Posted in Canada, Family, Food, Movies, Music, Political, Televison, Uncategorized, Zombies

10 Ways To Be Grateful Even On Bad Days

1grateful1Life is full of good things and bad things.

Sometimes good things go bad.

Sometimes bad things go good.

Sometimes a bit of both.

The good stuff doesn’t always make the bad stuff easier to take, but the bad stuff doesn’t always ruin the good stuff either.

We should try to be grateful for the good stuff, especially when there’s bad stuff.

We Could Be Grateful For:

1. Family and friends. The memory of family and friends. The possibility of family and friends.

2. Knowledge, free will, and finding respectful ways to agree to disagree.

3. Enjoying what you have, instead of always thinking about what you want.

4. Remembering both the good times and the bad – and not living in either.

5. Enjoying the everyday things. Life isn’t about the big moments.

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6. Finding happiness, peace, or contentment, especially by making others happy, peace-filled, or contented.

7. Life and knowing that most people know it’s worth.

8. Being you. Don’t compare yourself to others.

9. Bad times, so you can appreciate the good times.

10. Giving – stuff, time, comfort, inspiration, hope, information…you.

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Terror, in many forms has wormed it’s way into our lives, not just with violence, but with weapons such as: fear, rudeness, abuse, inequality, neglect, distractions, complacency, disrespect, self-righteousness, ignorance, intolerance, lying, scandal, gossip, corruption, manipulation, dogma, bullying, blame, and all those ‘gotcha’ moments.

We can change. Some will say we can’t, or worse, that’s just the way it is. Expect change. Be that change.

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People can disagree, debate, wrangle, bicker, even argue, hopefully respectfully.
There’s also no need to agree, you have the right to disagree, again, respectfully.
Attacking anyone, verbally or physically, for their beliefs is pointless.
We can’t overcome hate with hate.
We can’t win by fighting.

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Even if you feel hate, choose love or at least, forgiveness.

Even if you feel indifference, choose compassion.

Especially if you feel despair, choose hope.

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I worry being ‘shocked’ every time something terrible happens, posting platitudes, changing profile pictures, holding vigils, leaving tokens, decrying the monsters, and placing blame gives the illusion of doing something when really, it’s mostly shopping, social media, socializing, and symbolism.

Wouldn’t it be more comforting to help those in need? To donate food, clothing, money for shelter and medical care instead of making piles of flowers, candles, stuffed animals, and flags that will just become garbage? I don’t understand, if we want to show respect why not help those who are still alive and suffering?

We need to find out how to change what’s happening, or brace ourselves for more of the same, or worse. The first rule of holes, when you’re in one, stop digging, and try to find a way out.

What’s coming will come, so instead of focusing on those who do harm, who spread fear and hate, let’s be grateful for those who help, who protect – those who do good in this world. They deserve our focus, not just after a tragedy, or crisis, or disaster, but all the time.

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My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who have lost loved ones, death is tragic, no matter the circumstances…and to anyone suffering, everywhere.

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Posted in Books, Movies, Music, Political, Televison, Uncategorized

Je Suis Charlie – A Picture is Worth a Thousand Bullets

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They can never take our freedom!
They can, however, try to make us afraid enough to willingly give it up.

Media spews out tales of terror, images and words so appalling we feel like we live in a giant house of horrors.

Even freedom can be scary. Some people misuse it, especially against children and other vulnerable members of society; they should be cared for and protected at all costs.

Free speech shouldn’t be a free pass to gratuitously abuse and harass.
Hopefully ethics and boundaries will prevail, but even if it doesn’t, we have free will to: close the book, don’t look at the cartoon, don’t watch the TV show or movie, don’t listen to the song.
Or do a counterpoint.
Protest.
Complain.
Object.
Disagree.
Oppose.
Boycott.
Try to change the laws.

No idea or system or person is immune to, or above scrutiny or censure.
Freedom of speech isn’t just for what you agree with, but also that which you don’t agree with, or even loathe. If we remove it, we will be rendered helpless, any power drained.

Beliefs, thoughts, ideas, opinions, faith, and/or convictions that don’t hold up under scrutiny, or if challenged, or even maligned, that are so wobbly they can be threatened by a cartoon, a post, a movie, a TV show, a book, etc., well, you might need to reconsider how committed you are to those beliefs.

Satire is a long-standing tradition.
It’s one of the checks and balances of a social order.
Satire holds a mirror up to society, to make it look at the vices, foolishness, recklessness, abuses, and inadequacies of politicians, corporations, religions, individuals, celebrities, and society itself. It pokes and prods, provokes and  pushes. It can amuse, offend, irritate, charm, intimidate, distract, inform, and more. Sometimes it can cause an international incident as we recently saw with the satirical movie, The Interview. Sometimes it can kill, as we saw yesterday with a vicious and craven attack on the French satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo that highlighted the difference between free speech and consequence-free speech. You may say anything you want, but that doesn’t mitigate the consequences.
Free speech has many prices.

There is no point in attacking anyone,
verbally or physically, for their beliefs.
There’s also no need to agree, you have the right to disagree, hopefully respectfully.
People can disagree, debate, wrangle, bicker, even argue, hopefully respectfully.

People sometimes write, draw, photograph, sing, direct, paint, produce, act, etc. to make people comfortable, sometimes to make them uncomfortable, either way, they should take responsibility for what they do…but never, ever with their lives.

Je Suis Charlie.

Posted in Internet, Movies, Political, Televison, Uncategorized

D-Day June 6 1944 – 70 Years Later

1dday4The world has a short memory and an even shorter attention span.

June 6, 1944, 70 years ago the Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. It was supposed to be June 5, 1944, but weather delayed it.

Every year we remember those who fought for us. There’s pomp and ceremony and we say we care.

But what about the rest of the year?
Should veterans have to fight for food, shelter, care, and support?
Should we still keep fighting, in wars, in our own countries, among ourselves?
More than 40% don’t vote in North America. We’re so used to our freedoms we take them for granted. We will stay in line for a sale or tickets or waiting for a new product, but don’t take 5 minutes to vote. I know, I voted this morning, it took under 5 minutes; people wait in line at drive-thrus longer than that to get coffee or a burger. I really don’t get it.

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Into The Jaws of Death, Robert F. Sargent

Many died that day and for the months after as they fought to take back German-occupied Western Europe and tried and succeeded in turning the tides of the war.

Many call them heroes, but I think most of them didn’t think of themselves that way, they were doing their duty, carrying out orders.
Like police officers and firefighters, soldiers serve their country and its citizens by putting their lives on the line. We see it as brave, they see it as a job, that someone must protect, serve, save, and defend.
Maybe that’s what makes them truly heroes, that they don’t do it to be heroes.

The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Overlord (with the naval aspect codenamed Operation Neptune) is still the largest seaborne invasion in history. Many movies, books, TV shows, songs, etc. have come from that day. Obviously many aren’t factual, after all, history is written by the winners, but still interesting.

It wasn’t until 1997 that the undersea documentation of the D-Day assault were looked at in a historically significant way, sadly, by then, there was erosion and reclamation by the sea. First underwater archaeological study and surveys in 2000.

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They found some interesting information and artefacts as well as some discrepancies.
To this day, small pieces of history haunt the shores and seas of Normandy, a bizarre reminder that history should be remembered, all those who fought, honoured.

I was thinking, if they tried to do something like this today social media would probably tell the German forces every move, how many troops, ships, planes…there would be pictures of parachutes and tweets and pix of where they were landing, people updating their Facebook status and Vine vids…Instagrammers would briefly interrupt posting pix of food to tell where and how many allied forces were and what they were wearing.1dday6 And many, many memes.

We still don’t know the exact number that died during the Allied invasion. 14 years ago Carol Tuckwiller, a former librarian was assigned the significant mission of identifying every Allied soldier who died on June 6, 1944.
She spent over six years searching through records and evidence, contacting sources, etc., eventually giving up not because all soldiers were accounted for, but she ran out of credible information.

So 70 years later and 1dday8out of more than 150,000 warriors who went in that day, no one knows for sure how many died. But her work brought many names of fallen soldiers into the historical records and onto plaques and made us realize there were more lives lost than we had understood.

Despite the glossy ceremonies under sun upon sand we must always remember the price of war and the higher price of oppression.
Lives lost, futures stolen, dignity torn asunder, money and power the tyrannical rulers…we could be talking about 70 years ago or any day in various parts of the world, sadly, too little has changed.

Politicians make hypocritical speeches about how much our veterans mean to us while many veterans struggle just to get by in their day-to-day lives.

Those who once stormed the beaches to fight the enemy and liberate oppressed people now have to storm their own governments for the care and attention they should receive with thanks for their valiant service.

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Some of the best images of the D-Day invasion are from Canadian war artist, Orville Fisher (the 3 paintings pictured above, please check out his other work, truly, truly amazing).

I doubt the significance of the weathered faces and stiff bodies of the remaining veterans is lost on them or us; make no mistake, most will not be here to celebrate 75 years after D-Day.
We must then remember for them.