A Commentary on Talent….

Posted by Posted in Essays & Commentary Posted on April 22, 2014

Computer - 019

With regard to at least one major aspect of my life, I now understand that I probably squandered a major part of my talents…..to whatever degree they existed. At least it would seem so with regard to the real heart and soul of those talents which is the point of this writing. As to music as a first-hand example and to the part music played in my life, I enjoyed playing and entertaining but most of my efforts were directed toward others and what I perceived they liked and wanted to hear. If you possess any measure of real talent, it may unfortunately fall to the wayside through the years in your efforts to peddle your wares and maintain an audience.

Many times in our society those who offer up a personal critique or commentary on some item of interest concerning their fellow human beings, often do so never having walked in the shoes of those who they point their pen toward. Music and performing have always been a part of my life. And now as I walk through the autumn of my life and look back at my footsteps in the sand I am, with reasonable certainty, sure that I did not, for the most part, do it ‘my way’.

But the thoughts I am putting forth here are not at all about me but rather I speak of “talent” in an overall sense. I speak of those who actually possess a “talent” and often want to share their works with the world because their soul has a message to speak. Others who possess a great talent may not choose to share that talent. Much of what is presented to the public and perceived as the expression of talent in our day to day lives is not the least of someone’s talent….unless you consider commercial success in itself representative of a talent. Those that commercialize true talent certainly believe that being able to do that is within itself a talent. But be assured that there is much talent that we never see because there are some who not only possess the talent, but refuse to let it be manipulated and tarnished by commercialism and the like. For the most part we don’t embrace talent in these days and times….we suck the life out of it, if in fact there was any talent there to begin with.

In perhaps a more philosophical sense, true talent is a bit like a bird on the wing….free and wild and in tune with nature. But once a talent is recognized and found pleasing to our own soul, we seem to want to cage it like a bird, which in reality will forever change the true nature of that talent. What means more to you? Seeing some very special bird everyday in a cage full well knowing that it is, in truth, slowly withering away and losing its spirit or…..from time to time being just lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it as it moves within it’s true realm free and wild? The latter is when our hearts truly soar. Yet many a talented individual in our society today will succumb to the fate of a caged bird.

A true artist whether a composer, a writer, a painter, a poet or the like has to deal with the commercialization of their talent if that talent ever gains public recognition. And most of us don’t deal with our talents successfully. Sure, many may end up as millionaires because their talents have been successfully commercialized or exploited but for most there will be a day of reckoning within the confines of their own soul when the majority of them will have to face the fact that they cheated themselves of showing the world who they really were and the true talent therein. Let’s face the cold, hard truth – commercial success is how most of us measure success in general. That is how most of us measure talent. Yet as many of you know, some of the greatest talents to have ever lived never realized a cent from their gifts and some were not even discovered until after their deaths.

In today’s society and culture most talents work hard, very hard, at producing something they hope the public will adore and accept. But the true artist will only strive to satisfy the passion and yearnings of their own heart and soul. It is satisfying that yearning within themselves that is their true goal and bares the purity of their gift. But it seems that once the slightest inkling enters the mind of an artistic person that a living could be gained from their talent, they themselves, from that moment on, put that talent at risk. Once they begin to direct their thoughts and ideas toward a commercialized public, they have in fact compromised their talents to one degree or another.

Does the writer of a novel calculate each paragraph and chapter in an effort to capture their commercial reader or are they following the dictation of their heart and soul as the words begin to flow across the pages? Does a painter calculate each brush stroke in an effort to please his public or even choose their subject to the same degree? Almost all of the music we hear today is totally commercialized to a major extent. It is written and arranged to extrapolate fortunes from the public….not to give us insight into the magic of some writer’s soul as the melody weaves its way across the pages of a manuscript.

So much we will all miss because of this. So much will many of the artists discard who possess a wealth of talent miss because of these things. And many with true talents will never step forward and let us share in their gifts because they already understand that this is how it is and they refuse to compromise the origin of their talent….which is indeed their heart and soul.

It is all very, very personal and for those who possess a true talent, we are so fortunate that they may choose to share it with us to fulfill us and make our lives richer. It is their true talents that inspire us as individuals to test our own boundaries and talents – helping us to be more than we thought we could be. Don’t measure true talent by the number of albums we are told they sold, or the number of books we are told they sold, or the fact that they are number one by some measure this week. Don’t measure talent by the price someone paid for their paintings. Measure their talent by the amount of heart and soul wrapped around their offerings to you and I and then all of us will benefit from the experience.

Look under rocks and turn over logs….there lies the true talent that inspires our lives and makes this life worth living.

Got any of those awkward family photos?

Posted by Posted in FYI, News & Current Events Posted on April 19, 2014

Thursday night on the NBC Nightly News their closing segment featured a photographic exhibit which was opening in Santa Monica, California at the California Heritage Museum. You can see the brief video newscast segment by clicking ‘here‘. The exhibit was featuring a number of photographs from Mike Bender and Doug Churnack who own a website called “Awkward Family Photos” which they had begun back in 2009. They began posting a few of their crazy and awkward family photos on the website and it eventually grew exponentially as other folks begin sending them their awkward and silly photographs.

Most all of us like these type photographs and up until this news story Thursday evening I wasn’t aware of the website so I thought I would post this today in case there might be others who would be interested in this photographic humor.

Looking through some old photos I could only come across a couple that I thought might fit the subject category. In the photo below my dad has just returned from an all-day duck hunting trip and has fared fairly well. My mom took a few photos of my dad with his ducks but then what kid wouldn’t want a piece of the action. So I got to hold all the dead ducks with the exception of one. My sister just had to join in so she got her own duck. I have to admit without sis and her duck, this photo would have just been ordinary…

Alan & Judy - Holding Ducks From Dads Hunting Trip(Click to Enlarge)

In the photo below as usual I am doing all I can do apparently to ruin what would otherwise be a nice family photo but my antics obviously do not go unnoticed by one of my uncles sitting on the couch…

Tarver Family Group Photograph(Click to Enlarge)

Perhaps some of you can fare better with those awkward photographs than I but if not, you can always go to the “Awkward Family Photo” website and get an ample supply. :)

Movie Review – “Man of Steel” (2013)

Posted by Posted in Movies & Reviews Posted on April 15, 2014

3-Star Post MasterMan of Steel - 2013 - 2(Man of Steel – Click to Enlarge)

I grew up with Superman so I am always interested in how things are going with him in his life and for that matter, in his movies also.

In modern times beginning in 1978 we were again introduced to Superman through a new series of four films starring Christopher Reeves. As that series slowly faded away over the next 28 some years, in 2006 a new film was released starring a new actor in the leading role of superman, Brandon Routh. This new film loosely played off the Christopher Reeves’ series somewhat as a sequel appropriately titled, “Superman Returns”.

Then in 2013 a new film was released titled “Man of Steel” which would again take us back to the beginning of Superman’s life and the destruction of the planet, Krypton. And yet another new actor would put life into our superhero, Henry Cavill and lead us through those early years once again as our man of steel is forged into the superhero we have all come to love and admire.

This film certainly does not lack for a strong cast with the likes of Russell Crowe as Jor-El; Kevin Costner as John Kent; Diane Lane as Martha Kent; Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White, the Daily Planet editor. It would appear that the plot had no room for the lowly photographer Jimmy Olson this time out.

As to the plot, it is basically a condensed version of the first two movies of the Christopher Reeves’ series. There are a lot of computerized graphics employed in the film but the film does have a fair amount of entertainment value. I managed to give this remake a 3-star rating. If you find yourself in the mood to catch one of our more famous superheroes in action yet again, you might want to give this one a watch.

A brief glance into my life as a fishmonger….

Posted by Posted in Food & Cooking, FYI Posted on April 11, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(The Pure Food Fish Market – Click to Enlarge)

It’s that time of year again – time to go get a part time job delivering newspapers, order my fresh Alaskan Halibut from my favorite fish market and then continue with my paper route until I get that Halibut order paid off. But… if you are a Halibut lover I doubt little explanation beyond that will be necessary.

Tis true, one of my favorite fish, Alaskan Halibut, are back in season and available from my favorite fish market. I order my Halibut from the Pure Food Fish Market, a fish market located in the Pike Place Market which is a public market overlooking the Elliot Bay waterfront in Seattle, Washington. The Pike Place Market opened in 1907 and is the oldest operating public farmer’s market in the United States and the area is also one of Seattle’s most popular tourist destinations. The photo above is of the subject fish market by the way.

Monday I got an email from the fish market informing me that they were having a 2-day sale on fresh Alaskan Halibut with 25% off. Now how, I ask you, is anyone going to ignore that little tidbit of information? I placed my order at around 9:30am by email with the Seattle market and just a little over 24 hours later at around 11:30am here in central Arkansas my brief life as a fishmonger began….

Alaskan Halibut Shipping Container - 1(Halibut Shipping Container – Click to Enlarge)

Alaskan Halibut Shipping Container - 3(Chilled Halibut Container – Click to Enlarge)

Alaskan Halibut Steak Slabs - Whole(Fresh Alaskan Halibut Whole Slabs – Click to Enlarge)

Alaskan Halibut Steak Slabs - Portioned(Fresh Alaskan Halibut Portioned and Bagged – Click to Enlarge)

Well there you have it! If you’re a Halibut lover it’s really too bad you live so far away so I can’t share… heh, heh, heh. :)

Bon appétit!

If Only Blogs Could Talk….

Posted by Posted in Blogging, Essays & Commentary Posted on April 9, 2014

Several days ago I did a post on the topic of the nightly national news broadcasters and which of their newscasters might appear on my most liked and/or least liked lists. It was most interesting to read the takes on the subject offered by others.

But that got me to thinking about another area along those same lines and that was with regard to those personalities who we often find narrating a documentary or even a television commercial from time to time. There are indeed some eloquent voices amongst the many that travel the narration highways and byways.

How cool would it be to have a narrator for our blogs? Imagine if you will all your blog entries being narrated to your visitors by the likes of James Earl Jones or Sam Elliot. I suspect that if you had the right narrator, your blog would be flooded with visitors. In fact, it might even intimidate us in large measure into improving our writing skills – for those of course who even need any help. :)

But to those favorites, well I have compiled a collection of five (5) that I feel would round out a “Top Five” listing for me….

Top Choice Narrators(My Top Five Narrators – Click to Enlarge)

Movie Review – The Hunter (2011)

Posted by Posted in Movies & Reviews Posted on April 8, 2014

 4-Star Post MasterThe Hunter - 2011 - 01(Film Released in 2011 – Click to Enlarge)

I ran across this movie last night and although it was unfamiliar to me, the fact that Willem Dafoe was in the starring role quickly caught my attention. He is an actor whose work and films I have really enjoyed watching over the years.

The film was appropriately titled “The Hunter” and Willem Dafoe played the role of a mercenary who was hired by a large biotech European company to go to the island State of Tasmania which is located some 240 miles off the southern coast of the continent of Australia. Although the scientific community at large presumed the Tasmanian tiger to be extinct, there were a few who thought there might still be a small remnant lurking about. This biotech company was hiring this mercenary to go and kill this thought to be last tiger, gather samples of its DNA and other body tissues, and destroy any remnants of the animal. The company thought there to be great commercial value in the DNA and destroying any other sources would give them complete control over any by-products created from the source.

Along with the adventure and the hunt Willem Dafoe begins to cultivate a relationship with a woman and her two children who live in the backwoods in an old house where he will stay while on his assignment. This relationship with the woman and her children provides a great backdrop to the story. As usual, the entertainment value of any movie is within the eye of the beholder but if this sounds interesting and suits your movie values, I think you will enjoy this one….

As a second thought I have returned to this post to add a video of a program televised in 2009 on the History Channel which actually echos pretty much the theme of our subject movie. For those of you who find enjoyment is such things therefore I have included an episode from Monster Quest for your viewing….

Close Encounters of the Fellowman Kind….

Posted by Posted in FYI, News & Current Events Posted on April 6, 2014

I happened to have caught a short segment on the PBS half-hour news broadcast this past evening that was both interesting and uplifting. I think many of us often fantasize about a society that is in fact much more social, friendly, courteous and respectful of their fellowman.

A young lady in New York City, Madeline Schwartzman, took on a personal project of interacting with people on her commute back and forth to work each day on the subway. Each day in her commute she asks select fellow commuters to write a poem in a notebook that she carries. Some refuse of course while others accept.

Madeline takes the poems and posts them on the website, 365 Day Subway:Poems by New Yorkers. Not so much for the poem’s sake but rather to show that we really do seem to have a desire to connect as humans and share our hopes, wishes and personal thoughts. But we choose rather to stay locked in our own little worlds cutting ourselves off from that deeper social interaction.

I have posted the PBS segment below which is a little less than 4-minutes long, give it a listen and see if you don’t come away thinking that what the world needs now is a little more of this….