Good or bad is shocking

Since we are bombarded by social media every day we encounter good news and bad news on a regular basis. Either news can be shocking to us depending on what it is and how important the content is to us. Before the advent of social media, before the internet, we got our news in the paper, TV, a weekly magazine or from a friend or neighbor.

Receiving the news in person has the speaker witnessing the expression of shock on our face. The facial expression exchange can be priceless. How do you stay up-to-date with current events? Am I promoting gossip? Heavens no, that’s typically not trustworthy news anyway. If anything I’m just encouraging a little more human interaction.

Haven’t you seen the videos and commercials of people walking down the street so engrossed in their phone that they walk into a pole? If anything I would encourage more interaction with one another. A really old song may be appropriate here by Dionne Warwick’s What The World Needs Now Is Love.


Comfortably numb

Not only is the Pink Floyd song Comfortably Numb one of their greatest hits it has bridged generations. Could it be because so many people could relate to the lyrics? People cozy up next to the fireplace some with headphones on and rock out to it (especially this time of year). We all tend to favor a cozy or stay within our comfort zone.

Your comfort zone is relative to a given situation. For example, let’s say you decide to test the water and look for a new job. If you stay in your precise field of expertise you are staying in your comfort zone. If you branch into a different area that is outside your experience you are truly venturing out.

Sure there are those that have no problem doing something different but by and large, most people like to stay where they are cozy.  Another example is the fact that a majority of folks never relocate out of the state wherein they were born. Even more, never leave the city they grew up in.

Many of your most successful individuals went out on a limb and left their numerous comfort zones to grow. Before you cite examples of the hometown heroes, yes there are plenty of those that have great success in their environment. These are just a couple of the many, many comfort zones we stick to daily.

Have you ever thought perhaps you were comfortably numb?

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!

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.

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.

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.

Quill to parchment

The quill to parchment method of writing was used for centuries, no for two millennia with paper finally replacing parchment as the writing surface. Although it is reported that paper was invented in China about 105 AD made of bark, fibers of rags, and hemp. Before the quill, the writing instrument was the reed pen who’s origin was about 400 BC. Both were dipped into ink to write with, although the quill was much more durable made of a feather that could be cut down to sharpen it for extended use much like a pencil.

The pen and paper obviously are still used but is slowly being phased out with tablets and computers as the writer’s choice. It should be mentioned that the quill and reed pen utilized capillary action where ink was drawn up into the instrument and slowly released as you wrote on the surface. You think there’s a problem with modern fountain pens there was no comparison for an entire document could be destroyed by a pause with ink flowing and/or dripping across your work.

Progress has yielded convenience and efficiency to our fingertips. We have it so easy compared to our ancestors and still, some of us balk at sending a relative so much as an email.  Imagine how hard that letter would have been with a quill and parchment. The mind can only imagine what the future has in store for later generations as a means to communicate. Telepathy?

Overview, observe, associate, friend, and family

Degrees of involvement. Whew! We have plenty of degrees adding up in Phoenix this year. Yesterday and today it’s been a record-setting, scorching 119 degrees. Times like this we recall all the beautiful 70 degrees outdoor Christmas parties. At the same time, friends and relatives in the Midwest were enduring a 15 below zero stretch with frigid wind chill factors. Thoughts like that are typically an overview or an observation at least on Facebook.

More personal involvements are the associates you work with and friends whom you really empathize with. Deeper still are family and close immediate family. They are the ones that you have known all of your life. They have been through the thick and thin of life, they’re your loved ones.

Everyone goes through thinning of the ranks of loved ones. But really, regardless of your disposition, it draws you closer to the remaining members. My sister who lived in the frozen tundra for most of her life moved to Arizona during the holidays in 2015. Because I had moved out of state or because she resided hours away -I’ve only seen her for a small fraction of my life.

This has been the biggest regret for me because aside from my wife she is the kindest most benevolent soul I have to ever know. Should she have a problem, would I meddle in her life? Not exactly, but I would aid and support her to rise above it. The Hollies said it best in “He ain’t heavy he’s my brother.” In this case, she’s my sister. It’s a long, long road, while we’re on the way to there we should share some time.

Hope for Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing

As a fan, I’ve laughed a lot over the years at the man who is notorious for comedy. You know who he is kids know him as Santa Claus in the comical Santa Claus movies. Even more of us recall him as “Tim the tool man Taylor” from the TV series “Home Improvements” and/or a host of other movies like “Wild hogs” and “Big trouble”.  ABC shocked America with news that their second most watched show Last Man Standing is canceled!

Tim’s latest //“>Tweet said, “Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home the past six years.” That being said, the Fox network is working to find a place for the blockbuster comedy show. The show isn’t simply a comedy it features family, moral values, and everything that has been an American heritage. ABC claims the show wasn’t canceled because of political reasons but it seems all too apparently not true. It’s considered the biggest, hit sitcom since “All in the Family.”

Allen’s character Mike Baxter was a staunch conservative along with one daughter stood against the Obama tirade of government overreach etc. Baxter aside from his one daughter had his wife and other two daughters along with a son-in-law that were liberals so the show had it all. The irony was Allen’s prior successful TV series he had three sons whereas here he was surrounded by women.  Several of those stars made appearances on this program.

Perhaps things are working out for the best as FOX would seem to be a better home for his conservative brand of comedy. Regarding living in Hollywood on Jimmy Kimmel Allen said, “You gotta be real careful around here, you know. You’ll get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes, it’s like ’30s Germany.”

As the voice buzz lightyear alway said, “To infinity and beyond.” As the captain in Galaxy Quest said, “Never give up never surrender.” Real words to live by.