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Posts tagged ‘North Carolina’


the path of happiness is measured by human kindness

So the Academy Awards are decided.  I enjoyed the show and agree with the outcomes.  I don’t care about the fashion or the best or worst dressed – everyone was beautiful as far as I’m concerned.

But, I’m so sorry that a wonderful, wonderful film was not on the award list. The wonderful movie, Happy, (, may not be Academy Award material, but it’s material that says a great deal about the meaning of life.

Happy is a documentary about the meaning and the search for happiness. When I saw the film recently, it reaffirmed for me that the path toward happiness is measured in human kindness.

To be happy, to find happiness is what we all want as human beings.  The filmmakers – psychologists and other professionals, tell us that the pursuit of happiness requires us to live a life in which performing acts of kindness is so ingrained in us it comes naturally and happens often.

When artists create, or writers write, they enter what’s best described as “the zone.”  That zone is where happiness happens and is measurable.

Depression, as we know, is an illness that is talked about, and talked about, and talked about. Depression is measured, diagnosed and medicated.  Acts of human kindness result in elevating the brain chemicals and systems that produce “happy endorphins and serotonin messages.”  When the brain is stressed-out and the happy chemicals in our brains go haywire on us, leaving us low, sad – depressed, medicine can turn it around.

Scientists and psychiatrists measure the level of depression and attempt to cure it with medicine that stimulates happy brain chemicals once again.   Granted, there’s much, much more to mental health – it’s serious and important and I don’t mean to make light of the topic… Instead, I wish to illustrate what the filmmakers of Happy tell us about how to create happiness, and that it can be measured and improved, too.

The main message of this film (for me) revealed a truth that simple human kindness, being grateful, sharing and giving to others, is a critical reality for living a life of happiness.  It’s all wrapped up in empathy, compassion for others; giving of ourselves, serving others, being passionate givers and knowing the return on that investment is our happiness.

In our daily lives we hear and read about hate and ugliness constantly.   Sadly we don’t hear about happy things such as examples of giving and compassion often enough. Rather, we hear and read news reports filled with politicians and criminals spewing hate.  They seem to embrace negativity and hate with a real passion.

Nearly every day this blog is used for people to talk about the Casey Anthony case.  Remember the Casey Anthony trial?  It was about determining who senselessly murdered a beautiful little child – Caylee Anthony.

In this Orlando, Florida case about the death of little Caylee Anthony, it was pretty clear that the toddler’s mother, Casey Anthony, single-highhandedly murdered her own daughter.

But, Casey Anthony was found not guilty by a jury of twelve people.  Granted, that was not a verdict anyone expected, least of all me, the reality of the trial’s outcome is something I’ve completely accepted.

Casey Anthony is not guilty of murder in the eyes of the law.

No one can punish or try her with this crime ever again.  No one…. That includes Federal entities, too, for those who are petitioning the government to try Casey Anthony in Federal Court.  It will not happen. And we need to thank our lucky stars that our justice system gives Casey Anthony that protection.

There are too many cases of truly innocent people punished by our system, and that is wrong, too, clearly.  The facts are these: The application of our state laws and our constitutional rights are often abused by over=zealous lawmakers.  There are prosecutors and law enforcement agencies out there who don’t always care about the innocent, they want to solve cases by any means possible.  It is up to us to VOTE for lawmakers who RESPECT the HUMAN Rights of all people, who apply the LAW evenly to ALL people.  That includes immigrants AND all ARAB human beings, by the way.

There are people in this country who believe in an eye-for-an-eye justice, like in Biblical times.  There are lawmakers who feel this way, too.  In fact, there are people with political power in this country who are so twisted, they’d like to give angry mobs the ability to hold be-headings, or hangings.  There is one GOP lawmaker in North Carolina who’d very much like that to happen. Republican Representative Larry Pittman says, “Let’s round up the (so-called), abortionists, rapists, kidnappers and murders and hang-em high.”  More specifically, Pittman said:

We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.  via North Carolina GOP Lawmaker Calls For Bringing Back Public Hangings, Starting With Abortion Providers.

As America gets dumber it’s reflected in the people WE VOTE into office.

There are Americans who feel just as Representative Pittman does about forms of punishment.  There are people who want Casey Anthony dead. These angry and sick people would like nothing better than to see Casey Anthony face the ultimate punishment, and no doubt they’d like it to happen publicly.

God help them.

God help us all if haters, in the name of religion, seek justice their way.


take good care during Irene, okay?

Irene is no joke for people located along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

The Saffir-Simpson Scale. Hurricane Measurements

Although a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale may seem to the uninformed as not a great threat, nothing could be further from the truth.  Winds from a Category 1 storm can be deadly. A category 1 hurricane has winds from 74 to 95 MPH – that’s dangerous weather no matter how you look at it.  It is capable of producing intense winds, flash-floods, rain, and also tornadoes.

Because Irene is a very expansive storm – 250 miles wide the last I heard, it is capable of seriously damaging a much larger area.

Hurricane Andrew, which decimated parts of Miami (completely crushed entire neighborhoods), was a Category 5 and HUGE like Irene.  And, hurricane Katrina, in 2008, was a Category 3 on the Saffir Simpson Scale.  The damage from Katrina – which is now such a sad memory – is unfortunately, legendary.  The rebuilding from Katrina is STILL taking place in 2011.

Irene has already made landfall in North Carolina.  I am concerned for my friends in New York City, the Carolina’s and throughout the New England area.

This is the Weather Channel’s latest message about the future of Irene:

  • The threat level is “EXTREME” along the East Coast from eastern North Carolina to New England.
  • Irene is a hurricane that poses an extraordinary threat and is one that no one has yet experienced in North Carolina to the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast and New England. This includes Norfolk, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, and Boston. This hurricane has the potential to produce flooding rains, high winds, downed trees (on houses, cars, power lines) and widespread power outages. Significant impacts along the immediate coast include high waves, surge and beach erosion.

I have been through my share of hurricanes having lived in South Florida most of my life.  But, people in New York City, have little experience with hurricanes, like my friend Kathy who lives in NYC.  She’s nervous but getting prepared.

It’s sometimes difficult to know what you’ll need to be prepared with after the storm; it’s an unknown as to what Irene will leave in its aftermath.  However, there are a few essential first steps to do to prepare for the storm.

I advised Kathy to freeze as much water as possible; I save plastic containers for just this purpose.

Fill the bathtub with water in the event of shut down or damage to city water supplies.  Plus, you may need that water to flush the toilet, bathe, or even to drink in the event your stash of drinking water runs dry.

Try to have fans that run on batteries, since the electricity is the first thing to fail.  Have plenty of batteries and flashlights on hand – you will need them! Be careful of candles – they are a terrible fire hazard, and are often a tragic after-effect of a storm.  Always, after the storm hits, we hear about people who made it though the storm, only to have their home burn down when a candle is left idly by to burn.

Have plenty of food that you don’t need to refrigerate; and try to cook as much food as you can before the storm hits.

When the electricity goes out (not “if” – “when” it goes out), the large containers of ice you froze will keep your food cold for a while.  Try not to open the freezer too often, open it only when you need something, then close it right up.  This will allow the ice to last longer.

One of the biggest threats during a hurricane is flying debris.  Be sure to bring inside anything small or light because even a small planter could be deadly if picked up by the wind.

Bring in your patio furniture, potted plants, etc.  Street signs and items left outside will turn into flying daggers when the wind picks them up.

If you do not have shutters on the windows, flying objects could break through the windows and do some harm.  It is best to stay away from windows at all times.

Gather all your important paperwork.  Keep a First Aid kit handy.  I have a back-pack that is ready for any emergency occasion.  I have a good First Aid kit, tooth brush, toilet paper, baggies, socks, and all kinds of other things to sustain me in the event of a disaster.  I always prepare food for my animals, and I put my cat in his carrier to protect him during the storm. The animals will need plenty of food and water.

And lastly, a warning for people, who hunker down in their homes, believing they’re safe, and decide to have a hurricane party, and either drink too much, or get drunk!  That is exactly the wrong thing to do!   You’ll need your wits about you during the storm!  Stay sober until after the storm when you are certain the danger is over.  Party after.

I have been through a few hurricanes in South Florida.  However, it wasn’t until Hurricane Andrew, when I heard the emergency radio warnings blaring, “This is an ACTUAL  emergency,” that I fully realized the clear and present danger of a hurricane.

Before Andrew hit, I didn’t really get too upset or nervous – I always prepared, but I never worried too much.  Hurricane Andrew hit, and left lessons in its aftermath: Take hurricanes seriously!

This is a serious storm.  Please be careful, okay?

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