Sunday, January 29, 2012

Benjamin Franklin's Eagle vs The Turkey

On twitter I usually try to post a historical fact that took place in history, from each date on the calendar. I found quite interesting that on January 26, 1784,  Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter lamenting the fact that the eagle was chosen to be the animal symbol of America. He put forth that the eagle is a bird, of bad moral character and that it doesn't get it's living honestly. Ben said you can see the eagle sitting on dead trees, too lazy to fish for itself and waits for other, more laborious birds to go make their catch but the eagle then flies over  and steals their prize.   Franklin went so far as to say it was a frank coward for even when a little King Bird no bigger then a sparrow decides to attack him, away flies the eagle. I guess he thought the eagle gave the appearance of being grandiose but for the most part it was merely show. 

What bird would he have chose to represent America? Apparently he thought the turkey. The turkey he stated was, a much more of a  respectable bird and was more of a true native of America. He acknowledged it was a little vain and silly but it did however have great courage which wouldn't hesitate to attack a British guard wearing a red coat. Ben may not have known but turkeys as well apparently have a great field of vision of around 270 degrees. Try to sneak up on one and you'll find they've got all bases covered. Franklin's words, about his love for the turkey have reminded me of something I've wondered  numerous times. Americans celebrate thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November and it seems to me they make a great deal more of the day than their Canadian neighbours to the north. 

Being a Canadian myself we celebrate it on the second Monday of October. We enjoy it and partake of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, turkey being the first choice, but not so much, in my opinion, is made of the day as when comparing it to the Americans. American Thanksgiving Day celebrations are pretty significant and the turkey seems to be the centre point of  which the day revolves. It's estimated that 45 million turkeys are cooked, and eatin on that one day alone. Yes Americans like turkeys! Were they wise however to stay with the bold eagle as their national symbol?  I believe so.   I'm sure it was chosen for it's ability to soar up high into the heavens and one could hardly envision the turkey doing the same. 

We can recall as well that "Eagle" was the name given to the Apollo 11 lunar module, which was the first manned ship to land on the moon. While Ben in his day might have thought the turkey as a great national representative, I'm not quite so sure. It would probably of had to hitch a ride with the soaring eagle to achieve the great heights. If Ben knew that America would some day go to the moon he'd probably would have agreed a turkey's place should only be for floats in parades and to be left for America's dinner table.

Perhaps you might like my Youtube, audio story, "Checkered Flag Moon"?  If so here's the link below,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 : Get On Board We're Going For A Ride!

Here we are the first month of the year. My, how life moves on!   As much as we'd like to stop the clock, having it take a break, time moves ever forward regardless of our futile desires and hopes to the contrary. None are so fortunate. None are so blessed. No amount of wealth or influence can be used to impede the demands of time from delivering us to our destiny.  We're in motion.   Change, change and more change after that is the order of the day, and if things have been basically honky dory, peaches and cream, or in other words...agreeable--oh, how we might love things to stay the same. I recall the title of one of George Harrison's albums, "All Things Must Pass". The journey always continues and we'll be aboard the vehicle called "Time"...whether we like it or not.

On the way there'll be things that'll will be good...others, not so good. Through it all it could be said we continually choose.  We can go forward with a sense of dread or rather embrace hopeful expectations.  We can consider, as they say the glass is half empty, or rather half full and how we'll look upon it could it make all the difference in the world.  I'm sure for all of us there'll be trials, disappointments and perhaps we'll be swallowing a few bitter pills.  What will be our response?   Will we take those things in stride?  Will we do whatever possible in seeking to look at a bigger picture of potential in overcoming whatever challenge?

I came up with one-liner for the  year: "Let's delve into positive optimistic thinking for 2012 and shelve all thoughts to the contrary." Yes, I'm aware cute little sayings such as these seem glib and superficial but we're always embracing some way of thinking regardless---why not make it a positive one?  Why not leave a legacy that we were always known for looking at life from the sunny side?   Isn't that what you'd like to have spoken at your funeral, that ole Tom, Dick, or Harry, or Sally, Billy-Joe or Thelma-Lou always sought to have a cheerful demeanour?   Will we be known as one who was a joy to be around? Or will they say, "Good riddance! The ole fuss pot is gone!"  Granted the squeaky wheel as they say,  many times is the one to get the attention and a little crustiness in ones character might be a good thing after all! Perhaps a happy balance is the key?

Well, certain events undoubtedly will transpire which won't be considered much fun to go through. Yes we may feel we're on a roller coaster at times and not merely the regular type  but one which takes you upside down and spins you around!  It goes without saying there might be certain events in which no silver lining will appear. Consider one such occasion on 911 at the New York, Twin Towers. A fireman doing clean up who worked tirelessly near a double shift, left the site feeling beat and exasperated. Reaching the parameter of the debris he came across a little girl holding out to him some flowers. Regardless of the hellish experience he'd just gone through that one kind and seemingly insignificant small act of a child, handing him a flower, made it possible to set aside his grief.

Perhaps that's a principal we'd be wise to consider. Maybe we should be content, not always to see sweeping changes and improvements with situations in 2012 but be content looking at certain precious and treasured moments we freeze up in time.  If we take proper inventory couldn't it be said that most of us have a gallery of such events we could once in awhile consider?   Kind acts, encouraging words or even the friendly smile of others should never be taken for granted. I wonder if they're the things that say, we're loved, appreciated and hang in there, for tomorrow or the next day or the next day after that our bigger and greater problems might just improve. As Tom Hanks once said in the film, 'Forrest Gump' "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get!" ;)

May good things come your way in 2012!