I won’t be blogging for awhile as I’m completing a biography about my grandfather, Orville Nix, and his home movie of the JFK assassination. The Nix Film is widely considered the second most important film of the assassination. Of course to our family, it’s the most important: it shows the Grassy Knoll.
My grandfather was an undereducated, hardworking, government believing Democrat in the Sixties. He had no idea how important his place in history was, he just knew his film could mean a little extra money for his small family. The government took advantage of him. The Media took advantage of him. His friends and some family took advantage of him as well. It’s the American story!
I hope to remedy some of these wrongs while again, pleading for the return of the original film he took on that fateful day. It has been lost. Yes, lost. The only copies available are first-generation copies that still leave room for skepticism that Oswald didn’t act alone….or possibly prove that he did. No one will truly know until the original is found and enhanced using technology not available in 1963 or in 1978 during the Warren Commission the last time the original was presumably seen.
I have spent years dealing with CEO’s (CNN’s Burt Reinhardt & Reese Schonfeld) Politicians (Joe Biden, Robert Blakey) Filmmakers (Oliver Stone, John Barbour) Television producers, experts and authors (David Lifton, Robert Groden, Gary Mack, Jim Marrs) trying to find the Nix Film to no avail. If there is no conspiracy, is our government this mismanaged? It all seems odd to me….and it did to my grandfather as well.
I hope to share some portions of this work here before its published. In the interim, feel free to comment on any social media using the hashtag: #FindtheNixFilm
There’s nothing I detest more than when a person uses/mispronounces/misspells a word in a public forum. At least at home, your family can correct you. But shows like Honey Boo Boo, Storage Wars (Darryl who wears the wife beater shirts) and well, honestly, most all Reality Shows seem to glorify the butchering of the English language. It’s as if there’s a redneck Jihad against grammar! Maybe I’m sensitive about it because I’m a blonde, and well, to fend off the “dumb blonde” jokes throughout my life, I didn’t develop bigger breasts, I developed my vocabulary. I’m now passing on that neuroticism (but a healthy one!) to my daughter. (she’s blonde too!)
Having a great vocabulary makes it easier to communicate, gives you self-esteem and frankly, can be a bit of a relationship ‘gatekeeper’. If the guy you’re dating can’t understand what you’re talking about because you have an extensive vocabulary, maybe you should leave him to the dance club girls.
Here’s a great article from College Resources on making yourself sound better.
Resource Center → Getting in & Applying to College → Standardized Tests → Improving Your Vocabulary
(Reasonably) Pain-Free Ways to Improve Your Vocabulary
Sure, a great vocabulary is bound to enhance your already sparkling conversation skills. Of course, even better than acquiring some witty bon mots, a strong vocabulary will help expand your reading comprehension skills in general and your standardized test scores in particular. And, fortunately, acquiring a vocabulary doesn’t have to be a painful process, especially if you employ a variety of methods.
Here are few ideas for how to build a robust vocabulary:
Read a lot. Seriously, replace an hour of TV with an hour of reading every day (outside of school assignments) and you’ll make a lot of progress toward building an amazing vocabulary.
Remember, quality writing over fluff. We’re sorry to report that People magazine, US Weekly, and USA Today do not count. You can read them, but don’t expect them to enhance your reading comprehension or vocabulary or improve your performance on the SAT/ACT.
Read a variety of literature on a variety of topics. Magazines, daily newspapers, online blogs and books cover all sorts of issues. While you can start with your favorite subjects (say the arts, currents events or maybe science), be sure to expand your horizons and catch up on a myriad of other areas.
Read actively. It won’t help if you just pull a random book off the shelf and passively begin to skim through it. Make sure you understand what it is that you are reading. Try to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words through their context and use a dictionary when you need assistance. Then, try to incorporate new vocabulary into your own!
Don’t just read, listen. Modify your TV habits and start incorporating an occasional episode of PBS News Hour or a nature documentary. TED Talks are another great (and fascinating!) option. We also recommend listening to NPR every once in a while on the radio. Remember – every tip above can be applied to listening as well!
Make it fun. Building your vocabulary doesn’t have to be boring. Try to stump your parents by using new words at the dinner table. Or, see who amongst your friends can “collect” more unusual words each week. Activities like this provide more effective ways to build your vocabulary than if you just memorized lists of words and their definitions.
To help you begin, we’ve compiled a list of great resources. However, this is just a start. We encourage you to cultivate your own list as well. •Newspapers: The New York Times; The Washington Post; The Wall Street Journal •Magazines: The New Yorker; Foreign Affairs; Time; National Geographic •Online Magazines/Blogs: Huffington Post; Salon •Books: There are simply too many great authors and books to list here, but check out “best” lists such as the Modern Library’s “Top 100 Novels” and “Top 100 Nonfiction Books” as well as anthologies such as the annual “Best American Short Stories” and the “Best American Essays.” •Radio/TV: PBS (Frontline, Newshour, NOVA); NPR (On Point, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, Fresh Air, Radiolab, Planet Money)
The last romance man in my life used to accuse me of seeing everything black and white Another reason we aren’t together, he didn’t understand my mind at all. In his defense though, I DO see things black and white when it comes to my worldview. My principals are black and white. My love is black and white. Only to me though, many people don’t understand why I allow people in my life that they consider “lesser”…see? That’s their black and white. Understanding is the key! I always see the grey in things I don’t understand. Why? Because the blacks and whites are what makes the grey….both literally and figuratively. I sort thingsproblems into blacks and whites to better understand…to make my world more orderly. OMG that sounds so OCD! Anyway, here are the greys I’m trying to sort out right now.
The big Abortion brouhaha that is currently taking our collective minds off of rising inflation, the madness of the IRS and double talk from our current administration. Why are we arguing about this? I’m a feminist. I believe in both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. As a Mother who was told for 12 years of marriage I could never have kids and went through the $$$ testing, in vitro , foster child, adoptive child processes I just don’t understand. Why would any woman get an abortion after the second trimester? Why? Do you pro-life feminists not realize you are setting feminism back by hundreds of years by exploiting our “right to change our minds” scenario? During the second trimester you can feel the baby moving inside you. You may even get an ultra-sound that shows your baby sucking his/her thumb in utero. By 20 weeks most Mothers have bonded with the baby they are carrying. One of my friends couldn’t carry her baby full term and the baby was born at 23 weeks. This child is a beautiful blessing for my friend and is part of society. If you were raped, then by all means you shouldn’t have to feel shame for getting an abortion, but that’s usually done right away. If your religion says “no” then “so”? Your relationship with God is one on one and He knows what’s in your heart. Now, on the Pro-Choice side, if a woman truly wants to have an abortion due to health, finances, ignorance, genetic counseling, then she’s going to have one. That’s that! Why put women through the horror most women in third world countries and some 1st world countries must endure due to sloppy “doing it for the money” Doctors, or self-inflicted coat hanger abortions? Legal abortions protect women. Why would our government see this as bad? Our government is not our moral compass, we the people are. We haven’t illegalized guns, why should we illegalize abortion? And another thing, if the fetus isn’t a “living being” then why when someone kills a pregnant woman they are charged with TWO deaths? Why so much hypocrisy in our government? Why? If we do this to women are we going to tell men they can only be a “baby Daddy” a limited amount of times and then he must be snipped? Here’s an idea….why don’t we just expect people to take responsibility for their actions and not let the government tell us how to run our lives? What a novel idea!
Okay, now for some fun pop-culture greys. Sharknado. A social media phenomenon and one of the worst movies ever made. What does this say about us as a society? I truly can’t find the black and white in this one.
And to end these ramblings, the book that spawned see what I did there? this blog post: Fifty Shades of Grey. After reading snippets of it in 2011, I swore I wouldn’t read it. But a newlywed friend from my high school days begged me to read it. BEGGED ME! She says she values my opinion. So for you Claudia? The book did not turn me on. The characters were two-dimensional. And after reading it, I didn’t want to lay Christian Grey, I wanted to psycho-analyze him. It was at once repelling and degrading. It was like bullet points 1 and 2 above. In my summary, here’s an intelligent, newly graduated from college protagonist who is still a virgin falling for a handsome man with money, power and HUGE issues. Why is this story such a sensation? You remember the love of my life John? Remember how handsome, sexy, electric we were together? Remember how his family owned hotels on the Greek Islands? Remember how I couldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him? Why do we celebrate dysfunction? Why? The best thing about the book is that the protagonist, Anastasia, listened to her inner voice and did what was right for her as well as for him. She left him. Still my friend Claudia? smile
Okay, so I’m not up-to-date on popular movies. Though both my teens have seen “THE AVENGERS” multiple times, I have not and since it was a long weekend, they begged me to watch it with them. It wasn’t bad…not bad at all! Robert Downey, Jr. is not one of my favorite actors, though I do applaud his strength in overcoming his addictions, and for a diminutive man, he’s attractive. I avoided this movie because I regarded it as a good popcorn selling type of movie (i.e, not much story, but lots of action). Those kinds of movies worked for my husband and father, but me? not so much. I was surprised. When it was over, we discussed which super hero was our favorite and why and then took it a step further and applied it to relationships. Remember, there’s no scientific basis here, just experience and viewpoints.
IRON MAN/TONY STARK
PROS: Tony stark is brilliant. He’s a leader. He’s a smooth jokester. He thinks out of the box and makes good investments. He’s wealthy. And he’s not bad looking. He also likes to party.
CONS: Tony Stark is the quintessential narcissist. Everything revolves around him and he is better than anyone he knows. He has father issues. He is a playboy. He has control issues. Think Alex Rodriguez in baseball. Think young Warren Beatty. He’s sadistically sarcastic. Pepper Potts is a great match for him as she understands these things, but honestly, having a relationship with Iron Man would not only be scary because of his super powers, but mainly because of his ego. Poor Pepper will never find romance with a man like this, though she will find great pleasure in taking him down a notch or two.
PROS: He’s a god. He can do anything. He’s handsome. He’s self-assured. He’s strong. He is Master of his Destiny. He’s probably really good at lovemaking, I mean he’s a god, he knows!
CONS: He’s a god. He can do anything. He’s condescending. You’re nothing but a weak species: HUMAN. Why would he need you? Why would he need anyone? He is Master of his Destiny. The only control you will have in this relationship is the control he grants you—then reminds you that he granted it to you. The kind of woman he would need would be more a groupie than a complete person…or a subservient.
CAPTAIN AMERICA/STEVEN “STEVE” GRANT ROGERS
PROS: He is a natural born leader who always tries to do the right thing. He is dependable. He is empathetic, principled and logical. He wants to learn new things. He’ll take one for the team if he has to and if he believes in the quest. He’s a team player. He is humble. He doesn’t care what others think, he does what has to be done. A baseball parallel would be the Texas Rangers Adrian Beltre. A literary character parallel would be Atticus Finch. In a relationship, this is the man all your friends wished they had. He does seem to think progressively though, so he could be convinced if you gave him a logical argument.
CONS: His baggage is in what he’s seen and lamenting what could be which makes him sentimental but melancholy. He’s a bit of a goody two shoes, which means he could be a bit uptight. Not a lot of room for hedonism here. He might not be too “experimental” in bed.
THE HULK/Dr. ROBERT BRUCE BANNER
PROS: He’s beastly strong. He doesn’t care what others think. He’s his own man. He’s brilliant. He’s HUGE! If you’re into taboo sex, this guy would be the one! He would accept any woman who gave him an iota of attention. NO one would mess with him when he’s angry, they can see in his eyes when the transformation begins.
CONS: He’s green. He’s always angry. He’s bi-polar. He’s secretive. He blames the world for his problems. He likes to be alone, but doesn’t really. He’s conflicted. He’s ANGRY! He could hurt you, then blame it on the transition. He has deep-seeded issues. He’s inconsistent. He’s bullheaded. He’s more a tool than a person. He likes you one minute, then turns on you the next. His loyalty is scattershot. Too bad Tom doesn’t read this anymore, I think he could relate.
HAWKEYE/CLINTON “CLINT” FRANCIS BARTON
PROS: This guy is cutting edge! He’s up on all the new inventions, weapons and technology. He would be the guy with the biggest TV in his man cave. He is loyal and has many friends. He’s fun to party with. He has a sharp wit. He’s also precise. He won’t quit until the mission is complete which would make him an awesome lover. He’s a one-woman man and would be faithful. He has lots to offer to the woman with the most patience. I know this one well!
CONS: He’s insecure, always feeling he needs to prove himself. He fights easily, and is usually the one to begin it. He’s more a follower than a leader. He second-guesses himself in relationships, but is confident in work. He seems like he’s on the verge of breaking at any time.
PROS: She is independent and doesn’t need a man for anything she can’t do herself. She’s smart. She’s beautiful. She’s athletic. A man would have to be patient and put his needs on the back burner to make a go of this relationship. He would also have to be quite trusting.
CONS: She isn’t very nurturing and doesn’t have time for romance. Wait, to many men, this would be a PRO instead of a CON She’s secretive, manipulative and not always loyal. She does what is best for her, unless she cares about you, then you’re thrown a bone. She’s a bit on the hard side and would have been a great colonist.
So now you have the background, take the poll below. It’s all in fun!
The Gulf of Mexico calls….no the sands aren’t sugary white. No the place I stay isn’t tourist ridden. But there is calm. There is rest. There are sand dollars. There is time to think. And there is my love.
See you in a week!
On the Beach at Night, Alone.by Walt Whitman
ON the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro, singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining—I think a thought of the clef of the
and of the future.
A VAST SIMILITUDE interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets, comets,
All the substances of the same, and all that is spiritual upon the same,
All distances of place, however wide,
All distances of time—all inanimate forms,
All Souls—all living bodies, though they be ever so different,
or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes—the fishes, the brutes,
All men and women—me also;
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages;
All identities that have existed, or may exist, on this globe, or any globe;
All lives and deaths—all of the past, present, future;
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d, and shall forever