Thursday, April 26, 2018


Today, I came across a Memorandum. Not the office notice. But an actual person named Memorandum! When I first heard her introduce herself, my face remained calm and friendly, while inside, my mind slammed the brakes and I was like, Say What? Come Again? Karma Chameleon?

Then I started thinking of all the unusual names of people I've met. The ones that jump out immediately are a girl named Shondeleer (named after the glorious lighting fixture, Chandelier!); a fellow named Seven (not because he was the 7th child--he's the 2nd--but because his father was playing the Lucky 7s slot machine at the casino and hit the jackpot ($1000) the night he was born); a girl named Veranda (after her grandmother's favorite place to sit); and a guy named Tornado (you guessed it, because he was born during a tornado!).

I don't understand what possessed these parents to name their kids so. And I can't help but wonder if there should be a baby naming authority that approves or denies names parents want to give their offspring. It would certainly make life easier for the kids who don't have to be bullied or made fun of because their parents gave them strange names. And let's be honest, you have heard some silly and questionable ones over the years.

Poor Seven, people thought his name was a typo, so they kept calling him Steven and identifying him so on printed forms at meetings. Same for Veranda, who was usually rechristened Miranda. And Shondeleer always surprised people (with their own prejudices) by assuming she was Black, an African American; she's not. That girl is White! And Tornado got raised eyebrows every time he was introduced. People assumed it was a nickname from his wrestling/boxing days.

Seven is a cool name. Naturally, we nicknamed him Lucky. Not so sure about Shondeleer, but I suppose it's better than being called Sconces or Lamp. Same with Veranda, better than being identified as Covered Porch or Deck. And Tornado is an awesome name, much better than being named after other disasters like Sinkhole, Flood, Drought, or Oil Spill.

I was very curious about how Memo (as she liked to be called) got her name. But I kept my mouth shut to be polite and to be professional. Still, she must have sensed something or learned over years of experience with curious (possibly rude, nosy) people to just get it over with and tell us how she got her name. You could hear a pin drop in the silence that ensued as coworkers, pretending to work, strained to hear her explanation.

Plain and simple. Her mother worked briefly in an office, before getting married and becoming a stay at home mother at a young age. She loved the word Memorandum from her brief office days. She thought it was pretty. And her father was ok with naming her so.

After Memo left, the office was abuzz with her unusual name. A few cracked jokes. Some shared stories of other unusual names they've heard. I kept my opinions to myself. A person's name was their own. And they could always change it if the one their parents gave them doesn't quite fit.

Still, I couldn't help but wonder: Well, I suppose it could be worse. At least her mother didn't name her Facsimile, or Xerox, or Conference Call. Or worst yet, Stapler or Paper Clip or Post It.

Destiny's Child: Say My Name

Monday, April 23, 2018

Shopping Bag

Yesterday, a local grocery chain was giving away a free reusable (made from recycled materials) environmentally friendly grocery bag with a purchase. I needed salt. So for .49 cents, I got a free bag. Usually, the large shopping bag costs $1.50. It was lovely and vibrant and so colorful! I liked it a lot. It was a limited time promotional item with limited stock on hand.

But as I was standing in line, I was shocked to hear the people in front of me wondering out loud, "Why are they giving away free bags today?"

A few guessed that maybe it was some sort of promotion or the store had too much stock they were getting rid of. I had to speak up: "Today is Earth Day. It's the store's way of reminding us to reduce, reuse, and recycle."

That got a few nods and I could see the light bulb go off in several people's heads. But a few still looked blanked, and that really surprised me! Are they really that ignorant of the significance of this day?

So I explained, "April 22 is designated Earth Day. It is a day dedicated to remind us of the importance of Earth, and we need to keep it clean, safe, and protected. Because it's the only home we have, the only planet we live on. If we ruin it, we ruin ourselves and destroy the only place our children can live."

And that finally got the rest of them to understand what the significance of the day was. At the very least, I hope they walk away thinking about how they affect our world, and how the world affects us.

We only have one planet we can live on. Earth is our home. And Earth is a beautiful, unique, and amazing world.

Let's do a better job of taking care of it. Because the truth is, life will go on, with or without humans. Just as other life forms have come and gone and were wiped out by changes in the environment. Let us stop polluting and ravaging the planet. Because honestly, we only poison and kill ourselves everytime we create hazardous wastes and pollute our world.

Life will go on. But humanity has no guarantee of survival and can only live on this one planet. Ruin it and we destroy ourselves.

Earth is our home. Let's keep it clean and make it a healthy, nurturing, and diverse place to live. Our Earth is a gorgeous and wondrous world.

You know what else is beautiful and precious? My free shopping bag. Its splendid artwork reminded me of Marc Chagall's whimsy and vibrancy, and it calls to mind Georges Seurat's charm and exquisite, alluring perspective.

Marc Chagall, Carmen (1967)

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884)

Today, we bid farewell to one of our coworkers transferring to another branch. He got a well deserved promotion. I made a pound cake and blueberry cupcakes to celebrate his time with us and congratulate him on his move. Those were all eaten up within fifteen minutes by coworkers.

I also got him some candy and made 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies (his fave) as a parting gift, along with a toy solar powered windmill, a reminder of how he enjoys vacationing in The Netherlands. I had put them in a gift bag.

I like him. He is a very valuable, productive contributor on team projects, and I wholeheartedly recommended (and encouraged) him to take the opportunity when it opened. He was always cordial, professional, and we had fun in and out of the office with him. He is a good friend, a rare kind, as I keep my work and personal lives separate. I was happy for him to make the move up (and out of the state) to bigger and better things. The new location was in his home state, so he'd be closer to his family, too.

This weekend, our friends and I plan to help him pack all his stuff in a container that will be transported to his new location. Then we're going to party with him. He has three weeks off before reporting to his new job. Next weekend is the big luau send off party we've planned for him. As today was his last official day at the office with us, my dept and I had a big Thank you, Congratulations, and Best Wishes party at work for him. He will be missed.

But before I handed over his gift, I heard him say wistfully how they ran out of the promotional Earth Day bags while he was standing in line at the grocery store. He really liked the new design and colors and amazing artwork. But the store was out of stock of the limited promotional item. And he would be gone by the time the store gets in new stock.

So I went to my car, took my brand new fantastic reusable shopping bag, and swapped it with the gift bag I had gotten to hold his gifts. He loved the candy and the cookies. The windmill made us all laugh. But he was really taken aback that he had gotten the shopping bag he wanted. And seeing him smile and happy made me feel good.

If you ever get the opportunity to make someone you care about happy, then do it. And if it helps spread the message and do a little bit to keep the Earth clean and protected, then go for it. Make every day count. Make the world a better place. Small acts matter, because they have a big impact.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Showdown and Showtime

Every two weeks starting after Tax Day (April 15), the company payroll specialist, one of the CPAs, takes a two week vacation. She's been doing this for two decades now. And this year, she's going to Bora Bora! Lucky her!

She has an office on our floor. She likes it. It's where she first started in the company and where she prefers to stay. The view is great and she enjoys our department. We count her as one of ours, even though she really is the head of finance. The bean counters are baffled by our protectiveness and claims over their leader. But she's been on our department longer than most of us have been at the company. And she's super nice!

A month before she leaves, Josie (as she likes to be called) sends out a company wide email and memo to let people know she will be going on vacation for two weeks. Otherwise, they'll have to seek out aid from the other CPA (an older senior statesman who moves at a snail's pace and likes to regale us with tales of the olden days), or wait til she gets back from vacation.

The older gentleman CPA, we call the Consul, because he is the most senior active partner in the company, and he was a Consul in the State Department, serving in Europe and Asia before helping create the company. He's more of a figurehead and mascot for the company, our own grandfather of sorts, telling us war stories and life in the old days in the distant past, when bread and gasoline used to cost less than a quarter.

You go to the Consul for history lessons and an entertaining tale or two during lunch or at company picnics and parties. He's a very pleasant older man to socialize with. But he still does things the old fashioned way: With a rolodex for his contacts and he actually handwrites receipts!

There are some important, critical responsibilities and actions that only Josie and the Consul are authorized to take. And Josie's got a plethora of experience that her younger department underlings lack when dealing with new, unfamiliar problems. If you want something done fast and solved quickly, you go to Josie. Josie is efficient, effective, and essential to our operations. Plus, she makes a fantastic angel food cake that she brings to our office parties. We love her!

Two weeks before she goes on vacation, Josie sends out a second email and memo reminder to anyone who might have payroll issues or managers needing guidance on budget or compensation to bring their concerns before she leaves. One week before departure, Josie sends out a last call, a final email and memo reminder to anyone with pay or finance issues to see her before she takes off.

And every year, on the first day of her vacation, my department gets flooded with panicking, stressed out people looking for Josie to sort out their payroll and budget issues, only to find out to their horror and disbelief that Josie is on vacation for two whole weeks. And No, we will NOT be giving you her cell number. She's on a well earned vacation to relax and rejuvenate and enjoy her time off.

It's become an annual entertaining drama for our department to see the chaos that happens every time Josie goes on vacation. It's like watching the salmon run in bear infested streams or herds of wildebeests migrating across the Serengeti, trying to avoid the lions and crocodiles and seeking safety and resources on the other side of the river, desperately looking for a safe place to cross.

Every year, we gird our loins and brace ourselves for the onslaught. Our manager disappears, claiming he has meetings to attend. After getting reamed a few years ago by frazzled coworkers seeking out Josie and finding her unavailable, they took out their frustrations on our hapless manager. He learned the hard lesson that if he couldn't help these people or get out of the way, he was liable to get trampled by the vicious stampede of angry, pissed off coworkers.

By default, as the unofficial dept spokesman; a highly competent devil's advocate; an impish rogue with a trustworthy and a somewhat semi respectable reputation; known for staying cool under pressure (and hilarious, inappropriate, wicked sense of humor), I am left to handle the crisis. And the rest of the department takes their cue from me and follows my lead.

We've gotten used to seeing all the drama and theatrics. And every year, we bear witness to the Kubler Ross Stages of Grief and Loss:

1. Denial

"What do you mean that Josie's on vacation?" is the first and most common response we get when we tell people that Josie is not here. It is often accompanied by the lost, deer caught in headlights, stupefied look on people's faces. We can see their brains struggling to comprehend that Josie is not there to solve their problem. It does not compute.

2. Anger

"Well then who's going to help me with my problem?" is the next most commonly asked question. Followed by dismay when told to take their concerns to the Consul. It means it's going to take time to solve their problems, possibly a few days or weeks even!

Now comes the venting and ranting: "How can she go on vacation at a time like this? That's just poor planning! Bad timing! Unprofessional!"

Most times, we ignore the rants but some days, we get very defensive about Josie, especially when middle managers and department heads start griping. Then we say in the nicest way possible: "Josie sent out three companywide emails and memos alerting people that she was going on vacation at this time. The first was a month ago. The second was two weeks ago. The final notice was last week."

It's our way of saying, "Bitch! Read your damn emails and memos! Don't be blaming Josie for your ignorance and laziness! If you've got time to waste posting on social media and watching porn and YouTube vids, then your sorry ass had plenty of time to read your frakking emails!"

And with out nicest smiles and through our expressions and raised eyebrow, we nonverbally communicate, "Listen here jackass, you've been at the company for more than five years now. You should know by now that Josie always goes on vacation at this time of year. You've got no excuses! Either you're incompetent or just plain stupid! Now get the f*ck out of my dept! We got work to do!"

A few disgruntled coworkers leave in a huff. But most stay, and we witness the next stage of grief:

3. Bargaining

Now they start trying to make deals. "If you can help me out, I'll be sure to get you..." Procurement offers first choice of new office furniture; IT promises faster computers that won't freeze; Maintenance promises to finally fix that temperamental A/C; Security will look the other way if we park in the highly desired spaces reserved for customers and employees given special recognition for valuable contributions or achievements.

We've had people try to bribe us with paid days off, tickets to sporting events, or even harder to resist: Free food and Drinks. A few even try batting their eyelashes and flirt with us to get their way. Unfortunately, the answer is always the same: See the Consul or wait for Josie to come back.

Most people leave. But a few actually progress to the next stage:

4. Depression.

We've actually had people cry when they realized that they weren't getting their money as soon as they'd like. The ones we feel sorry for, we offer the box of Kleenex we keep on hand for just this very occurrence. We take the time to escort them to the Consul on the top floor or to the finance department. Or we help them straighten out their paperwork for when Josie comes back. But people we genuinely feel sorry for are very few and far in between.

The majority are divas and selfish blowhards, inconsiderate, rude bastards that somehow have it in their idiotic heads that we ought to drop what we're doing and concentrate on solving their budget/payroll problems! Sorry, mofos! Not our department! You want compassion? Find a gawddam priest! We've got work to do and clients who need us! So f*ck off!

And finally, we see the last stage:

5. Acceptance

Most people who've made it this far in the grieving process have come to terms with their options: See the Consul or wait for Josie to come back. And that's usually the end. They leave to either see the Consul or come back when Josie returns to work.

Except there are a few idiots who repeat the cycle; they're too stubborn and too stupid to comprehend that we cannot help them with their payroll or budget issues.

Yesterday, I was coming back from lunch when I encountered the assistant manager from the Records Department giving one of my interns a hard time. The jackass could not get it in his thick skull that the only person who could help him with his budget issue was the Consul, not us! I was livid to see him be rude to one of my people!

I jumped in and stood between the raging a$$hole and my flustered intern. I took control of the situation and told that jackass in a clear, concise language that the ONLY person who can address his situation is the Consul on the top floor. And I would personally escort him up to see the Consul to solve his budget problem.

He grumbled something and beat a hasty retreat. But I was pissed off! I called his office number. He wasn't answering his company cellphone. So I left a message repeating what I had told him face to face, to see the Consul for his budget concern.

Then I sent an interoffice Memo through the Mail Dept. I repeated the same message: Please see the Consul regarding your budget concern. He is the only one who can assist you in this matter at this time.

I sent a copy of the memo his boss and to the Consul.

And finally, I wrote a certified company email addressed to him, his boss, and the Consul. I expressed that I was following up on his budget issue. Since I was not sure if he had received my voicemail, my memo, or understood my advice, I was writing him with explicit instructions and advice to see the Consul regarding his budget concerns. His boss and the Consul got the same email, to make them aware of the situation and my suggestion on how to resolve the issue.

Now his boss and the Consul are aware that the jackass has an issue that needs resolving, and that I have redirected his concerns to the right person. And he has to follow up. In sending the triple communications, I have made myself (and my department) look competent and helpful while at the same time, I put that jerk in a position to admit he has an issue, and he must take the (arduous, painful) path to see the Consul to fix his problems. He will either suffer an agonizing slow and frustrating process that will not resolve itself for a week or two. Or he risks looking like an idiot for not following my "helpful" advice.

That ought to show the bastard not to harass my people! I will go to war with the Records Dept to annihilate that rude jackass! It's this type of insane, over the top, vengeful action that makes me question my fitness to lead. It's why I avoid management positions. It's much more liberating and empowering to operate independently.

After yesterday's chaos and unpleasantness, the troops were looking at me for guidance today. Our manager was playing hide and seek again. I had informed the manager yesterday of what went down with the jerk from Records, and I assured the intern that he did a fine job. And I told all my interns that the next time some a$$hole starts to go off on them, just get a supervisor or manager to deal with the conflict.

No sooner had we opened our department, I noticed the Records boss and the regional director (the former Human Resources boss who relocated to corporate headquarters just a few months ago after accepting the promotion) entering my department. The regional director was touring the facility, following up on any concerns and discussing policy changes coming down the line.

My boss had disappeared. The troops looked at me for direction. Tension had risen in the room. Something big was about to go down! I was about to annihilate that mofo from Records! My bloodlust was rising and I was excited at the prospect of revenge!

I smiled and greeted the ladies. I welcomed them, and asked how we could help them. The director asked, "I understand there was an incident yesterday regarding a budget issue and some feathers might have gotten ruffled."

I raised my eyebrow. The director asked, "I just need some clarification. Doesn't Josie handle budget matters?"

I had a choice to make. I could crush that a$$hole from Records and put his head on a spike! The troops were eager for my reaction.

The director wondered, "Where is Josie anyway?"

At that moment, my office radio played a familiar and inspired tune:

The Outfield: Your Love

So I turned up the music and sang to the director:

"Josie's on a vacation far away
Come around and talk it over
So many things that I want to say
You know I like my girls a little bit older

I just want to use your love tonight"

And the troops appropriately responded:

"I don't want to lose your love tonight!"

And so my dept launched into a karaoke performance of The Outfield's Your Love.

By the time we were done singing, the tension had gone out of the room. The director suddenly realized that Josie was usually on vacation this time of year. And I had held the peace with the Records department. Both the director and Records boss enjoyed our impromptu musical performance and left laughing with big smiles on their faces. My troops felt very cheerful and uplifted.

By showing mercy and not throwing that jerk from Records under the bus (where he deserved to get repeatedly run over!), I had shown that I have taken the high road, ensuring my reputation as a fair and intelligent leader. And I was giving that jerk a rare second chance to be more professional when dealing with our department. He saves face, his boss saves face because she didn't promote an idiot, and the director (and my boss) can relax that I wasn't going on a vendetta to obliterate a coworker and cause an interdepartmental war (again!).

More importantly, my interns felt safe and secured that I would protect them and guide them. They will be better workers and have confidence in my ability to lead them. I maybe crazy and a bit wild; I have a wicked sense of humor. And I've a reputation for hellraising from time to time. But I'm also fair, merciful, and damn good at what I do. I'm the one who excels at handling our most challenging and demanding clients. It's why the company keeps me. I'm the kind of ally you want in your corner.

And the troops have reason to remain loyal, keep their faith in me, and trust me in times of crisis. We would use humor and wit to get through the rest of the two weeks Josie is on vacation. We are going to make our stressful environment a lot less challenging and more enjoyable.

I wish I could say that I had it all planned out. That I was going to be merciful and understanding. But honestly, I had no such plan. I had planned for a showdown!

It was by sheer coincidence, a cosmic turn of fate that led to that song playing on the radio at the right time to make me act the way I did. Music inspires and soothes the savage beast. Sometimes, when the universe provides you unexpectedly with a stage, you put on a show! And everyone loves a good show.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

J is Jubilant

I'm continuing my quest to complete the blogging alphabet challenge. The goal is to work through the alphabet, pick a letter, and write about five favorite things that begin with that letter. Some people have met the challenge in a year. I'm not one of those people. I've been working on this challenge for years now, and I'm not even halfway through the alphabet. But that's okay. I'm having fun making up a list of my five favorite things that begin with each letter. Some letters just require a bit more thinking than others. And today's letter is J. And J is Just Jubilant.

If you thought the first J word on my mind would've been Jesus, then you're right! But I'm not going to write about Jesus, because this isn't a religious blog. If you thought I was going to list Janet Jackson, you're also right! Because I love Jamming to Janet Jackson. My fave Janet songs are her dance songs: The Pleasure Principle, When I Think of You, Alright, If, Rhythm Nation, and That's the Way Love Goes.

I almost hurt myself trying that chair dance move. Thankfully, my mother wasn't around to see me try that move. I'd've gotten a spanking! Thank goodness the chair didn't break. I definitely would've gotten a spanking then! I was a hard headed brat!

I also love Jukeboxes and Joints that play dance and rock and pop music--party music! I love the Jive!

I'm not sure about Jazz, though. On a whole, I don't get it, especially when they start free styling. Sometimes, it gets to the point where it all sounds like a cacophony of random noise. Just to be clear, I do love Swing, which may or may not be a form of Jazz. All I know is, if it's got a fun beat that I can dance and groove to, then I love it! I may not know Jazz, but I do love Swing!

There are plenty of wonderful words that begin with the letter J, like Jolly, Jingle, Jewels, and Joy. I also like the words Jetsetter, Jump, Jackpot, and Jester. That leads me to my fave J characters:

Jack Frost: The Winter Sprite--Fun loving Rogue, Guardian of children, and Artist extraordinaire who paints lovely patterns of frost on windows and the landscape.

Jack Skellington: The Pumpkin King, the Patron Spirit of Halloween. Fantastic singer. Wicked style.

And Samurai Jack: Awesome time travelling samurai warrior, flung far into the future, on a mission to destroy an evil deity.

Speaking of samurais, Japan is on my list of fave countries I would like to see--Mount Fuji and Hokkaido look magnificent. I'd also like to visit Java (for the beauty, culture, and coffee). If I ever go to Jamaica, it would be for the beaches, the Jerked Chicken, and the bobsled team. Answering the comments, IDV made me realized that I forgot to add my fave J drink: Jagermeister!

I would like to visit Jordan (to see the ruins of Petra and sample the Levant cuisine). Speaking of cuisines, some of my fave J foods are Jellybeans, Juices, and Jerky. A little Jalapeno is fine, so long as it doesn't overpower the taste of food. I want to savor the flavor, not burn my mouth and ruin the food.

And good food is the perfect way to begin my five favorite words that begin with the letter J:

1. Jams and Jellies

I love jams and jellies--grape, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and orange are some of my faves. I also like apricot and apple and cherry. Normally, I use jam and jelly interchangeably. They are both made from fruit and sugar and heat. It's just the amount of fruit left over and consistency that differentiates jams from jellies:

Jelly: Is the gel like fruit juices from cooked, strained fruit that has a clear and firm consistency. Think of cranberry sauce from a can or grape jelly from a small single serving container.

Jam: Has pieces of chopped, crushed, pureed pieces of fruit with the juices, and it has a spoonable, chunky consistency.

Preserve: Has the most fruit, almost whole pieces, with the least gel like consistency.

Marmalade: Is a type of preserve, specifically made of whole citrus, skin and rinds included. It has a complex rich, bittersweet, and fragrant flavor.

Jam, Jelly, Preserve, or Marmalade, I love them all! With or without peanut butter, spread on top of scones, toast, or pancakes and waffles, jams and jellies are delightful treats that transform bread into dessert!

2. Jello

I love Jello! In the Old World (and former British penal colony countries), it's known as Gelatin. I love all flavors of jello, even the mysterious green kind! I love jello by itself. And with whipped cream or with ice cream, it's heavenly! I love it when jello is made into a rainbow of layers or comes in fun molds or shapes. I love pairing custard with jello.

What I DO NOT like is fruit pieces and fruit chunks in my jello! Sorry, pineapple, orange, and apple. Apologies to berries and peaches, too. Fruit just competes with the flavor and texture of jello. If I want a fruit, I'll eat a fruit! Just keep that fruit out of my jello!

My other fave way to have jello: Jello shots!

I love making jello shots for parties. I always warn people that the shots are a whole lot stronger than they taste--the jello covers up the alcohol taste. And for fun, I'll make jello in a pan or mold and use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes. Jello shots are for guests who have designated drivers, have alternate mode of transport, or are usually crashing over because they're too drunk to make it home or they pass out from too much fun.

3. Jasmine

I love the scent of jasmines, especially the ones that are really fragrant and bloom at night. Sweet, ethereal, enchanting. It is a magical scent. One hint, and I'm immediately transported away to a cool summer night; laughter and music in the air; dancing joyfully in the streets; reveling at the sight of that stunning smile; mesmerized by those gorgeous eyes; excited and electrified every time we touched; enjoying the company of new friends in a strange exotic land; living in the moment, feeling liberated, free, full of passion and bliss. It was absolute ecstasy. I know there is a heaven, because I lived it that night.

4. Jokes

I love funny jokes. Dirty jokes, family friendly Dad or Uncle jokes, silly little kids jokes, even puns are fun! If it makes me laugh, I love it! Sometimes, the jokes are racy and controversial, but so long as they aren't mean spirited, I'll laugh along to it.

From the hilarious and awesome site Scandinavia and the World. At

You always tease the one you love. And you have to learn to laugh at yourself, because it helps you grow and be a better person when you understand how others see you.

A sense of humor is essential. Life isn't always easy. Sometimes it can be awful and hard. But if you can still laugh after a good cry, you're going to be all right. Laughter reminds us that there is joy in this world, and we all deserve to be happy.

5. Justice League

Superman, Wonder Woman, The Martian Manhunter, Batman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Green Arrow. They were among the first superheroes that I loved reading about in comics. The Justice Friends rocked, and in their later development, The Justice League was awesome!

Back then, comics were a simple good guys versus bad guys, saving the world from destruction. And for a little kid just learning to read, that was more than enough. I totally bought into the belief that together, we are stronger, and that the strong have a duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. With great power comes great responsibility.

As I got older, comics became more complex. Now there were shades of grey on moral responsibility and who decides what's right or wrong. I started venturing into darker, more graphic and violent comics when I became a teen. It was startling and exciting and flabbergasting reading some of the most gruesome and horrific plots and vile characters ever put on print. I was dumbfounded at reading mature themes.

But even with all the explosion in the variety and complexity of comics, I still gravitated towards the simple, original Justice League--none of that multiple dimensions or alternate universe stuff. And the Justice League cartoon did the best job of telling a riveting story about power, responsibility, accountability, and balancing freedom, liberty, and justice.

To this day, I prefer the original Justice League run over the movies and other incarnations since. There's a spirit and essence in the original run that the later movies and versions do not have. The movies were entertaining, but they were different from the original run, and that's okay.

My fave Justice League heroes were Aquaman and The Flash. Aquaman, because I love the water, and I think it'd be cool to control the water and talk to water animals. Also, you can breathe underwater, swim fast, and surf whenever you wanted!

I like The Flash because he was funny! And smart! And he was fast! He was definitely the most resilient and laid back! He was cool!

And there it is, my five favorite things that begin with the letter J. These are the things that make me feel Jocund--cheerful and lighthearted. And it has been a Jovial experience making this list. What are your favorite J words? I would like to know!

Related Links

A list
B all that you can B
What you C is what you get, the beginning
What you C is what you get, the middle
What you C is what you get, the end
D lighted
F is for Fun
G is Great
H is Heavenly
I is Iconic
J is Jubilant
Brought to you by the letter S
U doing that thing U do
Zing Zing Zoom

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I is Iconic

I'm continuing on my goal to finish the alphabet list challenge. The goal is to work through the alphabet, pick a letter, then write about five favorite things that begin with that letter.

An today's letter is I, and I is Iconic. There are many Incredible words that begin with I. I like Intrepid, Interesting, Intriguing, and Independent. I also like Innocence, Idealistic, and Iridescent. I love Intelligence and Illumination and Illustrious.

Sometimes, I'm Impulsive, Introspective, and feel better when I follow my Instincts. Sometimes, I can be Inquisitive, Imaginative, and Incorrigible. I highly value Ingenuity and Integrity. And I'm very fond of Intercourse. It's Important to have dialogue and debates when Interacting with others. It makes for Invigorating Interjections.

I love the sound of the words Iota, Isosceles, Ingénue, and Idiosyncrasy. I especially love hearing the Spanish soccer announcer call out "Inglaterra!", which sounds much more exotic and mysterious than England.

Which brings me to the places I'd like to see that begins with I: Ireland, Italy, India, and Iceland.

I used to want to see Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Then I saw a very disturbing and disgusting report during the Rio 2016 Olympics that revealed that the beach water is full of high levels of "fecal coliform bacteria"--That's crap! Poop! The city sewer dumps directly into the sea! Why? Brazil? Why? I don't care how picturesque a beach looks or how many sexy people are sunbathing if the beach and water are full of crap! It's just a big old toilet! An outhouse! Blah!

I still shudder at the thought of swimming in Rio ever since I saw that disturbing pollution report. And now, every time I hear that famous classic song, The Girl from Ipanema, I cringe and think, "I hope she washed her hands and took a shower and didn't go to that filthy, dirty beach!"

But let's mentally bleach our thoughts and move on to more pleasant and better things.

I'm a little indecisive about Israel. I'd love to see it for the important historical value. But I fear I may not like the politics and religious conflicts and violence that seem so common there. I still want to see it though. The remnants of the Temple and the Site of where Jesus was crucified and the location of his resurrection are interesting.

But honestly, I want to see The Tomb of Abraham, located in the city of Hebron. Also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the Cave of the Patriarchs is the burial site of three of the Old Testament's notable figures/couples: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah. I just want to see Abraham's resting place. The others are just a big bonus.

And I also want to see and experience the modern city of Tel Aviv. Yes, yes, Jerusalem and Nazareth and Bethlehem would be on my list, but I love Mediterranean beaches, and I also want to see the Dead Sea and the River Jordan. And I would love to sample the local cuisine.

I have a few fave foods that begin with I, like Icebox cakes and Icebox pies and Irish Cream. I also love Iced Tea and Iced Coffee, so long as they're sweet. I don't understand how people can drink tea or coffee black. That's just harsh and bitter and awful to me!

But food is a good way to begin my list of top five favorite things that begin with the letter I:

1. Ice Cream

I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream!

I love ice cream! By itself, in a cone, part of a sundae, a banana split, an ice cream cake, or even as a milkshake. Ice cream is a sweet dream come true! It is my guilty pleasure. I once ate two quarts of pistachio ice cream by myself. The power had gone out and the ice cream was melting. I don't like to waste food, so I ate it all. It was delicious! And it was also the only thing that I ate that day.

My favorite flavor is Neapolitan--the one with the vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors packaged side by side. I also love pistachio and the cookies and cream flavors. Actually, I love all flavors, except for mint chocolate--it reminds me too much of toothpaste.

I'm sorry but mint belongs in toothpaste and mouth washes, NOT ice cream! Chocolate is better on its own. It don't need no partner nor backup singers to shine! And while we're talking about things that DON'T belong with ice cream, add to the No list: Frozen Yogurt and Sherbet. Frozen yogurt and sherbet are NOT ice cream! Frozen Yogurt and Sherbet are delightful frozen treats.

Things that do belong in the ice cream category: Gelato? Yes. Gelato is rich and so smooth! Frozen custard? Always! Frozen custard is the best tasting type of ice cream! Ice cream is a treat. I like ice cream all year, any time, no matter what the season, even in winter! And vanilla ice cream is my favorite creamer/topping for my coffee, and I love it on top of warm apple pie or a hot waffle! And ice cream is amazing on cake!

2. Iguazu Falls

I want to see the Iguazu Falls, located between Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, the largest waterfall system in the world! There's just something magical and enthralling about waterfalls. It would be an adventure just trying to get there to that remote location.

But as beautiful and stunning the jungle and waterfalls might be, I have to keep in mind that this is the wild, and there is danger everywhere. I've got to watch out for bullet ants, poisonous spiders, and deadly vipers. Then there are the ferocious piranhas, anacondas, caimans, and jaguars. I have to be sure not to fall into the water or get lost in the jungle. Better yet, I must surround myself with slow moving tourists, the kind the predators go after while I run away really fast.

But worst of all has to be the world's most vicious predator: Candiru, the tiny catfish that swims up your urethra and lodges itself inside your bladder! That's right! This fish swims up your pee hole and lodges itself inside of your genitals! This parasite is often found feeding inside other fishes' gills. It feeds on blood! So it'll probably feed on the blood vessels inside your jewels! Gah!

But even with all these dangers, I still want to go see Iguazu Falls. I want to witness and experience nature's majesty and awesomeness. I just have to remember not to fall in the water and to wear a spring suit to block off critical body access to any hungry candiru looking for a home and a meal! Go somewhere else, Candiru! These genitals are for authorized personnel only!

3. Islands

I love islands, especially the beautiful, warm tropical ones with great beaches and stunning vistas. My favorites are the ones full of gorgeous landscapes, vibrant flowers, delicious fruits and veggies, and are full of dazzling wildlife with no deadly nor poisonous predators present at all.

Some of the most magnificent places I've been to are delightful islands with stunning beaches and dazzling waterfalls. They're the special places where I've witnessed such glorious sunrises and beheld such riveting sunsets. I've seen some of the most wondrous starry nights on remote, ravishing islands.

I've had an amazing time enjoying the waterfalls, hiking through jungles, trekking up mountains, and playing in the surf and sand. And I love the laid back island atmosphere and the welcoming, wonderful locals. Terrific tropical islands are a precious paradise to me.

When I can't escape to a tropical island in real life, I like to close my eyes and pretend that I am on a tropical beach island getaway. It helps to set the mood by having umbrella drinks on hand and island music playing. I'd sit in a beach chair, sip a cool drink, listen to music, and close my eyes and imagine myself on an enchanting tropical island paradise. It's a fantastic way to relax when I can't do the real thing.

4. Indiana

I love Indiana! Jones, not the state. Truthfully, I consider the original Indiana Jones trilogy to be awesome! That fourth sequel was a horrific and gawd awful mess that is best forgotten! So I will not speak of that atrocity here.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) got my attention. I was hooked the moment Indiana Jones swapped that golden idol and triggered the huge boulder booby trap that chased him out of the temple. The use of the Biblical Ark of the Covenant was very imaginative.

The Temple of Doom (1984) had my fave Indiana character, Short Round!

He cracked me up throughout the whole movie. That feast scene is more hilarious with Short Round's and Willie's faces, their reaction to the food.

Also, they made riding in a mine cart look like fun.

The Last Crusade (1989) is also hilarious. I especially love the depiction and dynamics of Indiana Jones and his father. Also, we get to see some awesome Indiana history, like how he got his style. I like that the story took a Biblical theme, combined it with history--ancient and recent--and ran with it to create an entertaining story. The shots of the desert and ruins are fantastic!

Indiana Jones made being an academic (and archaeologist) really cool! After watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, my two brothers and I went hunting for ancient temples and ruins and hidden treasure. Didn't find any, but we still had a blast searching the woods. And we'd play Indiana Jones, treasure hunter, for many years to come.

One of my favorite things to do while babysitting my nieces and nephews was to introduce them to Indiana Jones. Then I'd watch them have fun pretending to hunt for treasure or escaping booby trapped ruins.

As for the state of Indiana, I'm not sure what to say or think. Not that I have anything against the state of Indiana. I've passed through once on my way to Chicago. The traffic was just awful! I don't really know what there is to see in Indiana. Yes, it is the home of the Colts, and if I recall correctly, The Jackson Five lived there. And The Middle sitcom takes place in Indiana.

Of course, there is the famous Indianapolis 500 car race. But to be honest, I'm not really excited to see cars going round and round in circles for hours on end. That just sounds boring. If I want to see cars racing, I want to see them actually race on real roads through cities, like the Monaco Grand Prix, or off road, like the Baja 1000 in the desert.

But if the Indianapolis 500 ever incorporated some changes, like adding a few new super vehicles and flames and made their drivers and cars more fashionable:

I'd definitely watch that race!

5. Itinerant

It means Traveler or Traveling from place to place, wandering, roaming, and roving.

It's a great big world, and I want to see it all. It's fun and exciting to see new places, meet new people, try new foods, experience different cultures, and trek in new landscapes. I grew up on the remote coast, a small rural village on the frontier, in the middle of nowhere. As soon as I found out that there was a much bigger world out there, I couldn't wait to leave the farm and head out to see that big world.

And I've done it. I've been living and exploring the big world for a long time now. And it's still pretty amazing. I've seen some spectacular sights, felt some astounding things, experienced some extraordinary places, and met many fascinating people. And there's still so much more to see and explore.

But the biggest surprise for me is the realization that I'm not just looking for adventure anymore. I'm actually looking for something special, something that feels right, something wonderful.

I didn't realize it back then, because I was too young, too rash, too blinded to realize that the place where I grew up was pretty special and amazing in its own way. I didn't appreciate it then. I didn't know how until I saw the big world and developed a frame of reference, something to compare home to.

And now that I'm older, and hopefully much wiser, I realize now that there really is no place like home. And I was very lucky and blessed to have grown up in a small, rural, remote coastal community. Home was (and still is) a very beautiful and relaxing place.

When I first left home, I was still a teen, eager to see the big cities and check out the big world. I soaked up as much of the urban and local culture as I could. I didn't tell anyone about my small village upbringing, though it was obvious from my naivety and ignorance of urban life that I wasn't from the city.

Nowadays, I'm pretty proud of my rural roots. I gladly acknowledge that I grew up as a farm boy in a rural, frontier village. And I'm also a beach boy from the remote coast who still revels in pristine blue waters and loves the fresh mountain air.

When I first moved to the city, I was lucky to have met some urban friends who took me under their wing and taught me to be street smart. And I learned how to survive and thrive in the big city from them. And I've adapted those skills and used them to explore the bigger world and travel to far off places that I had once only read about in books and magazines, or seen in movies and on tv. The world is such a magnificent and wondrous place. And I want to see and experience it all.

And there it is, my top five favorite things that begin with the letter I, the things that have left an Impression and that I find are Important and have an Impact. What about you? What are your five favorite things that begin with the letter I? Inquiring minds want to know!

Related Links

A list
B all that you can B
What you C is what you get, the beginning
What you C is what you get, the middle
What you C is what you get, the end
D lighted
F is for Fun
G is Great
H is Heavenly
I is Iconic
Brought to you by the letter S
U doing that thing U do
Zing Zing Zoom