January 19, 2016

What “The Wizard of Oz” Taught Me About Life

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 4:38 pm

Hey Passengers welcome back aboard!  So glad you are riding.

I don’t like slash and gore movies but, I do like some rather odd movies for a guy my age like the Wizard of Oz and Ratatouille.  They teach me lessons.  Movies like Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, The Road to Perdition and the Bucket List all have golden nuggets of wisdom in them if you look close enough.

Today dear passengers, let’s look at my take on The Wizard of Oz. It [movie] has also taught me personally some unforgettable lessons about life.


Accept your friends for who they are



A true friend will help you on your life’s journey and get you through all the problems—big

and small—that may arise. So accept your friends, quirks and all, and recognize when they need

a little help too. Because you never know when you’ll need them around to rescue you from some

flying monkeys.


Follow Your Own Yellow Brick Road


The Yellow Brick road. Decisions...

The Yellow Brick road. Decisions…

Although Glinda the Good Witch directs Dorothy to the yellow brick road, explaining that it

will lead her to the one person who can get her back home to Kansas, let’s face it: Dorothy probably

could have found the road on her own. It was right there in front of her. Discover your own path in

life—what you want to be, where you want to go, how you want to live–and be sure to sing and skip

throughout the journey.


Don’t hide your true self behind a screen


One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when we discover the Wizard is just a man. He has

no magical powers. He doesn’t even have a booming voice. The lesson? Don’t try to be something

you’re not, because the people who matter in this life will love you no matter what.


There’s no place like home

Lessons learned....

Lessons learned….

Although it should go without saying, home means more than just your house or apartment.

It’s wherever the people you love—and who love you—are found. You can have many different

“homes,” and even if you haven’t visited in a while, you can always go back.


Look within for your power


We all remember the scene where Dorothy misses her balloon flight home, starts to cry, and

is subsequently notified by Glinda that with those fancy ruby slippers, she had the power to

return home the whole time; she just needed to discover it for herself. When in doubt,

look within for the answer. You’re more powerful than you think.


Allow Yourself to Dream!


Whether you want a better home, a more exciting job, or a new love, allow yourself to take a moment

from your busy life to look over the rainbow and visualize future possibilities. This could really

inspire you to start turning the dream into reality


Running Away Is Never the Answer


Sure, that mean Miss Gultch threatened to take Toto away after he snapped at her. But if Dorothy had

not run away, she probably wouldn’t have gotten caught up in that tornado mess. Confronting your

problems and figuring out a solution (with a little help from your friends or family) will help you

feel better about yourself and allow you to sleep at night. You won’t even need a poppy field.


Don’t Give Up Your Principles (or Your Ruby Slippers)

Ruby Red

Ruby Red

Dorothy knew giving her ruby slippers to the Wicked Witch would only lead to trouble.

(The sparks that flew when the Witch tried to take them from her might have been an indication.)

So when someone tries to make you do something you know in your heart isn’t right, stand firm and

stay true to yourself.


Believe in Good and Good Things Will Happen


Wonder what would have happened had Dorothy chosen to follow the Wicked Witch instead of Glinda?

Probably nothing good. Dorothy chose to follow the Good Witch and was helped along her journey.

Being positive and believing in good will make it easier for good things to happen in your life.


The Solution Might Be Right Under Your Nose

lessons learnt

lessons learned…

The answer to Dorothy’s problem getting home was literally under her nose the entire time–on

her feet to be precise. When you’ve racked your brain for a fix to your own problem (big or small)

and still don’t have a solution, try stepping away from it for a minute to clear your mind.

Tackling your troubles with a clear head may help you find the simple answers that are right in front

of you.
I hope some of my observations might be of some help to you one day.

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ALL ABOARD!  The LifeTrain!

January 17, 2016

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Remembered

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 1:01 am

He gave his life, so that I could vote….in America, eat at lunch counters…in America, walk into the front door of Malls…in America, sit anywhere there is an open seat in the public transit system…in America. I am a Christian, black man born …in America and most of all, I call myself, what I am, an American!  I was born in America (not Africa). Thank you Dr. King!

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Although Dr. King’s name was mistakenly recorded as “Michael King” on his birth certificate, this was not discovered until 1934, when his father applied for a passport. He had an older sister, Willie Christine (September 11, 1927) and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel (July 30, 1930 – July 1, 1969). King sang with his church choir at the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind. He entered Morehouse College at age fifteen, skipping his ninth and twelfth high school grades without formally graduating. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) degree in 1951. In September 1951, King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) on June 5, 1955 (but see the Plagiarism section for controversy regarding this degree).

In 1953, at age 24, King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. On December 1,
1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to comply with the Jim Crow laws that required her to give up her seat to a white man. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, urged and planned by E. D. Nixonml2 (head of the Montgomery NAACP chapter and a member of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters) and led by King, soon followed. (In March 1955, a 15 year old school girl, Claudette Colvin, suffered the same fate, but King did not become involved.) The boycott lasted for 381 days, the situation becoming so tense that King’s house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which ended with a United States Supreme Court decision outlawing racial segregation on all public transport.

King was instrumental in the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, a group created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests in the service of civil rights reform. King continued to dominate the organization. King was an adherent of the philosophies of nonviolent civil disobedience as described in Henry David Thoreau’s essay of the same name, and used successfully in India by Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi. King applied this philosophy to the protests organized by the SCLC. In 1959, he wrote The Measure of A Man, from which the piece What is Man?, an attempt to sketch the optimal political, social, and economic structure of society, is derived.

be0205643Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s success with non-violent activism, he visited the Gandhi family in India in 1959, with assistance from the Quaker group the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The trip to India affected King in a profound way, deepening his understanding of nonviolent resistance and his commitment to America’s struggle for civil rights. In a radio address made during his final evening in India, King reflected, “Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.”

The FBI began wiretapping King in 1961, fearing that Communists were trying to infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, but when no such evidence emerged, the bureau used the incidental details caught on tape over six years in attempts to force King out of the preeminent leadership position.

King correctly recognized that organized, nonviolent protest against the system of southern segregation known as Jim Crow laws would lead to extensive media coverage of the struggle for black equality and voting rights. Journalistic accounts and televised footage of the daily deprivation and indignities suffered by southern blacks, and of segregationist violence and harassment of civil rights workers and marchers, produced a wave of sympathetic public opinion that made the Civil Rights Movement the single most important issue in American politics in the early 1960s.

King organized and led marches for blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labor rights and other basic civil rights. Most of these rights were successfully enacted into United States law with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

King and the SCLC applied the principles of nonviolent protest with great success by strategically choosing the method of protest and the places in which protests were carried out in often dramatic stand-offs with segregationist authorities. Sometimes these confrontations turned violent. King and the SCLC were instrumental in the unsuccessful Albany Movement in Albany, Georgia, in 1961 and 1962, where divisions within the black community and the canny, low-key response by local government defeated efforts; in the Birmingham protests in the summer of 1963; and in the protest in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964. King and the SCLC joined forces with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, Alabama, in December 1964, where SNCC had been working on voter registration for several months.

King, representing SCLC, was among the leaders of the so-called “Big Six” civil rights organizations who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The other leaders and organizations comprising the Big Six were: Roy Wilkins, NAACP; Whitney Young, Jr., Urban League; A. Philip Randolph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; John Lewis, SNCC; and James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The primary logistical and strategic organizer was King’s colleague Bayard Rustin. For King, this role was another which courted controversy, since he was one of the key figures who acceded to the wishes of President John F. Kennedy in changing the focus of the march. Kennedy initially opposed the march outright, because he was concerned it would negatively impact the drive for passage of civil rights legislation, but the organizers were firm that the march would proceed.

In late March 1968, King went to Memphis, Tennessee in support of the black sanitary public works employees, represented by AFSCME Local 1733, who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. (For example, African American workers, unlike white workers, were not paid when sent home because of inclement weather.)

On April 3, King returned to Memphis and addressed a rally, delivering his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” address at Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ, Inc. – World Headquarters). King’s flight to Memphis had been delayed by a bomb threat against his plane. In the close of the last speech of his career, in reference to the bomb threat, King said the following:
“ And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. ”

King was booked in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel, owned by Walter Bailey, in Memphis. Reverend Ralph Abernathy, King’s close friend and colleague who was present at the assassination, swore under oath to the HSCA that King and his entourage stayed at room 306 at the Lorraine Motel so often it was known as the ‘King-Abernathy suite.’ While standing on the motel’s 2nd floor balcony, King was shot at 6:01 p.m. April 4, 1968. The bullet entered through his right cheek smashing his jaw and then traveling down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder. According to biographer Taylor Branch, King’s last words on the balcony were to musician Ben Branch (no relation to Taylor Branch) who was scheduled to perform that night at an event King was attending: “Ben, make sure you play Take My Hand, Precious Lord in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.” Friends inside the motel room heard the shots and ran to the balcony to find King on the ground. Local Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, whose house King was on his way to, remembers that upon seeing King go down he ran into a hotel room to call an ambulance. Nobody was on the switchboard, so Kyles ran back out and yelled to the police to get one on their radios. It was later revealed that the hotel switchboard operator, upon seeing King shot, had had a fatal heart attack and could not operate the phones. King was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital at 7:05 p.m. The assassination led to a nationwide wave of riots in more than 60 cities.

Five days later, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a national day of mourning for the lost civil rights leader. A crowd of 300,000 attended his funeral that same day. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey attended on behalf of Lyndon B. Johnson, who was holding a meeting on the Vietnam War at Camp David. (There were fears that Johnson might be hit with protests and abuses over the war if he attended.) At his widow’s request, King eulogized himself: his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, a recording of his famous ‘Drum Major’ sermon, given on February 4, 1968, was played at the funeral. In that sermon he makes a request that at his funeral no mention of his awards and honors be made, but that it be said that he tried to “feed the hungry”, “clothe the naked”, “be right on the [Vietnam] war question”, and “love and serve humanity”. Per King’s request, his good friend Mahalia Jackson sang his favorite hymn, “Take My hand, Precious Lord” at his funeral.

January 4, 2016

Blog number one for 2016:”See the Trees”…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 5:33 am

Hey passengers, have you ever heard the term: “Stop and smell the Roses”?  …or “you can’t see the Forest for the trees?”.  Well, today let’s dig a little deeper along that vein, Let’s focus on the trees…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

There was a man who lived in Alabama on a half-acre lot blessed with huge oak trees that were 40 feet in diameter. They were HUGE! The house was laid out such that every bedroom faced the backyard. Each bedroom had a large picture window. The view was breathtaking. He enjoyed just looking at the trees. In the fall he would identify a particular leaf that was falling and watched it for what seemed liked 5 minutes before it fell to earth.

One day he invited this married couple over to enjoy the view from the bedroom window.   He took them into the bedroom and excitedly pointed to the trees out of the window and exclaimed, “just look”!

After about 20 seconds there was no comment from the couple. He then noticed a big frown on the woman’s face.

He asked, “What’s wrong”. …She was reluctant to reply.

He insisted and again said, “What’s wrong?”

She relented and said, “Don’t you see those fingerprints on the glass?”

May you see the tress in 2016...

May you see the tress in 2016…

He turned and looked and there were what seemed to be fifty or more fingerprints on the glass.  He ran for the Windex to clean the glass. The lady explained, “Oh, I didn’t mean for you to clean it now.”

The morale here is this. That lady never saw the trees. Even when he tried to point them out, She missed it!  He didn’t see the fingerprints.  He was looking through the glass not at fingerprints. When the fingerprints were pointed out to him, he saw them and removed them. The lady never saw the trees. She focused on the fingerprints and she never got passed them.

Life is much like that. There are things in life that are good and things that are bad. You choose which things you want to focus on. I focus on the trees.

What are you focusing on?

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!