T + W + T = TNT (Words are Weapons) by G. R. Hambley (BLW Contributor)

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Our TOOLS, our WEAPONS, and our TOYS are all the same, words.

Everyone knows how deep the spoken word can cut. A word spoken in the heat of argument can be forgiven but it never gets forgotten. Most of us have had at least a couple of those heated word instances in our lifetimes on both the giving and receiving side. Sometimes even both at the same time, the war with words.

Yeah I know, and war of words is different so let’s just keep it at war with words. I will give you close encounters of the worst kind as an alternative.

Out here in the Blogosphere, the word only happens with purpose and on purpose. You have the ability to back out of what you put down in words. Thoughtless just doesn’t apply because the writer has the ability to take the bullet out of the chamber before pulling the trigger to post.

Some of us writers even play in the same sandbox together. We play in the Blogosphere. We play hard, we play irreverent. We play nice and we play not to hurt. We play with conscience and understanding.

Sometimes we hurt without intent. We don’t need to be told that we hurt or stung in so many words either. We see it in the responses of the people we play with. I’m not talking about reading tone in to email. We perceive hurt and we fix it, fast. Sometimes we are wrong about what we’ve perceived and we learn as we communicate with each other.

There are those professing communication skills I’ve seen on a certain specific site that could learn much from spending time at WordPress. They might even discover originality and move away from mindlessly rehashing quotes by others in their attempt to appear sensitive and profound. Maybe they are sensitive but the lack of originality and the frequency with which the works of others are spit out, seriously makes me wonder about their motivation.

There are bullies and manipulators in our sandbox just like anywhere and everywhere else.

I have taken a few to task on what I read in their post. I have been questioned a couple times on items in my posts by people looking for clarification. I have not been taken to task and I do my best with what I write to ensure that me being taken to task never happens. That doesn’t mean I’m not of opinion because I am. It does mean I am considering and considerate.

I am happy, and not, to say I’ve taken more to task off that other certain specific site than I have at WordPress. In some ways that seems and feels backwards. By the nature of the two sites you’d almost expect there’d be more reason for a full blown snark on or addendum snark on than there would be at a site that is business centric.

Something I never forget or overlook is that it is real people and not fairies or elves putting the posts up to be read.

As we move around in our sand box we learn about our playmates. You’d better learn it or you’ll find yourself off playing by yourself. Hey give me marks for not saying, “Playing with yourself”. True, it is the same but way different and the different would be the irreverent. The double entendre has its place just not here at this time.

Some of us, and I include myself in this and are overly sensitive. We’ll read things in to responses or commentary that simply isn’t there. Better to err to the side of caution and clarify if you have any question.

Tools with which we craft our tales, tribulations, hopes and dreams and oh so very much more. There are some damn good crafters out here. Some I follow by reader and a few I follow by email notification. Not only are we more fun than television, we are far more entertaining!

I truly wish I had time to get to more of the pieces by my fellows.

Weapons of mind destruction are at our fingertips. We all believe when we let loose that we use our powers for good. We can be incendiary. It is those that read us that determine the validity of what has been unleashed.

Toys we have been blessed with the greatest toys known to humankind, words.

Sharp minds, fertile imaginations and real feeling shape the words. The Blogosphere is a fine place to find reality and escape “Business Psychosis” too.

Check out other great articles from G. R. Hambley

The King & I by Ryan Fu (Happy Birthday Michael Jackson)

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Driving around in L.A. I haven’t got anything good for the last couple of weeks wondering if I lost my touch. Then a call comes in and I know it’s a tip for a celebrity but this one was different. It was a tip for the Michael Jackson. I loose my shit and put the metal to the pedal, running through red lights definitely breaking a couple of traffic laws. I had to drive like a maniac because this wasn’t a regular celebrity I was about to shoot. This was King of Pop.

The media hasn’t seen him since his last court tribulations, so I wondered how this is going to turn out. I never thought I would shoot an icon like Michael but you get to do and meet interesting people when you do this profession. And yes, it is a profession. Even though a lot people would say it’s not a real job but it is. It’s like any other job, you have to get up everyday and perform or you won’t succeed.

The tip for Michael was at the world famous street of Melrose Ave. He was supposed to be in a high-end unisex store with friends. I got the confirmation from my partner as he gets to the location. I pull up to the spot as I see my partner already in position, taking frames of the King as people start to gather in front of the store. I immediately park my truck in front of store and excitingly get ready to shoot the legend.

I push through the small crowd to my partner as he tells me he already got frames inside but he wants me to go short and flash on the exit. I get my mind and gear ready to meet the icon. The small crowd begins to move out of the way of the store then I see him with a stylish hat with big dark sunglass along with a green veil covering his face. I couldn’t actually see his face but I knew this was the guy with all the hits I listened to on the radio growing up.

I was in awe.

But I had a job to do, so I put my emotions to the side and move into position. I start firing off shots along with my partner. We get Jackson from every angle imaginable as the King starts to cover his face with his hands. I thought it was kinda odd that he didn’t have any bodyguards with him maybe because he wanted to feel normal. For a second, I felt sad that we were ruining that moment for him, but we had a job to do and we were going to accomplish it.

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We shot Michael all the way down the street but we still didn’t get a clear shot of his face so we had to continue on with job. But now there was a huge crowd of Michael Jackson fans surrounding him, even a group of black dudes that looked the black version of the Village People with their cowboy hats and leather chaps. I try to get closer to Mike but the Village People felt protective of the King, pushing my partner and I as one of the cowboys grabs my camera but that was expected because people love their celebrities. But what I didn’t expect is this huge megastar to help me out as the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, tells the cowboys to let go of my camera, telling everyone,

“Peace. Peace everyone,” shaking my hand.

The King spoke and we listened.

For a second we all stop and look at each other in amazement. Then circus continued as we shot Michael with the Village People all the way to his SUV. He gets into his car but before he leaves he graciously signs and greets all his fans. I stopped shooting looking at the man who was cool enough to stop for his fans, but in the corner of my eye I see my partner sneaking to the back of Michael’s SUV.

I knew was about to go down. My British partner was going to pull the “How’s you’re father” move on Mike. I had no control for what was about to go down as my partner races to the other side of the car while Michael was signing autographs for his fans. My partner opens the quickly opens the door and gets off a couple of frames, then the car pulls off. I see my partner putting his hands in victory, showing me we actually got a frame of his face. A wave of emotions come crushing towards me as I felt great that I got to shoot Michael and we actually got a clear shot of his face but on other side I felt sad that I ruined his day.

Maybe we didn’t ruin his day but we definitely affected it. Sorta like the way his songs affected all of us. Michael made us feel like we can be something more and achieve something greater. I didn’t feel great that I affected his day but it was amazing to meet him. I got a job to do, which sometimes it sucks but I have to do it because it’s my job. It definitely didn’t suck to day hang out with Michael Jackson. It wouldn’t be the last time I would run into the King of Pop.

RYAN FU

Unknown

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Money on my Mind – (Investing) Differences between an IRA, Roth IRA vs 401K – Pros & Cons and Tax Benefits

This is a video describe what an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is. We cover the basics of a Roth IRA a traditional IRA and a 401k plan. In this video we go over the pros and cons of a roth ira and a traditional ira and compare them to each other. We explain the tax benefits or tax savings that can be taken advantage of by investing in an IRA (Individual Retirement Account)

Why Your Brain Needs Sleep & Science Can’t Explain Why We Sleep (Science is Awesome)

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Scientists have just discovered a new, very important reason for you to get a good night’s sleep. For the first time, they’ve actually been able to see the brain physically cleaning itself while you’re catching Zzz’s! Anthony explains how this cerebral garbage disposal system works.

Why Your Brain Needs Sleep

Science Can’t Explain Why We Sleep

Forget Me Not – Aaliyah (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001)

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Aaliyah Dana Haughton was an American singer, dancer, actress, and model. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 10, she appeared on the television show Star Search and performed in concert alongside Gladys Knight. At age 12, Aaliyah signed with Jive Records and her uncle Barry Hankerson‘s Blackground Records. Hankerson introduced her to R. Kelly, who became her mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. The album sold three million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). After facing allegations of an illegal marriage with R. Kelly, Aaliyah ended her contract with Jive and signed with Atlantic Records.

Aaliyah worked with record producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott for her second album, One in a Million; it sold 3.7 million copies in the United States and over eight million copies worldwide. In 2000, Aaliyah appeared in her first film, Romeo Must Die. She contributed to the film’s soundtrack, which spawned the single “Try Again“. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 solely on airplay, making Aaliyah the first artist in Billboard history to achieve this goal “Try Again” earned Aaliyah a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocalist. After completing Romeo Must Die, Aaliyah filmed her role in Queen of the Damned. She released her third and final album, Aaliyah, in July 2001.

On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah and eight others were killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas after filming the music video for the single “Rock the Boat“. The pilot, Luis Morales III, was unlicensed at the time of the accident and had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system. Aaliyah’s family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Blackhawk International Airways, which was settled out of court. Aaliyah’s music has continued to achieve commercial success with several posthumous releases. Aaliyah sold 52 million records worldwide. She has been credited for helping redefine contemporary R&B and hip hop, earning her the nicknames “Princess of R&B” and “Queen of Urban Pop”. She is listed by Billboard as the tenth most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years and 27th most successful R&B artist in history.

Credit: Wikipedia

Aaliyah – One In A Million

Motivation Monday – You were meant for MORE!!!

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What’s that Smell? by Lovely, Pure, and Write (BLW Contributor)

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As I shuffled into the communal women’s bathroom in the early morning hours with my shorts, shirt and undergarments clutched in a ball, I began to wonder if this had been a good decision. I had thoroughly showered the day before I had arrived knowing that the facilities would be limited and crowded. The information sheet that was handed out at orientation emphasized that we were swearing over our lives, and our toiletry and solidarity needs would be at a minimum for the week. In essence, it was like we were transported to a women’s prison just for signing up to be a camp volunteer.   I realized we were not out in the woods eating sticks and scrounging for the biggest and softest leaf to use for private matters, but the buzzing fluorescent light overhead that was blinding me while the sun slept reminded me that I was not at my peaceful home.

I observed that some women were totally unfazed and seemed to be enjoying the chit chatter as they went about their business while the rest of us were wondering who had actually coerced us into doing this.  When a stall became available, I slipped in and began to figure out how I was going to get dressed without letting any of my items touch the dirty sticky floor.  I delicately draped clothes over the toilet roll dispenser and carefully placed my Ziploc bag of toothpaste, brush and makeup onto the top of the toilet tank. I made the decison to keep my flip flops on as I proceeded into doing a flamingo type stance to slip out of my pajamas and into my shorts. One foot remained in the sandal while the other was ever so carefully removed and found its way into a pant leg.  I was determined not to let skin come into contact with the ground.

I heard the room go pleasantly quiet as the ‘earliest of early risers’ chipped and chirped their way out to gather for breakfast.  They must have all jumped out of bed at once in a pack.  My ears were glad for their departure.  It was just me, the stall and whoever else had decided to get up at a normal rate of speed.

“What’s that smell? What’s that smell? What’s that smell?” “What’s that smell?”

A shrill woman’s voice echoed off the cement walls.   I paused with my head not yet through the neck hole of my assigned camp tee shirt.  It seemed to be coming from a stall two over from mine. I froze in place.

Who would ask such a question so loudly in a public bathroom?  Doesn’t one know that when in such a place that there may be scents that one may not like, but according to all good social graces we refrain from shouting out our nasal disturbance? Who would be so bold as to announce her disdain in a space that is set apart for such matters to be settled without judgment? It wasn’t like someone was in a restaurant or grocery store inappropriately letting gases fly.  We were in a restroom where this type of thing was to be expected.  This was unacceptable behavior that lacked decorum ranking right up there with yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

There was a frantic flush and the stall door crashed open.  Next, came the sound of soft soled shoes running for the exit.  Now, fully dressed, I slowly made my appearance to see other doors opening and all of us looking at each other for answers.

“What was that all about?” A lady with a shower cap peeked out from behind the curtain. “I heard screaming.”

All of us were thinking the same thing. Had a detestable odor sent a woman fleeing for the door? Was she outside sucking in as much fresh oxygen as she could?  I sniffed the air to test the possibility that I was missing something.  I detected only the usual fare of pink hand sanitizer soap.

After a few moments of this, we all resumed our activity wondering what had just happened.

“Ladies, I apologize.” I glanced up as I was about to put paste on my toothbrush.

No one said a word.  The silence was more silent than ever.

“I had an outburst earlier, and I’m sorry if I frightened any of you. But, my brownies were burning!”

I noticed the crooked hairnet that held all her grayish strands in place and her white apron had smudges of yellow batter on it. Her face was red and her breathing heavy.

Only one individual was brave enough to ask,

“Your brownies?”

“Yes. The kitchen is right below here. The oven is quite old, and I had forgotten that I had put a batch of brownies in.  When I was in here earlier I could smell them burning. I ran down the stairs into the basement and got to them just in time.”

There was a collective “oh” as we all realized she was the resident cook for the camp.

Sometimes things aren’t always as they appear. We are led strongly by our five senses which influence our decisions and opinions.  In some cases such as this, we can jump to a false conclusion because we are not aware of all the facts. Once explained, it all made sense.  I went from thinking she was rude to feeling glad that her baked goods went unscorched.

How quickly we can change our minds about something when given a new perspective. I have been attempting to utilize this skill on areas of my life that aren’t necessarily to my liking. I have found that even though I may still not  be excited about the circumstances, I can handle them better with insight.

And where do I gain this understanding? In the quiet moments while waking in the morning, I begin to mentally ask questions and then write down what I hear. Often, words of comfort and encouragement float in to remind me that I am not alone.  Passages such as: ‘Walk by faith, not by sight, ‘ gently drift into my thought process. It’s really not so much the words but the feeling of peace that calms my spirit so I can get out of bed and deal with whatever lies before me.  Knowing that I can call on guidance anytime for clarity makes life more carefree, leaves less room for error and makes jumping to the wrong idea happen less often.  I would rather go through life equipped with the knowledge that something is happening for a reason versus wandering around confused and feeling hopeless.

Still, there are those few startling phrases that one never really grows accustomed to..such as.. “What is this wet spot?” “What did I just step in?” “Is that barf?” And..”What is that smell?”

Check out other articles from Lovely, Pure, and Write

Artsy Fartsy – Banksy’s new theme park Dismaland

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Welcome to Dismaland, the latest exhibition from Banksy, the art world’s favorite agent provocateur. Billed as a “bemusement park” and modeled after Disneyland, it’s a warped vision of the so-called “happiest place on Earth”. Officially opening to the public on Saturday, August 22 (it’s open to locals only tomorrow), it’s Banksy’s largest exhibition to date and the 4000 allotted daily tickets, priced at less than $5, are expected to sell out fast.

Would you like to go to Banksy’s new theme park?

Blurred Lines (Intro) by The Band Wagon Life (BLW Contributor)

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I want so much  more out of this life that can’t be bought, and I’m sure, hope, I’m not alone.

Something as simple as a smile from a stranger on the streets is hard to come by. People making sure their security system is activated at the sound of a troubled neighbor. The homeless man that is spat on because he’s already ‘dirty’. Is this the world we want to live in?

What scares me is not the thought that I might never have those priceless needs fulfilled, but the fact that nothing is sacred anymore!. Sophistication, Integrity, Dignity, Self-Respect .. All gone. Why? Because they said so and made you think it’s “evolution” (therefore making it your fault). Well who are THEY?

We live in a world that has no empathy, guilt nor remorse. It’s impulsive and manipulates as well as charms its habitants with the sole intention of getting what it wants. All those are what science has said to be the traits of a sociopath. Those are the values we are governed by. That unfortunate truth is what bundles up our tomorrows into one big yesterday, nothing more than a never ending path of blurred lines, the ongoing dilema of distinguishing black from white due to so many superficial nonsense wanting to do the thinking for us. “Same shit different day” is a way of thought that has been leaned on by many merely to mask the uncertainties of the cruelties of what humanity has become. Our self confidence bruised because the next person’s intentions might be fuelled by the wrongest of principles. So we keep us caged because we would rather jump on a massive bandwagon jam-packed with sheep than to expose what is really within us. We stop when THEY yell “cut” out of the fear of not being accepted. Everyday we allow several factors to strong-arm us into unknowingly compromising a part of ourselves, and eventually we become no better than siri waiting on her next command or a button on phone.

Most people have the same dream now .. and that dream is FAME, by any means necessary. When back in the day ppl just strived to BE. LIVE. Most of us strive to follow now. If she’s not trying to be like Nicki Minaj, he’s doing all he can to be like Kim Kardashian. But do you ever stop and think who the shepard is? Or are your insecurities more important than your values, thoughts and dreams? How many of the tasteless trends have you been apart of hyping but did not really care about one bit? Knowing you’re right but being convinced you’re not is a very dangerous yet very real path we’re being led on, and that is what is detrimental to the future of our morals, hence race. Yes we must all find a middle ground in order to peacefully live on this earth together, but when you don’t know you’re compromising yourself? Beliefs? Values?….. That’s when it’s time to open up your sight, sound, smell, touch and taste to the world around you.

Just because you do not govern anyone else does not not make you a leader. We are all leaders of ourselves and are responsible for what we afflict on others.

Do not be fooled by the illusion of choice.

Understand it. Examine it. Weigh it. BELIEVE IN IT .. Then, and only then should you claim it as yours!

Check out other great articles from The Band Wagon Life

Weekend Inspiration – Quick Reminder

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