Friday, 24 August 2012

Pass It On

In this century of disposables, fast foods and Google, it is so easy to accept the conveniences and take it all for granted. But you know what?--the simple day-to-day courtesies can just as easily fall to the roadside. Genuine smiles and a few sincere words cost us nothing and should be passed on more often.

Sometimes I like to gift the full mega-watt smile to someone with the sternest or the most grumpiest face.  You know, that's the smile where the eyes and face truly reflect the joy you are feeling and want to share. And when you pass Mr. Sourpuss, you give him eye contact and a happy nod as if to say, "Hey, I hope you're having a great day too!" and keep walking.
But if you ever glance back, you will see a most astonishing phenomena ninety-nine percent of the time. Mr. Sourpuss suddenly feels so good at receiving this mega-watt smile from a total stranger, he passes it on to the next lucky recipient.  Mission accomplished. At least, I hope that's what happens--I like to think so.

Department stores have stream-lined their services a lot. Certain "Customer Service" centres (or cashiers) are placed strategically throughout the store allowing customers to pay for their purchases wherever they happen to be, unless of course, it hits coffee breaks or meal breaks. The hot weather, coupled with the frustrations of long line-ups due to a shortage of "Opened" cashiers, can make the gentlest of customers, the snarliest. The unfortunate cashiers who must deal with all of this definitely need "combat pay." It's easy for us to gift them a genuine smile and a few words of appreciation, acknowledging their stressful day. But more often than not, people like to add more stress by acting like total jerks.

Not only the simple courtesies of "please" and "thank you" but a note or card of appreciation for a gift received or a job well done is worth more in good-will than any monetary value. Most young kids today are more likely to email or text their appreciation--snail-mail doesn't apply in their electronic techie world. If you do have nieces, nephews or grandkids who do this, be thankful their parents are teaching them the niceties of life. Kids who take the time to write or text a few words of thanks will always have that advantage of knowing Life's simple courtesies. These kids will be caring, considerate and kind, treating others the way they, themselves like to be treated. These are the kids who will keep the legacy going--passing along mega-watt smiles and kind words where needed.

Have you smiled at someone today?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Oh, Spam

The other day, an article on Spam caught my eye--that's Spam, the canned meat, not spam, the unwanted internet junk mail. Later that evening, the local television mews anchor-person briefly mentioned the resurgence of the WWII food ration, Spam.  Today, I picked up my mystery novel and one of the characters was pan-frying a slice of Spam with his eggs.  Wow, I have now encountered Spam three times in the last 24-hours. I had to find out more about this amazing food product that has grabbed my attention and been around for the last 75-years. Other brands have disappeared over the last years or have merged with giant conglomerates, yet Spam lives on.

Spam was officially launched as a trademark by Homel on May 11, 1937.  According to its website,, all fifty states in America sells Spam with Hawaii being the biggest consumer of this ham/pork shoulder meat product. The K-rations the military provided its soldiers durin g WWII included the familiar rectangular tins. In fact, the soldiers felt they were eating Spam at every meal, despite the military cooks doing their best to be inventive. Spam and other foods were shipped to Allied countries as part of the lend-lease program. Ironically, soldiers in Europe, hoping to escape Spam by going for a nice restaurant meal, would still find Spam on the menu!

Is Spam healthy for you? According to the Spam website, "one 12-ounce can contains six servings.  A single serving has 16 grams of fat including 6-grams of saturated fat.  This single serving of Spam also contains 33% of your daily recommended sodium as well asd a hefty dose of cholesterol."  A generous Spam serving would not be a healthy idea if low-salt, low cholesterol foods are suppose to be on your menu.

I checked my local supermarkets the other day to see if Spam is on their shelves.  It still is.  Happy 75th Birthday, Spam. I missed your official birthday in May but you know what?  I really think a Time Capsule for this century should have had a couple of tins of Spam enclosed.  Maybe it did.  We may be reduced to healthy dehydrated miniaturized foods before this 21st century is over and it would be nice to show the Future why a can of pressurized ham and pork shoulder, loaded with fat and salt, tasted so darn good a hundred years ago!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Frivolous and Frothy

I've been told my blog pieces are "frothy," whatever that means. I think my critics mean it's quick to read, easily absorbed and fast to forget!  Yep, I think "seriousblogger" felt my last blog regarding my enthusiastic read of "The Innocent" by David Baldacci, was too frivolous to even consider as a serious book review, not that I had intended it to be a book review. I merely reported on a very enjoyable thriller--a riveting Baldacci attention-grabber of a book.
I liked it.

As for frothy, I enjoy writing down my random thoughts or opinions on various topics and putting it online for anyone interested in reading it. Current events in the newspapers or on radio/television, even a chance comment made by someone or perhaps an observation could trigger a creative urge--or maybe not.

Writing is often based on observations, chance comments, an unforgettable experience. How many of us have incorporated something we have encountered into our writing?

Anyway, thank you "seriousblogger" for your comment. It's nice to know several people are taking the time to read this blog. Feedback is always important, good or bad. If constructive criticism is taken in the spirit it is intended, it can make the difference between a writer and a good writer who wants to be better. I want to be a better good writer.