A juicy story brewing

More people are history buffs than you would imagine. In fact, there are more people interested in the history behind the Salem witch trials as evident with all the TV shows, movies, and documentaries. The supernatural is something that science cannot explain so it mystifies people and plenty of juicy stories originate from the early beginnings.

The witch burning, hangings, and the little-known laying weights or heavy stones on their chests to obtain a confession or until it often killed them are all a curious thing. Back then some men in power used the process to eliminate their competition. Sad how people could react and allow such terrible things to be done because of fear. But we don’t have any of that today -right?

So back in the day, we had the TV show Bewitched and the more recent movie by the same name. My favorites are Hocus Pocus starring Bette Midler which is more of a comedy along with Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock and Nichole Kidman. Then there’s Witches of Eastwick and literally hundreds of other movies and TV shows. Who out there is amazed that Supernatural is in season 12? I personally like “the boys” and their cast of misfits. Maybe it’s the classic rock evident throughout the series.

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Compliment or criticize that is the question

Why is it that it’s so much easier to criticize than to compliment someone? We’ve learned since we were kids that others, especially bullies received praise for their critique of others. In essence, this has been engrained in us all most of our life because giving compliments required much more thought, work and quite simply we didn’t see the value. Depending on the type of criticism many have been hurtful remarks and only spread negativism on the person and or object in question.

Looking at the results of criticism versus compliments the tearing down of someone is typically destructive while compliments are uplifting with positive results building the person up. Why does it still continue once we reach adulthood? When you think about it one obvious reason is the poor example the media sets with all the negative press. You rarely see or read an uplifting human interest story.

Pessimism abounds while optimism seems only to be found in those individuals that understand it. A positive mental attitude is not only good for the soul it’s also contagious and makes the world a better place. Is it that hard to pay others a compliment? You really don’t have to go out of your way there are opportunities every day.  Get on the positive train of thought you’ll be glad you did.

In the business world Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins and many others capitalized on this concept and built empires. In the spiritual world, the thing that sets believers apart is they have hope. Sometimes hope is all we have. Pay a compliment someone today. Chances are you’ll receive a smile and thank you for your effort and you’ve made the world a better place.

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The media has lost its way

Yellow Journalism is a term that was first coined during the famous newspaper wars between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer II. Pulitzer’s paper the New York World and Hearst’s New York Journal changed the content of newspapers adding more sensationalized stories and increasing the use of drawings and cartoons. Sound familiar now?

Pulitzer began to publish a cartoon of his own that he titled “The Yellow Kid” in 1896. The cartoon became one of many objects fought over between Hearst and Pulitzer during their rivalry. Hearst later took R.F. Outcault the creator of the cartoon from Pulitzer the news was over-dramatized and altered to fit story ideas that publishers and editors thought would sell the most papers and stir the most interest for the public so that “Newsies” could sell more papers on street corners.

During the Spanish-American War Hearst was the first newspaper to station a team of reporters in Cuba to monitor the events happening there. When a reporter sent a telegram telling Hearst that there was not much going on there, Hearst replied with his famous telegram,”You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” What our networks are doing today is no different.

Media needs to be objective, accountable, and responsible in their reporting. Actor Denzel Washington, an actual victim of the now labeled “fake news” lie, aimed his critical eye at the mainstream media last month and cited them as purveyors of today’s untruths. He said, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed. In our society, now it’s just first who cares, get it out there. We don’t care who it hurts. We don’t care who we destroy. We don’t care if it’s true. Just say it, sell it. Anything you practice you’ll get good at; including BS.”

My personal belief is perhaps Walter Cronkite was one of the last great reporters. He was far more objective than journalists today. Here in Arizona, we have the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and mass communication. I can’t say how objective they are but I hope instructors have open minds. Musically speaking, there’s a song by En Vogue called Free your mind that does an excellent job of summing up the solution to our media and race relations this country faces. “Free your mind and the rest will follow, be color blind don’t be so shallow, free your mind and the rest will follow.” The best advice we could receive to date.

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Winter weather abounds including Washington

On the Inauguration Day of the 45th President of the United States, a winter storm gripped most of the country. The storm spread from coast to coast and was present from the north to the south borders with travelers advisories in effect. Depending on what part of the country you live in exposure to the weather can be a little uncomfortable to extremely dangerous being exposed to the elements, snow and cold temperatures.

The national weather service has also said there are three storms sweeping across the nation back to back. Looking back at Washington D.C. the rain affected those attending the Inauguration but the depressing scene was all the violent demonstrators that smashed shops and cars only a mile away. At least 95 were arrested. By contrast, when the 44th president was sworn in there wasn’t a single infraction. Apparently, that’s the disposition of the haters as they did the same thing when their candidate of choice lost last November.

Adverse weather can affect one’s temperament. In this case, the demonstrators’ temperature of their temperament was already angry based on their actions. The new President took time out of his schedule to visit the Arlington Cemetary to lay a wreath on the “tomb of the unknown soldier”. Patriotism has been slipping away in America. Acts like this are not only admirable to US citizens and the military but other countries see a renewed Patriotic interest on display by our new President.

Eight years ago, those that voted for a new hope may not be the ones believing their hope is at hand but most of Americans do as evidenced by this past election. Before he was even close to taking office the President-Elect did a number of things to save American jobs and bolster the economy. That’s hope you can get behind, someone that takes an initiative to get it done. We need a leader, one that stands up to the corruption that has taken over Washington. So far, it looks like we have someone that America can get behind and earn the respect back on the world stage.

Keep warm and warm wishes to you from Arizona.

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Crossing into another year; nothing to fear

No this isn’t a poem just your standard prose regarding the crossing into a new year. Let’s not greet the new year with trepidation and anxiety for after all at least you were here to see it. Alas,  this past year we all lost heroes in virtually every sector especially our entertainers like David Bowie. Don’t be too sad at least you have their efforts to be seen and or heard again through audio and video.

The big question everyone ponders is what New Year’s resolutions do we make? Who isn’t looking to make improvements? Considering those resolutions what kind of goals have you set for the short term and the long term? Or, are you saying resolutions are made to be broken? A lot of people do take this laidback approach like well at least my new diet took off several pounds. That was a good thing for wasn’t it the holidays that attributed to the extra weight.

Looking ahead we’ve already crossed the bridge and the new year does present us with new opportunities, new things to do and maybe places to see. Whatever path you choose simply chose wisely and things will work out. Fearing the future; thinking that way is like fearing every breath you take. Taking a confident sure can attitude will help you scale mountains. Think I can and you will. Welcome to 2017.

All is calm and certainly brighter in Arizona

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I was a kid I heard my parent’s play Jimmy Dean’s Christmas card album every Christmas. I loved how he summed up the history of the song while a guitar softly plays Away in a manger before he sings Silent Night. In 1818 at St. Nicholas a small church in Austria the song was born. The music director Josef Mohr had written a poem about the nativity scene and for the Christmas Eve service, he asked the organist Franz Xaver Gruber if he could come up with a melody to accompany the poem. The church organ was broken so the congregation heard it for the first time on Gruber’s guitar.

Weeks later well-known organ builder Karl Mauracher arrived at the church repairing the organ. He had Gruber test his work and he did so with Silent Night. Mauracher was so impressed with the song he brought the poem and music back to his Alpine village home, Kapfing where two well-known families of singers the Rainers and the Strassers proceeded to add it to their Christmas season collection. Both groups spread the song across Europe and twenty years after it was written The Rainers brought it to the United States. The song has been written in 300 languages around the world where it’s a Christmas classic.

Arizona, Phoenix, in particular, doesn’t have the snow to accompany the Christmas classic but we have enough sun to brighten up your day. The Christmas spirit is well represented here for if you fly over here at night this time of year you’ll see a dazzling display of colors below.  Local residents that have relatives (only two hours away)in the higher elevations of 5,000 to over 7,000 feet often visit them to see a snow glistening sight. All is calm, and all is bright.

How you deal with a conundrum builds character

Most of us encounter at least one problem every day. Depending on the severity, difficulty, and urgency of the situation our response measures not only what we’re made of it defines us. I’m not referring to a simple puzzle but a serious dilemma. Keeping your cool, remaining calm, analyzing the gravity of the situation and the best-suited solution is key. I’m not bad at analyzing the state of affairs but I’ve always been amazed at how well my wife remains calm and has a calming effect on all involved. It’s hours later that the dangerousness of the event hits her and it’s my turn to provide consolement. That’s how a soul-mate team works with years of practice.

Life is full of emergencies, trials, and tribulations. The choices we make not only make the difference but they often make a difference in the lives of those around you. As I said before relatively simple events can change our lives and the lives of others much like  George Bailey in the seasonal classic Christmas movie It’s a wonderful life“. You may not realize the ramifications today and perhaps never like George did.

So watch out for your fellow man, lend him a helping hand and put a little love in your heart- right out of another classic “Scrooged” starring Bill Murray and a host of others. The holidays are a difficult time for a lot of people. Don’t throw away God’s greatest gift, life. Take a lesson from Jimmy Stewart, because it is a wonderful life.

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How do you stop time from vanishing?

We all know the story. When you’re a kid time seems to stand still. As you enter adolescence time slows or speeds up depending on the situation. Then you finally reach 21 and the world is your oyster or so you think it’s the time of your life. It’s the age where your parents are suddenly stupid. Then you begin to realize things are more complicated than you thought. And then you turn thirty.

You no longer wish for time to hurry now you see it vanishing almost before your eyes. This is where you have the realization that time is no longer on your side (nor is it on Mick Jaggers side anymore) and you wish you could at least slow it down. The words you heard as a kid come back to haunt you saying, “time only goes faster as you age”.

As time passes albeit more rapidly with every day you begin to see the need to set priorities and you begin to see the value in pictures and video recordings that account for time spent. Do you have regrets, no not many though time is now somewhat of an enemy? We all begin to wonder how to stop time from vanishing?

There is no simple solution or answer but you can document the important events in your life before they slip away if you haven’t already recorded them. That doesn’t slow things down but this way you retain the memories indefinitely. If you’re hard pressed to remember what slow moving time is like try doing some tedious tasks that are repetitious.

To better appreciate your time try living like this is the first day and the last day of your life. It will bring a new fresh perspective to everything you do. Cherish the time with loved ones including pets. Make time for family quality time. Many of us skip vacations because we’re too busy, buried in our jobs and trying to “make hay” for a rainy day. Try to take a vacation every year and in Arizona, you may want to include a weekend getaway from the heat too.

Pink Floyd had a classic in the 70’s called Time if you haven’t heard it speaks of life this way at times through an existentialist viewpoint but entertaining for most none the less. The song spoke to me as ten years got behind me since high school.Dealing with time is something we all have to work out in our own way. Best of luck in all your future endeavors.

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Tis the season for mythical creatures

Thanksgiving has yet to arrive but everywhere you turn you see that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. What embodies Christmas more than Santa? The question in children’s minds as they grow up is is there a Santa Claus? Here’s my favorite that my parents played for me every year, Yes, Patricia, There Is a Santa Claus by Jimmy Dean.

St. Nicholas was born in the third century between Europe and Asia and his popularity rose to the point where he was the most popular saint when the Renaissance arrived. The legend arrived in America in the 1770’s in New York with the Dutch using Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). Also in the 18th-century German and Swiss Christkind or Kris Kringle was believed to deliver presents to well-behaved children. Pere Noel is responsible for filling the shoes of French children with holiday treats and other countries had their own names for St. Nick.

Other assistants, elves, and Mrs. Claus came about in time and this year Rudolph turns 77 and the song by Gene Autry has endured 67 years while the movie narrated by Burl Ives is played for its 52nd year. Speaking of time, tonight in Chicago the 103rd Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place.

So as you travel about town and you see the Santa figures in the streets or in front of your favorite store remember the Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad, bell ringing, donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.The money collected in those kettles is used to pay for the free Christmas meals they provided to needy families. Behold, an opportunity for anyone to serve as St. Nick through the Salvation Army.

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Bludgeon, Halloween leftovers

Halloween may be over but many of us have to wait until the weekend to take down the decorations we put up. This Halloween I had the first that I recall anyway, a parent dressed up as a torturing bully carrying a big bludgeoning stick with many spikes on it. It was intimidating and convincing at the same time. This year we saw yet a different crop of candy seekers. There were the classics, the superheroes and a lot of clever unique creations that were fun and humorous.

Myself, I dressed as Darth Vader and saw the Princess and some storm troopers that paid tribute. I noticed from another blog from someone in a European country where they said they wished they had trick or treat. As Thanksgiving is now on the horizon it may be expressed that I am grateful for the freedom that we have in America. I’m also grateful to all the military people that have defended freedom over the years some giving their very lives.

So, ghouls and goblins make way for sincere gratitude for all the things we all take for granted. Be thankful for life itself, love, family and the company of others. Be thankful for the roof over your head, the food on the table and be very grateful for your health. Pray for those that are unable to partake in any of the above blessings. On Thanksgiving Day after you’ve done all you can to express your sincere gratitude you can gear up for the next event caroling.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bludgeon/”>Bludgeon</a&gt;