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Red Light, Green Light, Yellow Light Go.

Today’s forecast is calling for more rain here in the Midwest. Splashing around in April Showers have transformed into enjoying random downpours courageously described as some-more showers (Summer  = some more…I tried).

The point is that rain and thunderstorms have not been uncommon this summer. Actually, it’s been quite fitting for any Midwestern city. Six days of the week are normal, but on that seventh day, whichever one it may be, Mother Nature humorously throws us a curve ball from a past or future season.

We never pack our seasonal clothes away here. We’re always prepared with a perfectly nonsensical combination of winter coat and a pair of shorts.

It actually looks pretty cool, but whatever…

While I was thinking about the rain that’s collecting in the heavens, preparing to descend on this clear summer day, my eyes were drawn to my yellow post-it notes on my desk at work. Undeniably eye-catching. There is no chance I will ever not see that bright yellow pad during the day. No chance. It’s like a sign of some sort…a very bright, obvious, conspicuous sign.

Yellow is a color that is unmistakably bold. It is by no means a color of subtlety. It represents warmth, happiness and purpose. Even fate.

It’s really surprising that more people have not embraced this color, especially when it rains.

We’ve all seen the show and know the story by now…

It’s as Easy as 1-2-3

Today marks my 123rd written post!

It’s strange, but whenever I see numbers align to “123,” I instinctively see it as good luck. I believe it’s a sign from the Universe that something was meant to come together in harmony.

Remarkably, this sequence of numbers has a power over me that can instantaneously influence my day. A routine will be adjusted to accommodate this glowing symbolism of “good fate.” There is a distinct possibility that my thoughts on this are drawn from the seeming rightness it represents. When we are young, 1-2-3 indicates the right order. We all learn to count to ten and to pronounce the alphabet at a young age. Within this mindset, when we counted from 1-10 and said the alphabet, everything made sense. Any anxiety, even the tiniest amounts at this age, was a million miles away. Essentially, it was a psychological safety net.

The rhythm of life was good.

As I’ve grown older, when the grouping of these three numbers is revealed it happens, at times, in a more discreet and fun manner. These fun and random surprises are so often times the best as they serve as a special vindication of a preconceived idea or spontaneous decision. This could be change from a meal, an order number, the channel on the TV for a show one night, etc. Just life at work.

1-2-3 can also be viewed in a traditional sense, such as time, a price or as representing a beginning, a middle and an end. For example, this goes for giving a certain speech, doing the high jump (first seven steps or so, the turn and the jump), playing in a soccer game (first half, halftime, second half) and a meal (appetizer, main course, dessert), plus breakfast, lunch and dinner. These comforting examples are endless, but are there nonetheless.

The movie I have been waiting for ever since its first teaser trailer last summer is, “Man of Steel.” The music for the third trailer is described as, “An Ideal of Hope” as composed by movie score icon Hans Zimmer of Germany. Indeed, the following song is located in this blog’s “Amazing” section. However, please listen to it again here and see if you can distinguish how Zimmer guides us on his musical journey in a quiet to explosive 1-2-3 structure.

Is it a more reassuringly powerful instrumental now…?

Anyways, I better stop writing and get this thing posted. It’s 1:23 p.m. after all.

Plus, it’s my lunch break and there’s this girl I’ve been wanting to start a more fluid conversation with for a long time now. Okay, deep breath. It’s gonna be as easy as 1-2-3.

And Universe, I’ll be looking.

The Power of a Horse

Aliens. Great White Sharks. A whip-happy, gun-slinging professor of archaeology. Dinosaurs. A horse?

war horse

(Rolling Stone)

Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest movie directors of all-time, has introduced the public to a wide-range of characters, most of which grab our attention from the title’s alone. “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Jurassic Park” are just a few examples. But what about, “War Horse”? First reactions do not stir up emotions of great excitement. It’s a story about a horse that was involved in World War I.

Okay…?

And yet, it is still Steven Spielberg after all. It is his impressive filmography that we can instinctively conclude that a great story is waiting to be told and that he is the perfect person for this job. Somehow, someway, we the audience will come to relate to a horse from a war. In some fashion, we will sympathize with a horse and be intrigued by its journey in a way similar to that of E.T.

Still though, this undertaking seems about as difficult as plowing a field scattered with rocks.

“War Horse,” to my surprise, is a beautifully tragic, yet inspirational story of unfaltering friendship. Throughout Joey’s life (the horse), he is connected to life all around him. As peculiar as it may read, Joey’s many relationships throughout his joyful and perilous journey resembled something remarkably close to kinship. Surprisingly, the love and admiration the various characters felt for Joey in their various situations was felt through the screen. We start to understand that a horse, in this instance, represents much more than a mere animal. Joey, to those who took the time, was profoundly more than power and dashing speed.

Watching this movie in the evening of Memorial Day was special. The themes of military service and, well, horses, sparked a flashback dating back generations. My Great-Grandfather, Albert C. Ziemann, served in World War I in the U.S. Cavalry at the independent age of 26. He registered for the draft out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was stationed in France.

The following are family recollections:

He was once in a weather observation balloon when it crashed into a French apple orchard. Like in the battle scene near the end of, “War Horse,” he too was gassed. Fascinatingly, General “Black Jack” Pershing (formally John J. Pershing) had, at one point, wanted a rare hawk of his to be stuffed. While asking up and down the ranks for an individual to assist him with this unique task, Ziemann, who enjoyed taxidermy as a hobby, volunteered his services to the General. For Ziemann, this was likely seen as a genuine win-win scenario because he would be doing taxidermy for the prestigious General and this job got him off the front lines.

Stuffing the hawk was expected to be a two-day assignment, but it stretched out to two weeks. One of the most incredible stories of Ziemann was that he helped General Pershing take care of his horses! It’s assumed this coincided with the two-week hawk-stuffing project. Regardless, what a tremendous honor and experience.

Members of my family have recalled that Ziemann enjoyed riding horses. One day in 1963, he had been riding horses. Devastatingly, later that day, he died of a heart attack. Despite the sadness of this memory, it is important because it portrays how his love of horses was not a two-week and/or temporary crush, but likely a lifelong love affair. The connection between a person and a horse is special and can endure in times of war and peace.

During this Memorial Day, in 2013, I found myself reflecting back to almost one hundred years into the past to my Great-Grandfather, Albert C. Ziemann, all the while relating his experiences to those told in the magnificent story of, “War Horse.”

From all of this, two things are certain:

I am very proud and amazed of my Great-Grandfather’s service during World War I.

And that Steven Spielberg is one hell of a storyteller.

Happy Monday!

One speech with four words of pure inspiration for today, tomorrow, the next day and each day thereafter…

“The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate.”
—O. Henry