Monthly Archives: July 2013


Cell Phones! World’s greatest convenience or a plague on society?

Word out yesterday that the horrific high speed rail accident in Spain last week was caused by the driver being on a cell phone probably sending pictures to his buddies bragging about the high speed he was pushing the train. Well while he was busy on the phone, the train approached a curve at twice the speed that would be normal for that train. The result was it spinning off the tracks, crashing the train and killing almost 100 passengers.

So, who is to blame?

I thought through this yesterday, and I believe we can blame the phone companies. The early years, you could not shut off the bell. Phone companies owned the phone, and their rule was that you could not alter the instrument so the phone company was never blamed for you not answering someone calling. I remember the entire family running for a ringing phone and god forbid we didn’t find out who was calling. Then the teenage years when girls would occupy the phone for hours with her friends, and then a boy calls….oooh boy!

I am old enough to remember phones that had a crank on the side. Then came rotary dials, and princess phones, finally in the late 70’s and early 80’s came the CELL. My first cell phone was about the size of a shoe box and weighed about 10 pounds. Now I could talk to anyone from anywhere, well almost, and the mobile phone call had arrived.

Today, the smart phones have taken over. Land lines are being shut off or used for data transmission as the cell has become more important to our bodies than wallets, jewelry and tattoos. The problem is that talking on the phone has become an obsessive occupier of our attention which makes one a missile about 160 pounds wondering aimlessly through malls, crowds, onto streets, and driving machinery. Some of us have been trained like airline pilots, to multi-task but taught that your must manage your attention with life threatening situations always getting full focus. Trainers would pound into our brains: “Fly the airplane first, talk later!”

Governments have tried to legislate human behavior by passing laws that makes talking on a cell phone or texting while driving a finable offense. It has helped somewhat but daily I observe people talking on their iPhone and driving. Just yesterday I witnessed a young woman in a fast sports car run a light and speed down the onramp to I80 chatting up a storm on her iPhone totally oblivious to anything on the highway. I yelled at her: “Fly the darn plane and talk later”.

Old habits die hard!

Have a great day, be kind to yourself!

BARRY’S BLOG 7-30-13

Getting fitted with Contact Lens can be quite a process. I started a year ago, and quit after a frustrating disappointment at not getting to a clear and balanced sight. This spring, I met with my eye doctor, and discussed it again. My Doc is a highly respected surgeon who also invented a special lens for cataract surgery that is flexible and allows patients to focus just like their own lens. It truly is a remarkable implant and restores near perfect eyesight to cataract sufferers. His name is Stephen Wilmarth practicing in Roseville.

As we talked about Barry’s problem with contacts, Dr. said: “well we didn’t try hard enough, so I am assigning my best, Jill.” Jill is a nice English lady who started with the usual exam and then started a process of trial and error that concluded yesterday. First we tried the “one lens” approach. She put a lens in the predominate eye, and the brain is supposed to select the focus that is best, and bingo, you see close up with one eye and far distance with the other, and the brain makes is all clear. Well my brain is stubborn and refused to cooperate.

Next was to put contacts in the eyes that were also different, but better that one in and one out. Still takes a brain to cooperate to make it clear. Brain rejects. Darn!

Jill now says; “lets try bi-focal lens.” Never heard of that. Wow how far we have come. So in they go. Wow, the right one really works, the left one is non cooperative. Jill says, not to worry, brain will compensate. Yea, right! Reject.

Well, Jill has the patience of Job….she gives me another, then another, and finally yesterday….Bingo! She hit it. I am so impressed at being able to look at a book or paper and read it, look up at the Sierra and see the trees clearly. What a marvel.

Thanks Doc…and Jill, Chocolates on the way!

Have a great day, and be kind to yourself!

BARRY’S BLOG 7-25-13

The House of Representatives yesterday defeated an amendment to a bill that would have stopped the Feds from monitoring your and my phone conversations and positions. This defeat has angered most people that know what it means to our constitutional protected privacy. The sad NEWS is that most Americans believe the Feds are already listening and watching through cameras and electronics anyway…so what the big deal. The Feds sell this as a way to catch terrorists but there is a real concern that the attitude of the administration and the heads of the political parities who are at war with each other to get control of voters will store this information and use it to manipulate election results or worse.

We have our picture taken about 100 times every day somewhere between the ATM, street intersections, department stores, malls, and other places including being followed by the Walmart truck….however this data is not transmitted to a major computer base in Nevada or somewhere else and analyzed by the minute. The Fed program does.

So what is the answer? The politician’s say, take action as a voter and demand that the “by the people for the people” section of our constitution be respected, and if not vote the bums out. Rhetoric at best. We all know that when the Feds spend billions on dollars on computer farms to collect this data, hiring hundreds of expensive computer operators, programmers, analysis personnel and management which will pump major dollars into the economy, it will never go away. If anything it will grow and grow just like all other major programs that are put in place by the Feds as part of the administration.

Others say: “so shut off your phone or at least turn off the GPS.” Yea right! Lets face it, we are going to be tracked by marketers, snoopers, the Feds and others and have been for some time. There is no real escape and that’s the truth. You can shut off the device you control sometimes, and so we do have a little control over our privacy, but not much.

My guess is we all will settle down and accept the inevitable which is what has been done over all the years I have been writing about this stuff. The young generation will take it in stride (ask them if the know what an 8-track is) and life will go on. My way of handling all this is to write about it, try and understand it, and take advantage of the new things that make my life better and fun. If the Feds get upset about my having Fun, I will just shut off the i5 phone and show them.

Opps…need to go. My car just started itself and wants to take me to breakfast.

Have a fun day and be kind to yourself!


Is the Anthony Wiener drama in New York City a hoot, or what? Here is a guy that was in the Senate, a life long politician, and exposing himself on social media and getting caught…..but is still standing tall in front of the world press and saying: “I screwed up, but have a great plan for NYC”.

The conference yesterday was bizarre. He admitted he did a “bad” several times, and even after he was exposed the first time, he continued to do it over and over again. All this going on while he married and had a child with a lady who worked for Hillary Clinton in the State Department.

Wiener’s presentation before the world yesterday was classic. “Yes, I did wrong, but forgive me because I have great plans and you need to support me.” Looking back over history, many a powerful person has been disgraced and driven from grace. The modern approach is to apologize, stay focused and move forward like it is no big deal. The real analysis should be to look at the mental stability of these people and question whether they are to be trusted with the billions of dollars and thousands of lives that are counting on a stable mind and conscience that can hold a city together in time of crisis. Rudy Giuliani on 911 comes to mind.

The other fun is the creative reporters and editors that are writing about this scandal. Their play on words that border the risqué are hilarious. I guess as long as we all have a sense of humor, then the voters will decide, and hopefully use good judgement.

I would guess if Wiener had gone into Central Park and exposed himself while naked under a raincoat, he would be doing the press conference from Rikers Island, the main jail for NYC.

Have a great day, and be kind to yourself today!

BARRY’S BLOG Monday 7-22-13

Hope everyone had a great weekend. The NEWS today is centered on the destruction of a major US City, Detroit, and the birth of a royal baby in London. As to Detroit, which should be of most concern to us all, is tragic but predictable. Detroit was the center of a major industrial revolution that set the pace for efficiency and wealth growth that has never been paralleled. This was the city that put America and the World on wheels. Henry Ford, a major leader in production genius created the assembly line, and then went on to control and feed the production line concept with owning Iron Ore mines, shipping and railway systems and providing a better than average wage to workers who built the greatest movement on earth. So what happened?

It started with the counter pressures of success jealousy! So Barry, what the heck is that?

Well, when someone creates a better idea, and it starts making major financial impacts, there is always a group that will attempt to steal the ideas, destroy the success and then there is a political process that starts wanting their share, and using regulation and control to get that piece. Then there is the Labor Force who was ahead of most wanting more, thus formed the UAW-AFLCIO Union movement which drove for the same thing….more money and benefits for their members.

Of course as people wanted vehicles, there was a lot of competition, remember Chevy, Plymouth, Desoto, Studerbaker,and Delorian? Then imports. Remember the Beatle VW….BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, etc.

So what happened to Detroit? As the boom excelled, the greed at all levels failed to look at when the Golden Goose would age out, and no longer produce enough golden eggs to supply the demands that had built up over decades. So why didn’t the geniuses apply to other areas that great successes that built the auto industry? Why didn’t Detroit political leaders make Hi-Tech attractive? Why did the computer industry go elsewhere when Auto’s were going to be such a major market? How about Airplanes and Trains?

So who is at fault for this mess now? Everyone really. Read Ken Blanchford’s “One Minute Manager ” series which makes managing the future fairly clear. His one book centers on sand castles. The object of the book is that when you build a successful sand castle, you must also plan on it being washed away by winds and raising tides. Smart managers start planning and building a better sand castle higher on the rocks to continue the business as climate changes, which it always does. These books have been around for a long time. Guess the Political leaders in MI and Detroit, Labor leaders of the major unions, Associations that support these massive organizations well as all the support services, forgot how to read!

Have a great day!

Be kind to yourself today!


Placer County again gets a Gold Award for the display presented at this years California State Fair. They have been winners for many years in a row. Also they received an award for best mechanical presentation. I was there and worked in the booth for two hours on opening day, and also did video News coverage of the entire fair. Was really a kick, and we will show that on AUBURN NEWS 20 next week.

The State fair is a wonderful tradition, and gives all counties an opportunity to brag about their values, and attractions. I was surprised at how many movies have been shot in Placer County. Several dozen in fact over the past few years. When I thought about it, made sense since we have such incredible scenery including North Lake Tahoe. Also the Forest Hill bridge at 700 feet above the beautiful rapids of the American River is a major film maker attraction for action movies. The change in movie making from major Hollywood studios to remote locations has been a direct affect of technology. Movie camera’s and all equipment to support shooting a movie have been compressed to a shoebox size digital camera with a battery and chip technology that weighs about 2 pounds. The “Chip” is then taken into an editor which is a MAC PC, and the rest is up to the magic talent of an editor.

If you haven’t made it to the fair, hope you can. There is a lot of air conditioning available, lots of tree shade and several large tents with misters and fans to help you tolerate the heat.

Enjoy your weekend.

Have a great day, and be kind to yourself today!


Well the heat’s back! We are forecasting over 100′ for the weekend. Earlier in the week the forecasters were predicting only one day, but have updated the reports to say we can expect two over 100′ and two near 100′ days.

Long periods of extreme heat does make one a little testy. We are very fortunate in many ways since we don’t get too many days in the 100’s here in Northern California. Also we have so many ways to escape the heat. Air-conditioning is everywhere. I enjoy the mall’s, major stores, the movies, my car and home. We also have the natural drop in temperature as we elevate up I 80 toward the Sierra. Temps usually drop 3′ per thousand feet as we climb. This translates to about 21′ lower temp at 7,000 feet which is the Summit. Tahoe is at 6,224 feet which is about 18′ cooler than Sacramento Valley.

Have a great weekend and try and stay cool. Remember to drink lots of water.

Be kind to yourself today!


Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner announced yesterday that he is running for another term. I have lived in this county for almost 20 years, and have watched the management of our county and have the highest regard for Ed and his chosen team.

Little known fact is that the Sheriff is the “Top Cop” in the county and is the only police official that is directly elected by the people. Our constitution was set up to make the County Sheriff the protector of the people from its own Government. This was somewhat tested this year when most Sheriff’s wrote President Oboma stating they would not support certain aspects of the proposed Gun Control law that was being discussed. This was a powerful move and had affect on Washington.

I know there is a lot of talk particularly at our State and National Capitol level about having more and more control over laws and powers that affect us daily. It is the very concern that our forefathers had when the created the United States, it’s constitution and Bill of Rights. They had great foresight into the human nature of politicians and their drive to over control the daily lives of the people who are the only source of government income.

Thanks Ben, John, and George, et. etc. etc.

Have a great day and be kind to yourself!


Relationships at any age are hard. The reason is we all have complicated personalities made up of political bent, experiences, personal needs, wins and losses, people we have known as friends and intimately, education, emotions, children, jobs and careers, and overall influences we take in as our personality.

As we get older, these items count more and more in our ability to get along with each other. Men and women are different, often influenced with children and failures with husbands and lovers along the way. Men suffer as well with failed relationships, stubbornness, and communications that don’t measure up to the female who often demands so much detail that a man’s head explodes. Men are not good at details….they work on the “Big” picture. This is boring to most women because they want instant results, and men are always looking at the “Big Picture” whatever that means. This transmits “Lazy” to many women, and conflict is often the end result.

I was married 30 years to a woman who had a wonderful philosophy which she presented to me on our first date. It read: “I am not here to meet your expectations, and you are not here to meet mine. If we get together, it can be beautiful!” This was an insight that most of us could not comprehend. It was basically the glue that held us together for 30 years.

In business, I was a consultant and specialized with partnerships. I found some really interesting results. Some partnerships had a dominate partner who demanded to set all the rules, and every partner bought in and supported or they were out. Some partnerships can be cruel because they bring in weak partners and then entice them with a rainbow at the end of the game which may never come. Other and successful partnerships have one thing in common. Respect for all views and communication that works toward a common good that is fully defined by the Senior Partner. If the end result is not defined, then only confusion reigns and failure is certain. The successful Senior Partner always had one trait which was respect for the experience and knowledge of the other partners. This philosophy works in personal partnerships as well. When respect drops then the partnership is over, it is just a matter of time.

The one thing that is sure is that we all have our set of priorities and if we comprise these, the partnership is usually doomed, it is just a matter of time. I developed a scoring system years ago in hiring close relationships in my companies. I decided that the movie 10 was a great model, and therefore I created a “Ten Scale” in five areas that were important to me. The five areas were: Education, sophistication, experience, emotions, and communication. Placing my understanding of these five areas, I assigned them a 10….which was my level in these areas. I then placed all others on my scale, and therefore created a profile of the other person. For instance; a college professor in Nuclear Science would be on my scale a 15 or 20 which would mean we could probably not communicate well in that subject. My reaction would be to admit that his education and experience in this subject was way above my ability to communicate. He then has the option to come down to my level, a level he was at one time, which is appropriate, or stay at his level, and our communication is doomed. I had the same option with someone that was lower than me in s subject, and therefore I needed to drop down to their level of understanding to properly communicate.
I have found over the years that most highly intelligence people have the ability to take their subject down to primer levels so they can explain extremely complicated subjects to a low level of understanding to communicate their passion in a simple process.
As to men and women partnerships, this is much more complicated. Emotions enter into the mix, and all too often turn to an emotional struggle for control. As the emotions charge up, the practical and common sense is often lost, and can eventually destroy the partnership. As I have seen this and also experienced it in my own life, I am saddened and have little success in resolving these conflicts at this level.
The bottom line is that we all wish to have a compatible relationship in our personal and business lives. I hope you are one of the lucky ones.

Have a great day, and be kind to yourself!


The State Fair opens today. What fun!

County and State Fairs have a long history. It is a central point that yearly allows the local and state producers and entertainers to show their “stuff”. The ticket prices have been low on purpose to attract large crowds that then spend their money on food, things and entertainment once inside the gate.

Staging these fairs is not a small thing. It takes lots of volunteers and several paid professionals that work all year long on the few days that happen each year. The operational needs of a fair are many such as traffic, sanitation, feeding and transporting animals, staging and transporting thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables. Then there is crowd control and safety which is always a major endeavor. Even with all this work, it always looks easy because of all the planning and coordination.

The weather today and for the weekend looks very favorable. I remember back in the mid 80’s when I first arrived in California, the first day of the fair was 104′ and boy with the sun high and heat unbearable…..I was not a happy fair goer that year. The smells were …..Oh Boy!

Well….this year is different, and I am really looking forward to attending and doing duty at the Placer County Booth….a winner every year. Hope to see you there!

Have a great day, and be kind to yourself today!