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Delayed


If you haven’t heard about Brittany Maynard, she is a woman (29) who moved to Oregon state so she could end her life since she has terminal brain cancer. She has decided to potentially delay her choice as you may have heard. Click Here.

While her story is heart breaking, it was even more heart breaking to hear she was going to give up and end her life. There is a lot of debate around right to die issues, but what always strikes this blogger is that so many important things happen for people on the way to dying if they have a terminal illness. Sure, life can be ugly at the end. Many people make horrific sacrifices to live a few more months, but there are so many important events and end of life experiences that are missed if one gives up – including the potential to find a cure for what ails you. And the potential to find closure on the way out the door.

Doctors don’t know everything, they are sometimes wrong and they sometimes make incorrect predictions – life is weird and people can survive in unexpected ways. This said, if you are religious at all, you know it’s wrong to end your life because of an illness which is what makes the end of life movement so wrong. Furthermore, there are many conundrums related to family if a person chooses to end their life for their benefit.

Just a thought. Life is to be lived, for every minute and every day until it ends.

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That Says It all


This meme is floating around the interwebz for the campaign season.

Yard SignsThis really true, phone calls help, strategy sessions help, volunteer gathering helps and talking to voters helps – but the yard signs? Those are just for fun.

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Halloween Season Movies


There are plenty of slasher flicks for Halloween, the most well known are “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street.” But those are slasher flicks which really don’t encompass the true nature of the holiday which is that it is a time of year when people become more aware of the frailty and weirdness of life. This blogger has always personally found that flicks which touch on the psychologically frightening and gruesome to be more interesting as well as more scary.

Here is the list for 2014:

1.) “Sleepy Hollow” – every year this blogger writes about the film because it is just a number 1 in this category of films. The film is a remake of the classic tale that stars Johnny Depp as a forensic detective (Ichabod Crane) who comes to a small town to solve a curious series of murders. This Tim Burton film is really one of his best and worth watching over and over for the beautiful gothic costumes, sets and the  layered plots. While Ichabod Crane unravels the murder mystery currently happening in the town, the audience watches Ichabod come a bit unraveled over the revelations of the murder mystery which shaped his childhood and ultimately led him to become a forensic detective. He can’t quite solve everything with hard cold facts, but he does solve the mystery of the murders.

2.) “Gone Girl” – yes this film starring Ben Affleck just came out and you will have to go see it or watch it next year. But this murder mystery which supposedly is anti-marriage was for this blogger an apt description of why and how some of the really wacky couples you know stay together (with some exaageration). Marriage is hard and this film is freakishly good at both reversing gender roles Ben Affleck’s character is more like the female role in the end and the wife (played by Rosamund Pike) will actually remind you more of the traditional male role in a bad marriage. You’ll have to see it to know why in the end. But that movie is the fastest 2.5 hours you will ever spend.

3.) “Scream” – Just the first one with Neve Campbell is worth your time. It is a delicious revisionist horror film and really takes a deep cut into the very deep social messages in traditional horror films.

4.) “Primary Colors” – this excellent and far too realistic film about life working on a campaign is just too perfect for a major election year. And the film is hilarious while serious and sad too.

5.) “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” – you know this film is actually scary on some levels. The story of an innocent couple that wanders into a mansion of wackiness to question their own identities and love before running away has captivated and delighted audiences for three decades. What happened in that mansion, stayed in that mansion.

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Friday Fry-Up


It’s the Friday Fry Up!

Canada

So, in Canada there was an attack on a member of parliament this week which is very upsetting but the attacker was apprehended by the Sergeant at Arms. Click Here.

A hero was born despite the tragedy.

Ebola

U.S. Senate candidate Ed Gillespie unveiled his Ebola response policies for the public to look over and for voters in Virginia. Click Here.

Also, a case of Ebola has been found in New York. A doctor who had been treating people for the virus, caught it. Click Here.

The White House Again?

It’s getting a little comical, another man jumped the White House fence this week but he didn’t get very far on the lawn. Click Here.

Halloween Music

This week on American Horror Story, Jessica Lange sang Lana Del Rey’s song “Gods and Monsters.” It’s always fun to play music that fits with Halloween and Lana Del Rey’s song perfectly fits the time of year. Now somebody tell me where the freaky Abraham Lincoln came from for the show. Click Here.

Have a good week-end!

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The Email Wars


Marketing Post –

In history, well political history, ok campaign political history someone is bound to look back on 2014 as the year of the crazy fundraising email. This blog post is not meant to call anyone out, but it’s been a weird season.

The campaigns are sending out calls for money, the RNC is asking for money and the NRSC is asking for money – that’s a lot of organizations sending out emails asking for money and some of the campaigns are sending out emails to districts that don’t include their voters.

But what made this time really interesting is that many of the campaigns were or have been sending out what can only be described as angry emails in some cases with a little bit of a threat. Ouch, that’s not a good way to regularly get money. Sure you might guilt someone into giving once but that strategy gets old real fast.

And then there are campaigns with flaws in the subject lines, or  an intentional lack of capitalization to see if those emails, those ones will stand out. And ya know what? They do stand out, people open them to see what the heck is going on, but the errors tend to turn people off of giving money – no one knows what to think of an error filled message.

Now, the emails with the intentionally stretched out text in the subject lines? Those, those might work. Might.

The problem is that as the hours tick down to election day, the body of people who gave money or give money is getting irritated by the barrage of emails. And no good is actually done by sending out emails with errors – now catchy subject lines?? Heeeeeeyyyyy.

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Honor Flight


You’ll have to excuse this blogger, she has been very busy and on vacation. So the blog went to the wayside for a week. That said, let’s get to the point of this post.

Honor Flight! It’s an excellent opportunity to volunteer and express gratitude to our soldiers who served in World War II. Occasionally, other veterans from the Korean War also come through with them. Basically, the organization gathers volunteers and creates schedules for the veterans to come into town, be greeted at the memorial and take a tour.

Florida Group Honor Flight

This was a Florida Honor Flight Group.

It’s a really moving experience. There is a lot of pageantry at the welcoming events with current military members in uniform. Some of the veterans are in wheel chairs, in fact many are –

Marines

This blogger had the opportunity to meet Bob Bunton from Richmond, VA this past week-end. He was an infantryman with “The Liberators” unfortunately he was taken at “the Battle of the Bulge” by the Germans and placed in a war camp for four months. His own unit freed him and he returned home to write the book “After War.” Mr. Bunton was especially spry and fit considering his experiences and age. He actually danced with one of the 1940’s style dancers at the memorial that day.

Bob Bunton Dancing - Best   Bob Bunton DancingMr. Bunton is the man in green in each picture. It was a lovely day.

There are a lot of moving experiences in addition to greeting the veterans and getting to know them, for example this group lined up in front of the memorial with pictures of themselves as young soldiers. It was a solemn moment.

Soldiers with pictures

Honor Flight Group with pictures of themselves as young soldiers.

Honor Flight is an easy volunteer opportunity and this blogger highly recommends it, you can get involved by going to the Honor Flight website.

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The Frustration of Generation Y


Culture Post –

For today’s post this blogger would like to draw you attention to a post from The Huffington Post called “Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy.”

Normally this culture/tech/ politics person would not usually put out another website’s blog post for the topic of a blog, but it’s a pretty accurate post. It made three major points which are pretty important for Generation Y people. (Minus the comment about most Generation Y people wanting to be president or better. It’s hard to imagine most people wouldn’t be happy if they were really in the position to be president. And what this blogger means is that it takes quite a bit to be president now, you have to have gone to the right schools, have a good career behind you and have a strong network to do it. Then again, the article may be hitting on the point that many Generation Y people don’t always know how much it takes to do anything even halfway great. And then again, why be president when you could just live an amazing life? Eh?)

The post made some rather accurate points on why Generation Y is unhappy, mostly related to the fact that:

1.) Generation Y parents set high expectations in their minds because they came from a time of unprecedented prosperity.

2.) Generation Y is constantly exposed to the false reality the rest of their generation creates on Social Media. Everyone is pretending to be doing better than the reality of their life. This causes frustration and unreasonable bizarre jealousy. Sanity is found by listening to your peers’ woes in your generation and finding out how hard people have it.

3.) Generation Y deals with constant griping from their parents and family to achieve the same level of success that they achieved and maybe twice as fast. UGH.

4.) Generation Y is dealing with a time of change in the economy, there aren’t a ton of great jobs like their parents knew, but there are tons of other types of jobs at least now. Secure jobs are not as common while Generation Y is also trying to find jobs that fulfill them. Throw some crushing debt on from graduate school and you have one cranky Yuppie. (Yuppie is the term that the blog gives to Generation Y people who are ambitious.) Actually, it is worth noting that some of the trouble with finding work and being ok with it for Generation Y is that the rest of society isn’t entirely comfortable with what is available to them for work which compounds the problem. I.E. I went to a job interview once where the interviewer got weirded out because I had done retail in addition to my professional work. You can see how that’s a problem if the rest of society is confused about what’s happening in the world.

5.) And finally, to make it all worse a small percent of Generation Y has done really well despite the economy, they got “lucky” out of school in their 20’s and they have zero tolerance for their peers who are still waiting or working to make it their lives happen well into their late 30’s or maybe 40’s with the way the economy is going these days.

The last point might actually be the most meaningful after the reality that many Y’s parents have expectations that are too high considering the economy. And finally, this blogger has included an article on how successful people function through difficult times. Click Here.

 

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Friendships in the Nation’s Capitol


Culture post –

The Washington, DC area is a strange place for friendships. First off, people come and go here a lot, many people are transient. On top of that fact, the whole political scene makes it difficult for people to really be friends. The kind of people who are attracted here, the tendencies and the nature of it all just makes friendships tenuous. As Harry S. Truman put it “if you want a friend, get a dog” in reference to the town.

Some people really do want to be friends, and some are really out for something more as one friend said “in politics all friendships are really strategic alliances” and then of course there are those people who will smile in anyone’s face and stab them in the back upon the first chance if it is expedient. Many friendships are based on events or associations. Of course many colleagues can be a friend, but those relationships are based on work and as work changes those relationships can too.

But worse still, there seems to be this common weird phrase among some political people it’s the so and so thinks we are friends bit. This one never made sense, it’s as if people in town really think there is some great art to going up to another civilized person and acting civilized so as to get along, means they have really put one over on everyone. And if you could suppose that if someone was really nuts, the act of behaving themselves and pretending to have manners might seem like some sort of great ruse. It’s actually comical, only in DC would you encounter someone who is so backward they think the act of being “nice” and establishing a baseline of contact with someone means they have convinced them there is a friendship simply because the other person is nice in return. It’s laughable because I’ve actually seen politicos crow about this sort of exchange, it’s a real eye roller.

Last this blogger checked, the only way anyone knows who someone really is, is through time.

All of this really swirls over the reality that most people as adults never have the kind of friends we had as kids, especially women, women tend to have best friends as children and in college.  But as an adult? That’s a question that is always having to be answered and there are tons of articles on how to make friends, what adult friendships are like and what kinds of friends to make.

From the NYT

Friends Over 30

Our story is not unusual. In your 30s and 40s, plenty of new people enter your life, through work, children’s play dates and, of course, Facebook. But actual close friends — the kind you make in college, the kind you call in a crisis — those are in shorter supply.

From Jezebel

Friends When You Are Old

Sometimes it is, make no mistake, but effortless friendship is rare at any age, and what you really had your whole life was a built-in conveyer belt group of people going through the same conveyer belt as you, and you all called that friendship, when really it was a conveyer belt.

Realize that the days of being stuck for an hour three times a week with the same ne’er-do-wells in “Intro to the Modern Novel” is never going to happen again with such a similarly positioned group of people. RIP, conveyer belt. The sooner you see that conveyer belt gathering dust in the recesses of your mind, the sooner you can get down to making friends. On your brand new adult, grown up, shiny-… swift-o-matic conveyer belt.

From Relevant -

Types of Friends

Yet the problem with defaulting to doppleganger friendships is that shared interests can only take a friendship so far. They can even stop short at companionships of convenience that mask a lack of true intimacy. For intimacy, in fact, has less to do with shared interests and more to do with shared vulnerability, and above all, a commitment to growth. The best friendships are birthed from a desire to engage at a deeper level … to challenge one another, to grow individually and collectively, and to be willing to learn from one another.

Of course none of these articles answer the question of how to deal with the foolish types that think they have put one over on everyone by behaving well for 5-10 minutes. Then again, those people are fools.
As for me, this blogger has been very lucky to have several real friends in this town over the years which is quite a lot compared to most people. They are and were literal prizes.

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Enough


Culture and Politics post –

If you’re plugged into the media, you’ve probably been following the low percolating issue underneath the news on ISIS, China having a better economy than the U.S., and Ebola , at this point – the now annoying sub topic of the “war on women.” It was a topic that benefited the Democrats in the last election which lead to long discussions of birth control when everyone should have been talking about the economy.

This blogger put together a list of points because the whole debate has just gotten too weird:

1.)Frankly, if you want to help women  – jobs, strong markets and economic freedom are the best path. Free birth control? That just sounds like a perk for men when it comes out through the broad topic of Obamacare.

2.)But the discussion hasn’t ended there, this year drinking on college campuses and the bizarre hook up culture has lead to the longest and most annoying discussion of people who can’t communicate that this blogger has ever endured. It’s really simple people – no means “no” and yes means “yes.” There’s no in between and if anyone thinks there is then everyone should stop whatever they are doing and go home. Not to be too blunt but, it’s elementary. The media blitz on the topic of “rape culture” has just become weird.

3.)It’s true women don’t always get treated well in the workplace, some men really really hate women and they like to try and dominate/harass them. OR worse some men do like to attack women because there isn’t the same threat of a physical whooping that there is with a man. But other men really like women as people and prefer them to men, and some women really hate men. In other words, some people are not nice and they direct it at some specific groups of people. (By the way, if you sit out in public and make gross comments about other people, you should expect someone to get mad at you, face repercussions – that’s just life among the civilized.)

4.)This sort of gender war issue as whipped up by the media actually has some pretty decent men frightened that they will be accused of bad behavior and for some reason has done nothing to deter the truly nutty men who like harassing women. Why? Well, the fact of the matter is society tells men how to behave pretty clearly today in the U.S., so you know if a guy jumps that line he’s probably not right in the head. And companies have their own cultures, some will fire a man or woman at the hint of sexual harassment misconduct- gender discrimination, while another will let a predator harass employees or worse for years. Hello confusion.

5.)If society focused more on people treating each other properly, and less on gender issues – more like the basics of everyone learns in kindergarten (keep your hands to yourself, be polite, etc.) the entire list of topics covered above would be far less confusing in general.

6.)The blitz on these topics has to end, none of it is actually creating awareness but in fact has created a weird dialogue and dare this blogger say “a numbness” to real problems. For example:  the weird articles claiming feminist hysteria is taking over the U.S. population and the addition of Hollywood starlets playing at feminism by making contradictory statements are just a few examples of how weird the dialogue has become.

 

 

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Social Media and the Deceased


Tech and Culture Post?

Earlier in the week this blogger was putting together an invitation for an even on Facebook, as she sifted through her “Friends” list she came across a profile for a person who had passed away in June. Yep, a friend in the prime of her life at the age of 31 just passed away from a stroke. It was sad, it was sudden and there was her profile still hanging out in cyberspace with the last profile picture that she had posted.

And it brought to mind the fact that society has not really come up with a “ceremony” or proper series of etiquette for retiring a loved one’s social media accounts. In some cases, no one can even find the dear deceased social media account holder’s passwords and log ins to close the accounts. Ugh.

But in the situation where family or friends have access, how long does one wait? Is it a group effort to discuss when to shut down accounts? Is it like cleaning out a loved one’s things from a dresser or room? Do you only do it when you feel you have finished grieving for them? The grieving process for some people can take years so that can be a very long time for a dead profile to be out in cyberspace.

It’s a new problem, social media only became big in the last ten years, in some cases it seems nice to leave a person’s profile up in the immediate months after their passing, but at some point, the profiles and accounts have to be closed. The idea that a profile or account could exist as a tombstone of sorts doesn’t really work. Life is for the living and social media is for the living to express as well interact using technology.

This post certainly isn’t the last article on the topic nor will it be the last as society figures out how to deal with this issue.

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