Memories of Eternity

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “eternal” using descriptions of time, such as everlasting, existing, always, forever, duration or perpetual.  As living things, we are sentimental beings able to treasure and relish precious and important events, people and things as memories.  Since our existence is dictated by Time, we keep treasure troves of that which we hold dearest as mental records.  The records that weigh the heaviest, mean the most or ring the loudest become our “memories of eternity”.

The well-accepted reference of encyclopaedia Britannica explains “memory” as “the encoding, storage, and retrieval in the human mind of past experiences.”  If we were to peer into our minds as we do a photo album of our lives, we would see a commonality that joins humanity.  For to most of us, we draw our memories of eternity from people that define who we are.  These people tend to be those who were with us at our very earliest of memories, such as grandparents, parents, or teachers.

Grandparents live on in our memories as if they never left us.  The times we spent with them over summer holidays or at Christmas time appear as real as the person next to us.  If we had a Grandfather who took us fishing on a boat at a lake and taught us how to bait the hook to catch the best trout, we can be sure we have not forgotten.

Or, if we had a dedicated teacher who took the time to show us just how to throw a football.  That teacher’s name is permanently engraved in our memories of eternity.  We will not forget their faces or the colour of their eyes, if that were the feature that became the characteristic we used to define their specialness.

We also draw our memories of eternity from events that alter who we are at present.  Many of us can recall our first day at school or the first time we accomplished a project independently.  Those of us who were allowed to go to summer camps will remember the mixed emotions of euphoria and trepidation as we enter a “world” outside of our parents’ safety net.

As we progress through time, we would have experienced our high school graduation prom.  Only now, we can smile at the courage it took to present ourselves fashionably, or how our friends looked in “nice” formal clothes instead of our usual “cool” everyday attire.  Then, just like in fairy tales when the clock struck midnight (although ours was hours afterwards), our lives returned to what it was before–as if the dance took place in another reality.  Yet, we’ve all crossed a threshold of a common experience and share in the dawning of a new phase in our lives.

We will remember our first kiss, our wedding day, our first job, our first child.  Some are lucky enough to even have second chances that fit perfectly as one of our memories of eternity.  A second marriage, if truth be told, can sometimes be more loving by leaps and bounds.  What else would persuade us to go to the altar once more, if not for love?!

Finally, there are things that stand tall, grand and mighty enough to be cherished as one of our memories of eternity.  We have often heard of the first paycheque that was framed and proudly displayed.  Then, there is the graduation diploma we never thought we would ever get.  And, of course, the wedding rings that mean more than the biggest, brightest diamonds that eventually came to define the human capacity at love and commitment, “in sickness and in health, for better or for worse”.

Whatever our memories of eternity are, one thing is constant.  They are keepers.

Family Traditions

The United States (U.S.) is the third largest populated country in the world and can be categorized into five regions in alphabetical order:  Midwest, Northeast, South, Southeast and Western.  Culturally, the U.S. is one of the most diverse in the world and adopts its family traditions from the European English of the 1600s.

Additionally, the U.S. borrows traditions of the Native Americans, Latin Americans, Africans, and Asians, to name a few.  Once descriptively ascribed as a cultural “melting pot”, U.S family traditions is a plethora of not only differing cultures, but various sets of religions, histories, languages, and influences.

Many U.S. family traditions are observed on public holidays even though the constitutional authority to create and enforce public holidays is reserved to each State.  However, each State generally allows local jurisdictions to dictate their own holidays.  Still, U.S. residents are generally known to be holiday enthusiasts who continue to practice several U.S. family traditions each year.

Independence Day is one U.S. family tradition in the U.S. is Independence Day.  July 4th is when the U.S. celebrates its independence from hundreds of years of Colonial British rule.  On Independence Day, families gather for food and reunion that typically ends with a colourful finale of fireworks.

U.S. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in the month of May.  U.S. residents mark this day by recognizing the sacrifice of the U.S. Armed Forces members and that of their families.  Crowds gather to attend commemorative services appropriate for the public and military personnel alike to honour fallen soldiers.  In similar fashion, like-minded groups gather in private services.

Valentine’s Day, which falls on the 14th day of February, is a U.S. family tradition that is widely recognized around the world.  Sentiments such as “Be Mine”, “I love you”, “Hugs and Kisses”, “SWAK” (Sent with a kiss), “Sweetheart”, and “happy valentine’s day” are exchanged between giver and recipient, atop decorative cards, flowers, candies, chocolates, and other creative idea holders. It is also a tradition that is popularly practiced by the very young among us.  Unlike those mentioned above, Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday.  This fact makes this family tradition one of the most practiced regardless of age, culture, beliefs, vocation or social standing.

One major U.S. family tradition is Thanksgiving Day.  U.S. Thanksgiving Day is observed on the fourth Thursday in November, even though its neighbor to the north celebrates Canadian Thanksgiving Day earlier on the second Monday in October.  For this family tradition, parades, football, harvest festival, religious observances, pumpkins, turkey and gathering of close friends and families have become a theme of Thanksgiving Day.  U.S. Thanksgiving also refers to the first Thanksgiving of 1621 where Pilgrims feasted for three days after their first harvest following a drought in the New World.  The first Thanksgiving is remembered as a religious offering of thanks and prayer, witnessed by Native Americans.

Finally, one of the merriest U.S. family traditions of all is Christmas and New Year’s Day that both closes the “old” and opens the “new” years.  With the passing of time, Christmas Day continues to experience the diluting of religious references.  As a result, Christmas has come to be addressed as “Happy Holidays” in an effort to be inclusive to a wider demographic of U.S. residents.  Santa Claus, elves, the North Pole, reindeers, and Christmas tree are just as popular as the Nativity.  Presents under the Christmas tree as families and close friends gather on Christmas day to enjoy a Turkey dinner with all the finishing at the dinner table is widely practiced throughout the country.   Children remain on their best behaviour eagerly anticipate Santa’s arrival with a giant sack filled with presents on Christmas Eve while adults attack the shops with wallets open wide to make this one of the happiest season of all.  While Christmas concentrates on the delight of children, New Year’s is more of an adult celebration that involves champagne countdown parties, and of course, a kiss (hopefully?) to ring in the next 365 days.

American family traditions are well known not only in the U.S. but around the world.  As previously mentioned, many of these traditions originated with different people groups and religious practices.  So, it is not surprising to see that some U.S. family traditions are still practiced in various places around the world.  While the rules and observances may differ from place to place, one thing remains the same.  Family traditions give people a reason to come together to create new memories, share good food and reminisce.  Happy Celebrations to you and yours!

Medical Marijuana – Featured at Global Comment

As the legalization of Marijuana grows, the government of the United States will continue to face unanswered questions pertaining to many relevant issues. An important matter that requires an urgent analysis and solution, among a sea of questions, is that of coverage.  (read more)Image

Yahoo Contributor Network

I am thrilled!  Six of my articles are published at Yahoo!

Yay for me!  Check it out…

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Banks Bears No Legal Responsibility in Money Crime

imagesTo the Honourable Mr. S. Blaney, Minister of Public Safety:

There is a procedural “gap” in economic counterfeit crime that needs your authority to rectify.  So long as the lone victim continues to be the citizen, the organizations involved will not do everything it takes to further prevent this kind of crime.

Currently, the bank passes on the monetary loss solely onto the citizen.  The organization that provides transfer and pick services also does not assume any loss.  There is, therefore, no incentive for these organizations to step up in every way to prevent future crimes from occurring.  How can it be possible that the direct handlers of a vital piece of evidence in a crime not be required to assume any responsibility?

There is no process in place for banks to “catch” such a serious incident, even though a crime has taken place!  Even the bank-to-bank process “drops” the necessary step to notify each other about the crime in question, and will not contact the local authorities because they are not required to by law!  Can this be possible, Mr. Minister of Public Safety, that the financial institutions that are parties to a money crime be excused contacting law enforcement?

Contrast this to an everyday occurrence in which the bank’s client misses the due date to pay their credit card payment.  The bank contacts the customer immediately!  Crime has note been committed and the only party that stands to lose pennies (or I should say dimes) is the bank.

I propose that if the bank and other relevant organizations are required to share the loss with citizens  in money fraud theft, the incidents will surely decrease.  The citizen is powerless to stop bank related frauds beyond checking the look and feel of the check or money order, but we are not experts in money processing procedures.

Mr. Blaney, I implore you and your staff to do everything within your authoritative means and power to be the impetus of necessary change in this matter.  The profits that banking institutions continue to make at the expense of their clients must not always be relegated to the citizens’ wallet.  Please stand up for the individual citizen and help us help them decrease and manage economical fraud once and for all.

Thank you, sir, for your time.  If there is anything I can do to clarify or contribute, I am willing within my abilities.  I look forward to your reply.

cc:  Hon. Scott Brison, MP & Hon. Leo Glavine, MLA

Read my blog and watch CBC’s Go Public report by author Kathy Tomlinson on this matter.

World Domination: A Game of Monopoly

Have you ever played the based on real life game of Monopoly?  If so, do you have a favourite pewter token that you almost always play with?  I do!  Mine is the boot.  Most of us could do a decent job to describe the game of Monopoly in general terms.  This is because this game is everywhere with different versions, and themes like SpongeBob, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, but the main concept remains unchanged.

Monopoly was inducted into the US National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.  The Strong which is where the Toy Hall is housed, and its Curator, Nicolas Ricketts, published a story about its acquisition of a historic 1933 “tie-box” Monopoly set in 2010.  Known as the Heap Folk Art Monopoly, this version predates the accepted Monopoly “inventor” Charles Darrow’s published version by about 20 years.

It is now accepted that conceptual versions of Monopoly with local landmarks existed as early as 1910.  Better called “homemade Monopoly boards” represented the local users area landmarks, such as John Heap’s Altoona, PA (USA) version which he made for his son, Roy.  Roy’s memories of playing his father’s version from 1910 – 1917 helped Professor Ralph Anspach win his version called Anti-Monopoly in 1975.  The toy company General Mills which owned the games’ rights, sued Anspach for use of the Monopoly name, but the US Supreme Court supported claims that pre-Darrow versions of the came existed.

If we were to go back even further, we will find that a 1903 version of Monopoly was first born, effectively being designed as an educational tool to explain the theory of a single tax.  Her game was called “The Landlord’s Game” which she published in 1906.  Similar to today’s version, her game play involved owning, developing and selling land.

At the heart of the game of Monopoly is an economic concept in which the goal is to have sole control of the market.  Players use their turns to buy, trade and develop land through ownership of houses and hotels.  Players collect rent and dominate land to bankrupt opponents.  It is important to remember that even if the bank runs out of physical cash, the game goes on.

A well liked feature of the game is the “Jail” portion where if a player is sent to jail, direct play puts said player in jail.  To be released, player must pay $50, roll a double, or possess a “get out of jail” card.  This is different for “visiting jail”, where the player has NOT been sent to jail.

Many versions of this well liked game exist.  The US versions held mainly colour changes, flat $200 Tax, and altered wording references (like poor tax to speeding fine).  This version’s properties reference Atlantic City, New Jersey.  A note of interest in the standard US version is that in 1995, Parker Brothers acknowledged the misspelling of the now Marven Gardens, and acknowledgement of the four railroads that served Atlantic City in the 1930s.

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As for the UK version, the interesting part of its beginning is that in the 1930s John Waddington Ltd sent a card game they developed and called Lexicon to Parker Brothers to entice the US counterparts to publish the Lexicon.  Parker Brothers also sent over their copy of Monopoly to the Waddingtons in early 1935 in the same spirit.  A transatlantic call ensued when Victor Watson of Waddingtons called Parker Brothers.  He believed that for the game to be accepted in the UK, locale names had to be replaced.  A trip to London with this secretary took place for this purpose.  In countries in the Commonwealth with Canada as exception, the standard British version was used.

More recently, modernized US and UK versions were made to include a “mega”, “here and now” and digital editions.  There have been token additions and retirements, currencies additions and cost changes, die variations, just to name a few, but a basic monopoly set includes cards, deeds, dice, houses, hotels, money, tokens, and rules.

Official rules specify the parts of the game that make this a truly spectacular entertainment worthy of its game length.  Chance and Community Chest, Jail, Properties, Mortgaging, Bankruptcy, House rules, and at this very central the Bank are all vital parts of Monopoly.

Killer Interview Questions

I was honored to have a great piece published at JobsRMine.com.

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“The objective of this article is to map out the road to success for prospective employees so that they stand out among the pool of candidates and capture the attention of potential employers.  Do you have what it takes to become the winning candidate at your interview?

Introduction

Job seekers are prepared to invest countless hours on their curriculum vitae, aware that one slight oversight is enough to rule us out of contention.”

(read more)