Last year I didn’t write about this because I was traveling and tired and… well, it’s no excuse. Not that I have to write about it every year, because overall I’m getting more comfortable with its reality with every passing year, as I am with my dad’s passing, and of course we finally got Bin Laden didn’t we?
And yet, even though it feels like we’ve gotten some redemption, it also feels like something that will never go away because of the proliferation of new terrorist groups, all with the same intention of being stupid and thinking that they can change the entire world with their stupidity. All it does is make most of us angry and make us want to get vengeance. Hasn’t anyone learned from World War II when Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto reportedly said “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve“?
I’m not going to lie. I’m still angry about it all and it’s because of the exacerbation of these terrorist groups, and even some governments, who decide that they have the right to eradicate their own citizens under the guise of religious preference while calling out the United States and daring us to do anything about it. They even say they’re coming here to pull another 9/11 stunt; haven’t they realized what we’re capable of?
Goodness, for all the hate former President Bush got, I’m not mad at the guy for what our country, along with a coalition of other countries, did in Afghanistan. It’s just too bad their criminal element pretends to be upholding proper principles of leadership while other factions aren’t buying it and it looks like we’re never getting out of either Afghanistan or Iraq.
How do I really feel? Sometimes I feel like a real example needs to be made. In World War II President Harry Truman realized he could save multiple lives and end a war by dropping an atomic bomb on two cities. We have bombs capable of actually taking out total cities, probably millions with one shot. Every once in a while that’s just what I want to do, figure out where the majority of ISIS or Al Queda members are and just drop the big one and let the chips fall where they may. Would that be glorious?
No… unfortunately it wouldn’t be. True history teaches us that when something is done in the name of revenge that most of the time there’s nothing satisfying about it. Indeed, more often than not that type of thing comes back to hurt in more ways than one, and severely in fact. If you don’t believe that one just ask the Palestinians whether they still think attacking Israel in 1967 was one of their smarter moves; yes, I went there.
Sigh… I’m not big on forgiving and that’s one of my major faults; probably my only real personal fault. Sometimes, the only way I can get past a negative thought is to find something positive to feed my soul. I still can’t watch any documentaries on any of the September 11th events, but I can watch and feel proud of what occurred in the brief documentary video I’m sharing below, which I also shared on my blog post in 2012. Frankly, even now most people have no idea this even happened and what its significance was. Nope, I’m not telling you; just watch it and be amazed. This, after all, is what America is all about, and one of the reasons I’m proud to be a New Yorker and an American.
If you do anything often in your life, at some point you will start to experience some very strange things, even if they’re mildly strange. In my case, mildly doesn’t quite fit.
As some of you know, I’m traveling a lot these days because of my consulting business, and that means I’m flying. This week, I had some adventures that concerned being in airports that I thought I would share with you in a story form. I do that because one, I think stories are more interesting, and two, because it’s going to be long, and three, because it’s true. And it includes a video; what more could you ask for?
Met this little guy & father in DC
The story begins at the airport in my home area of Syracuse New York. I had my boarding pass with me, and I had qualified for what’s called a TSA pre-check, which means I got to go through a special short line, got to keep my shoes and belts on, and if I didn’t have any metal in my jacket I would have had to take that off either. However, since I did have some metal items in my pockets. I decided it was smart to go ahead and put my jacket on top in one of those bins.
I walked through just fine, get my stuff and head towards my gate. I’m pretty early, and there’s a new restaurant over by my gate so I decide to stop in and get something to eat. I recognize the woman working there as a lady who used to work at a restaurant across the street from where I live that closed and became a Moe’s Southwest Grill. It turns out that, because the restaurant had just recently opened, they had very few items that were on their menu. Last, I had to order something that I really didn’t want, but I was a little bit hungry so I decided to give it a shot.
At some point I decided to check my boarding pass just to make sure I had the time I was supposed to get on the plane accurate in my mind. At that point I realized I didn’t have my boarding pass anymore, and that I must have left it at the front when I went through the check.
I told the waitress I would be right back, and I walked back over there to see if anyone had turned in a boarding pass. I asked one of the police officers for some assistance, she asked one of the TSA people about it, and the woman says that all I have to do is go to one of the airlines stations and they would print a new boarding pass for me.
I go back to the restaurant, pay the bill, get my stuff and go to get my boarding pass. While I’m pulling out my ID, which is my drivers license, the lady tells me I don’t need it because my name is already on file. However, it’s a good thing I did check because it turns out I didn’t have my drivers license either. Then I remembered that as soon as I got through check out I had put my license and boarding pass in the bin and then I put my coat on top of it and totally forgot about those items.
The lady let me leave my bags behind the counter, and I rushed back to the checkout line to see if anyone had turned in my license. Of course no one had, so for the next 15 minutes everyone started looking for my drivers license, which I wasn’t allowed to do because I had are gone by that area.
Lucky for me, because not that many people qualify for the pre-check one of the police officers found my license and my other boarding pass. Talk about a lucky break, because I’m not sure I would’ve gone on the plane without my drivers license. It certainly would have been a miserable two weeks out of town without it since they would not let me rent a car.
All goes well from that point as I get on the first plane which will fly me from Syracuse to Washington DC, Reagan Airport. When I get to turn my phone on after the plane lands, I noticed that I had both a phone call and an e-mail. Check the e-mail first to discover that my plane has been delayed an hour for the next trip because of maintenance. That doesn’t seem like such a big deal, so I chill with a candy bar and wait that extra bit of time before I had my gate. Then there’s another hour of waiting, as against maintenance must have needed more time to get things fixed.
At this point the video’s going to take over for a short bit, and I hope you watch it because it tells what happens between what’s above and what’s coming after the video. Suspense! Lol
I hope you watched the video because now we resume the rest of the story. For most people what’s above would have been the end of it all but you know by now that normal things aren’t part of my life.
I had met someone who’d been on my flight that was canceled named Susie. It was great because we kept each other alert all night and that made the entire thing more palatable to deal with. And she turned out to be a prominent person for part of the rest of this story.
We moved back to the gate area about 7:30 in the morning, because they won’t let you stay in the gate area if there are no planes expected to be leaving during a period of time. We sat in an area where there were more seats for a bit of comfort and quiet, an area I like because I like to people watch and normally talk about people in my mind because, well, some folks dress in mysterious ways when they travel. It was nice having someone to talk to about these folks, which might seem mean but we were talking low and we were punchy. By that time she’s been in the airport for more than 16 hours and I hadn’t slept in about 22 hours.
Suddenly there’s this screaming coming from behind us somewhere. We look back and I don’t see anything but Susie does. Then we see this older man walking away and some young woman, who we determined had to be his adult daughter, but disturbed in some way, running after him and hitting him… and not lightly. She was screaming something but we had no idea what it was.
I turned away for a minute and Susie says “She just hit that guy in the red shirt in the back of the head.” Sure enough, I look over and this guy who’d been sitting in a Gordon Biersch restaurant on a stool in a red shirt is looking over his shoulder at this woman, but she wasn’t paying him any attention.
The woman is still screaming and her father has stopped and is trying to hold her, but he’s fighting a losing battle. Now we hear all sorts of people calling for the police and blowing whistles and I’m thinking someone needs to be taken down.
Someone is, and in the annals of lessons one shouldn’t need to be taught, she turns around and slugs this guy in the red shirt in the back of the head again because the fool (I’m sure you’ll agree) had turned back around and had started eating his breakfast again. This time it was hard enough to knock him off the stool and onto the ground because the lesson he didn’t learn that almost everyone else would have learned the first time is you never turn your back on a crazy person who’s screaming and has already hit you. As he learned, hopefully for good, you could find yourself on the floor.
What came next was strange, as if we hadn’t had enough strange so far. The father pulls out a chair and is able to get this woman to sit down. She sits down, begins staring out somewhere, and starts saying over and over, very loudly, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom…” Not screaming, not chanting, just saying it loud enough for everyone in the area to hear, kind of monotone, and it’s the only thing I understood her saying all morning.
Having enough weirdness for one day, Susie and I decide to go over to the gate where we’d be catching the plane, which meant we kind of had to walk by this woman, who was still sitting in the chair and was now rocking. The police were talking to the guy in the red shirt, who could only say he was popped in the head twice because he never saw anything, and a couple other cops were standing behind her.
As we’re walking by this woman, she lets out this blood curdling scream and crying as if she’s in great distress, then immediately follows it with one of those laughs you often associate with evil geniuses in bad horror movies. Based on everything else that happened, I’m not sure saying it was the strangest thing is appropriate here.
About 25 minutes later, as we’re sitting in the area of our gate, we see the family walking by, the father luckily no worse for the wear, the mother making her first appearance, and this young lady, all of them pulling bags behind them, but she’s muttering something to herself, loud enough to be heard but not loud enough to understand it, followed by two police folks and another one on a Segway.
After all that normalcy came back, I got on my plane on time, got to my destination on time, drove to the hotel, cleaned up and went to work. In the video I said I was thinking about not going, but not only would I not get paid but I’d have had to pay for two nights of my hotel bill and that didn’t seem fiscally intelligent. And now, back to the dull and boring parts of my life once more… yeah, right!
Welcome to the first post of 2014. I know it’s going to seem strange having the first post come one day after the last post of 2013, and yet I felt I had to create this particular article because, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with blogging or writing or SEO or anything else regarding social media, it does have a little bit to do with the article I wrote about focus some days ago. Truthfully this is a story, a true story that probably took less than 10 minutes of my life, but I thought it was a tale worth telling because you either identify with me, laugh at me, or sit there scratching your head wondering why the heck I wrote it to begin with. With that as the preamble let’s begin.
As I was leaving Barnes & Noble, where I had gone to buy the DVD of Despicable Me 2, I decided that I wanted some fudge. I wanted fudge because the last video I watched before I left home was one of my online friends Tomeka Haywood making some homemade fudge. Part of me thought about trying that, and another part of me said it would be better if I could just buy some.
One of the problems I have is that, oddly enough, where I live you can’t just find fudge anywhere. Sure, there are a couple of the large candy companies that have fudge, but in my mind that stuff never quite qualifies as fudge. If it was a Saturday I would go to what we call the Farmers Market around here, but it’s Wednesday, New Year’s Day. I decided to check out my favorite grocery store, Wegmans, to see if maybe they had some fudge.
Truth be told, I knew they wouldn’t have fudge because it’s not something they normally carry. However, somewhere in the recesses of my mind I thought that maybe because it was a holiday they would have some on hand. They didn’t, but it wasn’t going to be a wasted trip because I needed more soda anyway.
As I got close to the soda area, I noticed Rice Krispies were on sale, and I thought about making some rice krispy treats. I really love these things, and they’re very easy to make, but I usually don’t have enough discretion to know how to space them out over the course of a couple of days. As a matter of fact, if I start in the morning you can pretty much be sure they’re going to be gone by the end of the day. I decided to wait for a couple of minutes and go get the soda, walk around to see what else there might be, and if I found nothing else then I might go back and get it.
As I walked around, at some point I found myself near the cookies. I took a quick look and found that they had coconut chocolate chip cookies from Keebler. I don’t eat a lot of these cookies, but it sparked a memory in my mind of how much I used to always love making a big cup of hot chocolate, and then taking my bag of cookies and seeing how many of them I could dunk and eat in one sitting. I love the flavor drastically, and you can imagine the smell of the hot chocolate and coconut cookie together, and my mouth was salivating again.
Now I had a mental dilemma. I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I have sugar cravings, and they were very strong at this moment. I knew that I needed some time to think about things, so I went into the frozen section where they have a bench, sat down on the bench and started to think. I had planned on calling one of two people, neither one of which was my wife, but the deep recesses of my mind said that would be pretty stupid.
Why did this take so much thought? Because I knew that either direction I went was going to cause some grief to my body. There is no secret that I’m diabetic, but I’m thinking the load of sugar that either one of these would’ve pumped into my body would probably bother anyone my age, or within 20 years of my age. Yet my mind didn’t really care for a while. And often, when I shop by myself, I just grabbed the first thing that comes to my mind, come home and eat it, and then feel both guilty and occasionally sick. I’m not one of those people who only eats two or three cookies and then puts it away, I eat as many as I want to until my body says please stop.
My wife thinks I’m crazy and that this shouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m pretty much of the opinion that anybody who goes through any kind of addiction and is trying not to do something probably goes through the same process, only probably not as long as I did. Knowing that one of the focus points for this year is to be more cautious with my health, I thought through the ramifications of the decision I was trying to make against what I felt was my immediate need for satisfaction. It sounds funny comparing suites to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, but in my mind the decision I made was going to be very important.
The funny thing about time, when you have enough so that you can think things through quite often you will end up making a better decision than you were ready to make. I decided that I did not want to spend New Year’s Day feeling sick, so I immediately through out the coconut chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate idea. I then decided that even though I would be starting the treats later than early morning, the process of making them and then eating them while having to clean more things in the kitchen wasn’t quite as appealing as it had initially been. So, instead of either one of those two things, I decided to buy a bag of M&M’s. True, it’s still chocolate, but it doesn’t come close to the hurt I would put on myself with the other two options, and I’m not one to sit and eat an entire bag of that in one sitting.
After I made my decision, my mind felt light and free. I went to the candy section and picked up the bag of M&Ms I wanted, this time the milk chocolate instead of the peanut butter. As I go to put it in my basket, my eyes got wide as I realized that I had picked up a 6 inch chocolate fudge cake and put it in my basket at some point; I wonder when the heck I did that? 😀 This means I would’ve had a lot of dessert and felt like I had to eat it all before I left town again on Sunday.
Here’s the rub. I’m of the opinion that if one of my goals wasn’t focus for 2014, as well as a goal of trying to be healthier, I would have bought one of those things without a moment’s notice, including the cake, brought it home and ate it without a second thought until I didn’t feel well. That wouldn’t have brought me any type of benefit, although my taste buds would’ve probably loved me.
The decisions we make and the reasons behind the decisions we make can be interesting. In a way, I could make this a topic about blogging because so many people start blogging without thinking all that much about what their intentions are for their blog. Heck, I certainly did it with this blog back in 2007. And our buddy Jeevan is starting his new blog today called Daring Blogger, and he seems focused on what his goals are as he tells us in the first post which I just linked to.
I hope you enjoyed this story, and in a weird way hope you learned something from it, not about me but about yourselves. One of the best things about stories is that often we can see something of ourselves in a story, and stories are sometimes enough to help us decide to make even the smallest of changes.
To close this post I’m going to add a video below that I created talking about how little changes can bring great growth in so many ways; I didn’t know I was going to do this, but I think it’s a good time to unveil it here on the blog. To everyone, let’s have a great 2014, and I hope to have good stuff for you throughout the year.
As this post goes live, it highlights the date and time that my dad passed away 11 years ago, on Father’s Day of all things. I’ve written about it over the years, saying similar and dissimilar things. However, I’ve never talked about it out loud, never done a video before, and, well, there’s something new I added that, in retrospect, puts a very interesting light on the day that I hadn’t thought about before until I did the video.
No one wants to ever lose a close relative, whether it’s father, mother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt or grandparent. No one ever wants to lose a close friend. For that matter, we’re always shocked when we hear of certain other people passing away. As this court case goes in it makes me keep reliving the day when I heard that Michael Jackson had passed.
I’ve written before about the connection between Michael Jackson and my dad and my life. The say my dad went to Vietnam was the same day I saw the Jackson Five on TV for the first time. Over the years it seemed like whenever I needed a boost or something else significant was going on in my life, it was either my dad or a song featuring Michael Jackson that came to the fore.
In this instance though, it was something else that happened, two things in fact, that seems to make the day and that time period something much different as I took this look back on what was indeed the worst weekend of my life. As you’ve seen these bits and pieces of what I’m saying before I post the video below, you’ll see links to other articles I’ve written about my dad and Father’s Day, and I hope you get the opportunity to check them out. In the meantime, as I share the video below, I wish everyone who is a father a happy day with your kids, and to those with or without fathers I hope your day is full of peace and love as well.
I had planned on putting out a post on Monday morning, then decided to put it out on Monday afternoon, and then put it off when I heard about the bombing in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. For Americans it’s hard to conceive of someone deciding to do something like this on a very patriotic day at an event where people from all around the world either competed for a prize or just wanted to be with many others who enjoyed running as much as they did. I’ll admit that I can’t conceive of watching a marathon in person or even on TV but there were literally over 100,000 people around there at one time watching it, many more stopping by after the Red Sox game.
Whenever I hear of things like this, if I haven’t written something earlier to post automatically, it makes me pause and think about what’s happened, and I try to reflect on what it means to everyone, not just the people who got hurt or killed. It’s proof that this is a dangerous world, that we never know what’s coming or when, and that we should work on finding ways to find joy in the world, improve ourselves and live life to the fullest without taking chances with our lives.
And yet, in a short period of time, people with agendas were starting to take over the airwaves and social media. I read about guns; I read advertising pitches; I read people saying things about the U.S. deserving what it got or being spoiled because we expected others to care about our problems when they have lives of their own. Frankly it all irritated me and reminded me of why I’d stopped watching the news and why I block a lot of things I see on Facebook.
Anyway, it prompted me to create the video which you see below; yes, I had to rant. I’m going to be making a lot more videos, and this is the first of 5 consecutive days of videos on my YouTube channel, not all of which will show up on the blog. Just thought I’d mention that; and now, my rant: