Archive for the ‘A Holiday Wish’ Category

Love Actually IS All Around Us

December 7, 2013

loveactuallycover

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It’s that time again. The time of year when we dust off the old classic Christmas films and view them again as if for the first time. There is a reason for the season of classic Christmas movie watching, it makes us feel festive, it harkens (Harkens! Like in “Hark, the herald tribune rings, advertising wonderous things!) to an earlier time of Christmas joy and good cheer; peace on Earth, goodwill to bargain shoppers. They remind us of a time when Christmas made a special memory in our lives… or not. But still, Christmas movies are not about reality, they are about a FEELING. And what better feeling is there than love? Love your neighbor, love your family, love your church, love your political party (wait! separation of church and state nullifies that last one, sorry). So imagine my surprise when I got this message:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/12/-em-love-actually-em-is-the-least-romantic-film-of-all-time/282091/#disqus_thread

Now, you know, we are not talking rocket surgery here. Movies, especially Christmas movies, suspend belief in anything tangible and real as we know it. Christmas movies are meant to make us FEEL GOOD, not make us feel depressed. If we want to be depressed, we’ll watch the news or glance inside our checkbooks. Reality does not need to be part of our Christmas movie watching because, well, let’s face it, Christmas is not about reality. Christmas is about the hope of something better though not yet realized. It is no different than the hope of some political figure making the world a better place with no actual ways or means to go about it. But still we hope and continue to do so each time we vote. Hope sells us on an idea and as long as we never run out of hope, people like Rob Ford will lead us. But let’s get back to the non-reality of the movie, Love Actually.

Love Actually is not a movie that promises to do anything but make us believe that love actually is all around us. How we find it varies from person to person and each situation is different, but it is love and only love that holds the human race together. Christmas reminds us of that, even though it has been diluted to mean nothing more than finding bargains on Black Friday after giving thanks for what we have the day before. That doesn’t diminish the impact that the Christmas message has if a person cares to take a look. Love Actually takes several different accounts and ties them all together under one theme and that is, No matter who you are or where you end up, love makes the difference and circumstances being what they are it is best not to fight it, analyze it or try to explain it. When you have love, give love or are IN love, the world is a better place. No one will argue with the fact that we need more love in the world.

So I defend the movie, Love Actually AS a romantic, Christmas comedy. The movie I saw said that in spite of all the sadness in the world, the mishaps, disappointments and unpredictability of life… Love Actually is all around us. Granted there are things in this movie that are not put in there to cheer for, in the end the lesson is All You Need is Love. It isn’t a reality flick, though the situations can be very real. It is a message for all of us, admonishing us to have faith, hope and to endure. Love Actually is a Frank Capra film for the new millennium… It’s a Wonderful Life retold and reaffirmed.

Enjoy it!

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Hey! It’s 2011! Scroll Back, Ya Varmints!

January 2, 2011

2011.  A new me and a new you.  WordPress was kind enough to summarize the previous years posting for AMRFP… check it out!

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 51 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 408 posts. There were 162 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 12th with 56 views. The most popular post that day was John Lennon Sat Here….

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were en.wordpress.com, facebook.com, google.com, stumbleupon.com, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for socially unacceptable behavior, 27 club conspiracy, 49 bye byes, how to succeed in amway, and advantages of respect.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

John Lennon Sat Here… September 2010
3 comments

2

rude, crude, lewd and socially unacceptable behavior October 2007
8 comments

3

The illegal immigration solution, conclusion… a.k.a Illegal Immigrant for President! (he’ll do the work George Bush won’t) June 2007
9 comments

4

songs to play at your funeral April 2008
16 comments

5

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Lying April 2008
10 comments

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I’d like to thank WordPress for hosting such a cool site which in turn enables a writer’s whimsy to see daylight on the Internet and finds audiences such as you whom I otherwise might not have met!  (Hey! a little rhyme there!)

So from the bottom of my heart to the top of the apple cart…(I can’t help it)  thanks for reading!  I look forward to adding future posts in 2011 here at Advantages of Mutual Respect and Fair Play. 

There really are… you know.

Peace.

giddy-up 409 (Joy to the World… and all that happy crap)

December 24, 2010

Okay, I was going to do something along the lines of this for my 409th post…

but perhaps we should just skip all that stuff.   A post is a post is a post around here at AMRFP.  They are like buses, if you miss one another will be along soon.

But today I think I’ll ask you to do something else.  It’s Christmas Eve, for cryin’ out loud!  Divert your attention here instead: http://crrz07.wordpress.com/  You won’t be disappointed.

I imagine one day that my blog archives will be studied by a highly intelligent species and they will say something along the lines of  “This man was a friggin’ genius” or maybe they’ll just use their telepathic capabilities, clunk their heads together and hum Pink Floyd’s One of These Days…

 but in the meantime…

I don’t think I could have said it better myself…

Peace.

Ho, Ho, Humbug? Share Merry Christmas or Declare Happy Holidays?

November 28, 2010

Living up here in Canada I was beginning to worry.  It was closing in on the last week of November and it hadn’t snowed yet.  Three years ago I flew up here and the snow was as deep and cold as I expected but now I lamented, “Where’s the snow?”  But be careful what you pine over because Old Man Winter has some big ears. 

It snowed Thursday and through the night it snowed again.  We awoke this morning to more snow.

My BB says now it appears like snow has always been here and it is true, we live in the Great White North.  Brrr… it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. 

So imagine my interest when I discovered this on the Internet…  http://action.afa.net/Detail.aspx?id=2147486887  I didn’t know there were actually stores out there that refused to promote or minimized the approach of Christmas.  I had to stop and wonder about that…

Victoria’s Secret?  What do they have against the pagan sun-god worshippers ritual?  You’d think that they’d want to promote the sale of their sexy lingerie at all costs, wouldn’t you? http://www.spike.com/video/victorias-secret/2807705

Barnes and Noble?  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/Barnes-and-Noble-Classics-for-Christmas/379000267/   Seems like they’d want to cash in on the Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men sales motto.  So I had to look deeper…

There you go, lots of Christmas language in that video.

And they mention Radio Shack?  How about this?

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x88qhi_radio-shack-christmas-play_music 

or this?

Okay, so now I’m confused.  Either stores promote the day erroneously marked as Christ’s birth or they don’t.  Personally I don’t care and God bless ’em if they choose not to, but where does the AFA get their information?  From readers like you.

So I had to go back and view the Victoria’s Secret ads again and pay more than the usual (!) attention and guess what?  They left the word Christmas to the imagination (and little else) so, hmmm… does that really portray or betray the spirit of giving?  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp=40387119&#40387119

Now with a keener eye (ha!) I looked back at Barnes and Nobles then the Radio Shack ads.  B&N’s online ad merely mentioned Holiday gifts but their B&N Tags video seemed to balance Christmas in amongst their segments.  Both Radio Shack videos did the same.  So here’s the rub…

The American Family Association puts this list together implying retailers either support Christmas minimally, profoundly or not at all.  But does this aid us in discovering the true meaning of the holiday?  Or does it just boycott the notion that this spirit we are supposed to develop comes from within regardless of where we shop?  If I’m filled with the ghosts of Christmas! At last!  does it really matter if my retailer joins in that sentiment?  And what about their employees and their families, don’t they deserve the benefit of Christmas charity and prosperity?

Our 11-year-old is anxiously awaiting Christmas.  You’d think it would be because of the gifts he is anticipating and that is a  reasonable assumption.   Most 11 year olds can hardly wait for the new video game, new electronic gadgetry or music machine that is flooding the want lists of kids around the world and he’s no exception.

But lately, there is something more… he wants to give gifts.  A gift for his younger brother and one for his older sister.  A gift for his mother and even one for me!  Gifts all around.  And he’s worried time will run out before he is able to earn enough money to buy them all.  He doesn’t realize it, but he has already given me the grandest gift a child can give.  He has shown his willingness to share.  Not to say he hasn’t felt that spirit in the past but this holiday season it has had an impact on me.

These days it is hard to cultivate sharing.  Usually it is all about what you will get that matters.  That is probably the biggest turn off the Christmas holiday brings to me.  I don’t like the fact that a date on the calendar dictates whether I will be generous or not.  I feel that it means more when a gift is offered “out of the blue” with no strings attached.

Now seeing our young man get excited for the gifts he is about to present to others puts a warm feeling in my heart.  It is the feeling that perhaps all your parenting efforts have not gone un-noticed, perhaps through all your hits and misses, the joy of sharing has taken root and blossoms forth.

And that is a good thing. 

So, if  in your travels you notice… “Hey! They’re putting out Christmas decorations already!”  and you are trying to decide whether it fits in your politics or not to succumb to all the hype, remember this…

There really can be “Joy to the World”, even if it is only one giving heart at a time.

Have a safe and warm (!) holiday season.

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/naughty-and-nice-companies-this-holiday-season/q9n2vz7p?q=Christmas+Shopping&rel=msn&from=en-us_msnhp&form=MSNHED&gt1=42007

Peace.

P.S.  This was sent to me by an alert reader, thought it fit in perfectly with our topic…

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

  

 




 

 

 

 

 

 



Cleverly done!!!   http://www.smileycentral.com/?partner=ZSzeb001_ZSYYYYYYMNUS 

 Twas the Month before Christmas 

 


Twas the month before Christmas

 

When all through our land,

 

Not a Christian was praying

 

Nor taking a stand.

 

See the PC Police had taken away

 

The reason for Christmas – no one could say.

 

The children were told by their schools not to sing

 

About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

 

It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say

 

 December 25th is just a ‘ Holiday ‘.

 

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit

 

Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!

 

CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod

 

Something was changing, something quite odd! 

 

Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa

 

In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

 

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down

 

At Lowe’s the word Christmas – was no where to be found.

 

At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears

 

You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.

 

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty

 

Are words that were used to intimidate me.

 

Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen

 

On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !

 

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter

 

To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.

 

And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith

 

 Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace

 

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded

 

The reason for the season, stopped before it started.

 

So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’ under your ‘Dream Tree’

 

Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.

 

Choose your words carefully, choose what you say

 

Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,

 

not Happy Holiday !

 

Please, all Christians join together and

 

wish everyone you meet

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

Christ is The Reason’ for the Christ-mas Season!

Happy Mother’s Day in cyberspace

May 9, 2010

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/36969170/ns/today-mothers_day_guide?Gt1=43001

Interesting history of this famous day. 

To all of my sisters. 

To my beautiful girl.

To all mothers, the happiest of holidays.

peace.

Saying Goodbye and Kudos to the Y2KO’s

December 31, 2009

Well, it’s that time.  Time to say goodbye to a lousy year and a fizzled decade all in one big sigh.  At least that is what some people will tell you.  As I sit here thinking about the past 10 years, I remember the trepidation the general public was feeling about the new millenium.  The world was going to come to a stop because technology hadn’t prepared for the changing of 1999 to 2000.  I remember all those headstone manufacturers that were lamenting the fact that not enough people had died to deplete their stock of tombstones that had been pre-inscribed 199_  and they were set to lose a fortune… like no one really thought the new decade would arrive.

But arrive it did and now we are about to say adios to the y2ko’s to make way for the double digits.  I choose not to look back in despair and criticize but to meander fondly through some incidents that you may have forgotten.  So as we ring in the New Year and decade, think positive about the past… after all, it’s too late to change it now!

First, in 2009.  It is hard for me to take seriously the fact that many people are pointing to 12-21-12 as the end of the world because of the Mayan calendar.   This may not have been too hard to swallow except for the fact that they released a movie depicting the end of the world called 2012!   Perhaps what the Mayans were predicting wasn’t the end of the world but the end of credibility from movie producers.   I predict the end of the world in 2112.  December 21, 2112 to be precise.  Then the digits would be 12-21-2112.  Much tidier and numerically friendly, don’t you think?

A lot of people have been complaining about the past decade, like this person…

These Terrible Aughts

  • Posted: December 29, 2009 at 12:37 PM
  • By Lauren Bans

As the curtains close on what Pew is calling the worst decade in half a century, the Internet is aflutter with uncharacteristic positivity, offering up bushels of best of the decade lists. The Village Voice recently ran a piece on the Best Dining and Drinking Trends of the Decade that included nods to the Slow Food movement and the mainstream emergence of local brews. The Hollywood Reporter issued a best films of the decade list with United 93 and No Country For Old Men making the cut (though feminist blog Women & Hollywood quickly pointed out that HR failed to elect even one female-directed movie to their list.) And Paste Magazine put together an all-encompassing series of Best of lists ranging from Best Video Games of the decade to the more self-indulgent Best Paste Magazine Covers of the Decade.

But what about the worst of the decade lists? From the attacks of 9-11, to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s a reason 50 percent of Americans view the ‘00s with negative feelings. Lucky for us neggos, Engine Industries has put together an exhaustive compilation of the Best of The Worst of the Decade Lists. Feast your eyes, and breathe a sigh of relief that the ‘00s are nearly over.

 But do we have to call them the aughts?  yikes!  like we ought to know better!

Nope, I prefer the y2ko’s.  But aside from the obvious, was the past decade really all that bad?  I mean, shucks, with the new millenium came a much enlarged and speedier Internet.  We have blogs like Advantages of Mutual Respect and Fair Play along with Facebook and Twitter.  There are phones that allow us to text message that include cameras with pixels enabling us to make videos, take pictures and surf the web as well as make a phone call.  How can that possibly be bad? MP3 players and digital downloads are cool.  We didn’t have those a decade ago.  YouTube.  Kijiji.  Wii. X-Box.  All innovations of the y2ko’s.  Who ever thought that e-mail would become quaint?  And yet, technology advances with alarming speed while we seem to accept it with a less than enthusiastic yawn.  This past decade has been marvelous as far as technological advancements are concerned.  We take too much for granted.

Oh I know, there are things that have been shitty, too.  911. Iraq.  Iran.  Afghanistan.  North Korea.  Katrina.  The economy.  Bail-outs.  AIG.  The Big Three.  Foreclosures.  Job losses.  The decline of the American dollar.  Protectionism.  But you don’t need me to list them here.  There are all kinds of people out there telling us how bad it was or still is.  But try this one on for size…

Highlights From the Happiness Project

Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2009 6:07 PM | By Gretchen Rubin Gretchen Rubin is the author of the new book, The Happiness Project, an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy. On her popular blog she recounts her adventures and insights as she grapples with the challenge of being happier. Aristotle, Samuel Johnson, Oprah, Benjamin Franklin, the Dalai Lama, Martin Seligman … she considers it all.

She’s also the author of the best-selling Forty Ways To Look at Winston Churchill, Forty Ways To Look at JFK, Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide, and Profane Waste (with artist Dana Hoey). Rubin began her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she really wanted to be a writer.

Here are some highlights from her blog, the Happiness Project:

A Secret to Happiness? Don’t Get Organized.
When facing a bursting closet or a cluttered office, don’t make the mistake of saying to yourself, “I need to get organized.”

Eight Ways To Tell If You’re Being Boring
Watch for the warning signs that show that you’re being a bore.

The Movie Twilight Inspires Me to Do A Better Job With Some of My Resolutions
Inspired by watching the romance in Twilight, Gretchen reflects on memories of falling in love with her husband-and redoubles her efforts to keep her resolutions related to love.

Bad Habits: Swear Off Them Altogether? Or Indulge Occasionally?
If you’re trying to resist temptation, take this test to determine whether you do better when you go cold-turkey, or when you indulge moderately.

Exercise Tips from a Recovering Couch Potato
Try some of these nine strategies if you have trouble sticking to an exercise regimen.

Can You Curse During a Gratitude Meditation?
Comedian Louis CK’s hilarious rant that “Everything’s amazing, nobody’s happy” is a (slightly unconventional) gratitude meditation.

Quiz: Are You Drifting?
When you “drift,” you make a decision by not deciding, or you make a decision that unleashes consequences for which you don’t take responsibility. We often deny that we’re drifting, so take this quiz to see if you’re at risk.

Happiness Myth: It’s Selfish To Try To Be Happier
Contrary to popular belief, happy people aren’t self-centered and complacent; in fact, they’re more concerned with helping others than are less-happy people.

How To Respond to Your Happiness Emergency-Stat!
Having a really lousy day? These nine strategies will help you boost your mood right now.

Can You Predict If Someone Will Be Happy in the Future?
Sizing up the temperament of a potential boss, roommate, or spouse? The best way to predict whether a person will be happy is to know whether that person has been happy in the past.

Happiness Myth: Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Money, spent wisely, can buy a lot of things that contribute mightily to happiness. Some of the best things in life aren’t free.

Embrace the Paradoxes of a Happiness Project
Niels Bohr wrote, “The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.” Here, Gretchen outlines some of the paradoxes of a happiness project.

Quiz-Are You an Overbuyer or an Underbuyer?
Do you fit the description of an “overbuyer” or an “underbuyer”? These categories will help you identify strategies to be happier with your spending.

Life’s Cruel Truth: You Get More of What You Already Have
We all contribute to the atmosphere in which we live, so we get more of what we have. Friendly people meet with friendliness; irritable people find themselves surrounded by irritable people.

Practice a NON-Random Act of Kindness
Practicing non-random acts of kindness, it turns out, brings more happiness than random acts of kindness-especially for recipients.

Eleven Myths of De-Cluttering
For most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. Don’t let these de-cluttering myths get in the way of keeping your surroundings clutter-free.

Five Mistakes I Make in My Marriage
Gretchen confesses to five mistakes she makes in her marriage-and explains how she tries to do better.

Why Might Small, Comfortable Changes Work Better than Radical Steps?
To bring about change in your life, it’s often more effective to focus on small, manageable steps rather than setting ambitious goals.

Bob Dylan Helps Me Recognize a Paradox of Happiness
Bob Dylan’s observation about his wife, “she’s always had her own built-in happiness,” highlights one of the paradoxes of happiness.

Is it really possible to be happy after one of the most difficult decades of the last century?

I mean, where would we all be without Reality T.V.?  and American Idol? or Dancing With the Stars?   This past decade has brought some innovative sources of entertainment.  Lest we forget, it was only a few short years ago that a very small and select group were telling us what to watch.  Now the selections seem endless.  With the advancement of the Internet, we have choices and information at our fingertips that used to take hours if not days to reach us.  I’ve read articles in newspapers that are at least three days old.  No wonder the printed page as a news source is dying. 

I could not imagine a time I would rather be living in than right now.  It is because of our ability to grow, change and adapt that we have made some of the advancements we have made.  Not that losing a job and going bankrupt is progress, it certainly is not.  But the way we viewed credit and buying more than we could afford had to be curtailed.  We had to re-think our priorities and the long-term effects of our purchase.  People are far more frugal towards the end of this decade than in the 90’s and that’s a good thing.

My wife predicts Oprah will run for President in 2012, that’s why O.W.  has announced the end of her talk show.  Or perhaps Obama will choose Oprah as his running mate for his second term, I’m not sure which.  But the politics of the y2ko’s has made this possible.  We would not have thought about electing someone with absolutely zero qualifications before.  Now just the thought of somebody inspiring somebody else without actually accomplishing anything other than the possibility of said accomplishment garnishes praise and awards.  That was unthinkable just a short decade ago.

The thing with the y2ko’s is that we are more uncertain of the future than ever before.  Fear plays a lot into that uncertainty and it has been played up to a level that is worse than any time in recent memory.  Fear makes us ill.  Our society is heading towards a nervous breakdown if we don’t get our heads out of our asses and do something about it.  We need to demand more of our politicians but more than that… we need to demand more of ourselves. 

So I am looking forward to the future and the double digits, the teen years.  I have no doubt that politics are going to change and change appreciatively for the better.  People are fed up with government and paper champions right now.  We will scrutinize more.  We will want substance and not rhetoric, details and not empty promises.  When we hear the word “change” we will want to make sure that that word is accompanied with “change… for the better” and find out exactly how this is proposed to be accomplished.  Technology will continue to advance at an amazing rate, medical breakthroughs will astound and cause us to cheer.  And the world will be a better place because if the y2ko’s accomplished anything, it is this…

You are responsible for your own happiness, nothing is free and nobody is going to do anything for you that you could not have done better yourself.

Have a safe and happy New Year.

Like George said… it’s all in the mind, you know.

peace.

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watch?v=51Qbzc1Xn7Q

Where Have All the Flowery Posts Gone?

May 23, 2009

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Okay, dang… just when I get to thinking I am a serious blog hack, someone comes along and declares I need reform.  Perhaps it is time for an overhaul, after all… this month marks three years of AMRFP!

In the past three years we have talked about politics, love, religion, music, books, and movies.  There has been social injustice, chaos  and anarchy.   We seem to teeter on the brink of disaster yet all in good humor and forced optimism because… what else is there?  We obviously cannot pack up our things and relocate to another planet because no one would have us.  We know we are the root problem and reason for disunity in the world but we cannot seem to eradicate this self-destructive urge.  We are constantly bombarded with information, yet how can we decipher it, knowing which is accurate and which is merely bunk?  Here’s another controversy…

arctic-non-warming-since-1958

My life has turned dramatically since I first fostered this blog on a whim three years ago.  I set out to discover if there was any use in my attempting to write, wondering if I  “had the goods”.  I found my audience to be somewhat sporadic and the subjects I held near and dear to my heart less popular than the ones I thought to be frivolous, so therein lies the paradox.  What I enjoy writing may not be what I am good at, what I am good at may be drudgery.

My most popular post to date has been;  Songs to Play at Your Funeral from April, 2008, which I wrote based on what had actually transpired between my business partner and I one day during a light conversation on death.  It has garnished twice the hits of the runner up;  The Illegal Immigration Solution Conclusion, from June, 2007.  While the latter post has had twice the exposure it has fostered less activity.  I have posted poetry, short stories, a screenplay and the rough draft of my story, Shades of Hemingway. I have progressed (slowly) in my ability to add pictures and video (thanks YouTube) to my posts while trying not to use them in place of good (?) writing.  And after three years, 340 posts, 333 tags, 96 categories, 1004 comments, 37,045 hits and 28,496 spam I am virtually right back where I started from, questioning my validity as a writer.

There has been one bright spot.  Actually, the greatest reward I can think of has come on to me while doing this experiment.  Like most things that we find to make life worthwhile it came unexpectedly, yet has been the difference between merely existing and living.  She sits at my side right now, not realizing I am writing about her.  My beautiful wife, Chantal.

I have proven myself by winning her attention,  admiration and love.  She has faith in my ability and confidence that one day, the world will see what she sees in me, though that confidence in myself wanes and falters.  Through our love of writing; whether via our blogs, to each other publicly or privately, or in our imaginations,  we have accomplished something that would not have materialized otherwise.  We have become each others hero and fan club.  We have become kindred spirits.  Chantal and I are glorious.  I have not failed as a writer, I have acquired a following of one, as she has found in me.

I am living in Canada now, which is quite the contrast from spending most of my life in Florida.  The economy has put a strain on my ability to make a living through my trade and I am still struggling to adapt to life as a foreigner.  But my beautiful girl has the utmost confidence in me so that is a hurdle I will easily overcome with patience.  I am learning to accept that I cannot always have things my way.  But I need to concentrate on making a living and right now it does not look like writing is the way of prosperity for me, at least not financially.

I started this blog in May of 2006 not sure of where it would go, how I would do or how long it would last.  But I feel it has served it’s purpose, at least for a while.  The archives will remain and comments will still be directed to me via e-mail, but I plan on taking a little hiatus.

This month, May 2009, is heading towards being my most active month ever, with seven days left it will easily accomplish this.   The second most active month was back in November of 2007.

I’d like to think that on that note, it is a good time to bow out gracefully.

Thanks for reading  Advantages of Mutual Respect and Fair Play…

there definitely are,  you know.

peace.

It’s New Year’s Day 2009! (scroll back, ya varmints!)

December 31, 2008

Another year has passed and what have we learned? As AMRFP enjoys it’s 304th post we begin to realize this blog will not take no for an answer! (what was the question?) Some people just have more audacity than others and will not go away!

2008 will be happily placed in our rear view mirror as we look with infertile optimism to a new Democratic majority across the board in American politics. Has there been another year in recent memory that has been as foul as this one? Most people would be hard pressed to find one that was, causing them to look back with disdain and relief at 2008 passing.

But in reflection, there have been some fine posts for one and all to enjoy on this site (humbly submitted by yours truly) and I’d be remiss not to mention the fact that my life changed dramatically (and for the better) this past year because of this little blog. For that reason alone it shall continue… not to mention the sheer joy I get at ranting on like I do and of course, the pleasure I derive from the remote possibility of your company.

Despite the difficult time I had at being regular the past three months because of my move to Canada and the fact that I posted a short story, a screenplay and the continuation of the Shades of Hemingway series,… my readership actually increased. AMRFP approaches the 32,ooo hits mark which made it the best year to date as far as averages go. Akismet has blocked over 25,000 spam comments (mostly porn but some insurance quotes are trying to muscle in as well) While some friends have faded into the depths of the black hole of the blogosphere, new friends have risen up which makes this site a pure joy each time I acquaint myself with a different prospective on life.

I met my lovely wife through the postings of our blogs, and while some may view the online relationship with trepidation I must say it has been the most exhilarating experience I have ever known. We were married in March of this past year and I was finally able to relocate here in Canada in October. But future posts will address our relationship as it progresses, suffice it to say I am thrilled by her love each and every day. That in itself should provide some interesting fodder…

So without further ado and for your discerning review, from the latest entry to the first of the year… Advantages of Mutual Respect and Fair Play 2008.

Scroll back… ya varmints!

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1) 12-23-08 – A Sand Road Christmas Card. Remembering the holidays of my youth back in Iowa. In the good ol’ days, when times were bad.

2) 12-20-08 – It’s Been a Long, Long, Long Time. Having just come off three months of creating and posting the third installment of the Shades of Hemingway series along with moving and adjusting to the climate of the North and making my excuses for being preoccupied with life in general and love in particular.

3) 12-16-08 thru 9-17-08 – Shades of Hemingway / Deja’ Voodoo. Parts 1 – 12 and Epilogue. My readership plummeted through the time I took to post this, which I knew it would. But I feel it also was because it generally takes about six weeks for the series to run through it’s entirety. When my circumstances dictated otherwise it took me 12 weeks and I feel I alienated myself from some of the faithful readers (both of them!) of AMRFP. But my own true love assured me from the beginning that it was MY blog and I should be able to go in the direction of my choosing, so I am glad I saw it through to the end. Now is the time to recapture our imaginations and I will do that to the best of my ability in the coming weeks… I promise.

4) 9-14-08 – Prelude to Shades of Hemingway / Deja’ Voodoo. You can’t say I didn’t warn ya. One day I’ll finish this story… and yes, post it here! Some people just will never learn… sigh.

5) 9-13-08 – Video. Elvis Presley Hound Dog, the complete performance. One of three videos I inserted for the post, Politics and the Billboard Top 100 Hits of All Time… pathetic.

6) 9-13-08 – Video. Elvis Jailhouse Rock. The second of three videos for the same post.

7) 9-13-08 – Video. Elvis Twist with Elvis. The third of three videos for the same post.

8) 9-13-08 – Politics and the Billboard Top 100 Hits of All Time… pathetic. You know the cool thing about these best of lists is that it gets our dander up. But picking The Twist because of the insertion some formula instead of just counting airtime play and sales smacks of favoritism. Too bad.

9) 9-11-08 – Born Laughing Out Loud. A little review I did of Steve Martin’s book, Born Standing Up, which I throughly enjoyed.

10) 8-29-08 – McCain/Palin? Bravo! (oh! bomb awed). I’m not much on politics, obviously. My beautiful girl and I go round and round about American politics (good naturedly) and it is an eye opener to think that we may be our own worst enemy. But I thought the picking of Palin was a good thing for McCain’s candidacy. While Obama landslided McCain in the electoral college, he only received 52% of the total vote per population input. Popular opinion not withstanding, I was sure nothing short of a miracle would put another Republican in the White House… and I was right.

11) 8-29-08 – return of the dreaded sequel, part 1. I had thought Deja’ Voodoo would have been up and presented way before this time, but you know… life gets in the way.

12) 8-19-08 – Spending the day with Tropical Storm Fay. Gosh I had fun with this one. I have lived in S.W. Florida for the better part of 36 years and you never get used to the weather in paradise.

13) 8-17-08 – you must remember this. Memorable movie kisses, what are yours?

14) 8-16-08 – Video. 1984. A funny thing happened on youTube… I meant this vid for another post and it somehow got crossed up in cyberspace then appeared sometime later on my blog. I don’t remember the subject or even if I posted it, but I liked the premise of 1984 knocking on your door (from Spirit) so I left it in… hm.

15) 8-16-08 – Video. Shawn Colvin – Catch the Wind. I chose this as one of two vids for the post, Catch the Wind, but it got lost in cyberspace at the same time I was foolin’ around with 1984. And since I am not all that great at shifting things around on my blog (lazy brained) I just left it in at the time it appeared. Yes, sometimes this blog takes on a life of it’s own.

16) 8-11-08 – Not your favorite cover. Another one of those “best of” lists and my opinion which you all hold your breath for.

17) 8-7-08 – don’t know much about the Hadron Collider. A little parody that just conjured itself up when I read of this multi- billion dollar effort to smash things together. Scientists on a controlled hissy fit.

18) 8-4-08 – oh the humanity! and the cost of celebrity… Paris Hilton’s mom decrying the media for it’s portrayal of her talented daughter.

19) 8-02-08 – Choosing a running mate. McCain can win if… Hey! he may or may not have listened to me on this one but you gotta admit McCain’s choice made the race interesting.

20) 7-29-08 – Hey… told you so! Senator Ted Stevens and his exploits have been discussed several times on this blog, glad justice was served on the jerk.

21) 7-26-08 – Catch the Wind. The things we can and cannot control cause me to wax on, wax off in contempt and sentiment… my favorite forms of expression.

22) 7-23-08 – Video. Donovan-Catch the Wind. The original that was meant to be accompanied by Shawn Colvin’s rendition, but perhaps better as a stand alone vid.

23) 7-12-08 – Let My Gonads Go! a.k.a. nuts to you, Jesse Jackson. Gosh, I loved doing this little parody considering the riff comes from a freedom song sung by the oppressed slaves during the Civil War. Jesse Jackson and his infamous utterance deserved to be ridiculed loud and long.

24) 7-7-08 – Where the light is, John Mayer. Occasionally cool things happen and I was thrilled to see this DVD/CD released. I bought it the very first day.

25) 7-5-08 – Quick Draw (Tim) McGraw and his rootin’, tootin’ wild west outlaw show. Got some negativity on this post but you know…

26) 6-29-08 – throw mama (and junior) from the plane! If any post could divide my sweetheart and I… this one could. I’ve looked at flight from both sides now.

27) 6-28-08 – the hippie dippy weatherman no longer sweats the ICBMs. The death of George Carlin caused a wee bit of reflection in my heart.

28) 6-28-08 – Video. Religion is bullshit. The late George Carlin expressing his opinion in true comedic form.

29) 6-28-08 – Video. the hippy dippy weatherman. George Carlin in less sarcastic form.

30) 6-17-08 – inner-mission. Left you to your own devices for a few days, did you break anything?

31) 6-15-08 – Happy Father’s Birthday. A slip of the tongue by my French speaking step-son tugs at my heart.

32) 6-15-08 – Video. Eric Clapton – My Father’s Eyes. Selected to go along with, Happy Father’s Birthday, I feel this is a song Eric did that could have gotten a little more acclaim but seems to be coming around again… which is cool, you can’t keep a good song down.

33) 6-12-08 – that’s right, you’re what’s left (screwed, blued and anti-socially tattooed). Gee, folks… just learn to live with it. Our government is not accountable.

34) 6-12-08 – Video. water as energy. We have the technology, we need the direction.

35) 6-8-08 – It was/is a Wonderful Life. The death of young “George Baily,” Bob Anderson, inspired this post. It was one of my favorites from the 2008 year simply because I got to review one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite movies of all time. “… you really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a shame it would be to throw it all away?”

36) 6-6-08 – Public Displays of Effection. What effect does PDA have on you? This post was inspired by a case of supposed discrimination… you be the judge.

37) 6-4-08 – Obama Surrender (Hillary concedes). I love these little parodies that just pop into mind. Funny how the resilient Ms. Clinton still has a place in her opponent’s heart.

38) 6-3-08 – Video. Jemima Surrender. Try as I might I couldn’t find a vid by the Band performing this song, but this rendition is still good.. in case you couldn’t catch the riff in Obama Surrender.

39) 5-31-08 – what goes around Karmas around? I’m not that sure of Karma. I mean… if it were true, why do the wicked seem to prosper while the good suffer? Sharon Stone is a dunce.

40) 5-28-08 – double checking reality bounce. One cannot be too careful, or so I thought…

41) 5-21-08 – Blogging for Dummies (what was Scarlett Johansson thinking?) Sometimes you just gotta wonder…

42) 5-21-08 – Video. Falling Down by Scarlett Johansson. You decide…

43) 5-16-08 – “Jawbone” George Bush and the Saudi Oil Shriek a.k.a. the Blame Game. Hey George, just tell them to open up the spigot a little…

44) 5-16-08 – Video. Shirley Ellis – the Name Game. Bush, Bush, bo-shush, sittin’ on his tush.

45) 5-16-08 – creative foreplay. I find that looking for inspiration comes with no effort at all… really.

46) 5-10-08 – they are dumbing down our Rock and Roll! Who is the greatest recording artist of all time? The answer may surprise you.

47) 5-10-08 – Video. Mariah Carey – touch my body. For your comparison.

48) 5-10-08 – Video. Eric Clapton – Layla (live). For your enjoyment.

49) 5-7-08 – God’s Yard Sale. The world is in chaos… does God really care about us?

50) 5-5-08 – Waiting for Zed. An expose’ on why the term “zed” was removed from the American lexicon. A real eye opener… or perhaps not.

51) 4-30-08 – friends. There are many forms of friendship and those we choose as best.

52) 4-30-08 – Video. The Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Chosen to accompany the post, friends.

53) 4-20-08 – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Lying. One of my favorite posts of 2008.

54) 4-17-08 – The Great American Boycott. I think we as consumers deserve better.

55) 4-12-08 – Why Obama? Sometimes these little parodies play so well in my mind…

56) 4-12-08 – Video. The Knack – My Sharona. For those of you who could not catch the riff in Why Obama?

57) 4-11-08 – Cheney’s Sunglasses – Not a Rosy Reflection. Your imagination runs wild.

58) 4-8-08 – Video. The Beatles – And I Love Her. Follows the post, Songs to Play At Your Funeral because I do.

59) 4-7-08 – Songs to Play At Your Funeral. This post has been on my blog for less than 9 months but it has become a runaway best topic since it’s inception and continues to pull away from the rest of the crowd at a rapid pace. I realize it is more the topic than the content, but even so it has become an easy #1 post for 2008 and the all time winner for top post so far at AMRFP. A distance second is, Let me call you sweetheart, posted on 1-6-07. Bringing up the rear at 7th is, the Rock and Roll Conspiracy, posted on 8-26-06. So it is quite the accomplishment in comparison. The fact that the conversation actually happened in the way I recorded it makes it all the more enjoyable for me because it is real life and that is the best sort of living.

60) 4-7-08 – Video. Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman – Time to Say Goodbye. For my fair Chantal.

61) 4-6-08 – Goodbye / Charlton Heston. 2008 saw many great stars passing, this was one of them.

62) 4-1-08 – Why are we here? The question of the ages, I found my reason.

63) 3-29-08 thru 2-20-08 – Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran. I had written this screenplay ages ago, but when the new film Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was about to be released I thought perhaps Indy might enjoy a sort of renaissance and an interest might be piqued in this tale. Too bad their story didn’t live up to the hype while mine didn’t live up to expectations… but oh well. It is preserved for prosperity.

64) 2-17-08 – Free Indy. The story behind my writing, Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran. I liked my story better than theirs, didn’t you? (please say yes)

65) 2-13-08 – Economic Stimulus Plan. You know, I still think my idea would work and I have not met any opposition to it.

66) 2-9-08 thru 1-20-08 – My Dog Sam. I don’t remember what caused me to write about that dog of mine, but I’m glad I did. I have thought about taking several of my recollections and compiling them into one story. Funny how things work in my mind, but I began the year with thoughts of Sand Road and my dog, Sam… then concluded the year with A Sand Road Christmas Card. They say you can never go home, but I think home never goes.

67) 1-18-08 – An Evaluation of the Bush Administration (2000-2008). Not too favorable to ol’ King George and my apologies for that. Will history be kind to him? With the worst rating of any sitting president… it is difficult to say.

68) 1-15-08 – …so you wanna be a Rock and Roll star? Rethinking some music and impressions of artists.

69) 1-15-08 – Video. The Byrds-So You Wanna Be A Rock And Roll Star. To accompany the post of the same name.

70) 1-7-08 – New Year… knew you. I met my own true love twice in a lifetime.

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So there you have it. 70 different topics posted in 103 segments. While we may have had some bumps in the road of 2008, it has been a year that I have realized it is not the miles but the destination that makes the journey tolerable. It is not the smoothness of the pavement but the direction we are headed in that make the traveling light. It is not the degree of difficulty to proceed, it is the strength of our resolve to begin. It is not the complexity of the task but the undertaking with the commitment to see it through. Life indeed goes on…

And it is my sincere hope that whatever you may have had to endure, whatever your losses may have been, whatever your disappointments and fears… and we live in a world governed by and propagandized with fear, that you may face 2009 with optimism and hope. We may never understand the powers that be, but the power to be you and me holds the key to our happiness… it all comes from within.

Have a joyous and safe 2009… and thanks for reading.

peace.

A Sand Road Christmas Card

December 23, 2008

I have enjoyed many yuletide carols and fa la la lala -ing in my time. We have made multiple wishes for peace on Earth and goodwill to men in my small family community, enough to fill the mandates of 10 United Nations. As the years do their one horse open sleigh ride through the memories that remain evergreen, I am reminded that not all recall the past as warmly as I do.

We struggled in those years; my single mother, six sisters and I. When the holidays rolled around it was a time to be anything but joyous. We were never certain where we would be living from one month to the next let alone be shopping for holiday gifts for ourselves. In those days we would draw names at school from our list of classmates in order to buy gifts for one another, and I dreaded each time having to ask my mother for the money. Even a couple of dollars was a big dent in our funds and I grew to resent the season to be jolly because of it’s hopeful glitter and emphasis on our poverty.

It was all a sham. Merchants displaying the traditions, crafts, foods, music, and toys of the holiday would put a desirous longing in my heart each year. But a cold reality as deep as a snow drift crept in my young mind all the while. It didn’t matter if I was “naughty or nice.” I could have been the nicest guy on the planet (though I wasn’t) and still the outcome would have been the same. I’d hear an aunt or uncle talking about how their family “weren’t going to have much of a Christmas this year” and I would cringe. They didn’t know what it meant to “not have much of a Christmas” because they gauged it on Christmas’ past. We knew each year that it wasn’t going to be much of one because it wasn’t much of one every year. But then one year a miracle happened, my oldest sister married.

No, I did not mean it was a miracle that she married. It was a miracle because when she married she remembered us, her siblings. I don’t doubt that back then it was sort of like a release from purgatory for her to become partners with a man and begin a family of her own. Whatever her feelings about being raised by my mother as the oldest and spending time with the rest of us kids (there were only 4 of us by the time she moved on) she was generous in her spirit. I received my first bicycle from her and my brother-in-law, and that year Christmas was the most joyous one for me and it remains so to this day. (see the post, My First Bicycle from 8-29-07)

But another Christmas year stands out in my mind as well and it was during the time we lived on the Sand Road back in Iowa.

My poor mother never had a chance when she was young. The opportunity for an education eluded her and the need to grow up too fast robbed my mother of her youth and the dreams associated with innocence. She was married at 15 the first time and frivolously threw away relationships that could have fostered a salvation of sorts with each marriage that followed. Instead of finding better relationships she fell in with unsavory men that abused her. Finally my mother found herself alone with the 7 children she bore having no skills or guidance on what being a proper parent meant. Being the oldest in her family, the only way to get out of her own circumstances (her father died when she was 12) was to marry and move on, with devastating results. In many ways, she was not more than a child herself.

We whittled through many locations in eastern Iowa and lived in Council Bluffs twice before we settled into the house on Sand Road. Usually it was because we couldn’t pay the rent and had to make a “mid-night move-out” to avoid the landlord. I think my mother had reached a time in her life where she realized she would remain alone from that point on. Fortunately my kind hearted grandfather by my grandmother’s second marriage had arranged to purchase this major fixer upper, otherwise we would have had no where else to go. Living in that house would ultimately change my life. (see the posts, My Dog Sam beginning on 1-20-08) Though at the time I felt our circumstances went from bad to worse.

My mother informed us that this year she could afford to buy a Christmas tree to enjoy or she would take that money and buy us gifts, but we had to choose one or the other. You can imagine what amount of money she had to buy gifts with if that sum total was what it cost to purchase a tree back then. I remember we all agreed in unison that we had to have a Christmas tree, even if it meant that we could not have the gifts. It was also quite possible that a bill was not going to get paid or the rent to my grandfather was going to be a little short, but our mother would not be deterred.

I know there were sacrifices she made back then. I do not recall ever seeing my mother buying something for herself, unless it were pen and paper. The cars we drove were clunkers, the clothes we wore were thrift store bargains or hand-me-downs. We were welfare babies and did not have any money to waste on things like toys and such. But whatever we had to do without, she did with less.

My mother had a generous spirit and opened up our table many times offering the food that we had. There were nights we spent together eating and talking amongst ourselves about what she had read or philosophised about. We laughed a lot about things we could only imagine that “someday” might happen. She loved music and would often sing to us. Many times traveling in our “beater” my mother would sing Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn. Given the right circumstances my mother could have been a successful singer. But Christmas was always a cold reality check, the proof in the pudding, the wake up call to our dismal circumstances and hopeless surroundings.

That year we had decided to have the tree and were not expecting anything from my mother. Each night we dutifully plugged in the lights and gazed at the reflective tinsel that we had carefully strung like icicles from it’s boughs. I think our first season on Sand Road was particularly hard because we had just moved again after my mother’s last husband had walked out on her. My younger sisters tried to add to the festive appeal of the tree. They made their own gifts and went wrapping up some knick knack or other forgotten object left laying about just to add substance to it’s base. Christmas music played from the radio in our kitchen that usually boasted Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard. I could not wait for December 26th and the putting of all this useless longing behind us. But then, another miracle.

My next oldest sister was in her mid- teens and had been working as a waitress for a while. In her generous spirit she had purchased numerous gifts for all of us . On Christmas day, my oldest sister and my brother-in-law rolled in a wood cabinet stereo console for my mother along with gifts for her Grinch-like brother and sweet, little sisters. My mother cried when she saw the console, declaring it beautiful and began playing her precious albums immediately. I think it was the first time I saw my mother openly weep over receiving a gift. So it was my two oldest sisters that made our holiday memorable that year and I’ve never forgotten it.

I know my mother prayed, I found her upstairs one time kneeling on the edge of her bed. I think being caught appealing to the Almighty embarrassed her, because we were not overly religious. I also know that world events troubled her as well, recalling how she cried when Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy died. And I have no doubt that she anguished over her abilities as a parent, because she always tried to bestow as much wisdom as she could in her dealings with us kids. It had to be frustrating to feel that the entire world was against you and then have some event at home cause you to cave in, as she did numerous times.

But now as this Christmas rolls around and I look at my own tree set up by my wife and her children, I remember that time when we had the choice of something however meager now or the representation of the hope of better things to come… and we chose the latter. I do not know why that was. You would think that having done without all our young lives we would have gone for the substance, the bird in the hand.

I am not a guy that goes for the celebration of Christmas in the worldly sense, but I do enjoy the traditions of family and friends that come with it. I haven’t purchased any gifts and my poor, new bride is left to accept the cards we receive from the relatives she has yet to meet as graciously as she can. I know she feels the acceptance and love from my sisters as if she were one of them and it makes me feel proud of the girls.

I am also grateful to my mother who left the choice of what Christmas was all about to us and despite our crummy circumstances… we chose hope. My mother gave us her generous spirit and when we express it in giving and/or forgiving, we do her a great honor because that is all she had. I feel that she did the best she could under the circumstances and now my mother lives in each one of her children, especially during Christmas… through the miracle of love.

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season.

Merry Christmas from the Sand Road.

peace.

Inner – mission

June 17, 2008

As of today I’ll be out for a while… but fear not, I shall return.

There are distant voices calling me,

there is a heart I yearn to have

beating in unison with my own…

up close, in sync… beautiful harmony.

So I will travel to the Great White North…

we will wine and dine 

cram as much living as we can

into the next few days.

There are always the archives…

even I check them out once in a while

just to see where I was

and if I still am.

You’ll be fine… trust me.

peace.