Archive for the ‘black and white movies’ 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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The Song That Rallied a Nation, Won the War, Changed My Politics and Got Me the Girl

January 29, 2013

5F3A (2)

December, 1941. French Morocco is infiltrated by Nazi Germany. It is also the last outpost for passage to America and freedom for European refugees. The Germans are met with bitter resignation by the people who long to be released from an oppressive yoke. In a night club owned by a cynical American, Rick Blaine (who “sticks his neck out for nobody”), German officers with beer steins swinging, triumphantly sing their national anthem to a full but emotionally subdued house. Then underground leader, Victor Laszlo, approaches the band demanding that they play La Marseillaise. The band members look to Rick, who silently nods his approval (and in a defining moment sheds his passive non-involvement) and they begin to play. Laszlo starts to sing alone at first, but others join in. Soon their patriotism drowns out the Germans. At song’s end, the house is crowded with cheering patrons. This scene never fails to put a lump in my throat or bring a tear to my eye.

Most of these actors/extras were real life refugees from an dictatorial regime that had spread terror throughout Europe. When singing La Marseillaise, they were not acting. They sung with conviction, determination and hope. The viewer can feel the emotion. The first time I saw it, my life changed. No longer apathetic, I saw the pivotal role America played in the hope of other nations, both then and now. Though oppression still exists in various forms…

It is said this film did more for the Allied war effort than any other piece of propaganda. American audiences saw what fascist maltreatment looked and felt like. If our efforts had been lackluster before, they gained momentum after the release of Casablanca. By the end of 1943, the war had reached a turning point in favor of the Allies. Casablanca won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Years later I would meet and marry my French-Canadian sweetheart, relocating to Ontario. Ironically, I am now an American outside of my own country with a French-speaking wife, who is of a minority here. Occasionally resentment and prejudice rears its ugly head, but La Marseillaise raised an undaunted spirit in me that we both gladly share.

I found that love, like freedom, knows no boundary. Hope lifts the downhearted and is contagious. Justice, honor, morality and heritage are things that need preserving, even in Canada.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

2012 in review

December 31, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see
the complete report.
</p

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Thanks to all those who visited AMRFP in 2012. I make a resolution to be more active in 2013. Happy New Year and stay tuned, there is more to come!

Check me out here as well: http://voices.yahoo.com/ordinary-sightings-celebrity-people-11955689.html?cat=2

Bogie and the Cherry Tree (An American Apology)

October 19, 2012

(more…)

Bone Island Abattoir / Part 2: Which Sides You Are On

January 22, 2011

 Author’s note:  This is the fourth book of The Shades of Hemingway series.  While reading this installment, Bone Island Abattoir is complete in itself, it is recommended that the reader search out the begining of this incredible story…

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I realize the sun is going down as I am sitting in the dimly lit room still fastened to the chair Jake Barnes has tied me to, but I feel different… aware that I am not alone in the dark. The Key West detective is laid out on the bed smoking a cigarette, the glow of it’s end brightening to illuminate Jake’s face with every drag he takes.

“Have a nice nap?” Jake asks with a little sarcasm in his tone.

“Jake, why am I tied up like this?”

“Because the bastards took my ‘cuffs when they lifted my piece.”

“I mean, why are you holding me? What tangible proof have you got that says I killed anybody, let alone a policeman?”

“You mean aside from resisting arrest?”

“Resisting ? How could’ve I resisted when you never declared the intention of placing me under arrest?”

“I was getting around to it… besides, I like it where I can keep an eye on you at a distance.” Jake’s free hand cups his balls and gives them a slight adjustment, then his arm slides back around to form a headrest.

“Jake, if Brett’s been here then Lord Cristobal must know where she is. Maybe we can help each other find her and then all of us can get the hell out of here.”

“You’re a smooth talker, kid. So go ahead’n talk. Give me one good reason why I should listen to ya.”

“Because I’m innocent! What would be my motive to kill anyone, let alone a cop? I had never laid eyes on Key West prior my first visit there seven weeks ago and I have only just met Brett one day before running into you.”

“Mr. Fiore, wouldn’tcha say it is just a tad bit ironic that twice within one week you turn up as my prime suspect? That twice within one week I’m supposed to meet the guy that killed Patrolman Jordan and then you show up? That twice within one week I’m supposed to find Brett and I run into you instead? “ Jake stubs his cigarette out on the ashtray perched on his stomach then swirls his legs around to sit up while placing it on the end table. “Just a little too coincidental, don’tcha think, Bub? Life is a crappy meal and you’re caught between the bun.”

“This is absurd! I can’t believe you’d be so goddam dumb!”

Jake Barnes shifts his weight to the edge of the bed, his form leaning forward menacingly.

“Easy, kid. We’re still in Cuba, remember? I don’t have to play nice.”

“Yes… you’re right and I’m sorry. The situation has gotten me all discombobulated… caught in this room and being tied up like this. Forget the “dumb” remark I made, Jake. But can’t you at least tell me how is it you are here?”

In the shadows I can see Jake reach over and turn on the table lamp next to the bed. I squint a little, remembering those interrogations performed in all those Sam Spade type black and white movies that made the film noir so recognizable. Jake smiles at my obvious discomfort.

“Thought you had it all figured out, Mr. Fiore.” The Key West detective almost sounded like Peter Lorre.

“Right now I’m not sure of a damn thing except that I’m hungry and I gotta pee. Any chance we could get rid of these ropes if I promise to behave?”

“Where do you think you are, the Ritz? Ain’t no bathroom here… unless you want to hang it out the window.” Jake’s head motions towards the opposite wall.

“Out the window or on the floor… I’d just as soon not wet my pants, if it’s all the same to you.”

Jake stands up and towers over me, almost making me do what I just said I did not want to do.

“Okay, kid… I’m gonna untie ya so you can take your piss out the window, but if ya try anything funny… and I mean anything. If you even shake it more than twice, I’ll have to lay some wood on ya.” Jake raised his big fist and gently placed it under my chin like an upper cut. I could feel a shiver in me timbers.

“Honest to God, Jake. I just wanna take a leak.”

The big man moves behind me and begins untying the rope. As he is working a thought comes to my mind.

“Jake, why did they want your gun? I mean, you’re a cop, right?”

Detective Barnes grunted in disgust as my bonds began to loosen.

“Their friggin’ security, I guess. Patted me down when I arrived.”

I stood up as the ropes were removed. The pressure on my bladder lessened.

“But didn’t you come with Sgt. Garcia?”

“Nope, they met me at the airport and I was brought here by a couple of his flunkies.”

“And then he was supposed to come here and help you find Brett?”

Jake stops and looks at me, the way he had done before back in Brett’s apartment when he thought I was asking too many questions. The peering up over the spectacles once over.

“Look, Mr. Fiore… God help me, I like ya… I really do. If you’re tellin’ the truth… when this thing is over we’ll have a drink down at the Green Parrot on me. Screw it, we’ll get shit faced. We’ll drink a toast to Brett ‘n’ her twin brother for bringin’ two of her former lovers together to charge to the rescue and solve this thing. But in the mean time… do me a favor? Leave the questionin’ to me.”

“Brett’s twin brother?”

“Well now, we don’t know everything, do we? Yep. Bobby was her twin.”

“But you called him her kid brother!”

“A little joke between family members, kid. Brett was born first… three minutes later her fraternal twin brother, Robert, came squirtin’ out.”

“I thought he was a rookie… and yet, she’s a detective? Why the disparity?”

“Brett got into law enforcement right outta college. Robert dropped out and joined the Marines then became an MP. Got out of the service and bummed around for awhile… bicycled across the country. Brett got him to come down to the Keys and the rest, they say… is history.”

“Jake, how did you know Brett was supposed to be in Cuba? What made you come to the Villa Vinales de Eden?”

Jake scratches his head while shaking it side to side, then looks amused.

“Okay… for a bright guy you’re not so smart. We have informants, kid. This one guy we know works in and out of Cuba as an import/exporter. Through out this investigation he has let us in on this ring of smugglers. When Brett turned up missing and you ran off…” He gives me that look again, like I’ve been sat before my grade school principal and caught in a lie.

“Your informant indicated I had something to do with Brett’s disappearance and her brother’s death?” I ask as I move towards the window.

“Naw…this Lord Cristobal character is a business affiliate of our informant. He was supposed to be able to locate her and have her here when I arrived.”

“What about the guy who brought her here?”

“I thought it was you.”

“Jake, I think I know the man you’re looking for. He’s the same guy that got me involved in all this in the first place. He works with this Lord Cristobal character.”

“Yeah? And how’d you get privy to that information?” Jake Barnes raises up one arm and gestures towards the opposite wall, allowing me to pass by him.

I stood before the double window. It was one of those old twin vertical crank out style windows that had the interior screens. I reached up to remove the screen that had a palm tree outline inserted within it’s frame then began twisting the lever that forced one side out. Jake was close at my side. I went for my zipper… then paused.

“I don’t know if I can do this with you watching.”

“Well, sweetheart… there’s no way you’ll be doin’ it without me watchin’ so you’ve got a problem.”

We are up in a second story bedroom looking out of one wing of the Villa Vinales de Eden that does not have an exterior wall guarding the property, only a drainage ditch less than fifty feet away with the tropical forest beyond. I am at least 12 feet off the ground, 15 if you count the window sill. Just as I am about to over come my shyness and begin pulling out Teddy Roosevelt, there is a commotion outside in the courtyard of the villa.

“What’s happening?” I ask, forgetting the task at hand.

“Sonofabitch… pullin’ that screen off must’ve triggered an alarm.”

We can hear the sound of footsteps running and shouting voices approaching the bedroom door. I look at the window frame and sure enough, there is a magnetic switch that must have opened when I removed the screen.

“Get back away from there before…”

But it is too late. Two armed guards burst through the bedroom door only to catch me standing facing the window with Teddy Roosevelt exposed. Jake put his hands up and declares “Don’t shoot! We’re not goin’ anywhere!” But I go ahead and pee like it may be my last act on earth. Within moments more guards appear outside, looking up and pointing their rifles while my urine trail rainbows out into the lawn. I raise my free hand up over my head and wave it slightly.

“Me go numero uno, pour favor…?”

The one called Anselmo that had accompanied Lord Cristobal when I had met him earlier entered after the two guards. I struggled to zip up one handed, keeping my other hand waving free and my head lowered as I slowly turned around. After I had awkwardly finished I let my other hand go up.

“What is the meaning of this?” asked Anselmo.

“Hey, you gotta go… you gotta go. Your boss said to sit tight ‘til we was sent for and there ain’t no john in this room. My buddy had to take a leak so he hung it out the window.” Jake shrugged matter-of-fact allowing his hands to drop down. I left mine raised but relaxed a little. After the initial commotion caused by the busting in of the guards Jake seemed to get his composure back. The Key West detective raised his clenched fists to his hips. “And we don’t appreciate havin’ guns pointin’ at us while we do it!”

Anselmo said something in Spanish to the guards and they lowered their weapons slightly. He motioned with his head towards the door.

“Come downstairs.”

He turned and spoke to one of the guards as we left the window to follow him. The guard crowded past us towards where we had stood, waving off the others below while cranking the window closed and returning the screen to it’s place. The other guard waited until we went out before coming up behind us. The narrow balcony led to a stairway but Jake Barnes stopped before we began our descent.

“You go ahead, kid. I’ll meet ya downstairs.” Jake had found a bathroom at the head of the stairs.

“What’s up?” I asked, taking the first step and turning back, our escort was obviously not pleased with the delay and the guard pausing behind us began to look suspicious.

“You go on ahead, I’ll be right down.” He said to Lord Cristobal’s aide. Then turning to me Jake added. “I gotta go shake the dew off my lily, kid. Those amigos almost scared it right out of me.” And with a wink he entered the small water closet and closed door behind him.

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

~

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.

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!

Say goodbye to Hollyweird

August 8, 2010

.

Lindsay’s drivin’ through the city tonight

through the lights in a hot new foreign car

She joins her lovers in what’s really obscene

She’s a scream down on Sunset Boulevard

Say goodbye to Hollyweird

say goodbye to Lindsay

Say goodbye to Hollyweird

Say goodbye, to Lindsay.

Mel was takin’ care of things for a while

and his style was so right for troubadours

Now he is standin’ with his face to the door

and he won’t be a big star anymore.

Say goodbye to Hollyweird

say goodbye Mel baby

Say goodbye to Hollyweird

say goodbye, Mel baby.

Movie star is a chance that you take

Any time that you play- a character

Whoa

But when you act out of line

you will find the fans that you had

are gone forever

Forever.

So many actors in and out of my life

some will last

Some are flashes in the pan.

Make believe’s a bunch of halos and good trys

I’m afraid that it’s time for goodbye again.

Say goodbye to Hollyweird

say goodbye to Lindsay.

Say goodbye to Hollyweird

say goodbye Mel baby.

Movie star is a chance that you take

any time that you play-a character

Whoa

But when you act out of line

you will find the fans that you had

are gone forever.

Forever

Somewhere O’er the Volcano

August 1, 2010

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/amazing-scene-captured-over-volcano/2045skcn?from=en-us_msnhp&GT1=42007

How little we know…

peace.

New Horizons

May 22, 2010

The birds wake me every morning.  Early.  Early every morning now that spring has arrived.  Before the sunrise.  Well before the sun rises.  But it is hard to be angry with creation on mornings like this as I sip my second cup of tea and open the windows.

There is so much to hope for, wish upon and dream about.  If I am not careful, I’ll find myself getting caught up in things that I cannot change, worrying about things I have no control over and doing things that simply rob me of my time.  Things that are frivolous and empty.  And then I forget to be thankful.

How good it is to wake each morning and greet the day.  A fresh start!  I can calmly look back on yesterday and let it pass, convincing myself that I did the best I could.  Each day, each moment,  is like a breath of fresh, clean air.

My uncle died two weeks ago.  Russell was 72.  His passing marks the end of a generation.  His parents and siblings, my mother included, have all preceded him in death.    Russell was married to the same woman for over 50 years and raised a large family.  I guess the note-worthiness of this for me is, it is the end of an era.  All the family gatherings consisting of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins have now passed.  Uncle Russell was one who wanted to preserve the reunion of our family in the traditional sense and my memories owe a great deal to him for insisting upon it.

My sister became a grandparent again in this same short span.  A grandson.  Aaron.  The name means “enlightened one”.  For her family the gathering has just begun.  It is hard to think of my little sister as a grandparent.  I remember my grandparents while I was growing up, they were elderly.  My sister is many years younger than I am…

In this same period of time; my son, also named Aaron, lost his good friend, Sean.  Sean was killed by a neighbor who mistook him for a burglar.  Sean had no wife and kids,  never knew his real father.  Sean’s potential died when a bullet pierced his chest, leaving him to expire on the hood of a car.  Alone.  Far away from his family and friends.

I’ve been thinking about life and death a lot these past few days.  How it comes in with such potential and joy, then goes out; sometimes violently unexpected, sometimes peacefully welcomed. 

I have dreamed of perfect surroundings.  I have longed for better days.

 I have been to Disney World…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDBMeKNdXoI

But this is where I’d like to be…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlXglQYL4gQ

though I would temporarily settle for this…http://realestate.msn.com//slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=24168780&Gt1=35000#1#q=11%20amazing%20treehouses%20%3A%20Temple%20of%20the%20Blue%20Moon… it is not a high priority.

Still I do cast my gaze towards new horizons…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF2__-K8qFo&feature=related

But each day has the hope of a better tomorrow, whether it be in this life or the next.  Who really knows for sure what the beginnings of life will achieve or its waning moments will reveal?

Until the end comes, live each day as though it may be your last. 

At least give pause and be thankful for the wonders of life.  I intend to do the same, thanks to the early morning sounds of creation.

peace.