Saudades: The Most Beautiful Word in The World

I was blessed to spend a year in Brasil as foreign exchange student in my youth. By the way, note that I prefer to use the native spelling not the Americanized spelling for Brasil.

I love the people, the culture, the beauty, all that envelopes Brasil.

While there, I learned a powerful and highly poetic word, “Saudades”.  There is no singular word in the English language that adequately defines Saudades.  It’s a state of mind, a feeling, a sense of love, a sense of loss, a memory, a hope, and a sense of longing.

You already know what it is, yet you were never blessed with a singular word to describe it.

Close your eyes for a moment..

  • You walk into a bakery and smell a fresh baked apple pie and suddenly remember your Grandmother… Saudades
  • A song plays on the radio and you remember you’re long lost High School Sweet Heart…Saudades
  • For no explicable reason your remember your first kiss..Saudades
  • You see a favorite vacation spot from you youth..Saudades

It’s a memory, an emotion, a longing, a desire.  It can NEVER be duplicated, copied, repeated. Yet it is there as if it were yesterday.

Movies have been scripted around the emotion:

“Casablanca”..”We’ll always, have Paris”

“Dr Zhivago” ..Never connecting with Lara again

“The Bridges of Madison County”….Robert and Fiona lived a lifetime in a week or so.

The story never written, the story never told…

Two teenage kids from opposite sides of America met in New York City in 1973.  For years they stayed in touch, phone, and letter, all pre social media days.

Finally in their 20’s they reunited and spent a week together.  It was magical!!!

Departure day came….in the concourse of Logan Airport, they embraced and shared a long and passionate kiss.  He said, “I don’t know what happened, but I fell in Love this week.”

Her reply, “You too!!”

Fast forward 40 years.  They remain friends, stay in touch, and have a strong LOVE for one another. They still live on opposite sides of the country.  They have families of their own.  Alas, SAUDADES is alive and well in their lives.

Undoubtedly they will never share a warm embrace again, nor a passionate kiss.  They will be fortunate and blessed to share a personal moment in each other’s company before their passing.  None of that is important.

Saudades is alive and well in their lives.

 

That’s the way I see it.

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Nobody is Right if Everybody is Wrong

The battle rages on about drugs, gun control, racism, immigration, minimum wage, and all sorts of other things. The battle lines are drawn, the enemies have been identified.  Blame is talked about on Cable TV.  It’s an “US” versus “THEM” battle, the LEFT vs. the RIGHT, the Red vs. the Blue, Pro-Life vs Pro-Abortion. Both sides are convinced they are right.  The war rages on and on.  No end in sight.

Casualties are mounting are the streets of America.  Death and destruction are as common place on the news today as the body counts of the Vietnam War. There are mass attacks and murders in schools, churches, malls, festivals across the nation.  Let’s not forget the large number of individual murders in the streets of Chicago,, New York, Indianapolis.  It’s all around us. You can’t escape the news and the violence.

The sad truth of this story the battle fields are not found on the borders, in the workplace, schools, or churches.  No the battleground is found in the Halls of Congress.  Washington DC is looking to find the criminal, the cause, the bad guy.

Hey politicos, tonight as you get ready for bed, take a look kin the mirror.  The image staring back at you is instrumental in the cause for all of the turmoil. Why don’t you adopt the old phrase, “If it is supposed to be, then it is up to me.” Stop pointing fingers at the other guy and work together for a solution.

 

That’s the way I see it.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

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My early years, up to about 11 years old, were spent in Berlin, MA.  It’s just an ink spot on the map, about 40 miles west of Boston.  There is nothing SPECTACULAR about Berlin.

My thoughts ventured there today, as I was enjoying the quiet of an early Sunday morning on my deck.  I am many miles and years removed from Berlin, as I now reside in suburban Indianapolis.  This morning was a unique morning.  Clear blue skies, silence save for a few birds chirping, no cars zooming by, no lawn mowers running.  By all accounts a beautiful morning.

In the distance I could hear some Church bells peeling. It was a beautiful sound.  My memories kicked into overdrive as I remembered my youth.

Berlin, is a simple little town about 40 miles west of Boston.  The Church on the Village Green, a library nearby, the Town Hall down the road.  A picture postcard.

The church bells ringing reminded my of a town tradition.

I can’t remember precisely the sequence, but I remember the significance.  When a resident passes away, the Church bells toll at the Congregational Church.  First there is a ring or two designed to get your attention.  This is followed by a pause.  Then comes a serious of rings, the number identifies gender. Finally, another series of rings that identify age, one for each year of life.

The towns folk, at least the long standing residents immediately know the news of the passing of a friend.

What a magnificent way to pay homage to a friend, a neighbor, a friend, and family member.

I’ve shared this story with others and they are touched by the simplicity and sincerity of the moment.  As generations pass, new residents arrive, and the sleepy little town grows I hope that this tradition lives on.

This morning, the church bells in the distance was great reminder of my youth.

That’s The Way I See It.

Daylight Savings Time…..A Convoluted History

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Have you ever read the history of daylight Savings Time?  What a convoluted mess!!!

time confusionDates have changed, different Presidents have enacted changes throughout time.  Today, some states are still debating its value and which time zone or zones they should follow.

Here is an example of the crazy nature of the beast.  In the 1960s The Committee for Time Uniformity discovered that along a 35 mile stretch of highway between Moundsville, WV and Steubenville, OH there were 7 time zone changes.  You can’t invent this stuff.

States that border the time zone changes have their challenges.  The NW corner of Indiana borders Chicago.  What is the most appropriate time zone?

Once upon a time drive in theaters dotted the landscape.  Daylight savings was not beneficial to their industry.  Ah, farmers could stay in the fields later.  Is that good?  Technology has changed and combines run throughout the night with no care for the clock.

Are we saving energy?  Really, delay sun rise only to delay sunset.  By my clock, there are only 24 hours in the day.  So, what exactly is the rationale?

I know this, I enjoy sitting on the back deck enjoying a late night adult beverage at 10 PM and not thinking it’s midnight.  I don’t like getting up in the dark and going to bed in the dark in the middle of winter.

If you want my opinion, I’ll take daylight savings!!

 

That’s the way I see it.

Immigration…..A Right and Wrong Way

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It pains me greatly to hear the debate about immigration and illegal aliens
in the USA.  It pains me greatly at the thought that illegal aliens may b
e granted soimmigrationme form of amnesty.

About 4 years ago, I signed Form I-864, Affidavit for Support.  This is a necessary form allowing someone entrance into the USA. A necessary document for the immigrant to receive their “Green Card”.

By signing this agreement, I accepted the legal responsibility for financially supporting the immigrant if it becomes necessary.  Now the real message.  If I do not provide sufficient support, the immigrant can sue me.  If the immigrant receives any “means-tested public benefits”, I am responsible for the repayment, or the agency can sue me.

My personal obligation lasts about 10 years.

Here’s the rub.  Granting a waiver to illegal immigrants bypasses the Form I-864.  Bypasses financial obligation of a sponsor.  So, I followed the law and potentially place me and my family in financial peril.  By signing the Form I-864, the immigrant has greater legal recourse than I have.  Think about it, I can get sued by the immigrant or an agency that provided financial support.  I get nothing.

Why was I so foolish to sign this document? My daughter met and married a young man from another country. Shortly thereafter, they gave became parents. Unfortunately, my daughter did not have the financial history to be his sponsor into the USA.  After much consideration and prayer, I did what I thought was good best and right for my daughter and grandson.

I had a series of conversations with my son-in-law about the implications of this important step.  Youth and naiveté abounded.  In his (and her) eyes, it’s just a piece of paper.  A formality.  I reminded him that even upon a divorce, I still carried the financial responsibility.

Ah, the marriage didn’t last.  It crumbled quickly.  They never made it to their 3rd anniversary before the divorce was finalized.  He and I are still attached at the hip financially.  My obligation does not end with divorce.  No it lasts about 10 years.  I’m not at the midpoint yet.

I do things the right way.  I follow the immigration laws and I am at risk.  We have illegal aliens in all regions of the USA and consideration is being given to them and their families for some form as amnesty.  Will Uncle Sam waive my responsibility?  Don’t bank on it!!

I am not a heartless person. Yet, I am having a difficult time with this illegal alien thing.

That’s the way I see it.

Minimum Wage…Not What You Think

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There has been a lot of dialog about raising the minimum wage.  Statistics galore on the topic.  So exactly what is the minimum wage and who works for that amount?

The Federally mandated minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, unless it is moneysomething different.  What?  Something different?  Certain labor categories, those whose wages are supplemented by tips are lower.  The assumption is that tips will bridge the gap between the wage paid by the employer and minimum wage.  OK, if that’s what you say.  All that means is someone working at Joe’s Dinner gets paid the same as a waiter in the finest restaurant in Manhattan, and tips will cover the gap.  Well, it’s been reported that waiters in the finest restaurants can earn 6 figure incomes. That indeed is a far cry from minimum wage.I simply say, pay a fare wage and do away with tips.

I looked up a few statistics.  I welcome you to do the fact checking.  Here we go.

  • There were approximately 124.73 million full time workers in the USA in September 2016.
  • There were approximately 3.3 million employees earning minimum wage or below.
  • Currently 29 states plus Washington DC have minimum wages that exceed the Federal Wage.

In reality, many of the minimum wage employees are students (college and High School) working part time jobs. Check for yourself.

I invite you to make whatever political and social assumptions you wish about the above numbers.

Now for some other interesting “Minimum Wage” facts.

  • Movie Extra per SAG requirements $18.50/hr.
  • NFL Rookie $420,000/year
  • NBA Rookie (2014-2015 season) $507,336/year
  • MLB Rookie (2017) $535,000/year
  • NHL Player $650,000/year
  • US Senator $174,000/year
  • Associate Justice SCOTUS $213,900/year (Lifetime appointment)
  • POTUS $400,000/year (supplemented by allowances)

 

The conclusion I draw from these salaries/wages is the fact that we have a select group of people that are way overpaid, and a much larger group of people that are underpaid.  What do you think?

That’s the way I see it.

Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

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I’ve been doing a little reading, thinking, and planning. See, I own a small business, it’s doing good, but I want it to do better.  Who wouldn’t?

I stumbled upon an interesting piece of information, built upon it, and am now in the process of initiating positive change.

Here is a fun fact.

The top five flavors of ice cream, according to International Ice Cream Association are:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Butter Pecan
  • Strawberry
  • Neapolitan

The amazing fact is the difference between 1st and 2nd place.  Vanilla received 29% of the first place votes.  Second place chocolate had 8.9%.  That’s 20 points difference between first and second.  Wow, that’s a huge gap.

I harkened back to my youth and looked up some information about Avis Rent a Car. Back in the early 1960s Avis produced an ad campaign with the tag line “When you are only No. 2, you try harder, or else”.  Signs, buttons, etc. carried the words, “We try Harder”.

Fun facts, in 1963, Hertz the No.1 Company had 61% of the market and Avis had 29%.  Wow, what a huge gap between the two companies. By 1963 the gap was closed to 49% to 36%, Avis was still No. 2.  This is still a sizable gap, but not as large.

So, where am I going with this?

In business don’t allow yourself to be fooled.  Don’t pat yourself on the back because you are second.  There is a large difference between being No.1 and No.2.  Being No. 2, is good, but not good enough.

I said that I owned a small business, AC Trash Hauling & More.  We have a nice website.  It’s effective, after all people visit it.  It generates work. With this new found information about the difference between 1st and 2nd, I did a web search.  I looked up “Trash Hauling Company Noblesville Indiana.”  I discovered that there were only 137,000 hits on that search.  Fortunately, I ranked 4th.  What about that poor soul at 137,000.  They are lost and will never be found.

I came to the understanding that Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough.  You see, on the search I conducted there were a whole bunch of GOOD hits.  Good isn’t Good Enough.  With the power of search engines a potential customer can find a whole lot of GOOD companies.  If I were to move down that list only a few notches, I may never be noticed.  I’m still a GOOD company.

Where does all this lead to?  The answer is simple.  Regardless of who we are, or what we do, we must strive for excellence.  We must strive to be great.  Being good will only get you lost in the crowd.  We must change our attitude, “Good Enough Is NOT Good Enough”. Avis had it right, try harder.

That’s the way I see it.

The Question

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We are about one week into the presidency of Donald Trump. The news outlets are abuzz with questions, speculation, and a plethora of the Woulda, Coulda, Shouldas detailing a better way, a better solution.  Social media outlets are bursting at the seams with “better” solutions’ than those being proposed by the current administration.

Everyone has their opinion.

I was reading “The Book of Virtues”, written by former Secretary of Education William Bennett and found this excellent poem.

The Question

-Author Unknown

Were the whole world good as you – not an atom better –
    Were it just as pure and true,
    Just as strong in faith and works;
    Just as free from crafty quirks;
    All extortion, all deceit;
    Schemes its neighbors to defeat;
    Schemes its neighbors to defraud;
    Schemes some culprit to applaud –
Would this world be better?
 
If the whole world followed you – followed to the letter-
    Would it be a nobler world,
    All deceit and falsehood hurled
    From it altogether;
    Malice, selfishness, and lust,
    Banished from beneath the crust,
    Covering human hearts from view
    Tell me, if it followed you,
Would the world be better?

With this poem in mind, I now challenge you about your criticism  not only of President Trump, The Congress, but of all the decisions made that you find unpopular.  I challenge you to think hard before you cast that first stone!!
That’s the way I see it.

Alternative Facts..True or False

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Oh Baby, I’m headed for trouble with this post!!

Alternative Facts, that’s an interesting moniker.  It sure has been getting a lot of air time (print media as well) the past couple of days. Some wordsmith, aka spin-doctor was working overtime to craft that little gem.

Now allow me to run down a slippery slope about that phrase.  First let me establish my ground rules and my understanding.  Remember these are MY ground rules.

Facts are rather interesting. In some cases people refer to “Hard Facts”.  I believe these to be immutable and undeniable pieces of information.  Things we collectively deem as “The Truth”.

Fact, George Washington was the 1st President of the United States of America.  Do I have any takers to dispute this information, this truth?

Fact.  The Wright Brothers were the first in powered flight. For many that is deemed the truth, thus a FACT.  There is other information that may dispute this common knowledge. Ask a Brasilian (no spell checking please, I prefer to use the native spelling of the word) and the response will be Santo Dumont.  Which of these two answers is FACT? Which of these two responses in the TRUTH?

Ah, the water gets a bit murky.

Try this little social experiment.

Put two people in a room.  Give them a couple of minutes to look around the room and then leave and write down in as much detail as possible everything that they saw.

Don’t be surprised when the lists differ.  Does it mean that one is FACT while the other is Fiction (read  A Lie)? No, it only means that one person saw different things, perhaps from a different perspective than his counterpart.  Both lists represent the TRUTH, as witnessed by the author.

Wait a minute, two different lists, and both the truth?  Are these then Alternative Facts?  Oh the water indeed is getting murky!!!

It is imperative that you understand and accept my position. I am not saying that either side, pro-Trump or anti-Trump, is right or wrong in their assessment about the size of the audience at the Inauguration.  I am suggesting that we are dealing in numbers that cannot be verified. I am suggesting that each group is using a different metric to measure (guess) the exact amount. I am openly stating that people are arguing about the number of Angels that can dance on the head of a pin. I am stating that indeed there are “Alternative Facts” in this matter (the number of people witnessing the inauguration).

Don’t misunderstand my statement. I am not a proponent of “Alternative Facts”.  It is not a phrase I would use or support globally.  In my humble opinion two different camps are trying to justify their position with imperfect and truly unmeasurable/unverifiable data.

Who gives a rat’s ass about the number of people who attended the inauguration?  There are far more important issues facing our nation.

That’s the way I see it.