Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Written by Candace Hardin on November 11, 2014 https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5136591818701317992#editor/src=sidebar
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Just a note: I met Russell Crowe today. It was very exciting for me. He was very nice, not as excited to meet me, of course, but nice. He is the only actor I have ever met, other than my Grandmother, who really missed her calling. So, Mr. Crowe, should this blog come to your attention, I so love your work. I thought Pearly in "A Winter's Tale" was one of your best portrayals. I loved "Robin Hood" as well. I really never thought that anyone could beat Kevin Costner's version, but this different perspective was very entertaining. I hope you enjoy your stay in Atlanta. Welcome.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
http://clashdaily.com/2014/10/teddy-roosevelt-barack-obama-changed/ FROM TEDDY ROOSEVELT TO BARACK OBAMA: What Has Changed?
Monday, September 1, 2014
Today we celebrated the last holiday of the summer. Labor Day, the holiday created to honor the labor unions and the works they had accomplished. Mostly, it has come down to retail sales and barbeques with family and friends, the last hurrah of summer. Soon it will be Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and ultimately New Year's Eve. I always look forward to this holiday. It heralds the fall, a colorful explosion of the foliage, and the cooling of the air. The halcyon time between summer and winter when neither heat nor air is required for household comfort. It is a time of trips to the North Georgia mountains and the harvest of crisp, tart apples in Western North Carolina. Thanksgiving follows on fall's heel and the smell of turkey and dressing will fill the air. The happiest season of all is right behind these forerunners, and 2015 will be a heartbeat away. 2014 has not been the best of my life, neither has it been the worst. Seems as one ages, or matures as a doctor so tactfully put it, life loses a good deal of its' luster and shine. It leaves one wondering what it is all about anymore. Is it all work, eat and sleep with little to sweeten the routine? As the years pass, I seem to know less than I did before. Things I was once sure of, I am not so decided on now. I don't think I am much different from many of the people of my generation. We have experienced the best of America and the worst as well. We have had our livelihood stolen from us by the powers that be who were sufficiently forewarned to manage to retain their wealth. We have a "recovery" that has never filtered back down to the middle class, and seems to be largely an urban myth created by the corporate controlled media. Despite all this, we go on. We persevere. We observe the unique American holidays of our fathers and labor to provide the happiness we experienced as children for out own families. That is the spirit of American. The same America that once experienced the highest standard of living in the world. After all is said and done, we still do. There are many who are so much worse off than we. Summer draws to close, and we should remember who we are and how much we still have. Praise God as this year dwindles down to the last dregs, and bring on the fragrant, happy days of the remainder of the year.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Growing up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, we had AM radio. The signal wasn't very strong, the sound was not very clear. However, radio was everything in our world. We had to buy records, vinyl LPs in analog sound. We could only listen to them at home. If you were dying to hear your favorite song while on the road, you had to wait until it came on the radio. When cassettes came out, I would buy the LP and record it on a tape. If you were anybody, you either bought a car with a cassette player or did all you could to get the money together to have one installed by Radio Shack or some automotive service station. At night, the signals were stronger. I remember listening to WLS, a radio station out of Chicago many nights. I had a large. boxy radio called a World Monitor. It would pick up stations from far away if the weather was clear. Saturday was special. Not only were there really excellent cartoons on television, but the Top 40 Countdown with Kasey Kasem was on. All of the best songs were played with a story or interesting fact about the artists and bands. It was like an all day dance party. Kasem's voice was well modulated and easy to listen to as the songs rolled on. His voice narrated the soundtrack of my life as his career spanned most of my younger years. These days, radio has taken a backseat to the internet. If I want to hear a favorite song, I can get it on YouTube. It is instant gratification, but without the personalities that added so much to music appreciation. If I want to know something about an artist or a band, I can look it up online. It has become very generic. Locally, we have some great radio stations with DJs who get us going in the morning and drive us home at night, but radio has lost much of its former glory. Now that Kasey Kasem has gone to his rest with his fellows like Dick Clark, et al, radio is just a little more diminished. That is a shame. It was a fine companion to everything we did. Rest in peace, Kasey Kasem. We will remember you as we, "keep our feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars."
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Have you ever felt like you were fighting an uphill battle? Of course,everyone gets this feeling every once in a while. How does one cope? Primarily, I trust God. I know He has everything well in hand. Secondarily, I have a placebo. I have my words and I write. I make up stories to amuse myself. If, by chance, they amuse others that is good. If not, at least I am delivered for a little while. When I explained this to a fellow writer, he said that words were good, but he had rum when things got him down. I suppose that works too. I am just not a very good drinker. I never did care too much for throwing up. The first half of life seems like everything is a possibility. Dreams are established. Goals are set in place. As one ages, dreams change and some disillusionment starts to creep in. Becoming a cynic is a possibility. Negativity has to be held at bay for bitterness accomplishes nothing. As one learns how the world plays its' games, discouragement is a factor. There are those who have tunnel vision. They only see the world as it relates directly to them. They walk about, step on the feelings of others in order to accomplish their goals. There are those with a broader vision, who see the world as a cooperative. They are the ones who are most likely to help others along the way. Learning to deal with the different types of people in this world is a trial we all face. Our current economic system puts workers at the mercy of those who have. They have work to offer us and we have to accept their whims in order to survive. Without work, we have no economy in our household. Even love is very delicate thing. It should not be so hard, but it often is. It is hard to find an honest heart in today's society. Fighting off bitterness is a never ending battle. Things often go awry, but it is important to never give up or give in. Tomorrow will be better. Fight a little longer, though tears get in your way.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
The term “Hillbilly” is often misunderstood. The word is mainly used to insult those considered ignorant or out of touch, however, the word quote, unquote hillbilly has a rich heritage. The term did not come into play in the United States until 1900, when a New York Journal article defined the hillbilly as a “free and untrammeled citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he can get it, and fires off his revolver when the fancy takes him.” As it was in 1900, so is it today, New York professes knowledge of subjects that they may or may not know anything about at all. Usually, hillbilly is applied to people who live in the Appalachian region of the United States. Due to the rugged terrain of the area, the people who populated the land were very isolated. It was not until WWII when the men were called to war and the advent of the television in the 1950’s that the region was exposed to all the advances of the twentieth century. Many notable and respected public figures came from humble “hillbilly” beginnings. A short list will include entertainers Lucille Ball and Patsy Cline, author Cormac McCarthy and scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. The common misconception is that the mountain people are ignorant as they have not had the educational advantages that most cities offer. Nothing can be further from the truth. The skills an Appalachian or hillbilly may possess could be ones that save the world in a crisis. Hank Williams Jr. refers to these skills in his song, A Country Boy Can Survive. “We can skin a buck, we can run a trout line, and a country boy can survive.” The talents the song lists are the ones that would be called into play should anything disrupt our comfortable state of electronically assisted, instant gratification way of life. Historically, Americans are the original rebels. Our ancestors left Europe to seek freedom to worship, freedom to live as independent people in a free land. The original colonists were not conformists, neither were they looking for a free ride. They immigrated to this land to make their own way and live by their own rules. Long years before Jefferson wrote America’s declaration, a group of Appalachians shocked the King of England and were labeled “a dangerous example for the people of America” due to their fierce independence and unwillingness to submit to any will other than their own. That American spirit lives on in all who may fall under the title of hillbilly. It is the strength that has built a strong country that is the beacon to all in the world that yearn to live free. It is the original pilgrim that put God first in their lives without consideration of who likes it or does not. Hopefully, it will be the spirit that will save the unique formula that is or was the United States of America. To quote Hank William Jr’s song again; “We say grace and we say Ma’am, and if you ain’t into that, we don’t give a damn.” God Bless the USA, again. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5386355 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillbilly
http://clashdaily.com/2014/05/disconnected-modern-technology-increasing-novacaine-society/ It was pointed out to me today that people in society today have put themselves in a cocoon of isolation. It is a prison of their own making, utilized for both physical and emotional protection. Everyone has a cloak of silence wrapped around themselves, shutting out opportunity for real time human contact. They employ their cellular devices whether alone or in a group of friends. Eye contact is not as common as it used to be. Just meeting people in public seems to be much harder than it should be. It could be fear, it could be lack of confidence, but more likely it is fear of intimacy. How many times have you seen a group of “friends” at a restaurant for a meal together? How many times do each of them check their electronic communications? Sometimes conversation comes to a complete halt as everyone is more engaged in technical chatter. This social malady is a symptom of the disease of lack of community. This does not apply to every town or city, of course, but the lack of community has created a vacuum in society. It has given rise to a virtual society of placebos, such as dating services and social networking sites. These sites give people a way to feel that they are connected to others without really putting themselves out there emotionally. It gives perfect opportunity for a false sense of community. Even dating has fallen victim to this virtual reality. Observing young people in high school, they spend a great more time as texting couples, rather than actually talking. In years past, if your love interest didn’t call on the phone, so there was an all-night discussion about anything and everything, it was not a real relationship. They get together by text and they break up by text. Families have become less nuclear and more spread out to several states. This is often an economic necessity but families are the heart of community. Without community, people do not feel the sting of the consequence of moral boundaries. In times past, certain behaviors were frowned upon by society. There was an amount of local peer pressure that kept undesirable behaviors at bay. If one wanted to indulge these behaviors, community disproval was often harsh. Albert Einstein warned us of this emotional numbness. He said, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Another great quote is from a song by the Eagles, “So oftentimes it happens that we live our lives in chains that we never even know we have the key.” Tomorrow as you buy your morning coffee, smile at the person next to you. Make a real time connection.
Friday, May 23, 2014
I like to listen to music when I am critiquing my writing, or if I am writing. No matter if I am happy or sad, it would be safe to say that music gets me centered and in a creative mindset. It keeps sane as well. I was at my favorite coffee shop last Friday, going over a manuscript. I had my headphones on and I was in the zone. I put on the Queen channel. For you young folks, Queen was an innovative group from England that came out in the 1970’s. Their first hit was “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It featured Freddie Mercury as the lead singer. He was a powerful vocalist and could play piano with a light touch that would melt your heart. He was a dynamic entertainer, a sexually attractive man with the worst teeth that you have ever seen. Somehow, that overbite seemed to contribute to his overall charm. To say that Freddie Mercury and Queen were trail blazers in alternative music and dress etc. would be rather an understatement. In fact, some of what they did and said, I did not even understand until I was well into my thirties. (We were totally naïve growing up in the mountains of WNC.) All I knew was that I liked it. Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45 from bronchial pneumonia as a complication of AIDS. He had remained silent on his condition until the day before his death to protect those close to him. However, he went public at the last to throw the disease into the light in hopes protecting others and searching for a cure. Now, when I play the videos, I feel a vacuum has been created in the entertainment atmosphere. The award list of his professional career is too long to name, but it can be summed up in one word, talent. I miss Freddie.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
I have a friend who has found herself single after 23 years of marriage. After taking a while to reconstruct her own life, she thought to get back into circulation. Unwilling to do the bar scene, she joined an online dating service for her age group. After a couple of weeks of shifting through the choices, she thought she had met someone who she would like to get to know better. A supposedly retired, slightly older, professional man seemed to be a good possibility. He had been a widower for a number of years and was looking for someone with whom to start his life over. They began talking and sending texts. By coincidence, he had to go on a business trip right after they began. It was something left over from when he was still working that was unresolved. They were still able to continue to text, even though he was out of the country. This went on fine until the day before he was due to fly back to the States. He sent her a text that he had been attacked and robbed. They had stolen his bag that contained his passport. He missed his flight, as he had to go to the American Embassy to see if he could obtain papers to return. She expressed concern, but he insisted he was fine. A small red flag flew up with this information. However, she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt as it could have happened. The next day he called to say that he had obtained a temporary passport, but now had to get a ticket home. He asked her to loan him some money, which he would promptly return when he arrived State side. The small red flag bloomed into a huge one. She knew then that she was being scammed. She informed him quite truthfully that she had no money to lend. He said he would call her later that day. Of course, he never did. On careful review of a few other “men” she had talked to on the dating site, she concluded that probably they were all the same person. He had put up various profiles, hoping for a score. I suppose it happens. You see it on talk shows, how people have bought into a sad story and sent cash. It is usually always women who have sent money to men. My friend saw through the ruse, but what about those who might not? It is a shame and a scandal that another human being would perpetrate that kind of scam on another, especially when they use people’s search for companionship as their vehicle.
Friday, March 7, 2014
My best friend made a good analogy today. Both of us have had some really, really tough financial times for about six years. The Recession that is “over” according to the press is still residing in our houses. I believe it remains an unwelcome houseguest in many, many more people’s lives as well. The financial vacuum that the aforementioned recession has created in my life is a load I carry with most days with a minimal amount of grumbling. I try to disassociate myself from the reality and trust God to handle all of it. However, some days, that load, in combination with a certain sphincter here and pain in the neck there, coupled with personal heartache just gets to be overwhelming. So, I had a serious meltdown, which brings me back to the analogy. We take turns with giving each other pep talks and his turn consisted of this: “You have had a whole loaf of crap sandwiches. I know that just when you think you are at the end of the loaf, someone brings a fresh batch for you to finish.” How very well those words describe the situation. I believe that my generation and parts of others bear the scars of this economic boondoogle created by the banks and the greediness of those who were in a position to profit from the decline of our entire infrastructure. It may not be labeled, per se, as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but it is exactly that condition.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis. I fell in love with him and the characters he created when he was Bill Murray's best friend, Russell, in "Stripes." He was just the intellectual type I go for in real life. He was a writer and member of the cast of "SCTV." This was the show that employed John Candy, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis et al. It was hilarious and I loved to watch it. SNL was funny, but SCTV had it's own unique appeal like no other. The last role I saw Harold Ramis play was that of a doctor on the movie, "As Good As it Gets," with Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, and Jack Nicholson. He played a physician who still did house calls. He visited Helen Hunt's character to care for her son. He had a special way about him, confident, with a dry wit that made you feel like he was always up for a prank, or ready to punk one of his friends. His writing was superlative. He was one of the good ones. As Pete Townsend would say, one of "my generation's" finest entertainers, off and on the screen. So, in the scene from "Stripes" where Russell was ineffectively teaching English to as a second language, let us sing together: "There she was just a walking down the street, singing Do Wah Ditty, Ditty Dum, Ditty Doo!" Go in peace Harold. Join John Candy and the others that went before you. I will be wanting to see the show when Heaven calls and I enter the next life.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Does anyone ever wonder if it is possible to have an honest elected official? One with an altruistic heart who is willing to serve for the sake of the common good. Does this type of person still exist? I believe that many go to serve with the greatest of intentions. They have ideals and goal, promises they have made. Reality sets in and crushes some of the ideas. That is understandable, as reality is great at crushing. Some things just aren't feasible. Sometimes, the politicos find that they owe "their soul" more or less to the contributor that ponied up the most money. If someone invests $ 200,000.00 or more in you, this person expects a big return for their investment. I have read that the peers of the elected are often to blame. They have the habit of accepting gifts and favors. If one of their peers does the right things, it makes them look bad. They will ostracize the one who doesn't follow the status quo, applying social pressure. So, we lay out that is is difficult to remain honest and altruistic. Do we even expect them to try to work for us? I think we still expect them to listen to us and try to do as best they can. I believe that the average person's expectations are not ridiculously high. The average person would probably be satisfied with a few kept promises, a couple of days out of the month really applying themselves to the wants of their constituency and showing up to vote everytime the roll is called. The average person works daily for a lot less, they expect their representatives who draw an extremely high salary for the rest of their lives to at least show up at the office. So, why is that so hard? Is it because they cannot or because they will not? Washington and the Beltway are fairly set in their ways and beliefs. They firmly believe that they know best. They believe we need them to run our lives as we are incapable. They are pretty sure they are just a little bit better than the rest of the great unwashed, i.e. John Q. Public. They are elected to represent their districts. Many people are calling for that representation in a firm voice. The people are insisting that they do their jobs. Is that an impossiblilty?
Saturday, February 1, 2014
I have to give a huge tip of the hat to Scarlett Johanssen. Sometimes, I am not so sure about her judgement. I mean, who would exchange Ryan Reynolds for Sean Penn? Not me, for sure, I only liked Sean Penn in one movie. I think it was his signature role as Spikoli on Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He nailed that one, but I have not been impressed since. The girl of the hour has done a great thing. She has resigned her position at Oxfam Global International due to a "fundamental difference of opinion." This company says that her support of a company that operates in Israel's West Bank is incompatible with their position. Oxfam International supports the rights of the "Palestinian people" who work in the West Bank area. I admire ScarJo for her stand. I admire those who will stand with the rights of the Israeli's to their homeland. The rest are just violent posers. Thank you, my dear, you are beautiful, talented and responsible. I can't wait to see you in Avengers II! Oh, and Fox News, what is up with you? It is starting to look like you can't take the heat. Stay out of the kitchen and don't pretend to be conservative. http://www.ifcj.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=41377&news_iv_ctrl=1481&s_src=EN1&s_subsrc=EN11402XXEXXX
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Everyone should listen to this video. These voters are telling it like it is for them and for all of us. It is refreshing to see and hear the truth. That is something you will not find in the Beltway or the White House. I believe the administration should be forced to listen to these people over and over again. They are so right. Job creation is the only thing that will save the economy. Not a higher minimum wage, not a new handout, JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! People crave the independence and self respect that comes from an honest day's work. Again I say: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!!!!! http://conservativevideos.com/2014/01/devastating-black-activists-chicago-tell-obama-just-quit-watching-state-union/
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
We here in Atlanta have felt the wrath of Mother Nature. Two inches of snow has paralyzed the city. I spent Monday afternoon creeping home. A commute that last 25 minutes took me 4 and 1/2 hours. I was blessed to arrive. Many spent the night in their cars on the expressway. A baby was even born on the roads with the help of the father and a policeman. The worst part was the children that went to school Monday. Many had to spend the night in the schools as their parents could not get to them due to heavy traffic. Worse, many spent the night in school buses stranded on the road. Buses with no heat, no food or water, no bathroom facilities. The fingers of blame are resonating with the governor and the mayor, but I think the school boards should be the first flogged in this event. They call off school for minor reasons all the time. This winter storm was correctly and ably predicted by all the local news and their meteorologists. Why was school allowed in session? My child's school was open, but I made the decision to stay out on Monday. I am so glad I did. We are not prepared for this kind of inclement weather. We know this very well. It is rare, but the government has a responsibility to the public. We pay taxes to purchase and maintain proper equipment for public emergencies. I do tip my hat to the law enforcement, fire department, the National Guard and the employees of Atlanta and all the Metro area municipalities that worked long, hard, cold shifts to try and alleviate the pain this anomaly created. Their work done on our behalf was stellar. Thank you, one and all.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The rude and thoughtless ones in New York are once again showing how crass and unacceptable their ideas and behavior can be. It seems that McDonalds is calling the cops to remove seniors from the restaurant if they sit in the establishment and socialize for more than 20 minutes. Good idea guys, don't worry, you will never get old. You will never need to have respect in your advanced years. You will stay young forever, especially in the light of how you know everything and tell us all how to live. I was taught to respect my elders. We all will age,it is inevitable. We slow down. We need help in doing things that used to be easy. We begin to truly value the friends we have left to us. I have owned restaurants. I have worked in restaurants, both as a manager and as an accountant behind the scenes. Here in Georgia, I have never heard of the cops being called to round up a rowdy bunch of seniors drinking coffee and having a bite in a dining establishment. I hope I never do. To forget and devalue the ones who came before you is to lose humanity and knowledge. Our seniors are one of our greatest assets. We would do well to remember their contribution and give them the respect they so richly deserve. http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post--mcdonalds-resolves-standoff-with-lingering-elderly
Saturday, January 18, 2014
I was getting a bite to eat at a local Mexican restaurant last night. Of course, no one can have dinner without a dozen televisions blaring some kind of sports or some sports talking head show. There was a time you could eat some tacos with some very pleasant cultural music playing in the background. Now our culture is so sports obsessed that no one will leave the house unless they won’t miss this big game or race etc. That was enough to get me started, but then a commercial for the latest remake came on the screen. Seems we need another version of Robo Cop. Please!! There are probably a million or more good screen writers who have wonderful movie material just dying to get discovered and get paid. If fact, we have a great one right in my Friday night writing group. Hollywood is only interested in playing it safe and CHEAP. They re-spin some mediocre movie or sitcom from 30 years ago that they already own the rights. Why doesn’t someone in a position to entertain the public make a mission to find and produce original screenplays? I would be willing to bet that they could be the next Peter Jackson or the next Wachowski Brothers. There is still money to be made even if you do have a spend a couple of bucks buying the rights to something new!
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
What is news worthy? Is it the trivial gossip of the Hollywood scene or is the hard facts of the economy, war, foreign policy, the devaluing dollar or healthcare? Are the major news feeds destined to become the next "Star," "TMZ" or "ET." Could that really be any journalist's goal? For the last two days, MSN of MSNBC, has run the story of Robin Roberts and the picture of her girlfriend. While I am extremely glad that she has beaten cancer and is now happy, I just think that this is not headline newsworthy. It is not personal. I am not concerned about how she lives her life. It is a side story, not breaking news. There are so many stories that journalists today will not touch or have been instructed not to approach. Today's news companies are owned by big corporations. They dictate according to their agenda and how it corresponds with any elected officials they have financially backed into public office. They have little to no interest in truth. For these entities, money is the only truth. They feel that it is better to encourage fluff and sugar, social disputes and non issues rather than offend anyone who might feed the money tree. That is too bad. It insults all of the journalists past and present who suffered whatever it took to protect their sources. It insults all of the men and women who took risks to break a story that the public truly needed to know. I am sorry that it has come to this pass. I hope that anyone who wants to be a real journalist, who has the drive for the truth, will sign on with some of the newer venues who deal in objective reporting. They are out there. There are opportunites with Breitbart.com, WND, Truth Revolt, et. al. Sadly, the mainstream, i.e. corporate entities only, have become non news reporting dinosaurs.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Hello 2014 Normally, I resent the coming of a new year. I just about have the old year under control, then I have to start over. However, 2013 was not a banner year for me or many others I have polled. So, adios to a dysfunctional year. Perhaps, it was the number 13 that tainted the year. Then again, maybe not, I am not a superstitious person as a rule. (However, I will eat the traditional New Year’s Day meal without fail. I missed it one time and had the worst financial year of my life, up until the 2008 recession and beyond anyway.) I welcome 2014. I feel like it will be a banner year. The only thing that I hate is that Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutra System, Special K, and every other kind of diet system or food could not even wait until the ball dropped to start touting its laurels. I believe healthy living is a daily choice. 365 days of the year make the right choices and exercise for the right reasons. Then there will be no need to start a routine at the new year. Now the gym I go to will be full of folks with good intentions. They will take up space until old habits return. Hopefully, some will make it a habit. I don’t mind that, but I do get sick of the TV commercials, the magazine articles etc. Leave us alone, stop putting all that propaganda out there, and leave the Valentine’s Day stuff alone until at least late January. I had to throw that one in there. All this retail stuff is just getting old. They have already overdone Christmas. Give it a rest. Anyway, I hope this year lives up to expectations for everyone.