Safe Holiday travels

Once again the holiday season is upon us. The stores have been decked out in some cases for months already and this year it seems many homes are already set aglow. When you speak of the holidays you are reminded that it’s a time for friends and family with an emphasis on family.

Thanksgiving, actually the day before is the most traveled day of the year but others like Christmas are still on the horizon. As we plot out our trips to see relatives often times around the country we schedule one-way trips to get it done. Depending on the number of relatives and locations we can have a couple or a few one-way flights and/or car rentals.

Round trips are easy in comparison to one-way trips. Airlines typically charge more for one-way flights and car companies always jump at the chance to make more money. In scheduling one-way flights be sure to plan for extra time going through security as the TSA gives out the most pre-checks on round-trips.

Safety is key in your travels and in your journeys be sure to check for your personal possessions as you exit the plane or car as it will be nearly a miracle to find lost phones, wallets and the like later. Have a blessed holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

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Plans that Mushroom

It’s always a pleasure to see plans that you set in motion to mushroom to full bloom and beyond. There’s a true sense of satisfaction when a plan comes together. In addition, successful people set goals that enable their success. On the flip side, it happens all too often where some misfortune strikes and then mushrooms into a disaster.

I don’t know about you but physical mushrooms don’t appeal to me, they don’t appear to have any flavor. I’m probably in the minority regarding mushrooms but that’s not the point here. The point regarding mushrooms is in the wild you’ll often find a mushroom patch where perhaps a single mushroom spread like weeds. Typically it’s because the setting is just right for the plant to flourish.

Well conceived plans that are thought out in advance have the greatest chance of success. They are like the perfect environment for you to achieve your goals one after the other until you are like those successful celebrities. Rocky used Eye of the Tiger to motivate him to succeed. What helps you to succeed? Until then we will see you on the news.

Trick or treats

Trick or treaters dress up in their ghoulish garb every year. Fads and costumes vary with time as do decorations. Parents with children that are trick or treat age typically dress up in costumes as well and most have somebody handing out candy as well.

What isn’t discussed or even given any thought is how many parents continue to decorate, dress up and still hand out candy? The percentage of empty nesters that have grandchildren is still very high but how many still carry the torch for the holiday even though they no longer have a vested interest in Halloween? i.e. no kids or grandkids.

With the little research I did I couldn’t find any statistics on what now are the “baby boomers”. I believe it all depends on the individual. Many have an abundance of reinforcing memories that keeps the spirit alive. How many are familiar with the Monster Mash? Who can forget Thriller? The Boris Karloff laugh at the end really adds to the classic effect.

As you venture out, remember some of those that have their lights off, aren’t home, don’t care for Halloween or have lost the spirit. Happy Halloween one and all.

Lopsided news from networks

Growing up everybody, for the most part, trusted and believed what you read, heard or saw in the news. Then there was a trust and respect that was earned by journalists and reporters for most of us it was the only source and contact with the outside world. Then things evolved as TV brought us live video from the Vietnam War and from there we’ve been on the technology express.

Now we get breaking news breaks online, we hear about a lot of major events only moments after it happens. As a result for the past ten years or more public trust in the traditional news sources has dwindled. “Public trust in traditional media has fallen to an all-time low as people increasingly favor their friends and contacts on the internet as sources of news and truth”, according to Financial Times earlier this year.

Case in point goes back to the 2016 Presidential election where the media’s reports were the other candidate won the election. The media along with the other party blamed the loss on Russian interference. Mainstream media and celebrities spent a shocking 75 percent of their time since then discussing Russian/Trump collusion theory.

It has now been proven to not only be false but the FBI has revealed that President Obama and Hillary are guilty of Russian collusion. Surprisingly the media hasn’t mentioned this news except for a minute of time and print. Trust is a difficult thing. The saying “fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me” is evident. What does the future hold for the networks?

Very interesting

When you find something is of great interest you continue to observe or read on. If it catches your eye, peaks your interest you are compelled to forge on. As a writer, it’s your key to hold the reader’s interest or you inevitably will lose them as they move on to something else.

Depending on your subject say perhaps current events an insiders perspective could turn some heads. Celebrity interviews are always a hit. For most of us, celebrity interviews are unattainable. Something that most reporters have shied away from in recent years is human interest stories.

I know growing up TV and newspapers did a lot of special interest stories especially the smaller local ones. The interest is the human, personal factor it’s something we can all relate to. If it interests you chances are it will be of interest to someone else but of course, you can never please all of the people all of the time.

How do you get the most out of life?

It may be way back in the far reaches of your mind but it’s a question that has even been a driving force behind philosophers. We all have a limited time we’re allowed to inhabit this planet of ours. What do you do to get the zest out of life? How do you go about making it the most flavorful adventure it should be?

When you think of “flavorful” food tops the list of course. But if you are a golfer maybe there are courses that add flavor to your life. In reality whatever you are passionate about should “float your boat” so to speak.

Hundreds perhaps thousands of people that have suddenly been on the receiving end of “you have so many months to live” have the best perspective on life. They say live every day as if it were your last. In other words, if you haven’t developed a bucket list it may be a good idea to draft one.

So very many of us are so caught up in the everyday getting by in day to day matters that we never stop to think what life is all about. Mac Davis put it best in the song, “Stop and smell the roses“. There are so many beautiful, wonderful things to see and experience that there’s simply not enough time to cover it all. Notwithstanding, there is family and love.

Enjoy.

Pictures are priceless

We’ve all seen the different Mastercard commercials over the years listing several different items and their corresponding prices with the last one being “priceless“. Since pictures speak a thousand words some are often viewed as priceless.

I grew up in the midwest so when someone mentioned the desert and the Arizona territory I thought of sand and yes I also pictured the Saguaro cactus as pictured in the photo. The Saguaro pronounced [suh-gwahr-oh] is the one that we all grew up seeing in the cowboy movies.

The interesting thing about this cactus is it sprouts the arms sometime after it’s 200th birthday! So all the really tall ones are hundreds of years old. Arizona is really the only place where you will find this special cactus. Why? because it only survives in this particular climate. For years people were coming and stealing these magnificent creations in the middle of the night many times bringing them to California where they died.

Now there are federal laws against taking saguaros and each has been tagged by the BLM so they’re trackable. One last thing the Arizona state bird the cactus wren typically lives inside saguaros. Many of the holes in the cacti are from the birds then again many others were from those Cowboys back in the 1800’s with their 44’s.

What happened to journalism?

This past weekend I opened my local newspaper and on the front page, I saw not one but two glaring typos in the sub-headings. These were words that were irrelevant to the heading and were not caught by spell check. It sent out different messages to me. First I had to guess at what the correct word was they were looking for in order for it to make sense. Don’t reporters review their work anymore? How could an editor allow these kinds of mistakes?

I worked for a newspaper twenty years ago. My editor had words with me on a regular basis about how I didn’t adhere to Associated Press standards. When I wrote for magazines the editors said they didn’t have to change a word. Regardless, it’s obvious that this kind of standards has been thrown out the window in favor of anything to sell a paper. How can you have any respect for those that just do what they want?

AP says transparency is critical to their credibility. Today sources quotes are taken out of context and used to fit their agenda. How many times are anonymous sources used when AP is adamant that those sources only be used if:

  •  The material is information and not opinion or speculation, and is vital to the news report. That would hinder sales.
  • The information is not available except under the conditions of anonymity imposed by the source. lol
  • The source is reliable, and in a position to have accurate information. LOL again.

Millions of Americans now find other sources for information because the Mainstream Media cannot be trusted. The great Walter Cronkite would be appalled by the media today. Wake up media and report the news, the facts and not just those that fit your monologue.

Natural wonders abound

In everyday life, we all encounter pests now and then but how many of these pests are actually part of the natural wonder?  Take the butterfly, for example, it is regarded by many as a pest because they may eat their crops or leaves in the caterpillar stage. This pictured one is amazing in that the stones/decorative rock are only a half inch or so in diameter. It’s truly a small beautiful wonder among us regularly.

Everyone knows the metamorphosis story how the caterpillar turns into a cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly. A really beautiful story. The real question is why do so many people view the butterfly and virtually all the creatures and natural environment as so pleasing to the eyes?

Science can’t answer that question because it goes beyond the reaches of science. Man can’t answer it, in fact, mankind has done so many awful things to destroy the wonders of nature.  The progress of mankind comes at the expense of nature. Strip mining for example and other mining have taken their toll and of course Wars on the planet.

The answer to why we find nature so beautiful lies deep in your heart, mind, and soul. Look there and you’ll find the answer. The great Louis Armstong said it best in the song “What a wonderful world”.

Gateway to America

It’s widely accepted that the huge arch in St. Louis, Missouri is the gateway to the west. That being a fact and said, I just returned from a quick trip to the Utah mountains. The Wasatch Range of which we spent a majority of our time is the western edge of the Rockies. Mount Nebo at 11,928 feet is over two miles high and is the highest peak of the Wasatch that stretches into Idaho. This is a high, daunting, beautiful gateway to the greater northwest territory. I felt I was on the Top of the world looking down on creation.

After you cross this range you drop into Salt Lake City which is a huge valley much like Phoenix. It’s also the second most arid state after Nevada. Amazingly all 29 of Utah’s counties have mountains. That’s rough country.

There are almost countless canyons across the state that offer breathtaking views and can actually take your breath away because of the thin air. That doesn’t stop the hard-core bicyclists that climb these ascents constantly during the summer months.

Park City is in the Wasatch mountain range featured the 2002 winter Olympics and you can see the Olympic park from highway 224 which is maybe 10 minutes from town. The town is a huge ski destination but originally in the 1800’s was then known as the silver mining town.