Sunday, January 19, 2020

If Schools Taught Life Skills in 1980

Many people have suggested that schools should teach children life skills rather than wild math and humanities concepts they will rarely use in life. I wonder how differently my life might have been had the schools emphasized teaching us how to deal with the problems our parents were facing, rather than teaching us how to convert problems stated in sentence form into mathematical equations.

I was personally cast into adulthood in the mid-'70s. I have never had an occasion to try to figure out how far apart two trains traveling in opposite directions would be after a certain amount of time. Instead, I had to deal with the same adult matters that my parents had been dealing with all along.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Beating Coley in Whiffle Ball

My first friend in Tacoma was Chris Coley. He and his family lived next door to the house my family moved into when I was four years old. He and I were never best friends. It was more like he was the big guy next door who let me hang out, and I was probably a bit like the little brother who he permitted to hang out when older kids were not around.

I was really small as a child. Chris was not only a year older than me, he was also a three-sport varsity athlete. My second friend in town, Todd Grimm, was two years older than me. The three of us created imaginary baseball and basketball leagues that we played with cards and table games. I could compete with them when the game was won by pulling the lever in Basket, or flipping a home run card that came in a pack of baseball cards. 

We also really played sports. Though I could never beat Chris or Todd in those games, they still let me play. Todd was a year older than Chris, but Chris was the best athlete of the three of us. He was also the most ferocious of the three of us. We all wanted to win, but Chris hated to lose. 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Ms. Woodstock: An Apathon Legend

Her name was Tauni Stone, but we all knew her as Ms. Woodstock on the Seattle Apathons bulletin board. She took the name because she lived in upper-New York, not too far from Max Yasgur's farm where the famous concert took place. It was an appropriate name for her. She related well to the hippie movement, even if she really was a bit too young to have participated. That was the case for most of us Apathons.

She was open about her battle with multiple sclerosis. She and fellow Apathon, Alizarinred, taught many of us about the struggles posed by the disease through their regular chats about the topic. They talked about the side effects of some of the medications and the pain they suffered on the bad days. They talked of trying to lead normal lives, but we all saw them as extraordinary people.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Three Songs About Smugglers

One of the biggest challenges for organized crime is finding people who will smuggle drugs or other contraband through customs so it can be sold on the black market. It takes a special kind of criminal to handle the deliveries of the supplies that are in demand!

The three songs I've chosen for this topic are about the people who do the smuggling. We will end with two songs about smugglers who do the smuggling differently: one by land, the other by sea. Before we get to those songs, let's listen to a song about the dangers inherent in the smuggling racket.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

My Daughter's Wife

As wrong as my daughter got it the first time, she got it that right the second time!

Her wife doesn't need to be the center of attention, and she doesn't need to use some really tough experiences in her life to explain abnormal behavior. Rather, she uses her experiences to imagine how others must feel in their circumstances. She has a healthy ego, but she also has a lot of empathy. She has a keen awareness about herself. She listens to learn rather than to know what memorized response is appropriate.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Topping Her Dad at Something

I was greeted at the door by my youngest granddaughter.

"Hi Papa. Merry Christmas and welcome," she said. 

It was not her normal greeting. She was excited because Christmas Eve is when her father's family gathers at her home to exchange Christmas gifts. I was there for the food and the cookies, and to see the grandkids before they got started.

The cousins had not yet arrived. Her mom and dad were getting things ready for the evening. She was all mine to talk to and play with for a while.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Three Songs About Theft

Like music, thievery also comes in many methods and styles. If we allow for the figurative idea of theft, the array is simply too vast. Even by limiting the topic to songs that are literally about theft, there were many songs to choose from.

I will end the post with a song about identity theft. Before that, there will be a song about shoplifting. I'll begin by one of the most common types of theft, and one that costs businesses money every day: employee theft.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Three Songs About Ex-Boyfriends

Heartbreak comes in many flavors, and so do the songs about the people who cause broken hearts. The three songs I've selected for this post are different in the ways the singers reflect on their ex-boyfriends.

One of the songs is deeply reflective, and just a bit bitter, about love that was not taken as seriously as it was given. One is a lady straight up telling her ex-boyfriend that he messed up and is going to be missing out.

We're going to start out with a song in which the lady is going to make it known that she knows what he is doing, she is done with him, and she is really pissed off, too!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Three Songs About Ex-Girlfriends

Music expresses moods. Whether we are happy or glad, or angry or sad, there are songs for every mood.

Love is one of the most common themes in music, and many sub-themes can be derived from within that. From first kisses to mourning soulmates, the spectrum of love is covered. Of course, part of the spectrum of love are lost loves. 

Even within this sliver of the slice of music that are love songs, we can find different moods. That is the case with these three songs about ex-girlfriends. One of the songs is about reflecting on what might have gone differently, but didn't. One of the songs is about an ex-girlfriend for whom some bitterness seems to be mixed with a bit of lingering desire. 

Before we get to those, here is a song to an ex-girlfriend that is about being bitter and spiteful, and holding a grudge.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Firing My Shrink

Who knows if I really was accessing the thoughts of Socrates and Einstein, or if I was simply going deep into my own mind to search archives that I had blocked for whatever reasons I may have had? Perhaps, I had merely happened upon a stream of collective knowledge to which we all have access. Whatever it was that I was doing concerned my friends and family. They would sometimes catch me in deep, self-induced trances, but mostly they would see me doing research to challenge or verify thoughts I had while in the trances.

I can't disagree with them that it seems like a type of insanity; however, if it is insanity, I have been insane for as long as I can remember. For example, I was fairly adept at dividing large numbers by the time we learned long division in school. There was no way for me to calculate earned run averages for the pitchers on our make-believe teams without that. When Mr. Reed was showing us the proper way to divide big numbers in eighth grade, I told him about the method I figured out years earlier that also worked. He challenged me on that. I proved it to him.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Three Songs About Adultery

Nothing feels quite like finding someone to fall in love with and marry. However, not everyone has the same experiences in marriage. Some people just deal with commitment better than other people do. Each of these three songs is about love with someone who isn't committed to commitment.

Two of the songs are about people who are contentedly having affairs. One of the songs is about a married man, and the other is about a married woman. The final song is about getting caught having an affair. 

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Cousin Lee Died Today

Mom called this morning to tell me that my cousin Lee lost his battle with cancer today. He was 61, and about six months younger than me. That made him and his twin Lyle the cousins who were the closest in age to me.

Lee's father, Garth, was the brother of my father, Wayne. They lived on five acres not too far from Rogers High School. It was always cool going out to Uncle Garth and Aunt Dellora's home. There were farm animals, abandoned cars, and even a part-time swamp way in the back. We were allowed to roam. I have no idea what our parents thought we were doing, but they would not have approved of much of what we actually did!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Three Seriously Stupid Serious Songs, part three

If there is one thing that guys understand about love, it is that we must always tell women that we will do the impossible in order to get them to love us back. Of course, that isn't true, but it is true that guys often make impossible claims for the purpose of proving their love.

That is the case with this part. Each of these songs is an appeal from a guy who is in love. Two are songs about the love the singer has having no limits, and the third is about an undisclosed limitation. 

The standards for these songs are the same as in the first two parts. The song must have been popular enough to get radio air time, the song cannot have been a parody or intended to be funny, and, upon examination, the lyrics have to convey a seriously stupid thought or no thought at all. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Is Not Caring Anymore a Mental Health Issue?

We can all try to hide from it, but there are things we used to care about that we no longer care about. Each person is unique in how this applies personally to them. Some people quit caring if other people judge them, while other people might quit caring about whether they are fully made-up before going into public. We might even think that not caring about those things is mentally healthy.

The problem with drawing a conclusion with that little information is that we are really projecting an answer to what we imagine those general statements mean to us. We imagine that not caring if other people judge us means we are retaining control of our lives. We imagine that not caring if we are fully made-up for the day before going in public is part of maturing. To some degree, perhaps even in most cases, those would likely be correct conclusions.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Three Songs About Revenge Murders

If there is one tradition that humans have brought forward from days of yore, it is murdering people to get even with them for something they've done. Again, there are many songs to choose from even with the limitation of "revenge" being added to "murders."

Each of these songs are fictional, but each is also a story about people who have been murdered for revenge. One is a tale of a revenge murder for another revenge murder, one is from the perspective of the person who was murdered in revenge, and one is from the perspective of the vengeful murderer.