Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 31st... April Fool's Antidote

September 31st… April Fool’s Antidote.
(or more appropriately: April Fool’s Anti-Dope)
September 31st by JOn's ~=:-) view

So, everyone is aware of April first as the fool’s day... The day we play jokes, or pranks, on unsuspecting victims… hopefully all in good fun, and everyone enjoys the laugh. I propose we start September 31st as the antidote. It is exactly opposite. It would be a day to commemorate, and even celebrate, recognize, and laugh at our own follies. September 31st would be the perfect date for celebrating how gullible we sometimes become. We have all fallen victim to a hoax, rumor, or false-news item at least once in our lives. Many people seem to have a habit of doing this repeatedly. Often we find ourselves falling “victim” to one of these solely by our own doing, rather than because we were the original planned-target.
This is what would set this day apart from April 1st.

When a false-story
is published, it is not necessarily intended for any certain audience, or even a certain person. Often false stories are made available, just to see who is gullible enough, and how fast it will be spread. Often the person who started the false-story has no intention of it going anywhere. Perhaps they are only trying to pull the leg of one person. It is our own choices that makes us fall for it. It is our own reaction that gives the false story legs on which to run. We pick up a magazine, or watch the TV commercials, or see something online, or hear someone talking, and misunderstand what they said, and take it for the truth. We share the story with others, who then share it with even more. It does not take long before something which is false is spread amazingly far, and wide. Sensational items are of interest, and we all want to be part of something that exciting. Even if it is just to say “can you believe this?”

September 31st would be a day for us to just say “I’ve been had”, or “I can’t believe I fell for that”. It falls exactly 6-months after April 1st. April Fool’s Day comes One week after The Spring Equinox. April Fools are all about “springing” jokes, or fooling someone. September 31st is one week after The Fall Equinox. Since it is in the fall, it would not be for playing, or springing jokes on another. It would recognize all those who “fall” victim to hoaxes, or ridiculous things they hear, read, or somehow get false information in their heads. With the wide-spread use of all the social networks, and other web-information, it seems that the false news spreads at an alarming rate. For some reason, these false stories are not verified, or even weighed for even a tiny ounce of accuracy. Common sense seems to be not so common when one is using the web. They are immediately passed along with seeming panic, and urgent posts.

They spread like wild-fire, making their way across the web, around the world faster than the person, site, or business that is supposedly the target of such attacks can even begin to post any sort of rebuttal. The false story is more sensational, and seemingly urgent, so it is quickly passed along., often stating that something horrible could happen if they do not act right now. The truth behind the story does not get very far, because it is not as exciting.
These things are often hilarious, sensational, extremely absurd, and do not carry even a tiny-bit of credibility. Often Bold print, or All CAPS are used to make it seem important.

I would compare these hoaxes to the super-market tabloid magazines. Hmmm… Perhaps the internet IS quickly becoming the new tabloid? If people receive a post from a “trusted” friend, they seem to automatically believe it, and repost the same thing without even giving it a thought. It Must be true, because a friend posted it, right? It is just like when people see something on TV. It MUST be True! I Saw IT on Television!
I am sure almost every one of us would at some point be able to “celebrate” this day. We have all been the victim of our own desire to want to believe something. Many of us would be able to “celebrate this occasion” occasionally in our lives. There are some who would not only be listed as honorary members of the occasion, but would be listed as V.I.P.’s. Those people would be the ones who seem to fall for these over and over and over.

The September 31st holiday could be a membership-based organization to guarantee there would always be enough operating capital to support the operations to make it happen. Members would not need to sign-up, or even agree for the funds to be collected. It would be an automatic debit from their bank-account, because they would have already provided all their valuable information to others. The membership fees could easily be doubled by phoning the members, and telling them their payment was not properly processed, and if they did not make an immediate payment over the phone, they could face warrants, court-time, and even jail-time. They would happily pay right then. For those who have managed to not yet provide all their valuable information, they would be sent an email asking for verification of their information so they can claim their prize. And for those who Still somehow avoided giving away their info, an email (full of grammatically incorrect wording) stating they are the benefactor of a deceased relative in a foreign country would be sent. All they would have to do is send a check, along with their social security number (for verification purposes) in advance to clear the holding on the accounts.

There is a special membership level for those who achieve membership solely on the basis of believing that Facebook will begin charging for use. We will call it The Facebook Freak-out Membership. This is how their membership will be handled: It is official. Facebook WILL Start charging money. But they will only charge those who forward ridiculous posts in all CAPS. They will charge double for anyone who does not go to a credible source (Snopes, Facebook, or even their own common sense) prior to posting, and forwarding anything about new fees. This will take place on September 31st. They already have all your valuable information, so there is no need to actually agree to a payment...your account will just be deducted. OMG! PANIC! FREAK OUT! SEND THIS TO EVERYONE Before Sept 31st.

The September 31st organization could send out mailers saying it was “As Seen On TV”, or have radio-ads with a screaming announcer to show the urgency to get more people to join. The organization could post a status on any number of social networks stating that the fees are doubling, but those who reposted it by midnight, could get their membership renewed for half-price. (And if they got two more to join, theirs would be Free!)

September 31st
Exclusive Member's Button!

Every Member would get a button to wear, free of charge of course… Plus a small handling fee. The buttons could be marketed as having a secret code on the back, and the more they collected, the better their chances are of getting the winning secret code! There could be some “limited edition” buttons which would be sold “Only Until Midnight”, and would possibly be “A Very Valuable Collector’s Item”.

There would be gatherings, and award ceremonies every year on September 31st. The Organization would be sure and send airline, train, and bus tickets to all the members so attendance would be guaranteed. The tickets, of course would have a “handling fee”, and be valid between 11:59pm September 30th and 12:01am October 1st. Even The Best Hotel Accommodations would be provided free of charge, plus a small “resort-fee” (Space is limited, sign-up now).

Based on how many people we daily see fall for hoaxes, gimmicks, and the most absurd stories, the list of members would grow at an astounding rate. But this raises a slight dilemma… Should we actually notify people when they become members, or just let them continue on their merry way? Perhaps a post on their page on any social network would be a good way to let them know they have achieved membership status. Even if they do not realize what it means, it would be good for their contacts to be aware of this person’s elevated status.

My disclaimer to any who might actually believe the above:
In case you did not catch the irony, There IS NO SEPTEMBER 31st. There never has been, and never will be. I created this fictitious date solely for fun. (There ARE No Fees, nor Will there ever be any bank-accounts charged for this purpose.)

I was inspired to create this date solely from the quantity of “updates” from people freaking out on Facebook. Last week, my wall was flooded for four full days of ridiculous, all caps posts from people who somehow believed if they reposted a hoax chain-mail status update, they might magically avoid fees. I saw hundreds of these updates each day, All stating the same thing about having to repost the status before midnight. Their posts even stated “that it was on the news”, yet not a one of them ever included the supposed news link.

It really is not that hard to discern a “false news” item. The first clue would be anything you see in ALL CAPS is fully a crap-post. Then, of course, the same people who posted this had received the same post from a “trusted” friend. Not a single person thought about the fact that when Facebook makes changes, we are notified directly by Facebook, not by random “Urgent” status updates. And, lastly, not a one of those who reposted these freak-outs bothered to use common sense, or even attempt to verify the “news”.

Once I came up with this fun idea for this blog, and the fictitious date of September 31st, I started digging to see if anyone else had already come up with it. I must admit, that I am surprised that nobody is using it yet! I found many companies running contests, in which the final date in their contest is “Sept 31st”. These are not written as spoofs, they are simply unaware that September ends on the 30th. I saw many inquiries on various “ask, answer, etc” sites where people asked “What day of the week Sept 31st falls on”. Those answering the questions, explained to the asker “That date does not exist”. I found a few posts which appear to be band-names including this date.

I gotta admit, I am pleasantly surprised, yet somewhat let-down that nobody out there has a warped-enough mind to create such a day. Perhaps there IS another out there, and I just have not found it yet. If there is anyone out there who Does already utilize this date, I would love to hear about it!

September 31st
Free button to share with those who
have earned it.
(I do not mind if you share,
but since I am a Flickr Member,
and this is linked to Flickr,
Please be sure to keep the link

Feel free to share this, and even add members as you see fit! Wear the badge proudly, and even look for others to join! I propose we all post the link to this blog every time we see someone falling for a false-story. (Or at least answer their post with a comment of “Welcome To The September 31st Club!”) (Who remembers when Bill Engvall started the “Here’s Your Sign” campaign?)

I have created an Event page on Facebook... Please join me there! (this event is only for this coming September 31st, 2011... but As soon as it has passed, I will create a new one for 2012): https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=157084421049671#!/event.php?eid=157084421049671

Update on 9-30: I The 2011 Event will soon disappear from Facebook. Here is the 2012 Event. https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=291169397576207 Please come join us there!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday To My Favorite Sister!

 Happy Birthday to My Favorite Sister!

Jodi with Sonja San Jose, Ca. 1978 by JOn's ~=:-) view
Jodi and our cat in 1978
 Okay, she happens to be MY ONLY Sister...
But she is still my favorite!
I have had the pleasure of having some of the most wonderful people in my life. Some have been life-long friends, some have been only briefly. Every single person who has been important to me has played an important part of my life. Each has had a special purpose, and a special connection. Each has fit into my life in different ways. Each has understood differing aspects of my unique personality. Seldom has any totally understood me. I treasure the bits each person does understand, and where we connect. There is only ONE who has been understanding, and even accepting of who I am completely.

Jodi watching Grampa carve the turkey. Campbell, Ca. March 1980
Jodi watching Grandpa carve a turkey in 1980

 That one person is My Sister, Jodi. Today is Her Birthday. I can’t tease her too much about getting older, because she will always be younger than me, and when I tease her about her age, it seems I feel the effects of aging even more magnified. I won’t even say how old she is now. (I am 43, and she was born a year-and-a-half after I was…..depending on how you do the math she could be a couple of different ages today.)
It is kinda funny, though. She was (and is) NOT a Morning-person. I am Definitely a Morning-person. We often went places as kids that required us to be up, and traveling before the sun came up. Jodi would manage to always be ready to go, and barely awake… until well-after the sun had come up. Then she was unstoppable. Her and I often were buddies in so many of the activities we did. I ALWAYS Enjoyed the sunrises, and would tell her about how wonderful they were. We connected on many activities in life, but not the sunrise issue. What was always amazing was how we could go skiing, to flea-markets, road-trips, vacations, to the beach, to visit relatives, to amusement parks, and just about ANY activity you could imagine, and I would see such wonderful sunrises. Jodi never saw any. Then one day, as adults, she called me at 7:30 in the morning, and was excitedly telling me about the sunrise she had just seen. She was excited, and wanted to tell me she was up for the sunrise. She was thrilled to be able to finally tell me she saw one! I was thrilled, too, but I knew there had to be a catch! It only took me a second to figure out this phenomenon. For over thirty years, I had not succeeded in getting her to see a sunrise. I asked her if she was in Vegas. She said she WAS In Fact in Vegas. She saw the sunrise, because she had stayed up all night, and just happened to still be up when the sun rose that morning.

Jodi, n Me. Glide, Or. Spring, 1991
Caught us smiling...Again! 1991 in Glide, Oregon

Last week, Jodi was in Vegas again. I currently live in Vegas, and had not seen my sister since before I moved from Oregon in February. I probably had not seen her for many months before I moved. She came to Vegas, and decided to show up at my work to surprise me. It took her three attempts to actually find me, because my schedule is kinda whacky, and she was just winging-it, hoping to catch me by surprise. When she came and found I was not there, she had to make those who she talked-to promise not to tell me she was there. She was playing it the same way I often had when I stopped-in and surprised her. She finally caught up with me, and we got a chance to chat, and visit. Turns out she did not see the sunrise during this visit to Vegas, but She and I shared a good laugh about that one time she did see the sunrise.

Me, Jodi, Highlife with our carnival painted faces. San Jose, Ca. 1978
Yup! Two Funny Faces... Do you see how people say We Look alike?

The funniest thing I always hear from people who meet my sister for the first time, is “She looks just like you!” (my apologies to you, Jodi). They reference the eyes, smile, and face. It makes me laugh, too. I remember one manager in Medford who had not yet met her. She came up to him and asked where to find me, and his reply to her was “Agh! It’s a Female-Jon!” (again, my apologies to you, Jodi.) There are some I am not happy to be compared to, but my sister is not one of those. I always find it to be a good thing.

When the topic of creativity comes up, she swears I took ALL the creative genes in our family. I think she has just forgotten (old age will do that to a person) all the fun we had doing creative things as kids. We once made play-doh from scratch, and subsequently learned to paint walls because of it. We often made play-doh, and had endless hours with all that we could do with it. We made it different colors, would shape it, and often let it dry in the different shapes. We would make some really thick, and see how tall we could form it. We would make some really runny, and see if we could still work with it as a liquid. There were times we managed to wear more of it than seemed possible, and of course the food-coloring would stain our skin funny colors, and often mom had the "pleasure" of teaching us how to scrub the residue out of our clothes before throwing them in the washer. It was not uncommon to make art, ornaments, or just blobs for others. This one particular day, we made HUGE amounts of it. We had a huge room downstairs with lots of counter-space for spreading-out our messes. For whatever reason, on this day, we decided to throw it against the walls, and see what shapes we could make stick to the walls. We did this with clay of every color, shape and size for endless hours. It was only after we had finished playing that the evidence, and damage of our adventure became obvious. It turns out that the oil in the home-made play-doh soaked into the paint on the walls, and permanently stained the walls. That was when we learned how to scrub, prime, and paint walls. Mom was always eager to teach us, along with making sure we learned from our mistakes.
Mom always encouraged us to play, learn, and even make messes, knowing we would always learn something new every time.

Highlife, Jodi n Me. 100-mile an hour winds, Cannon Beach, Or. Spring, 1988
Spring, 1988 on Cannon Beach.
Yup! We went out to play in 100-mile an hour winds!
Jodi and I took swim-lesson, ski-lessons, cooking classes, and assorted craft classes together as tiny little kids. We learned together, and pushed each other’s limits, enjoying the thrills and challenges. We often could be found making wonderful art creations to sell at a card-table on the sidewalk. We were creative, and adventurous in our coming up with fun things in the kitchen. Sometime the messes we created were bigger than the total combined food we were attempting to make. But no matter what life threw at us, we always made the most fun out of it.

Me n Jodi on Summit of Mt Bachelor, Or. Spring, 1989
Spring, 1989
Jodi and I on Mt Bachelor Summit

Of Course, there were tons of differences, too. But, we always have had a wonderful connection, and shared many of life’s adventures together. I am sure I will share more wonderful stories of growing up with The Most Wonderful Sister ever!

Jodi, 1977....

Happy Birthday, Jodi! May you see the sunrise… at least once more… and call to tell me!
For any of you who have not had the pleasure of sharing life with The Most Wonderful Sister, I might be willing to share mine! (of course she may have something else to say about this...)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Welcome Fall!

Fall has Arrived

Fall Foliage and Church by JOn's ~=:-) view

Fall has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere.
As fall settles-in, our thoughts tend to shift from summer activities toward colder weather, the holidays, and eventually winter. As the sun gets dramatically lower on the southern horizon, it is darker longer in the mornings, and night falls all too quick in the evenings. We hold on to any last bits of sunshine we can collect. We plan activities that take advantage of the warmth for the few days we know we have left. The end of summer tells us it is time to bring-in the patio furniture, time to get out our warmer clothes, and even the gloves, scarves, and wool hats.

In the past, I have lived in many places where the above is true. Living in Oregon, and Washington the end of summer was not really so noticeable, because there was no real summer. If we got warmth, it was only occasional, and rather sporatic. In The Northwest, it was seldom above 80 degrees, and the few hot days we got never lasted long enough to warm the earth below our feet. In the Northwest, we expect frost to come soon after The Fall Equinox.

This year, I am living in Las Vegas. This is a different climate for me, and I am loving it! We are still getting temperatures above 100 degrees, and we have mostly sunny days. In early September, we entered what the locals call “Monsoon season”. This is also new to me. This is when Vegas gets most of its rain. When it rains here, it comes in hard, and fast. Everything floods for a few hours, then is completely dry again. It can be 100-degrees, than it rains for a little while, cools down to about 80, then the sun comes back out, and it is hot again. I find this fascinating. In the evenings, we get down into the 70’s, but that is hardly cold compared to Oregon, or Washington. All summer long, the sun has warmed the earth below our feet, so the ground is still radiating warmth. The rain evaporates quickly.

Usually I am aware of the official changes of seasons, and it has always felt like a change for me when they come. This time, I was slightly surprised that the Fall Equinox actually came and went without my realizing it. I KNEW the calendar date, but it had not registered in my inner-calendar. This made me laugh, and really understand how different the climate is here. I KNOW in my mind that this is when the cold sets-in, and it really messes with me that I can still wear shorts while the sun is up. September is almost gone, and I am wearing shorts! This is just not right. ~Grin~ But I Totally love it! The sun is definitely lower, and the days are shorter, but it still feels like summer.

yellow leaves, trees, building
Downtown Portland, Oregon

My mind is arguing with itself. One part of it is automatically reaching for the coat, and the other part is reaching for the sandals. Every Fall, I really dread the leaving of the sunshine. My body thrives in the sun. (That is the reason I moved to Vegas.) Even while walking, wearing shorts, I find myself looking at the foliage. I KNOW those leaves are going to turn color, and soon fall to The Earth. But they have not begun to turn yet. Even though I dread the loss of sunshine as Fall sets-in, I am always thrilled to watch nature paint us a beautiful picture.

Fall Leaves, MAX Tracks
Train Tracks in Portland, Oregon

When the leaves fall, they are essentially dead, but for some reason, they are often more beautiful than when they were just merely green on the trees. As they turn color, the hues are incredible. As they fall, they dance, and flutter as if to make one final performance in the breeze before they add their nutrients to the soil from which they originally sprouted.

As we see the dried leaves blown around on the ground, and forming other artistic designs, if you look closely, you might see more than just a pile of leaves.

What do You See? Fall is Beautiful.

As Fall enters your world, may you find the beauty it holds. May you see more than just dead leaves. I hope you find the joy in the show our God had created just for you!

Have a Wonderful Fall Day!
And Thank You for reading My blog! JOn ~=:-)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Crayons? Or Multi Colored Emergency Repair Kit?

Crayons? Or Multi Colored Emergency Repair Kit? by JOn's ~=:-) view

Crayola Crayons.
There is something magical about a box of Crayons. Especially a Brand-New Box!
Many years ago, while living in Charlottesville, Virginia, I received a package in the mail from my Dad. (it is always fun to get a package in the mail!) I opened-it, and was pleasantly surprised to find a box of crayons. That was the entire package... one box of 24 Crayola Crayons. And there was a note sticking out of the box of crayons. Here is what the note said:

"These multipurpose color sticks are designed for emergency repairs to any colored surface (wood, metal, glass, fabric, stucco, cement, brick, etc.) for the purpose of restoring or changing colors resulting from breakage, scratches, chips, scrapes, stitches, or too much time on your hands, or boredom.

Warning: These color sticks are not recommended for use with foods, or beverages that are going to be consumed, however, they may be used on surfaces of such items that will be used strictly for decorative purposes. If such items are accidentally ingested, contact the nearest Poison Control Center, explain what happened, and when they quit laughing hysterically, they may be able to give you some advice on how to counteract your colorful new diet. It may be as simple as spreading an artist’s canvas on the toilet seat."

Oh How wonderful! I was slightly baffled, at first that my dad would send me Just a box of Crayons. But He ALWAYS had some fun reason for why he would send a package. Once I read the note, it made me smile, laugh, and totally appreciate the effort!

Oh, The Fun...
Crayons are magical. Just the sight of them inspires creativity, fun, and imagination.

Everyone smiles when the see them.
Which One Do You Want?

I had packed this box of Crayons away, (and forgotten about it) and kept it boxed for the past 4 or 5 years. The box these crayons had been packed-in was not kept in a cool-storage. The box with the crayons has been in hot storage units, garages, and even The Vegas summer heat (well over 120 degrees!). When I opened the box yesterday, I was thrilled to dicover this happy little box of Crayons. I could smell the scent of the Crayola Crayons long before I ever got to where there were burried in that box. The Scent instantly reminded me of the feeling I got the day I opened them in my mail. I smiled, but thought they would be a melted-mess, and stuck all over everything else inside that box. Imagine my surprise when they were not melted! They were surprisingly in perfect condition!

Hmmm... I want... THAT ONE!

I took these pictures yesterday. These Are The Crayons that I had packed-away, and thought would be melted! They are Beautiful!

It is amazing to me how such a little thing can take you to such a happy place. A Simple Smell, a Simple color, or even a folded piece of paper. Our mind is a wonderful thing. The tiniest of details that are stored and recalled, when we seemingly need them the most.

Emergency Repair Color Sticks....

I Knew Instantly when I opened that box yesterday how I wanted to lay them out for some fun pictures.
I Just Wish I Could Capture the Scent, Too!
Perhaps, you CAN Smell them through your own stored memories?

Isn't it Amazing How something so simple as Crayola Crayons can create such WONDERFUL FEELINGS?
If you find use of these as an Emergency Repair Color Stick, I would love to hear about it. If You should decide to eat them, I am not sure I would want to see your finished work...
I Hope You Have a Wonderful Day!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


The Fist-Bump vs The Hand-Shake:

This thing that is so popular in Vegas called the fist-bump drives me absolutely nuts! Before moving to Vegas I had not had the “privilege” of being in an environment where they utilize the “Fist-Bump”. This is a totally new thing to me. Perhaps you are familiar with it, Or you are like me, and asking “What Is The Fist-Bump?” Well, when a man sees another man he knows (or has seen once before), he makes a fist, and holds it out at chest-height, and the other man is expected to do the same. Then they bring their fists toward the other one, and “bump” knuckles. Sometimes it is done at waist-height, but mostly at chest-height. It is done, not in a rough manner, but very gently, almost tenderly. It baffles me, and I find it quite disturbing, even creepy.

My Very first day at my job, I was taken up to The Pizzeria after orientation, and introduced to the cook who would be the one I started my training with. When the manager told him my name, I stuck my hand out to shake his hand, and meet him. He held his fist out toward me, and looked puzzled as to what I was doing with my hand. He kept his fist held there, and said “fist-bump”. I had no clue what he was attempting, and wondered why he would not shake my hand. He never offered his hand, nor his name. After a moment, he lowered his hand, and just stared at me. The manager could see where this was going (nowhere) so she then took me to see the schedule, and complete my orientation tour.

The next day when I reported for my first day at The Pizzeria, every man I was introduced to, also attempted this fist-bump. Not one would shake my hand when I was introduced. They all looked at me like I was some sort of freak because I did not understand what to do with their special, secret-club-fist-bump. Every woman I was introduced to gladly shook my hand.

As the days and weeks went on, I was getting more and more creeped-out by these guys. EVERY Single time any of them sees you, they want to fist-bump. There are thousands of employees in my work. Every man in the place wants to fist-bump every other man they see. They want to fist-bump every time they see you, even if they just saw you five minutes ago. What is up with all these men who barely know me always wanting to touch me? It does not matter if your hands are full, or theirs are. It does not matter if you are busy, or if you are trying to handle food. It does not matter if you are unloading hot-molten pizza from the oven. They expect, and want to fist-bump! So, then ya gotta stop, and go wash your hands again to continue your job. But they do not see this as a problem. They want to stand right next to me, fist-bump me, and then just stand there… RIGHT NEXT TO ME. They do this to every male they can. Creeeepy!

I finally got to a point that I could not stand it anymore, and started asking everyone why this was so important to them. I asked the meaning of it. I asked why they felt the need to constantly touch me, and stand literally in my space. Not a single person could answer these questions. One person (a woman) suggested that “perhaps you are not cool enough for the fist-bump.” (To which I replied, “Good! If that is cool, I’m fine not being cool!”) To me, “cool” is not copying what everyone else is doing. Several of the guys’ immediate response to my inquiry was, “It’s NOT GAY if THAT is what you are thinking!” (Well, the fact that I had indeed thought it to be a gay thing, and they are so quick to defend their wanting to touch and be really close to other men, would only help convince me it truly is a gay thing.) I never see another man do a fist-bump to a woman. They only do it to another man. I really would not care if it was a gay thing, as long as they admit the truth, and don’t force themselves on me. Finally, one person suggested it was “like a hand-shake”. Ha, Hardly! I told them it was nothing like a hand-shake, because a hand-shake shows respect, and is done once when you meet someone, and on occasion when you have not seen them in a while. A handshake is never done every single time you see someone. Once you meet someone and shake their hand, you do not go up and shake the hand of someone you hardly know every time you see him. A hand-shake does not have anything tender, and soft about it. The fist-bump is all about touching another man gently, and softly, and tenderly every time you see him. I find that creepy. So, I continued asking, and explaining the difference. Every single person I asked thought I was some sort of freak for even thinking about it. They all deny that the reason they do it is to touch another man, yet none of them can come up with a valid reason for it. They claim they are not touching another man. So, I ask them exactly what they are doing, and they look like I just asked them to recite the entire periodic table.

My work is not the only place I see this. I see it all over Vegas. The tourists Never do this. The residents do it. I see every male that sees another male he knows do this. I have seen it in places I frequent, and on the busses. People who recognize me around town try to do this every time they see me. Even the bus drivers want to do this to me. They look at me funny when I do not readily want to be touched by them. I question their need to want to touch another man, and they do not understand the question. (Fortunately the people in my apartment complex act like they are scared of me, so none of them attempt to fist-bump me when I am coming or going.) They all do it to one another, but not me. That is Good! But everywhere else I see familiar men, they always want to do this. What is wrong with them? Why can’t they greet me, give a smile, and maybe ask “How are you?” Why can’t they actually show a genuine interest in another human? Why are they so intent on touching others? Has nobody ever taught these people about personal boundaries, or inappropriate touching?

How is it they do not know this?
 Trying to talk to people about it is has proven pointless. The people who wish to do this really are only focused on what they want, and anything else falls on deaf ears. They Really want to Touch Me, and it bothers me a lot! I have never been fond of people I am not friends with touching me in any way. Only people I trust will I willingly allow to touch me. Others have no valid reason to invade my space. Why would anyone want others constantly touching them? About the best defense I can have is to just keep moving (it’s hard to hit a moving target!), and pretend I did not see their attempt to fist-bump. If they can ignore conventional greetings, I can ignore their attempt to force themselves inappropriately on me. I can smile, look them in the eye, and say “Hi”, and keep moving. Maybe, possibly, they might one day return the smile, or look me in the eye, or even say a friendly greeting. Maybe one day they will find a bit of genuineness can actually feel wonderful.

On September 11th, I realized why it bothers me so much. September 11th, hundreds of firefighters gathered at The Stratosphere for a commemorative stair-climb to honor the firemen who died ten years before in the New York World Trade Centers. This event was really positive, and uplifting. It had fire fighters show up from all around the Vegas Metro area. Not only were there firefighters, but also their families, too. Many of these people have been in each others’ lives for many years, having been through good times and bad. They have supported each other through every possible thing one could imagine. Many had never before met, and many were re-united after long absences. Some were new to the gathering. Many worked together on a daily basis. Many only saw one another in quick passing while on the job. This day, they could relax, and chat a bit. They greeted each other with smiles, made eye contact, and eagerly shook one-another’s hands. They asked “How are you?” and “How have you been?” For the new ones, They said, “Nice to meet you.”

What did I see with the fire fighters? I saw Real People, who actually cared about the person they were greeting. I saw people who understood the formality and genuineness of The Handshake. I saw people who understand what a greeting should be, and when to do it. Once they greeted each other with the hand-shake, they did not shake hands again in five minutes when they saw one another again. Not a single person in that gathering fist-bumped. There was no shallowness in their greetings.

I realized from the firefighters what I actually had known, but did not allow myself to put into a real thought. The Fist-Bump stands for exactly the opposite of what The Hand-Shake does. The hand-Shake is about respect. The Hand-shake can seal a deal. The Hand-shake can show care, concern, and a real genuineness between two humans. The Fist-Bump is a shallow attempt to pretend closeness, and somehow act like there is a connection between people who have absolutely no genuineness between them. The fist-bump is not about respect. The fist-bump is about forcing yourself on someone. Those who fist-bump do not look each other in the eye. They do not ask “how are you?” It IS seemingly a “club-membership”. It IS seemingly a mutual “coolness” for those who need to feel cool by being exactly like the others. It is a connection to those they can never connect with. It represents the opposite of The Hand-Shake. That is Why is bothers me so much. That is what The fist-bump represents with the people I see using it.
Me, With Omnitrition Founder, Roger Daly, Los Angeles, Ca. 1998

Here is a photo of me meeting Roger Daly, Owner and Founder of Omnitrition, a multi-million-dollar vitamin, and health-supplements company. He is a multi-millionaire, and one the most respected people I ever worked for. He has respect, and gives respect. He taught me how to make a lot of money. He was very happy to meet me, AND SHAKE MY HAND. Could you imagine if he went around Fist-Bumping? He would not have had much respect, nor be very successful. He made his millions by shaking the hand of every single person he ever met. He looked them in the eye, and asked them “How are you?”

As you look through our world’s rich history, could you imagine what would have happened if people refused the hand-shake, and instead tried to fist-bump?

Imagine this scene. The famous Golden Spike Handshake. May 10, 1869, the completion of The Transcontinental Railroad in Utah.

There are so many historical events that are accompanied by the hand-shake. (I could list them for hours, and show hundreds of pictures... you are welcome to look them up for yourself.) It represents trust, honor, respect, unity, and peace.

A hand-shake is offered when thanking someone for providing a service. In that hand-shake, there is often a folded amount of money offered as a tip. Could you imagine offering a fist-bump to someone who had just done a service for you? That would offer quite an insult to the service provider, and could not offer such a gratuity. You can bet if the service provider got a fist-bump, that person would be less than eager to provide good service to others. You want good service, give a hand shake, and ensure you get it, and that others behind you also get good service. A little respect goes a long way.

A hand-shake is offered as a sign of making peace after having fought. Can you imagine approaching someone in which you wish to have peace with a raised fist? I guarantee you will not invoke peace. You will invoke further animosity and fighting.

Perhaps the fist-bump has different meaning in other places. Fortunately, I have not been in those circles previously. I have been all over The United States. I have seen many cultures I did not understand. But none has been so prevalent, or disturbing. Usually these sorts of things are localized to specific parts of a city, or certain little groups, gangs, or clubs. I have often encountered people who wish to utilize some sort of “cool hand-shake”, but they never want to force it on someone who is not part of their little group. Those people would still give a real hand-shake to anyone not in their little circle. But in Vegas, this seems to be throughout the entire city. There are exceptions, of course. The fire fighters showed me that they are from every part of this city, and the surrounding areas. So, that shows me that perhaps I need to find a different group of people to be around. Now that I have figured out what it means, and why it bothers me so much, I just have to figure out how to make it work for me while I am here.

I am always seeking new information, and want to learn about my environment. I was sure the fist-bump did not ONLY exist in Vegas, and since Nobody in Vegas could give a reason for why they do it, or what it means, I started to scour the web to see where else it exists. I find thousands of photos just from the tag “fist bump”. The most common ones are seemingly to show victory, or a challenge met, in some form or another. For reasons I cannot understand, President Obama is pictured doing this. Is He really that disrespectful? Do people not expect him to show respect, like any other important elected official? Does our President support violence? Is this why so many foreign countries do not have any respect for Him? Sporting events seem to have it numerous times. It would seem that the fist-bump in these instances would be a replacement for the “High-Five”. All of these seemingly show a positive, mutual desire to share the joy of some victory. In each of these, I also notice the people make eye-contact, and are smiling with a quite-pleased –with-their-success look on their faces. These people All have the same look of a common connection, and mutual trust, understanding, and respect.

The thing that does not jive with me, is people are making a fist. A sign of anger, or violence, and raising it as to hit someone, then gently, tenderly touching. How is this a good thing in any way? Yes, I see the pictures, and the looks on their faces. The fist is totally inappropriate for something that would be joyous, and non-threatening. When did the clenched fist in a raised position suddenly become non-violent? Fortunately, I was not first-approached on the street in this manner. Fortunately, I saw it first in a supposedly safe environment of my work. I am not so sure I would have taken lightly to someone on the street acting as if they wanted to hit me. Along with the hundreds of Obama, and sports-team members doing this I see thousands of babies where people are creating a fist-bump with their baby. If a baby reaches out to someone, and is fist-bumped instead of having that person hold the hand, and show it love, what will it teach the baby? It teaches the baby to make a fist, and hit someone. An open hand would welcome that baby’s hand, instead of teaching that baby to hit, and withdraw. An open-hand is a welcome gesture. A Fist is the opposite.

Wikipedia suggests the fist-bump started in boxing and other fighting, where the gloved, or wrapped hands made a hand shake improbable. It also suggests it got strong roots in sports, and in the ghettos. This is no surprise. I have not found any reason for its popularity, and seeming replacing of the hand-shake.

The fist is a sign of violence, anger, challenge, or fight. This does make sense. Sports, and ghettos are all about the fighting, the anger, the challenge, and mutual hatred, always having to out-do another to make yourself look good. I can understand why opponents would welcome the fist-bump. I cannot understand why those on the same team would want to show a sign of anger, or violence toward a team-mate… especially after they have just won a challenge. Shouldn’t they want to show support, joy, trust, and respect? I have never understood the mentality of those who thrive on sports, and this showing of aggression toward their own teammates just helps to baffle me further. And I know President Obama is really into sports. Could it be that he is wishing to run America as if he were on a sports-team, and looking at everything he does as “facing the opposing team”?

I have been asking everyone who does this why they like it. Most do not know, and have never given it a thought. It has been suggested by many who do this that "It is all over The TV, and it looks cool", or "They did it a ton in the movie Wild Hogs." Well, those examples both help justify my distaste for it. If someone is copying something they see on TV, just to look cool, and without understanding, or even knowing WHAT it is, that shows they are just wanting to look, and act like someone they are not. (There are many reasons I do not watch TV... this just helps show another reason.) And the guys doing it in the movie Wild Hogs... That movie was created as a humorous look at how some people want to pretend to be something they are not. That movie is a perfect lesson in how not to behave... but it seems some interpret it in just the opposite way, and missed the whole moral of the story.

These roots and reasons for it also help to justify my dislike, and not accepting of the fist-bump. There is nothing I find acceptable about fighting, or challenging another. There is nothing acceptable about acting like something you are not, or acting like you support violence.

I strive to keep my world violence-free. I had to fight for my survival way too much in life. I abhor anything that represents violence toward another. It really bothers me that so many people want to encourage violence, and promote symbols for violence. Just because everyone else thinks violence is cool, does not mean I have to accept it, and be part of it. I have to live among it, but I do not have to be part of it.

When I meet you, I will not raise my fist toward you. I will offer my hand. If you raise your fist toward me, it shows you have no respect even for yourself, let alone another. It shows you are looking for a challenge. I will not play along with your game. If I know you, and do not trust you, I will simply greet you, but will not touch you in any way. I expect the same in return. If we trust one another, we will shake hands. If we have missed one another, there likely will be a hug, too!

If you happen to find good in the fist-bump, I would love to hear a valid reason for it. If you see the raised fist as a good thing, please tell me why. If you see anything about this gesture as a good thing, please explain, and help those of us who do not understand this. If you have no explanation for it, perhaps that is the key. Ask yourself why you do something in which you do not understand. If you do it just to copy others, ask yourself why you would want to copy another, instead of being true to who you are. If you find joy in touching another man, please tell us why. If it is not a gay thing, then help us understand what it really is. If it is a gay thing, just be honest. Honesty goes a lot further than deceit. I will have more respect for you, if you admit your motives, rather than attempt to touch me in a creepy way. I still won't let you touch me, but I will respect you for your honesty. Help those of us who do not understand why you would want to raise a fist toward someone, then touch them gently, tenderly, softly, and repeatedly. If you want to touch someone, make sure the feeling is mutual, and do it in a manner which is not about violence, or to be creepy.

Meanwhile, if you are not a close friend, STOP TOUCHING ME! It’s bad enough that you come across as creepy, and do not even know a reason for your own behavior, but then you really want to be sure I cannot trust you? Come on! I gotta work with you, wouldn’t you want to build trust, instead of making me always wonder about your motives? Keep a respectable distance, and save the intimacy for your buddies who enjoy that sort of thing.

Here is a T-shirt i think I should wear....

Have a Wonderrful Day... In Your own personal space, not in mine. ~=:-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"I'll Be Back... What about Mozart?"

“I’ll Be back.” “I’ll Be Mozart”:

(insert Groan here)
Memorable phrases, quips and quotes.

I love wit, humor, puns, and almost anything that when said makes the person hearing it rewind a bit, ponder it, then chuckle. To play with words, and make another smile, groan, laugh, or just walk away shaking their head is an art-form. Some would call it “Punishment”. (Pun intended).

Sometimes, we do not realize the lasting effect some of the silliest little quips may have. Only when we utter the words said by someone in our past, does the real enjoyment set-in. We pick up little things as we go through life, and often do not realize how much they stick, or how much they seem to bring the warmth, love, and humor of someone you miss back into your present life.

Today I got a voicemail from Kathie in Virginia. She called to tell me the legend I left behind in Virginia still lives. We always played with our words while at work (and out of work, too of course!). The one she called to tell me about was one of my fondest, and one that has fallen on deaf ears since landing in Vegas. When leaving the building, she would say, “I’ll be Back.” To which I would reply, “I’ll be Beethoven.” Or we would mix it up, and say “Mozart”. Her current employer in Virginia has the same humor. She called to tell me she was leaving the building, and told her boss, “I’ll be back” and her boss said, “what about ‘Mozart’?” So she said, “Okay, I’ll be Mozart” and went out the door laughing and smiling. Then called me to tell me! This really made me smile, and gave me a good laugh, too!

I feel puns, plays-on-words, and banter are just a normal way to make work a more enjoyable experience. Some of the puns are welcomed in Vegas, but I find more times than not, I have to explain them. If ya gotta explain the pun, it is usually wasted. It seems not everyone was raised in a world where they are taught to look for fun in everyday words, and to see where they can exercise the brain in an otherwise mundane environment. For those who have never been taught the play-on-words way of life, it is difficult to introduce. Fear not, though. For every ten I have to explain, there are one or two that actually stick! (Yes! They are trainable… hehee!)

Often the words we hear from those in our daily lives stick, and when we least expect it, we find ourselves uttering those same words, and it brings us such a warmth, and feeling like they are still by our side. For many reasons, people are in our lives, and are often not as long as we would hope. But those words, and feelings are brought back when we seemingly need to hear them the most.

The ones that often are the best, are ones created by language-barriers, or by those who speak a different native-tongue than we do. These are not meant to make fun of anyone, or any language, but rather to make the barriers more enjoyable, and even bring a smile, rather than frustration. Working in the pizza industry has a few that will always stick with me, and I have even managed to get most of my coworkers in new environments to adapt, and even use the funny ones. For example, there are some languages which have difficulty pronouncing the word “Hawaiian”. When they call on the phone to place an order for a Hawaiian Pizza, they manage to get the word as “Hiya-Wanna”. So, rather than getting frustrated at attempts to teach them the proper pronunciation, we would ourselves adapt, and use the same word they do. So now, Every place I work that has anything “Hawaiian” in the name, it becomes “Hiya-Wanna”. Once I explain the name I call it, other coworkers are eager to join-in.

Also humorous, but could be frustrating if you let it be is how different cultures, languages, and ethnicities either recognize, or do not recognize certain sounds. Sometimes the way the translation comes out acquires a whole-new meaning, and is often humorous, depending on which side of the barrier you are on. Take the ones who do not pronounce “V’s” as a “v-sound”, yet it comes out as a “W-Sound”. A “Vegetable, or Veggie” becomes “A Weggie”. So, when someone calls up, and orders “A Large Weggie”, one cannot help but chuckle, and think they want a “Wedgie”. (in case you do not catch the pun, a “wedgie” as defined by Wikkipedia is: “A wedgie occurs when a person's underwear or other garments are wedged between the buttocks.”) I have received many “weggies”, but the most memorable was from Alan in Virginia. (Those who know Alan will understand).

Sometime we hear jokes , and Always remember the one(s) we heard it from first.

A good (or bad, You decide) example of language differences is “Tenjewberrymuds” I heard from Jenn and Maria:

“Do You Want Some Meel with Your Toes?” Huh? Don’t understand…. Here it is: (well, one version of the funny story):

Room Service - Tenjewberrymuds

The following is a telephone exchange between a hotel guest and room-service at a hotel in Asia. It was recorded and published in the Far East Economic Review:

To get the full effect it should be read aloud. [You will understand what 'tenjewberrymuds' means by the end of the conversation.]

Room Service (RmSv): Morrin. Roon sirbees.

Guest: Sorry, I thought I dialled room-service.

RmSv: Rye...Roon sirbees...morrin! Jewish to oddor sunteen?

Guest: Uh..yes..I'd like some bacon and eggs.

RmSv: Ow July den?

Guest: What??

RmSv: Ow July den?...pryed, boyud, poochd?

Guest: Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry, scrambled please.

RmSv: Ow July dee baykem? Crease?

Guest: Crisp will be fine.

RmSv: Hokay. An Sahn toes?

Guest: What?

RmSv: An toes. July Sahn toes?

Guest: I don't think so.

RmSv: No? Judo wan sahn toes??

Guest: I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo wan sahn toes' means.

RmSv: Toes! toes!... Why jew don juan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we bodder?

Guest: English muffin!! I've got it! You were saying 'Toast.' Fine. Yes, an English muffin will be fine.

RmSv: We bodder?

Guest: No...just put the bodder on the side.

RmSv: Wad?

Guest: I mean butter... just put it on the side.

RmSv: Copy?

Guest: Excuse me?

RmSv: Copy...tea...meel?

Guest: Yes. Coffee, please, and that's all.

RmSv: One Minnie. Scramah egg, crease baykem, Anglish moppin we bodder on sigh and copy...rye?

Guest: Whatever you say.

RmSv: Tenjewberrymuds.

Guest: You're very welcome.

(Special thank to Will and Guys Clean Funny Jokes:

http://www.guy-sports.com/index.htm  )

I have been fortunate to have been around many people in my youth that taught (some would say brainwashed) me to use puns, play-on-words, and twisted humor to make it through some of life’s daily struggles.

Kathie was not the only one in Virginia, but she managed to make some of THE BEST Memories! We both managed to test one another on the limits of how much our brains could go different directions under the stress of a busy, crazy, chaotic workplace. I often would ask if there was anything she needed, or wanted while I was out. One of her standard replies was “A Million Dollars On An Ice Cream Cone.” Now, put yourself in my position, and think about how you could actually do that for someone you love. It took me a little over a year to come up with a solution on that request, but I finally gave it to her one Christmas! I will write a completely separate blog on that one…some day. Meanwhile, you will have to dig deep into your twisted thoughts to see if you can come up with how I managed to pull that one off.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Smell of Rain, (Or Heaven Scent)

The Smell Of Rain… Or Is IT?
This is a true story.
I Love Desert Storms! by JOn's ~=:-) view

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. She was still groggy from surgery. Her husband, David, held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.
That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency Caesarean to deliver the couple's new daughter, Dana Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature.

Still, the doctor's soft words dropped like bombs. "I don't think she's going to make it," he said, as kindly as he could. "There's only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one".

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Dana would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on.

"No! No!" was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.
Through the dark hours of morning as Dana held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live and live to be a healthy, happy young girl.

But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter's chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable.
David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral
Diana felt so bad for him because he was doing everything to try to include
her in what was going on, but she just wouldn't listen, She couldn't listen. She said, "No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don't care what the doctors say. Dana is not going to die! One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!"

As if willed to live by Diana's determination, Dana clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Dana's underdeveloped nervous system was essentially raw, the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn't even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love.
All they could do, as Dana struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light
in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to
their precious little girl.

There was never a moment when Dana suddenly grew stronger. But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Dana turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later, though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero, Dana went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

Then, five years later, Dana is a petite but
feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for
life. She shows no signs whatsoever of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more. But that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Dana was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin's baseball team was practicing.

As always, Dana was chattering nonstop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell
silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, little Dana asked, "Do you smell
that?" Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, "Yes, it smells like rain."
Dana closed her eyes and again asked, "Do you smell that?"
Once again, her mother replied, "Yes, I think we're about to get wet. It smells like rain."
Stand in Awe....

Still caught in the moment, Dana shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, "No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest."

Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Dana happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came, her daughter's words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Dana on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

Smell the rain.

Out of pure curiosity, I Googled this to see about the truth, or a follow-up… since Dana would now be 20 years old. There are many many references to this story, all with the same details. Snopes verifies most of it, but of course they dismiss the possibility of a child that young to have any developed sense of smell, and claim it is not likely for a child to know, or recognize what God is… or to be able to recall such details. But for those who KNOW, God IS Recognizable, And We all know we Can and DO recall such details from such a young age. There are many credible sources sharing this same story. I believe it, and will let you decide for yourself. Nobody can convince another of something they know. Each Person has to discover some things for themselves. God is one of those things I KNOW, and will stand by. If you do not yet know God, that is OK. We each have different experiences in life, and come to different conclusions. We each find our strengths in different places. For some reason, Dana’s name is recorded as both Dana, and later in her life as Danae. But Everything else in this story is validated. This story originally was titled “Heaven Scent”. Cute, and accurate! :)

Last Light Reflected

A Special thanks to my Wonderful Friend, Cara for sending this to me when I most needed it in September of 2005. I just found it again, and thought it worthy to pass along to all who might need it, too! Perhaps You are in need of “Smelling The Rain”, Or Know someone who is.
I Hope You Have A Wonderful, and Safe Day! Thank You for Reading My Blog! Jon~=:-)