Archive for the ‘why are we here?’ Category

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.

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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…

~

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!

~

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.

2011 – The Bell Tolled 50 Years Ago

December 31, 2010

Okay. I’ve started, stopped, (paused) started, stopped and started again. Now for the pay-off. I began Shades of Hemingway several years ago and then wrote two sequels and promised a third. After some delays… here it is.

Almost.

Before I commit the next few months to putting the final chapters online I wanted to do a recap.  So, if you are new here and don’t want to review the archives… cool, the recap may suffice.  If you came on board from the beginning… cool, the recap will refresh your memory.  If you came on board from the beginning and remember the story and its sequels… cool.  Tune in next time for the concluding chapters.

2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s death.  While Shades of Hemingway, Medium Exposure and Deja’ Voodoo are works of fiction I tried to remain true to the image of the man.   I hope you will agree that these stories all or in part convey the spirit of one of America’s greatest authors.

~ 

Summoned by The Shades of Hemingway; Chris Fiore, a tourist in the Florida Keys, turns amateur sleuth as he sets out to expose the killer of a Key West policeman. Drawn into Cuba by an ancient voodoo ritual that eventually links to Ernest Hemingway’s past, will the bell toll for Chris as well?
 

While vacationing with friends, Chris meets the shades of Hemingway in Key West.  Originally enticed by Hem who wants to be Chris’ ghostwriter for a supposed Hemingway revival, he is later recruited to expose the killer of Robert Jordan.  Chris is continually visited by each of the shades at different intervals of his quest to help guide and encourage him.  Eventually he goes to Cuba to rescue Brett Jordan and learns of his friend Keith’s involvement in human trafficking.
 
 
 Excerpt from the story…*

“You’ll have some big shoes to fill usin’ that, Sport. I wonder if you’re up to the task?”

I looked up to the entrance to the study, and only then did I see another door off in the corner leading to a small bathroom. In the open door, a man of about 40 stood there, drying his hands on a towel. He was dark haired, mustached and stocky wearing a silky-looking bathrobe over pajamas and dark leather slippers. He smiled at me as I gulped down my wildly beating heart.

“I’m sorry,” I stammered, then hopefully asked, “are you part of the tour?”

The man laughed; a hearty, belly shaking laugh. “Part of the tour, you ask? Why, Sport, I AM the tour!”

I was at least ten feet from the entrance to the carriage house study, but I bounded out the door in two steps. Down the iron staircase I stumbled, and out into the back yard I ran like a scalded dog. Only after taking several steps did I realize I was not being chased. I stopped to turn around and looked back at the doorway leading to Hemingway’s chambers.

There was no one there.*

~

HEM, Hemingway at middle age and the most predominant of the shades.

Hem originally contacts Chris and sets him out on his adventure. Hem has all the vitality and vigor of Ernest Hemingway at the prime of his life and celebrity. He is the most ambitious and has the strongest influence of the three shades. Hem is the adventurer and the catalyst behind Chris’ search.

PAPA, Hemingway in his later years.

Papa is the more reflective and subdued of the three shades. He is the voice of reason and appears to reassure Chris during times of difficulty or to impart wisdom.

~

Excerpt from the story…*

“I dreamt again last night, Papa. I dreamt I was back at Sloppy Joe’s with Hem and he was telling me I had to expose Officer Jordan’s killer.”

“Yes, I know, Chris. Jordan’s spirit is in a state of flux, caught between the living and the dead. Your arrival came at an opportune time, giving him a chance to rest in peace.”

“But doesn’t he know who did it? Wouldn’t it be simpler just to have him appear before the authorities and tell them?”

“Simpler, yes, but not possible… that ability is sort of ‘out of bounds’ for us.”

“Why not? He knows who did him in, doesn’t he?”

“Yes, he does. But we are not empowered to speak about certain things.” *

~

RING LARDNER, JR., the youngest Hemingway.

Ring is the unblemished and moral one, the idealistic teenaged Hemingway who went to war. He has the strength and virtue of character that Chris needs when his own courage fails him.

~

Excerpt from the story…*

Ring looks over at me. His eyes seem vacant and lost, he is a young man far from home having just witnessed first hand the spectacle and barbarian tactics of war. But his voice is strong. He calls to me.

“Wake up, Chris.”

“What? I am awake!”

“No, Chris… you’re not. Wake up this instant.”

“I’m awake! Ring; I see you, I can hear you… my eyes are wide open! The guy next to me needs a cigarette!”

I look back over at “the smoker” but he is flat on his back and out of it. I look back at Ring and shrug.

“She is still alive, Chris. She is still alive and she needs your help. Wake up, Chris… rescue her. You’re not too late…”

I turn away from Ring Lardner, Jr. and look up and down at the rows of hospital beds. Now they are all empty, even “the smoker’s” bed is vacant. My mind is racing. I can sense my body detaching, a booster rocket falling away into space… am I dying?*

~

KEITH, Chris’ friend who turns out to be the manipulative villain.

Keith is the reason Chris originally goes to Key West. On the surface, Keith is a happy-go-lucky guy with an import/export business. In reality, Keith is involved with human trafficking and becomes Chris’ adversary.

BRETT JORDAN, a Key West detective, is the former wife of Jake Barnes and the sister of Robert Jordan. Brett is unaware that she is a spirit medium for her dead brother and when she disappears, Chris’ infatuation with Brett leads him to Cuba in an attempt to rescue her.

JAKE BARNES, a Key West detective and Brett’s former husband. Jake has been investigating the smuggling of Cuban refugees into the Florida Keys in co-operation with the Cuban government. Keith’s kidnaping of rich Americans and holding them for ransom in Cuba has further strained the relations between the authorities. Jake eventually becomes Chris’ ally.

NATY REVUELTA, a Cuban refugee who has returned to Cuba to assist in the raising of her dead sister’s children. Naty’s family finds Chris after he has been beaten and left for dead shortly after his arrival in Cuba. Naty and her sister had a conflicting relationship with Keith, which led to her sister’s suicide.

ROBERT JORDAN, Key West policeman who is killed in his rookie year. He is the younger brother of Brett Jordan. His death has disrupted the spirit realm and causes the shades to recruit Chris to expose his killer.

“MANOLO” SGT. GARCIA, Cuban policeman who has been working with Jake Barnes. He takes Chris to Cuba when Brett turns up missing.

LORD CRISTOBAL, Cuban voodoo priest who has ties with Keith’s import/export business. Keith has used his connections with Lord Cristobal to expand into the ransoming of Americans.

LAURA, Keith’s wife. She is friends with Rachel and accompanies Keith when he invites Chris and Rachel to go to the Keys. Laura is unaware of Keith’s illegal activities.

RACHEL, Chris’ girlfriend in the first book. Rachel and Laura have a professional relationship which encouraged the friendship between Chris and Keith.

~

Excerpt from the story…*

“Let me get this straight. You say all that talk about me writing for you and making the world remember you and keeping the Hemingway name relevant was just a ruse?’

Hem is more interested in the women, he doesn’t bother to address me directly but is smiling and encouraging them. “In a manner of speaking, yes. Jordan needs you now, more than we do.”

“I know nothing about Officer Jordan other than he was killed in the line of duty.”

“And that is precisely the point. Jordan needs to have his killer brought to justice.”

Now it begins to sink in.

“Wait a minute! You want me to find whoever is responsible for Jordan’s death? I’m no detective!”

Hem abruptly dismisses the women who in turn look at me with dejected contempt. Hem reaches for his shot glass, downs its contents with a single gulp, then returns it in favor of a tall beer chaser, which he thirstily swigs until it is half empty. The phantom bartender instantly appears to refill the shot glass and replenish the beer. Hem pauses for a moment, fingers the little condensation ring formed by the beer glass then again faces me.

“You don’t understand, Sport. We don’t want you to find Jordan’s killer, we want you to expose Jordan’s killer. *

~

There are four books in the series:

In Shades of Hemingway, Chris and Rachel go with Keith and Laura to Key West where Chris first meets Hem, Papa and Ring Lardner, Jr. Hem convinces Chris that the shades need him to act as a ghostwriter in order to represent them for a Hemingway revival, so initially Chris agrees. Chris meets Key West policeman, Robert Jordan, who directs him to the Green Parrot as an “off the beaten path” local bar. While there, Chris gains the attention of several shady characters but remains unaffected by their presence. Later, discovering a conflict between the shades, Chris decides fame and fortune is not worth compromising his principles for and rejects Hem’s offer to make him a writer. Chris returns an artifact he “borrowed” from the Hemingway Estate, thinking that would rid him of the shades. Unfortunately, Chris is caught, put in jail, but then released when he agrees to stay away from the Estate and return for a court appearance. It is while he is leaving the jail with his friends that Chris discovers Robert Jordan was actually a ghost.

In Medium Exposure, Chris returns alone for his court appearance, after breaking up with Rachel. He finds out that the men who saw him in the Green Parrot Bar are Cuban policemen assisting Jake Barnes in a human trafficking case. Chris meets Papa who warns him of the kyklos tod mene and that his own death is possible. Chris goes to another bar, the Golden Earring, and sees Brett for the first time. The next day, following an accidental meeting with Brett at the courthouse, Chris is kidnaped when he tries to leave Key West. After being dumped off on the causeway that connects the Florida Keys, Chris is picked up by Brett who reveals herself to be a Key West detective. Eventually Brett takes Chris back to her apartment and seduces him. The next day, Chris awakes to find that Brett is gone. Jake appears and declares himself her husband. Jake questions Chris on Brett’s whereabouts. Chris discovers that Brett is Robert Jordan’s sister. Sensing he is about to be arrested again, Chris flees only to meet up with Sgt. Garcia. Sgt. Garcia assures Chris he knows where Brett is, that she is in danger and he can lead Chris to her. Caught between being arrested by Jake or trusting Garcia, Chris leaves for Cuba.

In Deja’ Voodoo, Chris arrives in Cuba and ditches Sgt. Garcia. At a local bar, Chris meets Hem, who tells Chris to look up Lord Cristobal. When the bartender learns of Chris’ desire, a ride is arranged. The driver, thinking Chris is a rich tourist, tries to rob Chris then beats him, leaving him for dead. Chris is then found by the family of Naty Revuelta. Ring Lardner, Jr. appears while Chris seems to be fading off. Ring reminds Chris that he is there to find Brett. Because of his desire for Brett, Chris pulls through. The Revuelta family nurses Chris back to health. Naty turns out to be a refugee who has returned to Cuba from the U.S. to help raise her dead sister’s children. Later Chris learns of Naty’s former relationship with Keith which resulted in her sister’s suicide. Chris goes to Lord Cristobal to learn of the possible connection between Keith and Brett. Waiting for Chris at the Villa Vinales de Eden is Jake Barnes who takes him into “custody”.

 ~

And finally begins… 

 

Bone Island Abattoir.

~

I hope you will enjoy and Happy New Year.

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.

An Invasion of Piracy

November 13, 2010

Yo ho ho and a bottle of root beer!  Okay, pirates come in all shapes and sizes…

But sometimes you just gotta wonder about the legitimacy of some…

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39897648/ns/business-world_business/?gt1=43001

Here’s an instance of a person being pirated because of alleged pirating…

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9134582/Analysis_1.92M_fine_in_music_piracy_case_could_hurt_RIAA

and of course, there is the threat of software piracy…

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40045602/ns/technology_and_science-the_new_york_times

But I think that not all pirates are brandishing cutlass’ and carrying off booty.  Some are just keeping legitimate ideas from surfacing, and I think that is the worst type of pirate, the one that seems to be above such dastardly deeds, but actually causes more harm than good.  Check this out…

http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/plastic-to-oil-fantastic/

Changing plastic to oil would be way cooler than placing it in land fills…

Don’t you think?

Now who could possibly think this could be bad?  Exxon?  Naw…

peace.

Ah… let me get this straight. You’ll pay me NOT to perform?

October 13, 2010

With all due respect to my last post, you gotta LOVE this!  A fan of the group Weezer is opening up a collection to bribe this band NOT to record anymore music?  That is hysterical!  This morning I saw this on MSN and had to – had to – HAD TO put it in a post.  Some of the performers on this list … okay, ALL of the performers on this list should be bribed not to record anymore, but are there others?  Let me know what you think…

http://entertainment.ca.msn.com/music/photos/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=25917564

Meanwhile… why should we limit ourselves to “musicians”?  I’d love to get a collection together for Julia Roberts.  Please! Julia!  No more half-baked movies!  Take the money!  AARRRRGGhh!  Or how about Jennifer Aniston?  Please Jenn, make my day… no more movies!  Hey!  Why didn’t I think of this before?  Lets take up a collection for ol’ what’s her name?  You know, that Hilton dweeb?  Who cares if you have ANY F’ing BFFs?  Get off the air!  Take the money!  Wow!  This is great!

Howard Stern, yuck!  Your time has passed!  Take the money and get your annoying self off the air!  Rush Dumbell!  Pa-leezze!  Shut up!  Here, take the money!  Al Sharp-tongue!  Stash the cash and shut up!   Oh!  I love this!

Simon says, Simon!  Shut the hell up!  Take the money and run!  Oprah!  OMG!  Oprah?  Helloooo peooople!  Shut the hell up!  You should be paying me!  Ellen!  Here, I’ll write you a check!  Doctor Fill?  I’m up to the brim! Shut the hell up!

It’s pretty darn bad when fans are willing to pay their “favorite” entertainers to STOP trying to entertain them, but maybe that is what we have come to.

How about we take up a collection for sports figures? Lebron!  Stop!  Or reality “stars”?  Heidi!  Enough!  Even authors?  Hell yes!  Steven King, shut the hell up!

Better still, let’s make them pay us back! 

The last couple seasons of Survivor sucked!  You guys owe me big time!  Dancing with the Stars?  Dance around this!  My time is too valuable!

Maybe… just maybe… people are going to demand more from the “artists” that entertain us.  Maybe the void, this insatiable vacuum will finally be shut down and we’ll actually start getting people with talent instead of the star maker machinery behind the popular song.

Joni!  Don’t even think about it!

peace.

What I Have Written, I Have Written

October 9, 2010

I can say to my BB a dozen times, “I love you” but it seems to have more meaning to her when I write it down just once.  Whether on a card, a note, or a letter, the sentiments I vocalize many times a day pale in significance to the scrawl of my hand.  Those very words, I love you… etched in that moment of time are held like an official document or a piece of evidence that makes the hearing of it circumstantial but the tangible proof more credible somehow.  The written word is more eloquent and she never tires of reading it.

Which brings me here, to the writings of my blog and the past four years of sporadic entry.  Many things have changed since May 2006 and the whimsy that placed me at the keyboard in the first place.  I re-married.  I re-located.  I re-considered my politics.  Through all of those months and thousands of words stretched into 400 entries here at AMRFP, I learned something about myself.  She reminds me of it every day… 

But there is more to it than that.  Do the entries I have posted stand the test of time?  Did I think or say something here that proved false?  Were my convictions misplaced?  Are there inaccuracies here that have somehow misled?

Hmmm… think back. http://advantagesofmutualrespectandfairplay.com/2006/05/27/in-the-begining/

I  still love that song…

and I still believe that original, first post of May 2006 and with each entry I tried to remain true to that theme of Advantages of Mutual Respect and Fair Play because I truly believe that is what the world needs and if you live it, it will come back to you. 

Or perhaps, out live you…

http://advantagesofmutualrespectandfairplay.com/2006/06/22/9/

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/10/09/earlyshow/saturday/main6942465.shtml

I know that some bloggers use this tool as a bully pulpit and I tried not to do that, but sometimes it was just unavoidable…

http://advantagesofmutualrespectandfairplay.com/2006/07/22/blinded-by-foresight/

Oh, I’ll admit that I have had my share of theories, but I don’t think they were all that far-fetched, considering the subject matter.http://advantagesofmutualrespectandfairplay.com/2006/08/26/the-rock-and-roll-conspiracy/  And you must agree with me to a certain point, because this topic remains one that still receives a multitude of hits.

Wow.  Wild Thing I think you move me…

Anyway, for what purpose was AMRFP started and why should it continue?  I mean, hasn’t it all been said? many times over? by someone more capable and profound than myself? http://advantagesofmutualrespectandfairplay.com/2006/09/28/life-begins-at-wd40/

and it is lovely to see you each and every time.  Walk along with me to the next bend.  But when and where does the next bend lay (or lie?)  And what was AMRFP originally?  A celebration of truth, justice, freedom of speech, mom’s apple pie, Jesse Winchester and the lifestyle of a free radical thinker (don’t tell your mother, she knows)

So maybe that is what this blog needs, to get back on track.  Perhaps its original destination has detoured a bit, http://advantagesofmutualrespectandfairplay.com/2006/10/13/irrefutably-44th-avenue-south/ but it’s intentions were good.

 https://lifemadedelicious.ca/en/Recipes/P/Perfect_Apple_Pie.aspx?&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=Apple%20Pie%20Recipe&utm_content=164731333&utm_campaign=.Pies

Honest.  Sometimes I just needed something to lift me from the doldrums and a random piece just tumbled out, http://advantagesofmutualrespectandfairplay.com/2006/11/14/53-studebaker-goin-for-broke/  which in turn led to some interest by you, the reader.  It was all quite fun and not to be taken too seriously.  But then, what happened?

http://advantagesofmutualrespectandfairplay.com/2006/12/05/sacred-words-sung-to-beatles-music/

I guess I got a little cynical… is that a bad thing?

I remind myself of the Bible’s description of the betrayal of Jesus found in the book of John.  You remember, how Jesus was left by his disciples and condemned by the religious leaders of the day?  They were supposed to be on the watch for the Son of Man but gave in to their own interpretations of what he should be.  And when Jesus clearly did not recognize the religious leader’s hierarchy, they gave him over to the authorities to be put to death as a fraud.  While Pilate could find nothing wrong with the man, as a king Jesus was a threat to Caesar and Pilate had to act.  He washed his hands of the matter and sent Jesus off to be impaled, placing a sign over his stake in Hebrew, Latin and Greek that read: Jesus the Nazarene – The King of the Jews.   Of course, the priests and rabbis took immediate offense at this and declared, ” Do not write ‘the King of the Jews’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’ ”  After which Pilate famously declared, “What I have written, I have written.”  John 19:22

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39397251/ns/us_news-life?gt1=43001

I have tried to stay neutral on some subjects, but it has been difficult.  Sometimes you just gotta let it ride…

So, starting with post 401 and from this day forward I will try to remain true to what I originally set out to do with this blog.  There have been many fringe benefits along the way.  There have been some repercussions, too.  I will make every effort to place as a priority mutual respect and fair play.

After all, isn’t that what we all want?

Peace.

money “grows” on trees

September 21, 2010

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/filmmaker-fills-tree-with-money-for-social-experiment/20nc5q6t?rs=tree&from=en-us_msnhp&form=msnhed&gt1=42007

I found this interesting. 

I guess most of us are so used to gimmicks or gags that seeing money offered for the taking becomes suspect.  Kind of like the lottery.  People become really interested when the jackpot hits 100 million dollars.  As if 80 or 90 million is small change…

Now if on this money tree they’d been 100’s…

I wonder what would have happened then.

http://www.whoisamy.com/

peace.

Social Insecurity (or How I Stopped Worrying and Love Being Less Self-Assured)

September 17, 2010

I guess it is no big news that the economy is in the crapper.  Just look at me, home on a work day.  Oh, it’s nobody’s fault, really.  Sometimes things just work out that way when you work construction.  You either have too much work or not enough.  It’s hard having it come in just as you need it.

I’ve reached an age where I can just about picture myself retiring.  Now that’s scary.  Because when you think about it, no one is conscientiously  going to grow old, are they?  We all are going to go on and on until we reach middle age, somewhere way in the future.  But grow old?  Never!

So imagine my disheartenment when I read this on the Internet yesterday…

http://frugalzeitgeist.com/how-long-will-social-security-last/

I know how to fix social security.  It is very simple.  End it.  Baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 still get it.  The rest forge ahead with a new program.  It will be called Social Assurance.  Families that take care of their own will benefit the greatest.  They will see reduced taxes if not eliminated all together.  Oh, there will be other means for the government to collect taxes, don’t worry about that.  But these families will not pay taxes on their wages.  Imagine that.  Keeping Grandma might be a better financial arrangement than shipping her to an old folks home. 

Medication and health care for those over 65?  Free.  F-R-E-E.  How can we afford this?  Simple.  Health care will become non-profit.  It seems a crime to me to make money on someone else’s illness.  Doesn’t that seem to be a conflict of interest?  If you make them well, they no longer need your services.  So just keep them coming back, stretch it out.  Suck them dry.  Nope, not anymore. 

In 2009 America’s #1 export was military equipment.  Our #2 export was pharmaceuticals.  If we don’t kill them we strive to make them well.  Remove the profiteers from these two “commodities” and we might be able to do away with a lot of things.

Did you know that there are a record number of Americans living in poverty?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39211644/ns/us_news-life

This is happening while we claim to have a better way for the world.  Democracy.  This despite a 12 trillion dollar annual Gross National Product. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_2008_US_GNP  So how do we reverse the trend of more  people living in poverty?   Simple.  Stop giving jobs away.  We were at our greatest when we took care of ourselves first.  The Bible says, “Remove the rafter from your own eye, then you can better see how to remove the splinter from your brothers eye.”  Luke 6:42  If we don’t work, we don’t make money.

Did you know illegal substance abuse is higher now? 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39200536/ns/health-addictions/?GT1=43001

I guess it is because of the pressure of day-to-day living.  People need to escape.  Alcohol consumption is up, too.    Here’s a thought.  Decriminalize marijuana.  

I’m not saying everyone should smoke a fatty.  Everyone shouldn’t.  I don’t.  But you know, we spend billions on the war against drugs, why not divert our attention to national security instead?  We have not gained anything in making pot illegal, except making our citizens criminals.  More people die because of alcohol related abuse than any other single cause.  Think about it.  Crimes of violence.  Automobile deaths.  Health related deaths.  Work related injuries and deaths.  Throw tobacco in there and the cost is staggering.  Nobody ever knocked over a convenience store because they were high on pot.  

I say educate the public and let them decide.  You can legally brew your own beer, why not grow your own pot?  Curtail the selling of marijuana, yes.  Sell it as you do tobacco and alcohol, yes.  And of course, tax it.  Limit it’s use as we already limit alcohol and tobacco.  I don’t think we would become a nation of pot-heads.  Millions have tried it and left it behind.  Some have used it all their lives and functioned normally.  We can’t predict how society will respond, so why are we trying to protect us from ourselves, especially when it is an unpopular and costly effort that has not garnished any positive gains?  The definition of insanity?  Trying the same solution to a problem and expecting different results.  We need a broader mind, not a closed one.

And another thing.  This insurance business.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39215770/ns/health-health_care/?GT1=43001

It comes down to profit again.  I don’t think the U.S. government should be in the insurance business.  In fact, I don’t think anybody should.  If it is broken, lets fix it.  If you are sick, let’s make you better.  If you have lost it, let’s replace it.  It is that simple. 

Our society should operate like a family.  We take care of our own.  There is no enrichment at another’s expense, there is no profiting off another’s calamity.  The old ways are gone.

Okay.  How are we going to PAY for all this progress?  Simple.

Social Assurance means faith in ourselves.  That we will be treated honestly and fairly.  That we will be cared for and looked out after.  This is a pact we make unto ourselves, this is a creed we will live by that as long as we are treated fairly, we will treat others the same way.  There is no greed because of an un-certain future.  There is no theft for lack of necessity.  There is no animosity or suspicion of motive.

What do we all want?  To live and let live.  To go our way, to be clothed and fed and sheltered from the elements.  To see our loved ones prosper, not just financially but morally, physically and spiritually.

Social Assurance means trust in each other.

Most dreams seem far-fetched… but the reality is, our set course is not our desired destination.

peace.