Breaking news…the hottest Facebook craze is Bitstrips.
What is Bitstrips?
Bitstrips is an ingenious app that let’s you create a customized avatar character of yourself that looks just like you, then lets you insert your cartoon character into comic book strip settings that you can customize. The possibilities are endless as you change facial expressions on your character and add speech and thought bubbles that say what you want and add a summary label to your Bitstrips.
You don’t need artistic ability to create entertaining comics with you as the star!
Bitstrips also lets you insert your Facebook friends with Bitstrips account characters so you can interact with your friends and pull them into the Bitstrips with you.
Let your sense of creativity, humor and genius run wild!
Why not download Bitstrips to your iPhone if you have one or search for the app on Facebook and create an avatar character that looks just like you, and let the fun begin!?!?!
Create comics with your friends and then post them on Facebook where you can tag your friends and share the laughs. You can also save them and text or email them.
Why not find Bitstrips now? You’ll think Christmas came early.
Wishing a very Merry Christmas season to you and yours!
Strong … Principled … Sensitive …
Looking back at my recent blog posts, I see a man of many facets emerging and shining through in my writings.
I always tried to be a man for all seasons.
Above I am pictured with Jonathan Goldsmith, best known to the public for his character in the Dos Equis “XX” commercials — a.k.a. The Most Interesting Man In The World.
Or is he?
Next to me he’s just some tall guy in a tuxedo.
Truth be told, I wasn’t along side Jonathan Goldsmith, the man, but rather, a lifelike cardboard cut-out. It made for a most interesting photo opportunity for me that I couldn’t pass up.
In the photo, I’m holding a Corona, my beer of preference, while Jonathan is holding his – a Dos Equis.
I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I drink Corona.
Corona means “Crown”. Lately I feel like I’m wearing one…again.
My mom used to tell me I was The Luckiest Boy In The World. She was right.
I used to think I was The Most Blessed Man In The World. I was.
Then, for a time, a long time in fact, I felt like The Most Miserable Man In The World.
But as Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, and my uncle once told me, “That which does not destroy you makes you stronger”. It’s true.
Now, three years post-divorce (as of today), I feel like The Most Interesting Man In The World.
I imagine the love of a good woman can do that to a man … especially if she’s The Most Beautiful and Wonderful Woman In The World.
My advice to those of you down on your luck in life?
“Stay thirsty, my friends”.
I share a lot of personal information and insights on my blog. Perhaps no post story has been more intimate a revelation than this one will be.
I love my blankie.
There – I’ve said it. It’s good to get it out of the closet.
I’ve loved my blankie as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories involve my blankie.
My blankie gave me comfort and warmth since I was a baby.
I love the feel of my blankie. Only my blankie feels the way it does. It is a unique texture that I could pick out blindfolded from 100 other blankets.
My blankie is about 3 foot long by 2 foot wide. It’s not very big, but for a baby or toddler, it always came thru big.
And, maybe the most embarrassing part of my blankie story is – it’s pink. I don’t know why it’s pink. I asked my mom and she doesn’t know why it was pink. Don’t boys usually get blue blankies? But it was ok with me when I was a kid that it was pink. And I’m ok with it now that I’m a man. I’m not ashamed of blankie.
My blankie served me well.
I have a vivid memory of waking up cold and scared in the dark one night when I was maybe 3 or 4 years old and going over to a floor heat register and pulling my blanket over me and the register to keep the heat in and keep me warm and comforted. I fell asleep there, safe and warm and comforted thanks to my blankie.
My blankie was fun too and often served as a cape when I would play superheroes with my brother and cousin, tying one end around my neck and letting the other end fly in the breeze as I ran or flew around. With my blankie, and my imagination, I could fly.
As often happens, my blankie fell by the wayside as I was growing up.
But I never forgot my blankie.
And I still have it.
Well, I still have most of it.
You see, there is a small corner of my blankie that is missing. It’s not AWOL. It wasn’t stolen. It was given away, and I know exactly where it is.
When we lost a child to miscarriage, an event I wrote about in another blog post entitled Saint Callistus Ember Novick, I cut off a corner of my beloved blankie, the corner you see missing in the photo above, and had it buried with our baby in a grave over where my mother-in-law is buried. I was deeply grieved by the loss of that baby, and wanted to give that soul something I loved that was warming and comforting to be with it for eternity. Callie has a piece of blankie with him/her right now.
My blankie came in handy for me later too. When I was going through a very painful time experiencing the anguish and pain of divorce, I brought out my blankie again and many nights held it close in the night. That familiar feel of my blankie was a comfort to me like it had been so many years before.
Blankie is in a safe and nearby place now. No, I don’t sleep with it anymore, but knowing it’s nearby if ever I should need it is a real comfort.
That old rag is of little use to anyone else.
But to me it is a priceless treasure.
And, when I die, I hope they bury blankie with me. I imagine then I’ll know everything will be ok.
I love Westerns. I grew up on them.
The Lone Ranger, John Wayne movies, The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Cisco Kid, Ponderosa, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’, and even the sci-fi westernWest World were some of my favorites.
John Wayne, Clayton Moore, Chuck Connors, Gary Cooper and Clint Eastwood were men’s men…cowboys in the old west standing up for good old American values.
Times were simpler then.
And the values were better.
I recently dressed up for Halloween as one of my favorite cowboys…the Clayton Moore version of The Lone Ranger. I was joined in costume by my sidekick, the 21st century Johnny Depp movie version of Tonto. The costumes looked great – very accurate and authentic – especially after we found a Durango old west cowboy revolver replica toy guns and holster set that made my costume look so authentic! (Gee, cowboy revolver replica toy guns are hard to find in today’s society…they’re all safety orange or orange-tipped so as not to look like threatening real guns that might get a kid shot by a police officer. So I was glad to take my chances with the real looking guns once we found them in the last of 7 stores we looked in or called.)
It was fun to be a cowboy for a few hours. It felt good walking into a modern day suburban ‘saloon’ as a cowboy in spurs, bellying up to the bar, and ordering a beer, shot of ‘rot gut’, or, in my case, “milk – straight”…and watching the amused reactions of others.
It had me thinking about cowboys and Westerns, and how they’ve changed in pop culture since I was a kid.
When I was a kid, Westerns were popular, simple, good, pure, virtuous, idyllic and epic. I would watch them for hours on TV or at the drive-in, often with my dad who loved them too. The movie Shane was one of my dad’s favorites. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence is one of mine. Kids loved to play cowboys and be like them.
Now, when you can find rare cowboy movies, they are complicated, violent, twisted, even sordid…and leave you wondering about where America is going … and missing the good old days.
The recent Western Cowboys and Aliens was an entertaining movie. But a little too complicated and Sci-fi fantasy for my tastes.
I never saw Brokeback Mountain. And I don’t care to. From what I’ve learned of it, I wouldn’t want to. And I wouldn’t want my kids to.
Give me an old fashioned Western with just cowboys, good and bad, and maybe even ugly and not so ‘Hollywood movie-star celebrity’ handsome.
Bring back those old Western values and virtues to our big-screens and televisions to re-infuse them back into American pop culture and society.
A simple story with a simple good guy/bad guy conflict is good for the moral development of our children.
Today’s video games are way too violent and graphic for our kid’s eyes. Pop movie messages coming out of Hollywood are much too sordid and complicated for our kids to learn anything of worth from them.
Yes, life is much more sordid and complicated these days.
But times were better when we had censors, and parents, that cared about the moral welfare and development of our children.
I’m glad I don’t live in the old west. It seemed much too dirty, harsh and threatening for my liking.
But if I did, I would hope that I would stand up for what was right and good and virtuous like the men of the old west, and heroes of old Western movie and television shows did.
And, sometimes I don’t care for life in today’s modern society and culture either. News stories of terror and violence, court case conflicts over marriage, family, religion and political issues, and pop culture social media exposing our kids to sex, drugs and bullying – too often affecting us directly – can turn your gut in knots.
But, since I am living in such a world, I can only hope I am honoring my boyhood film heroes, and my father, by living and teaching the values they taught me, and bringing them to today’s situations and problems, to honor them and preserve all they taught me, and hopefully make this ‘New West’ world as good as it can be…and hopefully teach those same values and virtues to my kids before I too become yesteryear.
Welcome to Choctober!
I’m always looking for ways to celebrate life and share a little joy with family, friends and the world at large.
Goodness knows there are enough Hallmark holidays.
But how about one that celebrates a whole month of CHOCOLATE?!?
My latest invention to do that? Choctober! It’s a whole month to celebrate chocolate.
Ok, maybe I didn’t invent it. A web search for the word ‘Choctober’ found plenty of instances and images of the word ‘Choctober’.
But honest, I didn’t steal it, and never heard of it before – it was just an original inspired thought I had while trying to sound out a unique way to celebrate the new month when it arrived.
How do you celebrate Choctober?
You could tour the chocolate world one day at a time. Day 1 – Fanny May. Day 2 – Hershey’s. Day 3 – Godiva. Day 4 – Ghirardelli. Day 5 – World’s Finest. Day 6 – Nestle. Cadbury…Wonka…Mars…on and on. Or you could mix it up enjoying chocolate ice cream one day, chocolate cake the next, chocolate mousse the next…etc.
You could also take your celebration to the next level and make Choctober something special for someone else. Give or share chocolate with a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, a lover (unless you have the aforementioned spouse, then that wouldn’t be right)… even a stranger (although they shouldn’t accept it from you, especially if you pull up in a black sedan or a van with no windows to give it to them, because after all, to them, YOU are a stranger).
Give someone some chocolate, tell them “Happy Choctober”, and watch as a smile comes to their face!
Get creative and develop your own Choctober traditions!
Sharing a surprise gift of chocolate during Choctober may make someone’s day, spread some joy, heal a wound, make a connection, build a bridge, share the love.
Who knows? Choctober could even save the world!
What if Democrats and Republicans exchanged chocolates for Choctober? Surely they could come to a peaceable solution to the budgetary crisis and keep our government running!
What if South Korea gifted North Korea chocolate for Choctober? How could they be mad at them?
Can you imagine the rippling, peaceful effects when Choctober expand to the Middle East?!?!
So, whatever challenges you may be facing this month, be sure to make your burdens a little lighter, and life a little sweeter, by keeping a stash of chocolate nearby to indulge yourself, or someone else, with the ecstasy of a cocoa sugar buzz. It’s a quick fix for what ails you. It tastes and feels good. And it’s legal.
Don’t delay. Start today. Find time to celebrate it every day this month.
And ring out Choctober with a bang on the biggest celebration of chocolate of them all – Halloween on October 31st.
It’s Choctober! Share this post, spread the news, give the chocolate, feel the love!
I had a thought this morning – it seems there’s an elephant in the room and no one wants to talk about it.
It seems that society has conditioned us to ignore the elephant and pretend it’s not there.
But elephants are big and mighty, and they’re hard to ignore.
I have friends that see the elephant, but they can’t talk about the elephant, because they’ve been prohibited from talking about the elephant with severe consequences if they do.
The elephant is sad. The elephant knows we see him, and sense him, but
I imagine hurts because we don’t talk about or to him. He’s right there and he
wants to help in every situation, but we don’t let him. We’ve been warned that we can’t talk about or to the elephant or will be in trouble, or will be scorned, or outcast, or receive severe consequences. So we turn our back on our friend, the elephant.
Where is the room?
They are all over our nation. They are our classrooms, our workplaces,our courtrooms.
Who is the elephant?
He is God.
Across our nation we are prohibited from talking about God in our
classrooms and wonder why we have the problems in our communities that
we do. You can’t talk to the children about God. We can’t share our faith, or where it comes from, or what we believe, or the truth. Teachers of great character and faith are not free to say the truth about where their character, faith and motivation come from or how they got it. So how can we expect our children to learn these qualities?
We can’t speak of God or faith in our workplaces. It’s not PC (politically correct). It may offend. It may create conflict. It may be uncomfortable. So we tiptoe around the elephant in our work lives.
We can’t speak the truth about the elephant in our courtrooms. It’s not civil. It’s been determined by a small minority that it is irrelevant.
Without God, what is the meaning in anything?
Fortunately in America we still have our church places and public places where we are free to speak about, to pray to, and to worship God.
I went on a retreat at our church. There we were free to talk about God and see how He moves about in our lives. It was liberating to be free to talk about God and my faith with other people who had felt similarly repressed by our world. It felt good to acknowledge God and to share Him with others.
It was wonderful and comforting that I could talk about the elephant with other men and women and know that he was real, not imaginary, and that I wasn’t the only one who experienced him. It just felt so right to speak the truth and see the elephant right with us in the room of life.
It felt good not to compartmentalize the elephant. Elephants don’t like to be compartmentalized.
And the God of all creation, present in it all, doesn’t like being ignored in any part of it.
We need to be able to talk about God to one another. We need to be able to talk to our children about Him. And we need to let our children have the freedom to acknowledge Him, talk about Him, and to love Him too.
(My apologies to anyone offended by the analogy, including God or any atheistic elephants.)