Guest Post – Passion


I went to Japan for five minutes and thirty-six seconds. I’m not talking about a virtual trip on the internet. I’m not talking about astral projection. I’m talking about an eleven day trip which included 25 hours of flying time from Toronto to Tokyo and back for the sake of a five minute and thirty-six second long song.

I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. It moved me to tears and I knew deep inside that I HAD to hear it and see it performed live. I was that passionate about it, about the man who wrote it and sings it – about the deep meaning in the lyrics and just the way he sings it and how utterly beautiful it is… So I made it happen. I couldn’t not.

Before you write me off as insane, please consider…

Merriam-Webster’s definition of Passion, ganked off the internet:

pas·sion
noun \ˈpa-shən\

: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something

: a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way

: a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone

Passion is something we humans share. It’s responsible for much of the world’s most beautiful art in all its forms; it is the cause of some of the most heinous crimes. It gives us the ability to love deeply and to hate with seemingly every fibre of our being. It’s something that our children have also. And how scary can that potentially be?

You can say to a ten-year-old, “Son, there are things you will be passionate about when you grow older. You may feel like killing someone one day. Don’t,” but what’s the use? Because in the heat of passion we lose all reason. Logic goes off into the stratosphere and all that is left inside of us is pure emotion.

Passion is one of the things I believe we can only teach our children by example. For instance, if we talk about killing the guy in the car that cut us off, they will learn that passion can turn us against one another. If we follow our passion and turn it into a career, we will teach our children to follow their dreams.

And so I come back to my adventure – my trip to Japan. Aside from personally needing to make the trip, I feel in doing so I showed my children that if they want something badly enough, they can make it happen, no matter how unlikely. And no matter how insignificant it might seem to someone else and no matter how they may be judged for going for it; just do it.

The song? It doesn’t really matter. But here’s another one by the same band. It is appropriately called “Passion.”

The lyrics, in English, can be found by clicking here. But if you read them, don’t do the stuff he sings about – just sayin’ ;)

If you’d like to visit my blog and read about the absolutely incredible experience I had at the concert, click here. The post includes a picture of me, taken by the lead guitarist of the band from the stage during the concert!

Thanks very much for reading,
Linda

Guest Post – The good doctors and the bad doctor


Note : Some sensitive material of a medical nature and some swearing involved.

We almost lost my youngest back in 2011, when he was around sixteen months of age. Most people don’t know anything about it because updating my Facebook status isn’t the first thing on my mind when frantically pacing the hallways of the intensive care unit. It’s not something I like to talk about anyway, but will in order to make the point I intend to make with this blog post.

For Halloween 2014, my son wanted to be Elsa. As in the snow queen. He wanted the boots, the cape, the hairdo, and to be belting out “Let it Go” instead of “trick or treat” at the top of his lungs. He practiced everyday, with my scarf tucked into the back of his shirt as a cape. This, of course, causes me and my husband some concern.

If you’re wondering why, you obviously haven’t been through the hellish rites of passage known as elementary and high school or you’ve stoned yourself enough to have forgotten. I can just picture the scenario where some smart ass, ignorant fuck of a child, with parents who share similar attributes, introduces the word fag to my sweet little boy. And this will start the cycle of self doubt and insecurity in him, he who just wants to sing “Let it Go” and be Elsa the snow queen for Halloween, darn it.

While he walks around the house. clutching his Thomas and Friends trains to his chest, I wonder what will become of my baby. That’s what he is, after all. My youngest and most likely my last. It’s something I wondered around three years ago, too, when he lay in my arms, only half conscious, while we drove him to the local hospital’s emergency room from his pediatrician’s office. He had fallen in and out of consciousness that day, pooped a diaper full of blood, and had spent the whole week clinging to me, not wanting anyone else and not willing to let go. I felt like a mother kangaroo. It had gotten so bad that at one point, I walked out of the house as soon as my husband walked in after work. I told him I was going out and to not call me. I drove to the nearest park, turned the car off, and cried.

Two doctor visits with the same doctor at our son’s pediatricians office earlier on in the week had resulted in a diagnosis of allergies. Twice. But the third time we took him in, right before being sent to the emergency room, a different doctor took one look at him, saw the potential for a lawsuit due to her colleague’s inability to recognize a child near death when she saw one, and sent us on our way to the local hospital, where they hypothesized about what exactly could be wrong with my son until a test for his hemoglobin levels returned at a level of 2.2. Normal for a child his age is around 14.

A blood transfusion and an ambulance to shift us to the larger Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago were ordered. They loaded my son into the ambulance with the blood transfusion and an oxygen machine going side by side. The nice paramedic tried not to make it obvious that he had to keep adjusting the oxygen levels because my son was having difficulty breathing.

We arrived at the emergency room of Children’s Memorial. Surgeons, nurses, emergency room doctors, and the nice paramedic all crowded around us. I’ll never forget the feeling of being cared about that I got from that crowd. It was in stark contrast to the vibe I got earlier at the other hospital. One smiling, calm face after another introduced his or her self to us and asked that we tell them exactly what was going on, in detail. Their demeanor made me think that med school must have taught a course on “keeping your shit together” in the face of “doctor doctor, please please please fix my kid.”

My son was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, caused by too much milk in his diet, which we were giving him too much of because he had been refusing his food while sick. Have you ever heard of death by cow boob juice? Me neither. Apparently the dumb fuck of a pediatrician who diagnosed him with allergies couldn’t connect the dots when I had told her he had been on just milk for days and that he had swelling all over his body. Swelling is a classic symptom of iron deficiency anemia. I’m guessing she pulled the degree from Rush out of her ass.

After spending three days and two nights in the hospital, one of which was in the ICU, we got to take our son home, which isn’t something every parent gets to experience when leaving a children’s hospital. I realize we were the lucky ones. I will forever be grateful to the doctors and nurses at Children’s Memorial. How they manage to keep their smiles and their sanity intact with the kind of work they do is a mystery to me. I know I would’ve gone bat shit manic depressive a long time ago.

It’s been over three years since then and the road to raising two young boys has been only slightly bumpy. Until this one big bump of my son sometimes wanting to be a girl. Eighty percent of the time he’s fine with being a boy, watching Thomas and Friends and attempting to beat up his big brother. Then there are those moments when he wants me to buy him a purse with his favorite princess character on it. Confused much?

I’ve thought about it, and really, the only thing I’ve wanted from my sons ever since they were born is for them to stick my husband and I in the same old folks’ home when we get to the diapering and spoon feeding part of old age, so that we can crap our pants at the same time, eventually croak together, and I can graduate from the school of life with full nagging honors. Oh, yeah, and for them to be happy. Super happy. When you’re a parent, all that matters to you is that your child exists. Parenting is a one way street. You give and don’t expect anything in return, although there’s a very good chance you’ll get a lot back. I don’t see how it’s possible to add fine print to the contract that was to love my kids forever.

So no, I don’t care if my son wants to be a queen, either now or twenty years from now. I don’t care who my boys marry or don’t marry or if they go live with cows on some ranch in Montana. I just hope that once in a while they’ll leave their bovine pasture and come see us, especially when my husband’s telling the nurses he’s fine with being donated to science as long as it gets him away from me.

http://theviewthroughthewindow.wordpress.com/

Guest Post – Ten Non-Commandments


On a good day I consider myself agnostic but more and more I find myself more atheistic in my belief structure.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking religion – if it works for you, more power to you – it just isn’t my cup of tea.  Just stepping back and looking at it logically, I see too many dogmatic inconsistencies.  One of the biggest issues I have is the assumption (among the ultra religious) that you cannot be moral and ethical without God.  I find that mindset to be quite demeaning – me a human of free will is incapable of making ethical decisions without a higher power?! Am I not an empowered individual to make choices?

To that end, when I stumbled across an article on CNN the ‘Ten Non-Commandments’ it resonated with me.  It was not about faith in a higher being but faith in mankind.  That is something I can appreciate.  It also resonates for someone like me that take very little on faith and demand proof & facts – something tangible.  I have highlighted the ones red that I especially identify with (even though I agree with them all).

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Ten Non-Commandments

  1. Be open-minded and willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
  2. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.
  3. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
  4. Every person has the right to control their body
  5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
  6. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
  7. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated.  Think about their perspective.
  8. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
  9. There is no one right way to live.
  10. Leave the world a better place than you found it.

So I would be interested on what everyone thinks of this list.  Agree?  Disagree?  Have something to add?  Let me know and let’s get a lively discussion going!

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About The Blogger: 

Hey my name is Victor (or Vic). I am just a guy, trying to make sense of how my life has progressed to this point through some writing therapy. I am happy to share personal experiences, spout verbal diarrhea, make unsolicited observations and hopefully generate a few laughs and perhaps some insight along the way!  Thanks to everyone that willingly choose to go on this journey with me.

Here is my Introduction and here is my Main Page.

Guest Post – 3 Ways To Get Rid of American Foreign Policy


flag

The American flag is flying high in sunny skies, but many people believe America’s reputation is tarnished in countries like North Korea.

It was always America’s policy not to negotiate with terrorists.  Then, starting this past spring, the policy seemed to waiver.  Just one week  before Christmas, not only were we negotiating with terrorists, we were meeting their demands.  We, as Americans, and the rest of the world as well, need clarity regarding America’s current foreign policy.  I maintain it has changed, and drastically, due to President Obama’s prisoner swaps and Sony Pictures pulling their movie, “The Interview”.

Few of us have time to apprise ourselves with America’s policies, foreign or otherwise.  Even if we did, if the stakes change, it’s enough to make our patriotic heads spin.  Knowing how busy people can be, especially now, at the holiday season, it is my hope to save them the time knowledge takes to get and bring clarity to what otherwise has been a very confusing year.  That clarity may prove useful while President Obama is still in office and afterward.

Bowe Berghdal

Last spring President Obama brought soldier Bowe Berghdal home.  Berghdal, who had been held captive in Afhanistan since 2009, arrived home ill and emaciated.  Republicans were outraged as to the circumstances of Berghdal’s release which entailed swapping him for five terrorists that had been detained.  President Obama’s response was that it is never a mistake to bring an American home. The story made the cover of TIME MAGAZINE.  Isolated incident? No.

 Alan Gross

American Alan Gross has been in a Cuban prison for the last five years.  According to KNX1070, Mr. Gross’s crime was trying to get Cuban Jews free Internet access.  In a move similar to when he brought Beghdal home, President Obama swapped Mr. Gross for three Cubans held in our prisons for spying.  Why, I ask?  If Mr. Gross committed a crime in Cuba, it sounds like he deserved his conviction and ultimate prison sentence.  Also, like with Berghdal, we gave up five foreigners in exchange for one American.

The president expressed his belief the swap would improve U.S. relations with Cuba.  This move, inside the same year that he gave up five terrorists to return one soldier, Office Berghdal, earned POTUS the title of “Worst Negotiator since Jimmy Carter and possibly in the history of our country,” by New York’s Governor Rubio, according to the online Washington Post.

The Interview

To recap: A hacking group called The Guardians of Peace was claiming responsibility for hacking Sony Pictures.  Confidential information about Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities was stolen.  Sony had planned to release The Interview, a film about a plot to kill the leader of North Korea, on Christmas Day.  The hacking group was threatening to hurt Americans in a 9-11-like attack if the film was released.  In an unprecedented move, Sony pulled plans to release the film either in theaters or by streaming and is now facing “mounting costs” according to the Christian Science Monitor.  The studio cited “security concerns” as their reason.

I guess American foreign policy held true.  We don’t negotiate with terrorists.  In this case, we caved.  We gave in to their threats.  There was no negotiation.

I am dumbfounded.  Couldn’t the United States have beefed up security?  At a recent Olympics there were threats made against the United States, and everything turned out fine.  If planes are headed our way, we have radar.  Authorities could be on alert at theme parks and movie theaters.  Bomb dogs do exist.

Due to the limited release that ultimately occurred, Sony lost millions on the film, Americans (and the Chinese) took to illegally streaming the movie, and people began to doubt the credibility of Sony Pictures since they released the film in small numbers after all.  People speculated the “security concerns” were actually media hype designed to promote an otherwise substandard movie.

While I admit that I wouldn’t be too pleased if North Korea, with whom the United States is not particularly friendly, had made a movie about killing our president, I think it was wrong to give in to threats.  It will only encourage future threats of terror against us.  What it did encourage was the North Koreans to be brazen enough to make a racial slur against President Obama when they compared him to a “monkey in a tropical forest.”

Our current world view is shifting as the rules of the political game shift.  We need a change, and we need it now, a change in awareness.  I hope I gave some clarity to an ever-changing playbook.

Readers, what are your views?  Did President Obama do right by exchanging multiple prisoners for Berghdal and Gross?  Was Sony right to pull The Interview only to ultimately release it to a limited amount of theaters?   Can you think of other examples of the United States negotiating with terrorists or giving in to their demands?  I welcome your views.

Note: By night Janice Wald is a happy blogger, wife, mother of three daughters, and a dog owner.  By day she is a teacher who is passionate about the subjects she teaches, medieval and ancient world history.  She recently completed a Masters Degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction.  An avid writer, she is currently collaborating on a screenplay and loves blogging to the point of obsession!  She even had the honor of being nominated for the Liebster Award after just blogging for one month.  She is thrilled to be guest blogging and is grateful to Jason for the opportunity.  Janice has more posts about the news, movies, and a wide variety of other topics.  If you’d like to read more of Janice’s writing, visit Reflections at mycurrentnewsblog.com.

 

To Guest Bloggers


Thank you for all the emails and inquiries into guest posting on HarsH ReaLiTy. I am slowly making my way through the list and I will pick this back up after the holiday break. If anyone else is interested please refer to the below link.

http://aopinionatedman.com/2014/12/15/guest-post-for-harsh-reality/

-OM

Guest Post – Zoe Ambler


HI!
First off, I’d like to thank Jason for this opportunity. And thank you, reader, for, well, reading…
My name is Zoe Ambler, and I’m an author. I’ve been writing for a long time, but never published…until now. It took some prodding and nagging from family and friends to really give it a shot. My experience comes a lot from past role-play gaming and creative writing. I love creating characters and fleshing them out. I love being descriptive. I’ve been an avid reader all my life as well. Horror, mystery, thriller…fiction and non-fiction. I have a diverse library.
Over the last 13 years, I have written about 15 books in all. The first two are in the horror/vampire/paranormal genres, though with a good bit of actual world history as well.
First up is ‘The Road of Darkness’, book one of a two part arc. It will be released Monday, Dec. 22, 2014 in both ebook and print formats at most major retailers worldwide. The links will be provided below.

The Road of Darkness is the story of Addison. She’s a young Southern Belle in early 1700 Louisiana with a love for Voodoo. She’s a child of privilege, but never really let it go to her head. She was always a little odd.
Our little Southern Belle is attacked and turned. A vampire. However, unlike most, she embraces this new ‘life’. She finds delight in it. A darkness grows within her.
Like any young vampire left to fend for themselves, she stumbles in her new existence. She meets others here and there, and the world of the paranormal opens up to her.
Due in part to her thrill of blood-lust, she becomes fascinated with war. Soon she is moving from country to country, war to war. Mans evolution and technology in the art of warfare intrigues her.
Through her time and adventures, she has fleeting bits of both happiness and sorrow. The darkness within her will only allow her so much happiness.
Her link with all things Voodoo brings her into the servitude of the Baron Semedi, demi-god of the Underworld. A deal gone bad. It only serves to deepen that darkness. Can anyone help her before she does irrevocable damage to both an entire city of innocent people…and herself?

I don’t wish to elaborate more, spoiling anything for those wishing to read The Road of Darkness and its follow up book. I can say that this is not your average vampire story. It isn’t overflowing with romance. There are buckets of blood though! And swords! Who doesn’t love that?!
For those wishing to preview the book a bit, a few of the unedited chapters are available on Wattpad for viewing.
Vampires, demons, werewolves, angels, slayers and demi-gods. A fun time to be had!

theroadofdarkness_zoeambler

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, GooglePlay, Scribd

Please stop by my site and say ‘howdy!’! I go Bump in the Night…

Happy Holidays to all!!!