us from the Old Fossil - Conrad.  Since retirement is not in the cards for me the choice is What I Do for a Living.

I trust the irony will not be lost on you when I say that I make a living as a copywriter/content specialist for the company from whence my nickname - shackman - comes from - RadioShack.  My handiwork - such as it is - is on display for all to see at  Irony you may say? Well - I am simply the worst typist in the world. Words don't bother me - typing is another story.

I've been with the Shack for over 28 years off and on.  It's where Fos and I first met and struck up the recently rekindled friendship we now share. At that time Fos was a teacher in our classroom and I was a peddler of computer equipment.  I was pretty good at it too but I hated it.  The selling part - although it had it's brighter points. I once sold a full computer system to a gent named Ralph "Sonny" Barger. Sonny is rather infamous in this country as the former president of The Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. It was a rather large sale, paid in cash and when I called our local delivery service to set up the delivery of the goods, the owner/operator went nearly apoplectic and I had to talk like the proverbial Russian racehorse to get him to make the delivery.  This all came about because as a store manager in Oakland I had cultivated a friendlty relationship with a gent namd Cisco - the VP of the club.  Cisco used to come into my store and buy parts for various projects and we talked electronics.  His day job about six months a year was as a lighting guy in the movies. He was an interesting guy. Ironic though - I played flag football for the Oakland PD one year - LOL.  Now that made things interesting as there were often cops coming by to visit.

My life at the Shack has included managing several stores (Manhattan Beach, Oakland Fruitvale, Oakland Telegraph, San Lorenzo), a computer center (Fremont) and a computer training and support operation (in Honolulu). Now that was fun. I spent 6 months in Hawaii sans wife & kids because Lynn chose not to come along.  Me and my Suzuki 550 had way more fun than we should have.  Every time the Mastercard bill hit home I'd get a phone call and a serious interrogation. I have no idea why - I mean the Banyan Gardens was just a place with a big tree in it and the Pearl City Tavern was - well - OK - a bar.  Ahem. But it had a huge glassed in place behind the bar with a bunch if monkeys in it and a great Bonsai display upstairs,  so who could blame me for soaking in as much local color as I could.  And I lived with a HS pal and his wife - Rick was the Chief Ranger on the Arizona Memorial.  That'd be Rick Smith - a real Ranger Rick. 
I also aquired a love for Hawaiian music while there.  Give this song a listen - you don't need to understand the lyrics to appreciate the melody and performance.

 I did pennance for years.  The photo is of my mom on a visit to Honolulu.  I always say the easiest way to make a Suzuki 550 look like a Honda 50 is  to put me on it.  I left the Shack shortly after my return (Xmas Eve 1986) and worked as a programmer at an Ins Agency and did some contract programming until the economy flopped in the early nineties.  I rejoined the Shack and moved to Texas and have been here since May of 1994. I have yet to aquire a love of the Dallas Cowboys or country music.

In the 19 years I've been here I've done computer technical support, Xenix/Unix support, consumer product support, been a supervisor in customer relations and for the last 7 years I've been what is called an Omnichannel Data Specialist.  In English, that's copywriter/content speialist. For the last 2+ years I've worked from home - the Shack has been very good to me that way and very understanding about my situation with Lynn.

So that's what I do.  Not terribly exciting but it's a living.  Check out the other members ofthe LBC - they're listed overthere --------->

Friday, June 7, 2013

National healthcare vs private multipayer

OK - blame this one on me.  It's my pick. As I am somewhat involved with healthcare on a daily basis this seemed a worthy discussion. In some circles civil discussion seems impossible on the subject.  I am counting on that NOT being the case in the LBC.

It's an admittedly large topic and I highly doubt anyone will change there mind on the subject after today's exercise, but it should be interesting.

IMHO our healthcare system is seriously flawed.  My reason may surprise you but I think any system that begins with a new practitioner up to his/her eyeballs in debt because of loans required to get through medical school is doomed  to place an emphasis on profit first and care second. No matter how noble our freshly minted MDs and DOs may be - the magnitude of their debt is simply stunning. The next generation of U.S. physicians is being saddled with record debt amid a looming shortage of doctors needed to cope with a rising elderly population (that'd be me).  How does a median cost of  $278,455 sound? Two of my very best friends have daughters who have just begun their careers. I suspect they feel like they're carrying me around on their shoulders. Is it any wonder the number of GPs is declining? Their average $200,00 in annual earnings doesn't sound like so much when their expected incomes around $200K per annum.  Add to that the burden of fighting a myriad of insurance companies with different paperwork requirements and different rate scales to make ends meet doesn't sound so appealing. How many new doctors went into medicine to be business men and women? Is it any wonder the primary focus on their practice becomes the business of the practice rather than patient care?? Oh sure - some can handle the juggling act.

The question is should they have to? Wouldn't a single payer system make so much more sense? Clearly there is no perfect system but Canada seems to run fairly well and it's probably the most culturally similar country to the U.S.A.. Unfortunately I think there's more of a "we're all in this together" mindset in Canada and an "I'm looking out for me, myself and I " here in the U.S..

Rumor has it you might have to wait a couple of months to see your doctor in Canada for non-essential treatment.  Imagine that.  Oh - by-the-way - last time I made an appointment here with my GP I had to wait 6 weeks. Damn - that extra 2 weeks could be a killer.  My wife's uncle was a big-time chemist with Standard Oil in California but he spent half of his professional career in eastern Canada, Several of his kids were born there.  He had nothing but praise for the Canadian health system.  What do some American MDs think of the Canadian system?  Try this article American MD visits Canada.

Obviously there are two sides to the issue but you first have to be open for discussion on the matter and too many folks here simply are not.  It's somewhat similar to gun control. Sure you'll hear Canadians are flocking to the US for treatments.  Hmm - 99.39% don't.  A higher percentage of Canadian Doctors are happy with their professions than American.  Here's an article that debunks 5 myths about Canadian healthcare .  Check it out.

I have NO problem with anyone who can afford the price to pay whatever it costs to get whatever procedure they desire, I do have a problem with healthcare  being an exclusive club that forces uninsured folks to bury our emergency health system because in most places here an ER cannot turn someone away.  They are forced to treat everyone.  Any wonder ER rooms are closing all over the country? They aren't profitable it seems.  They have too many non-paying customers and I hate to rain on your collective parade, not all of those patients are illegal or members of a minority group.

I've barely scratched the surface of this issue and I can only say we need to explore single payer or some sort of hybrid system before it's too late. There's no time to dawdle.

Subtle eh? A canadian band closing out the post.  What do my LBC cohorts think? Check them out - some come from places far away and have single payer national plans - I can't wait to hear what they have to say.