Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Remembering the Laughter Though the Tears

SO I have been moping around the house since yesterday afternoon, trying to wrap my head around this thing. Anyone who knows me might find it easy to guess that I am a huge Robin Williams fan. Since the lovable alien Mork first appeared on Happy Days, I was hooked on the personality that brought him to life. In fact, it was always a dream of mine to spend just one hour with the man and just enjoy the improv and glib commentary he could rattle off on even the most mundane subject.

I've know for years that such a personality masked a great deal of pain and depression, his battle with addiction is well known and his successes with that battle were awe inspiring. I guess more than the entertainment he provided, Robin Williams's strength was what made me such a fan. So then you can imagine my shock and sadness when the news of his death reached me. My first thought was "No, he's just pulling our legs. Watch he's gonna wake up and say 'Gotcha'."

Sadly this world does not allow us to stay in that blissful land of denial. Confirmations and verifications came fast and quick. Scenarios ran through my mind so fast it seemed like Robin and Jonathan Winters were having a battle of wits in my brain. It had to be an assassination. It must have been murder. Could it have been an accident? And then it came.

I'm not ashamed to say that I cried for an hour. There, mercifully alone in my living room, I wept like a child at the thought of a man so strong just giving up. Why? How could a man I loved so, whom I admired more than most have done the one thing in this world I find more abhorrent than any other?

I have to admit, I am still struggling. I've spat on the graves and memories of too many people who have died by their own hand to just accept that this was how a man who showed the world the truest strength would go out. I tried, I did, I tried so hard to go back to the prank scene and even in accepting his death, I was willing to hope that he was murdered and his killer wants us to think it was... There, you see? I can't even put the word in writing.

But the truth is, in this instance I think I get it. I think I understand if not why, then at least how this could have come about. You see, 63 years is a short life in this modern era. However, it is a very, very long time to fight a war. And truthfully, that's what he did every day. He warred with himself every day, fighting his depression, his addiction and what ever other demons haunted him, of which we know nothing.

You see, when you look at it like that, you start to think of things a little different. Like pullups. God, I hate doing those. I get a few out and then I just can't do any more. I just hang there, trying my best, but eventually, I can't hold on and I fall. Now imagine holding on for 60+ years.

So, yes. I am definitely still disappointed in the circumstances of his death and there will never be a question that I am saddened by it. But I will say this for the man I adored with the personality I would love to emulate. Even though he couldn't hold on any longer, I am amazed at the strength he showed by holding on for so long.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Practical Joke on Women

Whatever women did to piss off Mother Nature, someone should seriously apologize to her. I mean let's face it. A vindictive force has screwed you. Now before I get a lot of replies and hate mail, let me explain. First, nature has allowed you to develop and mature faster than your male counterparts, which when you're young is a good thing. Your intelligence is higher than the boys your age, your emotions begin to stabilize faster and by the time you're in your 20s, you are better prepared to start a career, family, or both depending on your goals. I won't go into how men are inferior to you at this point, because this post is all about the ladies. Now all the way up to your late 30s, Women have it made over men. You're beautiful, you have firm bodies, you have the intelligence and emotional stability to conquer the world and make us think we're in control. Then menopause hits. Oh, my God what happens to women at this stage of life reads as if Mel Brooks teamed up with the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges to determine how you would look and act for the next fifty years.

First, let's get to the physical part. Gravity's a bitch, yeah? I mean I saw a lady today who couldn't have been more than 40 and the things that happened to her were… well, they were just sad. Now, she was dressed properly, but you could see that she was having some wardrobe malfunctions. Each step she too, the poor woman’s boobs slipped a little more out of her bra. Her t-shirt kept her from exposing herself, but you could still see all the action as it happened. The sad part was the way it happened. Her knockers reminded me of gak. You know, that slime stuff that Nickelodeon marketed about 20 years ago. Yeah. That’s what this lady’s hooters reminded me of. With each step she took, they slipped from their enclosure more and more and jiggled under her t-shirt. Also like gak, no matter how hard you tried, the suckers still slipped through your fingers.

As funny as I found the poor woman’s plight, I was enough of a gentleman to not laugh right then and there, opting instead to announce it publicly here. Hey, I’m a gentleman, not a saint. However, this poor woman wasn’t the end of my amusement and the realization of how screwed you chicks are. A few minutes later, I saw a woman with two kids coming through the doors. The kids were well behaved but obviously feeling sick. One would sneeze and the other would cough. The woman would stop to wipe a nose and help cover the cough then stopped to think about where she was headed.

Feeling bulletproof against whatever cooties the rug rats carried, I decided to follow this woman for no other reason than I had a feeling this would be fun. I wasn’t disappointed. Halfway down the cough and cold aisle, the lady just lets go of the buggy and grabs a bottle of medicine. Then she bends down to grab a bag of cough drops and stands up. While she’s reading the packaging, another woman comes up behind her to grab a box of something. The mother turns grabs the stranger’s buggy and heads for the checkout. Never fear, I come to the rescue and discreetly point to the mother’s proper buggy before she abandons her kids or does something equally embarrassing.

At any rate, the more I watched women today, the more I realized how screwed you really are. Here’s a list of things you are more likely to experience than am I: menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, osteoporosis, sagging boobs and butt, heart disease, breast cancer, HPV, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, varicose veins, migraines, stress, depression, and gender bias. Let’s not forget that women are more likely to be the victims of violent crimes and cons than men are. Now here is a list of bad stuff more likely to affect me than my wife: E.D. prostate cancer.

So yeah, you ladies are screwed. Mother Nature definitely has it in for you. I mean it’s probably your own fault, you know the Eve and the apple deal or something. Therefore, whatever has happened to get you on the bad side of evolution, you should really consider getting it fixed. Now that I think about it, your problems are more than likely caused by something a man did and you have to handle the fallout. I mean that’s about the way it goes most of the time. :) Until we can solve this problem though, I hope each of you avoid sagging boobs, drooping butts, soft bones and lost minds. Love to you all.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Remembering James Garner

I wanted to write a long tribute to James Garner, highlighting his career
and what each of his roles meant to me and to the rest of his fans. I wanted to tell you how inspired I was by Jim Rockford and how entertained I was by Brett Maverick. I wanted to blushingly tell you how touched I was by Duke’s dedication to Allie in The Notebook and how proud I was to see that Tank Sullivan and his crew still had the right stuff in Space Cowboys. I wanted to tell how characters he played showed a strength and gentleness no lead actor before him dared show. Bu the truth is all of those characters we just a small extension of the man behind them.

James Garner the man was as much a character as the roles he played. He was a
tough guy, a dedicated husband, a loving father and a personality that commanded both the big screen and the television screen. It was impossible not to adore whatever character Garner played. In fact, my own mother often bragged that if it weren’t for the old man and Garner’s wife, she’d do what it took to marry him. The truth is he was one of the few men I was ever afraid for my mother to meet. Imagine the embarrassment of having to bail your mother out of jail for molesting a celebrity.

I often rain praise on those who work so hard to entertain me, but thinking it
over I cannot remember a stage in my life when Mr. Garner wasn’t doing just that. He gave us so many characters to look up to and emulate. I’ve said it before when the world lost great entertainers: George Burns, Bob Hope, John Ritter, Jeanne Cooper, and Lucille Ball… The truth is the loss of James Garner hits hardest of all for me so far. I guess it’s because I’ve watched him all my life and never really noticed how old he was getting. I mean let’s face it, even at 86 years old, he still had the personality, strength and humor as he had when Bret Maverick hit the TV screen 57 years earlier.

But, I won’t list all of the reasons I loved watching James Garner. To do that, I would probably tax the servers that host this blog. Instead, I will just say how much I will miss having the opportunity to see what he does next. I think for the first time since starting this blog, I am going to ask you, what is your favorite James Garner character?

In the comments below, tell everyone who your favorite character is and why. Meanwhile, I am going to go dig out Support Your Local Gunfighter and Support Your Local Sheriff.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Friendship Currency

I have been sitting here in my room at my computer for two days, depressed by the fact that I am unemployed and seemingly unemployable. In the past year and a half, I have placed over 1,000 applications for a variety of jobs from fast food to customer service to executive administrator. In the past few weeks, I have had three interviews and hired once for 10 minutes before they decided they could not afford to hire me.

So, while I have been wallowing in my own misery, I have neglected the one asset I have that means more to me than anything else. Today, my friends rallied behind me and did there level best to cheer me up and convey their hopes that I find some success soon. All of this got me to thinking about these friends. I have often heard that even the poorest man can find wealth in friendship, but I always thought that was a romantic platitude made up by someone wanting to sell us something. Today, I realize the truth behind that comment.

Aside from my nieces, who never fail to be a source of inspiration to me, I can count three people in particular who, whether I am whining about my personal life or celebrating my meager accomplishments, have always been there for me. These three people, whom I have never seen in person, have stepped up and cheered me on no matter what I am going through. Even now, when I least want to be the clown prince, these three step up and support me emotionally when everything around me seems like it’s collapsing.

These three people, whose names I will not mention here, truly are the best friends anyone will ever have. Good times or bad, they support their friends. Whether I am contributing to our friendship or being the natural pest that I am, they always show their love and respect. It’s too bad that people weren’t paid based on the value of their souls. These three would be valued higher than any billionaire on the planet.

For all of their love and support that they always show me, the words “thank you” will never be enough. I just wish that I could some way to show them the depth of my love and appreciation for them. Until I find that method of payment, just let me say to them. I do love you all to pieces. If ever I can do anything for you, it’s done.

Thank you for your time.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Independent Authors and the Treasures They Share

I am taking a break from writing for a few days to allow my characters to stew in their creative juices. So, how does a writer take a day off? I read. I have my favorite mainstream authors that I like to keep up with, Tess Gerritsen, James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks (don’t laugh), but I find my tastes have been turning more to the unknowns in the literary world.

I notice that I am becoming a big supporter of independent writers more often since becoming one myself, but not from the sense of camaraderie, you would expect. Some independent authors, like me, are nearly broke but continue to write because we love doing it. However, the simple fact is, these independent authors are putting out some quality material.

I know what you are thinking. “Independent authors” When I first heard the term, I thought about those “art” films you see on IFC or Sundance channels. You know the kind that win film festival awards but bore the daylights out of you. Then I thought about Kevin Smith. There is an indie filmmaker who does not really fit into what I expect from indie films. By the way, anyone who has anything bad to say about the guy or his work will get an immediate throat punch from me.

But back to indie authors. I picked up my first indie book called Version 2.0 less than a year ago. Yes. I only got it because one of my closest friends wrote it and I got to see it before it was published, but it was great. The story was intuitive, entertaining and gave new life to a subgenre that I almost gave up on. From there, it was an avalanche of indie books one right after another. I read about zombies, immortals, lycanthropes (werewolves and such), witches and demons. I had a few angst-ridden books sneak in on me that I normally would not have given a second look at in Barnes & Nobles and they were great.

I have read about murders, love, dreams and poetry. POETRY! ME!! I read them and I have loved them. I have even read erotica Fifty Shades and every other color. I can now honestly tell you that while the stories I have read do not titillate me, I have read some erotic stories that have better plots than many movies put out by major studios. What interests me most about these stories is not the content. True the content is more often than not stellar, but the most interesting fact about the stories is the fact that the authors are still unknown. These are some A-List stories but it kills me that unless something positive happens, very few people will get the chance to find out how great they are.

Here is the best part about indie authors: No matter what you like, fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery, horror, biography, technical manuals to the TRS-80 home computing system, there is an independent author who has the book for you. Nevertheless, that is the problem. They are independent, often self-published. They have no way of marketing their books, so there is little chance of you hearing about them.

So what are you going to do? How are you going to find these great books by unknown writers? Easy. Just look on Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads or do a Google search for independent authors. Search on Facebook. Check the independent author review pages, I frequent Real Reviews for IndieAuthors (https://www.facebook.com/realindiereview). No matter how you find them, check them out. Most, like me, are desperate for notice and put their books on sale for 99¢ of have free giveaways on Amazon.

If you love to read and are on a budget, indie books might just satisfy your need to escape into a good story. If you are still not sure where to find what you want, ask me. I have become quite an expert in finding the good stuff and, not to toot my own horn, I have garnered a lot of friends and acquaintances in the world of indie writers. So until my next post or my next article in Bloid News, check out the works of some great writers. And, Happy Reading.