RIP ARETHA FRANKLIN: An Homage To The Queen of Soul

Photo courtesy of kissdetroit.com

 

REMEMBERING THE GREATEST SINGER THAT EVER LIVED AND LISTING MY FAVORITE SONGS FROM HER

When I heard that Aretha Franklin was on her death-bed earlier this week,

Besides my thinking  “Any day now”, particularly since, as it turned out, she was dying of what’s essentially a death sentence in pancreatic cancer,

My other predominant thought was that the world lost the greatest singer that’s EVER sung a note.

I know that lots of people give that ultimate honor to Frank Sinatra, and while he’s just as much of a legend in my book, Aretha’s my choice for the greatest singer of all time.

My biggest personal memory of her, interestingly enough, came from a movie role she did in 1980 that was most memorable and iconic, playing the soul food restaurant owner in the classic comedy The Blues Brothers, singing her mega-hit “Think” as she tried to dissuade Matt ” Guitar” Murphy from rejoining Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood (Dan Ackroyd) and helping them put “…the band back together again.”

Of course that eternal “Queen of Soul” did so much more than that, her career being filled with a complete embarrassment of songs that would rank among some of the biggest hits ever recorded.

Here’s a short list (in chronological order) of my favorites; just click on the link…

 

1.  Respect (1967) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzPXozDgvYs

2. Chain of Fools (1967) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWOpINYVU38

3. You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman) (1967) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay6oJZQ0Y4w

4. Rock Steady (1971) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gWHD54GXmk

5. Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do) (1974) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOSB4Y8e3Z4

 

 

In her iconic role in the classic movie “The Blues Brothers”. Photo courtesy of screen crush.com

 

Granted, the songs I’ve listed are no surprise to anyone who was any kind of fan of Aretha’s but that doesn’t stop them from being my favorites all the same.

I particularly remember listening to “Until You Come Back To Me…” on my green box radio as a little kid in Riverside, lying in my bed at night hearing that great voice, which I didn’t know belonged to Aretha as I was just six or seven years old and barely knew anything detail-wise;

All I knew was that I liked the song.

I honestly wasn’t surprised at her passing after hearing how ill she was, but like pretty much everyone else on this planet, Aretha’s death, while to say that she lived a full life with an infinity of accomplishments would be a pronounced statement,

Is still sad nonetheless as like Michael Jackson, Prince, and so many other iconic artists before her, the world has lost an absolute asset and credit to the over seven billion human beings living in it.

I’m sure that God has told her these two words upon entering Heaven earlier today…

” Well done.”

This should obviously go without saying, but of course I’m going to state this anyway:

 

Rest in Peace, Aretha.

Heaven just added a wonderful resident to its pearly gates and beyond.

And I and pretty much everyone else on Earth will dearly miss you.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of npr.org

 

 

 

I’M SO SICK OF THE HEAT: My Big Random Thought of Summer

It certainly looks like you can fry a few eggs AND cook a couple of burgers on this road. Photo courtesy of flickr.com

 

Like more or less everybody else, I can vividly remember the summers that I had as a youngster.

More than anything else, the fact that I didn’t have to go to school for three months and getting to spend the bulk of that time at my grandparents’ place outside of Riverside, CA,

Made the whole affair one big, relatively care-free vacation.

Which is the description of summer for kids; why else do they so look forward to it, with the last day of school being the happiest day of the year?

I didn’t even mind that the average temperatures were in the mid-90s, with the thermometer reaching 100 degrees periodically, mainly because I hardly went outside until dusk, when the breeze from Orange County came through and cooled things down a bit.

But unfortunately, that was then.

The older I’ve gotten the more uncomfortable that the hot weather has become for me – at least that’s how it seems to me.

Often times whenever I walk anywhere, whatever shirt I happen to be wearing usually looks like I swam to my destination, my sweating seems that pronounced.

I currently have two fans going at all times in my bedroom, pointing at my bed, which no doubt helps but doesn’t ever seem to be quite enough as I still find myself sweating onto my sheets at times.

And of course I can’t possibly write a post like this without giving attention to the many overwhelming wildfires that are plaguing this state, both north and south, what with the Mendocino Fire north of the Bay Area being the largest wildfire that California has ever seen and the Holy Fire in Southern California causing similar havoc.

Such bad phenomena like that has been an absolute epidemic in the entire western third of these United States this past decade.

 

 

A most idealistic image of summer that I wish was more prominent these days. Photo courtesy of timeanddate.com

 

 

All right, let me state my bottom line in all this…

I’M SICK OF THIS HEAT!

I HATE HOT!

Sometimes I’m so sick of sweating and feeling like I’m frying in a pan I can scream!

Thanks goodness it’s been a little cooler in the Los Angeles area, where I live, this past day or so,

But being that the hottest time of the year in these parts often come in September, well…

Let’s just say that I’m not exactly looking forward to what may well be coming, weather-wise, these next few weeks.

It’s made me officially declare winter and spring to be my favorite seasons, because the weather is significantly cooler and more comfortable for me.

I suppose I’ve done enough rambling for now.

Besides, hot weather is nothing that anybody can do about, so…

 

 

A VERY common sight in California and the rest of the western U.S. this past decade-plus. Photo courtesy of nymag.com

 

 

 

 

PERIODIC BURNOUT: How I Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed With A Touch of PTSD

For various periods throughout my life, I’ve felt like this man here. Photo courtesy of positivepsychologyprogram.com

 

ONE GUY’S VENTING, OR NEEDING TO VENT

Last week, starting on July 31st to be precise, I took a vacation of sorts.

I severely reduced my going online and usage of the internet, particularly for duties regarding to my sports blog, http://www.SoCalSportsAnnals.Wordpress.com,

Which included keeping up with scores & highlights of the local Los Angeles teams on the site’s Facebook and Twitter pages as well as making sure that at least one or two posts appear on the site and those two pages every week.

The reasons? There’s actually more than one:

  • I was simply feeling burned out and overwhelmed, especially since I spent SO much time attending various baseball and softball games (plus a high school girls’ lacrosse game) in the L.A. area and writing about those experiences this spring – but more important…
  • I was growing a little depressed over the fact that the seemingly so few people were reading the articles from SoCal Sports Annals – and (more so!) this blog – that I posted on Facebook and Twitter; the articles from this blog in particular have been getting SO few reads that it led me to think that people didn’t care, that I was wasting my time.

This has happened every so often throughout my life.

I remember during sixth grade, a year that was so terrible socially for me that for roughly a week I stayed home and avoided going to school because of all the bullying that was being put upon me.

Which was definitely due to my having Asperger’s and being on the autistic spectrum, in the neurotypical world, I know now, though no one had heard of Asperger’s in 1979, when this was all happening.

A similar thing happened to me four years later, in tenth grade, during the first few weeks of high school when I felt that I was being so mistreated by the people in the marching band which I had just joined, me staying  home for a few days.

These feelings of rejection, ostracization and the negative connotations that come from being bullied during those formative years,

As well as oftentimes feeling like I was treated as a glorified slave by a overseer-like supervisor in too many of the various jobs that I had over my roughly 25 years in the workforce.

Would sometimes induce bouts of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, when all of a sudden bad memories of people hating on me and various other bad traumatic incidents would pop into my head; it was all I could do to avoid screaming “NO!!” at the top of my lungs, trying to get those traumatic memories out of my mind.

Memories of feeling ignored in social situations would likewise induce this PTSD, like after people would greet me I would be ignored.

In this particular case, it was a combination of seemingly no one reading the articles and videos that I would post on social media from this blogs and SoCal Sport Annals that led me to post on my personal Facebook page and my sports blog’s Twitter page that I was taking a break.

It worked, I suppose, as I’m sitting here writing this right now.

But I can’t help wondering how many folks will take the time to read this, whether the number of people reading this post will even get into the double digits.

In other words, though I have no plans of ending this blog, my asking myself if I’m wasting my time  will never really go away.

Before I go on…

I want to emphasize that it’s NOT my intention to paint myself in a whiny, “Woe Is Me” fashion, trying to get sympathy.

And I’m not trying to pin this all on my having Asperger’s in a non-aspie world, though that was the most significant factor in sometimes – too many times, in my opinion – being treated as badly as I was in my youth and for quite a bit of my adulthood (I’m fully aware that plenty of neurotypicals have felt burned out, overwhelmed, and depressed,  by the way).

I’m simply telling my story and expressing my thoughts.

I know that any of my fellow aspies who were mainstreamed into school and the workforce in the days before awareness of this part of the spectrum, like I was, can most likely relate to what I’m saying on this post.

While I feel better as of this moment, though I’d love to say that this depression, PTSD, and feeling overwhelmed and burned out on life in general will never happen again,

I would be lying, because one can’t predict the future.

The best thing I can do, now that I’m back to doing my online work, is to make changes that will help avoid another burnout episode, such as not go online at night following teams – expect on very special occasions – like I have done the past couple of years.

And to take more breaks from the computer, like not go online on Sundays – that was my plan a while ago, but it didn’t work out that way. Now I’m determined to take that Sunday break.

It’s changes like that that I think will help me.

Hold good thoughts…

 

Largely due to being an aspie among non-aspies, I’ve had bouts of this, and unfortunately continue to feel this way , like no one wants anything to do with me, once in a blue moon. Photo courtesy of psychalive.org

 

CONFESSIONS OF A LIBERAL CHRISTIAN

Image courtesy of christiantoday.com

 

I’m not going to waste any time; I would like to make these statements:

 

I CONSIDER MYSELF A CHRISTIAN.

I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST AS MY PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR.

UNLIKE SO MANY FOLLOWERS OF JESUS IN THIS COUNTRY, HOWEVER, I ALSO CONSIDER MYSELF A LIBERAL.

I ALSO BELIEVE IN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, AND DON’T BELIEVE ANYONE HAS ANY RIGHT TO FORCE ANOTHER PERSON INTO THEIR FAITH.

 

I know, I know, Matthew 28:19 says to go make disciples of all nations, which is what Jesus told Peter, John, etc. just before he ascended into Heaven.

The Los Angeles Church of Christ in particular has been champions of this on college campuses over the decades, getting into your face and basically being what I call “Pushy Christians”, meaning – at least this is how I felt when I interacted with them during my college days – they were essentially being pushy salesmen on an extreme level, threatening eternal damnation if you don’t join their group and do exactly what they do.

While I agree that we need to try to get as many people as possible saved, this is where my belief in religious freedom comes in…

 

No one should ever feel that they are being forced into accepting Jesus Christ as their savior – or any other faith for that matter, which is what I feel some people, particularly the L.A. Church of Christ, do.

I can tell people about how wonderful Jesus is and how he & God loves them, but whether they officially accept the Lord and become Christians is strictly between them and God.

In other words, if they decide to go in a different direction faith-wise,

I’ll still sleep at night, because God’s not going to ask me to account for their life – He’s going to ask me to account for my life, and my life only.

 

Another issue that separates me from the “Religious Right” people is one that’s been polarizing folks for 45 years – abortion.

Here’s my official view on that…

 

While I’m definitely not a fan of abortion as a convenient form of birth control, something to bail a woman out every time she gets knocked up,

It is safe to say that I am Pro-Choice (I can hear all the Pro-Life people screaming in disgust right now).

To make a crystal-clear explanation of this,

Pro-Choice does NOT mean Pro-Abortion.

Pro-Choice means EXACTLY that – CHOICE.

A woman’s right to choose what to do with HER body.

Meaning that I believe if a woman wants to go the Michelle Duggar route and give birth to twenty children, let her!

But if  someone is impregnated by rape or incest, or does not have the means – financially, emotionally, or anything else – to give the child everything it needs to grow up healthy, happy, and well cared for,

And she decides to end her pregnancy based on that, or any other reason, guess what?

That is ABSOLUTELY NO ONE’S BUSINESS BUT HERS AND GOD’S!

And it has nothing to do with me;  As I’ve said, God’s not going to ask me to account for the life of someone who’s had an abortion.

 

In fact, I once had an idea that all those young ladies who have been confronted by the anti-choice crowd at clinics across America ought to have their babies, then put them at the doors of all those folks who scream how horrible it all is with a note saying…

“OK, I did what you & God said – I didn’t abort this baby.  Now YOU take care or him/her, because I can’t!”

 

 

If everyone who says they’re a Christian acted like one, we wouldn’t ever see any of this. Photo courtesy of knightstemplarinternational.com. P.S; I usually buy food for people in this situation.

 

 

All right, enough with that topic.

There’s another significant way that, as a Christian, I differ from the Religious Right folks out there.

It’s based on how the poor are viewed, and how they should be helped.

Let me put it like this…

 

I REALLY don’t think Jesus would like the way how, through the many budget cuts to the safety net of the unfortunate that has been so common in the “Red” states for so long, how the poor and destitute are being treated.

At all.

 

The homeless population has been growing like wildfire and is worse than ever, which is related to the hunger problem being worse than ever.

I know that the far right Christians say that churches and the private sector should be the ones solving this crisis, not the government or taxpayers, but you know what?

 

For anyone who doesn’t think that the poor and needy should be helped by every way possible, including governments and sufficient budgets, I have one word to describe them…

HEARTLESS.

In other words, how on Earth can someone pull themselves by their own bootstraps when they’ve never had any boots?!

 

In fact, the Book of Acts says when describing the first church,

“All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.” (Acts, 2:44-45)

Hmm, standing for true equality and the distribution of wealth – that doesn’t sound like any far right conservatives I know.

 

Oh by the way, I believe in marriage equality as well.

Meaning that if a Gay or Lesbian couple wishes to get married or adopt children, let them!

And to not let them buy a cake, or anything else,  is nothing but denial of human rights.

Very similar to how African-Americans, Jewish people, and other people of color were regarded in this country for so long with the Jim Crow segregation laws and other racist attitudes being put upon them.

Just like the abortion issue…

It’s so nobody’s business!

And if God indeed disapproves, let Him deal with it!

 

As sure as I’m typing this, I know that there will be people who will hate what I just wrote here.

I’m aware that what I’ve said here will alienate a certain group of folks.

They will likely say that I’m not a true Christian, that I’m being led by the devil, but that’s OK.

I know in my heart that I love the Lord, that Jesus died for my sins, and that he is my savior.

I also know that I felt that I needed to take a stand here.

Perhaps God was leading me to do this…

 

 

Something that I enjoy seeing every Christmas season, which I generously give money to. Photo courtesy of youtube.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six Songs That The World Needs To Hear More Than Ever

I like this picture, the multi colors showing me the harmony that’s SO needed among everyone. Image courtesy of creativebiblestudy.com

 

In the last couple of years, there have been times where I have not wanted access to any news, either by TV, print, or online, due to all the hatred that’s going on in America, and plenty of other places.

The other day I came across a couple of songs on YouTube that brought a few tears to my eyeballs, because it so illustrated what humanity needs so badly these days.

Those two songs are among six I’ve listed in this post that we not only need to hear,

But also to adhere to the message.

More than ever.

I’m not going to waste any more time: here are those six songs – in chronological order – where if heard and absorbed (I know, I’m probably being a little naive and sappy here)  perhaps there would be less bigotry, hate, violence, little kids being torn from their families at the border, and people of color having the police called on them, harassed, and often killed for essentially walking down the street, among other nasty things.

Just click on the links…

 

1. What The World Needs Now is Love, Jackie DeShannon (1965)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c2g9RYriZ4

 

 

2. All You Need Is Love, Beatles (1967)

NOTE: This is a performance of the Lennon-McCartney classic by folks from 156 countries, sung simultaneously on December 7, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2DvB9BuHGg

 

 

3. Ooh Child, Five Stairsteps (1970)

NOTE: This is a performance by the family R&B group on the TV show “Soul Train”

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

 

 

 

Very eloquently put! Image courtesy of quotesnsmiles.com

 

 

4. Peace Train, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) (1970)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6mKMV0d2cs

 

 

5. What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye (1971)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-kA3UtBj4M

 

 

6. Heal The World, Michael Jackson (1992)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWf-eARnf6U

 

 

 

I love this display of musical instruments. Photo courtesy of schmidtsmusic.com

 

 

 

 

MY FAVORITE AFRICAN-AMERICAN MOVIES

Spike Lee (wearing a Dodgers jersey), flanked by Giancarlo Esposito, Rosie Perez, his sister Joie Lee, and Frankie Fasion during a reunion of his classic film “Do The Right Thing”. Photo courtesy of peopleewnetwork.com

 

FILMS WRITTEN, PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY BLACKS THAT I HAVE ENJOYED THE MOST

Not too long ago I saw a post on Facebook asking people what their favorite Black movies were.

Imagine my “What the F…!!” level shock when I noticed that not one comment in the post’s thread mentioned anything made by two of the best African-American filmmakers in history, Spike Lee and John Singleton.

Being the movie fan that I am, I thought it was high time that I reveal my list of African-American films that I consider my favorites, along with being among the best ever made in my view.

Of these movies – in chronological order – on this list, four of them were made by Spike Lee, who it’s impossible to have any kind of conversation regarding black movies without giving major attention to.

Some people may notice that I didn’t list any of the “Blaxploitation” flicks of the early to mid-1970s, movies like “Shaft” and “Superfly”, because to be honest, I never could get through those films because of their stereotyping and negative characters; whenever Shaft appears on TV, after Issac Hayes’ classic opening song  I always turn the channel.

Those movies had their place in black cinema, but I just prefer what I consider the “Golden Age” of that genre, the mid-1980s and 1990s.

Let’s not waste anymore time, shall we?

Here’s my list of favorites…

 

 

Tracy Camilla Johns on “She’s Gotta have It”. Photo courtesy of cineentucara.blogspot.com

 

* SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT (1986)

Spike Lee’s debut film, made for a mere $175,000 – all paid from Spike’s credit cards – which generated over $7,000,000 it was so acclaimed and such a hit.

Like many other guys, I thought that Tracy Camilla Johns was fine, as she played the main protagonist Nola Darling who had, in all essence, three very different boyfriends – one of them a very funny Mars Blackmon who was played by Spike –  and ended up having to choose one.

It was such a great first film from a director, that it set up this next one…

 

 

“School Daze”‘s official movie poster. Image courtesy of pinterest.com

 

* SCHOOL DAZE (1988)

The first Spike Lee film that I saw in the theater, based (I’m sure) on his college days as it was set at a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) and looked at the tensions between the so-called “Jigaboos”, first generation college students who aren’t necessary that well-off who were into issues like ending South African apartheid, and the so-called “Wannabes”, who were in the fraternities and sororities and looked down on anyone not like them.

This musical featured future Oscar nominee Lawrence Fishburne as “Dap”, the leader of the so-called “Jigaboos”, squaring off against “Big Brother Almighty”, the fraternity leader played by Giancarlo Esposito.

I particularly enjoyed it because it reminded me of when I matriculated at UCLA soon after School Daze premiered, I found myself in a group similar to Fishburne’s “Fellas”, non-greeks who hung out and were good friends.

And the music was great, too.

 

 

Image courtesy of pinerest.com

 

* DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)

If I were forced to choose one black film as not only my all-time favorite, but the best of all time, it would be this one.

One of two movies that I consider Spike Lee’s masterpieces, it describes racial tensions simmering on  a scorching hot day on a block in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy district to the point where after a young African-American man, Radio Raheem (played by Bill Nunn), was killed by the police – VERY poignant considering what’s been happening on that front these days – a riot breaks out in which an Italian-American owned pizza place was burned down.

Along with everything else, the memorable characters such as Dodger jersey-wearing pizza delivery guy Mookie (played by Spike), pizza joint owner Sal (played by Danny Aiello), his bigoted son Pino (played by John Turturro), “Mother Sister”, played by the legendary Ruby Dee, and “Da Mayor”, played by the equally legendary Ossie Davis,

My favorite part of the film is the closing song, “Never Explain Love” by Al Jarreau, simply the perfect ending.

The quotes by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X describing their views on violence just before that song was a classic move as well.

 

 

Image courtesy of movieposters.com

 

* HOUSE PARTY (1990)

One of the funniest movies, if not the funniest, movies I have ever seen as I remember falling from the couch laughing the first time I saw it.

Starring the hip-hop duo Kid N Play, along with the very funny Robin Harris, who played Kid’s father, House Party illustrates, well, a house party thrown by Kid’s friend Play while his parents are out-of-town.

The part of the movie that I found the funniest?

The bullies that go after Kid trying to “Kick his f’n a**!” throughout the film, played by the members of the R & B group Full Force that were essentially the Black version of the Three Stooges, their humor was so pronounced, especially Pee Wee, whose high pitched squeak of a voice had me in stitches.

 

 

Photo courtesy of buzzfeed.com

 

* BOYZ N THE HOOD (1991)

John Singleton’s debut, which also serves as his masterpiece as it was his first film after his days at USC film school.

It not only portrayed African-American life in Los Angeles in the early 1990s so brilliantly, it also did a perfect job in showing how crucially important a father’s role is in a boy and young man’s life.

Those who noticed how Tre, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. in what I and many others consider his best role (by far), ended up after the influence of his father, played by Lawrence Fishburne, in contrast to his two non-father influenced friends, drug dealing Doughboy (played by Ice Cube in his film debut) and football-playing teen father Ricky (played by Morris Chestnut), will agree that that was the essence of Boyz N The Hood, showing what to do and what not to do in raising young black males.

That was what I got from this film.

 

 

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

 

*MALCOLM X (1992)

A truly great biopic, with Denzel Washington portraying the iconic African-American leader who takes us on his journey from Harlem street hustler to his prison conversion to the Nation of Islam, to his involvement in such, to his second conversion after his pilgrimage to Mecca before his assassination.

For those who had never read Malcolm’s famous autobiography, this is a master lesson of an important American historical figure who provided an alternative to Martin Luther King’s approach to how blacks can overcome the Jim Crow racism and segregation that was rampant in America in those days – and is seemingly making a comeback now considering what’s been going on.

The cameo that South African icon Nelson Mandela at the end provided an excellent touch.

 

 

Image courtesy of moviepostershop.com

 

* SOUL FOOD (1997)

An excellent illustration of African-American families and how the matriarch, in this case “Big Mama” (played by Irma Hall) is so incredibly essential in that culture.

As is her insistence of everyone getting together at her house for Sunday dinner no matter what is going on in their lives, which even after Big Mama’s death from diabetes continues thanks to her grandson Ahmad.

In some ways this reminds me of my beloved grandmother, who had some spaghetti cooking on her stove the day she passed away and, along with my grandfather, provided such a strong presence and influence on my extended family – and especially myself, being that I lived with them for nine years – that I feel obligated and compelled to tell all my young cousins who never knew them all about them.

 

 

There you have it – my list of favorite black films.

There’s not much else to say about this, except that anyone who vehemently disagrees with the films listed here, or feel that I omitted some, I’m all ears.

Oh, I absolutely have to give a shout-out to these two recent releases…

Not only that, I have to include these among my favorites in this genre…

 

 

Image courtesy of moviepostershop.com

 

* STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015)

The brilliant biopic of “The World’s Most Dangerous Group”, who I consider the Beatles of Gangsta Rap, NWA.

Featuring O’Shea Jackson, Ice Cube’s son, playing his father in what I and millions of others saw as brilliant casting.

 

and…

 

* BLACK PANTHER (2018)

So good, I think it will usher another golden age of black cinema.

I wrote some thoughts and a review of sorts about this blockbuster on this blog a few months ago; here’s the link:

http://www.hartlandchronicles.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/black-panther-a-belated-review-and-musings-about-the-smash-hit-movie/

 

 

Image courtesy of joblo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOUR YEARS OF THE HARTLAND CHRONICLES: The Official Anniversary Post

What I’ve been doing on this blog and elsewhere for the past ten years. Photo courtesy of writing cooperative.com

 

COMMEMORATING FOUR YEARS AGO TO THE DAY THAT I STARTED THIS BLOG

July 7, 2014.

After writing various articles covering various topics that hold my interest – sports, politics, music, racial issues (being an African-American male), being on the Autism Spectrum – on Triond.com, which doesn’t exist anymore, and Hubpages.com, where I actually got a small royalty check for my efforts,

Much as was the case with my sports blogging, it was beyond time for me to really do my own thing; start my own blog where I can write what I want, and how I want.

I know it’s a cliché, and I’m not a fan of clichés, but…

It’s quite hard to believe that’s it’s been four years ago today that Hartland Chronicles began.

Quite a bit has happened in my life in those four years…

  • Reaching my fifties.
  • Continuing my walk with God, as I had accepted Jesus as my personal savior a couple of years before.
  • Starting my own sports blog, SoCal Sports Annals (Here’s the link: please check it out, I think you’ll like it: http://www.SoCalSportsAnnals.Wordpress.com)
  • Starting to live a healthier lifestyle due to the stroke scare that I had in October of 2014, when my blood pressure was 300/200, and…
  • Working on and beginning the final stages of editing and self-publishing my book describing my struggles with being on the autism spectrum, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”.

Which if I hadn’t started doing cardio and other exercising on a regular basis, plus given up  high sugar and high sodium things like pizza, hot dogs, lunch meats, red meat, donuts, and mainstream fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and Jack-In-The-Box, I might not be sitting here writing this today.

More than anything else, this blog has been a good vehicle to vent and get my feelings and opinions out there.

Having Asperger’s in a non-Asperger’s world, while (with God’s help) I think I’ve improved my behavior and interactions with people, probably due to age,

There are still some once-in-a-blue-moon times when thoughts of hurting myself enter my mind, particularly when someone tries to interact with me like they see me as an inferior being, as in bossing me around or getting on my case over something that’s honestly not worth getting on anyone’s case about.

And it will probably always bother me at least a tiny bit when something unexpected happens that I don’t like.

 

When I feel bad – I don’t want to call it a depression – it always make me feel good to look at wide open scenery like this…

 

There’s something else I want to mention…

Remember at the end of the 2003 movie Peter Pan, when the narrator talks about how Peter had a lot of joys, but in looking at Wendy and her family’s reunion after returning to London from Neverland, he was “…looking at the one joy for which he must forever be barred.”

Looking at my life and many if not most of my peers, while I don’t in any way compare myself to Peter (I never wanted to always be a little boy, and I obviously can’t fly!), I can definitely relate to what that narrator said.

While it would have been nice to have someone who was attracted to me and cared about me to the point of wanting a relationship and family with me, I know that that would be too confusing and overwhelming for me to be ultimately successful in.

The same goes with having children, as much as I like them; every time I hear a baby crying and fussing, I always think,

“That’s why I’m not having kids.”

In short, I know that marriage and family is not for everyone, and is certainly not for me.

I couldn’t handle arguments or fights with the spouse, and I know I couldn’t handle the various issues that parents have with their kids.

This is something that I understand and accept about myself.

It’s a difference from the accepted norm in society, but there you are.

Outside of that, I know full well that I am beyond blessed inasmuch as I have a roof over my head in a town and neighborhood that I like (which I call “Convenient City” because almost everything I need is within a 10-to-15 minute walk), electricity, water and food to eat – unlike so many other folks as the homeless situation is more desperate than ever.

This is something that I thank God for.

And this blog, while I wish more people would read it, is also something that I thank God for, and which I plan on continuing for the foreseeable future as I have thought of more personal things to write about.

It’s been a good four years, I’d be a fool to think otherwise.

I only hope that the next four years, for this blog as well as my sports blog – my life in general, actually – are as decent as these past four.

With God’s help and blessings, I’m optimistic that they will.

 

 

Another illustration of my life’s work this past decade…