NCC

NCC

Bad habits since the 60s. Eating late at night, after band gigs. Nothing more poisonous. Don’t sound sincere does it? It’s not.

Nothing more pleasurable than late-night-after-gig-food.

Back in Indiana, the late night assortments were meek. We had a Denny’s right across the street from the gig. Yuk! Maybe five times in 30 years. That was enough. Hated the food.

We had a few independent grills, mostly yukky food and drunks so it wasn’t a healthy atmosphere. And there was always the “blah-blah-blah” from “Why can’t you come home after the gig”?

Only other musicians can answer that needed cool-down period. The drums don’t quit pounding when the eyes close. Takes a little cool-down time.

So, back in the gig business for the past year in Bakersfield leads me by a few food choices at 1:30am on a Sunday morning. Actually very few. The east side of Bako is closed up. And I like back routes.

The last place I drive by, just a few blocks from home, is an icky Taco Bell. My last choice just a couple blocks from home. And, yes, I usually get in line.

I say line. Always a line of three or four other idiots. Not a car in the road but three or four of us waiting on our late night poison.

There is nothing I love at Taco Bell. Many things I hate. Just a hole-stuffer. Usually a XXL Grilled Stuffed Burrito. Sounds good, huh?

It’s not.

But now, possibly my life has changed forever. Starting JANUARY 26TH, this horrible little restaurant is introducing a new so-called healthy item.

It’s called an NCC. A NAKED CHICKEN CHOLUPA. Oh, my!

A shell made of 4 ounces of “Marinated, all-white chicken meat, antibiotic fried chicken with Mexican spices. That’s right.

The music has just gotten better.

taco-bell

 

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B.C. 2017

You can’t always get what you want 
You can’t always get what you want 
You can’t always get what you want 
But if you try sometimes well you might find 
You get what you need (Rolling Stones)

One of the first things I learned after moving to Bakersfield, California (15 years ago) was B.C. Part of the CA Community Colleges of California. Bakersfield College has a proud reputation (Mostly football) but something the community loves attaching local pride. Across Bako (CSUB) is the full university, part of the largest university system in the USA. Finally the two mergers are taking place, slowly, and one can get into a community college, transfer in and get a degree. Makes sense, finally.

The main 4 year college doesn’t have a football program (excellent choice, but has a big reputation in college wrestling, and growing other sports (made their 1st. NCAA tourney in round-ball last year after a few years in the top division.)

You don’t need to know this crap, just wanted to get some local background into the story.

This blog is about “GOALS.” I’ve been a believer in yearly goals since I was a kid. Probably the influence of sports coaches and needing a direction in life.

It became the most important part of my career when I became a “straight-commission” sales guy in a new territory (CA, HI, NV) in 1981. If you don’t have a plan of travel, sales, expenses, one can starve. I wasn’t about to starve so I had to learn to plan my year, every year. Every day!

I would pick a desolate crummy motel in the mountains or desert a few hundred miles from home, rent a room the week after Christmas and plan every month, week and day of the new year. It worked, that’s all I know. Always exceeded my plans, income and growth so I never stopped my yearly get away.

This year was no different, but I’m not trying to exceed anything, just learn something new.

2016 goal was to attend B.C. My newest goal. To get to B.C. and learn a new course being taught. I had left the live entertainment music playing for over 20 years and now that I got back into live music playing (Keyboard) my ignorance of technical skills about the world of “MIDI” (musical instrumental digital interface)…a protocol to allow different electronic instruments to communicate. I wasn’t sure it would make do much for my live playing, but I was excited how much more I could accomplish in my home recording studio. And it would be FUN!
midi

A great prof, wonderful written book and I was kicking ass for a couple months. Couldn’t wait to study…every day.

music-tech-1

We had these new huge Apple computers with built in recording programs.

About three months into the course I turned on the Apple screen and it looked like gibberish. I was lost. I’m a tech guy, never get lost on a computer. I was lost. I called the prof over and I’m sure he was wondering why this old fart was over his head. So did I.

I blamed some new back-pain meds that had my brain scrambled and went back to my neurologist raising hell.

Didn’t take long to find out the problem wasn’t meds. B.C. for 2017 wasn’t going to be what I thought.

B.C. suddenly changed its meaning. 2017 will be the year of Brain Cancer. What the hell is that?

We’ll find out together in this new journey.

Stay tuned.

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Celebrate or Hide?

“Birthdays”

Hurrah!  Boo?

Presents!  Ignore me?

Celebrate!  Don’t talk about it?

Party!  Shhh?

Having just roared past another yearly tribute (or damn reminder) I happened to stumble upon a story about the world’s oldest living person…
a female in Italy named Emma Morano.
emma-morano

She just turned 117 on November 29. The only person living who was born in the 19th century…Nov.29, 1899.
King Umberto was ruling Italy. He was assassinated by an anarchist eight months later.  The Fiat was just getting established when Emma was born.

If you have not read about her life, then you will stay think healthy living, exercise and good living is the key to longevity.
But we wouldn’t call Emma a healthy person. But maybe she has found the secret, genes.

Emma only had one love in her live, a boy she intended to marry after World War I.
He was killed in the war and knew she could never love anyone else. However a mob-boss decided Emma was the woman for him and no one else.

She was 29 years old when this mobster told her, “If you’re lucky you will marry me, otherwise I will kill you.” She had no choice and married him.

Emma credits her long life with her courage of kicking him out in 1938, one year after her only child died at six months of age. She never divorced, stayed true to her vows, but never let him near her door. He died in 1978.

Emma worked until age 75 and chose never to marry again. She stated to a newspaper, LaStampa, “I never wanted to be dominated again.” Her determination, told on her 112th birthday to La Stampa Newspaper, encouraged a playwright to compose a show in Emma’s home of Verbania. It tells the story of her determination through prose and dance. The playwright stated, “the play represents feminine courage  reveled through domestic violence.”

Where I might disagree with her reason for longevity, Emma stated it is her diet that is mostly responsible for her old age.

So for you who would like to reach extremely old age, take notes.

Every day for 90 years she has had three eggs every morning…two raw and one cooked. (after she lost her love in World War 1, her doctor said she was suffering from anemia so she started that morning ritual).
A year ago she dropped the one cooked egg, just eats the two raw eggs and added a few biscuits.
raw-eggs

For lunch every day she has an omelet at noon and chicken for dinner. Her doctor says she eats very little vegetables and rarely has a small bit of fruit.
Her doctor can’t understand her incredible health.

Hope you have all those details down and I’m sure you’re ready to start your new healthy regime tomorrow.

Happy 117 Emma!

By the way, I want you youngsters to realize I do use modern technology, especially texting. In fact I have my own vocabulary with my friends. Here are just a few:
BFF:                Best Friend Fainted
BYOT:            Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM:              Covered By Medicare
FWB:              Friend With Beta-blockers
LMDO;           Laughing My Dentures Out
GGPBL:          Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low

 

One final thought to you young whipper-snappers. I want you to realize that life will throw many curves along your path. I remember when I turned FIVE years old, I looked down at the crayons I was coloring with and let out a big sigh and thought—when I was TWO this is never what I saw myself doing at FIVE.

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The Last Man in Europe

This was to be the novel’s name, The Last Man in Europe. It has always been one of my top ten favorite novels.

The author was sick, possibly dying, with tuberculosis. He had the outline of the novel and visited his publisher. He had a few titles, but liked The Last Man in Europe. His publisher didn’t like any of the possible names and suggested the author choose something more commercial.

To finish the novel, while having horrible breathing problems, the author moved to an Island to improve his air intake. His given name was Eric Arthur Blair and his birthplace was India.

george-orwell-1
ERIC ARTHUR BLAIR

His Grandfather, Thomas Blair, was a preacher. His Father, Richard Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service.

There was money in the family from Great-Grandfather Blair who was a wealthy country gentleman from Dorset, England and married the daughter of the Earl of Westmorland.
george-family-home
BLAIR FAMILY HOME

I lay out these boring details to give you a little background of the author.

The author thought it was proper to choose an author’s name.

He chose George Orwell.

Before publishing the above mentioned novel, he decided the novel needed a new name.
He inverted the year he was writing the novel, 1948, and this great novel was called, “1984.”

From this novel our vocabulary changed forever.
His made-up words have been part of our language for the past 68 years.

Words like: Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101, Memory Hole, Newspeak, Doublethink and Thoughtcrime.

Once again, at least for me, this novel is crashing through my brain.   I remember when President Nixon made one of his many “doublethink” statements.
He said, “When the President does it that means it’s not illegal.”

I heard a reporter question Kellyanne Conway about Trump’s out and out lie about the millions of illegals who voted in the election.
I listened to Conway answer with the typical mind-bending pseudo-logic, “He’s the president-elect, so that’s presidential behavior.”

After my brain spun around (again) I remembered how this type of language started, “1984.”

May I leave you with a quote from 1984.
“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.”

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Thinking Wisely

In order to think wisely I need to read wisely. I like to read real Historians, not self-titled. I like to read real Philosophers, Musicologist, and Scientists.

If 98% of the world’s leading Climate Scientists (from 192 countries) agree about the dangers and causes of Global Warming I believe them. I’m sure, especially if I needed huge sums of money to maintain power, I might kowtow to Big Oil and all their allies and don’t allow my brain to read any scientific truth. Or if my ego was so big I figured I know more than 11,000 of the worlds’ leading Climate Scientists I might call Global Warming a hoax.

Things get trickier when we task our brain to dissect Philosophers. They aren’t to be dissected, just thought about.

41785897 - beard lumbersexual hipster sitting on suitcase in deep thought

What is life about?

Philosophers learn to look and write about the world…its problems, people, history and possible future. Philosophy is separated from physical science.

From Aristotle, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Confucius and John Locke we watch great brains dealing with questions about knowledge, reason, minds, values and language.

philosopher1

Philosophy teaches our minds how to think, analyze and question.
philosopher2jpg

Back when we allowed our American banks to bring the world economy to its knees we also lost a great Philosopher. He died in June, 2007.

I decided to get one of his books because after a person dies the press starts talking about their greatness. I wish I knew about Richard Rorty when he wrote the book I purchased. The title is “Achieving our Country.”

Last week I remembered a few lines in this book, written in 1998. Now these lines are also being spread around the internet. I guess we now see the importance of great Philosophers, and reading and absorbing. It might have warned some of us to open our eyes and listen.

This is a paragraph, written in 1998, that you might enjoy.

 

“members of labor unions, and un-organized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers – themselves desperately afraid of being downsized – are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else. 
At that point, something will crack. The non-suburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for – someone willing to assure them that once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen and
post modernist professors will no longer be calling the shots…
One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion… All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet

 

You may now, loudly, blow out your breath.

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How to Fix a Broken Pizza

How to Fix a Broken Pizza?

The answer is “tomato paste.”

Just kidding, needed a title for today’s post.

Some of you probably think I’m a Pizzaholic. Nope. It’s other things that make me look this way. Could be genes, could be food, but it’s not Pizza. Maybe I’ll order some pizza six or eight times a year. But I’m still a snob about my “favorite” way pizza should taste.

I do have favorite local pizza. I love the New York pizzas and in my estimation only one place in this town makes New York tasting pizza. That is Cataldo’s. Many locations but most importantly, one near me. A plain cheese pie–well done, thank you.

However if you happen to be serving most other brands I will be happy. There are only two pizza’s that I have this “thing” about. I won’t eat them. That is Little Caesars and Domino’s.
Scratch off Domino’s. Pretty good pizza now. What happened?

I don’t chase the stock market anymore. I used to have some fun with options. But, I still watch prices and trends.
Suddenly I see incredible break-out number with Domino’s.
I decide to investigate.

First I eat one. You can’t have higher and higher stock market numbers if you don’t have a good product. Now they do. Those commercials, embarrassing but honest, really worked. That was half the battle.

I remember the CEO appearing in every commercial. The customers would say things like: “The sauce tastes like ketchup” “The crust tastes like cardboard”  “The worst pizza I ever had.”  Then the CEO, Patrick Doyle, would promise to fix each of those problems. Doyle was hired as CEO in 2010. The stock was selling for $8.76 per share…and falling.

A personal note: I can’t think of a tougher business to turn around then the pizza business. Once a reputation is out there what can a company do to turn around a giant chain with bad pizza and falling stock prices?

Well he first fixed the pizza. Researched every pizza in the world and made changes from top to bottom.

Then he fixed the delivery system. A new designed “pizza lover’s batmobile.” Warming oven for 80 pizza’s and just one seat for the driver.
domino-delivery-car

The CEO, Doyle, stated that two principles of marketing had to be used to make this giant turnaround.
NUMBER ONE. “Loss Aversion” is a typical thought pattern in big business. The pain of loss is double the pleasure of winning. That makes changes extra tough. Play not to lose, rather than playing to win. I can only imagine the competition in the pizza racket. From Pizza Hut, Papa John, CPK, and Little Caesars, and dozens of favorite local joints, playing it safe is the easy thing to do.

But he didn’t. Doyle stated that a leader must accept the fact that “failure is an option.”
Yet playing it safe is the riskiest course of all.

The second business principal is “Omission Bias.” Most business leaders play to not lose instead of playing to win. Everyone sees the cost of a move gone badly.
Few see the costs of a move not made.

Can you imagine opening a pizza chain in Italy? Not even Starbucks have tried that. Domino’s have done exceptionally well in Italy. They are extremely popular in Japan.
Here is the new delivery  by Reindeer bikes this Christmas in Japan.
domino-japan-reindeers

Of the 800 people who work at the home office in Detroit, over 400 of them are in software and analytics. A large part of the delivery system is the ordering system. There is no cooler phone app for delivery of anything than the Domino’s app. They have won the “app” crowd.
domino-pizza-tracker

Pizza Hut is number one in total sales, but Domino’s is climbing up their back as #2.

Oh, and that $8 stock in 2010. Wish I would have bought it.

It’s $168.28 today.

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Old Charlie is on another Binge

Old Charlie would take a couple days off because he had been on a binge. It didn’t matter because old Charlie owned the business. The employees would shake their heads, purse their lips and pick up Charlie’s absent duties.
binge-drinking

Then there was the beautiful daughter of some friends who was diagnosed with an eating disorder. This was years ago in the ‘60s when a new term, for we lay people, became common. Binge and Purge. Sounded like a quirky English Pub sign above an ancient wooden entrance.

For my limited vocabulary the word ‘binge’ was used for drinking or eating too much.

Like millions of others this past week, I binged. Not on food, not on booze. On Netflix…once again.

The common word today, because of Netflix, for watching entire seasons released at one time is binge watching. I binge-watched “The Crown.”
the-crown

I can’t recommend a finer new series.

It doesn’t have the mouth-dropping scenes of “Breaking Bad” or the oh my god shocks and twists of “Game of Thrones.”

It’s a rare treat of beauty, history and brilliant acting. It is the most expensive drama Netflix has ever made.
the-crown-2

Some of us, very few left, remember the televised (black and white) ceremony of Queen Elizabeth (still kicking, still queening) taking the throne. Her father, the late King, was an accidental ruler because his brother, King Edward abdicated the throne to marry the American Socialite, Wallis Simpson. She was divorcing her second husband when the King announced he was going to be husband number three.

Nope. The kingly-rules stuff says you can’t do that. So young handsome Edward said he could care less about being the King if he couldn’t have the woman he loved.

You can’t make that stuff up.

His brother was then chosen as the rightful kingly dude and his daughter, Elizabeth, became the next err to the throne.

So this true Hollywood style story, sat inside and outside of the most elegant buildings possible, is a binge watcher.

Try it, you’ll love it.

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