Thursday, March 28, 2013

" if things get heavy, we'll all float on alright..."

            “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”    Henry David Thoreau

            “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”    Henry David Thoreau

So, my blog entry this evening was originally going to be about the celebratory feasts of Easter and Passover. This is a profoundly reflective and significant time of year for many devout followers of their faith. While researching and preparing for another freelance article I started reading posted comments on a few religious article forums.  My excitement and enthusiasm began to wane once the  defensive arguing and ignorant name calling developed. The following is all I'm ever going to contribute to any religious debate;  What is happening inside YOU when you judge people for their religious or spiritual beliefs? How does it make you feel? Do you feel superior? Do you feel angry? Do you feel pity? When we judge others it's really showing us more about ourselves than the person, idea or belief being judged. Walt Whitman's famous words, "Be curious, not judgmental.'" is a deceptively short simple yet deeply complex phrase that most human beings find incredibly difficult to follow. Have a joyous celebration of  your choosing. Whatever you believe. My heart will always wish we would all shut up and dance together like Snoopy and the bunnies.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Music and Living.-- The same thing." said Pooh.."

" To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day."            -Lao-tse

     Until recently I had never heard of BOLT testing. Charles J. Clarke III is the creator of the BOLT System. If it sounds similar to other personality tests or psychological indicators such as the Keirsey Temperament or Myers-Briggs then you'd be some what accurate. The BOLT system was introduced in 1968 and used by businesses wanting to clarify and examine interactions with consumers or buying public. The BOLT System claims it is designed and based on "decades of scientific research". It has been utilized in customer service, sales, designing advertising, generating leads, and negotiating. The insights can also be used for managing coworkers or for getting along with cranky relatives.
     BOLT stands for Bulls, Owls, Lambs and Tigers.  Each animal represents the four specific personality types. Every person you will ever encounter in your life is one of the four. Charles Clarke taught how to identify which animal type a person is, and how to speak their language in the way that’s most persuasive to them. It can also be useful in other areas of life such as dating, instructing children and especially ridiculing people."We always knew Uncle Joe was full of Bull$*#t. Now, thanks to Chuck Clarke we have scientific proof."

 Are you a Bull?

  • Bottom Line, Get To The Point
  • Seeks To Control The Negotiation

  • Are you an Owl?

  • Very Analytical, Detail Oriented Researcher
  • Seeks Logical Order

  • Are you a Lamb?

  • Seeks To Please People, Avoids Conflict
  • Takes Forever To Make Up Their Mind

  • Are you a Tiger?

  • Very Expressive and Fun-Loving
  • Impulsive and Excitable

  • The entire BOLT animal personality concept seems vague, comically general, nonsensical and oddly simplistic. But these concepts are widely known and touted by sales professionals across the country.  You can be a combination of Owl and Lamb or Tiger mixed with Bull with a dash of Lamb etc.. not specifically all Bull, Owl, Lamb or Tiger. "Liger" a Lamb and a Tiger.  If I must be psychologically classified  by animal then this is preferable:

    "While Eeyore frets ...
    ... and Piglet hesitates
    ... and Rabbit calculates
    ... and Owl pontificates
    ...Pooh just is."
    The Tao of Pooh-Benjamin Hoff

    Friday, March 22, 2013

    "but I just had to look, having read the book..."

    "And somebody spoke and I went into a dream."

    Today marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles first album "Please,Please Me". Without realizing this fact until later in the day I was listening to a compilation on my ipod including every type of music you can imagine. "A Day in the Life" has always been my favorite Beatles song. As a child, hearing it for the first time, made a definite impression on me. The music and lyrics are strangely distant and haunting The song gathers an optimistic tempo to end with a swirling surreal dramatic crescendo. I'd love to turn you on...

    "A Day In The Life"

    I read the news today oh boy
    About a lucky man who made the grade
    And though the news was rather sad
    Well I just had to laugh
    I saw the photograph
    He blew his mind out in a car
    He didn't notice that the lights had changed
    A crowd of people stood and stared
    They'd seen his face before
    Nobody was really sure
    If he was from the House of Lords
    I saw a film today oh boy
    The English Army had just won the war
    A crowd of people turned away
    But I just had to look
    Having read the book
    I'd love to turn you on

    Woke up, fell out of bed
    Dragged a comb across my head
    Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
    And looking up I noticed I was late
    Found my coat and grabbed my hat
    Made the bus in seconds flat
    Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
    And somebody spoke and I went into a dream

    I read the news today oh boy
    Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
    And though the holes were rather small
    They had to count them all
    Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall
    I'd love to turn you on

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    "the night time is the right time...."

    "Sleep is for the weak."-Dustin Gallup, (step-brother)  U.S Marine Corps Veteran

         There are only twenty-four hours in a day to accomplish all you want to accomplish. The reason this blog is titled Midnight Mindquake is because like thirty-five percent of the US population my brain functions best in the evening hours. However, when you stay awake until 2am creating and earning money doing what you love but get up at 5am for the day job, you're going to suffer for your art. You will suffer with me by reading this.  Did you know thirty-five percent was a random statistic? Only twenty-two percent of the US population will verify the information they read online. Did I just make that up too? You will have to find out on your own. The number of ambitious, highly productive" night owls" may never be known. We are too exhausted acclimating our inner time clocks to the "early bird" world to actually research or fact check this claim. "Early birds" take my worms. I need a nap. Some where there is a night crawler. Here are the top ten signs you are suffering from temporary sleep deprivation.This top ten list was discovered online so it may or may not be true. At this moment I am too tired to care.
      #3 Poor memory
      #8 Poor memory
      #5 Inability to concentrate.
    Here are the top ten signs you are suffering from temporary sleep deprivation.
    10.  Increased Appetite- (box of Cheddar Jack Cheeze-Its on nightstand-check)
      9. Vision problems- (typing with eyes closed is difficult but not impossible)
      8. Poor memory- Where have I read that before?
      7. Poor decision making- This occurs even when well rested.
      6. Dimin$hed motorrr skilllllzzzzzzzzz
      5. Relationship troubles (see poor decision making above)
      4.Medical problems- Sleep is for the weak.
      3.Mood swings-(?)  from Perry Como to comatose is not a swing.
      2.Inability to handle stress-Maybe if you're a high strung Type A Personality. If you're
         temporarily Type C  (as in Como) you'll be fine.
      1. Inability to concentrate.... 12:06am. Who can sleep now? My day is just beginning!

     Extended wakefulness is unhealthy and if prolonged can have serious cognitive and physical consequences. So although we like to think we can train our brains to function with less rest it's not the case. We need our deep REM zzzzz's to regenerate and restore healthy brain cell tissue. Temporary deprivation can be tolerated but ultimately our immune system warns our body, "Go to sleep or I will put you to sleep". Tonight, I will listen.

    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    "A Night to Remember?....."

    High School Musical gave me unrealistic expectations that I would get asked to prom and we'd be dancing on the roof of our school in the rain. -Author unknown

          Across the country teenagers are hyper aroused planning for their junior and senior proms. What makes this event so exciting? Is it the glittering daydreams of first love and romance? The ever anticipated first kiss?  Do we imagine ourselves Cinderella on the arm of our Prince Charming?  In your mind did you secretly choreograph perfectly timed dance moves like steely blue-eyed Zac Ephron or lovely Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical?  Were you the timid wallflower stranded in the corner after your date abandoned you? Were you heart broken watching your crush dance the night away with your high school nemesis? Parents invest in rented tuxedo's, shimmering ball gowns and chauffeured carriages to contribute to a beautiful illusion.  No one wants to be disappointed. Add dinner money, corsages, hair and make up expenses, photography and this singular magical evening produces a hefty price tag. Parents may be hopeful their child is as creative as Molly Ringwald in the movie "Pretty in Pink" sewing her own dress, driving herself to the forum and even having the gumption to arrive solo. Usually, this is not the case. Most parents are more than willing to contribute to their child's memories as their little loves are growing up before their eyes. The moment must be captured. Seeing photo's of my nephew in his prom tux made me tear up so I can only imagine what his parents felt. Is someone chopping onions? Traditionally, prom is supposed be a night to remember. Teenagers put a lot of pressure on themselves to make it a perfect evening. It's kind of like a preview of future wedding preparations.Wait, what?(Oh, the horror!)  My high school friends believed we were too artistic and cool for such lame uncouth antics.(although most of us were card carrying band geeks) We may have helped paint the decorations, created tissue paper flowers or chose the cheesy theme song but actually attend? Seriously? We intentionally voted for the least popular court members as senior prom" King' and 'Queen" and ensured our DJ played at least one Cure song to honor our absence.
         Expectations can and do leave us disappointed sometimes. Hopefully, you make the best of it. Prom is a time to be with friends, have fun, laugh and create treasured memories you will hold for a life time. So  whether you are a teenager or parent enjoy the moment. Remind yourself of what the evening is really all about; a celebration of youth, a rite of passage into adulthood. And remember to dance.... just dance.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    "and I'm thumbin' my way to North Caroline......"

    "Sister Bear:  To make a wish upon a star is okay for a start, but if you want it to come true, you may have to do your part."-The Berenstain Bears-"Homework Hassle" ( a children's story book about the trials and tribulations of mathematics )

    A Letter to My Beautiful Niece on Her Birthday,.March, 14th

    Happy Birthday. Happy Every Day.
    Happily Ever after

    Dear Soul Child,

              The night you were born I woke up from a dream startled. Startled in a good positive way. Alert. As I sat up in bed, intuitively, minutes before the phone rang something told me you had "arrived". Moments later I heard your Grandpa Louie congratulate your father.  Your Mom, Aunt Laurie and me have a psychic "connection". We call, write or text each other with synchronicity.  Your great grandmother Bradford used to tell me stories about how she shared the same connection with my Mom. Your grandmother Glenda would have loved and adored you too. There is so much to love. You were a gorgeous child who has grown into a beautiful young woman before my eyes. So the women of our family pass the special kismet genetics on to you. We certainly didn't intend for you to inherit our math skills. My apologies. Then again that seems trivial when you consider all the gifts you do possess. Your Mom and Dad have done the most outstanding job of raising you and Drew. As far as parents go, you won the lottery, the Powerball and the Golden Ticket to the Wonka Factory with them. They love you so much. They love you enough to do whatever it takes so you believe and live your dreams. However, YOU have made the most of your talents as well. You have always been a lover of language and books, a skilled communicator, dancer, singer, musician You have always been gentle, open-minded and kindhearted. You're not selfish or conceited in any way. You do your own thing. You are strong willed yet still believe in fairy tale endings. You have the intelligence and the charisma to succeed in any endeavor you choose. The field you have chosen is perfect for your personality. When I think of all the possibilities for your future I get excited for you! You inspire me.You are a thousand times more extroverted which is a wonderful quality in public relations. So, I will always love you. I don't care if Kasey is never my brother-in-law. I don't care if you never get married or have children. I want you to be happy with the choices you make. Live your life. This is my long distance hug and kiss, my beautiful girl. Happy Birthday. I love you Love you! Or the text version "i luv u".(but NEVER while you drive). Love you.

    Sunday, March 10, 2013

    "Does anybody really know what time it is ?..."

    "We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance."
    Japanese Proverb 

    Ah.. smell the freshness of the air heavily perfumed with the aroma of lilacs and gardenias.The cool breezes caress our skin like a tender lover. Longer is the light of day. We embrace the sunshine like a warm loving hug. We chase the trails of butterflies and cherry blossom petals across the meadow... what am I blabbering on about? Spring is my third favorite season of the year. It falls behind crisp colorful autumn and peaceful pristine winter and is more tolerable than sweltering hot summer.
    Spring traditionally means the flora and fauna are lazily waking from a long winter slumber, "Hello, beautiful world!"  Spring is also the time for daylight savings, college breaks, St. Patrick's Day, Passover, Easter, (Bri's birthday) and junior/senior proms. My nephew will be attending his first high school prom in a few weeks and has been preparing for the past three months. The enthusiasm of youth is befitting of Spring. Wait!? Do you hear the enchanting melody whispered only in the ears of young lovers? No? Then you are old and jaded. Wake up and live!
                    The coldest areas of the country are slowly thawing and defrosting like a Thanksgiving Butterball bathing in the warm water of the kitchen sink. It's the time of year where you're likely to see piles of  melting snow on the ground along side people peeling off their sweaters and jackets like confining cocoons. Children can be heard laughing and screaming in yards and playgrounds.  Dogs are barking happily and singing through out the neighborhood. Walkers, runners, motorcyclists and bicyclists race outdoors. (We really shouldn't get ahead of ourselves knowing that April almost certainly brings the last Northern snowstorm of the season.) So go out now. Fling the windows of your heart wide open. Spring in the South is gorgeous as the blooms of magnolias and azaleas fill the air with a heavenly scent. Even allergy sufferers, crazy cat lovers and those who dread to venture outdoors have to admit Spring is rather lovely.  So get your pasty pale ass outside and enjoy the day. You need some fresh air. The sun doesn't set until eight o'clock. What are you waiting for?

    Thursday, March 7, 2013

    "With my lightening bolts a glowing, I can see where I am...."

    “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”
    ― William Carlos Williams        

         There are days when reading or watching world news events are overwhelming.  Over a billion people on the planet are struggling and fighting for their survival. Across the globe there is war, famine, murder, torture, rape, abuse. There are children cold and starving who have never known love and affection. There are young girls and women sold to rich men or brothels so their families will have enough money to buy food. 

    There are men viciously attacked and slashed with machetes trying to defend  families.
    and protect property. The world is a savage and brutal place for millions and millions of human beings. We destroy our planet, wild life and each other. It's hard to believe that we have hope for the human race at all. Questions that I would pose to any humanitarian or human rights activist is how do you maintain hope? How do you contain all of your emotions when you witness a child starving to death or a woman being beaten for not obeying a man? How do you control  your anger? How do you keep from sobbing? How do you continue caring when you know you are up against an impossible task?  Exposure to human and animal rights atrocities has brought me to tears. There is an outpouring of emotion rather than a calm, detached observance. The same feelings are conjured up when I watch or read news stories.
     There is a part of my being that truly cannot comprehend why people are so unbelievably cruel. Why? The question why is one we all ask ourselves quite often. The answer is personal. The answer is in our own search for meaning. Often we ask, what can I do? There is no simple answer. You do what you can. Are you appreciative of the life you lead?  I believe in peace although I'm not sure if there will ever be true peace on earth. There is goodness and kindness in all of us. So call me naive. My gratitude for all that I have allows me to see beauty in the mundane and ordinary. My childlike sense of wonder and awe has never been buried under the enormous weight of adulthood. The moments that I've taken for granted seem few. There is so much to be thankful for in my life.  There is so much suffering in the world you must look for hope and happiness in all things. No, I'm not a millionaire, genius scholar or gorgeous celebrity but I have an education, shelter, food, a job, love and independence. 
    Each new day you create the poem you are meant to live. Not all of us know we are poets.

    Sunday, March 3, 2013

    " without music, life is a mistake...."

    " I care about these kids just as much as you do. And if I'm forced to choose between Mozart and reading and writing and long division, I choose long division..... Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." --Mr. Holland's Opus

               There is not a thought, event or memory in my life that has not been enriched by the power of music. When you hear a song or melody you feel  transported back in time to the very moment when that music was absorbed by your heart and soul. Now harmony and melody has become a part of you as if you had covered a composition with a delectable chocolate glaze, savoring and digesting its unique flavor. My greatest fortune was exposure to many genres of music early in life. Both of my parents were music lovers. Watching and listening to how much my mother enjoyed music really inspired me as a child. She was so happy singing and dancing. She seemed to understand and recite every line, every lyric. Johnny Mathis, the Bee Gee's and Mac Davis were just a few of her favorites. My father owned at least six or seven over stuffed record cases full of forty-five's. He had album collections and transistor radio's always turned on and tuned in. We were exposed to Motown, jazz, Big Band, country, classical and especially rock n'roll. Our family was either listening, singing or watching musical shows and movies on television. Do you remember The Sonny and Cher Show, The Partridge Family,  the Hudson Brothers or  American Bandstand? The first time I saw the musical, Oliver! was when I was three or four years old...."who will buy this wonderful feeling? Who will tie it up with a ribbon and put it in a box for me?" Each song I hear is like unwrapping a beautiful gift.

         My sister Les played guitar and has two children who participated in band. Her son plays the guitar today. My sister Laurie, a teacher, played flute and saxophone (T-Sax). She and her husbands love of music inspired their son who is now a high school drum major and trumpet player. Percussion was my passion. Three brothers played trombone, trumpet and tuba. Our high school band director taught five out of six musicians from our family. Every few years he would see a familiar face and read a name from a roster  only to astoundingly proclaim, "What? Another, More?"  It was in our blood. We all cherished playing and performing in marching, concert and jazz band. Academic studies worldwide have proven that studying music increases test scores, focus and significantly improves a child's understanding of other subjects. Music allowed us to travel, encouraged social interaction, taught us history, respect, responsibility, teamwork, and discipline.  Most importantly it taught us how to listen. The search for beauty and truth through art is what sustains humanity. We should never under estimate the full power and omnipotent force of music. It makes me so angry to think our country cuts funding for music programs every year because ignorant fools believe it's not essential to a child's education.. We must fight for the survival of music yet to be written. Every life has a story and that story has a remarkable soundtrack.