Saturday, December 31, 2016

Positive pet peeves... and ice cream!

My last blog entry of 2016.
  I was thinking about writing another piece on my pet peeves (click here for the previous pet peeves article) as a last entry for the new year. As I sat and thought about it I realized it was so negative and I’m really working hard to be a more positive, happy person. And then I thought about ice cream. If you know me at all then you know how I LOVE ice cream. I also have a philosophy on ice cream which is “Ice Cream makes the world a better place.” Think about it. You’ve never seen anyone be angry or mad while they were eating ice cream. It’s impossible. If you sit down to eat ice cream and you’re angry your anger will be gone after the first bite! Ice cream is the solution to the world’s problems. Send a boat load of ice cream to ISIS and voila! No more terrorism! I know, a little simplistic but seriously you just can’t be angry or mad when eating ice cream. But I digress.
  So I thought about how ice cream makes me happy and I wanted to write about my pet peeves - remember them? Well I thought I would turn it around a bit and write about my pet peeves in a positive manner but we’re not going to call them pet peeves. We’re just going to say here are five things you can do in the new year to make the world a friendlier, happier place!

1. Open doors. No, not just for yourself but for others. Take a moment and hold the door for others as they try to enter or exit. It’s not just a must for me to do for women but everyone can hold the door open for someone. It only takes a moment or too and then you can be on your way.

2. Use your turn signals. I know sometimes the bulbs might be burned out or the lens broke or something that prevents your signals from working but judging from the number of people I’ve had turn right in front of me or change lanes suddenly I’m thinking it’s more about laziness of the driver than it is about the lights not working. Oh, I’m guilty too and I’ve taken it upon myself to work really hard to make sure to use my turn signals at all times. If you do too then that’s two less people to piss other drivers off.

3. Say “thank you,” “please,” and “you’re welcome” more. Have you ever gone through a drive-thru and got up to the window and the person taking your money or handing you your food barely acknowledges you? Well did you acknowledge them? Take a moment to tell them “thank you” or better yet before you pull away take an extra couple of heart beats and tell them you “hope they have a wonderful day.” And if they have a name tag on their uniform then call them by their name. Trust me when I say someone being nice and pleasant to them during their brief interaction will put a lift in their spirit for a moment, and eventually they are more likely to start being nicer to customers as they go through. If enough of us take the time and give the extra effort it might become the norm one day and wouldn’t that make your day just a little better?

4. Elevators. Just as it is polite and respectful to open doors for others so too it is just simple good manners to stand to the side when waiting for the elevator doors to open and then remain standing to the side for a moment to allow anyone getting off to do so unfettered. The same also goes for getting on an elevator. Stand to the side and let the elderly and women get on first guys. And hold the elevator door if someone is a little slow getting on. You’d want the same done for you so take the initiative and practice good elevator etiquette.

5. WTF! You know what it means. You’ve probably used in a post or text. But why? I guess somehow we think we are okay writing it because we’re not actually using the word. But actually we are. When you type those three letters you know you say the words silently to yourself and when someone on the receiving end reads it you know they say the words silently in their mind too. So essentially you are actually saying the word whether you want to or not. I know foul language is all the rage these days, we can’t seem to get away from it. But does stopping writing those three letters or even not cussing at all make the world a better place? Absolutely it does. Think about it for a moment. When someone is cussing their words are very harsh and impolite. There is nothing “kind” about a cuss word. So why even use them unless you’re trying to be a harsh, unfriendly person?

  There! Five pet peeves of mine turned on their ear and into a positive message to help you think and hopefully change and help to make the world of 2017 a much better place and time.
  Oh, and don’t forget to eat lots of ice cream too!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The sound of doves crying

  2016. From January 1 to December 31 it has been a rough, tough, hard year on many fronts. Without a doubt politics was at the top of the heap of hot button topics as was gender bias bathrooms. Yet despite the venomous rhetoric those and other subjects elicited there is one topic that unceremoniously affected us all - death. The death of relatives and friends is probably the most painful of all but It seemed Death visited so much more in 2016. 
  A veritable who’s who of celebrities found Death knocking this year. The year was barely ten days old when it was announced that David Bowie had sung his last and just 4 days later beloved screen star Alan Rickman passed. Other icons followed - Nancy Reagan, Prince, Muhammed Ali, Gene Wilder, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael and Carrie Fisher, just to name a few, all closed their eyes for the final time. 
  But why do those people, those celebrities deaths affect us so greatly? It is because they are a part of the fabric of our lives and with their deaths we lose a small part of our lives. We remember where we were when first we heard the opening strains of “Purple Rain.” We remember who was with us when we watched Willy Wonka sing “Pure Imagination” next to a river of chocolate or the smells of the bar where we watched Ali take on Liston. We remember laughing as Princess Leia put Hans Solo in his place with a quick-witted jibe. 
  Just as a smell and sound can easily whisk us away to a distant memory, so to can the names of our hero’s. We then lament that there will never be another “Really Dahling!” (Zsa Zsa Gabor) or the Sheriff of Nottingham sarcastically claiming there will be “no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas!” (Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). 
  Losing the iconic celebrities of our lives is a traumatic thing and it forces us to recognize and face our own mortality. That being said there is a silver lining. Because we live in a day and age when we can instantly call up a song on our phone or immediately order a film to watch at home our celebrities become immortal… at least to us. It is a shame young children will likely never know our celebrities as we do - or even know who our celebrities are (ask a teenager who John Wayne is!) But for our generation our celebrities will always live on, will always be a part of who we are even though for a moment we know “what it sounds like when doves cry.”

A fairly complete list of celebrities we lost in 2016:

4 – Robert Stigwood, Entertainment Manager – age 81
6 – Pat Harrington Jr., Actor – age 86
7 – Troy Shondell, Singer – age 76
7 – Kitty Kallen, Singer – age 94
9 – Angus Scrimm, Actor – age 89
10 – David Bowie, Musician – age 69
11 – David Margulies, Actor – age 78
14 – Alan Rickman, Actor – age 69
14 – René Angélil, Singer / Manager –  age 73
15 – Dan Haggerty, Actor – age 74
15 – Noreen Corcoran, Actress – age 72
18 – Glen Frey, Singer / Songwriter – age 67
26 – Abe Vigoda, Actor – age 94
28 – Paul Kantner, Singer / Songwriter – age 74
28 – Mike Minor, Actor – age 75

2 – Bob Elliot, Comedian – age 92
3 – Maurice White, Musician / songwriter – age 74
3 – Joe Alaskey, Voice Actor – age 63
4 – Joe Dowell, Pop Singer – age 76
15 – George Gaynes, Actor – age 98
15 – Vanity, Actress/Singer – age 57
22 – Yolande Fox, Singer – age 87
22 – Sonny James, Country Music Singer/Songwriter – age 87
24 – Lennie Baker, Musician – age 69
25 – Tony Burton, Actor – age 78
28 – George Kennedy, Actor – age 91
29 – Gil Hill, Police Commander/Actor – age 84

4 – Joey Martin Feek, Country music singer/songwriter– age 40
6 – Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the U.S.(1981-1989)  – age 94
8 – Sir George Martin, Producer for the “Beatles” albums – age 90
9 – Robert Horton, Actor– age 91
10 – Keith Emerson, Musician / keyboardist – age 71
13 – Adrienne Corri, Actress – age 85
16 – Frank Sinatra Jr., Singer– age 72
17 – Larry Drake, Actor – age 66
18 – Joe Santos, Actor – age 84
21 – Peter Brown, Actor – age 80
22 – Richard Bradford, Actor – age 81
22 – Phife Dawg, Singer – age 45
23 – Joe Garagiola, Baseball Player – age 90
23 – Ken Howard, Actor – age 71
24 – Garry Shandling, Comedian – age 66
28 – James Noble, Actor – age 94

6 – Merle Haggard, singer/songwriter – age 79
12 – Anne Jackson, Actress – age 90
17 – Doris Roberts, Actress – age 90
20 – Victoria Wood, English Comedian/Actress – age 62
20 – Chyna, WWE wrestler – age 46
21 – Prince, Musician – age 57
21 – Lonnie (Mack) McIntosh, Guitarist – age 74
23 – Madeleine Sherwood, Actress – age 94
24 – Billy Paul, Singer – age 81

8 – William Schallert, Actor – age 93
12 – Julius La Rosa, Singer – age 86
19 – Morley Safer, Journalist – age 84
19 – Alan Young, Actor  – age 96
24 – Burt Kwouk, Actor – age 85
27 – Mike Barnett, Singer – age 89
29 – Patty Duke, Singer – age 69

3 – Muhammad Ali, Professional Boxer – age 74
10 – Gordie Howe, Hockey player – age 88
13 – Michu Meszaros, Actor / Circus Performer – age 76
14 – Ann Guilbert, Actress – age 87
14 – Ronnie Claire Edwards, Actress – age 83
17 – Ron Lester, Actor – age 45
19 – Anton Yelchin, Actor – age 27
27 – Mack Rice, Songwriter – age 82
28 – Scotty Moore, Guitarist – age 84
28 – Buddy Ryan, NFL Football Coach – age 85
28 – Pat Summitt, NCAA Basketball Coach– age 64

2 – Teddy Rooney, Actor/Musician – age 66
3 – Noel Neill, Actress  – age 95
6 – Danny Smythe, Musician – age 67
16 – Bonnie Brown, Musician  – age 77
19 – Garry Marshall, Writer/Producer/Actor – age 81
27 – Jerry Doyle, Actor– age 60
30 – Gloria DeHaven, Actress/Singer – age 91

2 – David Huddleston, Actor – age 85
3 – Ricci Martin, Entertainer – age 62
6 – Pete Fountain, Jazz Musician – age 86
11 – Glenn Yarbrough, Singer – age 86
13 – Kenny Baker, Actor – age 81
14 – Fyvush Finkel, Actor – age 93
19 –Jack Riley, Actor – age 80
23 – Steven Hill, Actor – age 94
25 – Marvin Kaplan, Actor – age 89
29 – Gene Wilder, Actor – age 83

1 – Jon Polito, Actor – age 65
6 – Hugh O’Brian, Actor – age 91
9 – James Stacy, Actor– age 79
17 – Charmian Carr, Actress – age 73
24 – Bill Nunn, Actor –  age 63
25 – Jean Shepard, Singer/Songwriter – 82
25 – José Fernández, Baseball player – age 24
25 – Arnold Palmer, Golfer – age 87

21 – Kevin Meaney, Comedian –  age 60
23 – Pete Burns, Singer/Songwriter – age 57
24 – Bobby Vee, Singer – age 73
30 – Tammy Grimes, Stage Actress – age 82

3 – Kay Starr, Singer – age 94
7 – Janet Reno, Attorney General  – age 78
7 – Leonard Cohen, Poet / Songwriter – age 82
11 – Robert Vaughn, Actor – age 83
13 – Leon Russell, Musician / Songwriter – age 74
15 – Holly Dunn, Singer / Songwriter – age 59
18 – Sharon Jones, American soul and funk singer – age 60
24 – Florence Henderson, Actress  – age 82
25 – Ron Glass, Actor – age 71
26 – Fritz Weaver, Actor – age 90
28 – Van Williams, Actor – age 82
30 – Keo Woolford, Actor – age 49
30 – Grant Tinker, Television executive – age 90

3 – Don Calfa, Actor – age 76
3 – Billy Chapin, Actor – age 72
7 – Greg Lake, Musician  – age 69
8 – Joseph Mascolo, Actor– age 87
8 – John Glenn, NASA Astronaut. Senator from Ohio – age 95
12 – Jim Lowe, Singer – age 93
13 – Alan Thicke, Actor – age 69
14 – Bernard Fox, Actor – age 89
18 – Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian Actress and Socialite – age 99
18 – Gordie Tapp, Entertainer –  age 94
20 – Michèle Morgan, French Actress –  age 96
24 – Rick Parfitt, Musician/Songwriter –  age 68
24 – Caroline Aherne, Comedienne/Actress  – age 52
25 – George Michael, Singer/Songwriter – age 53
26 – Rickey Lopez, Actor – age 54
27 – Carrie Fisher, Actress – age 60
27 – Richard Adams, Author – age 96

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The trouble with Pirates...

  Have you ever stopped and thought about pirates? Seriously.  Pirates. You know… those swashbuckling fiends we root for on the silver screen. Don’t you just love Captain Jack Sparrow, Long John Silver, Anne Bonny, Captains Flint and Charles Vane? 
  Like a lot of people I grew up fascinated with the lore of pirates and their tales of gold, adventure and fighting. Being a nautical minded person I’ve always had an affinity for anything dealing with the oceans - under or on them. But as I age and take stock of more serious issues in life I am forced to give pause and consider the true nature of pirates when I see films and movies about them or even consider the naming of sports teams after them. About the best thing I can think to say about pirates is they weren’t as bad as ISIS and that’s not much of a compliment.
  We have for some reason romanticized pirates and piracy. Consider that. As a society we have taken ordinary men with a lust for blood, women, drink and money and given them respect. We get upset when a male celebrity beats on a woman yet we idolize men who beat, brutalized and raped women on a regular basis. We are shocked when an individual plows through a crowd in a vehicle or meanders through a school or business with a gun killing at will but why aren’t we more appalled at the atrocities of pirates through the ages? Why do we idolize those rapists, murderers and thieves? Their defiance of authority and the romantic notion we have of them freely wandering the seas are ideals that are alluring to us. But we can’t justify their brutality so we trivialize it in order to feel good about their carefree lifestyles.
  I know, a lot of people will say I’m being ridiculous or nit picking but consider this - we remove confederate flags, change the names of sports teams and generally pout when someone hurts our feelings by something that is said but those same persons will jump at the chance to root for murdering rapists when they can see another Pirates of the Caribbean movie or the next season of Black Sails.

Just something to think about.