Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Forgiveness, Healing, Happiness and Moving On In The New Year

Forgiveness is no easy feat.

But we must employ it..for our own benefit - as well as for others.

However, forgiving someone for what we may have observed as a "wrong" to us, does not necessarily mean that they have to remain in our lives.

The lessons that we may need to learn from others may be found through the forgiveness following a hurt...and it simply may be time for us to bless those who hurt us on their way.

Love, for others or self, is no doormat. And we do not have to remain on the tracks when the train is coming.

So, as the new year approaches, let us make it imperative to not only forgive the hurt - but to forget it and move on....to "avoid discord with others...and discover harmony within" (Master Kan, "Kung Fu").

To fully forgive...

Just like the great Phil Collins song that pleads, "even if...even if...even if" those who hurt us - "don't love" us "anymore."

We must still love them and ourselves enough by respecting ourselves by moving on - and living happily. Not because "living well is the best revenge." But because "living well is the heatlhiest and happiest choice for the development of our souls and for the highest good of all those concerned.

Happy New Year, Everyone - and may Love and Light and Joy and Grace and Happiness and Prosperity and Forgiveness follow you all the days of your life!

Happy New Year's Adam!

If Thursday is New Year's Eve, that makes today New Year's Adam. Happy New Year's Adam, Everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Your Loving-Kindness Is My Command And My Honor

Money is great. But it doesn't impress me. Nice cars and pretty faces are awesome...as are beautiful homes. But they're all a dime a dozen...especially when you got money.

What impresses me the most?

Gentleness...sweetness...sincerity...generosity...and loving-kindness.

If you got all that - I'm yours forever...and I'll make sure that all your dreams come true and that you get everything you want.

And tell you what, I'll do you one better: even if you're disgentle, unsweet, insincere, stingy and mean-spirited - I'll still be yours forever - and still make sure all your dreams come true and that you get everything you want.

For what kind of man would I be if I placed conditions and boundaries on my boundless love for thee?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Happy Holiday Meal Reminder

Accept every gracious invitation to dine & enjoy every morsel of food, be it meat, veggies, sugars & sweets, fruits, nuts & yes - even bread. Blessing your food and sharing your meal & your presence with those you love & those who love you outweighs & REMOVES any physical detriment to the body because the soul & the heart are so happy to be surrounded by loved ones.

Don't Know Who Said It But It Sure Rings True:

"A prayer sung is a prayer said twice."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Listen To Your Dreams - and "Draw" Heaven To You

This remarkable young girl listens to her "whispers" and "visions" from God. As such, she follows her dreams to a "t."

May we all listen as carefully and beautifully to our whispers from Heaven.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmm-0-Rdxo8&feature=related

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"The Power of Words"

The Bible says, "By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matt. 12: 37); "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 12: 21); And "Thou shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee" (Job 22: 28).

Charles Fillmore, cofounder of Unity, wrote: "The spoken word carries vibrations through the Universe ether, and also moves the intelligence inherent in every form, animate or inanimate."

Ernest Holmes, founder of the Church of Religious Science, has written: "The word gives form to the unformed. The greater the consciousness behind the word, the more power it will have. Just words, without conviction, have no power, and just conviction, without words, will never stir up latent energy. There must be a combination of the two to make a complete thing."

The Tibetan master D.K., through Alice A. Bailey, has said: "Every Word differentiated or synthesized, affects the deva kingdom, and hence the form-building aspects of manifestation. No sound is ever made without producing a corresponding response in deva substance."

As author John Randolph Price writes in his wonderful book, THE ANGELS WITHIN US, "From these resources it should be obvious why the masters of the early academies taught the aspirants to be aware of the consequences of words on the mental, emotional, etheric, and physical planes. They were schooled in the Power of sound and how words spoken with a controlled mind could literally change the force field around any form, including the belief system of the personality, and free the imprisoned spiritual consciousness."

As Price continues to write in ANGELS, he began to use the old Oriental standard to gauge the value of speech: Is it true? It is kind? It is needful? The result of this brief survey, Price discovered, was that only a few of his remarks passed the three tests. And that he admitted that when monitoring his own words, he missed the mark several times, even though he was consciously trying to measure the quality of what he was saying. "We are all walking around with a loaded gun between our teeth," he revealed, "and our tongues seem to love to pull the trigger."

"Remember," he concluded, "we are either healing or harming" with our words, spoken or written. "There is no in-between, so even in our humor we should practice harmlessness. Let's be builders of the new world through constructive words and creators of harmony with loving words."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

There's No Time For Modesty: The World Needs You To Shine Your Light - This Holiday Season...And Always

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so
that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

- Excerpt from the book, "A Return To Love," by Marianne Williamson

Friday, December 18, 2009

"The Wallflowers" Know The Deal with "Into The Mystic" (Lyrics and Video Link)

We were born before the wind

Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic

Hark, now hear the sailors cry

Smell the sea and feel the sky

Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic



And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home

And when that fog horn blows I want to hear it

I don't have to fear it

I want to rock your gypsy soul



Just like way back in the days of old

Then magnificently we will float into the mystic

And when that fog horn blows you know I will be coming home

And when that fog horn whistle blows I got to hear it

I don't have to fear it

I want to rock your gypsy soul

Just like way back in the days of old

And together we will float into the mystic






http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MDMhR6V_MU&feature=PlayList&p=183E4E32498FCC06&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=4

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods' excellent performance as an athlete should have nothing to do with his poor performance as a husband. He clearly has issues and I don't know anyone who doesn't. But it's our job as human beings to be compassionate and forgiving - and to move on and forward. Meanwhile, Tiger needs help. A lot of it. And he needs to find it. And we all need to concern ourselves only with loving-kindness.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Looking Back and Moving Forward: A Tribute To My Parents

The most rewarding experience of my life was taking care of my parents in their elder years. I would not be who I am today if not for my Mom, Frances Turri ("St. Frances of Turri") and Dad, Herbie P. ("St. Pompeii"). As I ready for the many great experiences I envision for 2010, I invite you to read through my previous blogs tributes to my parents that I repost here today.

All the best,

Herbie J


THE TRIBUTE TO MY DAD (who passed into spirit on April 5, 1995)

My dad was always the first one in my family who remembered to play a joke on April Fool's Day. Only on his last celebration of the holiday in 1995, a mere five days before he died of lung cancer, did I find out why.

On April 1, 1924, when my father was just a boy, he lost his mother when she was 35-years-old. As her eldest child, he and my grandma Rose were quite close. I don't think he ever got over loosing her. He must have thought it was a bad joke that a twelve-year-old boy would lose his mother on April Fool's Day. It's like he made some kind of promise to himself that he would always be the first one to do a funny every year. It was probably the only way that he knew how to deal with the pain he must have felt every year on what should have been a very humorous day. Inside, I don't think he ever stopped asking where his mother was. From the day she passed away, there was no one there to comfort when he fell, so he fought. There was no there to guide him through school, to encourage him to get a formal education, so he quit.

He was on his own.

Still, when push came to shove, my father did remarkably well in this world. He always managed to enjoy himself in our hometown of Rochester, New York, and during his time in the service (World War II), which allowed him to travel to California and to the Philippines. He married at 40, and the good times continued with my mom, my sister and myself. In the fall of 1977, after years in the inner-city, we moved to a beautiful suburban townhome that we rented, and he loved it there. We all loved it there, from the moment we first went to inspect what would be our home for the next 18 years. Even after taking the long way, down the wrong road, on a rainy day, we somehow managed to end up at the right place.

After a time, however, my father grew bitter, thinking he had made the wrong decision by paying rent all those years and not purchasing a home. I tried to tell him again and again, that in life, no one really owns anything, that the life we all shared was good, even if we argued nearly every day, that a person's true success is measured by the quality time he has with others, not the quantity of material gifts he or she is able to gather in this world.

But he didn't want to hear about it. Then, when he got sick, he really didn't want to hear about it. And I didn't blame him.

Along with my father's physical ailments, his emotional state deteriorated. I prayed for his soul because I believed that he would not. At least, I thought he would not.

Then, one day, shortly before he passed away, I was trying to arrange the huge family rosary upon the holy mantel we had in our home. I couldn't find the right position. I gave up, and huffed away upstairs. About one half-hour later, I started back down the steps, and noticed my father situating the rosary in the most perfect way. At that moment, I knew that so simple and graceful a move had somehow cleared his path to heaven. All the times when he chose not to pray, all the moments when he could not find the strength to forgive himself for not going to school, finding the right job, paying into the right pension, winning the lottery, or losing at OTB; all the bitterness and anger that was eating away at him, was wiped clean. His heart was replenished. My father had faith, after all. But like so many of his other emotional truths, he concealed it.

Though, I had underestimated his integrity before.

While in fourth grade, I wanted to go to the circus.

"Get a good report card," he told me, "and I'll get you tickets."

I began to worry. I was a horrible student in the fourth grade. And when my report card arrived, as I had feared, I received all Ds and a great big F. After stalling for an hour or so in my room, I called him upstairs and showed him the card. He took it down into the living room. About 20 minutes later, he returned it to me. Inside were the tickets he had purchased weeks before. He granted me those tickets, when I thought he would punish me. But I punished myself by not comprehending the scope of my father's love.

Where was my faith?

Where was my faith when I worried how I would get to college, in a family of three drivers and one car? When my father showed up with a brand new car for me with which to commute to a local college, I was embarrassed. Once again, I had miscalculated the magnitude of his love, and the generosity of his spirit.

In the last weeks of my father's life, I did all I could to beautify his physical surroundings. Colors of creme, beige and eggshell filled each room. I wanted to make his transition to heaven real smooth. The new sofas and rugs were great, and I knew their staying power was weak. But they were strength-inducing for my dad. He walked around the house, looking at the new mini-blinds and kitchen floor, and said things like, "Well, it looks like we're going to be here at least a couple more years."

The rent began to matter less to him.

My sister, my mother and myself decided not to verbally inform him of the severity of his illness. And we're glad we did not. Every case is different, and had we acknowledged to my father how sick he was, he would have left us at least seven months earlier.

The bottom line? My dad knew in his heart how sick he was (how could he not?). We gave him all the proper medications, helped him to eat all the right food, etc. Telling my father (who viewed himself a failure all his life) that now, at 83 years old, he didn't have long to live, somehow just didn't mesh. So we all pretended he would get better, and, as a result, his last days were happier.

All the while, I would ask God to grant my father more time. And God complied.

I later prayed, "If it is your will to take my father, then grant us the strength to deal with the loss."

And God complied again.

We retained the strength, and I don't know how people with no faith deal with any loss.

Strangely, before my dad became sick, I asked God to show me what really matters in life.

Shortly thereafter, I went to get my hair cut. I was complaining about how it doesn't grow tall anymore, just long. The stylist put down his shears and told me this story:

"A little boy with thick curly, red hair came in one day, and I commented on how full his hair was. The little boy came back with a startling revelation. 'Well, you know,' he said, 'I have leukemia, and I'd trade in a second, my healthy hair for a healthy body.'"

Then, one night, I was watching Unsolved Mysteries on TV. There was a beautiful little girl, dying of cancer, and talking about how she spoke with the angels. How, for her, heaven was a place with colored clouds that taste like different kinds of ice cream; a place where the angels wonder what our favorite ice cream flavor is. She said "Chocolate Chocolate Chip." And then suddenly, one huge white cloud became one huge scoop of Chocolate Chocolate Chip.

In light of this happy thought, I pray today that my father's dairy dessert-flavored cloud is "Heavenly Hash," which he so enjoyed with my Mom many times on Earth. And if his sole (soul) mission in life was to bring the reader and the writer together now, with this communication in celebration of his life, then he completed his journey with flying colors -a term of which also may have its origins in those ice-cream flavored flying clouds.


----------------------------------------------------------------------

THE TRIBUTE TO MY MOM (who passed into spirit on May 5, 2008)

My Mom was a great person, parent, sister, daughter, cousin, niece, friend and employee. She worked at Kodak for 17 years, just shy of earning a pension that would have “set her up for life.” But she left Kodak – to have me. Years later, after we moved from Erie Street to Greenleaf Meadows, she started working in the lunch room at Number 7 School.

My Dad used to take her to work, go to OTB, and then pick her up a few hours later. They’d go on to McDonalds, then Wegmans supermarket, and back to Greenleaf. After my nephew Sammy was born, they’d pick him up at daycare, and bring HIM back to Greenleaf. And that was their simple HAPPY life – every day – for years.

When I tried to move on with MY life after my father died, I made the attempt to bring my Mom to California. And that was pretty much a disaster. So, we brought her back here, and subsequently moved her to the South Village Apartments at the Shire in Irondequoit.

Meanwhile, I stayed in LA – and did a few shows – but my heart wasn't in it. I missed my Mom. I missed Rochester. So I came back and moved into the NORTH Village Apartments at the Shire, where I named myself the Volunteer Director of Activities. I wanted to create the sense of family that we had for years on Erie Street and at Greenleaf. So, I started throwing parties and picnics - big parties, little parties, pizza parties, Thanksgiving Day Parties, Christmas parties, New Years Eve parties, Easter parties, Tax Day Parties, and of course, the real big parties for my Mom’s 80th and 85th birthdays – the latter of which was the mother of ALL the parties.

People said, "Oh, Herbie J - you gave up your life for your Mother." But I never looked at it like that. I did those parties because I wanted to – and I enjoyed them. I'd see movies and TV shows about a small town boy who moved to the big city and made it big. He then realizes that the big city ain’t all that.

And I loved those movies – for a few hours. Then I thought, "You know - instead of me feeling all warm and fuzzie for just a few hours and instead of me putting all my energy into maybe writing scripts similar to those movies, I'd rather LIVE the scripts of life – then write them."

It’s because of my Mom that I came to appreciate the simple treasures of life – as opposed to the glamour and glitter of Hollywood. In turn, she gave me a treasure trove of stories, which will now one day be turned into movies and TV shows – maybe even with a few of YOU in them.

One of my favorite memories of my Mom centers around a TV show: The Golden Girls, which I’d watch with her whenever I had the chance. One afternoon last year, while watching the show with her, I thought about the full and successful lives and careers of the older women on the series. I also thought about how my own life has been so full of aspirations, personal and professional. I then looked over at my Mom, turned off the TV and asked, "Mom - what did YOU want to be when you were young?"

"What do you mean?" she said.

"Well," I continued, "Did YOU ever have any dream job or dreams of how you wanted YOUR life to turn out?"

My Mom sat there for a moment, with these questions, and searched her memory, which had been gradually erased by dementia. Yet, she glanced back at me, determined to give me an answer, and replied, "I guess it was always my dream to one day go to a community center every day, where I would have a good meal, be with people, play cards and bingo. That was always my dream."

At first, I was startled and sad for her. Whatever aspirations she may have had as a child, a teen or an adult, were gone - lost in the deep sleep of her memory. But then, after a moment, I was happy for her. My Mom had convinced herself in the short NEW history of her life that going to the Senior Center (every day for the last twelve years) was the fulfillment of a LIFE-LONG dream – and she was content.

I felt God shining upon and THROUGH her that day.

And I felt that a LOT in her last few months – more so than usual. Everything and everyone was beautiful to her. Everyone's blouse was pretty – everyone's shirt was sharp. The trees were so green. The sky was so blue. She was ALREADY seeing Heaven.

On EARTH, my Mom left me, my sister and my nephew with NOTHING. And yet, she left us with EVERYTHING. Nothing of what this world calls secure. And everything of what this world holds dear. My Mom left no diamonds, no cars or homes, no stocks, bonds or annuities – but taught us to understand the true value of endless forgiveness. She left us no cold, hard cash, but encouraged us to invest in warm, soft unconditional Love. She may have left Kodak one year shy of earning a pension, but in the end, or at least what we CALL the end, she had a penchant, as in ENTHUSIASM, for life – and it was concealed in new beginnings:

She died in the Spring, the season of rebirth, shortly before Mother’s Day, on May 5th – Cinquo de Mayo – a joyful 24-hour period that kicked off the week-long festival of lilacs, which bloom in the many shades of lavender - her favorite color.

I loved my Mom - and my Dad - and it is through them that I came to love all of you, and if I learned anything in caring for my parents in these last few years, I learned this: we are ALL Mothers and Fathers to one another…we are each other's CHILDREN – EQUAL in the eyes of ETERNAL Father/Mother. Whether on Earth or in Heaven, Love is the only thing that survives in BOTH worlds.

On Earth, my Mom's Love was packaged and shaped in a body and a personality called Frances. And though we may not see her now, everything about her that was Love - lives on...her sense of humor, the echo of her singing voice, every hug she ever gave, every blessing she ever made with her rosary - all of it - survives. Everything else that was NOT Love...the dementia...the fear...the anxiety...the heart ailments...the stomach issues - all of THAT has been burned away in the Light of GOD'S Love.

In my view, our journey and final destination is like a rocket soaring into space. The pieces of us that we don’t need – fall off as we move closer to the Light of God's EMBRACE – until all that is left is the little capsule that holds our soul. My Mom's capsule - filled with every loving thought and every act of loving kindness that she ever displayed on Earth - is now not only bundled together, magnified, multiplied and showcased in Heaven – but it’s the personal, immeasurable, immortal - and priceless legacy that she left for me, my sister, my nephew - and each of us.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"A Candle Carol"

Where to spend Christmas?

It's always a quandry.

More so, this year, than others.

This year, I'm working in Pompano Beach, Florida, after only seven months prior, moving from my hometown of Rochester, New York back to Los Angeles (where I've held periodic residence since the 1980s).

So I did this morning what I always do when I have a decision to make:

I took a walk.

My pace this morning took me to St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, where good friends of mine recently celebrated the Baptism of their beautiful infant son. The father is not only my friend, but my supervisor at work.

That said, once in St. Gabriel's, I decided to light a candle. But when I walk, I usually do not carry any cash - and this morning was no different.

So, there I was, praying in church, which was so nicely decorated for Christmas, and unable to light a candle for a special prayer.

Immediately, I recalled a business trip last September to New York, where myself, my supervisor and his brother, the president of the company for which I work - and also my friend, had visited the historic St. Patrick's Cathedral.

And we had done so by mistake. Or at least we thought so.

As we walked to enjoy the sights of New York, we came across a church, and thought, "Well, this looks like a nice church. Let's go in here and say a prayer."

Once inside the beautiful structure, we realized where we were - and we were immediately in awe.

As we slowly toured through the palatial interior, we passed beauitful illustrations, images, paintings, sculptures and statues, all of which were overwhelming.

In time, we came across the candles, the cost of which to light one was $2.00.

But there we were - three successful adult men, with credit cards, debit cards and check cards - but just $4.00 in cash. And that meant we only had enough for just two of us to light candles for prayer.

Whether or not the president of the company, who also happens to be elder brother of the two, would be able to light a candle was never a question.

So it was between his younger brother and me.

And it was an easy decision. I told my friend, "You take the other $2.00 and light a candle...for your new son."

"Herb," he said, "are you sure?"

"Please," I replied. "Light the candle. I insist."

With that, I stepped back, and watched my supervisor and my friend kneel before the levels of candles, and pray for his beautiful child. And even though none of us had an extra $2.00 for a candle that would have ignited a special request for me, somehow I knew that my prayer would still be answered.

And it was. These two months later...this morning...in St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, Florida...when I realized that wherever I am, at any time of the year, is where I'm supposed to be.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

"My Real-Life Movie Christmas"

A few years ago, after I completed my assignment as one of the producers of Bravo's hit five-part series, "The 100 Greatest TV Characters," as well as consulting work on Nora Ephron's "Bewitched" feature film, I returned to Rochester to care for my Mom.

It was not easy to leave L.A. (again). I wanted very much to remain in LA, and give full-time to writing "family-oriented" scripts. But it was even harder to be so far away from my Mom. So, my choice was clear. The "family-oriented" scripts of Hollywood would have to wait. I needed to BE "family-oriented" and return to Rochester. Yet, one of my fondest memories of this particular Rochester trip, transpired some months later, in December...at it appeared as though a "script" would still be in the making. A Christmas script.

It's always nice to be home for Christmas, even with the snow, and sometimes because of the snow. But that specific Christmas, in December 2005, turned out to be something extra special.

By then I had moved into a beautiful North Village apartment in the same complex as my Mom's South Village apartment. And that year, I had decided that I would host Christmas Eve - mostly because I had noticed that there were a lot of lonely people in the neighborhood who had nowhere to go that year. So, I took it upon myself to bring them all together at "my house." "My house," I had decided, would become "the house" for the Holidays that year.

It was a nice feeling.

And I did not plan to cook an elaborate dinner. Cheese-and-spinache ravioli, peas, salad, ginger ale...very basic and very quaint. I was more concerned with making sure some lonely people would be a little less lonely that year.

Now, then - growing up on Erie Street, we always had wonderful family dinners, courtesy of my Mom and her sister, my Aunt Anna. My Mom made out-of-this-world sauce, and Aunt Anna's various delicacies were optimum. I certainly wasn't going to attempt to compete with any of that. But what I did set out to do was recreate the same kind of Holiday warmth that pervaded our house on Erie Street for so many years.

So, who would be invited to join me and my Mom at "my house" this particular Christmas 2005?

There was my neighbor, "Joan," who lived behind me on the first floor. She was 59-years-old and in a wheel chair. But it wasn't always that way. She was once married to a millionaire, whom she later divorced because he cheated on her. She received $750,000 in the divorce settlement, but she had squaundered it all away. She later became sick, and her own daughter had abandoned her.

There was "Mark," one of my former acting students, and his mom, "Louise," both of whom had been abandoned by Louise's husband and Mark's father, who was verbally and physically abusive to both of them.

There was "Tony," a sprite elderly man in his late '80s, who didn't miss a trick. He was sharp as a whip - and knew exactly how much his "slippery" brother-in-law had hijacked his savings and investments. But he refused to let that ruin his life.

There was "Naomi," another senior, who's thirtysomething daughter had recently passed away.

There was "Salena," yet another senior, who was the neighborhood "gossip," and who no one really cared to be around. But I cared that she would be alone at Christmas - and I wanted to change that.

No one should be alone at Christmas. And that certainly was not the case with "Joan," "Mark," "Louise," "Tony," "Naomi," and "Salena." They were all thrilled to spend that Christmas with me and my Mom.

To our delight and theirs, it ended up being one of the sweetest, most heart-warming and happiest of Christmases any of us had ever experienced.

Not because there was an exchange of elaborate gifts...and certainly not because there was an elaborate meal. But specifically because people who would not have otherwise known each other were brought together.

Clearly, my "family-oriented" Christmas script had been written.

And now, I can't wait to see the movie...

Again.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our Main Objective Is To Love While Living

Years ago, when I was a child, all I wanted to do was go to "California" and be a star.

I grew up in a lower-middle class family, with no money. All I had was a beautiful, loving family, immediate and hugely extended.

My Mother and Father, God bless them in Heaven, each had eleven brothers and sisters. And our house was "the" house - not only...for family but for everyone in the neighborhood.

As I grew into my teens and later my early twenties, all I wanted was, again, to leave Rochester (NY, my hometown) and go to LA. I used to say to myself, "Ugh...there's just so many people around. Let me out of here. I just wish all I had was me."

Well, years later, after I went to LA, and found my measure of success, and then returned to Rochester to care for my parents in their elderly years, everyone was gone.

No more aunts, no more uncles, no cousins, no more nightly visits. I had my measure of sucess...not the stardom...but a portion of it. And I would have given anything to have my massive family back...certainly, my Mom and Dad...who left me nothing when they died...because they had nothing...at least nothing of what this world calls secure. And yet, of course, I did not care for them to gain anything. I cared for them because I loved them. And feeling their love in return was enough for me...especially as I grew to appreciate the family that was long gone over these last few years.

And today, as I hold residence now in LA as well as Florida, my dreams are in line, my heart is softer and kinder, and I wait to create a family of my own...even at 49...knowing that the knowledge I have gained through loss...and love...conquers daily the big purchases and the big parties.

And the great friends I have retained over the years...merely having coffee with them and/or good conversation, has come to mean so much more to me. All of it combined has allowed me the grand opportunity to understand that we are "here" in this world...not so much to reach our goals...but to reach out to each other in the process of seeking our goals...to reach out to each other with nothing less than joy, peace and loving kindness.

Should we write our scripts, star in our TV shows, teach our classes, operate in our surgeries, develop our ideas, etc., in the process, then we are all the better for it. But we are still all the BEST for it should none of those things ever transpire.

If so, we will still have the "time" we have spent with one another...as we "live" the scripts of life.

My Top Ten Christmas Songs, Animated TV Specials, and TV-Movies of All Time

1] CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE (Written by Vince Guaraldi - from A Charlie Brown Christmas):

Show me a better song representative of Christmas? Okay, maybe The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole - but nothing revs up the Holiday heart strings like this classic tune sung by the Peanuts gang on one of the best Christmas TV specials of all time (see previous post - and see video link below).

2] THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW (FOR DREAMS TO COME TRUE) By Janet Orenstein from Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special:

Like Christmastime is Here (from A Charlie Brown Christmas) this true-love bearing (and en-deer-ing) song from TV's other classic perennial, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, hits all the right chords. Years after first hearing it as a kid, my college crush Debbie Bell (yep, that was her name) sang this for me on her piano. And I couldn't believe she had the sheet music.

3] SILVER & GOLD (performed by Burl Ives in Rudolph):

Stripping away the materialism of what it may appear to mean (silver and gold money, for example), this song caters to core of Christmas - and teaches us to decorate our trees with only the sincerest of colors (that you just know somehow glisten on and make into Heaven - which, of course, is already paved with silver and gold).

4] HOLLY-JOLLY CHRISTMAS (performed by Burl Ives in Rudolph):

Put away your frown, Mr. Scrooge...I dare you not to dance when you hear this jingle bell.

5] LAST CHRISTMAS by George Michael:

George has certainly had his share of issues in the years since his early days with WHAM, but this song wasn't one of 'em. Instead, it goes down in history as one of the most beautiful and somber pop-rock carols of all time.

6] ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU by Mariah Carey:

Like George Michael before her, Mariah Carey has experienced a few personal challenges in recent years. However, her talent is astounding - and her voice is pure - as is so pristinely evident heart-felt holiday rockin' tune.

7] FELICE NAVIDA by Jose Feliciano:

Before it became hip for non-Latinos to speak Spanish in the US, the gifted Jose Ferrer introduced mainstream Americana to the international sounds of Christmas with this bangin' gee-tar-driven holiday present that broke the language barrier.

8] SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS (offcially titled Happy Christmas) by John Lennon TIES with LITTLE SAINT NICK by Brian Wilson (and Mike Love):

One would expect nothing less from Lennon - the man who brought us the timeless beauty of Imagine - while the genius of The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson is front and center for Christmas. And is it really any wonder that Little Saint Nick appears on TBB's first Christmas album, which just so happened to be released in the same year (1964) that Rudolph debuted on TV? 'Course not. The angels know what they're doing.

9] DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS? Before being charitable in the super-mainstream public eye became cool, this haunting tune was recorded to help feed the hungry - not only of the body - but of the heart and the soul. In the process, it reminds us exactly what Christmas is supposed to be all about (clue: not buying Christmas gifts at the mall, which opens at 4 AM on Black Friday).

10] EDELWEISE by Rodgers and Hammerstein from The Sound of Music. If this isn't a Christmas song, I don't know what is. It is infested with love, and as far as I'm concerned, is one of the most beautifully melodies on the planet. And though The Sound of Music is not "really" a "Christmas story," per se, it really kinda'sorta is.

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MY TOP TEN ANIMATED CHRISTMAS TV SPECIALS


1] A Charlie Brown Christmas (CBS, 1965): Directed by Bill Melendez. Written by Charles Schulz.

Young voice-over talent Peter Robbins made his indelible mark as Charlie Brown in this poignant holiday classic that spawned a series of similar specials for every holiday. Here, Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas and the perfect tree. While directing a school play, he ultimately finds both, though not before our young low-acheiver is confronted by a number of obstacles. None the least of these conflicts is presented by his own dog Snoopy's obsession with winning first prize for a local decorations competition, or by his mean-spirited peers who mock his choice of a tiny sickly tree. Through it all, Charlie continues to struggle for peace of mind in his December time, when he is forced to visit with his pseudo-psycholgoist friend (and foe) Lucy, who offers him a 5 cents therapy session. Following a desperate plea (during which he screams, "Can't anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?!"), CB finally hears the real deal - from Lucy's young brother Linus, of all people. "I can tell you," Linus reveals. And in one of the most uniquely animated moments in the history of the genre, Linus goes on to quote the Biblical story of the first Christmas. In a matter of moments, CB's misguided pals realize their inconsideration and, with the help and reconfiguration of Snoopy's prize-winning decorations, breathe life into a once-listless tree - further uncovering and "illuminating" the true meaning of Christmas. "Hark the herald" these young animated angels then all sing.

2] Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer (CBS, 1964): Directed by Kizo Nagashima and Larry Roemer. Written by Robert May and Romeo Miller.

A "true love" story. Lessons about maturity, responsibility, pride, prejduice, ambition and acceptance; deciphering "deer pressure" from "elf-improvement." Dispelling the fear surrounding a visit to the dentist? Learning that no toy is happy unless it is truly loved by a child? Some of the most beautiful Christmas songs ever written (There's Always Tomorrow; Silver and Gold). What else could anyone want in a Christmas TV special? This classic always signals the commencement of the holiday season - and reminds me so much to slow my pace and shine on until the morning - and beyond. Featuring the awesome talents of Burl Ives, who we first meet in the North Pole midst of a field of Christmas trees ("Yep -this is where we grow 'em?).

3] Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (ABC, 1969): Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. Written by Romeo Miller.

Taking it's cue from Rudolph, this smart Christmas tale expands on the popularity of a Christmas song and threads a charming tale about the origins of St. Nick - here voiced by Mickey Rooney. Also along for the ride: Fred Astaire (serving the narrator purpose, alla Burl Ives on Rudolph) as the Christmas Mailman. Also featuring the vocal talents of Keenan Wynn, Paul Frees, Joan Gardner and Robie Lester.


4] The Year Without A Santa Claus
(ABC, 1974): Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. Written by William Keenan and based on the novel by Phyllis McGinley.

Mickey Rooney returns as Santa, this time joined by Shirley Hazel Booth as Mrs. Claus in smart take that may be sub-coded, Santa Takes A Holiday - as the jolly one gets sick and decides to take a break from Christmas. As such, a quite sophisticated animated tale is delivered, along with an astounding message and pristine dialogue. In fact, this cartoon was so impressive, it spawned a life-action TV-movie (starring John Goodman) in 2006.

5] A Christmas Carol (Syndicated, 1970): Directed by Zoran Janjic. Written by Michael Robinson and based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens.

Who says television isn't educational? This was my introduction to the great mind of Charles Dickens. Up until then, I thought cartoons only meant Scooby Doo, Where Are You? - not to mention, great literature. Starring the voiceover talents of Alistair Duncan, Ron Haddick (as Scrooge), John Llewellyn, Bruce Montague, Brenda Senders and many others.

6] The Night The Animals Talked (CBS, 1970): Directed by Shamus Culhane. Written by Peter Fernandez, Jan Hartman and others.

Just about his far away from Dr. Doolittle as you can get, we learn here what the animals were thinking at the birth of Christ. They are granted the gift of gab - and we are granted the gift of insight. Mind-boggling - and aeons ahead of its time. Starring the vocal gymnastics of Pat Bright, Ruth Franklin, Bob Kaliban, Len Maxwell, Joe Silver, Frank Porella and others.

7] 'Twas The Night Before Christmas (CBS, 1974): Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. Written by Jerome Coopersmith and based on the poem by Clement Moore.

Producers/directors Bass and Rankin steered away from stop-action animation (Rudolph, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town) and headed into the then-more traditional animatrics of the era. What's more, it's also told in a 30-minute format (as opposed to the aforementioned 60-minutes, though first completed a few years before with Frosty the Snowman in 1969). But their style is still evident especially drawn in the eyes and "heart" of each character. A sweet narrative delivery of a perfect holiday ryhme. Feauturing the voices of Patricia Bright, Scott Firestone, George Gobel (Hollywood Squares), Broadway giant and film legend Joel Grey, and Tammy Grimes (the original choice for Samantha on TV's Bewitched; but she said no).

8] The Little Drummer Boy (NBC, 1968): Directed by Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin, Jr. and others. Written by Romeo Muller.

Two years after CBS got heavy with A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Peacock network delivered this equally-deep and spiritual take on an animated Christmas TV special. Based on the classic song (that was later historically duetted by Bing Crosby and David Bowie on one of BC's traditional NBC Holiday specials). Starring the vocal prowess of Jose Ferrer, Paul Frees, June Foray, and narrated by Greer Garson.

9] How The Grinch Stole Christmas (CBS, 1966): Directed by Chuck Jones and Ben Washam. Written by Bob Ogle and based on the book by Dr. Seuss.

Director Ron Howard and actor Jim Carrey made a valiant attempt to bring Whoville to the live big-screen a few years back, but ain't nothing like the original unreal thing - especially due to the vocal brilliance of Boris Karloff.


10] Frosty The Snowman
(CBS, 1969): Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin. Written by Romeo Miller.

Here, Jimmy Durrante (like his compadres Burl Ives and Fred Astaire before) serves as narrator to yet another Christmas carol come to life - along with Frosty. A sequel (Frosty Returns) later followed (with John Goodman, years before he donned the live action edition of The Year Without A Santa Claus - stepped in for Jackie Vernon). But it wasn't the same. Also starring the voices of the great Billie De Wolfe (The Doris Day Show), and Bass/Rankin/Miller stalwharts Paul Frees and June Foray.

--------------------------------------------------------------
"MY TOP TEN CHRISTMAS TV-MOVIES OF ALL TIME"

1] THE HOUSE WITHOUT A CHRISTMAS TREE (CBS, 1972): Directed by Paul Bogart. Written by Eleanor Perry and Gail Rock. Based on the book by Rock.

Jamie Mills (played by the great Jason Robards) has grown bitter over the years after losing his wife a decade before. As such, he no longer celebrates Christmas and refuse to put a tree. But this is no run-of-the-mill take on Scrooge - especially after watching Jaime's young daughter Addie (Lisa Lucas) ultimately drag a decorated tree through town and into the Mills living room. If you're looking for your heart, you'll find it in this movie. Mildred Natwick offerred her usual perfect performance, here - in a supporting role - as Robards' mother. Special note: This flick's budget was low, forcing it to be videotaped (like everything pretty much today - though some TV shows and movies make it look like film). But somehow it adds to the "reality".

2] MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (CBS, 1973): Directed by Fielder Cook. Written by Valentine Davies, Jeb Rosebrook (and others).

No, it ain't the original 1947 feature film classic (with a tiny Natalie Wood), but it sure as heck ain't the overblown remake from 1994. Nope, this little puppy of a version starred the late Sebastian Cabot (Mr. French from TV's Family Affair), David Hartman (soon to be an early rising staple on ABC's Good Morning, America) and Jane Alexander (who was just about to find super fame playing Eleanor Rosevelt in a series of TV-movies for ABC). Look also for this astounding supporting cast: Roddy McDowall, Jim Backus (Gilligan's Isalnd, Mr. Magoo), James Gregory (Barny Miller), Conrad Janis (Mork & Mindy), Roland Winters, and David Doyle (Charlie's Angels) and Tom Bosley (Happy Days) - the latter two of whom have been cross-identified by viewers for years - and who appeared here on screen together for the first time. you can't beat that - and you can't beat this TV-flick for slick production values (for its time), nostalgia (on so many fronts) and a straight-forward "logic within the illogic" script. Awesome. Just awesome. Everything a Christmas TV-movie (or any TV-movie for that matter) should be.

3] FATHER KNOWS BEST: HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (NBC, 1977): Directed by Norman Abbott and based on the original TV series created by Ed James.

Like The House Without A Christmas Tree, this TV-flick was produced with an extremely low budget (it wasn't even filmed like the original series, but videotaped - like a daytime soap opera). But little matter. The script is in place, story is home-made-for-TV, and the cast is dynamite, including all original members of the original Father series, such as: Robert Young (Marcus Welby, MD), Jane Wyatt (Spock's mom on Star Trek), Lauren Chapin, Elinor Donahue (who later married the much-older executive producer Harry Bewitched Ackerman), Christopher Gardner, and Billy Gray. When Young as Jim Anderson puts up those Christmas lights outside the house, I can't help but be reminded of my super Uncle Carl - who did the same for so many years on Erie Street. This movie will remind you of similar memories I'm sure.

4] SAINT MAYBE (1998, CBS): Directed by Michael Pressman. Written by Robert W. Lenski. Based on the book by Anne Tyler.

Not a Christmas movie, per se, but filled with the astounding spirit of one. Thomas McCarthy plays a lonely teen who works past a tragic car accident that kills his sister, and forces him to care for her three children. Moving, pristine and downright awe-inspiring. Also starring Blythe Danner, Edward Hermann (who played alongside the aforementioned Jane Alexander in those Rosevelt TV-movies), the beautiful Melina Kanakaraedes, Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds), and former TV-movie queen, Glynnis O'Connor.

5] CHRISTMAS ON DIVISION STREET (1991, ABC). Directed by George Kaczender. Written by Barry Morrow.

As usual, Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) delivers another fine performance, this time as the privledged offspring of wealthy parents who learn the true meaning of Christmas from their son (who learns it from a homeless man). Hint: it doesn't have anything to do with buying lots of expensive, materialistic gifts for people. Also starring Hume Cronyn, Badja Djola, Cloyce Morrow, Kenneth Walsh and Kahla Lichti.

6] A DAD FOR CHRISTMAS (a.k.a. Me and Luke, 2006, CBS). Directed by Eleanor Lindo. Written by Alan Hines. Based on the novel (Me and Luke) by Audrey O'Hearn.

As with Saint Maybe, this pristine small screen film is not clearly defined as a Christmas TV-movie (though there's a Christmas dinner in there at the end). But it's infested with the spirit. Newcomer Kristopher Turner plays a compassionate teen father who sets out to protec and claim his newborn son from the likes of the child's selfish mother. The Oscar-winning Louise Fletcher, as the Turner's grandmother, steps up to the plate as the first-time Dad's main ally. Also starring Philip Akin, Lindsay Ames, and others.

7] BORROWED HEARTS: A HOLIDAY ROMANCE (1997, CBS): Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Written by Pamel Wallace and Earl W. Wallace.

Roma Downey is no angel. But Hector Elizondo is in this flick, which also stars Eric McCormack in a pre-Will & Grace straight role. Bottom line: She's poor. He's her rich, snobby corporate boss - and they're both brought together by her daughter Carly (Janet Baily) - with a little help from an Elizondo.

8] IT HAPPENED ONE CHRISTMAS (1977, ABC): Directed by Donald Wrye. Written by Jo Swerling and Frank Capra.

Before the rest of the universe realized how wonderful It's A Wonderful Life is, That Girl star Marlo Thomas reworked the 1947 Jimmy Stewart classic with a female twist. And the results were impressive. It's probably BECAUSE of this small-screener that people began to become obsessed with the original. Also starring the iconic Orson Welles (as Mr. Potter), Wayne Rogers (M*A*S*H), Cloris Leachman (The Mary Tyler Moore Show), Dick O'Neil, Cliff Norton, Christoper Guest, C. Thomas Howell and Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Ma Baily.

9] A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1984, CBS). Directed by Clive Donner. Written by Roger O. Hirsen - and Charles Dickens

Though the Charles Dickens classic has been remade about a gazillion times, this version starring George C. Scott takes the cake - and the entire dessert table. A top-level, A-List production from every angle. Also starring: Frank Finlay, Angela Pleasence, Edward Woodward, David Warner, Susannah York, Roger Rees, and so many other fine actors.

10] THE NIGHT THEY SAVED CHRISTMAS (CBS, 1984): Directed by Jackie Cooper. Written by Jim Maloney.

A lot better than you would think - with the additional benefits of Charlie's Angels beauty Jaclyn Smith, the legendary Art Carney (The Honeymooners), Paul Le Mat (who starred opposite Smith's Angels co-star Farrah Fawcett in 1985's ground-breaking TV-movie, The Burning Bed), June Lockhart(Lost in Space), Paul Williams, Scott Grimes and many others.

http://www.jarradhewett.com/files/Love_Life_God.pdf

http://www.jarradhewett.com/files/Love_Life_God.pdf

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Find True Love With The Loving-Kind

My friend is troubled. Her husband left her, but he was abusive and it was never a happy relationship. So, please - if you're in an unhappy marriage or relationship with a husband, a wife or a martian - dump that puppy. There'll be no broken promise to God, who doesn't want you to be a doormat. LOVE is not a doormat. Move on to a happy life & find someone who is loving-kind. God, who IS LOVE, will understand and endorse THAT.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Message of Light For The Holidays

In the beginning, we were all one big ball of light. Then a few of us decided (through the gift of free will from God=Love) that we needed to separate into billions of tiny balls of Light. Then a few more decided that we needed to take physical form. Sooner, than later, we found ourselves divided by all kinds of issues (with no answers) that we created, not God=Love.

So, now we have to create the circumstances (i.e. Earthly challenges with which to learn life lessons and/or reincarnating until we get it right, learning that Love is the answer to everything) so we can return us to where we started:

Together, united as one - back to God=Love.

Here's a quick guide:

Christmas and Easter are symbolic messages of whom and what God=Love is in our lives. God=Love comes to us as we believe Him/Her to be. If we are Christian, then we believe Him/Her (and will see Him/Her) as Jesus.

Jewish? God.

Muslim? Allah.

Buddhist? Buddha.

And so on, and so forth, and so good.

For Christians, Jesus was God=Love Incarnate on Earth. As a Son of God=Love, He was and remains the Awesome Deliverer. As the Son of Man, He was and remains everything that each of us should aspire to be in/on this Earth realm ("You can do what I do - and more). As a Human Being, he was one of the kindest to ever have lived. As a Historical Figure, he was a genius.

Jesus' life was a living parable...a parable similar to those he was so fond of dispelling while he was on Earth.

The Birth of Jesus is symbolic of the Birth of the Christ Consciousness in each of us.

The Resurrection of Jesus, is symbolic of the Resurrection of our Hearts, Minds and Souls to our Higher Consciousness.

Joseph Campbell was right: Look to the message behind the myth, myth, here meaning, story, a.k.a. Bible Stories.

This doesn't mean that the Bible stories are myths, as in "fantasies" or as if they never happened. No. Indeed, they were real and did transpire. But they transpired as history and parable, and we must concentrate on the latter as lesson for the development of our souls.

In doing so, we must not employ judgment. Rather, we must Love and respect one another, ignore our differences, and concentrate on what makes us the same - which is God=Love.

God=Love doesn't give a flying fig if you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Black, White, Straight, Gay, or Martian. We're all on different paths that lead to the same destination. Once again, back to God=Love.

It's that simple, and it's not difficult and it has nothing to do with hate, for there is only Love. It has nothing to do with death, for there is only life. After what we call death, there is only more life, and that has nothing to do with division and the end of the world. For there are only new beginnings, and unity, linked by God=Love.

Therefore, hold on to God=Love, and let go of the world.

Happy Holidays!

Herbie J :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank You.

Thank you, God, for all the Peace, Joy, Love, and Loving-Kindness that I've received and shared. Thank you, God, for my eyes, my nose, my lips, my ears, my brain, my heart, my kidneys, my blood, my bones, my muscles, my immunne system, my endoctrine system, my nervous system, all my organs...my entire body temple. Thank you, God, for all the money I have ever made, and all the food I have ever eaten...all the laughter I have ever laughed, and all the gifts I have ever received and given. Thank you, God, for my education, my history, my talents...my ability to write, to act, to sing, to dance and so much more. Thank you for my career. Thank you for all the words I've ever written, all the books, all the scripts, all the songs I've sung and danced to, all the shows in which I've acted and directed. All the classes I've taught and taken. Thank you, God, for all the music in my heart, and all the music that I hear. Thank you, God, for all the dances I've danced, and thoughts I've thought, and sounds I've heard and made. Thank you for all the dreams I have ever dreamed, and all the dreams that have come true. Thank you, God, for all the safe walks home, all the the safe plane rides, all the safe drives in the car. Thank you for all the kisses I've kissed, and all the kisses I've received. Thank you for all the hugs, and all the times I've made love, and the various pleasures I've received and given. Thank you for all the Light that lives in me and that which is beamed out through you. Thank you for all the work I've ever worked, and all the play I've ever played, and all the life in between. Thank you, God, for all the trees I've ever climbed, for every flat pebble I've skimmed across the water, and every swim I ever swam. Thank you, God, for every single breath of fresh air I've ever breathed. Thank you for all of my family and friends. Thank you, God, for every moment, every second, every year, every day, every month, every season and every time. But most of all, dear God, thank you for you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Origin of "Want" Does Not Mean "Desire"

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

This Biblical passage does mean what everyone has thought it's meant through the years.

The "want" in question here is defined with reference to "wander." As in, "I shall not wander."

Shepherds cared for flocks of and herds of sheep, which they had to guide and corale...sheep which would tend to "wander."

We, the children of God=Love and Light, are referenced here, metaphorically, as "sheep."

As such, God, the Universe or however you name the Creator of All Good Things, does not seek for us to "want" anything with regard to "desire." Instead, God=Love prefers that we do not "wander" away...from the Light...from positive thinking...from sound living....from loving-kindness.

"Begging" and "wanting" and "desiring" has no true place in our relationship with "God=Love." We do not - and should not - have to "beg" or "want" for any desire.

Instead, it works in our favor when we choose not to "wander" away from loving-kindness, peaceful living, joy, and the "Light choices."

When we choose not to "wander," God=Love, according to the great gift of "free will," and bound by the laws of Love itself, will have no choice but to grant our heart's deepest desires anyway.

In other words, our truest desires, based on loving-kindness, then come to us, freely and fully, with not a beg in sight.

So, indeed, the Lord is our shepherd...we shall not wander away.

Why should we?

Wandering leaves us lost in the dark...when "being still," keeps us found in the Light.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Tribute to Rita Valerie: Her "Presence" Remains Her Best Gift

Today would have been my cousin Rita Valerie's 50th birthday. She died in early 2003 from various physical ills - as she had not been in the best of health for the last ten years of her life.

Rita was always one of the smartest people I ever knew - and also one of the most generous. We fought like cats and dogs while growing up - and it was a very challenging relationship as adults. But we loved each other. And she would have done anything for me.

Rita would have done anything for anyone. In fact, sometimes too much so. She was always buying gifts for people. In the late 1970s, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona with her Mom, my Aunt Amelia (sister to my Mom, Frances), older brother Bill, and Aunt Alice (another of my Mom's sister) and her husband, my Uncle Ange. They all went there to join Rita's other brother, Fred, who had moved to Phoenix in 1972 with his wife Dani, and then-young child Wendy.

In time, Aunt Alice and Uncle Ange passed away, and years later, no one expected Rita to be the next member of the Arizona family to leave this world. But she did, even before her own mother (who passed away in 2006).

Meanwhile, it was like Rita was somehow a mother to us all. In her frequent trips back to Rochester, and whenever she would stay at our house at Greenleaf Meadows, or with my sister Pam (in Irondequoit or Webster), I remember bags and bags of gifts that she would purchase for people here in Rochester. And when she wasn't bringing gifts to close friends and relatives in Rochester, she was taking them out to dinner. And certainly, the Holidays was Rita's favorite time of the year. Because for Rita, it was all about "visiting" - and family.

As I write these words, almost seven years after she passed into spirit, I still find it difficult to believe that she has left this world. That's how strong a personality she was...how strong a presence she had. That's how much of an affect she had on me. And that's how I will always remember her...for her generosity and for all the "presents" she gave to the world...and for the "presence" she still keeps in this world.

God bless you forever, Reeds. I will love you always - as will everyone on Earth who was blessed enough to know you - and who remains blessed enough to receive your "presence" - each and every time they remember you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Understanding, Unconditional Color of Love

What is Love? And HOW do you Love?

Is Love something you give only when there is something in it for you? Something to get back in return? For a job-well done? For a reciprocal thought? Is Love something you give to only "yes" people who tell you what you want to hear - to build and sustain your ego?

Or do you Love simply to Love, unconditionally? To give unconditionally? to be kind, unconditionally?

Anyone can be nice to someone, and call it Love - when they are seeking something in return. Anyone can pretend to be nice and kind to a business client or a potential business client - in order to seal the deal.

Of course I'm reminded of the TV character "Larry Tate," portrayed by the brilliant actor David White in my favorite classic situation comedy, "Bewitched."

"Larry" was the ultimate manipulator. As the head of "McMann & Tate" advertising, the client was always right - even at the expense of his friends, employees or his own integrity. In fact, he would fire "Darrin" (as played by either Dick York or Dick Sargent) "on the spot" if he felt it was a threat to any business deal. Or he would reward Darrin with a hearty, "You son of a gun" response if he felt Darrin was doing a wonderful job.

Certainly, in the business world, the "reward/punishment" system, or at least a scaled-down moderate version of it, works.

But with interpersonal relationships - and when it comes to Love across the board?

Uhm...not so much.

We cannot only Love people when there is something in it for us...or only when they are nice to us...or only when they do the things we ask...or act the way we would like them to act...or behave, say, think or do in the way, which is in agreement with our personality or mindset.

Instead, we must Love people no matter what. And forgiveness plays into this scenario, intrinsically. We must forgive those who hurt us. We must forgive those who hate us. We must Love them.

And we must not punish them when they treat us indifferently, or "fire" them or "cancel" their friendship - just as much as we should not only Love them or reward them with our Love when they treat us well. What if everyone envisioned each other as "potential business clients" - with multi-million dollar deals to be made if we won these "clients" over? Everyone would probably and very easily Love one another then, would we not? But again, for all the unhealthiest of reasons.

And this way of thinking also applies to how we treat ourselves. We must Love ourselves, no matter what. We must forgive ourselves, no matter what. We must not reward or punish ourselves for doing "good" or "bad" - but we must Love ourselves, unconditionally.

Now then, if indeed "Love IS God," and "Love is never jealous," then how could there ever have been a "jealous God"? And how could we ever justify allegedly loving someone, and then only doing so when they Love us in return, or if there is only some other "reward" for us in return?

Love is Love, my friends. You either Love someone or you don't. You either Love, unconditionally, or you don't. For it is impossible to Love with conditions, because with Love - there are no inbetweens.

Yet at the same time, nothing is black and white in this world.

If anything, the color of Love is gray...the brightest, most beautiful and understanding gray you will ever lay your eyes and heart upon - and WHO will ever lay their eyes or heart upon you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Surround Yourself Only With Positive People

If you are in an abusive relationship, whether personal or professional, physical, verbal, psychological or emotional - you need to distance yourself from that person and/or environment - and surround yourself only with positive people.

You were born as a Child of Light - as was the individual who may be abusing you. However, you are not directly responsible for the actions of that abusive individual. You are only responsible for your actions, and how they may affect the actions of that individual.

In other words, remove yourself from the tracks before the train comes by.

Your actions in caring for yourself with in turn shed Light on the abuser, and bring Light to the abuser as well, healing them in the process.

But you must make the decision first to leave your abuser - for the benefit and highest regard of all those concerned. You will increase your Light and theirs by distancing yourself from them. If you remain, the Light dims - from all directions.

So be strong - have faith - make the move - and surround yourself only with positive people!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cheerleader Develops Dystonia After Receiving Vaccine

Hello Everyone -

Please be careful when it comes to vaccines...which see the video link below.

HJ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGT0r-udstQ

"Love Is The New Religion" (The Video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRRY8F_Bqmo

"Love Is The New Religion" - by Brian Piergrossi (From the book, THE BIG GLOW)

LOVE IS THE NEW RELIGION

by Brian Piergrossi
(from the book, THE BIG GLOW)

On the surface of the world right now there is war and violence and
things seem dark...

But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something else is happening
underground...

An inner revolution is taking place and certain individuals are being
called to a higher light...

It is a silent revolution...

From the inside out...
From the ground up...

It is time for me to reveal myself...

I am an embedded agent of an secret, undercover...

Clandestine

Global operation

A spiritual conspiracy

We have sleeper cells in every nation on the planet

You won't see us on the T.V.
You won't read about us in the newspaper
You won't hear about us on the radio

We don't seek any glory
We don't wear any uniform
We come in all shapes and sizes
Colors and styles

Most of us work anonymously...

We are quietly working behind the scenes in every country and culture
of the world...

Cities big and small, mountains and valleys, in farms and villages,
tribes and remote islands

You could pass by one of us on the street and not even notice...

We go undercover...

We remain behind the scenes...

It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit...

But simply that the work gets done

Occasionally we spot each other in the street...

We give a quiet nod and continue on our way so no one will notice

During the day many of us pretend we have normal jobs...

But behind the false storefront at night is where the real work takes
place

Some call us the "Conscious Army"

We are slowly creating a new world with the power of our minds and
hearts

We follow, with passion and joy

Our orders from the Central Command

The Spiritual Intelligence Agency

We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking...

Poems...

Hugs

Music

Photography

Movies

Kind words

Smiles

Meditation and prayer

Dance

Social activism

Websites

Blogs

Random acts of kindness

We each express ourselves in our own unique ways with our own unique
gifts and talents...

"Be the change you want to see in the world" (said Gandhi)

That is the motto that fills our hearts...

We know it is the only way real transformation takes place

We know that quietly and humbly we have the power of all the oceans
combined

Our work is slow and meticulous...

Like the formation of mountains...

It is not even visible at first glance...

And yet with it entire tectonic plates shall be moved in the centuries
to come

Love is the new religion of the 21st century...

You don't have to be a highly educated person...

Or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it

It comes from the intelligence of the heart...

Embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings

Be the change you want to see in the world...

Nobody else can do it for you

We are now recruiting...

Perhaps you will join us...

Or already have....

All are welcome...

The door is open.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"God=Love" Over Pompano and Now - Everywhere!

I began my new daily walk regime, looked up into the sky - and saw this astounding phrase: "God = Love" - created by some beautiful high-flying, skywriting Earthly soul in human form (and a human engineered aircraft). Bless whoever did this "out of the clear blue skies" - over Pompano Beach Florida.

[See top two photos to the left.]

It's Not About A-List Stars. It's About CONCEPT.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hollywood studios are rethinking their strategy about casting A-list actors and costly productions in reaction to the poor economy, but also because of the surprising success of recent motion pictures with unknown actors.

With the 459-million-dollar success of the "The Hangover," a "buddy" film feauturing a relatively unknown cast, made several films have shown that a great concept or story can trump star appeal when it comes to luring fans.

"District 9," a low-budget sci-fi flick in which the biggest stars were aliens treated like refugees and the lead actor was South African Sharlto Copley, made $200 million. Thriller "Paranormal Activity," starring Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat, has cash registers ringing to the tune of $100 million.

Next up, on Nov. 20, comes Summit Entertainment's relatively low-budget ($50 million) franchise movie "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," a sequel to 2008 hit vampire romance "Twilight" which made global stars of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Online ticket sellers report "New Moon" is one of their highest pre-sale movies of all time, and box office watchers expect the film to have a smash opening.

"Nobody says that a big wonderful movie needs to be expensive, it's just that that's been the trend, and perhaps the trend is misguided," said University of Southern California cinema professor Jason E. Squire.

Last weekend, comic actor Jim Carrey's "A Christmas Carol" became the latest celebrity-driven movie to stumble at box offices, opening to a lower-than-expected $30 million.

Aside from Jim Carrey and "Carol," which cost at least $175 million, A-listers who suffered box office flops recently have included Bruce Willis ("Surrogates"), Adam Sandler ("Funny People"), Will Ferrell ("Land of the Lost"), Eddie Murphy ("Imagine That") and Julia Roberts ("Duplicity").

"The (major movie) machine didn't fly last summer, if you look at the movies and the names, they were not star-driven movies, they really weren't," said Peter Guber, chairman of Mandalay Entertainment and former head of Sony Pictures.

Hollywood insiders say A-listers currently are having trouble with salary demands in the $15 million range or participation approaching 20% of gross profits -- deals that were once somewhat common for top talent. Instead, they are being asked to take less money upfront and greater compensation only if a film breaks even.

In "New Moon," actors Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart rekindle their romance between an immortal vampire and a high school girl that they brought to silver screens in last year's adaptation from Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" books.

At the time, Pattinson and Stewart were unknown stars but that did not hurt "Twilight," which made $384 million at global box offices and gave Summit a bona fide franchise.

It's not unusual for franchises like the "Harry Potter" movies to begin with unknown actors, but as the films' popularity takes root, production budgets relax and actor, producer and other salaries soar.

But in recent years, Hollywood has been racked by the recession, competition from videogames and the Web, declining DVD sales and fewer licensing deals with television networks

This week, Disney chief Bob Iger said in a conference call that the sluggish DVD market is one reason the major studio has altered its moviemaking. "It causes us to really reconsider not only what we're investing in our films, but how we market them and how we distribute them," he said.

For its part, fledgling Summit has positioned "Twilight" as a franchise for the recession era by keeping the pressure on the costs for "New Moon," and Hollywood producers are praising them for it.

"Good for them, they are really keeping the costs down. It is unusual," said Lauren Shuler Donner, a producer on the "X-Men" films and 2008's "The Secret Life of Bees."

Summit, whose executives declined to be interviewed, took a page from the playbook of "The Lord of the Rings" by shooting the second and third films back-to-back this summer.

When director Peter Jackson made his three "Lord of the Rings" films simultaneously 10 years ago, it was a novel idea that reduced costs because actors, sets, costumes, locations and other items only had to be assembled and paid for once.

Similarly, by shooting the next two "Twilight" movies together, Summit kept the cost of the third film, "Eclipse," due out June 30, around $60 million, one source said.

"What I like is they didn't have a long window (between films), they went in to make a franchise, they didn't go in to see if they had a franchise," said Warren Zide, producer on the "American Pie" and "Final Destination" movies.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Charlie's Angels" Prepping To Fly Again on TV

According to Variety, ABC is "thisclose" to green-lighting a pilot for a contemporary take on TV's classic "Charlie's Angels" - which in itself was a take on "The Mod Squad" and "The Rookies" - only this time with three hot babes. And of course, "Angels" delivered Farrah Fawcett (along with Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith) to our doorstep.

Apparently, Josh Friedman, who recently adapted the "Terminator" franchise for his Fox series "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," has been hired to write and exec produce the new "Angels."

Also onboard are original "Charlie's producer Leonard Goldberg, who ignited the show with Aaron Spelling in 1976, as well as Drew Barrymore, who starred in and produced the 2000 film edition and its sequel 2003. Sony Pictures TV is the studio.

As Variety continues to reveal, Hollywood insiders said that ABC Entertainment Group topper Steve McPherson is especially fond of this new "Angels" concept.

However, as Variety also points out, the networks have found it a frequent challenge to reboot iconic franchises — and several recent attempts, such as "Knight Rider," "Melrose Place" and "The Bionic Woman" have failed to excite anyone, audiences and critics alike.

But ABC, in particular, seems pretty confident lately about classic re-dos, mainly because of the success of the new "V" show - which debuted to high ratings (if failing a little bit with its second episode).

Meanwhile, too, Sony is also busy adapting another 1970s Spelling (and Goldberg-produced) property, "Fantasy Island" — but as a reality show, along with Mark Burnett. (But No American network is attached yet.)

Spelling had attempted a revival in 1988, with something called called "Angels 88" for Fox. That series never sailed, but it ultimately led to Spelling's deal to produce the original "Beverly Hills 90210" (now also enjoying a revival, via the CW) - which itself, according to Spelling, was inspired by ABC's ground-breaking drama, "Life Goes On" (which see "Life" Story - The Book of "Life Goes On": TV's First and Best Family Show of Challenge by Herbie J Pilato).

The franchise then lay flat until 2000, when the McG-helmed "Charlie's Angels" feature, starring Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz, was a box office smash. The first film then gave birth to a second edition, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle." And a third was planned - but no dice.

The 2000 "Angels" motion picture also led to an earlier attempt at a TV series revival, in 2004. That edition was penned for ABC (again, through Sony) by a pre-"Lost" Carlton Cuse and John Wirth and given a script-plus-penalty order but ultimately didn't see the light of day.

This time around, an "Angels" pilot is expected to be given the go-ahead. Friedman, Goldberg and Barrymore will exec produce with Nancy Juvonen.

Friedman's other credits include co-writing the features "War of the Worlds" and "The Black Dahlia."

Beyond "Angels" and "Fantasy Island," Goldberg was an exec producer on "Starsky and Hutch," "Hart to Hart" and "Family."

It is believed that the new "Charlie's Angels" TV series will geared toward a new generation while remaining loyal to the original series.

I'm remaining positive and hope that will be end up being a true statement.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Herbie J Thinks...

Herbie J thinks...

...therefore he is.

...in no uncertain terms.

...thinks in no rinky-dink terms.

...you can't have one without the other.

...thinks tanks should be no more.

...thinks he can, thinks he can, thinks he can.

...thinks you're right.

...thinks you're alright.

...thinks the world of you.

...thinks he's got it, by George.

...thinks you're an angel.

...thinks everything's gonna be okay.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Herbie J Pilato Recaps Facebook Status For The Day

* Herbie J Pilato suggests you move your patio from the back to the front of your house and turn it into a porch.

* Herbie J Pilato grew up in a beautiful family whose home was always open to neighbors, friends and extended family. This Thanksgiving, and every Thanksgiving and every day, feed somebody.

* Herbie J Pilato suggests you pay your bills and live within your means.

* Herbie J Pilato once swept floors and cleaned the meatroom for Topps Supermarkets. And he was the best floor sweeper and meatroom cleaner in the county. So be great where you are so you can be even greater where you want to be.

* Herbie J Pilato believes that charity begins at home...tax free, wtihout there being anything in it for you.

* Herbie J Pilato believes that raising kind, loving children (biologically or through adoption) who grow to become positive contributing members of society does more for the Universe and the development of your soul (and theirs) then if you were to give away one million dollars a day.

* Herbie J Pilato suggests you not become "caught up" with the "properity preachers" who tell you God wants you to be rich. God doesn't give a flying fig about your bank account. All God cares about is how much you Love - and what you DO with your bank account. So be generous, mindful and loving-kind...without glorifying yourself or letting anyone know about it.

* Herbie J Pilato says "go for it!" Go make your money, build your dream house, sell that script, sing that song, win that case or big game and ask out your secret crush. But just remember to shine your Light all along the beautiful way.

* Herbie J Pilato suggests you find your "true love," but not to be distracted with false romantic notions that keep you from your "purest" love.

* Herbie J Pilato believes the Universe is not only waiting for you to do what you came here to do - but the Universe is DEPENDING on you to do it. Please stick to the plan and follow through.

* Herbie J Pilato is telling you straight-up: No one thing is the answer. It's all PART of the answer.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

How To Feel Like A Dog And Make It Work For You

A dog knows when you have positive or negative intentions and/or emotions, not only by the fluctuating "high-happy" or "low-sad" pitched inflections of your vocal chords (high-happy, sounding something like: "Com'ere, baby...! Come on...come on! There ya' go!) - but also in the "sense" that he or she receives, instinctively.

Humans, meanwhile, may also act on those same instincts or intuition. If something doesn't "feel" right about a person or a situation, that's our dog or "spider" senses tingling. And we should adhere to them.

If we ourselves are dispersing not-so-positive "vibrations," then we better get to the bottom of our ill manner, delete it from your "system," and go on our merry way.

Essentially, everyone loves the carefree spirit. And it's not always easy to retain such a happy spirit in these challenging times. But one thing is for sure:

Retaining a carefree spirit has the power to transform each of us into "Magnets of Light."

I know...sounds melodramatic. But here's the deal:

Our individual potential "Magnet of Light" personas or "Carefree Spirits," may be reflected and/or increased by one very simple phrase and response to life's general issues:

"It's okay. It's alright. No problem."

When we employ such a phrase (or at least the carefree temperament that such a phrase implies) in response to the general challenges of life (i.e. stuck in traffic, not always getting your way, etc.), things tend to work out pretty well (one way or the other).

Can't really explain how it works; just know that it does.

Either way, couldn't hurt to try it, right?

'Course not.

Because either way, "It's okay. It's alright. No problem."

"Journey's" Journey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuBMKzxAs1c

Friday, November 06, 2009

Giving Time

I believe that the most you can give someone is your time.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Happy Birthday to St. Frances of Turri"

My Mom would have turned 88 today, had she not passed into spirit on May 5th, 2008. Every good thing that I am, think, say and/or do, is because of the great Light and Love that God granted me through both my Mom and my Dad (St. Pompeii).

I refer to my Mom here as "St. Frances of Turri," because first of all "St. Frances" is how she she referred to herself in her later years. And not her maiden name, "Turri," is also the name of a small village in Italy...which I'm thinking her Dad was from.

Meanwhile, my father's original name was "Pompeii," also named after a city. And that's why I now refer to him as "St. Pompeii."

Either way, when I speak of one - I find it difficult not to speak of the other...as they were (and remain) such an integral part of my life and upbringing.

In any case, I celebrated their lives when they were on Earth, and I celebrate their spiritual lives in Heaven. And I know that they are helping me in ways in which they were unable to do so forever.

So I bless them forever by being the best person I can be...by waking up everyday and making every attempt to do good...to "be" good...in honor of them...and the legacy of Love that God left me THROUGH them.

Because "Honor Thy Mother and Father" means just that...to honor the life that God gave me by way of my beautiful parents....to live my life to its fullest potential...employing loving-kindness each step of the way.

-------------------------------------------------
For more about my parents, please see link below.

http://herbiejpilato.blogspot.com/2008/05/nothingbut-everything-tribute-to-my-mom.html

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Michael Jackson Summation in One Paragraph

I am convinced more than ever that after Michael Jackson was burned during the filming of his Pepsi commerical, he became addicted to painkillers. He then continued to have plastic surgery only to receive the painkillers, which ultimately, consistently and prevantly, affected his reality. From there on in the optimum MJ - of the "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" era - was gone.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Carl Reiner's Big Break": By Susan King for THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

by SUSAN KING
THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

It was a tip from his older brother that helped steer the writer-director-actor toward a show business career. At 87, he has two new books out.
October 21, 2009

If it wasn't for Carl Reiner's older brother Charlie, "Your Show of Shows" would have been missing one of its funniest regulars, there would be no "2,000 Year-Old Man" routines with Mel Brooks, and no classic sitcom series "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Seventy-one years ago, Reiner was working for $10 a week as a shipping clerk in the garment industry in New York.

"When I graduated from high school, I graduated with a 73 average," explains Reiner on a recent afternoon in his homey two-story place in Beverly Hills, settling into a favorite pastime: telling an amusing anecdote. "You needed an 80 to get into college, so I went to work."

He had graduated early from high school because he had skipped a grade when he was young. "It's the worst thing you can do for a young kid, to skip a whole year," Reiner says. "I missed the first day of algebra and never found out what 'X' was. So I was feeling dumb for the rest of high school."

After working as a shipping clerk, he took over his brother's job helping to fix machines for the millinery trade. "I went down to $8 a week, and I worked for more than a year there."

One day, Charlie read in the New York Daily News about a free dramatic workshop in New York sponsored by the Works Progress Administration and told his baby brother to give it a try.

"He always knew I was funny," says Reiner. "I had acted in the third grade and the principal sat next to my mother and she said to her, 'He's the best one.' I could always make friends laugh."

So Reiner worked during the day and at night he would travel from his home in the Bronx to acting class in Manhattan. After six months, he got a job acting at the old Gilmore Theater on 64th Street off Central Park. "We got no money," says Reiner. "Six days a week we did plays like 'The Bishop Misbehaves' and 'The Family Upstairs.'"

Twenty years later, he wrote about theater in his semi-autobiographical novel "Enter Laughing," about a young man trying to break into theater.

Reiner even had to buy a tux and tails for his role in "The Bishop." But he had to borrow the $10 for the outfit.

"My mother kept those tails," Reiner says. "When Alan Arkin did 'Enter Laughing' on Broadway, he used those tails. They didn't fit him, which made it funnier."

Ironically, Reiner didn't do comedy in his earlier days. He recalls the old English woman who taught him acting at the WPA classes.

"The only thing I remember her saying is, 'Your assignment is to learn Queen Gertrude's speech from 'Hamlet.'"

Reiner breaks into a comic British accent and recites the entire, and quite lengthy, speech. He's astonished when he is letter-perfect. "I swear to God, I have never said that whole thing in 70 years," he proclaims. "I remember the first three lines. I'm glad to know that I can do it at 87."

Besides his brother Charlie, Reiner admits that a visit to the restroom at the Gilmore Theater also changed his career. After a performance, Reiner decided to use the restroom in the main area of the theater. A man standing next to him commented on his performance.

"'You were very good in the play,'" Reiner recalled. "'Would you like to go to summer theater?' If I hadn't gone to that urinal, my career might not have started. It was the Rochester Summer Theater. I went there for two years, nothing per week but room and board. But my father used to send me a dollar for a haircut."

He finally got to do some comedy before he went into the service when he worked at the Allaben Acres resorts in the Adirondacks in 1942.

"I was the straight man for the comedian, and doing sketches too. I also handled the game nights and the jazz concerts."

That is also where he met his wife of 65 years, Estelle, who died last year at age 94.

"She was an assistant scenic designer there. We spent the whole summer together, then I went on to the Army and we married while I was in the Army in Washington, D.C.

Reiner looks at the massively large TV screen in the living room.

"I put that in, but my wife never got to see it," he says wistfully. "The last year of her life, she didn't come down. She was upstairs in bed. I bought this for movies. I wasn't going out during that year."

Now he and Brooks, whose wife, Anne Bancroft, died four years ago, watch movies on DVD on that TV every night. But he's far from retired. Reiner is still acting -- he was on the season finale of "House" in May and is looking forward to a guest shot on CBS' "Two and a Half Men."

He is also constantly writing and has two new books out, "Tell Me Another Scary Story . . . But Not Too Scary!" for kids and what he describes as a "novellelah" called "Just Desserts."

In the latter, he reprises the character of romance novelist Nat Noland, whom he introduced in his 2006 book "NNNNN: A Novel."

In this comedic tale, Nat, a Jewish atheist, decides to create an e-mail address to the Almighty and send God a list of ideas of punishments, or "just desserts," for people's indiscretions. Much to his surprise, he receives an answer from God.

Reiner has a lot in common with Nat. "I am an atheist," Reiner declares. "I have a very different take on who God is. Man invented God because he needed him. God is us."

---------------------------------------------------------------

Contact Susan King:
susan.king@latimes.com



Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

Vic Mizzy: Music Theme Writer for "The Addams Family" and "Green Acres"

By MIKE HALE
THE NEW YORK TIMES
October 21, 2009

Vic Mizzy, whose infernally catchy themes for the television comedies "The Addams Family" and "Green Acres" are as entrenched in the memories of Americans who grew up in the 1960s as any pop tune or protest anthem, died on Saturday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 93.

The cause was heart failure, said his daughter Lynn Mizzy Jonas.

In a musical career that stretched over eight decades, from radio shows to "Spider-Man 2," Mr. Mizzy wrote pop hits, novelty songs and movie scores, but his most enduring compositions were the two humorous theme songs he created in the mid-1960s. Asked in 1964 by his friend David Levy, the head of programming for NBC, to provide music for a new comedy called "The Addams Family," based on Charles Addams's sinister cartoons, Mr. Mizzy came up with a da-da-da-dum beat followed by two finger snaps.

The parody of beatnik ennui fit with the show’s satirical, proto-hipster humor. The theme, sung by Mr. Mizzy, was so distinctive that it remained popular far beyond the series’s two seasons.

Just one year later, Mr. Mizzy wrote the theme song for "Green Acres," a comedy about Manhattanites returning to the land, which ran from 1965 to 1971. Once again he combined a gallumphing rhythm (similar to the "Addams Family" opening but faster) with lyrics that stayed in the mind:

Green Acres is the place to be

Farm living is the life for me

Land spreading out so far and wide

Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

As with the "Addams Family" theme, Mr. Mizzy was also involved in the direction of the title sequence.

Victor Mizzy was born on Jan. 9, 1916, in Brooklyn and grew up in Crown Heights. He attended Alexander Hamilton High School and New York University, where he wrote songs and sketches for campus shows. He later wrote for radio and Broadway with an early collaborator, Irving Taylor. Their pop songs included "Three Little Sisters" and "Take It Easy."

During and after World War II, in which he served in the Navy, Mr. Mizzy and a new partner, Manny Curtis, wrote a succession of songs , including "Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes," "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time" and "The Whole World Is Singing My Song," that were performed by the top singers of the time.

Mr. Mizzy married the radio singer Mary Small, who performed many of his songs publicly for the first time, and the couple had two children. The marriage ended in divorce, as did a later marriage to Shirley Leeds. Besides his daughter Lynn, he is survived by a brother, Sol Mizzy; and two grandchildren. Another daughter, Patty Mizzy Keeler, died in 1995.

Before he worked on "The Addams Family" and "Green Acres," Mr. Mizzy had written music for other television shows, including "Shirley Temple's Storybook," "The Richard Boone Show" and "Kentucky Jones." His breakthrough film score was for the William Castle horror movie "The Night Walker" in 1964; his many later scores included those for the popular Don Knotts vehicles "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken," "The Reluctant Astronaut" and "How to Frame a Figg."

Mr. Mizzy continued working well into his 80s, releasing a compilation of his work, "Songs for the Jogging Crowd," on his own label, Vicster Records, in 2003.

The director Sam Raimi asked Mr. Mizzy to write a theme for the 2004 film "Spider-Man 2," which was eventually used on the DVD release.

None of his output, however, could overshadow those snapping fingers in "The Addams Family." And that was fine with Mr. Mizzy. "That's why I'm living in Bel Air," he said last year on the CBS program "Sunday Morning." "Two finger snaps and you live in Bel Air."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Classic Reunion Images of "Happy Days" and "Batman"

It's nice to know that some TV casts still get together - long after the original runs of their shows (which see "reunion" photos to the right of cast members from "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68) and "Happy Days" (ABC, 1973-1983).

Friday, October 16, 2009

YOU Make Your Own "Luck"

According to Richard Wiseman, those who think they're unlucky should change their outlook and discover how to generate good fortune.

See essay below, which was published by Mr. Wiseman on January 9, 2003.

Have a great day!

Herbie J

--------------------------------------------------------------------------


A decade ago, I set out to investigate luck. I wanted to examine the impact on people's lives of chance opportunities, lucky breaks and being in the right place at the right time. After many experiments, I believe that I now understand why some people are luckier than others and that it is possible to become luckier.

To launch my study, I placed advertisements in national newspapers and magazines, asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me. Over the years, 400 extraordinary men and women volunteered for my research from all walks of life: the youngest is an 18-year-old student, the oldest an 84-year-old retired accountant.

Jessica, a 42-year-old forensic scientist, is typical of the lucky group. As she explained: "I have my dream job, two wonderful children and a great guy whom I love very much. It's amazing; when I look back at my life, I realise I have been lucky in just about every area."

In contrast, Carolyn, a 34-year-old care assistant, is typical of the unlucky group. She is accident-prone. In one week, she twisted her ankle in a pothole, injured her back in another fall and reversed her car into a tree during a driving lesson. She was also unlucky in love and felt she was always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Over the years, I interviewed these volunteers, asked them to complete diaries, questionnaires and intelligence tests, and invited them to participate in experiments. The findings have revealed that although unlucky people have almost no insight into the real causes of their good and bad luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for much of their fortune.

Take the case of chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not. I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities.

I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message:

"Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper."

This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than 2 inches high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

For fun, I placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper:

"Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250."

Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.

Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people's ability to notice the unexpected. In one experiment, people were asked to watch a moving dot in the centre of a computer screen. Without warning, large dots would occasionally be flashed at the edges of the screen. Nearly all participants noticed these large dots.

The experiment was then repeated with a second group of people, who were offered a large financial reward for accurately watching the centre dot, creating more anxiety. They became focused on the centre dot and more than a third of them missed the large dots when they appeared on the screen. The harder they looked, the less they saw.

And so it is with luck - unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and as a result miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for.

My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

I wondered whether these four principles could be used to increase the amount of good luck that people encounter in their lives. To find out, I created a "luck school" - a simple experiment that examined whether people's luck can be enhanced by getting them to think and behave like a lucky person.

I asked a group of lucky and unlucky volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person. These exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck.

One month later, the volunteers returned and described what had happened. The results were dramatic: 80 per cent of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives and, perhaps most important of all, luckier. While lucky people became luckier, the unlucky had become lucky. Take Carolyn, whom I introduced at the start of this article. After graduating from "luck school", she has passed her driving test after three years of trying, was no longer accident-prone and became more confident.

In the wake of these studies, I think there are three easy techniques that can help to maximise good fortune:

Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches. Lucky people are interested in how they both think and feel about the various options, rather than simply looking at the rational side of the situation. I think this helps them because gut feelings act as an alarm bell - a reason to consider a decision carefully.

Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. They tend to take the same route to and from work and talk to the same types of people at parties. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. For example, one person described how he thought of a colour before arriving at a party and then introduced himself to people wearing that colour. This kind of behaviour boosts the likelihood of chance opportunities by introducing variety.

Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse. In one interview, a lucky volunteer arrived with his leg in a plaster cast and described how he had fallen down a flight of stairs. I asked him whether he still felt lucky and he cheerfully explained that he felt luckier than before. As he pointed out, he could have broken his neck.