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Thank You Mrs. Sheryl A, Vargas by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Thank You,

 

Mrs. Sheryl A. Vargas

Tanauan National High School

 

During the 2012 – 2013 Holiday Season you gave Ranilo Saldana a homework assignment on “Friends.” He diligently worked on the assignment.

 

At one point, he asked his “Uncle Sam” to help explain the English lyrics: “ . . . For good times and bad times, I’ll be on your sides forever more. That’s what friends are for. . . ”

 

From my old days of working in a radio station and listening to contemporary music, the lyrics were instantly recognizable.

 

The ability to try and put the concept of “Friendship” into words to explain an idea is not always an easy task.

 

While he returned to work on his school project, the explanation inspired an idea about “Friendship” that I had considered to write as the December holiday season began.

 

Ideas about previous Christmas celebrations made their way to the front of the line in my mind. The “Friend” idea found a comfortable chair and lounged in the lobby of my mind.

 

Ranilo’s assignment had reminded me of the “Friend” idea lounging in the lobby of my mind. Mrs, Vargas, “Thank you for the homework assignment”, it provided the inspiration to get me thinking and to put my thoughts on the virtual paper of cyberspace.

 

My “Honor The Friend” article is the result of the inspiration.

HOUR GLASS THUMBNAIL

 

Thank You

Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Party Time ! by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Party

Time !

PARTY TIME DISCO LIGHT PHOTO ONE_resized

2013 Waits In The Wings

The Year 2013 is only a matter of hours away on December 30, 2012. At One Warren Way, Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, the black strobe light disco ball needs a dusting before it is plugged in to

“Welcome The New Year.”

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The clock is ticking off the minutes until the Year 2012 becomes history.

 

At One Warren Way, Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, the procedure to see the Year 2012 into history suggests a party is needed. The black disco ball probably could use a dusting before it gets plugged in for the New Year’s Eve celebration.

 

Ranilo and Christy spent most of the day performing “Sound Technician” duties to check the speaker set up and make sure the karaoke functions are ready, Ranilo invited his friends to this New Year’s Eve Party.

RANILO AND CHRISTY WORK ON HOOKING UP THE SPEAKERS_resized

 

Ranilo Saldana and Christy Warren work on speaker system connections.

This evening, December 30, 2012, we did the “Mike Check” and the “Sound Check.” All systems are go. Ranyiel took pleasure in checking out the microphone and crooning away at the lyrics as they appeared on the screen.

RANYIEL SINGS RANILO LISTENS AND WATCHES THE KARAOKE_resized

Ranyiel Saldana croons out some lyrics to check the microphone, while Ranilo watches the video feed on the monitor.

I took the microphone and tried the lyrics of “I Shot The Sheriff.” The microphone worked perfectly. My singing style is the reason I usually only “sing in the shower.” Somethings in life, apparently, do not always improve with age.Tomorrow, December 31, 2012, of course, “Aunt Christy” will wake up the rooster as she begins her cooking itinerary. Christy is really a chef at heart with the passion of a caterer.

 

As the countdown to the New Year continues, it is “Party Time” and the plans are underway to welcome Ranilo’s classmates to a New Year’s Party of their own.

Sam

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Fiscal Christmas of 2011 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Personal Business Editorial

Fiscal

Christmas

of

2011

CHRISTMAS BUILDING_DSC_6193_PALO LIBRARY 2011_resized

Santa’s Southern Workshop

If Santa Claus has to make a pit stop on Leyte to feed his reindeer or resupply his big, bright red Christmas Presents sack, then, it looks like the Palo Library is his stop over location based on this holiday photo of 2011. The snapshot was taken through the windshield of a moving vehicle, which accounts for the heavy coloration at the top of the snapshot and the circles reflected on the building and is a reminder that sometimes in life what we see is not always what we think we see. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

As a little boy in the United States, I have several memories of “Christmas In The Ozarks.”

 

As a young man in college, I have several memories of “Christmas On The Job.”

 

CHRISTMAS STAR LOGO PHOTO THUMBNAIL TWOAs a man in the military, I have several memories of “Christmas Around The World” or, more correctly, “Christmas In The Pacific.”

 

Christmas 2012 is not the first Christmas, I celebrated in the Republic of the Philippines. Christmas 1988 was my first Christmas in the Philippine Islands, which is a “Single G.I. Christmas Story.”

 

My wife, Christy Warren and I returned to the Republic of the Philippines in December 2011, which resulted in a “Fast Christmas.”

 

Extended Family Concept

 

The Philippines is one of those nations that practices the “Extended Family” concept. Americans tend to think of “Immediate Family,” which is Mom, Dad, the kids, and sometimes grandpa, grandma, and the aunts and uncles.

 

The Philippines’ “Extended Family” concept is exceptional because it takes into account other relatives, which can be distant aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

 

Taken to the extreme, the concept is like taking a Manila telephone book and expecting everyone listed under A to Z to show up on Christmas Day.

 

Unleash The Relatives !

 

As Christmas 2011 approaches, it becomes apparent that Christy Saldana Warren is related to most of the past, present and future delegates of The United Nations.

 

By Christmas Eve 2011, apparently the only person in The Republic Of The Philippines that Christy was not related to is The President Of The Philippines.

 

It seemed that everyone who could walk, stagger, hire a pedicab, tricycle, jeepney or hitch a ride had passed through the doors for the “Home For The Holidays” celebration. A few people took the time to identify themselves as “friends”, while many just smiled, nodded and socialized with other family members.

 

Christmas Eve 2011 and Christmas Day 2011 proved to be a wonderful celebration. People, food, kids, joy, excitement, storytelling, socializing. No script writer in Hollywood or Manila could come up with a script for a more joyous family holiday celebration.

 

Christmas Glitch

 

Every nation has those situations and conditions that allow some people to profit at the expense of others. In the Philippines, the cultural “Extended Family Concept” is an ideal situation to be taken to the extreme to take advantage of people and the overall compassionate message of humanity at Christmas.

 

Jet Lag, Time Drag

 

The Fast Christmas” celebration took advantage of the fact that we stepped off the airplane in the middle of December. It would take a couple of days for us to travel from the island of Luzon to the island of Leyte. While we would spend a couple of days in Manila before a quick Christmas trip to Angeles City, our bodies were still suffering from “jet lag”.

 

Our minds were adjusting to the “International Date Line time difference of 14 hours between the Philippines and Missouri because The Show Me State was on “Daylight Savings Time”, which added an hour to the normal 13-hour time difference.

 

I had looked forward to the trip to Angeles City as “My Military Mecca Pilgrimage”, I could return to my beloved Clark Air Base and see the changes since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Unfortunately, this was one of those “side trips” that you make to say, “Hi” and “Bye.”

 

Sad Story Singers

 

Christmas The Season is the time of year when “Everyone On Planet Earth Has A Sad Story To Tell.” One of the other 364 days of the year, people might ignore your story, but, the Christmas Season gets into a person’s psychological makeup and the whole “Peace On Earth, Goodwill Toward Men” scenario kicks in and a person listens to “the sad story.”

 

If you are born to a rich family, then, you probably have to really dig into the family history to find a sad story to sing. The rest of us, just think back a couple of months and find a sad story. Some people truly do have a sad story in life that begins around Day One.

 

Many people are just disappointed not to have been born to a mom or dad listed in the Fortune 500 with a fat bank account and a portfolio that list numbers with several series of zeroes after the numbers.

 

Sometimes a Sad Story maybe true. Sometimes a Sad Story is a ploy with a fiscal ending aimed at your wallet or purse. One example is the man, who told me, “My son could use a computer for his education.” No doubt.

 

Of course, smiling at someone, during Christmas Season and replying, “Get A Job”, would probably be considered politically incorrect and downright callous. Nonetheless, I am too skinny to ever be mistaken for Santa Claus anywhere in the world.

 

I came from hard-working parents and the “work ethics” of the Ozarks and Texas is hardwired into my DNA, so “I will try to help people, who help themselves”, but , I remember the old Ozarks’ saying, “ Charity starts at home.”

 

Find The Family

 

I retired from the military in 1997. Christy and I had left Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines to go to another assignment only a few months before Mount Pinatubo solved the whole “US Bases In The Philippines” debate in clouds of volcanic ash.

 

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo cut off all communications between Christy and her family in the Philippines for the next 18 years, both of us tried everything we could think of to locate her family in the Philippine Islands.

 

In 2008, we got lucky and communications were reestablished and she began talking to the family on a regular basis. We considered moving to the Philippines.

 

Parents, Plan, Priority

 

Before we left the US, Christy and I discussed that a “rice mill” might be a good idea in a country setting in the Philippines. At the time, all the family members in the Philippines seemed to agree.

 

Everyone knew the family story that essentially Christy s mom had made Christy swear an oath to do everything possible to “Keep The Family Together.” Everyone knew that my mother had taught me, “Family Is Everything.” The pledges to our parents were the type of ploys that could be used to try and make a person feel guilty.

 

Christy had made it known to the family that her priority was that the family work together to succeed, so that everyone would benefit in the long run through the years ahead. The concept of “Teamwork” seemed to be an idea that everyone was willing to work for.

 

Business Banter

 

Christy had come up with a business plan that would allow every member of the family to have a role in the family business. Before we left the States, it seemed everyone was anxious to hit the beach at Leyte and do the family business of running a rice mill.

 

Before we left the States, a rice mill had been built in Barangay Baras. Christy and I discussed other ideas for a family business. Family members, offered up their own ideas.

 

In the United States, the idea of involving relatives in a family business began to disappear around the time of the American Civil War.

 

By the 1900s, Americans were known around the world as the people who tell you “Never Ever Involve Family In A Business You Own.” I had heard that admonition my entire life. From what I had witnessed in life, it seemed like sound advice.

 

However, my wife, Christy is a Filipina and we were returning to the Philippines. I had, no doubt, if everyone was willing to work with Christy everyone would succeed.

 

The Boss

 

I had been the military man. I remain the reporter and photographer. My wife, Christy, like my mother, was obviously the business woman. I had the luxury of “Being Married To The Boss.”

 

The drawback to any business is “Everyone wants to be the chief and no one wants to be just one of the braves.” The braves forget, in a business sense, “the person with the wampum makes the rules.”

 

As the year wore on, it became obvious that some family members had not been all that excited about the original idea of the rural rice mill. Christy being a woman in a traditionally “macho” culture did not help in her trying to win over family members.

 

In the Latin-based cultures, like the Philippines, the eldest male child is expected to “take charge” and call the overall shots for the family. Then, of course, you factor in the Asian cultural concept of “Save Face” and women usually stand in the shadows in a “be seen, but not heard role.”

 

Men don’t always appreciate working for a woman. In the US, men not being able to work with a woman is an idea that has really disappeared since the 1970s.

 

But, there are places in the world, where men really have problems when “The Boss” is a woman. It seemed some of the men really didn’t want to think of Christy as “The Boss.”

 

Blame The Americans – Everyone Else Does

UNCLE SAM

 

Thank God for The United States Of America !

 

Without the US to blame, for everything from bad weather to the price of tea in China, many citizens of the world would have to find something or someone else to blame if good old Uncle Sam wasn’t around. Thus, the US got some of the blame when Christy and I didn’t jump at a business idea. Someone would grumble, “Christy spent too long in the US.”

 

Christy The Filipina

 

Christy Saldana is an independent woman, who had her own ideas about life before I ever married her and she stepped off the airplane on to US soil. People who tried to “blame the US” knew nothing about Christy or the United States.

 

Christy is one of those people, who has worked for and earned everything she has in life. She had earned her own way in life. When I met her, I was impressed by her confidence and ambition.

 

Side Trip Shaft

 

After the Angeles City holiday pilgrimage, we were back on the road headed to a ferry for the island of Leyte. Our bodies still dealt with the prolonged “jet lag” and our minds were still adjusting to the “time drag”

 

My first major disappointment since returning to the Philippines came with the “side trip” to Angeles City. Too much time had been wasted on trying to get everyone together.

 

We ended up going to Clark Air Base “too late” for me to be able to enjoy looking around the base. We didn’t have time that night to see the base. We didn’t have time to spend a day or so in the area, so that we could visit the base. This is one of those decisions that did not sit well with me.

 

I had looked forward to the visit to Clark. Anger is the emotion that I felt at being denied the opportunity to take my time and look around the base. Resentment is the other emotion that stuck in my craw. And, the word, Mad, is an accurate description of how I felt when we left Angeles City.

 

Back On The Road

 

Naturally, we were trying to get to Leyte to be able to rest after the long plane flight and to celebrate Christmas.

 

The ride to the ferry off the island of Leyte was a long ride because I was mad. Nonetheless, I was ready to finally kick my shoes off and unpack my suitcases. Fast Christmas had kept us off balance and on the road.

 

If you want to do business on Christmas Day, then, tell the people you want to do business with. If you want to promote a business idea, then, you have to be willing to put some of your own money on the line.

In the ideas that were being suggested to us, everyone wanted to be “the idea man” and leave all of the investment of money to Christy and Sam.  If you try to wrap up and slide a fiscal agenda into the holiday all you will get for the year is a bundle of switches and lumps of coal in your fiscal plans.

 

The Jet Lag, Time Drag, Slide Trip Shaft, and the On The Road, factors are the lumps of coal that pushed Christy and I into Christmas Day 2011. I considered Christmas Day 2011 a Fast Christmas. The result is the day became the Fiscal Christmas of 2011.

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 29, 2012 at 6:51 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Observances, Opinion, Philippines

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Whoa, Christmas Tree ! Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

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IMG_4595_resized

This is a tall Christmas Tree as it evident by the fact that those are real not “toy” jeepneys that seem to be “under” the Christmas Tree. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Whoa, Christmas Tree !

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

This public Christmas Tree puts new meaning in the word, “Creativity.” The idea is simple. The catch is you have to drink a lot of soda pop. Actually, you probably need your family, friends, co-workers and most of the people, who live in your zip code to drink a lot of soda like starting in January for this Christmas Tree.

 

This public Christmas Tree was set up, near a government office building in a city close to Manila. I took the photograph, during the Christmas 2011 Season.

 

Someone pickup your cellphone and send this photo to your friends, who work at Coca Cola and Pepsi. The ornate star at the top of the Christmas Tree is an arrangement of plastic soda pop bottles. Now, look closely at the beautiful green tree. The tree is a collection of green soda pop bottles.

 

Someone might want to give the staff at the Guinness Book of World Records a ring. It would be interesting to know how many empty plastic litter bottles went into building this Christmas Tree ?

 

Incidentally, the ornaments on the tree ? It looks like the ornaments are. . .you guessed it. . .empty plastic liter soda pop bottles. Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

IMG_4597_resized

 

In this close up photograph, you can see that the crafts people took care in constructing the frame and arranging the pop bottles for this unique public Christmas Tree in the Philippines. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Death Grief – A Personal Issue

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Death Grief

A Personal Issue

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

“Wishing A Loved One Back To Life Does Not Work – I Tried It.” When my mother died, I tried everything I could think of to understand, “Why ?” Obviously, Death is a natural end of Life, but, when personal tragedy arrives – logic is of little use. Peace Of Mind is an “emotional state” that has to be recognized and satisfied in order for Life to have any real meaning. I had to deal with my grief by trying to discover “What I Truly Believed About An Afterlife.” Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

When a close loved one dies, family and friends try to help your emotional state of mind. It is nice that they try. It is nice that they offer advice. But, the truth is, we are all individual and unique.

While our bodies have the basic physical and chemical structure from person to person; it is in our minds that we are all truly unique. In our minds, despite what Sigmund Freud and his legions of psychiatrists and psychologists promote – we are unique. Culture, society, civilization may try to hardwire a certain perspective into our heads, but, the individual can “decide” to “buy” or reject the information or the fairy tale.

As humans, we learn “how-to-play-the-game” and we learn when it is important to “pay lip service” to popular ideas of our society, culture and civilizations. At the end of the day, “We are always ‘Free In Our Minds To Choose What We Believe.’”

When my mother died, family and friends were polite and expressed their sympathy. I did truly appreciate the gesture. Having grown up in the midwest, in the Ozarks, family and friends naturally “assumed” I believed as they did in the overall area of religion. They were wrong.

I believe in God.

But, I have never really believed in the “Traditional Christian God,” because after the Old Testament, the Traditional Christian God becomes an “Eternal Couch Potato Looking At The Big Screen TV Of The Universe And Not Getting Involved.”

Anytime I think of God, I put him “on the ground, in country, in the thick of the action, working alongside me, or on my behalf to solve problems. If He or She has to move back and forth between Heaven and the Real World, that is no problem and no big deal. After all, Creator Of The Universe, then, the whole Space and Time issues are irrelevant.

At my mother’s death, the whole issue of grief became apparent. While the Real World issues of Funeral and Burial Arrangements are at the forefront of your mind, your personal emotions are inside your head leaking radioactivity like a busted Three Mile Island nuclear reactor.

While people will offer you the traditional religious cliches of life, no one seems willing to help you with an in-depth soul search. Of course, you will find those “Soul Savers” in the society – “God’s Used Car Salesmen,” who regardless or the time of day or circumstance, these people appear out of nowhere and give you their “Save Your Soul” spiel; but, they don’t answer questions. If you start to ask questions that deviates from their scripted testimony, then, they get upset or back away and leave.

You can ask friends and family about their religious views, but, you have to approach the subject as though you are asking about the weather – in a light-hearted conversational fashion.

Personal Quest

Thus, if you try to work through personal grief using religion, then, it will be a personal quest. There is no way to know, where that quest will take you.

You just have to make the decision to want to find answers.

I have always had an open mind on religion.

Thus, I pulled out all the stops. No idea was too “off the wall’, “far out” or “really out there to consider” because the traditional ideas always seemed to raise more questions than they answer.

Thus, I pulled out my collection of various books, magazines and surfed the Internet looking for information on religion, the supernatural and the Afterlife. My solution to the grief is I had to create an Afterlife commanded by the Gods and Goddesses that I could relate to and identify with.

Naturally, each individual will have to come up with their own solution to the grief surrounding the Death and personal loss of a loved one. I could not endure society’s “Supermarket Religions” of processed and packaged prophets. Nor, would I endure the “psychobabble” of professional experts who justify their “mental guesswork” with society’s agreed upon “sheepskin credentials.”

Alas, Sigmund and the boys may just be well-dressed soothsayers dancing in the light of the moon after all. If you are curious, about my “Serious Soul Search,” then, visit my “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog and read my article: “Momma’s Death – Required My Own Afterlife Solution” or use the link to take you there: http://www.samuelwarrenthewriter.blogspot.com/2012/06/mommas-death-required-my-own-afterlife.html

I appreciate feedback from readers, so, please, feel free to leave a comment on that blog or to return to my “Sam I Am Blog” and post your comment.

“The True Magick Of Life” is sometimes that forgotten lamp hidden on a back shelf of your mind, labeled, “Imagination.” Creativity and imagination maybe methods you can use to help you work through personal grief. Tools of The Real World can sometimes “spark” your mind to find a solution. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Thank you,

Sam

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