Joycelyn Elders


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Amazing Grace

This quote was contributed by my brother, Darrell Holbrook.

Joycelyn Elders, president Clinton’s surgeon general.

“…most of the people that die with heart disease and cancer are our elderly population, you know, and we all will probably die with something sooner or later.”

Most of us hope to die later rather than sooner. The idea of a “full life” is quite appealing. It seems that there is much less sympathy for an elderly person dying as opposed to a child or anyone short of 40.

Granted, many older people who are in the throes of diseases such as heart disease and cancer will tell you they are ready to die and wonder why they are allowed to drag on and on.

Tell me, at what age is it categorically expected that you have lived long enough and your passing is not as important as someone younger? Many people would choose the biblical estimate of “3 score and ten” or 70 years.

My father is 80 years old. He is in great health and takes a long exercise walk every day. He has been happily married to my mother for well over 50 years and has many things to look forward to.

Does his 80 years mean that it is more fitting for him to pass on than the average 20 year old? As a son who loves him and my mother both, it is easy to say no to this, but a yes may easily come from someone who doesn’t know him or the amazingly influential life he has lived.

The aforementioned 20 year old could be a rapist or murderer. Or a minister, or a person who may have been president. What if they were doing something truly stupid that led directly to their death and maybe one or two others in the bargain?

All this being said, what right do we have to decide who actually “deserves” to live and die?
We really don’t mean to be cruel, but it is so easy with strangers to draw generalities and give the thumbs up or down, like in the Roman games.

Human life at any stage is sacred. Old or young, we all want to live, and have a primeval imperative to want life to continue.

There is also the issue of what a person could accomplish if they did live. Whatever your feeling on abortion, a cartoon I saw can offer food for thought. It had a man shaking his fist toward heaven, yelling, “….and why haven’t you sent us a cure for cancer?” Then a voice came out of the cloud that said, “I did, but you aborted it.”

Human potential is amazing at all ages. Let’s all work together to maximize it, no matter how old or young a package it comes in.

Check out my podcast at




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It's A Crying Shame,  But Vacation Is Over!!



When the reviews are bad I tell my staff that they can join me as I cry all the way to the bank.


Have you ever been talked about negatively when you did the right thing? Especially when you did it well? While bad reviews from others can be for poor performance, many times it is the jealousy of the reviewer that is talking.

Take a look first at the reason for what is being said. What is their motive? Even those who have no inclination to compete with you may have a selfish reason they want you to fail.

Ann Patchett

Praise and criticism seem to me to operate exactly on the same level. If you get a great review, it’s really thrilling for about ten minutes. If you get a bad review, it’s really crushing for ten minutes. Either way, you go on.

How do you react to criticism? Is it so devastating you mope around for weeks? It’s not possible everyone will like everything you do all the time. Even you won’t like everything you do, that is, if you are honest with yourself. Take the line that even mean spirited criticisms may have some grain of truth that you can learn a lesson from. Don’t let it wound you so deeply you retreat inside and stop doing the things you do best.

You are better than you think you are. You are a certainly better than grouchy people say you are. I suspect that, deep inside, those grouchy people are a little bit jealous of you! Be successful anyway, and take it to the bank!

The Liberace Foundation for the Creative & Performing Arts

Nathan Fillion


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Honest Abe Holds Up His End

Nathan Fillion

“I still buy actual books. The smell, having it in your hands – there’s really no substitute.”


Before I found this quote, I thought I was the only one in the world who made a big deal about how an old book smells. I do collect older hardback books, mostly history, biographies and some sci-fi and historical fiction. I also like books on old style crafts and ways of living.

Sure, I have a Kindle. I read books and listen to podcasts on it. Really cool and convenient, and I love it. Why then should I even waste the time and effort on real books when I can store hundreds of books on one device the size of one paperback book?

I have two basic reasons to keep old fashioned books around, (besides the smell).

The first is because the power can go off. If you have a power outage, there is no TV, Internet, video games and sometimes even phone service can be down. We have short power outages several times a year where I live, but what would happen if a 9/11 style terrorist attack happened? If several of the power plants were targeted simultaneously, the entire grid could be down for weeks. Books would come in handy for entertainment, and now we get to the reason why some of those old time lifestyle skills might eventually come in handy.

The last generation that knows about these things is rapidly passing away, and our generation’s reliance on electronics alone could place us in an awkward position in the event of a major emergency.

Now, I can hear some of you saying this could never happen. I must be one of those wild-eyed preppers or something. Actually there is a major difference in stockpiling massive amounts of food, water and other supplies, and then just keeping a few cool and decorative books around that make you look rather smart when your friends see them. The electronics we rely on everyday are great, but could be completely unavailable in the blink of an eye. Think about it.


Reason 2. I like eye witness accounts to history in hardback because real books are static. They can’t be changed on the whim of political or religious authorities who suddenly don’t want common citizens to have the information contained therein. This has happened many times down through history, even in so-called free societies. Look up McCarthyism to see what happened in America as recently as the 1950s. At that time the U.S. State Department ordered its overseas library program to remove from their shelves “material by any controversial persons, communists, fellow travelers, etc.” ‘Fellow travelers’ was a term used for those who weren’t actually members of the Communist party, but were considered by the government to be in sympathy with them. That casts a pretty wide net. Some of these books were actually burned, just like in the good old days.

Hopefully it will never get this bad again, but you can never tell.

Oh, by the way, its possible for one to write a book, sell it in the Kindle store, and revise the book as many times as I want, updating the thousands of Kindles in use each time. I remember once Amazon sucking out a few books I had in my Kindle and my library, giving me a refund, but still taking the books without my consent. Kind of feels like we aren’t in control of what we are reading anymore, doesn’t it?

I fear this could be used by our government as soon as they decide to strong-arm Amazon, the same way they did Microsoft and Facebook to get our personal information. Telling people how they should live is what governments do. Just like backing up your electronic media on your computer, a hard copy backup in book form is a good idea.

Looking intelligent to your friends can’t hurt either.


Nathan Fillion on Twitter

Alyssa Milano


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Grizz Steals the Scrubbie


Alyssa Milano

I’m a big believer in individual responsibility.


In movies, there has always been the Sigmund Freud type of psychiatrist who automatically tells his patient, “blame your mother”. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, that is always the comical solution. “It’s not my fault” seems to be on everyone’s lips these days.

It is obvious that most of the way we live our lives is based on how we were raised, and this can include a phobia or two that we have picked up and made pets of. Once you are an adult however, your choices, good, bad or ugly are your own.

Children who are learning how to relate to the world, start as totally selfish persons who seek only to satisfy their own needs as babies. The whole point of your growing up process is to learn that you are not the center of the universe. You must learn to take responsibility for your own actions. Simply put, if you break it, fix it or pay for it.

Today, the normal path is not quite so clear. A fixed moral code is quite uncommon today. Like a surfer reading a wave, situation ethics makes it possible for people to decide whether honesty is the best policy differently depending on their feelings about the current situation.

I remember an incident where a person I knew to be scrupulously honest did something wrong in my presence and when they were about to get in trouble for it, they lied and afterward explained to me that they would not allow that boss who was quite power hungry and dishonest himself, to gain power over them in this way.

I was quite shocked that absolute honesty did not survive that little test.

Some people find lying so easy it has become part of their normal code. Anytime the slightest shadow is cast on them, not even real trouble, the lie is drawn like a gun and fired. The worst of these folks will lie simply to make themselves look better at someone else’s expense. This disparages that other person’s reputation, but the liar goes about his merry way without a second thought. Not a friend I want to spend time with.

As a personal policy, we should really be honest and ethical at all times, then the perceived need to lie about these things won’t come up in the first place.

Who you really are comes out in the actions you take. Since integrity is so variable these days, the things people do are the real indicators of the moral stand they have. While none of us can look absolutely moral to everyone based on the differing standards all have, we should strive to keep as close as we can to spotless integrity.

Another quote:

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.

Eleanor Roosevelt


Official Alyssa Milano Site


Martin Yan


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It's Time To Eat Your Peas

Martin Yan
“So when I do Chinese cooking, I mix everything together, then the kids have to eat their vegetables. They won’t have the patience to pick them out.”

What method do you use when someone really needs to do something for their own good, but need convincing of the importance of it?

Most egotistical persons immediately go right to the nuclear option, the direct order. If you move in hard and fast, they will so shocked they will obey out of habit and fear. Sometimes this will get the job done at this moment, but does little to foster a good relationship and does absolutely nothing to change the habits of those you are lording over. They will just wait for the next order before they move again, since you have taken the place of their conscience and have taken from them the responsibility of correct behavior.

There is another way, a better way I think. What if you can make them WANT to do this? It is much more simple than you think. If you pay a little bit of attention to human behavior and adapt your tactics, you can have large scale success that will help those you are in charge of learn and repeat good habits. That way you can be confident they are behaving correctly when your back is turned.

Dale Carnegie published a book in 1936 called ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. It has sold 15 million copies worldwide, and is still in print. From Wikipedia, here are the main points that pertain to our current discussion:

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re Wrong.”
If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
Begin in a friendly way.
Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
Appeal to the nobler motives.
Dramatize your ideas.
Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Let the other person save face.
Praise every improvement.
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

Links to the Wikipedia article and the book in with be included in the podcast show notes at

If you order an action, you may force them to do it right now, but you create a dependence on your authority for action of any kind. If you can create the desire to perform, you change their habits for a lifetime.

Yan Can Cook Website

How to Win Friends and Influence People on Wikipedia

How Win Friends Influence People on Amazon

George Bernard Shaw


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It's time for skeletons in your closet to DANCE!

Time to Dance!


George Bernard Shaw

“If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you’d best teach it to dance.”

Did you ever do something you were really ashamed of? Of course, we all have. Sometimes I will remember a moment of some public faux pas I committed in childhood, and get embarrassed all over again. Like that time in the 1st grade I was adamant that my middle name started with a C, not with a K like the girl in the next desk was saying. When she was proven right, I was mortified. I didn’t even know how to spell my own name.

These moments are in all of us, but even if something was a life changing event for ourselves, it is likely that no one else remembers. While they won’t constitute a negative for others in their relations with you, they have the potential to become a positive experience for your personal development.

As embarrassing as “the great name misspelling incident” was, it was also a positive, life forming moment. I vowed never to be caught in public again not knowing how to spell something. It started a life long romance with reading that has always served me well. I have actually fallen from this lofty standard on occasion, but rarely. But hey,  This skeleton dances.

The new year always conjures up visions of renewal and fresh starts. Sounds like a good idea. Try not to get bogged down in the enormity of how big that skeleton is. As I said before, others can’t see your skeleton. They are too busy hiding behind their own.

You may ask, “but what am I supposed to do if my skeleton is so big it is in the way of living my life?” There are things like prison terms, public displays of drunken behavior, and other things that were so public and memorable that others look at them and say, “I am really glad I didn’t do something like that!” These things are really a challenge, I admit, but it’s time to let those bones rattle and shake as you move out from behind them. If everyone knows anyway, why hide it? Hiding means you are so ashamed you can’t show your face. It’s time to own up to it.

If you are a writer, write a blog or book about the lessons you learned from the experience. The more you acknowledge and deal with things that were very public to start with, the more others will begin to understand and take you seriously. It becomes clear that you are reformed and ready to get on with life. Publish a Kindle book and you may help a LOT of people and make a buck too!

Another thing, since everyone else has idle skeletons in their own closets, things they fear will be disclosed, you can be an example to others of how to deal with them. Your experiences will encourage others to leave their “bare bones existence” and live again.

It’s time for the skeletons in your life to dance. Eventually, the skeletons will cease to be, and you will have room for some new clothes and shoes in there.


John F. Kennedy


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John F. Kennedy

The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.


Hey, what kind of chores do you have planned for today? Are they pretty urgent? While things can occur suddenly and need immediate attention, most often, urgency is created by our own procrastination.

I will be the first to admit that my procrastination on household repairs has been elevated to an art form. My wife will be the second. I must take moment to point out that she is also the most tolerant of wives with the “honey do” list of things that need doing around our home.

Usually things start out being important, but not overtly so. You can adapt to the situation, and soon you are used to it and don’t give it much thought. Later, because of your lack of attention, it gets much more urgent, and the repair is harder to deal with in terms of both time and money.

Urgency has little to do with what needs to be done, it is just that you have an emergency of your own making.

Allowing things to become urgent automatically means you have to put off the really important things, upping the urgency level on those in turn.

How would it change your life if you started to work on the important things early, and didn’t allow the panic of urgency to occur at all? If we all did this, high blood pressure and ulcers would probably be on the decline and less stress would rule the day.

Most of the good, bad, and ugly that happens in our lives is based on our own choices. We are encouraged by society to blame others, but take a good look in the mirror before you take the urgency panic on the road. Chances are that person looking back at you procrastinated to create the situation. It’s time to own up to it, and get some of those truly important things taken care of in your life.

When urgency can‘t be avoided through no fault of your own, a little of the Lamaze breathing normally reserved for childbirth certainly can’t hurt!


The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum


Kelly Clarkson


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Christmas 2007

Kelly Clarkson

The thing about Christmas is that it almost doesn’t matter what mood you’re in or what kind of a year you’ve had – it’s a fresh start.


A fresh start means you take a new view of your life and contemplate what your life can BE, not just what is HAS BEEN. It’s a change in attitude. It’s not magic, it’s just human nature. If you think you can you can, if you don’t think you can, you will not try. If you aim at nothing, you will most likely hit it.


Whether you are religious or not, take time to evaluate your life over the next week, and start the new year as a new person, focused and ready to launch that amazing new life.


It is clear you MUST start from here, but why not make a plan to RISE next year instead of sinking? Take that first step. Attitude is the fuel, your heart is the engine, use you brain to do the driving. YOU CAN DO IT !!!


Angela Davis


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This quote was submitted by Scotty Rose who has been sharing Daggers Of The Mind on Facebook. Thanks so much, Scotty!

Angela Davis lists her as an Academic, Women’s Rights Activist, Scholar, and Civil Rights Activist. Her quote:

“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.”

From the definition of
Liberate- to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage. 
Angela Davis has spent her life advocating changes in our society. Over the decades we have seen massive shifts in our culture, and every person you talk to would have their own opinions about how good or bad these changes are.

Isn’t that as it should be? We know how society has been evolving, but how do you liberate a mind?

Most of us, being quite human, will define a liberated mind as one who has been purged of all the things we each think are incorrect or wrong. That’s not liberation, that is mere conformity.

Conformity is what we’ve taught since childhood. That is the magic way we get along and prosper in this society. Follow the rules and everything will be happy and bright. No rebellion, no dissent, nobody ever makes waves and life is so well regulated and controlled. Ahhhh!

But wait, who is going to decide what “normal” is? The government? The church? Atheists? Democrats? Republicans? Libertarians? Hey, while we are at it, let the Anarchists have a shot at it! Well, so much for letting any one group decide what standard we should conform to.

We obviously need the rule of law, since many human beings like to do various shades of bad things to each other, and law is needed to keep this in check. Law in this country slowly evolves as the society makes new decisions about what is right and what is wrong.

If you are going to live with other humans, then some conformity is necessary, but in this environment, how can we free our minds? I submit, that it is only by our own choice.

That comes back to the programming we received growing up. There were a lot of wonderful lessons, and yes, prejudices learned as we were being raised. Most of who we are is tied into the combination of our personality and the environmental forces we adapted to as children.

Have you adapted so well to your teaching that you have become a robot, or have you actually evaluated your beliefs and motivations, freeing your mind to analyze and make value judgments on your own terms?

Now don’t try to discard everything. I would say that most of what you learned is quite wholesome and gives you a good foundation for a great life. But let’s revisit the aforementioned prejudices. again: Prejudice is defined as: “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.”

It’s time to do an evaluation of the preconceived notions we bring to the table in our life choices. Spend a little time to ponder how right or wrong your little prejudices are, and you will be liberating your mind, one fallacy at a time.

This sounds quite revolutionary, but as an adult, it’s about time you began to think for yourself.
Angela Davis page on Facebook on Angela Davis

Gloria Estefan


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Dock Shoes

Gloria Estefan

“I think we should all live the moment. But you also have to think ahead. You have to think, ‘Am I going to be happy with this five, ten years from now? Is it going to let me evolve and grow, or am I going to grow to one day wish I had never done it?’ Sometimes you just have to think a little bit ahead.”

Do you know anyone who blazes through life like a “bull in a china shop”? They constantly bump into things, breaking objects and relationships with equal ease. 
We generally feel these people take absolutely no thought about the next minute, much less next week. Action, collision, action, more collision, etc.

How about you? Have you given any thought to the consequences of actions you have taken today?

We were taught in school that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. This is illustrated well on a pool table. When one ball hits another, it translates the force to the next ball. The more force transferred, the less the original ball continues to move.

Every action you take, large or small, creates ripples in your world. These ripples affect people and objects around you. Even if you don’t make physical contact with a person, just seeing you from a distance causes a reaction in them.

A good friend of mine, Jan, once said how important it was to take a “gentle path” through life, Nurturing others instead of getting in their way. If a friend has a beautiful flower bed, do you drag your feet through it, tearing up the plants, or take the less direct route up the sidewalk in respect of their beautiful accomplishment?

Think before you act. Then think again. Don’t be oblivious to the ripples you are causing in the lives of others. Make this type of thinking a habit by practicing it every day.

Henry David Thoreau said:
To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

Gloria Estefan Official Fan Site

Gloria Estefan on Facebook