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Los Angeles, CA, United States


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Put Me in Coach, I'm ready to play......

Here's my beef of the day-Coaching bites!!!  Actually, it really doesn't.  I love coaching kids.  Even though I don't have my own kids, I've been given the opportunity to coach boys and girls in a couple of sports.  It's always been fun and rewarding for me personally-win or lose.  It's an opportunity for camaraderie with my fellow coaches and it's a chance to teach kids about the game and about sportsmanship.

So back to why coaching bites.  In a vacuum, coaching kids during practice and calling plays and letting them know what a great job they've done is all good, but when parents are brought into the equation, HOLY CRAP!!!

I wish someone would videotape the parents' behaviors on the sidelines rather than my 5th graders out on the field.  Some parents need to learn sportsmanship and respect the coaches and the referees.  This is my 3rd season coaching flag football.  Our coaching staff has been together all 3 seasons.  We won a championship last year and placed third the previous year so it's not like we don't know what we're doing.  But there always seems to be that buffoon who's at every practice making suggestions.  Dude, if you wanted to coach, why didn't you volunteer?  And at games, he's the loudest parent yelling at the refs and at us coaches with suggestions.  I'm not the head coach and I've tried to ignore the guy but I'm ready to pop off.  We coaches discussed what to do and our first tactic is to talk to him one on one and let him know that we appreciate the enthusiasm and support but we don't condone his behavior and if it continues, we will ask him to sit on the opponent's sideline and if that doesn't work, banish him from the games.  Yeah, it's that bad.

Our current team just isn't that good.  It's not their fault, all but one of the players is from 5th grade.  We play a 5th-6th grade division.  We have 3 athletically inclined boys and the others just don't have the coordination or the speed of 6th graders.  In addition, only one of the kids has ever played organized football.  Our deficiencies were obvious the first day of practice as kids are running patterns looking like fish out of the water.  Unfortunately for us, most of the teams we've played have a good blend of 5th and 6th graders. And as much as we'd like to win the championship, I think it would suffice if the kids steadily improved as the season progressed and that we remained competitive.  That's happening.

But then there are the parents.  Most of the parents are usually pretty cool.  They want their kid to learn the sport and get a decent amount of playing time.  Even the parents with the uncoordinated kids usually recognize the deficiencies and are usually pretty grateful their kids get as much PT as we give him.  Had this been 35 yrs ago, forget it..that kid would be lucky to be standing on the sideline with a uniform.  But there's always that parent who thinks he knows how to play and coach and lets everyone else know.  Just writing about it gets me riled up.  This dude is disrespecting the coaches, the refs, and setting a horrible example for the rest of the folks on the sideline.  Even his kid told him to shut up during a game.  Now it's our turn.

What happened to the days when parents go to games, clap for good plays, moan on bad plays, applaud after a kid regardless of the team makes a good play, and win or lose, always have a positive word for the players.  Yeah, I know it happens but I also know there are those parents who scream at their kid for not being aggressive enough or at the refs for a non call.  Maybe it's just the attitude of professional sports crossing over to youth athletics where everyone can be an armchair quarterback.  Even as coaches, any issues we have with the refs have to be funneled through 1 coach.  Refs won't stand for 2 or 3 of us screaming about the illegal block or the holding and they'll admonish us.  One warning is enough for us.

I know how easy it is to get caught up in the game and want your kid's team to win.  It's called being a fan.  But sometimes, enough is, well, enough.  Zip it, buffoon parent with good intentions.  Let the game play out.  Let the coaches and refs do their job.  Because in the end, what you say or do doesn't affect the outcome.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Love..part 3

Finally.  I've procrastinated for a couple of weeks writing the third part of my take on Eat, Pray, Love.  Why? Because as simple as love can be, relationships are exponentially more complex.  It's been difficult to verbalize all the thoughts swirling around my head.

I really had some issues with the movie regarding love.  But then I realized, the reason why love was so elusive for Liz was because one can't love another without loving oneself first.

It's funny how things work in life.  I was with a friend and two other people whom I just met.  We were driving back from San Juan Capistrano after a long day at a golf tournament and the issue turned marriage and love.  There were 3 men all over 45 and a young lady of 30.  We were trying to explain how marriage works and how to determine if your partner is "The One."  I also explained to them that I've been writing this blog and was having a tough go at finalizing my thoughts.  In the course of the conversation, one of the guys profoundly said, "Marriage is about being selfless and not selfish."  Bam!!! He nailed it.

Now going back to Eat, Pray, Love.  Liz walked away from a marriage and her next relationship because she basically wasn't feeling it.  It was a feeling inside of her that maybe there's more out there and that she wasn't happy with the way things were.  She loved her partners but she didn't LOVE her partners.  When the truth was, she really didn't LOVE herself.

Now the difficulty I had with this part was the fact that Liz was so typical of today's casual attitude about marriage.  Marriage is no longer viewed by many as a lifelong proposition.  It's just the next step in a relationship and when things go sour, it's time to move on with the excuse that "we deserve to be happy."  How often do we hear, "I want passion, I want to feel love, I want fireworks." when someone discusses their decade long marriage? How often do we hear as couples break up? "It's not you, it's me.  You deserve more than what I can give you."  Cop out, retreat, abandon ship....that's what I hear.

We all want passion in our lives, in our relationships and in the things we do.  Who doesn't?  But relationships and marriage are like rollercoasters with levels passion and being in love rising and falling as time goes on.  And like rollercoasters, it climbs to the peak then heads downward in a gut churning free fall.  Love is about ebb and flow and using the rollercoaster analogy again, both partners need to be cranking the gears in order for the relationship aka the rollercoaster to continue moving forward or gravity will pull it back to the low point.

Relationships and marriage are about compromise without acknowledgement.  How many times does a partner throw back at the other what sacrifice or compromise he or she made.  That's not compromise.  It's like giving to charity or doing something kind to those less fortunate.  All the good of the act is lost when someone has to remind others of what he or she did.  Ultimately, it comes down to selfish motivation.

Relationships are about being selfless and not selfish.   It's about accepting the other for who they are including the idiosyncrasies and faults and bad habits.  But it also assumes that both partners have similar value systems that align well.  Values are the core our our being. It's the little details and beliefs that are formulated as we grow up passed down by parents, religion and our own experience to determine what's right and what's wrong and to be honest about it and not compromise one characters.  If both partners don't share those same values, then the relationship is doomed.  Each partner in the relationship must be considerate of the other and have a willingness to suck it up, accept certain faults, and more importantly, be willing to discuss things with an open mind when conflict arises.

Communication is paramount to a successful relationship. We've heard this over and over ad nauseum probably to the point that we're desensitized.   It's a bitch to talk things out amongst partners sometimes because we all have the incessant need to be right-to have the last word.  It's human nature.  But communicating means listening as well as speaking.  It's keeping an open mind to other possibilities while also being solution oriented.  I know so many people that focus on the disagreement that they don't discuss the cause.  For example, I was watching the news the other day regarding social networking and how it's causing strife in marriages.  Husbands and wives are having arguments regarding each others' friends list.  Oh brother!!  So what if the wife has an ex boyfriend as a "friend."  Get real.  It's social networking, those two shared history at some point in their lives and there may be a bond we don't understand.  But it doesn't mean she's going to hop in bed with the guy or does it.? I know it happens but what does that say about the strength of the relationship?  As a partner, it's important to trust the other.  What harm is an email to ask how you're doing?  Now it can get ugly when sexual advances and innuendo are passed around.  But going back to the beginning of the topic, it's about communication.  It's important that one doesn't lie about having an ex on their social networking but if he/she knows it's a sensitive issue with their partner, it's good to advise them that you've friended someone.  If it's a huge issue, then discuss it and come to a decision.  My take is that unless there was some super bad history, then let it be.  It shows trust.  It also shows trust in a relationship to respect the others' privacy.  How often do we hear of partners reading emails?  Emails are private just like the conversations on the golf course with your bff or the happy hour with your closest friends or bunko night with girls.  We all talk about stuff that may be misconstrued if taken out of context.  It's called guy talk or girl talk.  Emails are the same thing.  Let it be.  Now if the relationship is going south and one has reason to believe the other is cheating that's another story but don't go conjuring up that belief just to snoop on the other's FB account or email.

No back to the topic of Eat, Pray, Love.  Liz couldn't love another until she loved herself.  Liz needed to discover who she was and resolve the guilt inside of her as well as opening her mind up to possibilities without having to try and control every aspect.  It's the desire to control even the things beyond our control that lead to dissatisfaction. Ketut, the Indonesian teacher, says it well:  "Do not look at the world through your head; look at it through your heart."  I think he's saying, feel life, do not try to rationalize it.

Ketut goes on to say:  Sometimes to lose balance for love is part of living a balanced life. Again, this wise sage is trying to get across that life isn't a steady boat ride.  Once must not shun their emotions in the search for balance but rather risk losing balance to achieve balance.
Life and love is not rationalization but a realization that we are always on a path of self discovery and success comes through selflessness rather than selfishness.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It ain't over until it's over

Just wanted to clarify that I'm not retiring from blogging.  Some folks may have misinterpreted my last post as being the end of my blog.  My message was that it's the end of a chapter in my life.

Sorry to disappoint you but this blog really is a selfish endeavor for me personally and as long as I can make the time, I will continue to write about stuff.  I'm sure working with new people will give me ample opportunity to sit back and throw darts and relate my observations here.

Thanks again for stopping by.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

El Fin..The End...

All good things must come to an end.  Yup, it's true. But that doesn't mean another good thing can't begin and enrich our lives.  As you may have noticed, my blogging has been stalled a little in recent weeks.  One of the reasons is obvious, no more ads on my blogsite.  Damn Google didn't appreciate all those clicks you guys were doing to help me out and banned me from AdSense.  The other reason my writing has slowed down is because I've been going through a series of interviews.  I received an offer recently and will begin shortly.  That's right, Tito is no longer unemployed and another statistic during these difficult economic times.  Mooching off my friends will be a distant memory.  No, I don't think so.  I kind of liked the generosity of friends and would love to continue being on the receiving end.  But in all seriousness, it's good to be back in the ranks of  the working stiffs.  I don't begin until October so I still have a little time to enjoy my self-imposed vacation that went from a 6 month sabbatical to a 2 1/2 year journey of self discovery, rekindling of relationships, and most importantly, a greater appreciation of life and balance.  Much of it due to my loving wife that supported me the whole way through and my family and my caring friends that continued to stroke my ego and never once disrespected my position as an unemployed homemaker (at least not to my face.)

I can delve into how f'd up I was when I resigned my position but it's not all that important in the whole scheme of things.  My friends who are closest to me know what I went through.  The important thing is that I made it through some dark times and the past couple of years have been very productive.  I was able to take a step back or rather step more slowly and realize that life has so much more to offer than going through the daily grind only to feel like that hamster at Petsmart on the wheel.  Yes, I've smelled the coffee and stopped to smell the roses.  I will continue to do that regardless of work.  I have come to peace with myself and have felt that I've been in a good place for a while.  Had I continued to work, I have no idea who or what I'd be but I can guarantee that I'd be nowhere close to the man I am today.  I have no regrets.

I've been and seen places that my old self would've denied because my conventional wisdom (aka work can't live w/o me or I can't afford that) would kick in.  I've accomplished things that I normally would have paid someone to do for me.  I've learned to use my hands and my tools.  No one is more ecstatic that me to finally use something in my toolbox I bought 12 years ago for the first time.  I got to cook and I made things I've always wanted to make.  Not all were successful but as my mom said the other day, my second batch was 100 times better than the first one.  I did a kitchen and bath remodel, built a shed from scratch, put in sprinklers, gardened and harvested my own fruits and even grew chiles from seeds.  I've taken classes and learned quite a bit about life's hurdles that may never be conquered and their consequences.  I've reconnected with old friends, made new friends, and lost some along the way. I've coached and even won a championship.  And I've begun to write again.

I think many of the things that bring me joy have to do with creating and learning, and teaching. It's those things that I did at previous jobs that I rarely did at home because life was consumed by work.  It was taking a break albeit a long one to realize that it's so much more fulfilling to create and enjoy the fruits of labor in my own castle.

Yup, working is going to put a small crimp in things but if all goes to plan, I will continue to do the things I love.  This time with some cash flow coming in.  So as I end this chapter in my life, a new one begins with a resolve to maintain balance and to continue to create both at work and at home.

Like in all books, I've got to acknowledge certain people as I close this one out.  First, my wife whose support, love, words of encouragement and most of all tolerance through these years have made me a better person. I love you with all my heart.

To my family especially my parents.  Thank you for all your support.

And to my friends, thank you for the friendship and support and the positive words of encouragement and for continuing to pump my ego.  Those of you that are closest to me and you know who you are-I can't express my gratitude enough,  Through thick or thin, you were always there.

And to God, even though I walked through the valley of the shadow of death,  I fear no evil as you are with me.  Thank you for all my blessings and give me strength and guidance to do your will.

So it all begins again.  Damn the torpedoes!!! Full Steam Ahead.

El Fin.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Character Counts

Sometimes, it's easy to bend the rules.  I recently had a situation where I did that.  I wasn't doing anything wrong or harmful but I was knowingly doing something without full approval.  Without going into too much detail, I do some volunteer work.  Volunteering is an opportunity to give back to the community and allows me to hopefully make someone's day better as well as my own.  Anyway, I did what I had to do.  No harm no foul and the people I was working with were better for it.  But I couldn't help shake that feeling at guilt. 

Why? Because more than ever, the idea that character counts has more meaning in my life than ever before.  I know I can justify what I did as doing it for the greater good and the end justifies the means.  It's not like I broke the law or hurt anything or anyone.  I just didn't follow the rules to the letter of the law.  Consequently, the same opportunity came up yesterday to volunteer and this time I balked.  I didn't want to get in trouble and more importantly, I didn't want to set a bad example.  As a volunteer, I'm often put in a position of authority (just my luck).  And as they say, with great power comes great responsibility.  That's why I felt guilty.  So what do I do?  I go into my solution-oriented mode.  I start making phone calls in an attempt to get approval for my actions.  Unfortunately, I kept missing the person in charge.  Don't you just hate that?  I left a message and it was delivered but the person was between meetings and couldn't respond.  Consequently, I pleaded my case and explained that I'm needed to the person on the phone.  Fortunately, she was able to give conditional approval with certain limitations which will not hinder what I'm trying to accomplish.  Whew...I felt a whole lot better.

If this was 10 years ago, I think guilt would never crossed my mind.  I have always been goal oriented and my mindset was that the end justifies the means.  Damn the torpedoes!  Full steam ahead!! was my motto.  But now, it's a different ball game.  It's more stop, think about what I'm doing, then decide the next step.  Life has gotten shorter so decisions have to be made with care.  I need to be considerate of others while looking at the whole picture then making the best decision based on what's right at that moment.  Not what's right in the long run.  Sometimes decisions can have some negative ramifications and can bite one in the ass.  I think had I not gotten tacit approval, I would have simply stayed home.  Pushing the envelope was always easier the toeing the line.  It was my nature.  Amazingly as I get older, I find myself adhering to the rules more often because it's the right thing to do.  It's the sentiment that I must stand on my rock. So as revel in my middle age,   I guess it's my take on that t-shirt with a twist-Old Guy's Rules. 

Monday, September 19, 2011


So what does pray mean?  I think Merriam Webster says it pretty succinctly :  to address God or a god with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving.  I believe in the power of prayer and often have to remind myself that prayer is not just asking for stuff but giving thanks for all that I have.   In Eat, Pray, Love, I think the Pray segment may have been the most powerful in terms of self realization and its message to me personally.  Recall the brash Texan, Richard, who nicknames Liz, "groceries."  Now here's a guy who seems to have it together and understands shit only to realize that he too is extremely vulnerable and fighting his own demons.  How many of us have our demons?  You know those things that continue to haunt us from the past.  Those crazy thoughts that put us into a funk.  The idea that we need to go find ourselves when our self is right in front of us.  Then there's those demons that we conjure up-the guilt of the past, lost love, the would've, should've could've's of our lives.  

Richard the Texan says it best:  "You're going to have to learn to select your thoughts the same way you select your clothes every day. Now that's a power that you can cultivate. You want to come here and you want to control your life so bad work on the mind, and I don't think you should be trying to control a thing because if you can't master your thoughts you are in trouble forever."  

A simple truth..master your thoughts first, then you can master your life.  How often do we let negatives control our lives, attitudes, and daily moods.  We let others control our emotions because we can't control our own.  Everyone I know has issues and will from time to time let those issues get the best of them which leads to comments said out of anger or frustration.  Sometimes, we're in a place of sensitivity so even the slightest comment can set us off into an emotional maelstrom because we're already on the ledge.  But think of the possibilities if we can master our thoughts and consequently our emotions.  Becoming your own master means having a deeper understanding and for that matter, a higher tolerance of others.  It's knowing that there are two sides to every story.  It's also knowing that it's okay if something or some action is illogical and inexplicable.  It's one of life's mysteries.  Deal with it.  Mastering one's thoughts means Accepting.

Richard goes on to say “If you could clear you all that space in your mind, you would have a doorway. And you know what the universe would do? Rush in.”  That's what happens when you learn to accept and to allow things to happen and to master your thoughts.

Praying for guidance and strength  and making the decision that life is about choosing will further one's ability to be their own master and commander of their life.  The possibilities are endless.  Would you rather choose a life of misery, resentment, guilt and regrets?  I think not.  Life is so much better when it's about giving, sharing, loving, and being happy.  All things that one can choose to do or be.  So please choose wisely.

This is part 2 of a 3 part series inspired by that chick flick, Eat, Pray, Love.  If you haven't seen it,  borrow it from a lady friend (who will keep it confidential if you're a guy and stick it in a brown bag so nobody busts you). Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love - my take

I think in an earlier post, I admitted that I've watched a few chick flicks in the past.  It's not something that I go around bragging about but when I was a single guy, it gave me perspective and helped me try to understand the opposite sex-the operative word being "try."

So I'm watching another chick flick last night on cable.  Not my choice mind you.  I would have kept the channel on Two and Half men but the remote was not in my hands.  Consequently, I had to sit there and watch Eat, Pray, Love.  Yeah, a Julia Roberts film.  The redeeming factor was that it was not a Nora Ephron film  (she's the ultimate chick flicker).  I had seen parts of EPL while channel surfing but had not seen it from the beginning.  Admittedly, the film was pretty good plus it's rare that I can get the wife to sit there and watch any film for that length of time.

I'm not going to really delve too deeply into the film because most of you have seen it including the guys reading this blog (I know who you are ; P ).  But I found the film touching a nerve and a sensitive one at that. (Note:  I started writing and couldn't help but refer back to the movie in some depth so sorry, I fibbed a little.)

Liz decides after a failed divorce and being in a cougar relationship that wasn't going anywhere, it was time to take a leave of absence for a year.  She decides on Italy, India and Indonesia.  I think I missed why but it doesn't matter.  What I related to was the fact that she had the cojones to leave a job, a relationship and her material goods to embark on a journey of self discovery.  She picked Italy because she wanted to be wowed by food and basically achieve a food orgasm.  She did not want to worry about the weight gain and eating stuff that's healthy.  She wanted to taste life and remove dietary restrictions.  It was the start of opening up and freeing herself from the self-imposed restrictions in an effort to conform to society in the US.  Along the way, she meets some really cool people.

What I got from Eat portion of the movie was the following quote:

Luca Spaghetti (Giuseppe Gandini): "Americans. You work too hard, you get burned out. You come home and spend the whole weekend in your pajamas in front of the T.V."
Liz: "That's not far off, actually."
Luca Spaghetti: "But you don't know pleasure. You have to be told you've earned it.

What an awesome concept?  We know entertainment but we don't know pleasure.  We work hard and bust our ass during the week and for what? To stay in our pajamas, veg out, then get ourselves sick Sunday night worrying about work on Monday.  Where is the freaking pleasure in that.  I think Luca here was trying to say : Live in the moment.  I know I sound like a broken record, (is this term relevant in 2011), but I am constantly reminding myself and hence reminding you in my blog to Live in the Moment.  Liz's compulsion in the film is to control things around her without letting things be.  It's something I know  I do personally.  It's the idea that if we can control our environment, then things will be less chaotic.  But I've also learned in the past couple of years that life has a way of righting itself and control is only a perception.  Consequently, we get caught up in the trappings of daily life and we put restrictions on what we can or can't do and ultimately, deny our own pleasure. 

Sometimes the restrictions are self imposed and sometimes they're imposed by those closest to us.  I'm not saying go hog wild and lose all sense of value or morality nor am I saying cut off ties with those you love.  What I'm saying is make your choices and do what's best for you.  Those that love you will hopefully understand and hopefully you will understand that life really is about choice.  God put us here as sentient beings and differentiated us from animals by giving us the ability to choose.  It's this ability that decides whether you will be merely entertained or pleasured.  Be open to the possibilities of pleasure and recognize the denials and I can almost guarantee that enjoyment will be increased exponentially.   This means letting go of the past and not stressing over the future.  If you're working, enjoy your work and focus on that.  When you're done, be done.  If you're with family, then be with family-not distracted and irritated about the issue at work.  Focus on what's happening now.  Try it.  I'll know you like it.

This is part 1 of a 3 part series.  As I said earlier, this movie touched a nerve and I really liked how it was broken up into 3 segments.  Liz Gilbert the main character and author of the book sums up life in three simple words-Eat, Pray, Love.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hating the Haters

I hate the term "hater."  Why?  Because it sounds stupid and it's an easy way to dismiss someone.  You know the saying, "Don't be a hater."  You may hear it from time to time when someone opines differently from the group.  It happens all the time when discussing favorite  sports teams and sports in general.  For example,   I'm not a big fan of hockey.  It just doesn't get me interested like other sports.  I don't hate hockey but I'm disinterested.  If I were to admit my disinterest, invariably some numb nut is going to say, "don't be a hater."  And when it comes to college rivalries, the phrase is often used if there is a disparaging remark made about the rival team.  Just because one isn't a fan doesn't make him a hater.

Let's break it down and dissect the term. First, hate is a horrible emotion.  To hate is to intensely dislike or detest.  It's a negative emotion that stirs up feelings within someone of disgust, dislike, and utter repugnance of something or someone exponentially.  The word Hate is an emotion I'd imagine a Nazi or a KKK member to feel often.  Hate is the opposite of love and love makes us do stupid things.  Imagine what hate can do.

Secondly, the phrase, "Don't be a hater" is a euphemism for "STFU, your opinion doesn't count."
It's this century's substitute for "That's not politically correct."   It's an easy way to dismiss someone.  I don't like it when someone calls me a hater.  It evokes an emotion in me like I was just rebuked.  I actually stop and think about my comment and actions and question whether it truly was hater.  Why?  Because the term is that powerful.  Hate is a powerful word in my vocabulary and it's just plain evil.  Maybe, I'm old fashioned and maybe a bit sensitive but it's how I feel.

In either case, the phrase also promotes group think and discounts individuality.   What's group think?  It an insidious monster lurking within any organization including management and any groups in society.  It exists in circles of friends, clubs, organizations of any sort.  It's a cancer that wikipedia describes as a mode of thinking that happens when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives.  Alternatives and individual opinions are overruled just because harmony is more important. It's the de-evolution of humanity to stifle different opinions and contrary thoughts.  It creates yes men and let's individuals hide behind a group decision instead of standing on their personal rock for what they consider right based on their value system.  Group think is the basis for code of silence we see so often when the shit hits the fan in an organization.  It also tries to defuse personal accountability for one's actions or a group's actions.  It's the foundation for looting and rioting. You know the term, "If you can't beat them, join them."  Group think becomes mob mentality.

I don't know where the phrase originated but in my mind when I hear it or read it, it stirs up an emotion of dislike. not hate but rather sadness because someone just got shot down because their opinion wasn't the same as the person who said, "don't be a hater."  I just hope that this saying becomes obsolete sooner than later.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ode to a Dead Friend

It's been nearly three years since you passed through your earthly existence, and not a day goes by that I don't think of one of your smart ass comments or stories.  From the Mahaney bus stories to City Fights, to the legendary and classic "This is not a Feast" story.  Or the "Dees is Incredible" story in Africa.  Good times and good memories. Your ability to tell a story and see the humor in life was remarkable.

It was your death that made me think and take a hard look and decide that there's more to life.  Your life and your death scared the hell out of me because our lives were so different;  they were so similar in so many ways. You listened and you cared.  When I sought advice, you gave it to me straight even if it's not what I was hoping to hear.

I know that you're in a better place and for that, I am grateful.   Memories of you live on inside of me and others close to you.  Thank you.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Revisiting 9/11

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 draws near, I feel compelled to express my sentiments about that horrible day almost ten years ago.  First, I have to admit that I change channels quickly when there's a 9/11 tv special on.  For some reason, I don't want to relive the memories. I get an icky feeling when I think about it.  I don't think that I'm alone when I discuss the funk that day put me in for a long time. 

I was getting ready for work that morning with KTLA channel 5 news on.  I think it was Sharon Tay and  Emmett Miller that morning.  They were discussing the first plane hitting the World Trade Center when a second plane comes into the picture and bam-crashes right into the second tower.  None of the newscasters knew what was going on.  They assumed the first plane may have been an accident but the second on was no accident.  They didn't go out on a limb and use the word terrorist attack but I knew something was terribly wrong.  On the way to work, I was glued to the radio trying to get info.  At work, images were being published on the web.  I think I was in shock and awe that day.

I was in a funk for several months.  Bin Laden could not have wished for a better outcome from his plot of terror.  Our lives as we know it had changed.  And ten years later, the country continues to be in transition.  We invaded Afghanistan then Iraq, then back to Afghanistan with the lessons learned in Iraq.  Our country is suffering from the worst recession ever with 1 out of 8 people out of work.  Bin Laden is dead now but his legacy will continue for many years to come.  Evil incarnate as they say. 

And I still refuse to watch any 9/11 television memorials.  It's not that I don't want to honor the heroes and those that died on that day. It's not that I want to forget what happened and the heroics of those passengers on United Flt. 93.  I know the adage "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  Trust me-I won't forget but it's my personal choice not to relive the anguish again ten years later.  I'm reminded almost daily of 9/11-the news of soldiers and civilians dying needlessly in Afghanistan and Iraq mostly from IED's.  When I travel, the long lines to get through security or having to transfer my liquids into travel size 3 oz bottles and into a 1 qt. baggie.  Then there's the heightened awareness when there is a Muslim in the area. 

9/11 changed our lives for sure and I want to believe that America will never forget and not allow a similar type of attack.  America cannot let down its guard.  I also believe that despite all the efforts, more attacks will happen if not on our soil against one of our embassies or companies overseas.  Unfortunately, there will be more horrific events to anguish over.  So forgive me if I pass on reliving this one.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You Can Call me Al...no please don't

So I'm reading the following article on Yahoo and I'm appalled at the apparent prejudice, racism and narrow-minded thinking of some school administrators from Texas. 


In short, a reporter from Al Jazeera News, asks permission to film during a Texas High School football game.  It's part of a series of reports he wanted to do for his network 10 years after 9/11.  He basically gets shut out and denied and reports several comments made that infers the administrators based their decision to deny permission to film because Al Jazeera is a Arabic language news network.

Here's my take for what its worth.  Had this been CNN or BBC or 60 Minutes, the administrators would have opened their arms and shown some Texas hospitality.  Because Al Jazeera is based in the Middle East, they're guilty by association with terrorists.  Most people only know of Al Jazeera because Al Qaeda would drop off video and audio messages of Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.  Osama Bin Laden and his goons made Al Jazeera their personal network for getting out their message.  Not that this is negative,  any news organization would have jumped at the chance of being the first to release video or audio of the world's most wanted men.  Al Jazeera just happens to be the CNN of the Middle East.

If you read one of my previous posts about the state of news in our country, you'll know that I enjoy Al Jazeera's reporting.  It's good to hear a different perspective on the news.  So often our news is tainted with political slants to the left or right i.e. Fox News.  In any case, I'm saddened by these Texas high school administrators.  What's the message that they're sending to the kids they're trying to teach?  It's okay to be a racist?  The administrator on the high school website attempts to explain his side of the story.  Of course after a firestorm is created and the negative publicity angers the school district, he comes up with a lame excuse that other circumstances were stressing him out.  Okay Mr. Lee, why didn't you explain that to the journalist in the first place?  I think he would have been understanding.  If anything, you could have kept your comments to yourself particularly, "I think it's damn rotten what they did." 

In a world full of hate and mistrust, it's unfortunate that these stories reinforce that prejudice and racism exists and sadly, propagated by those entrusted to teach our children.  The administrator in his self righteousness never admits fault or apologizes for the misunderstanding.  With an opportunity to right the wrong and invite the journalist back to visit and do his filming, Mr. Lee opts to circle his wagons and end his excuse with a comment, "I am sitting here listening to the music from our annual "Fiesta Night" that celebrates the unification of the many cultures that make up our community."  Gosh, if listening to foreign music makes one a non-racist, let's all download foreign songs into our ipods and proclaim the world a better place.

Friday, September 2, 2011


There are times in life that the most simple things are the most beautiful and most meaningful.  When a few words mean a thousand times more than any speech.
When a simple prayer opens your eyes.

When a song captures a lifetime of emotions.

Stop. Breathe. Be aware. Praise. Be thankful. Smile.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Wear My Sunglasses at....where???

Hi Y'all, I've been under the weather so posting hasn't been a priority.  Here's something I started writing a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, I know-it's a weaksauce article but what do you expect on a Thursday before a long weekend.  This will probably be my last post until after labor day so thanks again for stopping by and have a super weekend and be safe.  The 'ber months are upon us.

I go to the gym several times a week usually late AM or early afternoon, and it never fails, there is always someone wearing sunglasses indoors. No, it's not the senior citizen with those funky wraparounds they can put over their bifocals.  The people that wear sunglasses are normal people with no apparent physical disabilities.  Sometimes, I just want to go up to them and ask them, "what's the deal?"  This is LA, not Jersey Shore.  I know some entertainers have a look that includes the shades but at the gym?  And it's not just guys but women as well.  Is this a trend at its infancy and nobody let me in on it? Most of the shades aren't even of the sporty oakley genre but more like the aviator or wayfarer type.  Did someone remake that Corey Hart song and change the lyrics?  Do people actually think they look cool where shades under the fluorescent lights? I can see the occasional optometrist appointment where the eyes get dilated but I see this trend too often to believe all these people had appointments that day to check their eyes.

I wonder if during the peak hours of 5 to 8 if more peeps work out with their shades.  What are they trying to hide?  A black eye maybe or possibly they ran out of eyeliner and just covering up? Or did they go to the clinic and get some kush for their self diagnosed pain?    Hmmm. and why do 99% of the women t wear those big bug eye sunglasses?  I would think they'd get all fogged up once a sweat broke out.  Plus it hides 60% of the face so some not so attractive women look decent in those shades.
I guess sunglasses in the gym are a fashion statement...and a bad one at that.If not fashion, are these dark shades used to mask the wandering eyes at the gym.  Did they forget to take them off after they parked their car and said "what the heck, let's just workout with them on."  As you can probably tell, this issue kind of bugs me.

So today, I'm asking for your feedback.  Why do people wear their sunglasses at the gym?