Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Friendsgiving

"42 to 21, like a turkey Ross is done!"

"Cheater, cheater, compulsive eater!"

Ahh, what's a little Thanksgiving amongst friends? Whether it's with family or friends there is always a Thanksgiving tradition to fall on, and for some of us in the 90's we had the television show Friends to bring us closer together. While most tv sitcoms accent Christmas, Friends was one of the few who made Thanksgiving special. After stuffing ourselves with turkey and football, Friends would come on with a humorous Thanksgiving episode to put a climax to our day before we polished off dessert with a Christmas movie.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love spending it with family and friends, and always have so much to be thankful for. I think that is one of the reasons why I also enjoyed the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends, such as:

  Monica always having to add an exclamation point to every special dinner she cooked, being as precise and serious as any chef could be:

"You know Rachel, you are supposed to put those marshmallows in a concentric circle?"

"No Monica, you want to. I want to do this...." (Rachel shoves a miniature marshmallow up Monica's nose)

"Every year!" Monica exclaims.

Then we had the one where they played two-hand-touch football in between Monica's basting of the turkey.

"Chandler, you sweep to the left and get open. Rachel you go long."

"How long?"

"Long enough until you see us as tiny, little ants."

Then we had the one where Chandler had to spend Thanksgiving day in a box, just to prove to Joey how sorry he was for stealing his girlfriend.

And one of everyone's favorite, Joey gets Monica's turkey stuck on his head.

"I put it on to scare Chandler. Hurry up and get this off of me, it smells in here!"

" Well, what'd ya' think? You got your head shoved up a dead animal!"

What drew us close to all of the characters of Friends was they spent more time together than they did with their own families. They were their own little family. Today millennials are following suit, getting together with friends they haven't seen in awhile. They will meet either the day before Thanksgiving or the Friday after and call it Friendsgiving.

No matter where you live and who you spend this Thanksgiving with, may you have a blessed time with family and friends. And may you find yourself thankful for at least one thing in your life.
Here's one last favorite from Friends:

"Monica said I could make dessert this year," Rachel.

"Uh, you're gonna cook something?"Joey

"Huh, yeah, I cook." Rachel

"Offering people gum is not cooking." Chandler

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Que Dieu Soit Avec Vous

I find it ironic unfortunately of writing last week of America's lack of visibility of the American flag for fear of offending someone unless tragedy struck. And here we are today displaying our flags, feeling patriotic yet with anger as we should, as we stand in solidarity with our fellow allies in Paris, France and other parts of Europe.
And there is nothing wrong with that, as we grieve with the loss of lives in Paris, Beirut, and other parts of the world where evil has taken hold these past few days.

Somehow I think this is finally it, our true patriotism for our country and for our allies is here to stay. It's unfortunate that again it took loss of lives to stir up this once great nation. But we also need to remember to not let fear control our decisions nor our lives and the way we live them.

An early 19th century clergyman once said,

" Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones."

To my faithful readers in France and all over Europe, my prayers are with you. Stay strong.
May God be with you.

Christmas Hath No Fury

"What's the deal with Ovaltine? It comes in a round jar. It's served in a round cup.
They should call it Roundtine."

"That's gold, Jerry! Gold!"   - scene from a Seinfeld episode

This past week it was all about a red cup on social media. A red cup that didn't say Merry Christmas.
Someone allegedly complained that Starbucks Christmas cups didn't have any Christmas symbols or message on it, just the famous Starbucks logo. To me it sounds like a great marketing ploy started by a Starbucks employee or a competitor, because it went viral quickly throughout the world. And that's what the technology of today can do, it can take nothing and make it into something. Not only that, but it's free advertisement.

Have you noticed no one has complained about the McDonalds Christmas cup, which says absolutely nothing about Christmas either, yet comes in a red cup?

Hence, my thinking that this was all just a marketing ploy, and it worked!

This holiday season we need to remember not to get caught up in the so called Christmas Wars,
it's most likely a marketing ploy used by all of us on social media.

This and every Christmas should be about spending time with friends, family, celebrating the real reason for the season, and spreading love to those in need.

This photo is from a recent Night Ministry where we fed hot soup to over 100 people, some homeless, in the inner city of Chicago.

And I am sure throughout our country and world, each of us can at least find one person who is in need. Take your Christmas Spirit of love to a higher level this season. It's more fulfilling than that cup of coffee in a red cup.

Reminder: Just after Thanksgiving, I will begin my 7th year of posting Christmas movie reviews. I have some new exciting one's in store for you.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Excuse Me While I Offend You

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." - Harry S. Truman

After 9/11 happened back in 2001 you couldn't go half-a-block anywhere in the USA without seeing the American flag proudly displayed. It was all over America: bumper stickers, flags on cars, house porches, store fronts, flags flying high outside schools and buildings, and pretty much everyone wore at least one t-shirt displaying the stars and stripes.

And now, fourteen years later, the flag is no longer displayed proudly by many. In fact, it has been taken out of some schools along with the pledge of allegiance, universities won't display it, and in some schools students are not allowed to wear anything that symbolizes the flag, and businesses are scared of displaying it for fear of losing business, all for the sake of fearing we might offend someone.  So much for all of the we will never forget.

Our once great, proud nation has become a nation of dare I say, wusses. The American flag was created and meant for being a symbol of Americanism. Today it constitutes a symbol to only the few and proud ( sorry Marines, had to steal that one!).

Within my researching of the American flag I found that there is an extensive flag etiquette for displaying the stars and stripes. And the United States Flag Code outlines specific guidelines for the use, display, and disposal of the flag if it should be damaged. They even have listed particular days throughout the year that the flag must be displayed at full staff (15 days) and half-staff (7 days, not included funerals).

So, why do we have a United States Flag Code if we are too afraid to display it for fear of offending anyone or disallowed to display it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Harry Truman was right when he said, "America was not built on fear", but somehow over the last 14 years we've let fear take over our once proud nation, our lives, and how we live.

With all of the great men in our history who fought to bring us freedom, we have negated all of their hard work and have gone from a nation to a stagnation. Oh sure, we can hope something bad happens to our country to bring us back to being proud patriotic Americans, but none of us really want it that way. That is why it is important to fight for your freedom, for your rights, and elect leaders who want to honestly see us become that great nation that we once were.

"Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation."
- Charles Stanley

Don't let fear take hold of your actions. Display the American flag proudly.

Just recently I read a story where a Seattle University is dropping the Pledge of Allegiance and the display of the American flag from a Veteran's Day service. Really? Where would our freedom be, or what's left of it, without the men and women who served and sacrificed to protect our country?

This Veterans Day I choose to proudly display my American flag and thank the veterans who have served our country well. I hope you choose to do the same as well.