Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Search to What Not To Do At A Funeral 
A man searches to be better 
Couples at grave compete to be better 

The Search (Shakespearean sonnet) 

I search to find the meaning of my life
Some gleaning to give meaning why I’m here
In search of kisses on the shores of strife
And give another reason to a tear
I hope to touch some purpose to it all
Some stream where every dream first had its start
In hope some softer kisses might recall
A melody that’s beating in a heart
I trust that given time I too might see
Some scent which once was meant for souls to find
Entrusted to forgotten memory
Of kisses which are better left behind.
I search for hope while she is by my side
And trust my life brings meaning to my bride

A gentleman's reflection is the depth of this Shakespearean sonnet. This sonnet contain two surprises. First is the second line of each quatrain. Not only does each second line begin with "Some", but they contain a rhyme within a rhyme. Secondly, was the reason for the man's reflection, which we do not find out until the rhyming couplet. It is the man's wedding. 

It was March 30, 2007, the end of months of planning. It was the day I was wed to Amor. With the help of Amor's close friends and my experience as an event organizer, I put together the entire affair. Amor only directly chose the wedding cake, the flowers and the wedding candles. In fact, Amor's friends told me all of Amor's dreams which she shared with them and they shared with me and I used to make our magic day come alive. I have two movies (and pictures) of the day, showing Amor's amazement as her "secret" dreams came true. We Masons have a custom. "No man should enter any great or important undertaking without invoking the blessing of God." Before Amor arrived, I found a secluded room where I could be alone. I gave my one last "Thank You" and request for blessing, for this day and for our future. Then it hit me. Time stood still. I was 55 years old. Already had a full life. Could I now bring a portion to Amor? This and more raced through me. Then one by one came the feeling: This was meant to be. 

I'm not going to give a religious exhortation. Though I am a Christian, I and the Masons believe that is not our place to put our religious beliefs on others. This thing about asking God's blessing before starting any important undertaking is nothing more than reflecting for a moment on what is about to happen. Manyt successful people engage in this reflection. Perhaps you are one of these successful people. One last chance to gather our thoughts. One last chance to take a deep breath. One last chance to say, "Here we are. Are we ready?" One common place to see what I'm talking about, is when an athlete is preparing to take the field. There is no time limit. It can take a while or an instant. The next time a important is about to happen to us, let's take a moment for ourselves. A moment to prepare. On last deep breath  And when the moment becomes a little more, Enjoy. 

Back to the wedding: Bryan Adams "I Do It For You" 

To better ourselves is one thing - But to try to be better than someone else 

The Myles Standish Burial Ground (also known as Old Burying Ground or Standish Cemetery) in Duxbury, Massachusetts is, according to the American Cemetery Association, the oldest maintained cemetery in the United States. It dates back to 1620. In another cemetery, somewhere, two couples, from Studio C, meet to mourn. The problem started because they weren't mourning at the same grave. Well, not to be outdone. 
The result was grave. (Ha ha) "What Not To Do At a Funeral" 

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There are three methods to gaining wisdom. 
The first is reflection, which is the highest. 
The second is limitation, which is the easiest. 
The third is experience, which is the bitterest. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Golden Moment to Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out 
One man drifts in memories 
While another man makes a memory 

Golden Moments (Martin verse) 

In the silence which now makes his day
Golden moments found a place to play
Fascination wasn’t far away
And with her forever would he stay
Days for them another dream come true
Wonder brought alive for all to view
Promised spring to keep the flowers new
Kisses bloomed in field which they passed through
There with them pure Joy would fill the day
Others felt the magic they would view
How was it their love was ever new
In all who saw it would always stay
Time does tell a story much more true
Ageless are the fields where it does play
All that is must one day pass away
So it was a fairy tale was through
Yet bid a tear hold its place and stay
Lovers’ dreams still pass the time away
Reliving a part in life’s grand play
In the silence which now makes his day 

A fairy tale returns to claim its place in this Martin verse. Martin verse uses five stanzas of four lines each. Once the eight words are selected they cannot be changed, though they may be added to (Examples wary: unwary, come: become, more: anymore).  The first two stanzas introduce the eight words. The third and fourth stanzas mix the words of the first two stanzas. The fifth stanza uses the words of the first stanza, in reverse order. 

I am old and my body isn't what it used to be. For me there as always been enough time for a very active lifestyle. As I slow down, I realize how long the day can be. To get me through the long, long days are the golden moments. Moments of a well spent life. 

Let me share one moment with you. Arlene wasn't much for camping, so when she wanted to spend the weekend outdoors at Lake Berryessa I was very excited. Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County. It is heavily forested and very beautiful. Arlene had made all the plans. I love surprises, so I didn't get any details. Just the fact that Arlene wanted to go camping was enough for me. When the day came, I backed the car: tent, backpacks, sleeping bags and all. As it turned out, we didn't need any of these things. Arlene had rented, through a relative, a houseboat. Other than being on a lake and being a little crammed, it was much nicer than our flat back home. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind when Arlene said camping. All in all, it was great. I had Arlene by my side on Lake Berryessa. And the nights were unbelievable. I did have some trouble going to sleep. I was bothered, why Arlene let me pack the tent, backpacks, sleeping bags and all. 

We all get old. That's just the way it is. As we grow older, there are many things that we can't do anymore. This doesn't mean that we stop doing things. Having lived a good life gives us golden moments to revisit. To enjoy (again). But let's be careful. If we spend too much time in the past we will miss out on now. The price of a memory is now. We could be doing something new or we can enjoy a memory. Memories are treasures and stepping stones to a future. A future that will inevitably bring our end. 147 funerals have taught me that we tend to look back on our life. Was our life satisfying? Did we do enough to be happy? We all get old. But while there is time let us Enjoy.  

A little inspiration is called for: James Taylor "Golden Moments" 

One more present becomes a memory - And what a memory 

Daniel "Danny" MacAskill is a Scottish trials cyclist, from Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. He works professionally as a street trials pro rider for Inspired Bicycles Ltd. Trials cyclist is a discipline of biking in which the rider attempts to pass through an obstacle course without setting foot to ground. Here's Danny making a moment and showing off his amazing skills, plus introducing to the beauty of the rural landscape around Edinburgh. 
The landscape alone makes this video. "Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out" 

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Take care of all your memories. 
For you cannot relive them. 
Bob Dylan

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Bird to Every Bird Ever 
From the sweet side of a bird 
To the silly side of birds 

The Bird (Shakespearean sonnet) 

It was the morning of another spring
When all the world rejoiced to greet the day
A bird flew to her window where he’d sing
And when his song had ended fly away
And with each day the sun would find him there
To heighten all her dreams with serenade
Assurances of magic in the air
And realms for carefree lovers are still made
Then came an evening filled with storm and clouds
There in her darkness came the sound of rain
The promised glow now hidden deep in shrouds
She prayed for gentle sleep to ease the pain
The sweetness of the morning brought the bird
A sadness in his song which went unheard

A bird's song brings joy and mystery to this Shakespearean sonnet. Here we have a sonnet whose intention is to be a mental play. The first two quatrains paint a lovely picture and a bird who shares girl's joy. Then comes the bitter storm of the third stanza. The rhyming couplet brings the payoff. What happened that night? Why is the bird sad? Why didn't she notice his sadness? 

No, I'm not going to give any clues as to what happened. Instead: Arlene and I moved into our home in June of 1991. Our house has a big backyard. Add to this, only a small vine covered fence separates my yard from my neighbors'. So, my backyard looks very large. We get an unusual amount of wildlife, especially birds. In spring of 1992 a Blue Jay sat outside our bedroom window each morning and sang. Other than being quite beautiful, we didn't pay him much attention. In spring of 1993 the bird was back. Arlene and I had our own messenger of spring. This bit of wonder would continue , year after year, until 1999 (when he didn't show up). 

A Blue Jay singing at my window. Buying a house in San Francisco. As wonder-filled as my life had been, it was about to get better. I am not financially well off. I was just born in the right time for me. I was also brainwashed in the power of positive thinking. With it came a "can do" attitude. So we have an egotist, paid to use his imagination, armed with a "can do" attitude; here to tell you that there is nothing we can't accomplish. It goes beyond believing. It enters the realms of knowing. All and any doubt must be completely removed. This is the right time for all of us. Know this and live. Live life to the fullest. And when a "Blue Jay sings at your window", Enjoy. 

How about a song with all of this: Kenny G "Songbird" 

Are we prepared to take birds to a whole new level 

Blue Jays form monogamous relationships that can last multiple breeding cycles. A pair will usually stay together until one of them dies. Ian Hecox and Daniel Padilla, of Smosh, did extensive research on birds. Not one piece of that research was used in making this video. 
Any relationship between the actors in this video and real birds is purely coincidental. "EVERY BIRD EVER" 

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Be as a bird perched on a frail branch 
that she feels bending beneath her, 
still she sings away all the same, 
knowing she has wings. 
Victor Hugo

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I Drift Upon Reason to Election Wisdom 
It's okay if a lover drifts upon reason 
But the most powerful country on earth drifting upon reason 

I Drift Upon Reason (English sonnet) 

I drift upon the reason I am here
The mornings blessed with promises of you
My everything in which I wander though
It all appears each heartbeat you are near
Each breeze surrenders sighs of something new
As ways of endless wonderment appear
My purpose for a dream is now quite clear
To show the vastness of a love this true
Who knows the meaning of the stars’ array
Forget forever right now is more dear
To mold into a lovers’ fantasy
Forgive me if your beauty makes me stray
I drift upon the reason I am here
And thank you for the moments spent with me 

Just above all reason drifts a lover in this English sonnet. A straight forward love sonnet. As the sonnet progresses we are led to believe the speaker is drifting in his love. As the first triplet appears we find out the speaker is above reason. Worlds beyond, fashioned by her. Also notice: normal English sonnets follow this form: ABBA BAAB CDE CDE. This one is written: ABBA BAAB CAD CAD. Message is more important than form. 

Yes, I was blessed to live in wonderment. Once Arlene and I move in together and except that time we spent in that apartment of darkness our lives were pretty unbelievable. Arlene wasn't always beautiful. When her beauty came out, she would flaunt it. From the moment I woke up, till I went to sleep, she would make sure I knew that I was married to the most beautiful lady. I got the message, believe me. It wasn't just her beauty, Arlene led with all of her strengths, her social skills, her talent as a seamstress, her dancing, her knowledge of books, just to name a few. Arlene always put her talents on the forefront, not just for me, but others she came in contact with. This, of course, made me float higher. This was my wife! It was like she was doing it all for me. Whether she was or wasn't, I made opportunities to thank her for being Arlene and for being with me. 

Life is full of wonder. From a tiny flower to the giant sequoia. From the silence of a desert to the waves of the ocean. All waiting to amaze us. How many lifetimes would it require to take it all in? How many dreams would it take to hold such wonder? All we have is this life, these senses, this person. The most amazing wonder of them all. "Oh, I am not that great." Compared to what? There are over 7 billion people on earth and only one you. There is no one like you. The only person you need to satisfy is you. You are the gauge of your success. You are the beginning of so much more. Don't believe me? How many lifetimes would it require to take it all in? And while we're figuring it all out, Enjoy. 

Back to the sonnet and this song: Santa Esmeralda "You're My Everything" 

Sometime real life is the biggest comedy of all 

The Electoral College is a process the founding fathers established in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens. Confused yet? Here is a video that explains how the United States elects its president. JP Sears, of Awaken With JP, tries his best to make the whole process clear. 
What makes this even more fascinating is that JP can explain the entire process without laughing. "Election Wisdom - Ultra Spiritual Life episode 41" 

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Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, 
and I learn, whatever state I may be in, 
therein to be content. 
Helen Keller

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Forever You to Pregnancy Reaction Videos You Won't See 
A lover sings the secrets of his heart 
A pregnancy test spreads its secrets 

Forever You (lyrical poem) 

Forever you
You know it’s true
What can I do
When there’s only you
Heartbeats are you
Longings are you
Each thought is you
I breath it’s you
All things are you
Sparks that ignite
Endless delight
Those moods made for you
My reason you
Each memory
Of you and me
Is magic from you
Flowers are you
Dew drops are you
Heaven is you
Destiny you
Missing is you
Teardrops that fall
Truth to recall
These dreams that were you
Lost without you
Empty sorrow
Escape borrow
One more dance with you
Walls echo you
Rich Joys from you
Are here for you
My life is you
Wonder of you
Whispers I hear
Tell me you’re near
Till forever you 

Do we have to wonder what the boy thinks about in this lyrical poem. The choruses have all lines ending with "you". The verses allow other words to share the spotlight. We get the feeling that someone is obsessed. Yet, it seems the lover is trying to do something about his obsession by ending the song with a verse. 

Well, I grew older. When I was a teenager, I spent all my spare time with Arlene; On the phone with Arlene; Writing letters to Arlene. My friends saw very little of me, unless I was with Arlene. I was a "bit" obsessed. Arlene's parent didn't mind. They believed that I was the cause behind their daughter's improvements in school. As I grew older, my obsession for Arlene quelled down. I still loved Arlene very much. (Maybe even more.) We both developed independent social lives. A time away from one another. A time with our friends. It was here that would start the boy's camping adventures. It was here that I would meet my greatest fear: Days without Arlene. We boys would go off on camping trips that might last as long as a week. I was okay until nightfall. It was then that I would start to miss Arlene. The pain of being away from her was like we had broken up. "Well, why did you continue", you might ask. Arlene Loved her "Mountain Man". 

If you have no obsessions, consider yourself lucky. Obsessions can be like being hooked on cigarettes or alcoholism. Obsessions can be quite harmful or very simple. Some obsessions we can handle ourselves, while others require professional help. A tricky thing about obsessions is that they could make us blind to their existence or they may switch to something else. Of course, there are some obsessions that can be useful: like the doctor with finding a cure. Some obsessions can be controlled: like the people obsessed with their jobs, while at work. Then there are those nutty teenage lovers... Life is a wonder. It is there for us. Open your eyes and take it in. Open your mind and Enjoy. 

For all the lovers out there: Matt Monro "I Had A Dream" 

Sex can be an obsession - Which leads us to the pregnancy test 

Judith L. Vaitukaitis is a reproductive neuroendocrinologist and clinical researcher who played a key role developing a biochemical assay in the early 1970s that ultimately led to the creation of the home pregnancy test. These pregnancy tests are great for couples planning a family. They are available almost everywhere and help give a couple advanced notice of a blessed event. 
Then there is the other story. "The Pregnancy Reaction Videos You Won't See" 

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Everyone has their own definition of a healthy lifestyle, 
and mine has come to mean making health a priority 
but not an obsession. 
Daphne Oz

Monday, October 10, 2016

She Rose to Crankin' Up the 3-String Shovel Guitar 
Through his love a special person becomes so much more 
Through his imagination a shovel becomes so much more 

She Rose (poem) 

Long before the dreams the hopes the wishes cast
The scenes which took his heart away
The themes of his imagination
The purpose of his breath
She rose
Long before the Joys the glow the kiss of dawn
The reasons flowing in the air
The limitless possibilities
The smile across his skies
She rose
And there in a moment
This timeless forever
Paradox of reason
Blossomed to the light
Blossomed through his wonderings
Far beyond his fantasies
Far beyond the still waters
Touched by the moon
As the orchestra played
Laid at her feet
Long before the sighs the thrills the pure magic
The endless treasures there fashioned
The world which waited stroke of a brush
One more moment of this
She rose 

Join this lover as he witnesses wonder in this poem. Why don't I call this a free form poem? It doesn't rhyme. On closer examination, it does follow a beat pattern. In many ways it is a rhymeless lyrical poem. 

This poem is about a mystery of love. I don't know what attracted me to Arlene. I was a good looking guy, with tons of girls after my attention. Many of these girls were prettier than Arlene. Add to this, Arlene suffered from rashes, which negatively effected what looks she had. Whatever the mysteries of love and a tear, Arlene had this guy, lock, stock and barrel. The sun rose because of Arlene. Now if love wasn't maddening enough, Arlene actually began to look better. Not just to me, but to everyone. One of the reasons Arlene's parents liked me was that Arlene's grades were improving. They attributed this to me. There was a mystery going on that I wouldn't see until years later. To me, Arlene was everything. My feelings about her brought about real improvements in her. These improvements made me better. Now we have an improved person drifting in and glorifying his source of everything, which brought about more improvements, which made a boy better... Soon, these improvements would touch others, which would find its way back to Arlene, which made a star for a boy to admire. And as the story went on, she rose. 

We all have our own unique driving force. Something that draws us forward. Something that call to us. Something that pushes us. Something that urges us. Something that makes us more than we are now. It is part of being human. Our improvement may be grand. Our improvement may seem minute. Even if we fail, we are improved. We are better for even trying. Each of our goals is unique to us. And one goal could lead to another. We are a wonder. Humans, as a whole, don't like change, yet we get bored. We are a wonder. Our unique driving force may seem only important to us (and they are important to us). We are special and touch so many. Hence, what moves us forward touches so many. What a wonderful life, Enjoy. 

Let's go back to her for a few minutes: Charles Aznavour "She" 

One of our driving forces is imagination 

The modern classical guitar was developed in the 19th century through the imagination of Antonio de Torres Jurado, Ignacio Fleta, Hermann Hauser Sr. One of the world’s leading ambassadors for the homegrown guitar music movement, international touring and recording artist Justin Johnson has been hailed by Guitar World as a “must-see act”, dubbed “The Wizard” for his mastery of stringed instruments, and recognized as Slidestock International Slide Guitar Champion. Justin Johnson's creativity and imagination is not limited to his guitar mastery. It seems to have turned to the shovel. 
Are we ready to be amazed? "Crankin' Up the 3-String Shovel Guitar!" 

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What you get by achieving your goals 
is not as important as what you become 
by achieving your goals.
Zig Ziglar

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Tale Of The Stars to I'm Adopted 
A tale of lovers is set into confusion 
A tale of a young man is set into confusion 

Tale Of The Stars (English sonnet) 

The stars will tell a tale of nights gone by
When dreams would stream from wonderment of two
Whose eyes had other sacred hopes in view
And promises to write amid the sky
Each warm caress another wish come true
Their scent of heaven sets a soul to fly
And when they kissed the moon would hold its sigh
Their hearts held visions future always new
Dark clouds confuse the secret of star’s tale
The music of the sunset seems so strange
Has time warn magic moments down to plain
Twas you who brought these dreams into my sail
Could once so true have undergone a change
Or could we be the heaven’s sweet refrain 

Stars and heavens are renewed in this English sonnet. This sonnet starts as a typical tribute to two lovers. Confusion and trouble set in with the advent of the triplets Then,  the final stanza turns to first person. The stars and the heavens are brought down to two people and there to begin again. 

This poem is not so much about an event but a custom. As most of my fans know, I moved in with my childhood sweetheart, Arlene, when she turned 21. Life together was pretty much the dream lovers would imagine (and maybe a touch better). Then came the test of our relationship when Arlene and I moved to be closer to Arlene's mother when Arlene's dad died. This was an extremely trying time. We moved and became stars in our disco world and tried to reclaim our place in heaven. 

During our troubled time a young man, Michael, came into our life. I was getting fat. Michael would be my gym partner. Michael was having relationship issues of his own. His lasted longer than Arlene;s and mine. Then suddenly, Michael's relationship problems went away. As a gift of putting up with him during his tough times, Michael gave his treasure to Arlene and me. It is called the "Dedication". It is a simple custom. There is no set time frame or special arrangements. All that "Dedication" is: Tell the other person you love them and why. That's it. That's it except listening. Listen to what you're saying and what is being dedicated to you. Try to shut everything else off. I wish I could tell everyone "Dedication" works. I don't know. I can say "Dedication" is a wonderful, magical experience. So wonderful I continue to "Dedicate" my love and the day. 

Listening such an important skill. Everyone likes to talk, but a good listener is hard to find. Small wonder we good listeners are so valued. Being a good listener is not just going to sleep while the other person goes on . We should take it all in. What is being said? What is the meaning? What feelings are being expressed? How is the person feeling? What do they want to be heard? (The list goes on.) Being a good listener is not for everyone. This is not an excuse. It is a fact of human development. We can all become a little better though. As we become better listeners, more conversations will be sparked by our gift. And as our value goes up and our ears, and heart become doorways to so much more, Enjoy. 

After all of this how about a song: The Bangles "Eternal Flame" 

Listening is a good skill until reality becomes confusing 

Famous people who were adopted include Jamie Foxx, Jack Nicholson (by his grandparents), Ray Liotta, Steve Jobs, Frances McDormand, Nicole Richie, Debbie Harry (“Blondie”), Dave Thomas (Wendy’s Founder), Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi, Gary Coleman, Faith Hill, Melissa Gilbert, and Scott Hamilton. Imagine that you were adopted. The time has come for your adopted parents to let you in on the truth. Even more. you're real parents are coming to meet you. Even more, the surprises just don't stop.
We have to thank Studio C for recording the moment. The event gets so confusing, the ability to rewind is invaluable. "I'm Adopted?" 

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There is always some madness in love. 
But there is also always some reason in madness. 
Friedrich Nietzsche