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

Happy National Lemon Juice Day – Benefits of Lemon Juice

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Health Benefits of Lemon

Various health benefits of lemon are explained below:

Indigestion and Constipation: Lemon juice helps to cure problems related to indigestion and constipation. Add a few drops of lemon on your dish (take care, as lemon does not go well with milk), and it will aid in digestion.

Fever: Lemon juice can treat a person who is suffering from a cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fevers by increasing perspiration.

Dental Care: Lemon juice is also frequently used in dental care. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the area of a toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain.

Weight Loss: If a person drinks lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can help reduce body weight.

Respiratory Disorders: Lemon juice assists in relieving respiratory problems and breathing problems, such as its ability to soothe a person suffering from an asthma attack. Lemon, as a rich rich source of vitamin C, helps in dealing with more long-term respiratory disorders.

Skin Care: Lemon juice, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can also cure problems related to the skin. Lemon juice can be applied to reduce the pain of sun burn, and it helps to ease the pain from bee stings as well. Lemon juice can be applied on the skin for the treatment of acne and eczema. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Drinking lemon juice mixed with water and honey brings a healthy glow to the skin.

Credit: Organic Facts

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.

———————————————

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

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Thankful Thursdays – Grateful for more Opportunities

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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

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

Thankful Thursdays – Be Grateful you can still Fight… Do not go gentle into the Good Night (Dylan Thomas)

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Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

AUTHOR NOTES

DT’s father was going blind when DT wrote this poem. The dying of the light is a reference to darkness and being blind.

RYAN FU

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Why everyone (including men) need feminism today? By Our Little Discoveries (BLW Contributor)

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The world today is in dire need of more feminist icons- both men and women. It needs more people like you and me to come forth and identify ourselves as a feminist and conduct open dialogue about feminism. It is heartening to see more and more personalities openly declaring themselves as feminist. Emma Watson made a speech at the UN about feminism and was appointed as the UN Women Goodwill ambassador. Farhan Akhtar, prominent Bollywood personality was recently appointed the first male ambassador for UN Women. Celebrities like Lorde, and recently Taylor Swift declared themselves as feminists, and youtubers like Jack Howard and Laci Green have talked about feminism.

It is very good that more people are embracing and openly talking about feminism because without proper icons for it, the feminist movement was being misconstrued as a movement for radical extremists targeted against the male sex. Dear reader, please do note that this is not true; and in this article I will try and prove that to you.

Feminism, by definition, is the belief in the equality of men and women. It is striving for equal political, social and economic rights for both the sexes all around the world. They question gender based assumptions and stereotypes- why a girl child isn’t sent to school when a boy child is, why women are taught to aspire to marriage while men are not taught the same, why men are expected not to show emotion and to talk about women as if they were objects- and if they do not do so, it threatens their masculinity? Why young boys play with cars and chemistry sets while young girls are supposed to play with Barbie dolls, why women receive less pay than men, why men’s issues(like sexual assault on males) are trivialized while, in the same case, women’s issues are highlighted?  In USA, it was feminists who fought to change the federal definition of rape to include male victims.  

 These are just some examples of what feminists fight for. I hope it is clear now that feminism is a movement for both men and women. I believe that as 21st century citizens of the world, everyone should believe in the notion of equality- and if you believe in equality, you are a feminist- clear and simple. Then why is there still a stigma attached to it?

Check out the rest of the article @ https://ourlittlediscoveries.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/why-everyone-including-men-need-feminism-today/

Emma Watson to United Nations: I’m a feminist

Happy National Watermelon Day!!! – The Amazing Health Benefits of Watermelon

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Summer is the time to indulge in fresh, succulent juicy melon when they are in season and deliver an array of nutrients, vitamin and minerals. It is also incredibly hydrating (up to 92% water!) and is naturally low-fat. Make this melon a part of your daily diet and you will reap amazing benefits that range from improving cardiovascular health to nourishing your eyes and revving up your immune system. Read on to discover 8 amazing health benefits of watermelon!

Cardiovascular & Bone Health

The lycopene in watermelon is especially important for our cardiovascular health and is now being recognized as an important factor in promoting bone health. Consuming large amounts of watermelon has also been correlated with improved cardiovascular function because it improves blood flow via vasodilation (relaxation of blood pressure). Dietary lycopene (from foods like watermelon or tomatoes) reduces oxidative stress which normally reduces the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts (the two major bone cells involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis) – this means stronger bones for those consuming lycopene-rich foods. Watermelon is also rich in potassium which helps to retain calcium in your body, resulting in stronger bones and joints.

Reduces Body Fat

The citrulline in watermelon has been shown to reduce the accumulation of fat in our fat cells. Citrulline is an amino acid which converts into arginine with help from the kidneys. When our bodies absorb citrulline it can take the step of converting into arginine if so required. Citrulline, when consumed, has the ability to (through a series of steps) block the activity of TNAP (tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase) which makes our fat cells create less fat, and thus helps prevent over-accumulation of body fat.

Anti-inflammatory & Antioxidant Support

Watermelon is rich in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids. The carotenoid lycopene in watermelon is particularly beneficial in reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. The tripterpenoid cucurbitacin E is also present in watermelon, which provides anti-inflammatory support by blocking activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes which normally lead to increased inflammatory support. Make sure you pick ripe watermelons, because they contain higher amounts of these beneficial phenolic compounds.

Diuretic & Kidney Support

Watermelon is a natural diuretic which helps increase the flow of urine, but does not strain the kidneys (unlike alcohol and caffeine). Watermelons helps the liver process ammonia (waste from protein digestion) which eases strain on the kidneys while getting rid of excess fluids.

Muscle & Nerve Support

Rich in potassium, watermelon is a great natural electrolyte and thus helps regulate the action of nerves and muscles in our body. Potassium determines the degree and frequency with which our muscles contract, and controls the excitation of nerves in our body.

Alkaline-forming

Watermelons have an alkaline-forming effect in the body when fully ripe. Eating lots of alkaline-forming foods (fresh, ripe, fruit and vegetables) can help reduce your risk of developing disease and illness caused by a high-acid diet (namely, meat, eggs and dairy).

Improves Eye Health

Watermelon is a wonderful source of beta-carotene (that rich red hue of watermelon = beta carotene) which is converted in the body to vitamin A. It helps produce the pigments in the retina of the eye and protects against age-related macular degeneration as well as prevents night blindness. Vitamin A also maintains healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, and mucus membranes.

Immune Support, Wound Healing & Prevents Cell Damage

The vitamin C content in watermelon is astoundingly high. Vitamin C is great at improving our immune system by maintaining the redox integrity of cells and thereby protecting them from reactive oxygen species (which damages our cells and DNA). The role of vitamin C in healing wounds has also been observed in numerous studies because it is essential to the formation of new connective tissue. The enzymes involved in forming collagen (the main component of wound healing) cannot function without vitamin C. If you are suffering from any slow-healing wounds, up your intake of vitamin C heavy fruit!

Credit: http://livelovefruit.com/

Happy National Scotch Day!!! – Ron Burgundy’s favorite drink!

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National Scotch Day is celebrated annually on July 27th.

Scotch whisky, often simply called Scotch, is malt whisky or grain whisky made in Scotland. Scotch whisky must be made in a manner specified by law.

All Scotch whisky was originally made from malted barley. Commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late 18th century. Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories: single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky (formerly called “vatted malt” or “pure malt”), blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky.

All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. Any age statement on a bottle of Scotch whisky, expressed in numerical form, must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to produce that product. A whisky with an age statement is known as guaranteed-age whisky.

Credit: National Calendar

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