Guest Entries, Musings, Pet Peeves, Philosophy

Guest Post: My friend’s Eloquent Facebook Rant

Time for a rant.  It’s been a while.

I am continually amazed and frustrated by our common lack of concern and care for other human beings. Everyone has excuses:  “I’m too busy”; “Too involved”; “I don’t want to get involved for fear of recrimination”; “I’ve become bitter and don’t care anymore”; or my favorite, “I don’t have any money, either.”

My question is, what if were you or yours that needed some sort of of assistance? What would your expectations be and what have you put out there? The tables change drastically then. Then, all we hear about is how no one did a thing, no one was willing to help.

Apathy begets apathy. Karma exists.

I’m not saying there aren’t good people out there that do good in the world every day, there are millions of them. They don’t blow their own horns, they don’t do it for the glory or recognition. They do it for the personal satisfaction they feel when they know that they have helped someone survive this messed up process we call life, if only for one more day.

During my “Boot Camps,” one of my standard goals is to find someone that needs a kindness, and offer it. This isn’t something that I only do once in a while – I strive to do this every single day.  It doesn’t always come back in the way we want or in our time frame, but I promise that it does, if you chose to acknowledge it, respect it for what it is.

Yesterday, I encountered a situation where some people required assistance, and so I offered mine. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it was necessity, because I could not have gotten up this morning and faced my reflection in the mirror had I not done all that I possibly could.  This kindness has already come back to me in spades. Not only do I feel great about my accomplishment, someone else has reached out to me in my time of need and is helping me to improve my life.

Is the return always immediate?  Certainly not.  It may be years before your good deeds come full circle.  But that isn’t the point. The point is to try.  We may fail, but that the failure itself teaches us what to avoid if we are wise enough to learn from our mistakes.

The world doesn’t always need grandiose gestures. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying “Thank you for the job you do”; “I need you”; “I want you”, “You are valuable”; or even “I see your struggle and although I can’t help in the way you need, I’ll stay by your side and hold your hand when it’s really hard.” Sometimes it’s picking up someone’s coffee for them, or just listening when they have hit the ropes and they really need to rant about how unfair it is.

One of my mom’s favorite quotes was, “No man is an island.”  As a child, I never understood what it meant.  But these days, it resonates with me. You can’t do it alone, shouldn’t do it alone.  But yet we expect those we don’t know or don’t particularity care for to do so.

I don’t necessarily have the solution, I just know that I have a compulsion to try. I struggle daily with being in a position where it would be so easy to say, “I’m just too busy.”  I REFUSE to give in to that. I REFUSE to allow Karma to put me and mine on that list of the uninterested!

What will you choose today?  And tomorrow, for that matter?  I’ve already made my choice.

Guest Entries, Poetry

And Now For Something Completely Different: A Poetic Guest Post

The work of my friend David of DJ Bailey Empires speaks for itself.  I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I did!

~The Beat Stops Here.~
From the time that I was born
until the day I meet my divine maker
I will be listening to the beatbox drop
the tunes from Lancaster to Grandmaster & drums, string-strung-strums
to the anesthetic hums of Jimi Hendrix and Social Distortions
Rock & Roll Full Forces
Making it easier for my daze to meet it’s living end.
___ ____ ____
But then there’s that one beat I just can’t stand.
____ ____ ____
That sirens like a chainsaw through galvenized cement grates
The back of a man’s hand hitting a woman’s face.
Her silence grows louder than Hiroshima screams
with the deafening sounds of;..”I’ve had it’s!”
Gliding across her bruised wrist’s.
Now! You’ve just awakened the reckoning
Of Gods fist beckoning me into benevolent vengence
A trade-off penance clock…of~~…”Not on our watch!”
Where we now bring-out devout justice
With Public Enemy’s on Black Stallions
And Black Sabbath’s as Grim Reapers
with seraph swinging sickles, pounding-out in High-def.
stereo surround sound of Led Zepp` P.A. system’s
devouring infamous decibels through his horrendous persistence.
To blast him out of her beatific existence
She was silent!
“And all you gave her was violence..?!”
Once an innocent child
Now a shell of the lady you should of made a Queen
Not a whipping-post martyr round-the-house castaway
With brutish tirades of everything that hadn’t gone your way!
Deconstructing a neglected billboard-drive-by, crying for release
So now…?
She will be carried off into a million overdue `Dignity Sunset’s`
As the sounds projective lights are spinning out of rhythm
With the two left feet, deaf unto her lovely passage
“As the beat….Stops…..Here.”
by David Tartaglia~David Jaxon Bailey…c.


Looking for more?  In the words of the artist himself:

“DJ Bailey Empires”– is set to express all forms of “original” entertainment…In the form of writing-poetry-spoken word poetry-slam poetry-classical-modern-music-dance-essay-journal-comedy-Dating tips-recipes- or even spinning on your head for an hour. Creative expression with no rules to your freedom of expression. (Except anger & harrassment)…Free to create on this page and share uploads & information , to better enhance the quality of life~love-free will~ and also to create an excepting exposure to the gift of you. dJb~* enjoy~*

Guest Entries, Musings, News, Philosophy

Guest Post: It’s Not About You

I received this message as an email from my aunt, Kim Brown, who is an employee of Ball Publishing in West Chicago, IL.  It was written by Anna Ball, CEO of Ball Seed Company who was at the airport in Tokyo when the earthquake hit.  Her message struck a chord in my heart, and I hope that we can learn from her simple observation, “it’s not about you” instead of requiring something as catastrophic as the earthquake in Japan as a catalyst to force us to learn to work together simply to survive.

“Here are some “lessons” that Jan, Todd and I were observing at the airport.

1)“It’s not about you.”

There was a business leadership article I read a few years ago and the main point the author made was: It’s not about you. (Put the company first and in the end, everyone wins).  I often think about that concept and it came up over and over when we were in Japan. Once we realized how devastating the earthquake was for the people of Japan, it was ridiculous and embarrassing to complain about the very minor inconvenience of being stuck in an airport.  We knew we would eventually get home on a comfortable airplane to wonderful homes and to a country that is better off than any other in the world.  Complaints sound hollow after putting things into perspective.

“It’s not about you.”  More people should keep that in mind when they are voting.  Do people vote for the candidate who will make them better off or one who will make their town, state, or country better off? I recently received an email from someone who had analyzed (exactly) the financial consequences to him personally of Obama’s health care plan.  It had a net positive for this person, so therefore he was urging everyone to support it.   The other night I was at a school district meeting to protest impending installation of night lighting for our local high school – a great expense  for the convenience of a very few students.  One student got up and talked about how he wants lights on the field because currently he “has to take a bus to practice in another place and sometimes the bus is late and I have to wait for 10 minutes – and sometimes it is raining.” Oh dear.  They need to teach the concept of ‘greater good” in high schools. “It’s not about you.”

“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”  Proverbs 21:11

2) “Indefinite”

Our new favorite word to bash.   The whole time we were in the airport the flight boards with the flights posted were of great interest to everyone as you can imagine.  Everyone wanted to know what was going on – when the airport would reopen, which flights would take off, etc.  Next to most flights it said “Cancelled”. After a while, next to others it said “Delayed.”  But next to ours it said “Indefinite”.  An interesting word. What on earth did indefinite mean? Of course, it meant nothing.  No information, not even a clue.  How frustrating.  Disappointing information is better than no information.  Bad news is better than no news. Not knowing is worse than knowing the worst. We have made this point dealing with customers.  It is always better to tell customers (internal and external) quickly and openly what the situation is than to keep something from them.  Todd talked many times with people from United, trying to get answers.  Some were crunchy, others soggy.  It’s the people who make the difference.  And if you just don’t know, say it.  Be open with information. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

3)  “Tied to technology” – or “Quit fighting it; it’s here to stay.”

We were amazed at how the whole experience was dominated by the fact that almost every person in the airport had a cell phone and a laptop. (We were in the international terminal and probably one third of the passengers were Americans; internet worked even though phone calls usually didn’t for some reason).  After evacuating the airport and standing on the tarmac for a couple of hours, they decided it was safe to go back into the airport to a certain room.  What was the very first thing most of the people did when they went back into the room?  Go directly to a plug along the wall and plug in their phone and laptop!  It was amazing.  Jan is on Facebook so everyone knew in very short time what our situation was.  We got a report on the magnitude of the quake within minutes of the quake that came over someone’s phone. We spent more time on email than anything else the whole time. It was interesting to think what the whole experience would have been like had it happened a few years ago before the ubiquitous smart phone started dominating our behavior.  I won’t comment on whether it would have been better or worse…….I’ll just say it would have been very different. Our behavior is changing dramatically because of technology.

4)     “Just do something”  or “Delta versus United”  or “It’s all about people, not technology.”

When we were stuck in the room for the night with so many people, nobody knew what was going on. Some of the people were originally on flights with United, some Delta and other various other airlines.  Every once in a while a Japanese would get on the loudspeaker and make an announcement that either you couldn’t hear or couldn’t understand because of the heavy accent.  And of course, virtually none of the passengers spoke Japanese.  So nobody knew what was going on. All of a sudden, a man with an American accent, got on the loudspeaker and started making announcements about what was happening – crunchier information than we had been receiving.  Turns out he worked for Delta.  He just decided to take over the microphone and it was a relief to at least know something.  And to feel someone had taken control of things.  Furthermore, he arranged for box lunches to be brought in for all of the Delta passengers.  All of the rest of us – United etc never got any food.  Here was a guy who took initiative!  Just Do It!  We were happy for the Delta passengers but how we wished there had been someone from United who had the same attitude!  Take initiative! (United later redeemed itself through our wise and kind pilot who got on and told us, in so many words: ”it’s not about you” and also told us to watch out for(and avoid, in so many words)  the press at the airport when you get off.  Helped me.   Another example was a young American/Taiwanese University of Illinois student who went out of his way to help an elderly couple get a seat on our plane.

5)     “I love the Japanese” or – as the WSJ said:  “No country in the world was better prepared for an 8.9 earthquake.”

They were prepared – are we? The Japanese are disciplined (they form lines for everything) organized, gracious, polite and selfless.  They did a marvelous job of staying organized and holding the airport together during a very difficult time for them.  I can only imagine how the whole experience would have been different in various other countries.  Actually the whole human race came out pretty good – everyone in the terminal was friendly and stayed in good humor the whole time.  We never saw anyone angry or complaining.  People bonded together and made the best of it, as people tend to do in situations like that.”

Guest Entries, Humor, Musings

Guest post: Why I Would Completely Fail as a Serial Killer (via snarkandcookies)

This goes out to all my friends that have become addicted to Dexter with my exuberant assistance. I love that show and I love this blogger, if only in a favorite sister kind of way. Unfortunately for any vile miscreants I happen to come across, this lovely post has gotten me thinking about my prospective success as a serial killer. And it just so happens that I picked up a package of garbage bags yesterday.

Many thanks to my sister for introducing me to the TV show Dexter, the title character of which is an exceptionally organized serial killer who only kills bad guys.  Just so nobody decides they need to report me to the police, I’m letting you know right up front that the items referenced in this VERY FICTIONAL post are borrowed directly from the VERY FICTIONAL character, all of whose VERY FICTIONAL victims were in fact actors who went home after … Read More

via snarkandcookies