Misguided pilot: Pre-Easter Tragedy on the Mount

March 27, 2015
Unnecessary ragedy brings sad day to the French Alps.  (Photo credit:  Sebastien Mortier via flickr)

Unnecessary tragedy brings sad day to the French Alps. (Photo credit: Sebastien Mortier via flickr)

Although time has proven that you can rarely judge a book by its cover, there used to be some indication given off by a person that all was not well. In the case of the pilot that slammed a planeload of innocents into the terrifying vista of the French Alps on March 24, 2015, not only is he allegedly believed to have done this on purpose, but by most accounts he was an all-around great guy.

Andreas Lubitz, the culprit of this hate crime, was what the world calls a success.  He knew early that he wanted to make a career out of flying, and started training soon after graduation from high school. Many of his co-workers, neighbors, and instructors described him as a sometimes quiet, but friendly and popular man. He was admired for persevering and obtaining his goal of becoming a pilot.

But his apparently deliberate actions have many of us questioning what we think we know. No matter how shiny the outside veneer, only God completely knows the heart of men, although we can sometimes catch glimpses of the inner man by the fruit he bears. So despite this young man’s accomplishments and skills, something was terribly wrong. We don’t know at this point what it was, but whatever it was has changed the trajectory of an untold number of lives.

The other 149 people on Germanwings Flight 9525 had their own hopes and dreams brutally and instantaneously, according to the crash site investigators, snatched away. Their families and friends had their lives and hearts changed forever with the loss of their loved ones in such a tragic and senseless way. The randomness of this act is almost unbearable because it highlights the vulnerability of the masses.

What we can do

It is becoming increasingly clear that one of the most important things we can do is continue to pray. Even with all of the horrible things we see in the news, I don’t think we can even begin to imagine that horrors that God  may have blocked from the world thus far due to the effective fervent prayers of the righteous. (James 5:16 KJV)

We must watch as well as pray. Even though there may not be obvious signs of mental distress, be ever vigilant regarding subtle changes in behavior or mood swings in co-workers. We often spend more time with co-workers than we do at home, so we can sometimes pick up when they are a little tense.

Finally, continue to live. I saw a quote the other day advising people to live rather than just exist. We must be careful not to chain ourselves inside of ourselves, refusing any interaction with the world because of what might happen. Once you’ve done your due diligence as far as careful preparations and safety precautions, enjoy life for the gift that it is. I thank you.

My prayers and condolences to the loved ones of those lost in the tragic flight of Germanwings 9525.

 

 

Uniquely you; standing out in a cookie-cutter world

March 23, 2015
Walter Cronkite kept his audience enthralled.  (Photo Credit:  flicker.com)

Walter Cronkite kept his audience enthralled. (Photo Credit: flicker.com)

I get a kick out of my husband’s comments should we not be home in time for the news. He’ll always say we need to get home and catch the “Evening News with Walter Cronkite”. It tickles me, but it got me to thinking about the importance of giving our all in everything we do. As many of you know, Cronkite passed away July 17, 2009, culminating an illustrious career in broadcast journalism. In a statement following Cronkite’s death, President Obama said, “He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world.” Cronkite was one of the first newsmen to be known as “the most trusted man in America”, and unlike some of our more recent anchors, was not known to have dishonored that title. He was not perfect, as none of us are, but he established a reputation for telling it straight.

 

So it is very interesting that my husband still refers to CBS Evening News as Walter Cronkite’s show. He is not being disrespectful to current anchors, but in actuality he is bestowing yet another honor upon Cronkite. The journalist did his job so well, and made such an indelible impression that, years after his demise, he is still thought of in association with a great news program.

 
What is your task or calling today? To exercise your gift to the best of your ability can be an achievable goal for many of us. God blesses us with different talents that actually honor Him, when we share them with the world. And when we do so with a passion for excellence, He will enhance the rest so that it will reach where we cannot reach, and touch those we cannot touch. Go ahead, step out on faith today, and make your mark. Leave your unique stamp upon whatever duties befall your hands. I thank you.

You called me a what? Veronica goes to pieces.

March 19, 2015
Drama in the House!!!  (photo credit:  atlantablackstar.com)

Drama in the House!!! (photo credit: atlantablackstar.com)

How many of you watch Tyler Perry’s “The Have and the Have Nots”? I watch the show, and just about always enjoy it. There are two things I’d like to discuss right now and they are: Mommy/Son Issues and Don’t Call Me That.

Mommy/Son Issues

What in tarnation is wrong with Veronica? Every mother has wishes of how she’d like her child(ren) to turn out. There is nothing wrong with having those images in our minds, but what is dead wrong is trying to forcefully impose those views on them like they are our property. It seems the better thing to do is teach them values and morals to the best of our ability when they are very young and yielding. Once they are adults and can make their own decisions, we can choose to accept them or not, but we have no right to try to have our preferences beaten in or out of them. To turn a dangerous felon loose on your own child is crossing the line.

Don’t Call Me That

That last scene in the posh hotel bar can be taken so many ways. It was a very deep scene encompassing many story lines, i.e. David and Veronica’s relationship, David and Maggie’s relationship, and the dynamic between Veronica and Maggie. But one of the biggest takeaways to me was Veronica’s reaction to being called a “B” by David. She has done crazy things before behind closed doors, but has always had a public-ready facade in place when the doors opened and cameras started rolling.

 
This Veronica did not give two fig newtons that they were in an open hotel lobby. When David called her that name, she dove headfirst over the cliff of fed-up-ness. And I submit to you that her outward expression of rage is what any of us really feel, would feel, or have ever felt when called that name. If it’s a first date and a man calls you that, thank God you dodged a bullet, and run for the hills. But can you imagine having been married all that time, having invested your time and energy in promoting the joint success of you both, having squeezed out a child for this man, and then he calls you that? Explode would be the most like reaction for many.

 
Far too many women have become desensitized to being called that word because it is so prevalent in music, movies, and now even on television shows. We’ve gotten so used to hearing it that some of us call ourselves and our friends that to try to make it have a positive connotation, as in “I’m a bad B”. Well no matter how it is prettied-up and presented, it is still an ugly hurtful word. And Veronica played out the rage that we would feel inside; even should we decide to stay in the relationship. The word has got to go! Well done Veronica and more of us should insist “Don’t Call Me that”. I thank you.

Senseless Death Results in Surprisingly Low Voter Turnout

March 16, 2015
Will Empty Voting Booths be the death of our next generation?  (Photo Credit:  commons.wikimedia.org)

Will Empty Voting Booths be the death of our next generation? (Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org)

After the tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, it seemed as if the country was ripe for a change. The shooting of the unarmed Black teen by White Ferguson Police Officer Darrell Wilson occurred in August 2014, and is still a topic of hot controversy. The story brought about massive protests, in Ferguson and nationwide. The majority of the protests were peaceful, although some did get out of hand, leading authorities to don riot gear and threaten tear gas.

 
The cutting down of this young man brought out leading activists from all over the United States, and social media platforms exploded with offerings of support from observant users in many other countries. America was poised on its tiptoes for change, as it seemed that even Fate was holding her breath to see what the unleashed fury and grief that had been building through the centuries was going to bring. And then, in the big reveal, the curtains swished open to reveal nothing. That is, the poll booth curtains. For all the talks and marches, the most recent Ferguson elections in late 2014 netted an increase of only four percent more people showing up at the polls.

 
Voting is something that you do not have to pay to do, unlike many in past generations who were hurt and killed in the fight for the right to cast their ballot. Voting is something that many employers will give you time off to do before the polls close. And the majority of precincts, as well as radio stations, will provide information on how to get a free ride to vote. If your health allows, there is no reason not to vote…ever. That cop who committed cold-blooded murder on a teen, allegedly, is bad; but what can be said about all of the so-called supporters that can’t be bothered to lift a finger to vote for local authorities that could improve the situation? The word suicidal comes to mind. Let’s not kill ourselves with apathy. I thank you.

My high points of Super Bowl 49

February 2, 2015

The singing of “America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” gives me chills in a good way every time I hear them. And when those fighter jets go roaring over at the end, it makes you feel so safe, protected and proud to be an American. Kudos to every singer who has ever attempted the high notes of that song in front of a worldwide TV audience

But on the heels of the news of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s being in the hospital fighting for her life, it brings to mind the late great Whitney Houston’s rendition at Super Bowl XXV. Hers was perhaps the best performance of our national anthem ever. As we keep Bobbi Kristina, the only child of Houston and R&B star Bobby Brown, in our prayers for a full recovery, take a listen to her mommy blow.

The game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots started out a little slowly, so it was a nice cliff hanger when they went into the half tied 14 – 14. Let’s just condense the 3rd and 4th quarters down to what many consider the two most important plays. First, revel in this unbelievable catch by Jermaine Kearse. He should have been the MVP of the game for sheer valiant effort and will.

The deciding play was a pass that was, unfortunately, intercepted. No need to show that heartbreak again. Although many fans, including myself, were terribly upset by this call, I couldn’t help but admire Coach Pete Carroll’s acceptance of responsibility, and his refusal to blame the players.

zUP8

The halftime show was good. Katy Perry did a nice job, and has a great voice. Lenny Kravitz was excellent as usual, but his segment was much too short for viewers to get a chance to enjoy him. But hands down Missy Elliott stole the show. She came bouncing out with her old-school infectious beats and it immediately took you back to that good place where, at least in your own mind, you ruled the dance floor.

Woohoo!!! I loved it. I’m sorry the quality isn’t too clear. This was the best recording of it I could find on YouTube. Please let me know if you find a better copy dear readers and I will switch it out.

Hope you all enjoyed the Super Bowl and that your week is off to a great start. :)

 

Sodom, Gomorrah and American TV

January 9, 2015
What happened to the days when the whole family could watch TV together? (Photo Credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

What happened to the days when the whole family could watch TV together? (Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org)

This is one of those posts that I didn’t necessarily want to write, but felt compelled, almost duty bound, to compose. Some would probably call me a TV fanatic, because I love the talking box. I enjoy watching almost any and every kind of program. Regardless of the critics’ reviews, I normally give it a chance and make up my own mind. However, it seems that a lot of programs, in their efforts to be politically correct, are going overboard and showing too much.

Soap Operas

These types of shows have always been a guilty pleasure. The fantastical situations and years-long story lines keep us enthralled on a daily basis. Kudos to the writers, because as hard as it likely is for writers of weekly shows to keep things interesting, it must be quite a daunting task for serial writers to dream up back-to-back plot twists every day.

That being said, I don’t know if some of them are running out of ideas, or just trying to be inclusive, but something is a little off. For instance, there is one soap that features an hourglass in the opening credits. For the last few months, they have had a big buildup to a wedding between two men. Yes a fanfare-filled, Prince Charming wedding on daytime TV. Now these types of relationships have often been implied, but they showed the whole ceremony, right up to the kiss. But it didn’t stop there. Where I think they crossed the line is in repeatedly showing the couple in bed caressing each other and kissing all over. Once upon a time, sponsors would have balked, pulled their ads, and the scenes would have been deleted, but apparently this is a new day.

Reality Shows

There is one show that featured a former Olympic champion, his wife and the escapades of their three daughters. Then the story branched out as the grown kids began to take over one city after the other. I confess that I used to watch this show, but one day a light bulb went off. The oldest daughter, and the one who should have been setting the example for her kid sisters, is nonchalantly spilling out baby after baby, without so much as a howdy do, despite the fact that their children’s father still has not made an honest woman out of her. Like this is the norm. It was so aggravating to see this type of behavior celebrated, when it is so hypocritical. Let that happen in certain neighborhoods and economic classes, and it immediately brings out stereotypical comments of how “those” poor kids never have a two-parent stable home. But when you’re rich, it’s glorified? No ma’am, it doesn’t work that way. So I stopped watching.

Primetime Drama

It seems as if all of my favorite nighttime melodramas are being shot, live on location, in the polished-up burnt ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah recently. There is one which features a female lead who has the president wrapped around her little finger. And she specializes in handling things that could turn the nation’s capital upside down, if they were to become public. But lately all of the president’s men have been getting an abundance of screen time.

Then my show about the gubernatorial candidate’s family’s love-hate relationship with the housekeeper’s family is spinning out of control. Now to be fair, so far the plots have centered on the patriarch’s son, who is not into men, allowing little peeks and touches, to basically just toy with the judge’s son, who is struggling with coming out. Got all of that? But the show has thus far avoided the gratuitous mat-wrestling tussles that pass for love scenes.

Alas, one of my new favs has also taken the plunge. This fast-moving suspense piece takes the usually boring law classes and has the teacher do what thousands of real life professors long to do. This educator, who is also an attorney, has found a way to keep her students totally engaged by having them apply what they learn in class to the cases they help her solve. The show has some killer, literally, plot turns that keep the viewers on the edge of their seats in anticipation. Be that as it may, this show might be one of the worst yet, as far as aggressive, thrust-it-in-your-face, male-on-male groping.

I guess part of the problem is that these images are not just alluded to, but they are lingered on in overly-long close-up camera shots and angles. I feel that this constant and increasing exposure will desensitize us to the point where we feel any and everything is acceptable, because we see it all the time. Of course, if something offends us, we can always turn our heads. But when it gets to the point where you have to avert your eyes during the majority of the show, then Houston, we have a problem.

There are no immediate fixes or solutions. We don’t want to go back to the days of strict artistic censorship, but we do want to maintain a standard of dignity and decency. While we work on this, I’m thankful that some of the channels are now running some of the past gems in syndication. Those old “Andy Griffith”, “Sanford and Son” and “Perry Mason” reruns are looking pretty good right about now.

 

 

Three ways to beat the ding dong guilt.

January 6, 2015
Now you won't have to slink back to your car at the sound of these.  (Photo Credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

Now you won’t have to slink back to your car at the sound of these. (Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org)

Now that the holidays are over and we’ve enjoyed the warm fuzzy feelings, let’s explore another feeling that we often sweep under the rug. For want of a better term, I call it ding dong guilt. Why you ask?  Well because it refers to the feeling you sometimes get in the pit of your stomach when you’re all caught up in the merriment on the city sidewalks, and run smack dab into a cheery, or in some cases not so cheery, person ringing their chimes.  I won’t name any organizations, but suffice it to say that the representatives normally have on an apron and loudly clang clarions over a black kettle.  And they are usually blanketed over the entryways of EVERY store in town before and during the holiday season.

Don’t get me wrong. The first couple of days that we hear the winsome peals, our faces light up with joyous smiles because it’s like a symbol that Christmas is coming. It brings sentimental remembrances of earlier times when to grandmother’s house we went, as well as joyous anticipation of creating new memories as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But there is something a little embarrassing about rolling your buggy full of food out of the grocery store to feed your family, and having no change left to put in the pot to feed the hungry. And you can’t help but feel a tad remorseful when a clerk has to help you lug all of the toys you’ve brought for your little ones out to the car, and there’s nothing left to donate to kiddies who won’t wake up to any toys, save what is given through the kindness of others.

Well, that was 2014.  Starting this year and every year forward we can put those doldrums behind us. Here are the top three ways to beat ding dong guilt:

3.  Plan Ahead

It is the beginning of the year, so we have 10 full months before the November takeover.  So make it a family project and set aside a love jar. Whenever you come in from work, or the kids come in from school, put all of the change in this jar. By the end of the year, you should have multiple jars, or one huge jar.  Why not make it fun and instead of a piggy bank, buy or make a huge bell-shaped jar.  Some time in October you can have a fun night with some popcorn and hot chocolate, and spend a few hours as a family counting out and rolling the coins in wrappers. Then take the coins to your bank, exchange them for bills and happily be prepared to drop a gift at every store.

2.  Explore the Meaning

This is a great catalyst for family discussion and growth. You won’t be so tempted to grimace when you delve into the reasons behind these calls for aid. Honestly, in this day and age, when the majority of states still have their minimum wages at $7.25 per hour, a simple turn of misfortune could have any of us in dire straits indeed. So even though we may not be able to be our brother’s keeper 24 hours a day, we may learn to welcome the opportunity to do what we can when we can.

1.  Imagine

There’s a song by the late great John Lennon that expresses it beautifully.  The lyrics read:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.

Even though you will not be at the home of each and every recipient of your contribution on Christmas morning, allow yourself to imagine.  Picture the astonished screams of the child who never ever really thought they’d get a bicycle. Feel the joy of the mom who envelops her child in a warm coat, and knows that now that child won’t have to stand shivering from the cold at the school bus stop every morning. See in your mind the awed face of a little girl sitting cross-legged on the floor cradling her very first new Barbie doll after a short lifetime of hand-me down toys. Silent tears of happiness stream down her face because she never knew that Barbies came with two arms and legs.  Imagine…

Immigrants stand to gain licenses and help America in the process

January 2, 2015
California DMV will be the site of long lines starting today when undocumented immigrants can apply for their driver's licenses.   (photo credit:  www.flickr.com)

California DMV will be the site of long lines starting today when undocumented immigrants can apply for their driver’s licenses. (photo credit: http://www.flickr.com)

Well, well, well. What do you know? It seems that California has made it official that undocumented immigrants can apply for and, if they pass the test, receive their driver’s license. The new program takes effect today and the state is expecting extremely long lines. The department of motor vehicles has reportedly hired at least 900 extra employees to handle the additional applicants. What does this mean in the general scheme of things?

Well there are those who are upset, because they feel that the more perks you give people that entered the country without proper documentation, the more it will seem as if the country is giving them benefits to reward their illegal status. The naysayers feel that this will be a signal to other people, who might be considering coming over under the shield of cloak and dagger stealth, that it is quite okay. No matter how you came, you’re welcome to partake of the privileges of one of the greatest countries on earth.

These are valid points. However, if one looks at the glass as half full, there may be something positive to be gained out of this unusual situation. First, one of the main complaints is that the immigrants are undocumented. Well, allowing them to apply for a driver’s license solves almost 50 percent of that problem right away. They will have to have some sort of documentation to be issued a license. Because they are here illegally, many immigrants do not have social security numbers. More than likely, they will have to provide a letter from a utility company, or some other official piece of mail that they have received at their claimed address.

I lean towards thinking this will be an excellent start to getting some kind of real numbers as to how many people actually live in our country. I also believe it will make the roads less dangerous. Let’s face it; if people want to drive, they are going to find a way to drive. This way, we know that the immigrants must take the same kind of standardized written test and road test that everyone else has to pass. This will make the roads safer for all concerned.

Finally, this is a step towards getting everyone documented and ultimately incorporated into our huge tax base. Undocumented immigrants will get a driver’s license, have to pay registration fees, and then car property taxes, and the list goes on and on. Welcome to the real world friends. Yes, it’s a land of milk and honey, but a very highly-taxed paradise. This will ease the tax burden on us all because a $900 billion tax invoice is much more easily paid when there are an extra five million people available to split the check. Cheers folks, and welcome aboard.

2014 in review

December 29, 2014

Hi Friends, thank you to all my followers and visitors for a wonderful 2014.  Here’s wishing you all a wonderful, healthy, prosperous and HAPPY NEW YEAR for 2015.  :)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 28 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Open season in America; the hunt is on

December 7, 2014
Sad state of affairs.  (photo credit:  Southern Poverty Law Center)

Sad state of affairs. (photo credit: Southern Poverty Law Center)

Someone posted a statement on Facebook that is as heartbreaking as it is true. The person stated that every dog killed in the dog-fighting ring associated with Mike Vick got more justice than Michael Brown and Eric Garner. This is sadly telling of the state of race relations in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Vick can’t make a touchdown pass without someone saying that he shouldn’t be playing in the NFL after what happened to those dogs.  Well the difference is Vick was wrong, he was convicted, and he paid his debt to society by doing cold hard jail time.  The killers of Brown and Garner were not indicted by their respective grand juries, not even of negligence, even though they snuffed out human lives. And even worse, their killers were those sworn to protect and serve.

And then we have the ongoing investigation in Ohio of the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was brandishing a toy gun. The police normally would have sat in the car, yelled through the bull horn for the child to drop the weapon, and then shoot him if he refused to comply. The video shows that the police sped to the scene, jumped out the car, and unloaded a hail of bullets without saying a word to the boy.

The police officer responsible in this case left the Independence Police Department under threat of disciplinary action. His personnel record said he showed a “dangerous loss of composure during live range training” and an “inability to manage personal stress.” The evaluator wrote in his file, “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.”

Yet he waltzed right into a police job with the Cleveland Police Department, which said that they weren’t aware of his record, because they had not read his personnel file. This is indicative of the systemic racism that also is prevalent in hiring practices. A black person would have undergone an extensive background check to even get a job as the police station janitor.  And they would have been turned down for the position if it came to light that they had so much as skipped a class way back in eighth grade.

What in the Sam Hill is going on? I haven’t seen this type of behavior since people stopped wearing hooded white robes and pointed hats. There is a line from the movie “Inglorious Bastards” where Brad Pitt’s characters says, “we’re going to be doing one thing and one thing only: killing Nazis”. Unfortunately, it seems as if the killing has started up again, only this time they aren’t killing Nazis.

Police killings with no convictions.  (photo credit:  Facebook)

Police killings with no convictions. (photo credit: Facebook)

Let me say that I absolutely believe that the majority of police are honorable and perform their duties to the best of their abilities. But unless we are vigilant in instructing these misguided grand juries that even law enforcers are not above the law, the distrust between citizens and officers will continue to widen. If any good has come from these tragedies, it is that this type of behavior has come to light. It’s time for a national dialogue, and much prayer, to see what must be done to rectify these situations before any more families needlessly lose a loved one.


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