The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, December 30, 2013

People Vs Animals

Seal of the United States Department of the In...
Seal of the United States Department of the Interior (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
     
       

       The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free Meals and Food Stamps ever, to 47 million people, as of the most recent figures.

    Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals."    Their stated reason for the policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."

      This ended up in my email box and I thought I'd share it as a bit of year end controversy.    What are your thoughts on the above statement?    Is it better to just hand out fish or to teach people how to fish?    What should we do to help people the most?

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Friday, December 27, 2013

DVD Movie Commentary Tracks

El Mariachi (1992) is a noted Mexplotiation film
El Mariachi (1992) is a noted Mexplotiation film (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
       
        We will undoubtedly see the demise of DVD's and BlueRays sometime in the future.  All in the name of technology they say, but the underlying extra profit from the buying public replacing film libraries certainly is a motivating factor for entertainment companies to encourage new technology.  Like VHS tapes, the disc technology is becoming outmoded.

          Now streaming video and media available in cloud services is making ownership of movies obsolete.  It's sad in a way.  I enjoy perusing through someones movies, music, and book collections.  A person's collection can reveal much about them and open up conversation.  Homes devoid of libraries seem colder and less personal to me.

          One of the sad losses if the mediums like DVD became extinct would be those cool extra features one often finds on a disc.  Sometimes the features can be as least as interesting and sometimes more so than the movie itself.  If I liked a film I will almost always watch the accompanying extra features.

           Rarely though do I watch the movie with a commentary running.  You might not even realize that many films on disc offer an option to watch the film with a commentary by the director, the actors, or others. While watching the film you can also listen to the commentary describing points about what you are seeing or how things were done.  It can often be very interesting, though it is distracting so that you wouldn't want to listen to the commentary if you are watching a film for the first time.

          There have been a few films where I have watched a second time with the commentary running.  Dark City and El Mariachi come to mind.   They were both short films that I found entertaining so rewatching with the commentary was no great chore.  And it was interesting to get more insight about the film.

         I'd like to watch more films with commentaries running, but it takes time.  Time is always in short supply it seems.

         Do you ever listen to the commentaries by the directors or others associated or interested in a film?  Are there any film with good commentaries that you might recommend?    What have been some of your favorite special features or "Making of" shorts that you've seen?


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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

50 States of Pray



      The Linky List can be found at Mark Koopman's Blog if you'd like to visit the other participants and share in their prayers, thoughts, memories, hopes, regrets about the past and/or wishes for the future.

My Christmas Prayer for New Jersey

        I don't live in New Jersey nor have I ever.  But my three daughters live there with their families.  This includes my three wonderful granddaughters whom I rarely get to see, but look forward to seeing during these holidays.  

       In the past I always pictured New Jersey as a dingy urban blighted place.  Now that I have loved ones there I've become more familiar with this fine little state.  There is actually some pretty countryside, ocean coasts, and small towns.   I wouldn't even mind living there one day if that's where my daughters choose to stay.

      New Jersey has had it's share of tragedy over the past couple years and I pray for the redevelopment of the areas that were affected by the hurricane in 2012.   I also pray for the economy so that many will find prosperity in their lives.   My prayers go out to the health and safety for all of the state's citizens.

       The United States despite whatever shortcomings it may have remains a great and mighty nation and this is due to wonderful states like New Jersey.   May God's abundant blessings fill New Jersey in the coming year.

      New Jersey, I will see you soon.  Take care of my kids and grandkids.


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Monday, December 23, 2013

Battle of the Bands Winner on a Slow Pre-Christmas Blog Day

 

      Since blog traffic is probably going to be slow today and I'm not exactly here, I'm going to keep the action here at a minimum.

      Last week's Battle of the Bands match-up pitted Jethro Tull's version of "We Five Kings" against the Brubeck jazz styled "We Three Kings" as played by Peter Shu.  Not too surprisingly our votes for the Tull version were over twice as many as the ones for Peter Shu.  I say "our" because that's how I voted.  Tull  is a favorite band of mine.  Like Gary who related his concert experience with Jethro Tull, I too saw the band and would rank that concert as among the best I've ever seen.

      Peter Shu's version got a lot of nice comments and I do think his version is very good, but pitted against Tull he is edged out with the final tally being Jethro Tull 13 to Peter Shu at 6.

       Don't forget The Fifty States of Pray coming tomorrow, Christmas Eve.

       And may you all have a Merry Christmas, or if you don't celebrate that holiday, have a wonderful day.

       What are you doing for Christmas?   What is the best concert you've ever seen?

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Friday, December 20, 2013

The Old Woman Crossing the Street

Good Deed
Good Deed (Photo credit: sea turtle)
   
      The house where I live is very near a major busy intersection.  Two six lane streets cross at a point where there are many businesses and a constant flow of traffic heading to and from Los Angeles or points north and south to surrounding urban areas.  There is a continual buzz of traffic here as well as many pedestrians making their ways to wherever they are going.

        One particular day I was driving home from running some errands.  It was about 10:30 in the morning so the traffic and pedestrian flow though not at its height was steady.    Waiting for the traffic signal in the left turn lane from Washington Boulevard to Rosemead Boulevard south, I happened to look to my right to see an older lady struggling at the opposite corner from me.  She was laden with many plastic bags--groceries perhaps. Not only did she have a great burden of things she was transporting on foot, but she also appeared to have great difficulty in walking.   Even stepping down from the curb seemed to be painful and onerous for her.   Adding to that physical disability were her bags and a wire rolling cart filled with something that might have included clothes.

       Drawn to the sight, I watched as she slowly started across the street with her burdens.  I feared that moving so slowly she would not make it across the street before the lights changed and traffic would begin moving again.  I wished that there were some way that I could leap out of my van and run to her assistance, but being in the turn lane of a major thoroughfare there was nothing I could do.

         Wasn't there somebody who could help this poor struggling elderly lady?

         The traffic signal I was waiting for seemed to last for an abnormally long time, better for the old lady crossing the street I suppose.  I waited and I watched.

         Suddenly, seemingly from out of the air, a teen-aged girl dressed in white ran to the lady's side taking her bags and the cart and with a gentle hand on the lady's back guided the lady across the street.  As they walked I could see the girl talking to the lady who looked thankful and glad that someone cared about her.

          As they neared the curb my signal changed and I made my turn toward home.  I don't know what happened with the lady and the girl after I left them, but I felt a glowing feeling inside that stayed with me all that day and a memory that remains now.   That was probably two, maybe three years ago, but the image remains vividly planted in my mind.

         I wonder how many others watched this microcosmic drama?  I wonder how many were affected by the outcome like I was?

         The whole incident seemed like the old Boy Scout cliche of helping a little old lady across the street.  Seeing it actually happen put the concept into perspective for me.

         Take the time to help someone during the holiday season.  This time of year is a good time to start if you don't do these things already.  And if you start doing the good deeds, the action will become easier to do more.  And don't do it just because it's Christmas.  Do it for always.

        Have you witnessed any acts of kindness that you'd like to share in the comments?   What are some of the things you do to help others?   Do you ask for help when you really need it?

       
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ask Arlee: Are You Going to Roast Yourself?

 
       We had some fun with the roast and the winners were revealed on my previous post.  But it's not quite over.  Winner Sydney Aaliyah posed a good question for Ask Arlee day:

 sydneyaaliyah.com said...
Hi Lee, I was wondering if you were going to roast yourself or at least give us the correct answers to the questions.

       If  I were roasting me, I might do a multiple choice quiz.  This is how I would do it:


·         Why did Lee come up with the A-Z Challenge?
      a)  I lead a very boring life.
      b)  To celebrate reaching 200 followers.
      c)  To annoy Gary at the Klahanie Blog
·         If someone dreams about being a juggler, what does it mean?
      a)  Life is a coin toss.
      b)  They're tossing and turning in bed.
      c)  They're about to toss their cookies.

·         Is a post by Mr. Bird worth two in the bush?
      a)  What kind of bush?
      b)  How big is the bush?
      c)  How'd my post get in that bush anyway?  
       d)  Does this question seem to invite risque responses?

·         Who could play Lee in a documentary? (Living or dead.)
       a)  Michelle Obama --she has a juggler's arms.
       b)  George W. Bush--he may have eaten two of my blog posts.
       c)  Kanye West -- If he's brave enough to be a rapper he could also be me.
      d)  Alex J Cavanaugh -- We can use his clones to keep the budget low.

Mini-Alex!

In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:
·         Bird
·         Juggler
·         Challenge
·         Brown Jacket
·         Tossing


Mark Koopmans said...
 looking forward to Wednesday - and the true story behind the tuxedo coat formerly known as the "Brown Jacket." :)

Here it is Mark:

The True Story of the Brown Jacket

          In the mid-seventies the Juggling Jacksons decided to revamp the wardrobe for their act.  Smart bird that my father was, he went to some discount suit place in West Knoxville to pick out tuxedos that would be stylishly appropriate for the disco era juggler.  It was no challenge finding the right costume as the selection was limited.  There were plain black or white jackets or brocade jackets in an assortment of tacky colors--the least tacky being the style that came in burgundy.  So my friends, you see there was no brown jacket at all.  It was burgundy.  As in Ron Burgundy.   I'm just tossing out this information to set the record straight.  Does anyone need to calibrate the color levels on their monitors?

        
For Bonus Points:
·         In +/- 40 words, can you come up with a caption for Lee’s Facebook picture? 

"I'll just keep smiling and hope no one notices the scotch tape that's making the pin look like it's balanced."
       Thanks again for the roast. I'm still looking for that darn jacket. It seems like it should be here in my house somewhere.  When--or if I find it I'll let you know.  It's becoming the stuff of legend and it would be terrible if it were lost and gone forever.



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Monday, December 16, 2013

CheersFest Winners and WHAT WORKS...Online Marketing Symposium

And the CheersFest Winners Are:

        EVERYBODY!

       Oh--I guess that's not how it's supposed to work.  But everybody did have a winning entry and I'm a winner for having so many wonderful blog friends.  There were so many entertaining entries that it was tough to come up with just two.  So many approaches.  So much variety.  So much fun.  I had a great time with the CheersFest and I hope you all did as well.

       I'd like to start right off by thanking the co-hosts who not only submitted their own fantastic entries, but also went to great lengths in promoting the Fest.   Thank you  Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, Stephen Tremp and The Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.  Especially Mark who thought up this event which looks destined to become an annual blogger roast.

         I won't name any honorable mentions. There are many, but I need to keep this post short.  If you didn't see all the roast posts I encourage you to go to the list and check them out.  I agonized long over which ones to pick and kept narrowing it down to the final choices.  So without any more chatter from me, here are the winners:

        The winner of the Arlee Bird Showbiz History package is Carrie Anne Brownian at Welcome to My Magick Theatre.   Her free verse about me was creative and thought-provoking.  I appreciated the answers to the questions and the dry but accurate description of the photo.   And she picked an actual juggler to play me in a documentary--albeit an ugly one, but a truly great and funny one.

        The winner of the graphic design by Jeremy Hawkins is Sydney Aaliyah Michelle.   She had interesting answers and story.   Her photo caption encapsulated a jugglers dream--at least at a photo shoot.
And I assure you that my A to Z aversion treatment will be continuing in April of 2014.   Be watching for announcements.

          Winners please contact me at jacksonlee51 (at) aol (dot) com and I will make arrangements for your prizes to get to you.

          And please don't anyone have me be the sole judge to pick a contest winner again.   That was tough and I hated to leave anyone off.  Seriously I love you all and think you are all winners.

Now a Very Special Event Announcement!


Do you ever wonder why some books become bestsellers while others can barely be given away? Why some businesses succeed and others fail?   

How does a blog post or a YouTube video manage to go viral? What does it take to reach celebrity status? Why does a person who is less intelligent than you are become the teacher's favorite and make better grades with less work?

Is it a matter of luck or is there some magic formula for success? 
   
Would you like to know what works and what doesn't?

Well, now maybe we can latch on to some of the secrets and tricks that make success happen or what we might want to avoid. We want you to tell us your stories of success (or not so successful) as we present the blogging event that will help us learn.


                                            What Works...

The first ever "Online Marketing Symposium!"

A blogfest with information you can use.

The event happens on Monday January 20, 2014.

On event day you tell us about a marketing idea that you've used and what worked or didn't work. Your post could describe a campaign that succeeded in a big or small way or one that failed drastically. Tell us about a business campaign, an organizational event, a fundraiser – anything where a bit of promotion was necessary!

The What Works.. Marketing Symposium is not limited to authors but also to anyone in a business that has a promotional aspect – online or otherwise!

Posts can be informational, statistical, a personal experience account, or a funny marketing story. Experience gained from a promotional effort in one area can have applications in other efforts in which we are involved so anything goes as long as promotion or marketing methodology has been involved. 

The ultimate goal is to learn.

Remember – no book – no problem. Marketing and promotion principles apply to your blog, your business, any dream, or project, because we all want to win people over.

This information exchange is more than just a "blogfest"!

It's an online forum where ideas are shared and success for all is the goal.  

Does the thought of marketing and promotion scare you or turn you cold? Fear no more—let's learn together.

It's possible the blogging community can help you make that next project a viral success orthat next book a best seller!

Join our first ever Online Marketing Symposium
*****
     My co-hosts are  Jeremy Hawkins Alex J. Cavanaughand Yolanda Renee


Sign up for What Works...Online Marketing Symposium below:


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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Battle of the Bands: We Three Kings

The Battle of the Bands--Christmas Special Edition


       During December several (or maybe all) of the BOTB participants are taking on Christmas song versions to do battle against each other.  The Battle of the Bands is a bi-monthly event that takes place on the first and fifteenth.   You listen, then you vote for your favorite, and then in a week or so we tell you who won.   Fun and easy!  

        The event was organized by the folks at Far Away Series and Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends.  There are other participants who will be listed at the bottom of this post.  Be sure to visit all of the Battles and cast your vote on each.  If you want to join in with your own match up then let us know in the comment section so we can come visit your site as well.

        And now let this battle begin.

Jethro Tull  "We Five Kings" (2003)

         Since the 70's "We Three Kings" was often a staple of Jethro Tull concerts.  They'd interject an instrumental version of the melody somewhere into their song line-up even if it weren't anywhere near Christmas.  Actually it worked quite well since the song adapts nicely to the Jethro Tull sound.  For some reason they've called it "We Five Kings" on their Christmas album, but it's still the same melody with which we are all familiar.





Peter Shu "We Three Kings" (2009)

        I thought this was an interesting take on the traditional carol.  "We Three Kings" is here performed in the style of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five"  This jazzed up version works for me even with the Mission Impossible ending.  Kind of cool.




Vote for Your Favorite

       Now it's in your hands.  Tell us which version you prefer and why.  Then when you are done voting here be sure to visit the other participants.

         Faraway Series
         Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
         Your Daily Dose
         DiscConnected

         The Creative Outlet of StratPlayer






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