Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Happiness is the best thing in the world."

"“I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.” 
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

              From coast to coast frenzied football fans will gather together in crowded bars or living rooms gleefully trash talking opposing teams this weekend. Ice cold tasty beverages in hand, a heart burning heap of Buffalo wings balanced on the knee, as arm chair quarterbacks mentally control the outcome of the entire season finale if they just scream at the TV screen loud enough. Are we ready for some hard hitting, fast and furious, cheering, charging action? Are we imagining the spectacular stunts of the Seattle Seahawks  vs. the nimble ninja-like New England Patriots?  No!

       Team Fluff  vs, Team Ruff? YES!  Puppy Bowl XI or "11" if you're too lazy to look up Roman numerals will begin Sunday, February 1st at 3:00PM EST on Animal Planet. A tremendously talented tribe of goat cheerleaders will be featured for the first time this year but once again the half time extravaganza will be purrrrferectly performed by adorable cute n'cuddly kitten, Katty Furry.  For information about the Puppy Bowl XI's adoptable starting line up check out this link:


Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Everyone should have time to play."

"  I currently make a living writing and telling jokes and I will never believe that. Thank you, Universe. And holy sh%#."-Sal Vulcano , Impratical Jokers

     "Impractical Jokers" premiered on TruTV,  December 15, 2011 and will introduce all new episodes Thursday, January 29th at 10pm. The show follows the hysterical antics of four New York  City friends who have known each other since childhood, comedians Brian "Q" Quinn, Joseph "Joe" Gatto, James "Murr"Murray,  and Salvatore "Sal" Vulcano.
( The Tenderloins comedy troupe ) 
     The premise of "Impractical Jokers" is conquering the challenge of over the top public pranks as the guys are filmed by hidden cameras.  What makes the show truly unique from other prank programs is unfiltered spontaneity. Unlike other prank programs such as "Jack Ass" or "Candid Camera" one or more of the performers may be acting out a hilarious dare as the others remain behind the scenes feeding them lines. Watching the amusing cohesiveness of the four friends while they crack each other up is just as entertaining as the pranks. You never know whats about to transpire as evidenced in the clip above. The show is intended for adult audiences. So if the blustery winter weather is leaving you icy cold, cuddle up and chill out with "Impractical Jokers"  for some serious laughter therapy. It's a guilty pleasure you'll want to indulge.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

" Paw prints on our hearts."

“Without close and reciprocal relationships with other animal beings, we're alienated from the rich, diverse, and magnificent world in which we live.” ― Marc Bekoff, The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter

         January 24th is Change a Pets Life Day. This special day was created to encourage pet adoption and spread awareness about animal welfare. Shelters across the U.S. participate by offering reduced adoption rates and spaying and neutering education.  If you have ever owned a pet you understand how animals enrich lives. Cats and dogs provide us with companionship, unconditional affection and many times motivate us to adopt healthier life habits such as exercise or learning how to relax. Encourage friends to adopt from a local shelter or rescue, foster a pet or simply volunteer to assist others in finding a match. There are millions of adoptable animals waiting for a home. 
     Below is an excerpt from an article that I wrote almost two years ago about an adorable rescued cocker spaniel who changed my life forever:

"Maddie was the most beautiful cream colored cocker spaniel and the first dog I've ever owned. Her soft golden fur felt like velvet to the touch. She loved snuggling and giving endless kisses. When she looked at you her big chocolate brown eyes seemed to melt any heart and peer into your soul. Excitedly, she greeted each new day with enthusiasm, wiggly spaniel behind, a "good morning" lick on your face. Time to get up, Human! She owned me from the very first day we met to the last graceful breath that shattered my heart. She allowed me to feel joy and happiness in her presence just as I feel joy and happiness at the mere thought of her now.

.......Maddie inspired me to participate and write for the prevention of animal abuse, spaying and neutering and dog fighting law campaigns. My love for her unleashed even more of my compassion not only for dogs but all animals. She expanded my awareness. Owning and loving Maddie allowed me to connect to other organizations that utilise the power and amazing gifts that dogs bring to the world. Service dogs are trained to allow disabled veterans more freedom and aid returning soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Daily, dogs serve our military and emergency services with courage. Service and companion animals assist the blind, those suffering from seizures, the elderly and even help children with Autism and learning disabilities.

Our own pets teach us patience, responsibility, compassion and to think outside of selfish behavior. Dogs increase our own health and wellness by encouraging exercise and lowering our blood pressure by petting and hugging them. Who hasn't bonded and become more sociable because they love dogs?
Even as the grieving and healing process continues for Maddie, perhaps there will be another dog in the future. But there was only one Maddie Mooshie Diamond Lotus Buddha. When the time is right I will be ready to be owned again. There has yet to be a word created in the English language to define ALL that encompasses Dog. DOGS ARE LOVE. Maddie was truly a beautiful, happy, affectionate, loving sweetheart. She is missed every single day. However, I know I am a better human being for having her in my life for twelve unforgettable years.
Thank you, "My Little Buddha" . You will always bring me happiness. "

Naturally, humans assume saving an animal is changing their life but many humans will be surprised at just how much animals change our lives..forever.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

" Everything. Just as it is."

"The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass".-Dogen


 Eyes burn in my mind
 recognition in a flash
 branded by a glance


Friday, January 16, 2015

"Looking for something different?"

 "I’m beyond excited to have this chance to continue my relationships with Comedy Central and the brilliant, Jon Stewart.  I love the city of New York and promise to only wear my Laker t-shirts when I’m layering.”- Larry Wilmore, Comedy Central


               True, you may recognize the multi-talented writer and producer, Larry Wilmore as contributing "Senior Black Correspondent" for the Daily Show, but Wilmore began his impressive career as a stand- up comic and actor. He has appeared in movies such as “Love Bites,” “Accidentally on Purpose”, " Dinner for Schmucks" and “Happy Endings.”  He has written for the hilarious sketch comedy show “In Living Color" and “The Jamie Foxx Show" as well as "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air".  With the late brilliant comedian, Bernie Mack, Wilmore co-created  the award-winning “The Bernie Mac Show,” taking home an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.  He has appeared in episodes of  the critically acclaimed comedy "The Office" and acts as consulting producer. He is executive producer of the new ABC hit series “Black-ish,”. His first book, “I’d Rather We Got Casinos and Other Black Thoughts,” was released to an enthusiastic fan base by Hyperion Books in 2009.  His newest adventure is at the helm of The Nightly Show which premiers, Monday, January 19th at 11:30 on Comedy Central.

            The Nightly Show is said to" feature a diverse panel of voices " discussing current events from a unique perspective. No doubt the show will be highly entertaining considering  Wilmore's normal laid back, skillful, satirical style and appointed Lead Writer, Robin Thede, known  for her exceptional work with a Los Angeles based all-female sketch-comedy group. Executive producers for The Nightly Show are Wilmore, Emmy Award winning writer and stand-up comedian, Rory Albanese and the incomparable Jon Stewart.  So if you are " looking for something different" all the cool kids will be watching The Nightly Show debut on Monday.

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Freedom from fear."

"Imagine a world in which we are all enlightened by objective truths rather than offended by them." ~ Dr.Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014


               On Sunday, January 11th millions of French citizens gathered side by side with notable world leaders through out Parisian streets. Journalists described the somber scene as the most monumental demonstration in the history of France.  Rallies were also held in cities around the globe including Tokyo, London and New York, not only to mourn the tragic loss of seventeen innocent French murder victims including police, journalists and cartoonists killed at the headquarters of "Charlie Hebdo," a satirical magazine in Paris but come together to fiercely defend freedom of expression.  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated on i Tele TV,
 "The terrorists want two things: they want to scare us and they want to divide us. We must do the opposite. We must stand up and we must stay united.” 

          Why is freedom of expression so crucial for all of us?  Freedom of expression is imperative to democratic systems of self-government and especially here in the US because it allows the American people to check and balance our governments corruption or excess. To ensure the American people have power over their elected government, they must be educated, well-informed and  most importantly have access to all available ideas, different points of view and unfiltered information. The greatest breeding ground for prejudice, hatred and ignorance is oppression. Tyranny is why extremists thrive in certain areas of the world. Extremists gain power by suppressing education, tolerance and basic human rights.

     Our right to express our thoughts, play with "good" and "bad" ideas, criticize and satirize freely with others affirms our own creativity and unique individuality. Every man, woman and child was born with human rights, deserves dignity and should be allowed to fulfill their own potential. Freedom of expression encompasses so  much more than free speech or free press, it is a true expression of our own humanity which must be actively exercised and protected every day we are alive.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"Film as dream, film as music."

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”
― Victor Hugo

              The 72nd Golden Globe Awards ceremony honoring the very best of film and American television will be held Sunday, January 11th. Hosted once again by the beautiful, brilliant duo, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, both highly esteemed writers, comedians and actors in their own right. With over fourteen main categories the focus of the evening is undoubtedly film. But could there really be a full genuine cinema experience without a film score?  Internationally renowned composer, Aaron Copeland once eloquently stated, "To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.”    The ebb and flow of sound in a film score is a powerful medium for setting tone and atmosphere, creating mood and stirring our sentiments like no performance or special effect ever will. Whether subtle or intense, listening to music accompanying a film or television show has an undeniable affect on our emotions. Listed below are a few film soundtracks you may have unintentionally ignored.
     This year the nominees for BEST ORIGINAL SCORE - MOTION PICTURE

 JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON for THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING - including The Dreams That  Stuff Is Made Of. (video above)

For a full list of all nominees:

Monday, January 5, 2015

"..of strength and tragedy"

"Human slavery is a robust multi-billion dollar industry...only drugs and weapon dealing are more profitable."-Dr. Noel Bridget Busch-Armendariz

         It is estimated that more than 20 million men, women and children around the world are victims of human trafficking or a form of modern-day slavery. Victims are subjected to coercion, intimidation, threats of physical violence and brutality to serve the purpose of commercial sex or forced labor. Victims are typically vulnerable young children, homeless teenagers, poverty stricken men, women and families but it can happen to any one of us. Traffickers utilize various techniques to control their victims, keeping them enslaved for months, years or an entire lifetime. Under lock and key, chained, imprisoned is how many traffickers hold victims in inescapable bondage. More frequently other less detectable techniques are used such as isolation from the public or limiting contact and constant monitoring, isolation from family, friends and community, restrictions of ethnic or religious associations, confiscation of visas, passports or identification documents. Traffickers use threats of violence toward victims or their family members, shaming, control of the victims' money or holding money, debt bondage or placing an enormous financial obligation or undefined debt on the victim forcing them to" earn" their right to freedom which many will never experience again.

       Trafficking human beings occurs around the globe, including here at home in the United States.
 "Human Trafficking Awareness Day" is dedicated to raising our perception of human trafficking and sexual slavery worldwide. The designation of  January 11th began in 2007 by the United States Senate. The United Nations has begun to highlight this disturbing topic to work tirelessly towards global awareness.
      What can you do? First be aware of the products and services you use. Do the companies use child or forced labor? Be a conscientious consumer. Check out Take steps to investigate or encourage companies to eliminate slavery and human trafficking for their supply chains and to actively inform and publish information for consumer awareness.

     United States residents call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center
 1-888-373-7888  Help is available 24/7. Connect with a service provider in your area, anonymously report information or a tip on potential human trafficking activity.

 Visit for more information.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

" Stories in the air...."

" A bird is three things: feathers, flight and song. And feathers are the least of these." -Marjorie Allen Seiffert, poet

         Go outside, sit down, relax and close your eyes.  Listen carefully. What do you hear? Some of us may notice the rumbling of traffic, people bustling, life swiftly moving down gritty crowded city streets. Some us may hear the occasional lonely beagle howling in the distance or the vibrations of an airplane engine gliding high overhead.  Listen closely to what remains unconsciously tuned out. Bird songs. 
        Monday, January 5th is "National Bird Day". "National Bird Day" is a campaign to educate and bring about awareness of the increasing plight of wild native and exotic birds around the world.   Birds are an especially important species because they serve as barometers of our delicate ecosystems.  Due to loss of habitat, disease and the illegal pet trade songbirds and many of the world's parrots are endangered. According to recent research almost 12% of the worlds nearly 10,000 bird species may face extinction within the next century. Why are birds so crucial to our planet? Like all other species,  birds keep our earth in balance.  Birds not only disperse seeds,  they eat insects and mosquitoes, they pollinate plants and help recycle nutrients back into the earth. Birds scavenge dead carcasses preventing diseases, predict weather and climate changes and welcome in each season of our lives.
    For more educational information about "National Bird Day" or additional resources visit:


   It is difficult to imagine a world without birds. They are an immediate reminder of nature and much too often, like many creatures that surround us, birds are ignored or simply seen as a nuisance or unimportant.  From the largest falcon to the tiniest of hummingbirds, they help sustain the earths resources and have allowed us to dream. Birds were our first instructors of flight, inspiring us to soar as we imitated their precision. We admire how gracefully birds spread their wings and fly from place to place, encouraging our own freedom. The echos of their beautiful songs have influenced  countless engineers, scientists, musicians, sculptures, painters, writers and poets. Please continue to preserve and honor them with avian education.


   "So you must persist in asking
    where my heart goes all the long, cold night.
    Like following trails left by birds
    who vanished with yesterday's sky."
                                Koho Kennichi