Pre-Internet Understandings

Do you remember life before the internet?

JetPack Prompt – 5/30/23 

So let’s time travel back to Pre- Internet times. For prior to what’s commonly know today as the electronic digital era, I obtained two college degrees without much use of any computers, celebrated love and peace without benefit of glitzy gadgetry, taught middle and high school via paper and pencil and actually read maps to where I needed in travel.The library back then filled my imagination with a vast sea of book shelves inviting me to get lost in my chosen subject of knowledge on a given day. In fact, my most prized possessions seemed to be my World Book Encyclopedia and Yearly Almanac as I actually looked up facts on my own. The daily newspaper always appeared at my front door as well.

As far as human interaction without the Internet, personal letter writing also flourished as I concentrated on forming my cursive letters carefully for those I confided in with my ideas. I did not fear getting hacked by strangers either as I had full control then over who might read what I wrote. Along the street, no personal device was around, so I might pop into a phone booth or drive by someone’s house I knew to contact them as desired.

So you might reason life for me seemed old fashioned without the so named World Wide Web. But I seemed better prepared than many of my peers for the oncoming digital information onslaught with my curious quest to learn on my own and network successfully with others in making key life decisions. How sad it seems then in this present era that so many people are held prisoner by their mobile phones.

Time For Inner Thai

“The Buddha didn’t praise those who merely believe others, he praised the person who knows within himself.” (Ajahn Chah, Thai Monk)

I enjoy the sensory taste appeal of Pad Thai and Red Curry cuisine. Yet the word Thai in my current life seems to connect so much more to me than food these days. Know that such deeper interest in Thai culture first began when Ruth and I traveled to Bangkok a few years ago. For I noticed then how so many people performed the welcoming ritual of Namaste by folding arms in prayer pose gracefully across their chest.

Since that time, it’s also become a regular habit of mine at the end of my yoga practices and during random greeting occasions to open my heart in gratitude with this humbling gesture to others from my inner soul. A similar form of deep Thai immersion has happened now during my regularly scheduled Thai message, as my masseuse practitioner skillfully applies hand and other bodily part pressure to my areas of body part tightness.

Thus being inspired by my inner Thai spirit, I’ve showcasing below a series of photos of Buddhistic artwork and other beautiful expressions of “Zen” calm that I shot at a Thai lunch stop in Clearwater, Florida this week. For I certainly felt inspired in those moments by this opportunity to experience an authentic Thai dining ambience radiating soulful spiritual bliss with my wife and two family members then.

My Bobblehead Heroes

Do you have any collections?

Jet Pack Prompt – 5/25/23

One of the most interesting aspects of being a serious fan of Major League Baseball seems to be the opportunity to collect various giveaways over the course of each season. So I’ve collected drink cups, hats, travel bags, and various team banners over the years and always try to find some visible spot to display them in our condo. In fact, our living space in many places seems to have evolved because of this reason into a sports museum layout.

Perhaps the most recognizable collection I value in recent times would be the multitude of Bobblehead dolls that line the walls of our dining room. For I find great comfort in just staring at each of these gyrating figures who represent authentic heroes of mine that I’ve watched over the last decade primarily during road trip travel. So I invite you take a good look below at several of my favorite Bobblehead figures. For a bit of amusement, now imagine a hero who you most admire in your life that you would like to insert as a bobblehead figure as in my blog title photo above. 

Warmhearted Cold

How do you feel about cold weather?

Jet Pack Prompt- 5/24/23

As a longtime resident of subtropical South Florida, I am rarely exposed outside to those dreary skies and freeze like conditions that cold weather around the country so often brings.As a point of fact about this weather phenomenon, the last time measurable snow fell in the Greater Miami area was 1977. So I can certainly frame this topic in a much more tolerable perspective than many. I  might further reason that because of my seasonally deprived  mindset, I might find an incentive to feel joy with the thought of cold weather conditions resurfacing anywhere. For I can always think back to those fond  childhood memories in Northeast Ohio of playfully frolicking outside in the snow. 

But on the “flip side”, consider that cold weather also brings a mass of “snowbird” tourists to the “Sunshine State” hoping to escape the annual frigid wrath of winter up north, So during this so called “The Season”, daily life can be more difficult for me due to significantly more congested conditions happening throughout South Florida. I might further note that our less stringent housing codes often fail to insulate buildings effectively from cold weather conditions.

So might I attempt to move back to Cleveland and endure once again such continuing frigid cold? Probably not at this stage in my life as my body would unlikely tolerate it well. Nor would my hot weather mindset be likely patient enough now to slow down and stay warmly inside most of the time during the long season of Ohio winter. So I find it best to concentrate enjoying my current lifestyle of leading my life  moment by moment in torrid Fort Lauderdale, and just forget about the cold.

Stillness On The Bay

“Life’s most precious moments are not all loud or uproarious. Silence and stillness has its own virtues. “( Kilroy J. Oldster )

During a much needed respite to the Tampa Bay region of Florida this weekend, I learned a lesson that life comes well to me in stillness. You see I’m much too willing to take control of decisional matters when they occur as in too much “yang” and not enough “yin.“ So during an unplanned park bench occasion Saturday night along Old Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, I took considerably more time than usual to just observe and listen. Several captivating insights happening then seemed to naturally calm my normally busy mind.

A colorfully glowing rainbow suddenly appeared in the eastern sky signifying there will be more opportunities for me to “shine” with success as a person in the future.
A threatening overcast sky to the south reminded me to adjust wisely to my own human imperfections.
Amidst the smooth flow of waves, two playful dolphins surfaced as I exalted in the joy of free will being.
As a close Latino family bonded together on the beach, the importance of family resonated as a strong priority for me now.
The sheer energy of a young woman skating vigorously under a palm tree filled me with good reason to take care of own physical body.

My Leadership Struggle

Are you a leader or a follower?

JetPack Prompt – 5/19/23

I remember those fun occasions as a child when my teacher played “Simon Says” with the class. This game apparently taught me to follow any instructions that I heard only with only these two words so I would not be told “you’re out.” But I can say from this long ago memory that being taught such passive obedience at that time did not feel right nor does it feel an appropriate act today. 

So as a basic rule throughout my life, I reject going on with such passive behavior to just play by others rules. Instead, life’s daily struggles since then have often required me to “put myself out there” and lead primarily by example when the situation calls.  Consider for instance that during my thirty plus years of teaching, such leadership expectations drove me to either serve as the expert spokesperson who others relied on for information in a key learning situation or as a fair-minded mediator who just enjoyed bringing opposing sides to a more united cause..

With great relief in my retirement though, I’m no longer expected to play the role of an outwardly confident leader in order to fulfill  the duties of a job. So I’ve alternatively become fascinated by the more subtle leadership ideals of yoga which connect my physical presence in the present moment with an energy flow that others can contagiously follow. For I now hope to prioritize spreading more kindness and gratitude to others without necessarily making my leadership intentions blatantly known.

Notably, however, this inward shift in my current leadership paradigm often seems fruitless to follow. For I seem to be living today amid a reality show plot where confrontation with so many others seems to the “modus operandi” of each day. There’s just often simply too many narcissist adversaries out there with their egos out of control. Thus, this quieter leadership message of mine goes on mostly these days to serve my smaller circle of trustful family and friends.


Fiery Methods Succeed

Share a story about someone who had a positive impact on your life.

Jet Pack Prompt 5/15/23

As the old saying goes, “the cream always rises to the top” always inspired me to listen well to the timely advice of so many of my former life mentors. But when I think back to someone who best exemplifies an ideal role model for making me believe in this ideal, allow me to tell you a brief story about Mr. Tulu, an accomplished Italian trombonist and former private lesson teacher who challenged me to play this slide instrument in high school better than anyone else.

So on this particular occasion, mother sat proudly in an adjoining room as I set up my sheet music in Mr.Tulu’s living room and warmed up my horn for my weekly lesson that day. Working with him then on some difficult pieces I’d prepared for that week, I felt totally confident that I played the pieces right. But Mr. Tulu soon ranted otherwise and then gestured violently as I feared he might tear up my sheet music or perhaps hit me with his baton.

So as his dissatisfaction with my playing quickly sunk in, he demanded we play each piece together over and over with the idea of raising my performance expectations at the same time. So as I played the pieces with such vehemently put instructions multiple times, sheer exhaustion and some anger set in from this effort. But by such arousal of my emotions, I finally began to get it. I must express the music more passionately when I am playing to resonate a much fuller sound. Unfortunately I would also notice that  my impulsive trombone teacher failed to channel his emotions appropriately at the end of this lesson as he tried to woo my mother into some nonmusical bliss with glasses of Chianti and sweet amorous talk of them being together as more than friends.

Yet in spite of Mr. Tulu’s fiery style of teaching and his seductive “come-ons” to my mother, his presence in my life had proved immensely beneficial to me in future concert band competitions. For as a result of his approach to raise my playing expectations to make my instrument “sing” with intensity of emotion, I caught the interest of band contest judges whenever I was chosen to perform. Thus, during those those high school junior and senior years of my former musical stardom, I eventually earned #3 ranking as an All Star trombonist throughout the state of Florida.


Better Than Chicago

What was the last live performance you saw?
Jet Pack Prompt 5/11/23

I’ve been a huge fan of the rock band Chicago ever since my college days over fifty years ago. After all, I play the trombone and have long admired their infusion of sheer horn talent as a featured element of so many of their songs. You might even say that tunes like “Beginnings”, “Feeling Stronger Everyday” and “Dialogue” from their large musical repertoire strongly affect me emotionally to this very day.

So that raises the issue of tribute bands who attempt to emulate the trademark Chicago Band sound today. Some depict them as a flashy Vegas act involving short version “singalongs” of their early hit glory, while others hone in on their later love song era when the horn section seemed to be disappointedly gone. I’m imagining then that Terry Kath, their original lead guitarist who tragically died during the band’s heyday is laughing in heaven unmercifully about these cheap Chicago imitations.

So that brings up the matter of our last live concert attended featuring the Tribute band called “Leonid and Friends.” With little doubt in my mind, this enthusiastic group of primarily Russian musicians put on a masterful musical show of Chicago tunes in my my opinion much better than those pseudo Chicago band acts mentioned before. . For these were no “old guys”  living again the dream of Chicago’s long ago past but accomplished younger performers who infused the Chicago brand of fresh performance energy creatively now.

Thus I considered during this wonderful Leonid “gig” the musical director’s youthful son Roman who would race on stage to enthusiastically introduce the band before they arrived on stage. Or I would notice the stunning presence of their female singer, Ksenia, who wowed the audience with her captivating voice and persona.  But of greatest interest to me this night seemed to be how Leonid and Friends simply outplayed the original Chicago band as the wildly enthusiastic crowd responded to their exceptional musical talents. We’ll be most certainly looking for them again on tour during our upcoming road trip travels. Have a listen of them if you like. Click on the link below.

Expanding My Community Outlook

What do you do to be involved in the community?

JetPack Prompt – May, 10, 2023

When one asks what I do with respect to my community, I must first know exactly what community involvement means. Are we talking about what pertains to a physical place or a collection of people? Moreover, what about the act of doing something in a virtual way that pertains to where one lives? Or maybe you can ascertain community involvement not in terms of what one does but in terms of what one doesn’t do over a period of time.

You might say in one sense then that my community place  perception seems to have shifted in recent years to the smaller scale of my immediate neighborhood where I live combined with the modest number of people I interact with in my daily goings. In such cases, typically on a one to one meetup basis, I’m quite generous with my time as a soundboard for giving suggestions to fellow citizens as it relates to education, travel, or health related needs. But I never really plan these ad hoc help giving occasions in any particular place outside my condo.

As related to my cyberspace involvement on a larger community scale , I frequently check out the “Eventbrite” app to read about meaningful events going on in South Florida. I particularly look for forums of a nonjudgmental nature with others at minimal cost. So as I engage in such online community scrutiny, I might decide to  enroll in Zoom lectures going on around town, hoping to spread messages of peaceful co-existence and embrace of diversity on any given day.

So many urban problems of the South Florida community today pertain to a seemingly out of control population explosion existing there at various seasons of the year. So you might say, for instance, that due my frequent travels each year out of town, I’m spreading peace by not being there because of travel to buy a gun and potentially threaten others in order to protect my home. In the same vein of absentee thought, I’m not also not around to clog up valuable space in a hospital room emergency area, or add our vehicles to congested highways full of unceasing commuter traffic problems each morning and evening.

Glimpses of The Blue Orb


What’s a job you would like to do for just one day?

JetPack Prompt 5/9/23

When thinking about a dream job of this lifetime, my longstanding fascination for realistic science fiction plots immediately arise. I thus consider the iconic 2001 Space Odyssey saga where artificial intelligence possibilities introduced the computerized “Hal” as an integral part of an outer space mission. Or perhaps more prominently I think of the cool logic of Spock in Star Trek overcoming human error that could jeopardize the lives of the Enterprise crew in so many  TV episodes.

So I might need to create a new job description for this question but here it goes. My dream job for one day would thus be labeled as an assigned “Earth From Space Advisor” on a one day space mission circling the earth. I might best assist the astronaut team in this capacity by noticing how space photographs of key geographical features along the different continents of our planet proactively influence the minds of each member of the crew to   to focus intensely on solving our world problems during minute to minute progress of this mission.

From a psychological perspective then, I might for instance encourage this space team to work in tandem to study photo evidence of global warming’s impact on sea level change along the Poles or I could also provide up to date visuals of extreme weather pattern change in war stricken areas Iike Ukraine, Haiti and Sudan. Such provided insight might render my job contribution quite useful at these times. 

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