One Lowsy Direction!

I know I am no music expert, but the music of today does nothing for me!  My era was the 80’s. Not exactly known as the greatest for music but many bands that had come up in the 60’s were still around and hard rock was in. I saw some great shows “U2” in a 500 seat auditorium “the Who” in San Francisco. I also saw bands like “VanHalen” and “The Scorpions”. Some of the best shows were ones I saw in small clubs of people who were not so famous yet, Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughn were amazing and I look back on those as highlights of my youth. When I go to Pandora or Spotify and pick a genre, I pick the Eighties. Most songs remind me of a time or place from my younger days. Billy Joel takes me back to skiing with my cousins, others take me to High School. Today I have no connection to the music, most of it sounds like a remix of something I have already heard and the bands look like they put together by professionals.  When the kids of today get to my age are they going to look back at “One Direction” with the same memories I do of the English Beat? I can only hope they are getting more out of this music than I can see, otherwise Pandora doesn’t have much of a future!

What they should have done years ago.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced this week that he is retiring within the next year. This is a nice and gentle way of removing a friend. Bill Gates and Paul Allen were the programmers that got MS into the market but it was Ballmer’s contracts that kept them on top for so long. If you haven’t ever heard look up the story of how they bought DOS for pennies then turned around and licensed it to IBM for millions. Retaining the rights to the OS let them sell it to everyone making them rich! It was this style of negotiation that got them to the top of the computer world, it is also the very thing that is killing them today! They created a monolithic company that controlled everything and like all things, those on top always fall. Instead of figuring out a future, giant companies usually try to bully people to keep as much of their market as they can. Doing this only makes them fall even faster, yelling louder and stifling others doesn’t make you last longer, it emboldens your completion. The replacement CEO will be in a tough spot, changing a company is like trying to change a country. Culture changes take time, sometimes a generation, but unlike a country MS doesn’t have that much time.

Signs the end is near!

Instructions on my morning Pop Tart

Toasting appliances and microwave capabilities differ by manufacturer.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe use.

Be sure your appliance is clean and functioning correctly.

Children should always be closely supervised when operating toasting appliances and microwaves.

Due to possible risk of fire, never leave your toasting appliance or microwaves unattended.

If pastry is overheated, frosting/filling can become extremely hot and could cause burns.

This and the use of the word twerking are signs of the apocalypse. I’m just saying!

How to get famous for Dummies!

I get that a lot of people are upset over the MTV awards, and mostly over Miley Cyrus’s rendition of an old Madonna trick.  The shock and awe performance got her the desired press and I am sure she is very happy with the results. But why are we shocked? Twenty years ago Madonna and others did the same things and we all jumped up and down about how terrible it was while they laughed at us all the way to the bank! This trick and others are straight out of the “How to get famous for dummies” guide! What blows me away is we keep falling for it like fish to a hook. The reason this works is we let it. We can no longer claim a moral society, thou the founding fathers envisioned a common good, it is no longer a truth. We have taken the good of the whole and replaced it with the good of the individual. The ultimate goal used to be becoming an upstanding citizen, it is now fame and fortune. This means that all tricks immoral, vulgar, or anything else are all part of the “bag of tricks” to reach for the prize. Since a moral obligation is no longer an argument they understand, the only way we can rid ourselves of this kind of behavior is to let our collective dollars speak. If we don’t buy what they are selling and don’t let them have the press they want, they will have to find other ways to get the attention they want. If we are truly outraged, don’t let our children buy their records. If we don’t want to see this kind of “entertainment” ask your cable company to remove MTV or just don’t watch it! The only thing to have gotten more buzz in social media was the last presidential election, which means they won once again!

A Charlie Brown Moment

Do you remember how Lucy could always get Charlie Brown to try to kick the football? (You kids ask your mom) Time and time again Charlie Brown would believe she was not going to pull the ball away and every time Charlie sat on his backside regretting his decision. I had one of those growing up. Every time we would visit my grandfather’s house I would end up looking into the toy box he kept in the back porch. Always in the same place next to the rock tumbler that was always rhythmically polishing away. It contained a few odd toys and the object of my dread, two sets of boxing gloves. What I can’t figure out is how time and time again my older brother would talk me into putting them on? The results where always, me up against the apple tree hands covering my head yelling for my life as he pummeled me. He was crafty, he would promise to stay on his knees or only use his left hand. It didn’t matter, even if I could get a blow in it just meant a bigger payback. I have recently come to the realization that many of the lessons I have learned have come out of sheer repetition. Many I will have to go through a few more times before I get it. I have learned this one thing thou. If you put on the gloves, don’t expect anyone to pull their punches for long!

You kids get off my Lawn!

I have set a goal for myself to run the Pikes Peak Marathon. It is thirteen miles up Pikes Peak and then you turn around and come back down. It is a stupid goal! Why would anyone do this? Yet every year at this time I see the list of people who did it and look with admiration at their names. The winner did it in 3:43:23, that is running up to 14,100 ft and then running back down. The winner of my age group ran it in 4:58:55. These times should inspire me instead they make me feel old! It isn’t enough to see that someone else can do it, but I didn’t make it this year so I moan about my lack of training and motivation. What is it about the impending 50 years old coming my way in just a year and four months that makes me inspired for stupidity and cower for a comfortable chair and blanket all at the same time? Perhaps it is the analogy the marathon is to my life, I might have made it to the top but the down hill still awaits!

What’s in you Tea?

Some years back I watched a movie about an advertising executive. It is an English film and it was about a guy losing his mind, but the part I remember was this executive chewing out his  underlings about a product they needed to market. He yelled at them “It is either high in something or low in something else, find it and sell it!” I was just reminded of this by the drink I just bought. I purchased a can of ice tea, never mind I spent two dollars on a can of unsweetened tea called “Just Plain Tea!” around the top of the can it says it is all natural. I would certainly hope that a cup of boiling water and a tea bag would be all natural! I guess depending on where the water came from, say the Los Angeles river, it could be something other than natural. My favorite line is that it says it is Gluten-free. I’m not sure it is possible to make tea with gluten unless you float a couple of wantons in it. I don’t think I want to know if a tea on the market has gluten in it, and I don’t think I will read any labels to find out. I think I will just drink my gluten-free tea in blissful ignorance!

A fiendish Plot!

There are a lot of things I am sure only happen to me. Like trying to get to work on time, and how one of my neighbors is assigned to do twenty miles an hour in a forty-five. It isn’t the same neighbor every day so they must have a shared calendar where they sign up to take a shift. This isn’t the only thing, others include getting a dog that can randomly barf when you let it in the house or cats that do their business in hidden spots like between the layers of a throw blank on the couch. I don’t know why these things surprise me, they happen all the time, I should be looking for it. Maybe it is the somewhat random schedule of which they come. I can’t stay mad at any one of them if they trade-off who does what. I sometimes think my animals have a nightly meeting to discuss whose turn it is to make a mess. All-thou if they are talking to the neighbors about the speed thing it would explain how I was late because I was cleaning up after an animal that left me a morning present.

Doggy treats for all!

When we moved out-of-town we got away from the neighborhood HOA’s This is a good and bad thing. We take care of our yard but if I leave a trash can out on the curb no one is going to write me up. Some of the things they care about or whine about make me crazy. Some make sense but are enforced by people who need to get a life. I just had a long discussion with a HOA president who has had an ongoing beef with a home owner over the neighbors dog pooping in their yard. The home owner wants this person arrested or sued. The problem is they have to catch them in the act with pictures or video. So this is what we have come to, staking out our yard with high-powered cameras to catch dogs pooping. Painting your house crazy colors or putting cars on blocks in your front yard seem like things to worry about. We have lost all ability to be neighbors or even work out our problems without the courts. in the words of Rodney King “Can’t we all just get along?”If it was me, I would put it in a baggy, light it on fire and set it on their doorstep until they got the message.

Winners and Losers

When my kids were in soccer at the local YMCA I was a volunteer coach. The games were amusing to watch. These little kids would run around in a bunch all kicking at the ball until it would squirt out toward the goal. Not many wanted to play goalie, and most would look with fear as the ball came toward them, many just moved aside as the ball went past them. One thing that every kid knew was the score, even thou we were not keeping it. We keep trying to make everybody feel like they won something and when someone actually is better at something we want to change the rules. Take the New York Library. A young man has won the summer reading contest for the last five years, so what does the library want to do? Ban him from the contest. The excuse is that he is discouraging others from the contest. Not that we want others to step up but we want everyone else to feel good about themselves. This is why so many are against standardized testing or not giving teachers tenure. If we hold everyone accountable we create winners and losers and that just doesn’t fit our feel good mentality. Even thou we all are keeping track anyway.