Tag Archives: Life Lessons
“I hear babies cry, I watch them grow.
You know they’re gonna learn,
a whole lot more than I’ll ever know.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”
(“What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong – Thiele/Weiss – 1968)
Last night, I went to sleep watching images, from thousands of miles away, of a man hugging his young sons and wife after having been rescued from 70 days trapped in a rocky tomb. This morning, similar images flashed across the screen, as men that were thought dead emerged from the Earth, back to the loving arms of their families and their country, and the world united in joy at their safe return to this wonderful world.
This wonderful world – to read through pages of blogs on numerous websites, both left and right, you would think that life in this world is about to collapse in ruin, the blame assigned, of course, to the other side.
There is no doubt that this world of ours has issues to address, from economic stagnation to war, famine and a lack of human rights. There is no doubt, also, that this world has faced far worse in the recent past, genocide and world war, depression and the displacement of millions throughout the world.
In my little world, there are issues to address, just as there is in the world at large. There is never enough money, of course, our health could always be a bit better and the tank still needs to be filled if I want to drive. That is life, but there are still the smiles of my grandchildren and the love of my dog and cats to smooth the road. There are hugs to share with my children and my friends and the wonder of the natural world that I love to capture in photographs.
The looks on the faces of the rescued miners, their families and the rescue teams tell all that this is truly a wonderful world – a world that we inhabit with some that share our views and some that are vehemently opposed to us. The Chilean people and their international neighbors managed to set aside differences to united to save the lives of 33 brave and determined friends.
Perhaps, we can learn a desperately needed lesson from the events on the desolate landscape of the Atacama Desert, regardless of our perceived view, we still live in a wonderful world.
William Stephenson Clark
“Playing the mind guerrilla.
Chanting the mantra,
Peace on earth
We all been playing those mind games forever.”
(“Mind Games” – 1973 – John Lennon – from the album of the same name.)
Seems these days, everyone is all about playing games. Little kids, bigger kids, adults, Hell even senior citizens are playing games. From Play Station to Wii to your phone; you can never be more than a minute or two from your favorite game. It is truly amazing to consider the amount of time and money that Americans spend to play games. And like every other technologically driven pursuit, there is always the newest, biggest, fastest device, console or game to lust after. Your PS3 is obsolete before you can get the box home to set up your new toy.
So, what came first, the Gamer Society or the mindset that produced that society?
The Gamer Society is not an American phenomenon – my son regularly plays “Call of Duty” against Australian, Dutch and German opponents, to name a few countries – along with players from all over North America. So what do we make of this worldwide pastime that takes relatively normal people with varied interests and turns them into obsessed game junkies?
I suppose that I could be called an old, behind-the-times, SOB due to my disdain for gaming. The last game I played regularly was one of the pinball machines down at the Pool Hall when I was in High School. For me, I see gaming as the intellectual equivalent of cotton candy – all sugar and no substance.
Behind the intellectual wasteland that is gaming, however, there is perhaps a darker issue – a collective divorce from the realities of the world we inhabit. The issues of daily life and the complexities of global challenges are easily escaped through an activity that demands all your attention – attention that could be directed more productively.
Does this all come down to mind games – games that we play on ourselves? Losing one’s self in a world of make-believe, faux competitiveness and faceless opponents rather than challenging ourselves to better ourselves and the world around us.
Mind games – have we fooled ourselves into thinking that the world will just go away and leave us alone if we can just get to the next level on our favorite game?
William Stephenson Clark
Predicting the future is easy, as long as you don’t plan on living long enough to determine the accuracy of your venture through the glass. Nostradamus was famed for his prophecies, but actually, his predictions were so vague that they could be interpreted in any way one might choose. Accurate predictions of the future are much more difficult when measured against actual events.
Despite the odds, pun intended, many people try to predict the future, months, decades and even centuries into the future. A few weeks ago, the sportswriters of America tried to forecast the winner of the Super Bowl, to be played in Dallas in February, 2011. Needless to say, most will be wrong, especially those that try to forecast the final score, not just the game winner. I can do that, too.
Patriots 27, Packers 17.
Easy, right? I will probably be wrong, however, the Pats are likely to score more points than that.
Forecasting the future of America a century from now is much more difficult. Unfortunately, some of the predictions made today will have an impact on life in the US 100 years from now. To properly address the problems of the future requires an accurate assessment of life decades or even centuries from now. The approaching mid-term elections most certainly will affect life for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
America is still a young country, growing into a mature nation while experiencing social and economic changes on a vast scale. What will American look like in 2110?
Well, since I won’t be around to see her then, these are a few of my predictions:
White people in America will be a distinct minority, but racial tensions will be far less apparent than they are today.
To the largest extent, all people will be treated equally, gay and straight, young and old, people of all races, colors and creeds.
The disparity between the rich and poor will be far narrower than today.
Religion’s role in society will be greatly reduced as people express greater faith in science.
The world’s countries will all participate in a true global economy.
Social programs in the US will be stronger and far fewer citizens will fall through the cracks.
The pejorative term “socialist” will cease to exist, as most countries will employ a version of socialism as an economic engine.
Those are a few of my predictions – what are yours?
William Stephenson Clark
Well some one masquerading as Will Clark, busted in on Pop Blog and wrote a column that appeared last Friday entitled “Women are cats, men are dogs.” That got a few folks, mostly of the feline persuasion worked up. Yes, your pets do blog, also, usually while you are sleeping.
But let’s face it, there are two different standards for men and women. A man, while being a bit on the less than buff side, with sagging jowls and grey hair, can still be considered “sexy.” For that matter, he can be on the wrong side of the “ugly meter” and still be considered mildly “sexy.”
(Dang, if I were any uglier, they’d put me in a Zoo, but I do all right.)
Women, on the other hand, have to meet “standards.” God-forbid that a woman, especially a public figure, have a muffin top or a wide behind.
But let’s reverse the roles. What if Brad Pitt or the Old Spice Guy were the MINIMUM standard for men, and women could get by looking and acting like Betty White.
Now, I love Betty White, but she isn’t exactly my ideal fantasy for a woman. There are no restraining orders keeping me from ringing up Betty. What if Rosie O’Donnell was considered to be a “hot babe” in a role reversed world? What about Kelly Osbourne? Male Teen pin up?
In a Role Reversed world, George Clooney would be out until he touched up the grey. Matt Damon, close but still second tier. The same goes for Will Smith. Jon Mayer. Gone.
The rich and powerful men of the world? Bill Gates? Yikes! Joe Biden? Whoa, what a comb-over! The original world’s worst comb over, “the Donald?” Reduced to personal ads in the Village voice. Bono? Singing in the shower – alone. Newt Gingrich? What can you say?
Oh, and Barack? A little advice………………………………..
“Just for Men” and “www.BeachBody.com.”
And, for God’s sake, do something about the ears!
William Stephenson Clark
Ya, think? Mind you, this is not a bad thing. Cats are wonderful little creatures, full of mischievous, always getting into trouble but lovable anyway. Dogs, on the other hand, can be trained, unlike cats, and they generally follow commands and are obedient.
Kind of like men and women.
Now, before the “Angels” come for me – “Charlie’s, not Hell’s” – I should say that I respect women and have always supported equal rights for women.
That statement should give me at least a five-minute head start on the posse.
But men and women are different. Truly. Men will spend three hours watching Timbuktu U. v Bumfart College battle it out on the gridiron, while women will still bring a fifty pound bale of tissue while they watch “Beaches” for the twenty-ninth time.
Women will stop and ask directions from a stranger on the street, while men will drive around aimlessly before even thinking about asking the guy at QT “where is Main Street?”
Women want an oil filter. Men want a FRAM oil filter. Men know what 10W40 means, women think they “might” need oil in the engine. Men will pull over and pee on a tree. Women will hold it until their eyeballs explode before using a bathroom that is not clean.
Women want clean sheets. Men want to get between the sheets. Women “work” in the kitchen, but men “cook!” Women leave a clean kitchen, but men are fine with it looking like an explosion in a tomato sauce factory.
Men clip their fingernails, sometimes using the In-Sink-Erator, while women get their nails “done.” Men shop around to find the $5.00 haircut, while women get their hair “done.”
What does “done” mean? You mean, like “done” forever, or just for today?
Women shave their legs. Men, well shaving is something we avoid like watching Beaches one more time. Men fart, women toot. Women “need to go,” while men “Damn, I need to piss!”
Men are dogs, no doubt. Women, well they will never admit it, but they are cats!
So, from my “undisclosed location,” in a fortified bunker surrounded by armed guards, I ask you:
Cat or dog?
William Stephenson Clark