ANOTHER MISERABLE YEAR

Let’s talk about funny. Like who makes us laugh. Do happy people make us laugh? Are comedians people whose lives are running smoothly, easily?

No way!

Funny people have problems. The funniest people are often depressed. Yet somehow, they can see a sparkle amidst the darkness.

Laughter is not so much a celebration of good times as a shield against despair. Humor is borne of irony, the realization that life is not merely imperfect, but frequently dreadful. So we turn our disasters into laughter because the alternative is endless weeping and wailing.

mistakesdemotivator
Another demotivational poster from one of my favorite sites, Despair.com.

The first time my world crashed and burned, I walked away from a dead marriage, gave everything to my ex and moved to another country. The joke was on me. I promptly married a guy so much worse I get dizzy thinking about it 30 years later. When that fell apart — though it lasted longer than it should have because I wouldn’t admit what a horrible mistake I’d made — I staggered — bloody, dazed and penniless back to the US.

When I finally stopped feeling like I’d gone through a wood chipper, I married Garry which I should done in the first place, except he hadn’t asked. Minor detail.

All that seemingly pointless pain and suffering was not for nothing. Stories of hideous mistakes and horrendous outcomes are the stuff of terrific after-dinner conversation. A few drinks can transform them into hilarity. Misery fuels humor. It’s a fact. Calamities, crises and disasters are high comedy.

Funny movies are not about people having fun. They’re about people in trouble, with everything going wrong, lives in ruins. The difference between a comedy and a tragedy is the ending. Tragedies usually end with a pile of corpses; comedies (usually) don’t. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of timing and style.

Funny stories weren’t funny when they happened. Now they’re funny. After I was told I had cancer in not one, but both breasts (they were having a two-for-one special at the Dana-Farber), I had them removed and replaced by silicon implants, but stopped short of adding fake nipples. Previous surgeries having left me with no naval, I now present myself as a space alien. You don’t believe me? It’s true.

I have a tee-shirt that say “Yes, they are FAKE. My real ones tried to kill me.” It’s a killer at parties and is high point of my cancer experience.

Fake breasts

When life goes to hell in the proverbial handbasket, folks who were sort of friends eye you with suspicion. Is bad luck contagious?. But there’s also a light whiff of satisfaction. They wouldn’t be rude enough to say so, but they’re overjoyed it happened to you, not them. Sorry about your life, really (furtive, smug smirk).

If you are a writer, out of the wreckage will come a book or at least a great post for your blog. See? It wasn’t for nothing!

Our personal traumas are collateral damage in a Darwinian battle of the fittest to survive. No one gets through life unscathed. Mindful of whatever tragedy lurks just over your personal horizon, why not prepare some clever repartee? You can give it a test drive at the next get together with your more successful pals. It will give you something to look forward to. And, as a bonus, you will really appreciate the irony when your friends’ lives go to pieces later on. You’ll be able to give them great advice on how to survive their personal Apocalypse! Cool!

So no matter how horrible things are right now, don’t worry. You will stop bleeding and screaming. Eventually. Black depression will ebb. You won’t always feel you can’t breathe. That crushing weight on your chest will be replaced by a permanent sense of panic and mild hysteria you will call “normal.”

Start laughing right this minute.  No tears allowed. Tragedy is hilarious. Heaven may be droll, but Hell?  Everyone is yukking it up down there.  Remember, it’s the first month of a new year. A fresh slate.  Anything could — and probably will — happen.

BLAST FROM THE PAST -The Best Medicine

Life in shreds? Out of work? Evicted? Hiding from the repo guys? Other half dumped you? Bank threatening to foreclose? Don’t take it personally. It’s just  a joke. No, really. Disaster is life’s cute and funny way of pointing out how little control you have over your fate. Don’t cry. No one likes a cry-baby. Smile! That’s it! Go on, now, no suffering allowed. This personal disaster is your cue to laugh. No one wants to hear your sad story … unless you turn it into a funny story! Then everyone wants to listen.

The first time my world went to pieces, I walked away from a dead marriage, gave everything to my ex and moved to another country. The joke was on me. I promptly married a guy so much worse I get dizzy thinking about it 30 years later. When that fell apart (though it lasted longer than it ought because I wouldn’t admit what a horrible mistake I’d made), I staggered — bloody, dazed and penniless — back to the USA. When I stopped feeling as if I’d gone through a wood chipper, I married Garry which I should done in the first place, except he hadn’t asked. Minor detail.

All that seemingly pointless pain and suffering was not for nothing. Stories of hideous mistakes and horrendous outcomes are the stuff of terrific after-dinner conversation. A few drinks can transform them into hilarity. Misery fuels humor. It’s a fact. Misery, mistakes, and disasters are high comedy. Funny movies are not about people having fun. They’re about people in trouble, with everything going wrong, lives in ruins. The difference between a comedy and a tragedy is the ending. Tragedies usually end with a pile of corpses; comedies (usually) don’t. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of timing and style.

Funny stories weren’t funny when they happened. Now, well, yeah, they’re funny. After I was told I had cancer in not one, but both breasts (they were having a two-for-one special at the Dana-Farber), I had them removed and replaced by silicon implants, but stopped short of adding fake nipples. Previous surgeries having left me with no naval, I now present myself as a space alien. You don’t believe me? It’s true.

And about those fake tits: I own tee shirts that say “Yes, they are FAKE. My real ones tried to kill me.” I’m wearing one right now. It’s a killer at parties and is the high point of my cancer experience.

Fake breasts

When life goes to Hell in the proverbial handbasket, a lot of folks who were sort of friends eye you with suspicion (is bad luck contagious?), but also with a subtle hint, a light whiff, of profound satisfaction. They wouldn’t be rude enough to say so, but they are overjoyed that it happened to you, not them. Sorry about your life, really. (Furtive, slightly smug grin.)

If you are a writer, out of the wreckage will come a book or at the very least, a Freshly Pressed badge from WordPress. Yay! See? It wasn’t for nothing!

Our personal traumas are collateral damage in a Darwinian battle of the fittest to survive. No one gets through unscathed. So mindful of whatever tragedy lurks just over your personal horizon, why not prepare some clever repartee? You can give it a test drive at the next get together with your more successful pals. It will give you something to look forward to. And, as a bonus, you will really appreciate the irony when your friends’ lives go to pieces later on. You’ll be able to give them great advice on how to survive their personal Apocalypse! Cool!

So no matter how horrible things are right now, don’t worry. You will stop bleeding and screaming. Eventually. Black depression will ebb. You won’t always feel you can’t breathe. That crushing weight on your chest will be replaced by a permanent sense of panic and mild hysteria you will call “normal.”

Start laughing right this minute.  No tears allowed. Tragedy is hilarious. Heaven may be droll, but Hell?  Everyone is yukking it up down there. Watch out for the flames (OUCH).

Daily Prompt: Leave em’ laughing!

There’s no viable alternative to laughter. Drugs, booze, even chocolate … all are nothing in the face of the black comedy of our lives. True there is something to be said for laughing while drinking and eating chocolate, but not all of us can treat our bodies that way and live to tell the tale, so we have to settle for humor.

VeganWitches

When our lives are in shambles, when all around us is falling apart, the brave tell jokes. When the laughter dies down, we take a deep breath, tell another one … and laugh some more. The more horrific the situation, the more devastating the problems, the more catastrophic the impending calamity, the funnier it is. We do not laugh at tragedy.  We laugh at life. We laugh at ourselves.

Laughter is not about happy times. Jokes are full of pain and sorrow. They are the defense we’ve been given to push back the darkness and despair. Use it freely. It’s the best medication on earth.

The difference between tragedy and comedy is how you look at it. Laughter is the universal cure for the griefs of life.

What can you do? If the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed the headlight of an oncoming train? Heard any good ones lately?

Laughing at the craziness, insanity, ludicrousness, the utter absurdity of my life — and the demented world in which I live it — is my first line of defense against despair. Take away laughter, strip away my sense of humor and I’m a goner.

I hope I’ve left you laughing!

Watch Out for the Pod People!

Everything and everybody changes. Most of my family and friends have changed relatively gradually over the years. Recently a couple of people I’ve known for a long time have changed suddenly and dramatically. Overnight, they became dry and humorless.

It appears they had a humorectomy. While they slept, their sense of humor was removed. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but it’s deeply disturbing. I think it’s possible they have been replaced by pods, like the  “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

I could not survive if I did not see how ridiculous my life is. If the absurdity of it didn’t make me laugh, I would do nothing buy cry and bewail my state. Laughter heals me. It’s better than sex. Better than yoga, meditation, medication, or street drugs. It’s free, unrestricted by laws, available to anyone who is not yet dead and is acceptable behavior under almost all religious systems.

Many friends are going through rough times. Their problems vary, but the results are the same. Stress, anguish, fear, worry, insomnia. You worry, try to keep it together until you’re ready to explode.

What can you do? If the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed the headlight of an oncoming train, I say: “Buckle up and let your hair blow in the wind. It’s going to be a Hell of a ride.”

Laughing at the craziness, insanity, ludicrousness, the utter absurdity of my life — and the demented world in which I live it — is my first line of defense against despair. Take away laughter, strip away my sense of humor and I’m a goner.

At our wedding — 22 years ago — my cousin and I danced the hora. What makes the dance so memorable  – other than discovering that she was in great shape and I wasn’t — was feeling like I was going to spin out of control.  That feeling of being grabbed by something stronger than me and being twirled and spun with no ability to control what happens has become an allegory for life.

I laugh any time I can, at anything that strikes me as even a little bit funny. It helps me remember why I bother to keep living.

My friends make me laugh. I make then laugh. When our lives are in tatters and everything around us is collapsing, we laugh. Then, we take a deep breath, and laugh some more. The more awful the situation, the more dreadful and intractable the problems, the funnier it is. We are not laughing at tragedy … we are laughing at life.

The difference between tragedy and comedy is how you look at it. Laugher is the universal cure for griefs of life.

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Best Medicine – Laugh, Clown

Life in shreds? Out of work? Evicted? Hiding from the repo guys? Other half dumped you? Bank threatening to foreclose? Don’t take it personally. It’s just  a joke. No, really. Disaster is life’s cute and funny way of pointing out how little control you have over your fate. Don’t cry. No one likes a cry-baby. Smile! That’s it! Go on, now, no suffering allowed. This personal disaster is your cue to laugh. No one wants to hear your sad story … unless you turn it into a funny story! Then everyone wants to listen.

The first time my world went to pieces, I walked away from a dead marriage, gave everything to my ex and moved to another country. The joke was on me. I promptly married a guy so much worse I get dizzy thinking about it 30 years later. When that fell apart (though it lasted longer than it ought because I wouldn’t admit what a horrible mistake I’d made), I staggered — bloody, dazed and penniless — back to the USA. When I stopped feeling as if I’d gone through a wood chipper, I married Garry which I should done in the first place, except he hadn’t asked. Minor detail.

All that seemingly pointless pain and suffering was not for nothing. Stories of hideous mistakes and horrendous outcomes are the stuff of terrific after-dinner conversation. A few drinks can transform them into hilarity. Misery fuels humor. It’s a fact. Misery, mistakes, and disasters are high comedy. Funny movies are not about people having fun. They’re about people in trouble, with everything going wrong, lives in ruins. The difference between a comedy and a tragedy is the ending. Tragedies usually end with a pile of corpses; comedies (usually) don’t. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of timing and style.

Funny stories weren’t funny when they happened. Now, well, yeah, they’re funny. After I was told I had cancer in not one, but both breasts (they were having a two-for-one special at the Dana-Farber), I had them removed and replaced by silicon implants, but stopped short of adding fake nipples. Previous surgeries having left me with no naval, I now present myself as a space alien. You don’t believe me? It’s true.

And about those fake tits: I own tee shirts that say “Yes, they are FAKE. My real ones tried to kill me.” I’m wearing one right now. It’s a killer at parties and is the high point of my cancer experience.

Fake breasts

When life goes to Hell in the proverbial handbasket, a lot of folks that were sort of friends eye you with suspicion (is bad luck contagious?), but also with a subtle hint, a light whiff, of profound satisfaction. They wouldn’t be rude enough to say so, but they are overjoyed that it happened to you, not them. Sorry about your life, really. (Furtive, slightly smug grin.)

If you are a writer, out of the wreckage will come a book or at the very least, a Freshly Pressed badge from WordPress. Yay! See? It wasn’t for nothing!

Our personal traumas are collateral damage in a Darwinian battle of the fittest to survive. No one gets through unscathed. So mindful of whatever tragedy lurks just over your personal horizon, why not prepare some clever repartee? You can give it a test drive at the next get together with your more successful pals. It will give you something to look forward to. And, as a bonus, you will really appreciate the irony when your friends’ lives go to pieces later on. You’ll be able to give them great advice on how to survive their personal Apocalypse! Cool!

So no matter how horrible things are right now, don’t worry. You will stop bleeding and screaming. Eventually. Black depression will ebb. You won’t always feel you can’t breathe. That crushing weight on your chest will be replaced by a permanent sense of panic and mild hysteria you will call “normal.”

Start laughing right this minute.  No tears allowed. Tragedy is hilarious. Heaven may be droll, but Hell?  Everyone is yukking it up down there. Watch out for the flame (oops).

A Twofer for Moi! Word Press Family Member (In need of washing) Plus The Sunshine Award

A huge thank you goes to Draliman on Life who obviously thinks better of me than I deserve. One award is a big deal, but a twofer … and two I’ve never received before. Thus he honors me while depriving me of bloggers to whom I might pass these awards. I mean, there oughtta be a law, y’know?

I was going to defer doing this until I next come up for air. But I started counting on my fingers (consider it a fleshy abacus with limited functionality, but infinite availability) and realized it might easily be the end of August or even September before I find a space in time. I might as well just do it.

I’ve been broadening my reading, writing, reviewing, picture-taking and enjoying the results immensely, but collapsing under the weight of committment to so many deadlines. They don’t call them deadlines for nuffin’! Yoicks. Why do I do this to me? Truly I am my own worst enemy. I’ve been enthusiastically saying YES my whole life. So you’d think I’d have learned something. Apparently not so much. Old Dogs (or Bitches, in my case) can learn new things, but are not so good at unlearning old bad habits. Woof.

Whining time is officially over.

Sunshine AwardNK-1

On to the accepting portion of the program. The two awards with which I’ve been honored are the Sunshine Award — which I assume has to do with spreading light and joy throughout cyberspace. I’m not sure I’m such a ray of sunshine, but I take pretty pictures and say something fun now and again. Maybe that’s what counts. Note I’ve created a shiny new badge ’cause the old one was getting a bit droopy.

The rules for the Sunshine Award require me to answer a few questions. These are not mind bending quizzie things, so I think I can get through them unscathed. And … I can do it with pictures! Yay! Yah? I’ve taken a few liberties because some of the questions were meaningless to me, so I didn’t include them. You’re welcome to add anything you want, however.

Favourite colour?75-RainbowNK-2

Favourite animal?

Bonnie Resting

Big Guy

cropped-75-pasturenk-363.jpg

Favourite number?

FortyTwo

Favourite non-alcoholic drink?

Mr. Coffee

My passion?

Our books say a lot about us ... maybe too much.

Cameras

Cameras

Prefer getting or giving presents?

Be sure to close the barn door on your way out
Favourite days of the week?

Mayan calendar
Favourite flower?

summer flowers

The second award is the WordPress Family award. I am definitely a part of this family, but apparently Mom and Dad at WordPress don’t approve of me. I’m the kid (every family has one) about whom they speak in whispers behind closed doors. With 80,000 hits, more than 350 followers plus well over 1000 posts, I have never written or posted a single thing worthy of Freshly Pressed.

cropped-75-sunshinegoldhp-1.jpg

I think I’ll survive the slight though I remain forever un-fresh, un-pressed and unheralded. I embrace my cyber family and joyfully contribute to daily prompts in photography and writing, though I’m stale as old coffee. Ah, but when I think of all my pals on the humongous cyber blogsite in the sky, my virtual sun shines again!

WordPress Family Award

YOU guys, you out there …. you’ve all been so kind and so welcoming. You’ve changed my world in all the good ways worlds want changing. It makes the effort a joy rather than a burden, gives me a focus for my days (and my nights, as often as not).

Here are the rules for the WordPress Family award:

1. Display the award logo on your blog. Done!

2. Link back to the person who nominated you. Done again!

3. I will nominate 10 others who I think deserve notice. That’s 10 combined for both awards, right? Because 20 is over the top. I want to point out if we keep requiring every recipient to pass it on to 10 or more bloggers, every blogger will have received every award many times over. This is effectively a pyramid scheme, a chain letter. It can’t keep expanding forever.

Many of the people to whom I want to give awards have just gotten them, from me or someone else. I have a suspicion they won’t consider another an honor. More a lot of work for which they don’t have time. Maybe it’s time to consider making sensible modifications to these awards. ALL the awards. Before no one wants them.

4. I will advise my 10 awardees of that I have awarded them. But it’s going to take a while.

5. This is it. The big moment. Ten — that’s 10 — friends who blog. I’m spreading love. I got it. A minyan.

All of you, heads up! You, at the computer. Don’t look around, I’m talking to you.

I’m giving you two awards. You may choose to ignore them, acknowledge them or pass them along to whoever you feel would genuinely like to receive them. And deserves them.

To my friends who have gotten every single award I’ve gotten, often at the same time — I’m not going to name you again. I love you as much as ever, but I understand you’ve got lives and obligations. Maybe even a family and a job. If you genuinely want more awards, let me know because I’m not sure how many of you see this as an honor versus how many wish I’d take my awards and disappear. I love you, I really do, but I don’t wish to burden you.

The Bookshelf of Emily

The IPC

Lasers, Monsters, and Barbarians, Oh My!

Films and Things

My Beautiful Things

Fish of Gold

The Queen Creative

Iam Who Iam

Catnip of Life

Sunday Night Blog

- – -

Marilyn’s Dirty Dozen

John Howell’s “Rule is as Rule Does” got me thinking about life and how we invent rules as we go. I make rules for myself and I follow them. But I hate rules, so the only rules I follow are mine, all born of hard lessons.

What rules? I’m glad you asked.

I’ve had a life in which the light at the end of the tunnel was always the headlight of an oncoming train. At one point, I got so stressed I could barely breathe. Something had to give if I was going to survive. I had to change. I had enough issues without stressing myself to death.

I began by getting a tattoo, a symbol of life. It was an acknowledgement of change, an acceptance of survival and the possibility I might have to do it again. The tattoo is a large phoenix in full flaming color. It’s one-of-a-kind, designed for me. I had it put toward the back of my left calf. I didn’t realize it was going to be quite so big, but I’ve come to like it. I was 57 when I got my only piece of body art. Tattoos are more permanent than most marriages, so if you’re going to get one, make it something you won’t find embarrassing later in life. Spelling and punctuation count. A typo in a tattoo is forever.

My left leg

It is difficult to shoot a picture of the lower back of ones left leg. Remember: Blue jeans leave ridges. If you want a picture of a your own body or some part of it, getting someone else to take the picture is better. Both terriers were really excited when I took off my jeans and socks. I’m pretty sure they thought it was a game. Bonnie figured she’d score a pair of socks but I outwitted her and put them up on the desk. Hah! Asking Garry to take the picture seemed weird and required too much explanation. So I snapped it myself. Awkwardly.

I never wrote my rules before, so this has been an interesting exercise. I don’t expect you to follow my rules, but they are pretty good ones. They grew out of decades of doing everything wrong, worrying myself into ulcers, simmering with anger at injustice, and getting frantic over every ecological or political crisis.

Marilyn’s Dirty Dozen

  1. Laugh often. Have friends who laugh with you.
  2. If you can’t fix it, don’t brood about it.
  3. Have pets. Cats, dogs, chickens, ferrets, bunnies, reptiles, bats or birds. Anything but spiders. I don’t like spiders.
  4. Don’t argue with stupid people.
  5. When you know you’re wrong, give up and apologize.
  6. Worrying is a waste of time. Whatever you are worried about, something else will happen.
  7. Staying angry at someone who wronged you hurts you, not them. They aren’t losing sleep over you. Forget it. Move on.
  8. Be a gracious winner. People may sympathize with a sore loser, but everyone hates a gloating winner.
  9. The path less traveled is often a dead-end. Before going down unmapped roads, make sure you can make u-turns in tight spaces.
  10. When you have a choice, do the right thing. When you have no good choices, do the best you can. If you have no choice, run for your life.
  11. Brutal honesty is inevitably more brutal than honest. Be kind.
  12. If you’re an artist, do your thing. Talking about it doesn’t count.

Live your life. You are unique. Celebrate!

- – -

Daily Prompt: Cringe-Worthy – Funny you should ask!

As long as I can remember, I have hated watching people make fools of themselves. I was probably no more than 6 when I found myself running from the room at one of many episodes of “Lucy” in which she does something humiliating.

Humiliation

Rather than finding it funny, I find myself identifying with the embarrassment. I can’t help but think how awful I would feel if it were me. Humiliation is a horrible feeling, often impossible to forget no matter how many years pass.

Humor that depends on embarrassing or making fun of people does not make me laugh. I love witty dialogue, literary allusion, puns. I love parody and all kinds of cleverness, but with the exception of villainous bad guys who more than deserve whatever they get, I never want to see anyone embarrassed. I hate cruelty, mental or physical and cannot watch it, even when I know it’s fake.

Not surprisingly, I was one of the kids who got teased and bullied. Way too sensitive. It’s 60 years later; I’m still too sensitive.

The Best Moment Award – Honored, Humble and Grateful!

A huge thank you goes to Mike at Mikes Film Talk, who thinks more of me than I think of me. By giving me this award, he has honored me while simultaneously depriving me of someone on whom I would have liked to bestow this award. Mike certainly deserves it. He has a great site that is only partly film-centric. Mike is a lot more than a film critic. He is a literary omnivore, writing everything from personal history and fiction, to book and movie reviews. And such excellent writing it is. Please make sure to visit him. You’ll be glad you did.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the folks over at Moment Matters for originating this unique award. They’ve also created a fine logo for recipients to display on their walls. There are words and music to accompany it. I’m sorry I don’t have the music, but following are the words and they’re lovely:

best-moment-award

Awarding the people who live in the moment,
The noble who write and capture the best in life,
The bold who reminded us what really mattered -
Savoring the experience of quality time.

Pretty nice! As with most awards in the WordPress Blogging community, there are a few rules. Simple guidelines. Not onerous, but specific. Since this is my first encounter with this award, here they are. They are simple:

Rules:

  1. You can reuse this post, altered to reflect your nominees and including your acceptance speech. You can reuse as much of this post as makes sense for you.
  2. Your can write your speech or put it on video.
  3. Winners have the privilege of awarding  The Best Moment Award to chosen recipients. Your post should contain the individuals and blogs you are nominating.
  4. There is no specific requirement for number of new recipients.
  5. Inform your winners you’ve chosen them.
  6. As a courtesy, please link back to whoever gave you the award.

Resources:

I’ve included these since they are a legacy from Mike’s post and provides guidelines if you need help:

  • What makes a good acceptance speech?
    • Gratitude. Thank the people who helped you along the way
    • Humor. Keep us entertained and smiling
    • Inspiration. Make your story touch our lives
  • Get an idea from the great acceptance speeches, compiled in MomentMatters.com/Speech
  • Display the award’s badge on your blog/website, downloadable in MomentMatters.com/Award


Acceptance Speech:

I’m genuinely touched by this award. Touched and grateful. Receiving appreciation from ones peers is a special kind of recognition. It means more than I can easily express.

Living in the moment has become a way of life. After finally admitting I have no control over the future, I relaxed, stopped trying to push the river, and began to enjoy whatever came, even stuff I would have considered “bad news” in my misspent youth. I’m a lot happier since I stopped trying to force life to go my way. Living in the moment and going with the flow takes a whole lot less effort than fighting the current. Whatever chills and thrills come with the ride, I’m ready. Remarkably, I keep discovering it’s fun. Live and learn. I wish I’d learned a little earlier!

This moment — this exact moment in time — IS your life! This is the day you’ve been waiting for. It will never come again. Enjoy it.

I am delighted to accept The Best Moment Award originated by MomentMatters.comanother site definitely worth checking out.

I never stop being awestruck when I realize I have influenced someone in a positive way, maybe even made a difference in one or more lives in this mad, mad world. Again, thank you Mike!

Blogging has become very important to me. I have always been a writer, but until I started blogging, I never wrote about personal things. As a professional, I wrote what I was paid to write. Now, I write from my head and my heart. It has been life changing. Everything inspires me. Other bloggers — especially Mike — have influenced me in more ways than I can list. But in the end, all of  life is inspiration.

To all of my friends and followers, thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to share mine. The blogging community has given me a sense of purpose, participation, comradeship and a much broader life-view than I ever had before. There’s a lot of ugly stuff going on everywhere. Scary stuff, unfair, wrong, dangerous, evil. We haven’t the power fix everything, but we have some influence as individuals and collectively. We can help each other through difficult times, rejoice with each other over triumphs (they are few enough), and maybe give something  back to our human community.

Everything we share has value. Knowledge, memories, pictures that express beauty or expose evil. Stories we write, books we read and recommend. Movies we see and share. Humor that banishes sadness. It’s not just big ideas that matter. Small things resonate and change lives too. Never think the ordinary parts of life are not worth exploring. They may be the most important of all.

Anything we do to make someone feel good, help them think in a different direction, see the world in a new way, is a deed well done. By giving of ourselves, we continue to grow the chain of good will around the world. If blogging has any ultimate purpose, that’s it.

I have saved every “like” I’ve ever gotten and will continue to do so until my email explodes. I am so glad you like me . What a miracle this virtual community is to me. You touch me. I love reading your comments, love answering them. Love writing them, too because I want you to know I appreciate your work. That people follow me makes me glow in the dark. No really, it does. It saves a lot of electricity!

For all of you who I follow, each of you enriches me. Your views about the world, your pictures of it, your understanding and your humor brighten my days, keep my mind alive and make my world exciting.

Like Mike, I have felt the wings of the dark angel brush me. Life is infinitely precious with all of its perils and problems.

Thank you all for making my world a better place to live, and thank you Mike for appreciating the best of me.

The winners for the Best Moment Award are:

I have had to think hard about this one because I can’t give it back to Mike, who I would have given it to. Like Mike, I’m going to limit this to people who really actually truly have influenced me and changed me way of thinking, writing, looking at reality or unreality, as you would have it.

  • For Sharla at Catnip of Life – She’s having a rough patch and I know she’s not really online right now, but eventually when her life is less fraught, she’ll be back and this award, so well-deserved, will be waiting for her. With all the wretched difficulties going on in her world, she is endlessly kind, caring, and good. Deep to the bone, a good person. You don’t meet so many of them!
  • For Rarasaur who has a name, but I can never find it when I need it. She shares my somewhat addled and bizarre view of life, has overcome much and has much to overcome. With sense of humor intact and flags flying, she’s challenged me to match concept and vision in new ways.  and I’ve been having a great deal of fun with her various blogging challenges that force me to put pictures and concepts together and make them coherent. Better yet, she makes me laugh.
  • To Hot Rod Cowgirl whose photo essays make me yearn for a life I’ve never had and has become something of an icon and a living hope for me … to be in the mountains surrounded by nature and horses and sunsets is a dream and it makes me glad that someone is really living it.
  • To Tyson at Head In a Vice. It’s not about movies, though he writes great reviews — mostly about movies I’m unlikely to watch. It’s how he brings people together. Starting with a fondness for horror movies, he has created a community of inclusion, involving all kinds of people in his projects and always having something kind to say about everyone, no matter how strange their choices or taste. He has worked hard and deserves recognition.

To everyone else, I know you and appreciate you. I’m trying to follow the leader in making this award specific to people who, as they live in their moment and in sharing them, have made their moments mine.

I apologise in advance to anyone who may feel slighted. Most of you have gotten awards from me in the past and will again in the future. This one is specific; I hope I’ve chosen well. There are a few of you to whom I don’t give awards because you don’t want them. But I appreciate you anyhow! I have many wonderful followers and I don’t like having to choose. But sometimes — and this is one of those time — that’s the way it is.

My awardees are a varied bunch, but each is great in his/her own way.

The last part of this Award process is the instruction to share this with your followers and to tweet your “success” with the hash tagged  #MomentMatters. And as soon as I figure out how to do that, I will!

Congratulations to all my winners and I want you to know that you have touched me.

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Laugh In – When Television Was Really Funny!

I blew in my husband’s ear and whispered: “Now, will you follow me anywhere?” He laughed. Then we realized that we couldn’t remember where that line came from.

Turned out it was from “Laugh In.”

Back when this show was on the air, we knew how to laugh. The Pod People hadn’t yet come to steal our sense of humor and turn us into sour, bad-tempered drones.

It was a different time and psychically, in a galaxy far, far away. We had problems. Nixon and the war in Vietnam for starters. That was no picnic. But we found ways to enjoy our world, to have good times. The “era” didn’t last long … just a little bit of time but we had fun.

We guffawed. We giggled. We snickered and chortled. We ate food full of fat and sugar and watched TV on sets that barely got pictures you could see, but we were free and young. When we weren’t working, it was okay to let our hair down, relax, and play.

These days, it seems we have forgotten how to play.

The time is not merely here. It’s overdue. We need to remember things we used to know, to play and laugh. Maybe if we could spend more time laughing, we’d spend less time hating.

With the economy in tatters, our politics polarized beyond recognition, with unemployment out of sight and in a world gone mad with terrorists and war — more than ever, we need to laugh.

By the way, how did they know that 1989 would be when the Berlin Wall would come down? Eerie!

And how did they imagine Reagan would be president? Apparently, they did, but no one else I knew seemed to have considered the possibility.

Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to May 14, 1973 on the NBC network. Look how the world has changed.

Back then, amidst all our problems we believed the world could be changed for the better. Change it did … but is it better?

And finally … look how much NBC has changed!!

Have a laugh … on me!

It started out as a joke. My husband sent me an email and I thought it was funny. It made me laugh, so without worrying much about the source, the deeper truths, the verifiable facts of the matter, taking into consideration only the fact that it made me laugh, I published it.

It is called “The Man who saw the future” and you can click on it and see the source for all of this brouhaha (google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

I have been accused — me, the queen of geeks — of being anti-technology! Imagine that. A woman who owns three computers, an electronic reader, a tablet, a smart phone, three external hard drives, 4 digital cameras and Lord knows how many accessories, has DVRs and Blu-ray players all over the house … I am anti-technology? If I am not pro technology, no one is.

My laptop. Today's super little machine.

My laptop. Today’s super little machine.

But I am not in favor of letting technology replace human relationships, of instant internet searches replacing research. I’m in favor of using technology intelligently and using intelligence and creativity to define what technology is good for, not the other way around. Tools are intended for use by human beings for human pursuits.

I’m a big believer in facts. I research. I check and double-check sources even though I know that it’s impossible to completely verify any fact or statistic because the act of interpreting information alters it. Most important, I learned that not everything is equally important. I spent decades documenting and verifying … but there are things that do not need to be verified, double-checked, or confirmed. Among these things are jokes.

Not only do I like to laugh, I need to laugh. What is more, I think we all need to laugh.

So, in pursuit of brightening my own and maybe your life too,  I publish jokes which I think are funny. I do not verify the source of the joke. I do not research the origin of laughter. If it’s funny, that’s good enough for me.

Lighten up America!

It’s been a rough period. Not everything is life or death. Laughter can be a bridge over troubled waters. Nothing else, not pill, drugs, or therapy can uplift you the way laughter can.

As far as trying to prove that technology is “bad,” I love my electronic gadgets and goodies. However, you need to recognize what these things are good for and not try to use them to replace the world. Too many people, especially young people, confuse the means and the end.kindle fire

They substitute electronic communications for relationships. I watch my granddaughter and her friends sitting next to each other on the sofa texting. How do you learn to have relationships if you can’t have a conversation? If you use computers to think for you, you never learn to think, especially considering that computers can’t think. They are processors. Very fast, efficient information processors. Anyone can use a computer to collect information by the bushel, but most people can’t connect two related ideas without a flow chart and maybe, not even then.

In a society where we have to warn people not to text while driving, something is seriously wrong.

Information is not knowledge. It’s human minds and creativity that change raw data into concepts, inventions, and ideas.

Blackberry TorchInformation is not communication. You can provide all the information in the world, but if you don’t disseminate it in a form that others can understand, it’s just noise. We collect information at the speed of light. The dumbing down of society is not because of the tools we have available, it’s because we’ve forgotten they are only tools.

We have fantastic resources that we waste on drivel. Technology has not improved our ability to communicate, relate, think, or create. If anything, our dependence on them has reduced these uniquely human qualities. Without a human context, all our fancy technology will remain trivial. Time wasters. Stupid toys.

THAT is the message beneath my humor. NOT that tools are bad, but that we misuse them, fail to use them to any worthwhile end. We have come so far … and remarkably, advanced very little. Our civilization is not one bit more advanced that it was in ancient days.

I suggest that instead of analyzing my jokes to see if they contain accurate attributions, that you analyze your life and see if it’s worth living. In the meantime, have a good laugh on me.