A fresh array of thoughts at the intersection of my to do list and society

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A timeless, comedic classic

Since we lost our beloved Robin Williams, I thought it was best to repost this again. RIP great talent.

The HodgePodge

Some people define a timeless classic as a movie like “It’s a wonderful life” with Jimmy Stewart, or a song like “All you need is love” by the Beatles. I agree these are classics, but if I live to see my grandchildren, I hope to tell them of another true classic, Robin Williams.

I, like most of my generation, was introduced to the comedian through “Happy Days,” and later “Mork and Mindy.” For you youngsters, Williams played an alien who was ignorant of the human race, but found ways to be funny as hell about our social and political imperfections. His comedic timing was impeccable, but also the fastest many had ever seen before. He was the first person I really understood to be a comedian, other than Richard Pryor whom my dad adored. Like Pryor, Williams made fun of societal issues, human stupidity and most importantly, himself.

What I…

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My new TV addiction…

Dear Oprah,

Thanks to you, I have found a new TV addiction. It’s not ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, A&E’s Hoarders or even TLC’s Extreme Couponing. Instead, it’s OWN’s Oprah’s Lifeclass. Maybe this show touches me because I’m in a place in my life where I’m looking to fill my time with inspiration instead of watching things that turn my brain off. Maybe it’s because I’ve missed you since “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ended. After all, I’m a Gen Xer whose daily afternoon routine growing up included the long-running talk show. Whatever the reason, I’m hooked.

While other shows on OWN feature our favorite media maven like “Master Class,” they don’t capture the essence of you, our teacher, leader and friend the way “Lifeclass” does. For instance, in “Newton’s Third Law,” you gave us an opportunity to understand how the energy we give out to the world comes back to us, both positively and negatively. In another episode, “You’ve Always Had the Power,” we learned that Glenda the Good Witch from “The Wizard of Oz” had it right all along – we’ve always had the power, we just have to figure it out for ourselves. And, I could go on and on…

Each lesson from the show reminds me of life’s most important lesson – I can live my best life. This has never resonated with me more than it has over the past year as I went through several jobs, suffered two miscarriages and missed out on many family moments. It wasn’t until after the second miscarriage – that “roadblock” I mentioned in an earlier post – that this life lesson really hit like a ton of bricks. With the love and support from friends and family, I’ve been able to see life differently. I’m on a good path, but still have more work to do. “Lifeclass” is my regular dose of ways to stay on this path. Judging by the show’s ratings, webcasts views and Facebook likes, it’s clear I’m not the only one who looks forward to our dose.

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” was your child, the place where you grew up, learned a gazillion lessons and shared your mistakes with us, “Lifeclass” is the place where you take what you’ve learned and wrap it up into one hour of wisdom and love, like a grandparent sharing advice with a grandchild over ice cream on a hot summer’s day. No one can remind us that love is available to us if we let it more than you.

We all know you wanted to slow down when you decided to end your daily talk show, and, who could blame you? You were ready for change and more personal time. But, as you know, we are living in unprecedented times. If there’s one thing we need right now it’s a calm, loving voice to remind us that everything will be OK.

So once again, you’ve given us more than we’ve given you. Thank you for seeing the need to share more. Thank you for helping us love in a whole new way. Thank you for giving us the chance to learn how to live our best lives.

 

 

Not all emotions from a TV show are “LOST”

On the evening of Oct. 9, 2004, I watched my Dad, one of the strongest yet most sensitive men I’ve ever known, succumb to lung cancer. The whole day prior was full of visitors to the hospital and phone calls and scores of his favorite music playing in the background. As evening came, the air was calm as only my Mom, my Aunt Merry and I stayed with him. Mom finally fell asleep in a chair next to him, exhausted and unaware of these last moments to come. My Aunt and I sat together on the other side of him, reading a Real Simple magazine and dreaming of new ways to decorate our homes with colorful curtains and fresh coats of paint. There was a warmth and peace all around us, we didn’t speak of it but we knew it was there. Then, all at once, my Dad took one long, last breath and like that, he was gone.

At the memorial service, many who attended made comments like, “I just know he’s ‘up there’ driving his boat around listening to Rod Stewart” or “He’s in good hands because God made a personalized bar stool just for him.” I found such comfort in these words. I had this vision of him laughing at the horrible joke he just told and giving everyone a “high five.” It’s amazing how I can still hear his voice in my ears, see his face in my eyes and feel his love in my heart.

These were all memories I thought were tucked away in the “one day I’ll go back to that moment” locked suitcase of my brain, until I watched the final episode of Lost earlier this week.

Yes, I know, it’s just a show. The characters aren’t real, and a story about a so-called island that made people “special” is crazier than the plot for Gilligan’s Island or Fantasy Island. But, I, like many, fell in love with the characters. They were flawed like all of us. They had daddy problems, baby-mama drama and sibling issues. They loved and broke hearts. They cheated and stole. They changed, for better or worse. They lived and died. All things we deal with throughout our lives. The moment Vincent the dog laid next to Jack when he closed his eyes and prepared for his death, the fountain of tears began to pour from my eyes. And quiet frankly, that fountain hasn’t stopped since.

It’s taken me a few days to understand why the ending of a fictitious TV show had such a profound affect on me and so many others. What I’ve realized is that while I feel this incredible sense of loss that’s as painful as when my Dad died, I also feel a renewed sense of hope of seeing fallen friends and loved ones again. I bet many of you feel the same way.  We’re so programmed to think one way or another about death – either you believe in going to Heaven or Hell, or you don’t.  We believe in either Religion or Atheism. But what about Spiritualism? Why has open mindedness about death become so taboo and why are we so polarized because of it? I think “Lost” reminds us that we should never forget those who are so important to us, rather they or we are dead or alive.

One of the things my Dad taught me was to appreciate all kinds of music. There were songs that made him laugh and songs that made him cry. In his honor, here is a list of songs that remind me of him and my pursuit of finding hope after his death. They also remind me of redemption, love and strength – key elements of the all-so-unrealistic show “Lost.” I hope you enjoy them. And feel free to share other songs you think should be included. Remember, we’re all in this together.  

And as far as my thoughts on all of those questions that were never answered? Well, I’ll leave those up to the writers and self-proclaimed show experts to handle.

Alanis Morissette, “Not As We”
Ben Folds, “Still Fighting It”
Bran Van 3000, “Everywhere”
Christina Aquilera, “Hurt”
Coldplay, “Fix You”
Corey Hart, “Never Surrender”
Dan Fogelberg, “Leader of the Band”
Dave Matthews Band, “Funny the Way It Is”
Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready to Make Nice”
Eddie Vedder, “Guaranteed”
Eminem, “I’m Not Afraid”
Jackson Browne, “Running on Empty”
Jay-Z featuring Mr. Hudson, “Young Forever”
Madonna, “The Power of Goodbye”
Sister Hazel, “Running Through the Fields”
The Verve, “Bittersweet Symphony”
T.I. featuring Justin Timberlake, “Dead and Gone”
Til’ Tuesday, “Coming Up Close”
The Fray, “How to Save a Life”
U2, “Walk On”

(You also can download the whole playlist here:  http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/playlist/Blog+post+songs/29855197)