The brevity and significance of all our lives

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“It’s no secret to those knowledgeable about addiction and recovery that people are most vulnerable to relapse when they are closest to achieving sobriety.” – Rita Lowenthal

One – Way Ticket is one of those books you don’t dare pass on. Simply because it’s too precious. It’s a book that reminds us amongst other things, that no matter how much pain or grief we cause to our mothers in particular, we will never lose sight in her eyes.

Rita Lowenthal, presumably in her 80’s at the time of this post, was and still is the mother of Josh Lowenthal, a talented Jewish musician and artist whose inability to conquer his addiction, allowed a disease to infiltrate and ultimately take his life. Ms. Lowenthal chooses words that invite you into her sons former world, causing the reader to feel as if they knew Josh intimately. Meet and greets with famous jazz legends, relationships with loving women who chose not to run during Josh’s bouts in county jail and then worse, his numerous bids in the oldest prison in California, San Quentin.

Like the serenity prayer, Rita so gracefully portrays through words, detailing her arduous fight to save her son’s life, that sometime we have to accept the things in which are beyond our control.

Although my struggles aren’t with drugs, I have many.

I search for books in a very fortuitous manner. In the search bar I type in the genre and vaguely sift through the titles that seem interesting. If available I’ll read the brief summary attached. However, I am beginning to believe that the way in which these books find their rightful place on my desk is less fortuitous and more good fortune. At times they cause deep bouts of depression, but praise God, I am always stronger for having read them.

 

RIP –  JOSH LOWENTHAL

 

 

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A classic tale of survival and coming out renewed on the other side.

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There comes a moment when one faces the fresh features of an inner face; a time of conscious rebirth, when the accounting’s done, the weave in its final flourish, a time when a man stands before the world – vulnerable, nothing owed – and considers his place in it. I had reached such a moment.

Luis J. Rodriguez

Always Running’ is a book, better yet, a ‘piece’ that makes a person pause and search inside oneself. A book that points our gaze out through a window, towards the still morning sky, recollecting on and digesting sentences so artfully and delicately constructed. Words portraying lives many of us hope to avoid, carefully chosen words many writers hope to master.

A designer and writer are essentially one in the same. A designer creates pleasure visually whereas a writer uses words to create pleasurable imagery. Rodriguez is a writer whose paragraphs are devoid of either fat or wasted space, a writer whose experiences breathed life into every situation. At times I felt as if I were the protagonist, figuring out how to survive my adolescence.

I think I’ll write Mr. Rodriguez a letter. In it I will thank him for escaping death, for had it been inescapable, it’s a fair argument that countless souls would still be running.

What a book! Check it out if you get the opportunity!

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This was the best image I could find on the internet without having to take a picture of the actual book. A thousand apologies for the pixelation.

But although the image is subpar, the content inside is out of this world. Rayford L. Johnson sheds light on so many aspects of ‘thug’ mentality. He teaches us the true origin of the word ‘thug’ which actually emanated out of Bombay, India. Johnson states that the word is about 700 years old and that a peculiar group of Hindus worshipped the goddess Kali, the dark consort of Shiva who is said to feed on the blood of mortals and haunt the burning-grounds where Hindus are cremated.Typically. Shiva was represented as a black woman (one of her epithets, Kali Ma, means “black mother”), numerous arms, and garlanded with human skulls and a long red tongue protruding from a screaming mouth. Human sacrifices were once carried out in temples paying homage to Kali. Kali worshipers from the 13th century practiced ritual murder and robbing of native travelers through the countryside. These worshipers were from a tribe called, Thuggee.

1421

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I wanted to share an excerpt from the book 1421 The Year China Discovered America.

In it it says, ” Sixteen concubines were buried alive with Zhu Di. The complex was sealed as the cries of the doomed women marked the end of the mortal life of one of the greatest visionaries and gamblers in history.”

Loved how the author, Mr. Menzies, used descriptive words to paint a picture of those ill-fated girls being buried alive.

Just came in from Abebooks.com

If this is your first time hearing about Abebooks.com, then it’s time to familiarize yourself with them. People they are PHAT! The selection at Abebooks is vast, their delivery time is better than Pizza Hut in the hood and they’re RIDONKULOUSLY CHEAP. Yeah they’re used, but it’s a book for crying out loud. It’s not like you have to wear it!

Anyhow, ‘OnceUponAde’ has a little more writing to do in addition to some design work in photoshop and then it’s on to ‘1421 The Year China Discovered America‘ written by Gavin Menzies.

I heard phenomenal things about this 600 page monster.

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I Sigh As There Are No More Pages Left To Read

I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. There is a subtle, brief period of sorrow after fully completing a book. In my opinion, reading a book takes a level of commitment to the material within. Just like men and woman risks their hearts in new relationship endeavors, you risk your time and emotions in chancing a new book. The odds of finding a good ‘read’ or ‘partner’ aren’t always in our favor.

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Gang Leader For A Day

by Sudhir Venkatesh

A risk well taken. Great read.

 

 

Finishing ‘Searching For The Right Move’ is once again a priority…along with a list of other things;)

Designed by Ade`

Designed by Ade`

About

The story of the FIRST All-American basketball team to travel into North Korea.

 Description

I remember having to piss on my gun every morning to get it to fire. Shit, my hand froze over there. Been like this for forty years now. Haven’t moved it since. It was rough at first, but you get used to it”.   – Anonymous American Korean-War Vet.

With either side unwilling to acquiesce to the others request(s), two nations, once united, equally forged through deep tradition and a rich history; now in theory stand lifetimes apart, even though they share the same peninsula.

On July 27, 1953 at approximately 10:00 a.m., an armistice to end all fighting between the North and South was signed. The armistice ended a war that has been dubbed by many veterans alike, as “one of the coldest experiences, both emotionally and physically in recollection”.

Although the ‘all out’ war has ended, continued rhetoric and threats imply that the stretch of land extending 684 miles southward into the Pacific Ocean is slated for many more tumultuous years.

To date, approximately 2500 Americans have laid foot in the reclusive regime that is North Korea. Countless articles, interviews, books and personal accounts have been published and recorded in hopes of painting a more vivid picture of what takes place in this obscure land. On many occasion news agencies have revealed troublesome information to the public regarding provocations, aggression and broken promises from the nation that has been termed a ‘failed state’. Understandably due to the countries continued aggression towards their neighbor in the South, North Korea has alienated itself with the rest of the world.

A myriad of sanctions from South Korea, the U.S, China and the rest of the international community have placed the DPRK in a precarious position. A dear leader, Kim IL sung who passed away in 1994 and his son, comrade Kim Jong Il, who recently passed away in 2012, continue to have a strong presence in the countries economic, political and military decisions.

The word Juche, is an ideology that was created and first used by the countries cardinal and eternal leader, Kim IL Sung during a speech given in 1955. Juche is built upon self-reliance within the nations defense, self-sufficiency within its economy and independence politically. Approximately, 24 million people display fervent belief to this idea and are reminded everyday of who has provided the country and its citizens with the “so-called” prosperity that they are enjoying. In every expanse of life in the DPRK, a passerby can find pristine images and rhetoric applauding the works of the dear leader and his son. Its quite amazing with which artistic mastery the artists of North Korea are able to convey their messages through indoctrinating artwork. Not enough can be said about the talent that is sought out and thus used for the benefit of the nation.

On June 10th by way of Beijing, China, 11 American basketball players and 3 American coaches set out to accomplish something that many considered unthinkable, impossible and quite simply idiotic.

Spearheaded by a Starbucks crazed forward thinker, Luke Elie assembled a group that instantly gelled, put aside their pride, opened their hearts, praised God covertly (we’re smart, not foolish), redefined their faith, built bridges in the midst of countless storms, shared experiences and gained humility through it all.

In an troubled world where instant fame is easily garnered through deplorable behavior, these fourteen men chose a different higher road and received a higher education in genuine love from people who genuinely don’t know any better.

Oh…and we played some basketball as well!