The JFK Assassination: The Orville Nix Film


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

Thank you!

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Fighting the Redneck Jihad: Vocabulary


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.

College Resources

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)

50 Shades of Things On My Mind


Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

 

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 things problems 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

The Sublimity of Techno-Communication


beach

Someone told me the other day that I’m more myself when I blog or write letters than I am when I tweet.  I suppose its the 140 character limit or maybe I’m just so verbose, I can get my point across better here sometimes!  Anyway, I just wanted to share a letter that I found very creative, very sweet and very thoughtful and edited for personal reasons!   I must admit, it was a bit of a corroboration as we had been discussing it for months.  But he beat me to it!  You have to click on the links to get the full effect, but I think it’s so sweet!   See what you think!  This is what I get for teasing someone about how little they say!  The links are underlined.

Dear Gayle,

I am so looking forward to our  vacation.  I’m so glad we are both enamored of the ocean and its music.   I know it will probably rain, but waves and rain are one of those communions you find romantic right? Wouldn’t it be nice  if we had thought of this years ago?  I just want you to know that I’m looking forward to that week more than a 40 day dream.  And since I know now what it really means to see, there are no more lies.  I want it that way.   And don’t worry, I still  find your BIG FIVE enticing but not as enticing as your green eyes!   Call me! xxooxx

I know, I’m a lucky person to have such creative people in my life aren’t I?  What do you think?

A Moral Dilemma in Techno-Culture


You never know!

You never know!

 

As I’ve blogged before, I have had my share of online relationships.  The last one lasted over 2 years, but due to mitigating and extenuating circumstances, it never came to fruition. In hindsight, those circumstances were definitely Godsends!

But today a mutual friend informed me that my last love was involved with someone else online.  Okay, I’ll admit, I winced a bit when I found out, but just a wince.  We’ve been over for several months now.  The problem is, though the guy isn’t right for me maybe not for anyone I know I still shared intimate thoughts, goals and at one time shared futures.  He’s quite intelligent though has issues and without sharing too much about him, he’s in a bad place in his life.

I have never understood the “We’re broken up, so now we hate each other” mindset that is so prevalent these days.  If she/he was good enough to share secrets with, share bodily fluids with or share dreams with, then how can you hate them?  Now I do understand if he/she was abusive.  But other than that, isn’t it immature to speak poorly of someone you shared so much with?

Which leads me to the dilemma. My friend told me that the woman he is seeing has quite the reputation as a “con person”.  She and could possibly be a “he” uses several identities online and has been known to bilk money and other things from her/his online relationships.  Think Catfish!   My initial reaction was to tell my ex.   I mean, you should treat people the way you want to be treated right?   Then I thought twice.

This “someone I used to know” guy is a bit on the paranoid side.  He’s worried he’ll be stalked.  He’s worried his next relationship won’t understand his aversion to work.  He’s worried that the people he is living with will ask too many questions about his personal life.  Since the last time I talked to him over 4 months ago, I’ve sent him a tweet and 3 text messages.  He answered none of them.

I told my friend this and he said “let him fend for himself”.  I suppose that’s what I should do.  It would be easier if he read this blog, then he would know.  But he never read it when we were together Another reason we aren’t together anymore.  I’m not going to try to contact him anymore.  It’s evident he has nothing more to say to me.  And well, he doesn’t have my worldview about past relationships I suppose.  So what to do?  Let him be bilked?  Let him be treated badly?  What if something worse happens?  Then I think, “He’s a grown man.”  “He can fend for himself”  “I’m no longer his life-saver”…..But I can’t help but want to share my knowledge with him.  Then again, maybe my friend is wrong about this he/she person  though I don’t think so because he knew too much about her.  What to do?

 

What would you do?

 

I’ll think about it later.  The Rangers are on!

 

5 Things I’ve Learned About Twitter


twitter_pic

 

I’ve had far too much time lately to think about things.  Unfortunately, the things I’ve been thinking about are quite depressing so instead of writing about Cognitive Depression Therapy Something I will do soon! I did the typical Gayle thing.  I procrastinated!  I just didn’t want to think!  And one night with Glen is enough for me every few weeks.  It’s not that I don’t love you Glen, it’s just that being with you too much could be detrimental.   I could have cleaned house. um, NO!  I could have watched a movie.  I could have had a personal spa session as I have a ton of cosmetics that I haven’t used yet.  No. NO.  NO!  None of those ideas were enticing me.  I needed some intelligent conversation.  I needed some music.  I needed inspiration.

I reached for my Nook that has over 15 books I haven’t begun and settled in to a late night of reading.  Unfortunately, the screen has suspiciously broken and with my daughter’s Prom, Driver’s Ed and new insurance premiums approaching, a new one is not on the horizon.  So what to do?  I no longer Blip.  All the really good people with great musical tastes have left.  I perused Last.fm for a bit, but then I got hung up in love songs that reminded me of better times and that just wasn’t cutting it.  The Rangers played during the cold, wet day and lost so there was no baseball to entertain me.  I looked down at my phone and I had a few Twitter notifications.   Thus began my learning journey into the alleys of Twitter I had never traversed.  Who knew that procrastination could be so enlightening?

THE FIVE THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT TWITTER

  1. Did you know that if you check out your follower’s followers you can learn a LOT about them?  For instance, I had no idea one of the people I speak to on Twitter loved jazz.  But there in her timeline were several “jazz friends”.  Funny, we’ve been communicating for years, but I never knew that.  On the other hand, a guy I was really interested in on Twitter has all kinds of “friends” that beg you to “hit them up” at their 1-800 numbers Why didn’t I check this out before Adam?  I could have come up with something better for my novel than the one I chose!  ha and offer all kinds of sexual,  um…dalliances.  Wait a minute, is Twitter just a glorified Craig’s List Personals?  In many cases, it seems so…which leads me to….
  2. WOW!  There is a truly seamy side of Twitter!  I don’t blush easily (okay, I do sometimes) but just WOW!  There are young women on Twitter who embrace the “Madonna shock” mentality when tweeting, and it seems the smarmier, the lewder, the more in your face, (literally) the better!  I was astounded how many women there were with these types of tweets, then I berated myself for being sexist.  I expect that from young men, but women?  Really?  Then it dawned on me that maybe most of these “women” with their innocent or provocative or sexually explicit avatars ARE really men.  You never know!  Anyway, after peeping through the windows of the steamier side of Twitter, I realized there are many, many more thousands of sexually repressed fixated people in the world and lots of them are quite witty! Unfortunately, they are in dire need of attention, they crave it like politicians and used car salesmen. Which leads me to….
  3. Favstar Before my little journey on Twitter, I had no idea this site existed, and it’s been around several years.  SELF-AFFIRMATION:   I suppose that’s good, I never realized that getting “stars” was a competition to many.  Favstar is a site that tracks what your followers are favoriting.  I always thought being able to see it in my “connect” page was enough, but I was wrong I guess.    This site lets the world know what your friends and anyone subscribed to this service is favoriting and retweeting.  What a great tool!  Seriously,  you can see the mindsets, worldviews, humor and interests of your followers or Twitter crushes by seeing what they like.  It’s quite the eye-opener!  Not only can you psychoanalyze your Twitter friends tweets, you can bestow “trophies” on them.  And OMG!  there’s a leaderboard as well!  With the “pro membership”  you can show off your tweets, browse older tweets and retweet them from you and other users, get a summary on who is stalking  retweeting and favoriting your tweets most and all kinds of “give up my privacy” features.   Call me judgmental, but after learning this fact, I will no longer have Twitter crushes on anyone who uses this service.  All I could keep thinking about what was how sorry I felt for them.  How very lonely they must be….and why would anyone want to be involved with someone who needs that much attention?  Yeah, there’s that condescending blonde voice coming out again.  Do these people really want the kind of followers they’re getting?   Which leads me to….
  4. Twitter followers.  Okay, I’ll admit it. I joined the Writer’s list for Twitter.  I did it to find other people who do, have the same hang ups or could share helpful hints on how to write, edit, or just show me new procrastinating ideas.  But what I don’t get is the big deal with having thousands of followers.  Okay, if you’re a company, I get it.  Having more followers means more people see your newest offerings.  But as an individual, what does it really matter unless you’re Ashton Kutcher, Justin Beiber or Lady Gaga?   Are we as a society really that desperate for attention?  The people I tweet with are funny!  They share my interests.  Some of them are friends I’ve never physically met.  Heck, most of them are.  But we’ve formed a friendship whether it be sports, philosophy, or musical mutual admiration based.  There’s a sense of sincerity there.  There’s a foundation.  I don’t feel as if I’m just tweeting to the dark hole of humanity.  I feel like I’m tweeting to a group of friends that are all over the US and world  at a pub or bar or club or workout room or classroom or tea or dinner  or….well you get it.  Which leads me to….
  5. Pay more attention to who is following you.  I need to practice my own advice here and instead of procrastinating, actually check out my followers.  So many people automatically “Follow” people who have followed them but if you aren’t interacting or sharing what’s the use?  Though it could be time-consuming, check who you follow and who follows you and actually tweet to them.  I mean, it’s called social media for a reason.  Be social! But also get a grip.  If you’re tweeting, following, favoriting every person with a “young” avatar about sex, you may need some adjustment….just sayin’.
  6. My followers are the best! yeah, I know that’s six, but it’s true.  My followers always make me smile whether it be during a Rangers game, Angels game,  Rockies, Yankees, Phillies, or Red Sox game, music sharing mood, depressing evening or successful day.  I really like them!  And if they’re fooling me by being someone they’re not, then maybe I should steal an idea from Favstar and give them a trophy for being great Twitter actors!