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Showing posts from October, 2010

The Example

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Saturday began with a quiet, peaceful fall morning, the perfect contrast to a fairly stressful week. I woke up early to take sunrise pictures in a nearby town. The temperature was a crisp 42 degrees.

There were very few people in Middletown Park. The loudest sound was the honking of geese on Kingsbury Pond. The sunrise was brilliant, with just enough golden clouds to compliment the yellow, orange and red of the leaves on the trees surrounding the water.

Fall has a different feel than the other seasons. The air flows with anticipation on its breath. Sounds echo a bit as the trees lose their sound-absorbing leaves. Shadows are long and linear.

Nature sheds its skin during fall as the beginning of a cycle of renewal and it can be a good time for humans to follow the example.

Sanity

I had planned to attend the Rally for Sanity and/or Fear in Washington DC yesterday but chose to do some other personal things instead. However, I did watch some of it on C-SPAN and I wish I had gone.

Jon Stewart, the organizer and star of the show, is a comedian by profession and this rally was partly a spoof on rallies. But taken as a whole, this event came much closer than most to representing the majority of Americans and their beliefs.

Most of us live in the middle, we don’t always agree but we do compromise and our whole government and way of life is based on diverse people getting along.

I’m not going to attempt to describe the whole thing here. Just let me share some highlights:

- No accurate crowd estimate is available, but those who speculate on such things seem to think the crowd size of this rally was at least as large the Beck rally a few months back. One survey says it was twice as big.

- A wide range of famous people appeared on stage during the rally, including Sheryl…

Last Day of October Randomness

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- This year October had 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. That won’t happen again for more than 800 years. Feeling pretty lucky, I played the lottery this week. And I matched (drum roll please): no numbers.

- I got up at the crack of dawn yesterday to take this picture. This is the last week this year that the crack of dawn is after 7:30 am.



- Some business surveys indicate that Halloween is the second most commercial celebration of the year, right behind Christmas.

- I’m used to getting Christmas cards, birthday cards, Valentine’s Day cards, even Thanksgiving Day cards. This year I got a Halloween card. How cool is that?!

- Fall is my favorite season. Fall can also be a depressing season, but I am determined to keep most of my usual fall depression at bay. When it rears its ugly head, it’ll only be for minutes, not weeks. I’ll allow it to visit me for a couple of select days this year, but that’s all.

- Can you believe it’s already the last day of October?? Where did t…

I Ain't 'fraid of No Ghosts

Happy Halloween from BOOmer Randomness!!

A Good Run

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I’ve had a pretty good run of creativity during the past couple of weeks. Lots of posts on this site, two new posts on the poetry blog, daily photos in my nearby town blog and some seasonal shots on my photo blog.

I am lucky to have a job that involves creativity, mostly with audio, but challenging myself in other creative outlets is good therapy for me.

I appreciate that you visit my various blogs, whether I know you or not. I enjoy sharing.

Musical Halloween Treat

Sharing an old song from my youth that always meakes me think of Halloween. That's not what the song is about but it has the right feel. Enjoy.

They Still Make Those?

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Sony announced this week that it will stop making the Walkman. Uhh, they still make that? I have one of those, somewhere in my cluttered home office. Two, in fact; one is very basic, the other has a radio in it. Haven’t used them in years. I think I still have a few cassettes, also buried in the clutter.

The Walkman was revolutionary when first produced three decades ago. You could now take your music anywhere, untethered. Joggers used them, although I don’t know where they put the cassettes other than the one they were listening to. Is that a cassette in your pocket, or …. Anyway. Now we have the iPod, a smaller portable media device that can store a few thousand of your favorite songs with no external 12-songs-a-piece thing like cassettes or CDs to carry around.

Did you know they still made the Walkman? I didn’t until I read an online article about it.

That story listed a few other technological entities that you probably thought were gone …

Film. It’s hard to find but it does still exi…

Reinvention

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In Boomer lit, reinventing oneself is becoming an increasingly popular topic of discussion. The basic idea is that midlife is a great time to become the person you always wanted to be. For some Boomers, life got in the way of pursuing their childhood or adolescent dreams. Now their kids are no longer dependent on them because they’ve begun their own lives so there are fewer obstacles to taking some risks and charting a new path in life. Other Boomers are thinking about retirement but don’t plan to sit in the rocking chair all day and let their longer life spans wither away in boredom.

The funny thing about midlife is that demographers refer to it as ages 36 to mid 60s which means Gen-Xers are in the zone too. A typical upper-30s American is married with young kids not yet in high school. Reinvention and retirement aren’t words usually in their vocabulary just yet.

From the perspective of either generation, a significant point to be made about reinvention is this: it’s never too ea…

The If

I saw an insurance company commercial the other day with a slogan something like ‘we protect you from the if in life’. The visual showed the word IF in the middle of the word life. Clever. And somewhat thought-provoking.

One thought it provoked in my head was how much some of us are influenced by the question ‘what if?’ What if it rains? What if nobody comes to the party? What if I make the wrong decision about my 401k? What if I buy a house and then lose my job? What if I take this job and it doesn’t work out? What if she says no? What if I say I "love you" and we break up?

Do these ‘what if’ scenarios paralyze you? Does this self-guessing lead to inaction? Do you deny yourself opportunities in various aspects of your life because things might change?

In my career I moved halfway across the country three different times for job opportunities. I was ultimately fired from two of those jobs. If I had let negative answers to my ‘what ifs’ guide me, as I was often inclined to do in…

Jetsons

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Have you ever seen the Jetsons, that ‘futuristic’ animated sitcom television show from the 1960s? The original only ran during two seasons but continued in syndication for decades. New episodes were made in the mid 1980s.

The premise included daily life of a ‘typical’ family of the future. The technology was purely imaginary at the time but many of the gadgets are now part of our daily lives, well ahead of the year in which the show was set.

A few examples, courtesy of LIFE Magazine, which is now an online-only publication:

• Videoconferencing
• Automated vacuum cleaners (Rosie the Robot then, Roomba today)
• Tanning beds
• Buildings that look like flying saucers (although the article points out that the Seattle ‘space needle’ building opened earlier in the same year the Jetsons first aired)
• Moving walkways (suspended between outer space buildings in the Jetsons, between concourses at many airports today)
• Automatic meals (in the microwave today)
• The daily newspaper on a screen instead…

Ansel Adams Randomness

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For me, photography is a passion, an obsession, therapy and a small source of income. Like most people, I learn by modeling others with similar interests and one of the most inspirational photographers I have ever paid attention to is Ansel Adams.



He was born in San Francisco and grew up in a visually stimulating place with a great view of the ocean. Playing piano was his first creative passion as a youth but he developed a love for photography after his father gave him a camera.

His most well-known photographs are black and white shots of landscapes in the southwest United States, but that is just part of his body of work. He dabbled in color later in life but I have always preferred his monochromatic work.

In addition to being a fine art and commercial photographer, he was also, at various times, an activist, teacher, magazine publisher and author.

I mostly know of him through his photography but today I found a web site full of quotes attributed to him. Here are a few of them:

“Photo…

Random Teacher Quote

If I ran a school, I'd give the average grade to the ones who gave me all the right answers, for being good parrots. I'd give the top grades to those who made a lot of mistakes and told me about them, and then told me what they learned from them.
- R. Buckminster Fuller

Goodbye Mr. C.

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Another one is gone … actor Tom Bosley died today. He was best known as Mr. Cunningham, the Dad in the 1970s/80s television series Happy Days. Later he had a recurring role on Murder, She Wrote and a starring role in the Father Dowling Mysteries. He was still a working actor into this year, playing a part in a Jennifer Lopez movie The Backup Plan.

Random TV Shows

I seem to have a television theme going through my last few posts. It is totally random, but I don’t have anything else to blog about right now, so here are a few observations about some shows I like.

NCIS and Criminal Minds are two of my favorites and I just started following a new one called Lie to Me. What they have in common is that all three involve law enforcement investigations. Like many similar TV shows, the plot takes viewers through twists and turns of one or more investigations during each episode. They often do a great job with surprise endings.

Criminal Minds and Lie to Me also utilize psychology and profiling as a main component of their story lines. That has always appealed to me. All three have their share of action too. Brains and brawn are a pretty good combination in drama.

Of the three, NCIS is probably my favorite. What sets that show apart is character development: you really start to care about the characters as if they were real people. Criminal Minds does that t…

June Died

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Even if you weren’t around then, you know about the television show “Leave It To Beaver.” It was one of those shows featuring the ideal but unrealistic American family of the late 1950s/early 60s era. June Cleaver was the ‘perfect’ housewife mom. Barbara Billingsly, the actress who played June, died today, just short of her 95th birthday.

My family actually was as boring as the Cleavers. We were the perfect nuclear family, with parents who never divorced and two lovely children; except in my case is was one boy and one girl, not two boys like in the show. Like June, my Mom was a housewife with good fashion sense but unlike June, my Mom did not ever dress up around the house. Dad, like Ward Cleaver, was wise, all-knowing and easy-going. He did wear a suit and tie to work every day, but unlike Ward, my Dad ditched the suit and donned khaki work clothes within seconds of getting home every day.



Billingsly acted in dozens of TV shows and movies but she was and still is best known for…

Tom and Donnie Reinvented

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Next week I plan to post something about reinventing yourself. Tonight I am showcasing two celebrities who have reinvented themselves.

Tom Selleck is an iconic 1980s television actor best known for his role as Thomas Magnum, a hunky, free-spirited private investigator with a cool gig in Hawaii. He has played many other characters since then but his newest starring role is that of Police Chief Frank Reagan in the new series Blue Bloods. Except for the weight gain, he still looks like Magnum – in a suit instead of a Hawaiian shirt and 80s style shorts.

Tom as Tom, left. Tom as Frank, right.












Donnie Wahlberg ‘s initial claim to fame was as one of the New Kids on the Block during the late 80s/early 90s. He has been working on an acting career for several years and now also has a major character role in Blue Blood, playing Selleck’s character’s son Danny, also a cop. Acting is a good career move for him; even with reunion concerts, you can only be a “new kid” for so long. You can be an actor f…

Live

Copied this comment from a Facebook friend whom I barely know. It’s her post about her but I see plenty of me in there as well as an attitude held by some of my close friends.

Life is meant to be lived! For me that means enriching it with experiences, activities, and people. I love that I'm always busy & that I always have stuff to do & that I have a bunch of friends. Some people bring it up to me with a tone of disdain as if they don't like or understand, but in truth it's not for them to understand. Their job is to live their lives to their best and not to keep track of mine...just sayin

Pretty good sentiment, isn’t it?

They All Made It Out Alive

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One. Then another. And another.

The world watched as one by one, the 33 miners trapped a half mile underground in a Chilean mine were rescued. The 54-year-old shift captain was the last one out.

They were trapped down there for two months but perhaps the worst part was that for the first two weeks, they had no communication with the outside world and therefore had no idea if rescue attempts were being made; and rescuers did not know if the trapped miners were alive. The 33 miners somehow made 2 days of emergency rations last for the 17 days it took for them to be located and various methods were improvised to enable food and medical supplies to reach them.

Here are a few of my observations about the whole thing:

• It took 15 to 60 minutes to bring up each miner. During that time each man was in that small cage-like ‘basket’, in the dark, ascending through a tunnel just inches bigger than the basket that was dug through the same rock that caved in on them. Claustrophobia specialists …

Yes, I Was a Geek

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During the years from around 4th grade through the middle of college, I was a little bit of a science and technology geek. The first magazines I remember reading were Popular Mechanics and Popular Science; in fact, I had subscriptions to both. I also loved cars and regularly read Motor Trend Magazine.

If you were a kid in the 1960s and early 70s it was hard to not be interested in technology because every other day there was some new development connected to the ‘space race.’ The USA and the old Soviet Union were trying to one-up each other with achievements beyond the atmosphere. The USSR got a human into orbit first but the USA beat them to the moon. Fear of war drove that competition but now America and Russia are partners in the international space station.

Significant technological development resulted from space flight, in everything from computers to communication to miniaturization to fire-retardant clothing to health. Engineering, math, chemistry and electronics were popu…

You Get What You Expect

Years ago I read several self-help books and took one of those self-improvement courses advertised on late-night television infomercials. Each had their own approach to the topic of getting what you want in life, but my biggest ‘take-away’ from all of them comes down to these five words: you get what you expect.

That declaration is basically a form of goal-setting. If you set a specific goal, determine steps to take to reach that goal, then take the steps, you’ll probably reach it. Attitude also plays a significant role.

Getting what you expect works in both positive and negative ways.

Some negative examples: If you expect that you’ll get lost every time you drive into the heart of your city, you will definitely take a left when you meant to go right. If you expect that you’ll break up with anyone you get into a relationship with within six months, sure enough you’ll be celebrating the seventh anniversary of your first date drinking a beer while watching Saturday Night Live alone. …

Holy Test

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So how much do you know about religion? Yours, if you have one, or anyone else’s?

A talk show host friend recently challenged her guests (and me, as her show producer) to take the Pew Research religious knowledge survey posted on their web site. It is a 15-question version of a longer survey used as the basis for their recently published findings of how much we know about religion.

Much to my surprise, I correctly answered 14 of the 15 questions. The only one I missed was also the only one I totally guessed. I was fairly confident about the rest.

I’m not going to preach about my beliefs in this post. I’ll just say that if cynicism was a religion, I’d likely be a charter member. I am curious by nature and fifteen years ago I finally found a denomination that encourages congregation members to seek their own truth. That works for me; I don’t have to reject one thing to accept another. I can learn from many sources of spiritual wisdom.

Maybe that’s why I did so well on the test.

Bas…

How Do You Cope?

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Different people cope with life’s difficulties in different ways. Some seek professional help, some talk with their clergy or their mom, some chat with friends or read self-help books.

I reach for my camera.

Taking pictures is therapy for me. Through the ups and downs of my past two years I have taken thousands of photographs. When I’m feeling depressed or stressed I grab one of my cameras and stalk a flower, a cloud or an architecturally interesting building. When some of my closest friends hear I’m feeling blue, they often suggest I go take a picture.

Jobs, girlfriends and wives come and go, but photography is always there. And sarcasm.

Shooting pictures is the single most consistent thing in my life. I first took pictures with a Kodak Brownie camera as a very young boy. My first 35mm camera was a Minolta. Years later I graduated to a complete Canon outfit with a 35mm body, three or four detachable lenses, numerous filters, a flash unit and a bag to put it all in. I have since become a…

Random Sports

I don't play any team sports and I only know enough about various sports to follow along. But I do like several teams.

My faves are doing well so far this weekend. LSU and Arkansas both won football games yesterday. Maryland didn't play.

Today's events: the Redskins at 1pm, NASCAR at 3pm and the Saints at 4pm. I have a bunch of things to do today, but I'll never be more than a few yards from a television.

One Random Quote

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."
- Ernest Hemingway

Pink Travolta

To my music-loving readers/friends ... I’ve heard many mashups, but nothing quite like this one. Must share. Enjoy.

Driving Into the Sunset

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The new car season is here but four brands you won’t see in the 2011 lineup are Pontiac, Mercury, Saturn and Hummer. Surprised? As a self-proclaimed car geek, I have to say only one of those surprises me and that one is Pontiac.



As car brands go, Saturn and Hummer are relatively new. Saturn first appeared in 1990 as a new design with new thinking. There were a few innovations, including the ‘no haggle’ pricing concept at the dealership, but there was nothing exciting about Saturn. Eventually the innovations were available on other cars and Saturn became an ‘also ran.’

Hummer started in 1992 as a consumer version of a successful military truck, but even in the days of cheaper gas and increasing popularity of SUVs, Hummer was always an expensive dinosaur. Seeya! Wouldn’t wanna be ya! Oh, and the civilian models didn’t handle all that well off-road. Oh, and GM bought the brand in 1992. What were they thinking? They discontinued it this year.

Mercury has been around forever (speci…

New Words

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The New Oxford American Dictionary recently released its 2010 words, some of which include:

BFF: a girl's best friend
Gal pal: a female friend
Hockey mom: a mother who devotes a great deal of time and effort to supporting her children's participation in ice hockey
Hater: a person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing
Lipstick lesbian: a lesbian who favors a glamorous, traditionally feminine style
Tramp stamp: a tattoo on a woman's lower back
Unfriend: to remove from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site
TTYL: talk to you later

A few others: bromance, webisode, staycation, megachurch, all of which get flagged by my version of Word as incorrectly spelled.

A few more new words that are actually two-word combinations used together as one word: wardrobe malfunction, credit crunch, exit strategy.

Language is not static; it evolves, so some of this should come as no surprise. Reading this did not make me LMAO but it is still amusing, …

Hell Yeah

I’ve been a city kid, a suburban guy and a country boy. All three have qualities that appeal to me, but suburban guy is the most accurate for me, partly because it embodies parts of the other two. One of my favorite country bands is Montgomery Gentry and my favorite song of theirs is Hell Yeah. It is not the most sophisticated or meaningful song they do but there is a lot more to it than what’s on the rowdy surface. If you ever sought solace in a bar, you’ll identify with the players in the song. If you are ever in a place in your life where reality isn’t meeting your expectations, sometimes a bar the only physical place where you can be you and people will understand.

Here is the video for the song:

Giving Back

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Most people I know want to give back to their communities in some way. Often that involves volunteering in soup kitchens or participating in fundraising activities for local charities. Two of my closest friends are able to do good for their communities through their jobs, one as a teacher and one as a psyche tech in a medical facility. One small part of my own job connects me with the community through radio interviews with local non-profit organizations. I have received praise and even a couple of awards for that involvement and I’ve been told more than once that those radio shows are the equivalent of volunteering for a charity. I am honored by that sentiment but at this point in my life I want to do something more direct.

Nearly twenty years ago, while lying in a hospital bed temporarily unable to walk, I promised myself that one day I would engage in volunteer work, either for people with mobility issues or as a walker or runner for charity fundraising. After all this time, I final…