Friday, April 25, 2014

The cuckoo in the nest - LBC topic

This weeks topic is "The cuckoo in the nest"  -  a reference to a member of a group that stands out for the wrong reasons and tends to be unpopular. It's an idiom I had not heard until this morning when I read our topic, offered to us by Padmum.

There' s a wildly popular television show here in the states  called Deadliest Catch.  It tells the tales of crab fishermen in Alaska by having camera crews embedded with the crews of 8 fishing vessels and offers two prime examples of cuckoos in the nest.

Crab fishing in Alaska pays exceptionally well..  Some earn up to and over $200k per annum.  But it is also extraordinarily dangerous work.  Occasionally a rookie gets hired on and that guy immediately becomes a cuckoo in the nest of that particular boat - known as a greenhorn. With lives at stake, the crews must work together and function as smoothly as possible to survive and thrive.

Then there are the Discovery people on the boats whose job is to  capture the stories and film the action. And in doing so they are supposed to almost invisible and not get in the way.

Talk about an impossible dream.

If you have a chance, give Deadliest Catch a try.  My late wife Lynn and I got hooked on the show almost 10 years ago. And to check out the other members of the LBC to see their takes on cuckoos in the nest.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Undone - LBC topic

Today's topic comes from the mysterious Will Knott. I must confess - this is a topic I find totally uninspiring but in my usual shackman shoot from the hip I'll give it a shot.

Udone.  Unfinished  Well - if you're reading this your life is undone.  With a bit of luck mine is as well. Then again, you could be reading this with the buttons on your shirt undone.. Is undone in the eyes of the beholder? Why sure - that means a very rare steak is completely finished to some - myself included - bvut undone to folks who like their meat more fully cooked.  Or are Rummy's vegetables undone in a dish ifthey are al dente? Or is that done? Dunno - better ask the man. 

Musically undone is quite easy - thanks to Burton Cummings and his bandmates from Canada - OK - they spelled it kinda odd but give me a break

Then there's this by Weezer

At this point, whilst this post feels undone I'm gonna stop anyway.  Hopefully my partners ain the LBC did a better job than I with this one.

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.