Friday, April 27, 2012

The Art of War… Even When in Peace.

When the falcon strikes the heart of its prey, this is timing… When the swollen river carries boulders, this is momentum.”  
Sun Tzu… “The Art of War”

It is agreed by all military intelligence folk, that Sun Tzu’ s “The Art of War” is a must read/study if one wants to truly understand all about the topic in question. I cannot say I have read it in its entirety, but it is very likely I will at some time or another. Being someone who prefers strategic peace to strategic war… Why would I?

Well, the principles brought forward in these ancient treaties apply to all facets of life. Be it at war or in peace, in the business world, in the sports world or at home. This last, as those of you who are married for some time can attest, could easily become the mother of all battlefields, to paraphrase a “departed leader”. 

From the very beginning of our –at least my- adult training, we are reminded at every possible moment that timing is every thing in life. I have to agree this is true; too many times failure has been the result of untimely decisions. Both, at home and at work. At other times, the same decisions have brought good results and the only difference has been that of timing. Yes, before you say anything… the circumstances have been very similar in the different occasions.

As far as momentum goes, the rules are not too different. Have you ever been “on a roll”? Or in any of its variations?  A day when it seems that, no matter what crazy thing you do, it comes out right? Yes, we have all had a few of those days… to go balance those days when momentum, as per definition, seems to be totally absent from our lives. Or worse, heading in the wrong direction.

Whenever I begin to think about these issues… yes, I know, not earth shattering issues, but… it brings me more and more into the realm of “The Secret”… and other related areas of somewhat esoteric undertakings. These are not totally unrelated, as I can see and understand.

“The Secret” tells us throughout the book which, in reality is a compendium of the work of different authors, that we as individuals make our own world. We have the capacity to bring on the “good” effects of positive attitude and positive thinking but, on the other hand, we also bring on the negative effects of depressive thinking. No, I don’t really think that what is meant is that we can go to bed dreaming about millions and that upon waking up, these will be there waiting for us.

But I do think that constant positivism, in the face of the worst adversities, will help us pull victory out of the jaws of the proverbial defeat. This, of course, well supported by a constant effort at doing better. There have been some extreme experiences in these past 9 or so years which bear this out. At least for me.

What I have found to be most difficult to overcome, are not the issues to be faced, or the losses, or the failures… What I truly find most difficult to manage, is the negative influence those nearest have on us. People I cannot ignore, who are a part of my daily life and who feel almost betrayed if I don’t hang my head down when faced with a negative situation. There have been times when I have been accused of not having feelings, or of not caring enough… just because I refuse to give in or to run around like the chicken with its head cut off.

There has been a great deal of good weight from my early teachings in these areas; the concept of not caring so much for material things so as to make them the center of my life’s goal, was well ingrained. Much I have lost at one time or another; a friend once told me that others, facing the losses we have faced along these ways, might have done something foolish… A thought that has, truly, never entered my mind in its remotest corner(s). For that I thank, once again, my grandfather for his teachings and –most of all- for the living example he set for me as a child and as a young adult during what must have been extremely trying times for him, as he saw the fruits of all his life’s efforts being taken away by the government.

Expounding on the last posting… life really is a continuum. A continuum which we can actually steer, if we put our minds to it. And going back to Sun Tzu’s work, which started this torrent of words (well, a nicely moving trickle, if you may) we need to apply his wisdom to pretty much all facets of life. They are each a proving ground where tests are presented on a daily basis; tests which sometimes, in failing to pass muster, change the course of our lives.

The only thing is that in these tests we do not get a graded paper back, to be able to practice some more so we can repeat the test and maybe do a little better. These will only show their hand over time… often long after the actual instance has taken place and we don’t really know why something else is happening. We cannot correlate this now happening with that some (or long) time ago issue and, as a result, chalk it up to “cosas de la vida” or, as we simply say in English… “stuff”...

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “” … Bienvenidos!!!
  • Remember:  We are “On Air” every Sunday night at 6:30pm ET (GT –5hrs). If the link does not work, please just copy and paste to your address bar.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Of Memories and All That…

“What strange things are memory… and hope. One looks backward, the other forward; one is of today, the other of tomorrow. Memory is history recorded in our brain… Memory is a painter. It paints pictures of the past and of the day.”

The above is a quote from Grandma Moses… an older young lady for whom recording her own memories through paintings and writings became a way of life and a legacy to her family, as well as to an admiring nation.

If you read these entries on a regular basis (well, as regularly as the past few weeks’ lack of writing permits…) then you certainly are aware that to me, memories are the stuff of life; the background which, like a launching pad, propels me to whatever else may happen in my life later today or tomorrow. This morning, this quote was the base of an open discussion in the ESL class; opening the way for many to express their agreement or disagreement with these concepts. Some felt that, indeed, memories are too important to be relegated to a shut drawer in the farther recesses of the brain. Others felt that too many older people, especially those who have come here from other cultures and lifestyles, spend too much time pining for the years gone by and the lives led in their own countries.

Both views are, in my perception, right… How so? You may ask… in about 11 days it will be my 50th anniversary in the Good Ol’ US of A.  That’s right!! It was fifty years ago that yours truly, a budding teen, along with a sister and a planeload (one of many!!!) of refugees landed in Miami. A Miami that was extremely different that the Miami we know today; a somewhat sleepy port town which came to life only when the “snowbirds” came to roost for the winter months, hiding from the harsh weather in their northern habitats.

Yet, during these 50 years and despite all the ups and downs and rounds and rounds that my life has experienced, those early memories remained solid in my mind and heart. There were many times when these provided me with a strong enough base, to be able to withstand some of life’s more fierce attacks. At the same time, new memories were (and are!) being forged every day.  Some are beautiful, some are horribly painful but in the end they are, collectively, what makes up my being.

But, are memories all that we have to go on? By no means… this is where the second part of the equation and of Grandma Moses’ quote comes into play. Hopes… dreams… desires for a tomorrow that will be better than today. Or… at least as good…

When I look at tomorrow, all I see are possibilities. Of a better living, sharing, growing… of venturing into more and more avenues and roads; roads full of wonderments that I may have never seen before… and roads which may feel like going back to relive a well trodden memory, but seeing it through eyes which observe everything through a new perception of time lived and spent, eyes that are anxious to see where this old friend road may take me anew.

I often write in these entries about the fact that sometimes, after a writing draught, there is a “flash” which usually comes from an unlooked for corner… Although some blogs have talked about the ESL classes before –after all, they are the stories of real people in real life circumstances- this insight and writing trigger was not expected today… even less from Grandma Moses…

Now that I finally have stopped long enough to put my fingers to this computer again, it is my defined commitment to do so at least three times a week. Perhaps the results may not be outstanding or earth shattering… but they will come –as they usually do- from the heart. And sometimes from the mind… Yes, Virginia... there is one!

Thanks for sticking by me during these weeks; I have received notes and calls from several people. Some I do know personally and cherish as friends; others I don’t know but equally cherish as potential friends…

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • Remember:  We are “On Air” every Sunday night at 6:30pm EST (GT –5hrs). If the link does not work, please just copy and paste to your address bar.
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “”Bienvenidos!!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

In The Chambers of Congress and Senate too…

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," Warren Buffet told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified!  Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.  This is one idea that really should be passed around.


  • No Tenure/No Pension. 
  • A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.
  • Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
  • Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
  • Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise, regardless of the economic reality of those they serve..
  • Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
  •  Congress loses their current health care system and
     participates in the same health care system as the American people.
  • Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
  • All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women
  • Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving  in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding   Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work. So they can enjoy the benefits and/or hardships resulting from the very laws they passed... just like everyone else.
 If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people with this message then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive it.

Don't you think it's time?
I do and this is why this is being reproduced in this blog. Usually, I stay away from hard politics, but when I see the abuse that is committed on a daily basis by those who have been elected to uphold the good and the rights of the common citizen, I do indeed believe it is high time to introduce fundamental changes to the Chambers that have become a lifelong income and benefits guarantee, even for those whose service has been so bad, that their own constituents vote them out of office after one measly term.

To the above, I would add that no one should be eligible for more than 12 years of continued service in the case of Senators (two terms) and 8 years in the case of Congress (4 terms). Although there have been those who do serve and do their best throughout many years of re-elections, these almost automatic re-election campaigns must be stopped. There is an equally great number, if not higher, of public servants who after being firmly ensconced in their seats, become more worried about their own and their cronies’ financial gains than the possible gains of those whom they serve and, supposedly, safeguard. Their distance from the common person grows bigger with each term. This is not the end for which those seats are intended.

They (Senate, Congress and the Presidency)are intended as seats of power to be used on behalf of The People (as in “We, The People”) they serve; some of our elected servants seem to think it is the other way around.

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:
  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to
  • Remember:  We are “On Air” every Sunday night at 6:30pm EST (GT –5hrs). If the link does not work, please just copy and paste to your address bar.
  • “La Otra Caja de Pandora”… The Spanish language Blog… “”Bienvenidos!!!

Doña América and other memories.

I know she has already been mentioned somewhen along this line of sometimes unhinged memories as they relate to moments of my life , but y...