Heavy Logix.

Lateral Thoughts on Life.

The Legendary Aviator.

There was a man similar to Usain Bolt, Bill Gates, Brad Pitt, Vybz Kartel and even Michael Jackson.

This man was once a speed record holder, he was one of the richest men in the World and he had famous love affairs with several Hollywood starlets. He had a slew of critics too, they said the art he created was too Sexy and too Violent and he later became a crazy recluse.

He was Howard Hughes.

Ok, so it’s true that Hughes  didn’t run on a track, like Bolt does and Howard Hughes used airplanes to set all his speed records and yes it’s true that Hughes didn’t sing Dancehall songs, like Vybz Kartel, instead his art form was Big Budget Movies, but I think it’s still clear that Howard Hughes lived a legendary life.

Bolt often says in interviews that he wants to become a Legend, I hope he will avoid all the pitfalls that Hughes fell into. In fact I think we could all learn a lot from the Howard Hughes life story.

Nowadays though few people want to read long books so perhaps you can just watch some movies inspired by Howard Hughes instead.

It is, understandably, nearly impossible to capture such a multi-dimensional character fully in one film but the Martin Scorcese film, “The Aviator”, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, was quite excellent. Every detail was just perfect from the Acting straight down to the musical score and costuming.

I also recently discovered that Howard Hughes is one of the inspirations behind the famous Marvel comic character “Iron Man”, (or more precisely his alter ego Tony Starks) who, despite being brilliant, has severe personal flaws. The comic-based movie “Rocketeer” also has a Hughes-inspired character.

Two other movies “Melvin and Howard” and “The Hoax” also detail aspects of the bizarre incidents that often surrounded Hughes.

The first is about the so-called “Mormon Will”, that surfaced after Hughes death, and the second is about a false biography, that someone wrote about Howard Hughes while he was alive, that forced the hermit magnate to defend himself with legal action.

As good as all those movies were though I enjoyed most of all the documentary about Hughes in the Modern Marvels series shown on History Channel. It showed the brilliant side of this incredible man. His company is still at the forefront of aviation technology and also critical in the development of the satellite television broadcasting that has made our world smaller.  It showed how even when Hughes was in hospital for severe burns from a plane crash he designed a better hospital bed that is still in use today.

Howard Hughes, the inventor, the legend, we Salute you.

January 24, 2010 Posted by | Beautiful Women, blog, comics, movies, non fiction, Psychology, Strategy, success, think and grow rich, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Become a Tribal Leader !

Jamaican politics is said to be  “a struggle for scarce benefits carried on between hostile tribes perpetually at war”. Tribes are not always political though. They can be religions and those they disagree with may even call them cults. Tribes can also be a powerful economic and social force.

“Since the dawn of civilization people have formed tribes, and research demonstrates that humans are genetically programmed to form into groups. Within every company there are tribes, often several, consisting of 20 to 150 people who know each other and work together. But while everyone tribes, the culture of each tribe is different, as is its effectiveness. Improving a tribe’s culture—and its chances for greater success—requires a tribal leader who not only understands the tribe but can leverage its collective assets to build a greater team.”

That quote is taken from a website promoting a book called “Tribal Leadership”.

Some believe buying such a book is a waste of time since they feel that a Tribal Leader cannot be trained or created but is a natural, a charismatic personality,someone great that spontaneously arises when the right conditions present themselves.

Obama used a “grass-roots” strategy,  with the simple “snowball effect”  idea of building ever-enlarging tribes, to reach the White House. His strategy was flawless but his Personal Charisma is also undeniable.

On a more intimate level Mystery, a world famous Pick-Up Artist (PUA), a master of seduction, actually encourages his students to become “Tribal Leaders” because he says all women are biologically hardwired to respond most strongly to these “Alpha Male” types.

Mystery believes that the Charisma comes from having the leadership position. This is contrary to the commonly held view that Leadership is attained by the one who exudes charisma.

Mystery says that, in the “Game of Seduction” at least, once you display qualities of Leadership, once you display “Social Proof”, you automatically become attractive.

This might also help explain people, such as Hitler, who possessed incredible public speaking Charisma yet were awkward in a personal setting. With a carefully crafted stage presence, with many symbols of  Power, they can create a type of Charisma.

Obama said, at the largest gathering of Native American Tribal Leaders, last year, “Treaties were violated,Promises were broken. You were told your lands, your religion, your cultures, your languages were not yours to keep.”

Civilization has not always been kind to Tribes. Ask Chief Seattle. Ask Africa.

Given the past, Obama said he wouldn’t have been surprised if the leaders hadn’t come, saying it showed “an extraordinary leap of faith.”  Sitting at a table on stage in the Interior auditorium last year, Obama signed a memorandum directing all federal agencies to develop within 90 days a plan to improve tribal consultation. “These are challenges we can only face by working together,” he said.

Obama is clearly not just Charismatic but also an extraordinary leader in his strategic ability to create consensus, be authentic, visionary and inclusive.

Daniel Quinn believes the future will once again belong to tribes. In his books he argues that Modern Civilization is not working and to survive it must revert to what works…Tribes.

You may not have Obama’s leadership abilities but you can still shape the future by deciding which tribes you belong to.

According to marketing guru Seth Godin, modern technology has made it even easier for us to form into tribes and these tribes can now easily become Global, because of the Internet.

Seth Godin outlines the following principles for aspiring Tribal Leaders;

Firstly, Create a change, a meaningful Tribe will in some way challenge the status quo. It will seek to improve conditions.

Secondly, Tribes develop their unique culture: “A secret language, a 7-second handshake, a way of knowing whether you are in or you are out.”

Thirdly, tribes have curiosity: “about the people in the tribe, and about outsiders.”

Fourthly, the Tribe fosters Connection to each other. They allow people to achieve what they want more than anything else….to be missed ! If someone isn’t there other tribe members should notice and miss them.

Seth Godin agrees with Mystery in the end because he says “All tribal leaders have charisma. BUT, you do not need charisma to be a tribal leader. Leading a tribe gives you charisma. If you look and study the leaders throughout history, you will see where the charisma comes from. It comes from the leading.”

Finally Great tribes Commit: They commit to the cause, they commit to the tribe, they commit to the people.

Become a Tribal Leader !

January 19, 2010 Posted by | blog, Book Reviews, current news, Lateral Thinking, Marketing, non fiction, philosophy, preview, Psychology, Strategy, success, think and grow rich, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blogging. My first year.

“What Bobby Fischer was to chess,what Bob Marley was to Reggae Music, thus was Bruce Lee to Martial Arts and Action Movies. This one not only packs a punch but becomes Immortal by virtue of it’s talented cast and coherent story, rare in the genre.” I said at 11:32pm on December 23rd, 2008.

I was posting a brief movie review to Flixster, (an application allowing you to rate various movies online), I was describing, one of my favorite shows, the movie “Enter the Dragon”.

A guy named Mad Bull commented at 4:34am on January 11th, 2009. He said, “You know what, Mark? I think you would make a good blogger. Check me if you are interested if you want info on how to get started.”

The rest,as they say,is history.

In just one year of Blogging I think I can safely say it has changed my life. I went on an amazing personal journey of self-expression just as my friend Dennis Hammond (creator of Hammondville.com) had predicted when I launched out with a shout of Geronimo !

It was an adventure along which I bared my soul, and risked embarrassment, at times, with intensely personal, and unfortunate memoirs, like “This is not a Suicide note” and “Sleepless on Sunday”.

Travels during which I soared to the moon and waxed philosophical in ramblings like “Shooting the Moon”. Although I confess that that post was not particularly interesting I think it helped me to learn a lot about my personal style of writing. I used a technique which has served me well since then called “Writing the Natural Way”.

Expressing some of my Philosophical ideas in pieces like “Tit for Tat” and “Life is but a Dream” was lots of fun.

From the start I was continually encouraged by my Mentor (the Blogfather) Mad Bull and he directly influenced me to learn of Charles Pick’s Advice which has guided all my best writing from early on.

Blogging is a perverse activity, kind of like internet webcams, I imagine, in that it is very personal and yet makes you feel connected to a wider community of like-minded individuals the world over.

This type of paradox and my gift for making ridiculous connections and synthesizing myriad experiences led to blog posts like “Marriage,Matchmaking and Masturbation” and my personal favorite “Doppelganger”.

“Doppelganger” was inspired by a post by Ruthibelle. I feel connected to bloggers like these who I began to read more and more regularly. My blog “Swamp Things cannot Read any Moore” inspired Ruthibelle to talk about comics in one of her later blogs also. Each one Teach one, One hand rubs the other, or insert other catchy cliche’ here.

The exceptional blogger and photographer Stunner also inspired me so I dedicated “Workman needs bigger Zoom”, about photography and critics thereof, to him.

These are not people I know personally, yet. Yet, I feel like I know them, like we’re a close-knit community. A family almost. Sometimes I even imagine heaven to be like a big Blog roll call in the sky. Annie Paul, Mad Bull, Stunner, Ruthibelle, Kingston state of mind, Pssst Browning !,the list goes on and on…yep that’s heaven to me. But we have no plans to check out just now and if we do, inadvertently, then I suspect the journey won’t be over but rather just moving on to greater heights.

During the year (2009) I realized a dream, after some hiccups and hurdles, by visiting Calabash Festival at Jakes. I described it as a Writer’s Hajj and was close enough to talk to one of my heroes, Colin Channer, (although I didn’t). Channer had nonetheless taught me “How to write a Rahtid book“. I wrote “Journey to Jakes” based on this pilgrimage also.

Pico Iyer, an author who was interviewed at the Festival, was supposed to be the main focus of one of my blogs. I never did get around to writing it.

For every blog idea I wrote the truth is I have ten others or so I didn’t get around to. They still swim around,these incomplete ideas,like malnourished fishes, in the Aquarium of my mind. They bounce into the glass occasionally asking me silently to feed them. When they ask loud enough I do feed them, with relish.I feed them to the hungry public.

Incomplete Ideas. Perpetually Incubating. Floating Skeletons. I was still being hounded by my greatest enemy…Procrastination. My greatest enemy, my only formidable opponent, was in fact…myself.This was clearly shown by the unfinished serial that I began about Theo Adams and Storm and Hezekiah Scythe. Interesting Characters, I thought, but they will only live again if I can conquer my most fearsome foe…procrastination…myself.

I was somewhat saddened that my readership remains largely uninterested in the wisdom of Marcus Garvey or Jefferson, but I will continue to post poetry and prose and anything else that I find powerful.

Learning was what this blog, and Life, is all about, and that I did.I learned but I also have questions that remain unresolved. In my blog “Heavy Sex will drop from the sky” I explored the question all true artists must face. I spoke of the temptation to sell out,just to eat a food, versus staying true to their art and possibly starving to death. Post humous success versus instant gratification.

I succumbed to temptation and wrote popular posts like “Dora the Sexplorer”, “Think before you ink” about tattoos and “Sean Paul”. These posts are my most popular ever.

No longer was I the only one reading my blog. It was a tremendous thrill when when my blog was featured on Sean Paul’s official site. For me it was a great accomplishment but then again I realized that five minutes of fame, even riding on the coat tails of a great Artist that I always respected and admire was not the Summit.

I realized that even when I do cover popular and current events it should be with some degree of insight, some new twist, beyond the obvious. It should have a unique “Heavy Logix” stamp, my imprimatur so-to-speak. Instead of merely a crass or commercial angle I must deliver some substance that will stand the test of time. My “Inter-View” post about Vybz Kartel fit the bill exactly. It took on a current topic but tried to make points that would be over looked by the local mainstream media.

The passing of great men like Michael Jackson and Jim Rohn led me to post also. Jackson also inspired the Reggae cover versions post as i searched to try and find some of those songs to make a tribute album.

In the coming year I hope to do more comparisons like I did in the article Pepsi or Coke ? Comparing things like Charisma and Character and explaining the difference between Rappers and MCs perhaps. You can also expect more movie reviews or impressions like Emperor’s Club and lots more exploration of the confounding cybernetic possibilities of our Minds like I did in the story “Banshees”.

Blowing my own trumpet like this is quite tiring so here’s wishing you all the best for the New Year and remember that in whatever you do Be Happy !

Adios amigo.

mjbb.

January 9, 2010 Posted by | blog, current news, fiction, humor, Lateral Thinking, non fiction, Psychology, Strategy, success, writing | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Purloined Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes is one of the world’s most loved fictional characters. He has launched several copy cats and spawned a million imitators. Everything from t-shirts, to movies, to comic books, to books (of all genres) and even museums, have used him as an inspiration.

In fact two of TVs most popular characters today, George House and Adrian Monk, both owe a debt of gratitude to the highly rational and eccentric detective. House actually lives at an address referencing the 221B of Baker Street.

The huge popularity of Holmes and ( his loyal “Boswell” ) Watson, has perhaps over shadowed a previous character that was just as important. Who did Holmes and his creator “borrow” from ?

I  speak of Dupin, a character created by Edgar Allan Poe, in fact Dupin’s adventures began the whole detective genre before the word “detective” even existed. Like Holmes, Dupin had a male friend who narrated all his tales and he relied on logical deduction to perform amazing feats like reading people’s minds and of course solving crimes that the ever bumbling police forces could barely comprehend.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, inventor of Sherlock Holmes, realized his debt to Poe by making reference to Dupin in “The Study in Scarlet”, Holmes very first published adventure.

Watson mentions Dupin in passing and Holmes says that Dupin is a rather “inferior fellow” to himself. Doyle later said, “Each [of Poe’s detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed… Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?”

Detective C. Auguste Dupin first appears, in the first detective story ever,”The
Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841). He reappears in “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” (1842) and then in “The Purloined Letter” (1844).

“The Purloined Letter’ by Poe is definitely one of my favorite stories of all time. In this short story Dupin saves the day by being able to understand the mind of his opponent. His opponent is quite formidable, being that rare type of individual who has mastered both Art and Science,  or as Dupin puts it, he’s both “mathematician and poet”.

Also this fearsome opponent is without scruples and honor.

Sherlock Holmes had fearsome opponents also, none moreso than the Evil genius Moriarty.


In fact at one time Moriarty, whom Holmes termed “the Napoleon of Crime”, was feared to have killed Holmes by causing him to fall over the Reichenbach Falls.

Sherlock was able to survive only because he knew a martial art, called Baritsu, in the books. Bartitsu was an actual martial art of the time, developed by Edward William Barton-Wright, and perhaps this was what Doyle was referring to. Bartitsu in fact was like Jeet Kune Do, an eclectic
fighting art which had practical techniques to win at any likely fighting range.

Wikipedia notes, “As detailed in a series of articles Barton-Wright produced for Pearson’s Magazine between 1899 and 1901, Bartitsu was largely drawn from the Shinden Fudo school of koryū (“classical”) jujutsu and from Kodokan judo, both of which he had studied while resident in Japan. As it became established in London, the art expanded to incorporate combat techniques from the Tenjin Shinyō, Fusen and Daito schools of jujutsu as well as British boxing, Swiss Schwingen, French savate, and a defensive la canne (stick fighting) style that had been developed by Pierre Vigny of Switzerland. Bartitsu also included a comprehensive physical culture training system.”

Such details, which Conan Doyle added constantly to the Holmes stories, made the character very life-like and he had many weaknesses too.

For instance although his mind was an efficient computer he was very messy in his personal habits and he is often characterized as Bohemian. Sherlock Holmes also had a Cocaine and possibly a Morphine addiction.

The recently released version of Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jnr. even speculates that Holmes may have had Bipolar disorder. Although many fans will not like this portrayal,  in Holmes first appearance in “Study in Scarlet”, his biographer Watson says ;

Nothing could exceed his energy when the working fit was upon him; but now and again a  reaction would seize him, and for days on end he would lie upon the sofa in the  sitting-room, hardly uttering a word or moving a muscle from morning to night.
This description gives some credence to the possibility.

Another source of inspiration for Sherlock Holmes and perhaps the reason that Watson is a Doctor of Medicine is Dr. Joseph Bell.Bell, who once employed Doyle as a clerk, emphasized the importance of close observation in making a diagnosis. To illustrate this, he would often pick a stranger and, by observing him, deduce his occupation and recent activities. These skills caused him to be considered a pioneer in forensic science (forensic pathology in particular) when science was not often used in the investigations of crimes.

This apparently “psychic” ability, in reality based on keen observation and logical reasoning and sometimes elements of Forensics, was also common in the adventures of both Sherlock and Dupin.

December 27, 2009 Posted by | blog, current news, fiction, Lateral Thinking, non fiction, Psychology, writing | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Gift of the Magi, written by O. Henry.

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony  that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”

At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

December 24, 2009 Posted by | fiction, humor, writing | , , , | Leave a comment

Tiger’s Wood and 18 Holes.

There’s nothing funny about Domestic Violence but I do think that the comedians, like those on Saturday Night Live and Wanda Sykes, got the recent Tiger Woods story more accurately than the News channels did.

It seems more plausible to me that Tiger was being whopped by his wife and running for his life than the news reports that said that he just crashed and was rescued by his wife who smashed his rear window with a golf club to take him out of the car.

We’ll probably never know the full story but someone was discussing the whole incident with me and she made an interesting comment.

She said that the amount of women Tiger has shows that he has some kind of mental problem and that it would have been better if he had had one serious woman on the side. Her comment totally surprised me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why at the time. It sounded logical enough, less affairs means less betrayal right ?

Later that week on Facebook another lady I know wrote an interesting blog about Emotional Betrayal and how much it hurts yadda, yadda, yadda. I remember thinking to myself that no man would ever have wrote about Emotional Betrayal without mentioning Sexual Betrayal first. Suddenly I realized what I found jarring about my other good friend’s comments.

I realized that the average man is more affected by Sexual Betrayal than Emotional Betrayal. Women are exactly the opposite usually.

Basically it’s another one of the many areas in which men and women differ.

Should the toilet seat be left up or down ?

We all agree that you should not cheat.

However I think men are more worried about the Sexual aspect of cheating than the Emotional.

If you are in a marraige or long term relationship would you prefer that your partner is suddenly discovered to be cheating on you with several people, none of whom have a deep emotional attachment with them, or would you prefer to discover that they are having a long-term deeply emotional affair with one person ?

The interesting thing is I believe most Women will answer this question differently from most Men.

Most men would prefer to hear that there’s only one other man, or “Joe Grind”, since that means less sexual betrayal. Most women would
prefer to face less emotional betrayal, as many “floozy” type affairs would suggest, than to hear that there’s another woman who their guy might actually love.

We all agree that cheating is bad and of course the Emotional and Sexual Betrayals can overlap or transform from one to the other but where there is a distinction I definitely think that men and women are going to react differently.

So in conclusion I’d like to make a startling and original announcement ;

Men are  from Mars and Women are from Venus.

Bet y’all didn’t know that !

December 8, 2009 Posted by | blog, current news, humor, non fiction, Psychology, writing | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Secret to Success by Jim Rohn.

This article is by Jim Rohn and published here in memory of him. He passed away Dec 5, 2009.

Do you want to achieve your most important goals? In my opinion it gets down to two simple words, “easy” and “neglect”. People often ask me how I became successful at the early age of 31, while many of the people I knew did not. The answer is simple: During that 6-year period of time (age 25 to 31), the things I found to be easy to do, they found to be easy not to do. I found it easy to set the goals that could change my life. They found it easy not to. I found it easy to read the books that could affect my thinking and my ideas. They found that easy not to. I found it easy to attend the classes and the seminars, and to get around other successful people. They said it probably really wouldn’t matter. If I had to sum it up, I would say what I found to be easy to do, they found to be easy not to do. Six years later, I’m a millionaire and they are all still blaming the economy, the government, and company policies, yet they neglected to do the basic, easy things.In fact, the primary reason most people are not doing as well as they could and should, can be summed up in a single word: neglect.

It is not the lack of money – banks are full of money. It is not the lack of opportunity – America, and much of the free World, continues to offer the most unprecedented and abundant opportunities in the last six thousand years of recorded history. It is not the lack of books – libraries are full of books – and they are free! It is not the schools – the classrooms are full of good teachers. We have plenty of ministers, leaders, counselors and advisors.

Everything we would ever need to become rich and powerful and sophisticated is within our reach. The major reason that so few take advantage of all that we have is simply neglect.

Neglect is like an infection. Left unchecked it will spread throughout our entire system of disciplines and eventually lead to a complete breakdown of a potentially joy-filled and prosperous human life.

Not doing the things we know we should do causes us to feel guilty and guilt leads to an erosion of self-confidence. As our self-confidence diminishes, so does the level of our activity. And as our activity diminishes, our results inevitably decline. And as our results suffer, our attitude begins to weaken. And as our attitude begins the slow shift from positive to negative, our self-confidence diminishes even more… and on and on it goes.

So my suggestion is that when giving the choice of “easy to” and “easy not to” that you do not neglect to do the simple, basic, “easy”; but potentially life-changing activities and disciplines.

To Your Success,
Jim Rohn


Credit Statement to be included in Reprints:

This article was submitted by Jim Rohn, America’s Foremost Business Philosopher. To subscribe to the Free Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine go to www.jimrohn.com Copyright © Jim Rohn International. All rights reserved worldwide.


December 6, 2009 Posted by | current news, Lateral Thinking, non fiction, Psychology, Strategy, success | , | 2 Comments

Inter-View.

A great interview is, to my mind, and as the name suggests, an inter-view. It’s not just one person presenting their view and ignoring the other but rather an exchange of ideas. A conversation that informs and entertains the viewer. Like a beautiful dance it seems effortless when really done well.

People will have various opinions about who is the best interviewer and what the perfect interview looks like but for me Larry King is the King. Larry King manages to always get the best and the most interesting points out of his ever fascinating guests. Amazingly he does it without the badgering and paparazzi style used by others. He is not a sensationalist, he seems
genuinely interested in his guest’s viewpoint. The guest is always the star of Larry’s show.

Oprah is also quite an amazing interviewer, but she imposes a lot more of her personality and ideology unto the interviews. Her viewers of course love that, but to me it can be a serious weakness. For example when she interviewed Tiger Woods she was visibly disheartened when he made his “Coblinasian” remarks. Instead of staying objective and probing deeper into his mind set I think she wanted to end the interview right there. Oprah’s journalistic ability to go for the jugular is not to be under rated though. Oprah made Mike Tyson cry, need I say more ?

One of the best interviews I ever personally saw was at the Calabash Festival, in 2009, when Pico Iyer was interviewed by Paul Holdengraber. The men obviously knew each other well and that enabled them to have a free flowing conversation that was a delight to watch. Holdengraber was like a Maestro, a Matador guiding the more powerful Bull, he was humble in the role of interviewer, yet he knew just how to elicit from Pico Iyer, some of Pico’s amazing experiences and insights into life. In the interview Iyer described how his home had once been burnt down and how it freed him from the limitations of writing from his copious notes. When my hard drive crashed recently I got much inspiration from remembering his positive attitude even in the face of severe loss. Pico Iyer, who is now famous as a travel writer, (and for himself interviewing the Dalai Lama), said a lot of things that were meta-physical, his points hit home, for me, on various levels of understanding. For instance he said that you get from a place, what you carry there. Simple comment yet quite profound.

Ian Boyne is probably Jamaica’s best known interviewer, aside from his long running TV show Profile, where he interviews top achievers, he also has Religious Hard Talk, where he holds debates with people of all kinds of spiritual backgrounds. He also does interviews for the government broadcast shows of JIS and he writes in the newspapers regularly. Clearly he is a
master of time management but for me his interview style was in former years quite annoying. He would always have a very interesting guest but I would be frustrated at his insistence on asking them uncomfortable questions instead of focusing on their path to success. Also Mr. Boyne at times would seem to be trying to cut in on the guests spotlight as if trying to show off that he was well read and he sometimes had an apparently condescending manner. Happily this has changed as time progressed and in his more recent interviews Mr. Boyne has always allowed the guests to be more expressive. He is a great interviewer especially for his ability to find interesting guests and for his consistently professional manner.

Winford Williams is quite good with his show On Stage where he has interviewed a wide range of musicians and singers. I like the humble approach he uses, like Larry King, where the guests are allowed to express themselves freely. Winford does seem to like stirring up conflicts though, for instance his show was in the centre of the Beenie Man / Bounti Killa beef.
Winford himself is always calm and professional and he’s had some amazing interviews over the years. Guests like Ninja Man and Billy Ocean as well as Sean Kingston and Fat Joe and Air Supply. Simply an amazing list of great interviews.

Ninja Man is probably the most entertaining local interviewee. He always uses the local patois, and he has some amazing insights on topics ranging from music, to social reform, to marriage, to religion. He once went toe-to-toe with Emily Crooks, a top journalist trying to embarrass him and he beat her at her own game. Ninja Man’s life story has been full of amazing events which he recounts in a humorous way.

Ninja Man is one of the greatest “clash” deejays to ever walk the Earth. One of the few clashes he didn’t win took place at Sting, in 2003, when Vybz Kartel punched him down before he got a chance to show his ability. This pre-emptive strike was reminiscent of Israel in the Six Day War. It is with Gaza however that Kartel is identified. The punch was to be just one
of many amazing steps on the journey of the man born Adidja Palmer. Vybz Kartel. Emperor of the Gaza Empire.

Vybz-Kartel

Vybz Kartel

Every day the newspaper uses Sex and Violence in their headlines to sell. The society buys it, hungry for more, but yet the same papers,and the same society, point fingers at artists like Kartel when they do the same in their music.

Veteran journalist Cliff Hughes, realizing that Kartel is the most influential artist in the country, tried initially to pin the heavy burden of the country’s extremely high crime rate on the slim shoulders of the Deejay. Being a father himself  “Addi di Teacher” said simply that parents are responsible for raising their own children. He said his job was to make music and make it as well as he could and that for moral advice and correction of society’s ills we would have to look elsewhere.

Kartel has always been a master of words but on this night he revealed the man behind the words. A real man, not a misogynistic cartoon. The playful moments shared by Hughes and Palmer in the Kartel recording studio were a hilarious joy to watch.

“Addi di teacha” was also “Addi di daddy” , he was a son, a brother, his older sister is a real school teacher  and is still praying and trying to convert him to Christianity, he is a citizen of Jamaica. He has to face the problems common to many Jamaicans, like being turned down for a Visa.  Kartel had questions he could not answer, he was not trying to appear perfect. “Next interview mi will answer dat one Cliff”, he said when asked if he was monogamous.

Kartel began the interview wearing his trademark shades. He was defensively shielding off a hostile world. He said it was a media backed conspiracy that was holding him up as a symbol of violence and moral decay. He felt like he was just a Gladiator fighting to the death for the amusement of bigger, hidden powers. Later, as the interview progressed, he dropped his glasses and revealed the sensitive intelligent eyes. “When the gladiators die they will be replaced by other Gladiators”, he said.

The society had better listen. Listen not just to the songs. Listen to the Man.

Don’t just view, scapegoat, and point fingers. Inter-View. Exchange ideas, Learn and Grow. Kartel said his songs are a mirror of the society. His songs will change when the society does. The direction we go in will depend on how much we listen to each other.

November 14, 2009 Posted by | blog, current news, Lateral Thinking, non fiction, Psychology, Strategy, success, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Money, Time and Energy.

Most people think they’re successful if they can achieve financial success.  Love of Money is the “root of all Evil” and yet Money itself is at the top of the tree that  most want to climb.

money-symbol

More important than Money  though is Time.

And more important than Time is Energy.

All three are interrelated and can be Transformed into each other.

A millionaire on his death bed would trade all his wealth for even an extra week of Time. An extra day, an extra hour, an extra second, they are all Priceless.

The millionaire would have made a smart choice, buying more Time, as long as he still had the Energy to enjoy it.

The Energy I speak of here is a broad term encompassing notions such as Health, Vigor, Zest and also  Spiritual Awareness.

As you find yourself in a perpetual Rat Race, running after more and more Money, it  helps to think about Time and Energy instead.

November 3, 2009 Posted by | blog, non fiction, Photography, Psychology, Strategy, success, writing | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Be Happy !!

Someone recently asked me how I got my amazing sense of humor. I’d actually been asked the question several times before, because my sense of humor is legendary, matched only by my extreme humility. I thought about it carefully, for a whole second, and then told them that it’s really just a self-defense mechanism.

My sense of humor has saved my Life.

It’s just a way of looking at things. I developed it over time from a variety of experiences, most of them quite bitter.  Instead of being angry and sad, I choose to Be Happy and laugh. This laughter is usually internal though, I try to keep a deadpan, clown-like, look on my face. It’s useful when playing Poker too. I see the absurd in situations even when it’s happening to me. The issues underlying my best jokes are usually very serious.

Shakespeare himself realized how closely tragedy and comedy were related that’s why he was able to master both forms. His play Comedy of Errors, for example, tells of a man’s tragic life experiences.

The most serious or tragic experiences can be uplifting if we choose to remain positive. If we continue to search for the Silver Lining in every Dark Cloud. Even heavy topics like Racism and World Wars have been made into the backdrops for comedy. The Jerk, starring Steve Martin, was about a white man who thought he was black and “Allo, Allo” remains a cult favorite worldwide.

I was watching the Jeffersons one night and suddenly realized that maybe 98% of the comedy on TV is just about insulting someone. Seeing someone in a terrible situation or being insulted (and realizing that it’s not us) automatically makes us laugh or feel better.

Even religious leaders and Spiritual Gurus have noticed this aspect of the human condition. In the Book “The Art of Happiness”, the Dalai Lama suggests that comparing yourself to others, worse off than you, will make you feel better. My mom would always notice when I was having a rough time and say “It could be Worse”.

You just fell off your bicycle and broke your arm ? Well smile because it could have been worse.

strength

Some of the greatest comedians in the world are really just magnets for the worst that can happen in any given situation. Rodney Dangerfield, Woody Allen, Chevy Chase …they all live by Murphy’s Law.

Rowan Atkinson, best known in Jamaica as Mr. Bean, is that rare type of comedic genius who doesn’t even need words to elicit a laugh. Like Charlie Chaplin he gets into ridiculous situations and then his physical exploits and his facial expressions while he tries to get out of the sticky jam invariably leaves us crying with laughter or rolling on the ground.

Peter Sellers, in shows like The Party, adds the aspect of imitation to his Mr. Bean type roles. After Sellers played the role of an Indian man accidentally invited to the Party, his Indian friend Satyajit Ray took offence and never spoke to him again.

That’s the danger of  this type of comedy, those who feel the joke is “on them” won’t find it funny at all. They may even plot some form of revenge, remembering the adage, “he who laughs last laughs best”.

A higher form of comedy is that of Larry David. His show “Curb your Enthusiasm” and his work with the Seinfeld series is classic. It is a brand of humour not based solely on insults or feelings of superiority over others. He uses a shrewd insight into human nature and the absurdity of common place experiences that we can all relate to.

In an episode of “Curb your Enthusiasm”  Larry David dealt with the most serious eternal problem all couples face. No, not problems in communication, finances or sex, he dealt with the real tough one. Men leave the toilet seat up and Women want it down. David’s character actually is a man so lazy that he sits even when he pees and his wife is a drunkard who lifts the seat up because she throws up in the toilet after over drinking. This type of reversal of roles is a key to most great comedy. Of course, the couple now argue because the wife left the seat up.

Jamaica is blessed with great comedians too. Ity and Fancy Cat, Glen Campbell, Oliver Samuels and Simon Crosskill, to name a few.

Simon Crosskill how did he get on that list ? Yes, he may not be slapstick or crude, but he has the insight of a Larry David, the genius of a Dr. Bill Cosby. I think he should do his own Late Night show like David Letterman or Jay Leno. Although Simon’s uncanny chemistry with Neville Bell makes them a great team to watch sadly I usually miss the morning show because of work. He’d do well in his own show. He’s versatile enough to intelligently argue with political guests and sports heroes too.

team

Simon Crosskill can be very serious at times, during the celebrations of our athletic victories he said;

” As we celebrate the performances of our athletes it would serve us well to remember from whence they came. Remember that next time you are tempted to think you are better than someone, because of how they look, or speak, or which ghetto they come from. Remember that every Jamaican, no matter rich or poor, black brown or white, has the ability to be a world beater, if given a chance to develop his or her talent. Why do so many Jamaicans exist without social and economic benefits ? Some would say most of our people are lazy. It’s a lie perpetuated by those who are unwilling to create policies that would help spread the enormous wealth of this country. Who would dare label Shelly from Waterhouse and Melanie from Maxfield, lazy.But how many of us who have the wherewithal to make a difference even know where Waterhouse is ?”

Serious if and when required, but usually though, Simon Crosskill delivers his insights in a humorous way, sometimes even just  as a question. Like on his Facebook page he once asked, (not in these exact words), “Why is it that you can get everything and anything at a gas station convenience store yet you cannot get air for your tires there ?”. He was highlighting a strange paradox that occurs frequently in Jamaica because our crime rate is so high that people even steal the air hoses from the gas stations.

In Jamaica we realize sense of humor is a means of self preservation that’s why we “tek serious ting mek joke “. Seeing the problems and still being able to laugh while solving them is a very serious business.  The Court Jester must force the King to realize his nakedness. The Motley Fool, comedian, political satirist or clown has the serious task of making us ask why things are the way they are and urge us to seek better. They carry truth into closed minds and enter freely into power circles others would fear to tread.

Without these brave geniuses around we’d probably all just curl up and die after freezing with fear.

Instead, with a sense of humor, we can see the tragic and the painful, perhaps even more acutely than others. We are sensitive to the problems but we are also aware of the power of “reversal”. We know things can change completely and in a flash, one banana peel, one misstep and Goliath will fall. One pie, thrown in the face, of a haughty business man or politician, will show them who is really the don, and even as we seem to lose, or when we’re even forced to cry, we know that we will get the last laugh.

We live by a simple credo, a simple code, one that is difficult to explain, or even understand, at times, given the enormous challenges of life.

Be Happy !!

October 18, 2009 Posted by | blog, humor, movies, non fiction, philosophy, Psychology, sports, Strategy, success, suicide, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments