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My Days Are Numbered

Given the bleak title, people may automatically expect to read a wretched tale announcing I’ve contracted a dreadful (probably incurable) illness. Not so for this post, though there’s no avoiding the truth:  my days are numbered.

Frankly, so are yours. Though we try to forget it, we are all mortal. As 2016 wound down and the obits began to stack up, we became ever more cranky reading the list of friends, family, celebs and high-profile individuals whose days had ended, some whose days were seemingly “cut short.” Mortality sucks, doesn’t it?

Bad-temper seems incompatible with ushering in a New Year. Usually, it’s celebrations, parties, champagne and fireworks, plus people flocking to New York City for the Times Square Ball Drop. But this year, people expressed open animosity toward the waning year. A headline from WIRED proclaimed:  Goodbye, 2016. We Couldn’t Take It Anymore. Continue Reading →

Between Friends

Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. You’ve probably heard a version of this message from the Ad Council, a gentle caution for drivers and passengers alike.Friends-Dont-Let-406606-web

I’ve decided a similar message should apply with respect to social media. Maybe something like this:  Friends don’t let friends contrive junk. I know, I know! It’s clunky and doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely as the Ad Council declaration. But the meaning should resonate.

The sterile contrivance that is social media purports to keep us “connected” to friends and family. In truth, it’s a time-consuming distraction that draws us away from numerous activities and human interactions which once occupied our time and attention.

Social media in its varied applications also tends to work as an echo chamber … a mishmash of individual posts to which others respond by clicking share or like. But for me, the dreaded copy, paste and post if you agree is most exasperating. What if I agree with a post but choose not to copy, paste and post? Is my non-compliance misconstrued? (Oh, dear! What will people think if I don’t comply?) Continue Reading →

The Fragrance of Life

Southern Living has long been one of my favorite magazines, one of the few print magazines to which I steadfastly subscribe. While leafing through a recent issue newly retrieved from my mailbox, one full-page ad (pictured below) caught my eye. Now you might assume the radiant, air-brushed smile is what drew my attention … but no.Happiness-1b

Maybe it was the fragrance ? If you’ve thumbed through a print magazine lately, you may have noticed an uptick in scent strip promos for perfume and cologne products. Scent strips can be helpful. They provide fragrance samples so you won’t plunk down a substantial sum just to learn the scent is awful. But the multiple competing scents in a magazine’s single issue might easily lead to sensory overload!

So, no, it wasn’t the toothy expression nor the unexpectedly subtle fragrance, both of which are skillfully designed to generate interest and drive sales. Surprisingly, the text drew me in!

Take a closer look at the tag line:  Life is beautiful. The Fragrance of Happiness.

With a simple search, I learned there were other tag-lines attached to Lancôme’s La vie est belle advertising. The overall theme of Life is beautiful extends naturally from the French phrase. One tag-line declared Life is beautiful. Live It Your Way. Another:  Life is beautiful. Choose Your Own Path to Happiness.

Notwithstanding its variations, Lancôme appears to have settled on The Fragrance of Happiness as its primary tag-line. Continue Reading →

Supreme Poetaster

Here’s a word that doesn’t get much use these days: Poetaster. One of the memorable ways to define this word – as well as to remember its pronunciation – is to take the word Poet, marry to it the last two syllables of disaster, and you have Poetaster.poetaster-n-s

A Poetaster is simply “an inferior poet, a writer of indifferent verse.” There’s some latitude in the word I think. A Poetaster might be someone who fancies himself (or herself) a fine poet because of a perceived ability to witness flowery and inane rhetoric flowing from his or her pen. By definition, what flows from a poetaster‘s pen is insipid, even foolish. Hence, my personal mnemonic, explained in the first paragraph. Continue Reading →

An Elisabeth Elliot Smile

Posting Monday about the death of Elisabeth Elliot, I used a couple pictures of her … one was a familiar publicity photo and the other was a pen-and-ink sketch used on her website. In the World Magazine tribute noting Elliot’s death, they used the photo below. A follow-up post noted that some readers of World had expressed their dismay, wishing instead that the magazine had attached a more flattering picture, an image reflecting her youth and beauty.eliot

In response to its readers, World posted another photo of Elliot in her youth alongside the more current photo. World writer Mickey McLean titled his piece “Old and beautiful,” noting her “smile and twinkling blue eyes” reflected her “joy of living as a child of God.” I am in complete agreement! Continue Reading →

The Right to Define

UPDATE:  Yesterday (6/17/15) on the World Magazine website, Editor Marvin Olasky made a similar comparison to this post, also citing the quote below.

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” If you’re not familiar with this quote, you may find it to be an interesting statement. I have. (I’ll wait a bit before I tell you who said it.)Liberty

If ever this statement applied to our culture, I think it would be today. At first blush, the statement carries the veneer of ringing true. Liberty, one of the lofty concepts on which our country was founded, has become the cry of many … and seemingly understood only by the few. Continue Reading →

Sat-Your-Day

You may be geared like me. No matter what the rest of the week brings my way, Saturdays are usually a day of ambition for me. All the tasks still on my list (because I failed to complete them during the week) get shuffled into Saturday!happy-saturdayOf course that means I have to get an early start on the day, so I rarely take the opportunity to sleep in. Given that “Your” (or technically “UR“) lies smack dab in the middle of Saturday, it seems logical to conclude it’s your day, right? A day to do the things you want to do. Continue Reading →

Quest For A Crown

Watching American Pharoah win the Triple Crown at Belmont Park today,  I was reminded of an article I read early in the day. The headline said:  Science Says American Pharoah Won’t Win the Triple Crown.

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Photo Credit: © Steve Queen

So much for prognostications, huh? The spectacle surrounding a horse race, particularly at this elite level, is striking. First off, there’s the beauty and grace of these splendid horses. I can’t help but be in awe. There’s the pageantry, some 90,000 people gathered to cheer on their favorites … and perhaps to witness history being made, which in this case is exactly what happened.

Continue Reading →

Refuse To Be A Victim

Back in the days when I was in eighth or ninth grade, my girlfriend and I decided we’d work out together. (In those days, we called it exercise.) It was summertime, we planned to sunbathe in our two-piece swimsuits, and a sudden interest in boys dictated we look our best.VintageAdWe were fourteen or fifteen, easily impressed by the silly advertisements in newspapers. No doubt, we were conscious of ads like the one above. How Do You Look In Your Bathing Suit? We wanted to look good.

So we did what people usually do … we took our measurements, height and weight, and recorded them on a chart. The chart was tacked to a wall in my friend’s basement where we exercised. Everyday, we recorded how many sit-ups and jumping jacks and other calisthenics we did as well as noting changes in our weight. We were consistent with the routine for several weeks. Continue Reading →

Exult In Monotony

Children (and grandchildren) are such great fun! When we’re at play with them, they have a way of wringing every possible measure of delight from whatever activity has captured their attention at the moment.children_at_play Push a child on a swing, push him or her high, high, and higher! You’re bound to hear the child squeal, “Again! Do it again!Ring around the rosy, all fall down and inevitably, the activity must be repeated. (They scramble quickly to their feet for another round.) It’s rare for any child to lose interest before the adult begs off from the tedium.

I’ve heard my young grandson tell me from time to time, “I’m bored.” This high-energy kid loves to be active and doing-doing-doing things non-stop. The idea of a child being bored amuses me. (I wonder if boredom is simply a modern invention.) What my grandson is really telling me … he needs direction. As I guide him to a new activity, he’s immediately distracted by it and moves forward quickly to entertain himself. Continue Reading →

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