On Thanksgiving 2018

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The most important decision each person makes in live is the choices they make of the people around them.

No matter the age – as children, teens, young adults, adults, and elders – the importance of the choices is the same.

No matter the place – work, school, neighbors, organizations, and more – the importance of the choices is the same.

No matter our choice of hobbies – dance, photography, travel, bicycling, knitting, blogging, or more – the importance of the choices is the same.

For Thanksgiving 2018, I am thankful for all the good people who have been around me all my years – my hometown, college, neighbors, work, church, conferences, dance, vacations, family, and many more – and that includes the good people in blogging.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Returning this weekend for Act 2 of Pronouns 2: The Musical featuring songs with Mine in the title. Curtain goes up at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

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On Buying Food

The story below is true – a story that an English Second Language student wrote and I helped edit. The story touched me enough to want to tell others. The words below are a blend of mine and his because I continued working on this story with hopes of posting it here with the original author’s permission.

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The Real Truth about Buying Food in Venezuela

Today is Friday – the day that I can buy food. Not yesterday, not tomorrow – today – Friday.

The government uses the last number of our National ID to set the day of the week citizens can buy food. My number is 27654328, so Fridays are my day, and today is Friday. I requested and received a day off from work for this day – the day I’m able to buy food.

It’s 3 AM. Time to get up to find the shortest line. Yes, some people will arrive earlier than me. Others will spend the night in line. I must be careful because a short line could mean that nobody knows if the store will have any food to sell. I don’t want to take that chance.

I’m going early because the lines will be longer after 5:30 AM, the time the public buses start operating. Some people arrive very early because they own a car. I’m lucky to ride with a friend.

It’s 4 AM. I get in a line at a store that I think will sell food. I count the people and determine I’m 225th in line. There is another line with about the same number of people who are pregnant, disabled, or older than 60 – but that’s not me. This store won’t open until 9 AM

It’s 6 AM. The trucks with foods begin to arrive. I feel lucky and grateful, but realize the grocery store may be empty. I know two other grocery stores are 6 blocks from where I now stand. I wonder if I can get a position in another line? I better walk to them to see.

Success! I’m going to walk back and forth to try to maintain my place in line for both stores.

It’s 7 AM. The second store will open in 30 minutes. Oh no, I’m wasting my time because they have no food.

I immediately return to my first line. I count the food packs from each truck, and then recount my position in line. Yes, there is enough food for 700 people and I’m 225. Even with the second line for special needs, I’m in a good place.

It’s 9 AM. The store opens. Security controls the line by letting 20 people into the store. Soon, people start organizing in groups of 20 with one person collecting all the identification cards in the group. Time passes as I wait my turn with my group, but I still think we’re fine.

It’s 12 noon. Just one group is ahead of mine, so I remain hopeful. Then I hear, “The food purchase is over. There is enough left for 10 people.” I’m stunned.

I don’t know what happened because I counted the food packs and the people. I suspect the store employees and security guards got the first chance to buy food. Some of the food was probably taken for the black market. My 8 hours in line today was a waste of time. I took a day off from work with hopes of buying food.

A lot of things came to my mind with many emotions. I didn’t know if I should laugh, cry, or yell!

How can I survive? Should I not waste my time? Should I eat more often in restaurants? Should I spend money to find food on the Black Market? As I walk away from the grocery store, I thank God because I am luckier than many others, and returned to my house for some rest.

It’s 4 PM. I awaken, but hungry. I am calm because my salary of $30 a month is much better than the minimum wage of $10 a month minimum wage.I can eat 3 times a day at a restaurant where the average meal costs $1.50.

I organize my money I have so I can eat until next Friday – the day I might be able to buy again. Maybe I’ll go earlier next week.

This is my story from 2016. I’m no longer a computer systems analyst in Venezuela. I received a tourist visa to come to the United States, a place where I wash dishes. I am happy here in the United states, but I want others to know that this is still happening to Venezuelans today.

On the Fourth 2018

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True or False: The British have July 4th?

Back in the day, I used to ask this question to my high school students, so I’ll embed the answer within this post.

Last week I worked more hours than normal at the golf course. Although I enjoy the work, the extra hours set me back in normal routines, including visiting other blogs. Hopefully, normal will return soon.

As the rest of the world sees July 4th as a normal day between July 3rd and July 5th, we Americans celebrate July 4th as our Independence Day. Many people will enjoy outdoor activities, family gatherings, and parties. Some towns will celebrate with a parade, activities, and music. Some concerts will include one of my favorites: The Armed Forces Melody. Fireworks will fill the night sky across the land to close the day.

Hoping your July 4th is a good one.

On a Bridge to 2018

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The time has come for the annual rite of transition of passing from one year to the next. The changeover from 2017 to 2018.

For each of us, 2017 brought us trials and joys – tribulations and elations – agonies and thrills. After all, that’s what life entails. We are human – so the tendency of dwelling on the negatives seems much easier than focusing or even recognizing the positives.

I’m not sure what 2018 will bring to this blog – my little corner of the world. Two milestones are approaching: 300,000 visits (probably this or the next post) and 2,000 posts (about a dozen to go). I know I still have more to say, but I’ve also seen many of my loyal visitors stop blogging – and I’m not up to rebuilding. I would like to do one more blog musical, more beach walks, and more about the intersection of science and religion, but time will tell. Posts about Iceland are almost ready.

Let us raise our glass for a toast.

To the goodness of the WordPress community …

May 2018 helps us see the oneness of humanity.

May 2018 shine the light on kindness and generosity.

May 2018 bestow a positive understanding of others.

May 2018 bring good health and happiness.

Salute! Yamas! Proost! Skål! Sei gesund! A la votre! Şerefe! Gān bēi! Terviseks! Kippis! Salut! Cheers! … .and I hope you select a version of the grand song (plus let me know your choice).

My personal choice for this post.

For those desiring a touch of the pipes with beautiful scenery.

For those desiring a rock legend for the song.

For those wanting to sing along with the crowd

On Christmas 2017

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For much of the world, December is the season. A season of joy and light. A season of warmth and kindness. A season of spirit and belief. A season of renewal and hope. As those thoughts are with Christians and Jews around the celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah, I contend this is the season not just for these two religions, but this is the season for all of humanity.

Santa Claus is the leading spirit of the season. He’s is the one of binds joy, light, warmth, kindness, spirit and believe not just to Christians, but for all of humanity. Santa is a positive spirit for all humans across the globe to embrace. Santa is the one that reaches into everyone’s childlike heart to touch an anticipated goodness. It is in this spirit that Santa crosses the barriers of culture, gender, skin color, religion, language, sexual orientation, nationality, and politics.

Santa carries the spirit unlimited goodness to all humans for them to embrace. No – embracing Santa does not carry an automatic endorsement of Christianity. I know those proclaiming “Put the Christ back in Christmas” shutter at my thoughts and banish me to the fires of Hell, but Santa is powerful spirit and symbol that allows humanity to pass goodness among itself – to pass goodness across cultures.

Yes, I am a Christian – and I understand why some believe the over-commercialization of Christmas is too secular – thus less religious. Yes, it is important for me to remember the religious aspect of Christmas. However, Christmas has also evolved into a secular holiday – and the Spirit of Santa leads the way by transcending all people in all cultures regardless of religious or non-religious beliefs.

Merry Christmas to those who accept Santa as the spirit of Goodness. Happy Holiday to those preferring that greeting. To those embracing the Winter Solstice and Yule, may the quiet, fire, and calm of the night lead you to a positive returning sun that will bring peace, joy, and love in the days ahead. To my Jewish friends, my the blessings of your light bring you happiness. To my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas wish to you.

My season gift to you is for you to enjoy at least one of the music selections below. Which did you enjoy?

Enya’s And Winter Came celebrates the winter solstice

The Piano Guys playing a song of the season

Manheim Steamroller’s Silent Night with glories skies is a personal favorite

On Respect

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On 2nd October I did a post On Respect, one that I featured a 5-minute speech by a USAF Lt. General. Reactions to the post were positive in many ways with several comments mentioning that respect starts at the top.

Yes – respect starts at the top of each family teaching others the meaning of respect while modeling respectful behaviors.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school classroom with its teacher leading the way.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school building with its principal dealing with the staff and students.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school district with top leadership in their dealing with the district staff and the community it serves.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every group, department, section, division, and headquarter of every corporation across the world.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every customer service organization as it deals with the public it serves.

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Yes – respect starts at the top of every local, state, and national government entity on how it deals with its constituents and opponents.

Yes – respects at the top, and President Trump displays more disrespect than any American leader in my lifetime. He’s a pathetic role model, but he is not a reason to disrespect nor he is the cause of disrespect.

Yes – respect starts at the top for individuals in every human encounter regardless of background, position, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, skin color, and more.

Yes – respect starts at the top when one says Respect your elders – but that doesn’t give the elders the right to disrespect – nor does elder status command automatic respect.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every human encounter – but “the customer is always right” doesn’t mean the customer can be disrespectful to customer service employees.

Yes – respect starts at the top – but there are many tops, and each of us are top in many situations.

Yes – respect starts at the top – and each of us are at the top – Respect starts with yourself, then one can respect others.

Yes – respect start at the top of each individual – in the head containing a brain – the center of all choices each person makes in personal and cyber encounters.

A person is a person – no matter how small. (Dr. Seuss)

On Thanksgiving 2017

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Today (Thursday 23 November 2017) we in the USA celebrate Thanksgiving – a day of fun, feast, family, and fellowship. Bountiful Thanksgiving wishes to all.

On this day, I want to give thanks for a few things … OK … just a dozen.

I’m thankful for WordPress providing a platform for linking me to others across the world.

I’m thankful for encountering so many bloggers from across the globe who reinforce my belief that the majority of humanity is good. After all, goodness does not have boundaries.

I’m thankful for YouTube as a platform for everything and anything video, which allows me to share so much with others.

I’m thankful for first responders, caretakers, volunteers, and support staff who are there for the marginalized in any way: the disabled, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the abused, the poor, the suffering, the oppressed, and more.

I’m thankful for the good people I’ve encountered in life through work, neighborhood, church, community, school, events, and more because being around positive people is essential for a good life.

I’m thankful for my senses that allow me to experience the grand nature of creation.

I’m thankful for the ability to learn because the byproduct of learning differentiates stupidity, ignorance, and knowing.

I’m thankful for getting older because I am wiser than ever – therefore I don’t believe in going backwards.

I’m thankful for my Italian roots – and the attraction it gives me to a land afar.

I’m thankful for my wife – for her love, trust, support, companionship, and more for 42+ years of courtship and marriage.

I’m thankful for the existence of joy, happiness, and smiles – along with the many ways they can be attained.

I’m thankful that I don’t get tired of this video because it speaks volume to me about my belief in people.