Monthly archive for August2014

Music Friday – Palate Cleanser Edition

Music Friday – Palate Cleanser Edition

You probably need a palate cleanser after that smorgsbord, right?  Here something a little more mainstream, the Doobie Brothers featuring ‘Blue Eyed Soul Man” Michael McDonald.  Before he became known as “White Lighting” after , you know, his hair turned white.  Enjoy:

Thanks for reading…err…watching.  Wait… no.  Listening!  Thanks for listening!

Music Friday – Smorgasbord of Meaning Edition

Music Friday – Smorgasbord of Meaning Edition

How do you like that? Smorgasbord of Meaning.  Great name for a band.  Anyhoo, due to the constraints of time this week you get to imagine your own commentary to these three Donald Fagen / Steely Dan tunes.  (As you may or may not know, remember or care, Walter Becker, Donald Fagen and their creation Steely Dan form a major part of my musical…uh…persona).

First: it means whatever you want it to mean.

Next: It feels soooo good.

Finally: Thanks for calling.

Next post:  Palate cleanser.  Bye!

We know that Love makes the world go round…but what makes us go round?

We know that Love makes the world go round…but what makes us go round?

Scientists spend a lot of time studying human behavior, and one aspect of human behavior is human attraction.  That is, why are two people physically attracted to each other?  I believe that men and women are different, so different in fact, they are like two different species.  I am often surprised that men and women can even communicate much less have relationships and…*ahem*…relations.  Same sex attraction?  Not going there.  Unqualified to comment.  Well, the girl-girl thing I guess I understand because I like women.  So..what’s not to like?  Why wouldn’t some women like women too.  The dude-dude thing I do not get at all.  But then if men are just repulsive, why would any women like men?  Oh forget it.

Anyway, my point was going to be that scientists spend a lot of time studying human behaviors including physical attraction.  And as scientists are wont to do, they must break things down into quantifiable data.  This leads to theories like The Mathematics Of Physcial Attraction, which loosely means that we prefer our potential mates to have a symetrical appearance.  Then there are the Pheromone theories that odors so subtle we don’t even know that we can smell them govern our choice of a partner.  Presumably that partners “suitable for mating”  emit these attractive odors that we are drawn to.  Witness: Pheromone parties.  Then there are the statisticians who want to calculate the given odds of a chance meeting blooming into a realtionship.



It is undeniable that on one level, we are simply animals and as such our behavior will be instinctive, that is somewhat involuntary reactive behavior governed by our cerebral cortex where our basic “programming” resides.  Proviso:  I have no expertise or education in this area and what you are reading should be taken as my opinion rather than scientific fact.  Back to our story:  All the Scientific approaches to measuring attraction that were mentioned above study the basic or instinctive reactions.  But human beings are more than animals.  We have spiritual qualities that can’t be seen, measured and calculated and these qualities will influence our behaviors as well.

So there are some reason for attraction on an animal level, and there are reasons why two people will connect on a spiritual level.  Animals are attracted to one another.  Spirits love one another.  This is something which we cannot see or measure – yet.


On The Subject of Various Doors Closing, Opening Etc.

On The Subject of Various Doors Closing, Opening Etc.

“When One Door Closes, Another Opens”

As with most clichés, that phrase can mean a lot of different things in different situations.  Myriads of meanings in flexible situations are the reasons that some grain of truth can usually be found in any cliché.  So whether you like clichés or not, they offer the opportunity to see a foundation of truth in any given situation.

Today is August 28th, but events that happened on August 24th are what started the thought process that has me drilling for that foundation of truth on which to build my understanding of How Things Happen And Why They Do.  On the morning of August 24th I received an email from a cousin, a broadcast message sent to the whole family:

Dear Family,

Every August 24 my family celebrates a very special anniversary.

It was exactly five years ago today that our then 27-year old daughter Victoria, re-awoke from the aftermath of repeated surgeries to remove a brain tumor. The surgeries were successful but her recovery took almost three years and at times was very much in doubt. Until the evening of August 24, 2009…

…It gives me great joy to share her story with my family.

Here was a cause for grief – a vibrant young woman is struck down by disease, a brain tumor.  Her life thankfully spared, yet what of her personality?  Yes, cause for grief but within that grief a seed of hope.  It was a long recovery but a recovery nonetheless.  So now there is celebration!  A birthday celebration of sorts, accompanied by a gladness that comes from the happy resolution of a situation in doubt, bringing appropriate and well earned joy to a family which is then shared with the extended family.  Joy and happiness spread like ripples in a pond.  The recovery was apparently so remarkable that the treatment facility made a short video of the family describing the experience which you can see here.


Later that same day…

My wife’s phone rang, and it was her father on the line with an inevitable and unwelcome announcement:

“She’s gone.”

His wife, my mother-in-law had just passed away, no longer able to fight her own malignant brain tumors.  She was a good woman who had beaten cancer on more than one occasion in her life, yet there was to be no recovery this time.   Within moments of her passing, the telephone calls were made;  text messages and e-mails sent.  Grief spread in ever widening circles…more ripples on the pond.  Certainly it is appropriate to grieve when someone we love dies.  As it was in this case, we loved her and wished for her to stay with us.  But then, as is the way of the world, we do not always get what we want.  Nor in this case should we, though it is especially hard for those of us who have never lived in a world without her in it, who are now forced over that threshold into a world forever changed.  Grief is appropriate.  Grief is natural.  We should and will grieve deeply for our loss.

There was no recovery – or was there?  Wasn’t this…a birthday of sorts…for her?  Because when the door to this world closes, the door to heaven opens.  Though she left us behind on this world, she has experienced a recovery so profound that she lives now in a state of perfect grace where she no longer suffers from any pain, fatigue or anxiety.  She is only gone from here.    Grief is appropriate.  Grief is natural.  We should and will grieve deeply for our loss.  But within that grief, let us leave a seed of joy.  Joy for the good things she did.  Joy for the happiness she made us feel.  Joy for a world that was made better by her presence in it, a world priveliged by her partaking of it.  A world bettered by her legacy left to it.  Joy in the knowledge that when it is our time and a door closes behind  us, as the door opens in front of us she will be waiting!  So while we may grieve, may we celebrate as well!

Yes, she is gone…from here.  But she is not gone from us.  For when one door closes, another opens.


Music Friday – Going Round and Round Edition

Music Friday – Going Round and Round Edition

When I was doing the last post and said that the world goes round and round it reminded me of this song.  It’s an awesome song – actually a love song – by a band with an even more awesome name: Ratt.  There’s definitely a slim chance you’ve heard this before, since it charted at #14 in 1984.  Unless you are what we call a “Young Person”, which is someone under the age of 40.  So here – have a Ratt attack:

With Love we’ll find a way, just give it time.

Music Friday – Depressing Future Edition

Music Friday – Depressing Future Edition

I got the idea for this Music Friday post when I was dazzling (yes, dazzling! *eyeroll*) some people with my vast music knowledge by remembering the name of the artists that recorded this song in 1969.  That is, it was recorded in 1969 not that I remembered it in 1969.  Anyhoo…the song charted at #1 in the US and the UK in 1969.  It was their only song to break the top 100 in either country, so I suppose you could call them a one hit wonder.  The artist’s name that I remembered?  Zager and Evans.  And the song in question  is In The Year 2525.  1969 was not neccessarily the happiest of times – there was an unpopular war ongoing in Viet Nam, Environmentalism was becoming a thing and among the youth and the popular culture there was a feeling that Mankind was a scourge on the earth and was in a self-destructive spiral.  So it was an attitude of cynicism and despair that spawned this upbeat little ditty:


Is this world just a big treadmill?  I does go round and round.  God: (as if teaching us our multiplication tables) You will keep doing this until you get it right!

“He’ll either say ‘I’m pleased where man has been’ or tear it down and start again”

Yet… there seems to be little ray of hope at the end.  Then after it’s finished, it starts all over again.  Maybe it was  just a dream.   A nightmare?  We made it what it was.  And we can decide what it will be.

Anti-gun Young People Go To The Range

Anti-gun Young People Go To The Range

This kind of goes hand in hand with the theme of people having strong opinions about things they have no actual knowledge of.  In this case. some young people who think “guns are bad”, “should be banned” and things like that.  They have never been up close to a gun, much less held or fired one.  So someone took them to the range:

That was borderline dangerous.  Anyway, I waded into the YouTube comments which was pretty entertaining.  And I was encouraged that the comments were overwhelmingly pro-gun.  You should take a look – the comments you see from Just Mike are mine. Cross posted at Men Out of Work Blog

As bad as it might be….It Could Be Worse

As bad as it might be….It Could Be Worse

As I have aged (and have I aged!) I have become less inclined to freakout over every setback or turn of bad luck.  I try to see some good in any situation – you know, to find the silver lining.  As bad as it might be, it could be worse.  As the life experiences add up, a perspective starts to come into focus.

as bad as it gets

Poor kid. Her world has come to an end. It won’t be the last time.


My mother always said “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”.  Indeed.  And so we get stronger.  Until….

In a case of perfect irony, to live is to die.  No matter how strong our lives have made us, no one gets out alive.

THANKS! to Tragedy Series

In regard to Robin Williams – People are just People

In regard to Robin Williams – People are just People

Inside we are all the same.  It’s the circumstances around us that make us “different” from one another.

Here in The New Yorker is an interview with Penny Marshall in rememberance of Robin Williams.  Penny Marshall, who is Hollywood royalty in her own right shares anecdotes about her and other big name showbiz type’s interactions with Robin Williams.  They are referred to as “The Old Gang”.  It interested me because they all sound like regular people, like the old gang you were part of in high school or college or wherever.  And I think that is because somewhere inside they are all just regular people.  Certainly people with their own problems – that’s what make them regular.  They  just can’t hang out in public like Regular Joes because regular joes like us would fall all over them.  So I can see how their fame could be more of a curse than a blessing.

Robin Williams was arguably one of the best known and universally loved personalities in the world.  By all accounts he seemed a devoted family man who loved his kids.  Yet like any regular joe, he sometimes had to take on jobs he didn’t like just for the paycheck.  Like many regular joes he found happiness to be fleeting and elusive.  And ultimately like too many regular joes his problems became too much for him to face.  It wasn’t his fault that no matter how much money you make, you can still have money problems.  It wasn’t his fault that no matter how many people love you, you can still feel alone.  When millions love you and want you to love them back, you’re saddled with an obligation that is impossible to fulfill – it must be an enormous drain.  Perhaps we loved him to death?

I don’t like to think that he solved his problems with suicide.  Life’s messy, so we clean it up by…ending it?  No.  I think he made a mistake.  But that’s one man’s meaningless opinion.  I just pray for his family to find some peace.

Hat Tip:  Althouse

PS – Penny Marshall anecdote:  In the summer of 2001 I was in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Port Charlotte, Florida on my cell phone while my party had gone inside to be seated.  A big black limousine pulled into the parking lot.  A chauffeur got out, opened the door and a well dressed woman exited.  The woman and the driver walked into the restaurant and I recognized the woman as Penny Marshall.  When I finished my call and went inside, I looked around but didn’t see the woman or her driver anywhere.  I asked my party if they saw Penny Marshall come in, but no one had.  So I can only assume that all Cracker Barrel restaurants have secret VIP backrooms.  Ms. Marshall, can you confirm?  Though I am often suspected of being hallucinatory, so there is that possibility.


Heinous Bloodsport Claims 2 More Lives…

Heinous Bloodsport Claims 2  More Lives…

…when will the madness stop?

At the worlds most prestigious tournament for this sport in Norway, where the world’s top players compete alongside amateurs two players died suddenly within hours of each other, one in the middle of a match.

“We regard these as tragic but natural deaths,” said Jarle Heitmann, a spokesman for the Chess Olympiad. “When so many people are gathered for such a long time, these things can happen.”

Chess kills.  When will someone have the courage to stand up and do something about it?

killer chess

Chess tournaments illegal in California in 3…2…1…

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