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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Why I want to be an Australian


I want to be an Australian. Is this normal? Okay, I'll tell you why. In a nutshell it's because Australians say "Cheers" all the time. I just find that expression to be so overwhelmingly polite and optimistic and wonderful. The mailman drops off the mail and you say, "Cheers." You pay your grocery bill and say, "Cheers." You do a TV interview and when you're done you smile and say, "Cheers."

And you say it whether you're feeling cheerful or not. You say it because it's an affirmation of life, because it's a shorthand way of saying, "I wish you well, friend," because, no matter how hard life may seem at times, life is good.

So sign me up to the Australian fan club. I admire you guys. And oh yeah, (I almost forgot), "Cheers!"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The secret benefit of being creative


Ernest Hemingway said he loved it when he was done writing for the day, that he could really enjoy his free time then. In other words, if he'd been creative, he was happier.

How about this quote by Gay Hendricks (from his book Conscious Living):

If you are expressing your creative potential, you get to feel good about yourself. If you are not, you don't.

Granted, the quote sounds pretty conclusive, but I think it's true. I'm not going to pretend to understand the dynamic behind it, but I know from my own life that really is the case.

And I've gotten to the point where if I'm not creative during a particular day, that I do feel worse. (And I've also gotten to the point that I crave being creative.)

I think after you get used to being creative for a while, being creative becomes a way of life. And it's a very pleasurable way to live.

So create something—you'll feel better! It doesn't have to be anything big. Just be creative in whatever you're doing. Give it your own personal flair!

Monday, May 29, 2017

No matter what happens there will still be love in the world

                                        memorial day parade Itasca, Illinois

I just watched the Mark Wahlberg movie "Patriots Day" (about the Boston Marathon bombing) two days ago. And today I just watched the Memorial Day parade in my hometown, Itasca, Illinois.

Parades always move me. The idea that people come together to celebrate their lives, their country, their friends and families, their hopes and dreams. It warms my heart. But today I was also moved for another reason.

Fire engine sirens heralded that the parade was getting close. I live right on the parade route and have seen it so many times I have how it works down pat. So yeah, I grabbed my camera and went downstairs. The people. Old, young. Some pregnant. All happy. Laughing. Together. Excited. I relaxed into the warm, loving vibe.

Then BOOM! Down the street, just out of my line of sight, the Civil War re-enactment soldiers marching in the parade had shot off their muskets. The pregnant woman next to me jumped a little, and I saw a dog shivering with its tail between its legs.

                                          this puppy got spooked by the musket boom

When the pregnant woman realized what had happened she laughed, and the dog owners bent low to comfort the puppy. And that was the extent of the effect of the boom.

But I couldn't help but think of the "Patriots Day" movie and the after-effects of the boom/explosion for the runners and the crowd gathered to watch the Boston Marathon. The explosion knocked people from their feet, tore the limbs off some, killed others. People scrambled to help but the smoke and confusion and fear made it hard. It was terror, chaos.

And all for what?

I'm an optimistic person, but I can't help but wonder why human beings on this earth can't get along. Why hate still drives people to kill their fellow human beings.

But I'm sure of one thing: the power of the love I experienced today in the coming-together of people wanting to live and love and build the world up will overcome whatever powers of darkness confront it.

Sting has a song called "After The Rain Has Fallen" that has a lyric:

"After the thunder's spoken, and
After the lightning bolt's been hurled
After the dream is broken, there'll
Still be love in the world."

Yeah, nothing'll stop love from being in the world. Nothing.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

R-E-S-P-E-C-T and why you don't need it


Hamilton is all the rage right now on Broadway. And of course, Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Duels were all about restoring one's honor after being disrespected. Duels meant you would rather die than be disrespected.

You see it today too. Especially with the gangs. Countless lives are lost because so-and-so disrespected so-and-so.

Really it's so stupid.

My nephew has a female Alaskan Malamute. He takes her to the dog park and says: 'It's so cool. All these dogs there bark at her and try to get her going and she just ignores them.'

It's the same with us. People who "disrespect" us are just looking to get a reaction from us. As the saying goes 'it takes two to tango.' Or the idea that if there is a fire and you throw logs on it it will increase. If you don't throw logs on it it will die out.

There's a book called What You Think of Me Is None of My Business. People are angry at me. Disappointed in me. Disrespecting me. Hey, that's their thing. They are basically like those dogs barking at my nephew's dog. They're saying: 'We're trying to hook you into getting upset.'

But you can just let them bark to high heaven and happily go about your business.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Spreading the love


I was reading a book about advertising. They said it was more important to have slow, steady growth, than huge bursts followed by dropoffs. And you got that slow, steady growth by spacing your ads out, not by having one humongous ad.

The book got me thinking about the actual meaning of "spreading the love." And I thought, what a cool idea, especially at this time of year. Just spreading love all over. Not just giving love to one person or one thing or one idea. And really the business analogy applies: when you pour everything into one thing/person/idea/business/etc and it leaves you, you're facing the huge dropoff, as well. Whereas, if you spread that love all around, you're going to be supported. You'll have slow, steady growth.

I've always been a non-spreader. I remember a movie a while back where two lovers talked about being a 'nation of two.' That sort of insularity always appealed to me. Maybe because people had disappointed me so many times I was unwilling to trust more than a select few. But I'm changing. Spreading the love is the way to go. It's safer. It's more fun. It's better.

The golfer Billy Casper recently passed away. Here's a photo of him.


He's beaten Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and won a slew of golf major championships. I recently read his last interview, and the interviewer asked him which golf victory he most wanted to be remembered for. Billy Casper answered that he didn't want to be remembered for his golfing achievements, he wanted to be remembered for his love of humanity.

Ultimately, there's nothing more important than the love we show each other. Spread the love.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pseudo spirituality anyone?


There is such a craze today about spirituality. Yoga, meditation. Then in the arts: zombies, werewolves, shape shifters, Harry Potter. Everything but the real thing. Hmm. Wonder why.

I have a theory. People sense that there is spiritual power out there. There is. But they want power they can control. Not Power that can control them. Hence, they will go to any lengths to get that spirituality but stop just short of the line that has them surrendering control.

Like the term 'Lord.' People want to be Lords, not have a Lord.

So round and round people play with pseudo spirituality. Harmless enough, right? Like kids playing make-believe.

I'm not so sure. Because see, there is a real spirituality. With big time stakes. And I think the distraction pseudo spirituality provides keeps a lot of people away from the real thing.

I like pseudo spirituality stuff. It can be fun to think about humans having super powers or zombies or whatever. I'm just not losing track of the real thing, because that's where the real power is.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

If Donald Trump talked to Gandhi


"Whoa, I love the robe! You've got some style, Mahatma. You should consider branding it."

"Thank you, The Donald."

"Yeah, me, I've got the best brand in the world, Mahatma. Everybody loves me."

"Even here in India?"

"Especially in India. I'm telling you, Indians can't get enough of me."

"But you seem very aggresive. My philosophy is based on non-violence."

"Trust me, Mahatma, non-violence is old school. In today's world you got do the deed when you need to."

"Do people love you for this?"

"People especially love me for it. People love me for everything I do. Mahatma, I could stand naked in the Ganges and sing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and people would love me. I could kill a cow and they'd love me. I could kill all the cows!"

"You are worrisome to many people."

"Ah, only to the wimps."

"And the Muslims."

"Well."

"And Mexicans."

"They'll come around. There's a few good ones. I know them and they love me. Soon all the Mexicans will. Well, the ones I let stay here anyway."

"And women."

"Oh my God, Mahatma. Are you kidding me? Have you seen my wife? Women everywhere love me. Yeah, some are fat and, well, not too easy to look at, but they love me anyway. Everybody does."

"But you are making enemies."

"Everybody will come around in the end. They always do."

"Hillary Clinton too?"

"Oh, don't get me started on her."

"The Donald, I must go."

"Well, hey, it was good talking to you. I'm going to make sure to build some golf courses in India. And don't forget to encourage your Indian buddies to vote for me. They'll love me! I'm telling you! Everybody does!"