Eric's Posts (33)


Before I get started, let me begin by saying how good it is to once again have the time to chat and post with my good friends here. EC has always been a great source of personal inspiration. The chance to watch and experience new learners grow into linguistic proficiency is amazing and something I wish more of my fellow countrymen would take the time to do.

Here's ten things in no particular order that come to mind when thinking of MYSELF. The subject matter may vary from personal philosophy to my favorite flavor of ice cream.


Of course I have trusted friends, colleagues, and family members who's advice and criticism (negative and positive) is very important in my life. But, from a practical standpoint, if I worried about what the whole world thought of me I'd go insane. For example; As a human being who interacts with many others, I make mistakes on a daily basis. When I'm wrong, I do my best to promptly admit my error and rectify the situation. If the offended party still thinks poorly of me after the appropriate amends have been made, well then, that's their problem. Again, what you think of me is really none of my business.


Loathing the past or fearing the future will rob a person of the blessings that sit right in front of them. "THE HERE AND NOW" are where gratitude, honesty, open-mindedness, humility, and love exist. There's an old saying in my country that goes like this, "One foot in the past, one foot in the future, and you're pissing all over today".


Instead of obsessing over what's missing in my life or what I can't do, I find it easier to be thankful for what I've already been blessed with (This goes hand in hand with #2 on the list). There may not be a Ferrari in my garage. Perhaps my chosen career field didn't pan out like I'd hoped it would. This doesn't mean I should be any less grateful for the Toyota I drive or the awesome job I get to go to every morning that allows me to help people on a daily basis. Life is good!


Someone much wiser than me once said, "A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest". As much as I love the youth preserving effects of showing up in a sweaty smelling building while aimlessly picking up pieces of iron in a neat and structured manner or running on a belt with re-runs of Oprah blasting on the LCD in front of me, I'd much rather be sitting on my couch with the television blasting Nascar or Formula 1 and a lit Cuban cigar hanging out of my mouth while simultaneously eating copious quantities of bacon. These days I try to stay somewhere in between the two extreme examples listed above.


Technically, my favorite book  isn't really a book at all. It's a text. You can't drag it's title out of me but I'll give you a few hints. The title begins with an "A" and ends with an "A". It's nickname is "The Big Book" and it explains in great detail twelve very important steps one should take when,... let's just say they've been smoking too many Cuban cigars or enjoying copious amounts of bacon (amongst other unnamed substances we won't mention here). I share and teach the message contained in this book on a daily basis. "You gotta give the message away in order to keep it". Besides that book, I read a variety of authors. Lately I've been enjoying the gonzo journalism styling of Hunter S. Thompson. His writings probably aren't appropriate for the beginning ESL student (or the faint of heart) but, I always get a chuckle out of his humorously sarcastic content and the antics of a careless lifestyle. Honestly, he teaches me what not to do when searching for writer's motivation.


Give me a well stocked pantry, some fresh ingredients, a lit stove or grill, and stay out of my way! It's summer here in California and there's nothing better than throwing a nicely seasoned tri tip of beef on the grill along with sliced and olive oiled vegetables while the Idaho Russet Potatoes are baking in the oven. Invite a few friends over to share it with and you've got a party. When the leaves fall and winter begins, New England seafood chowder is my absolute favorite. It's like a lifetime of love in a bowl. Plenty of fresh shell fish coupled with a little salmon and don't forget the potatoes, onions, celery, bacon, rue, and cream at the very end. Top it off with freshly chopped parsley.


As far as I know it's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you can't take all that material "stuff" you've spent a lifetime acquiring with you when you die. I'm hoping the same doesn't ring true for interactions and experiences with friends, family, and loved ones. Even in my lowest, darkest moments of the past, there they'd be, trying to lift me up with encouragement and love. Without a trusted inner circle of friends and family, I'd be a wounded ship stranded in rough seas without a sail.


Some of you may argue that you in fact have the world's best son or daughter and I must be mistaken in my assumption. If you do, who can blame you? I honestly hope that all EC parents feel that way about their children. Over the last fifteen years of fatherhood, I've often wondered who's parenting and teaching who? Being a father is the most rewarding journey I've yet to embarked upon. My daughter achieves a 4.0 grade point average, can saddle up and ride a horse better than I ever could, and knows how to tell her fellow male classmates to keep their hands off of her. What more could a father ask for? Well, I guess I could ask for a little more time with her. At fifteen, she's gaining her independence and is often busy. They grow up way too fast.


California may be my home and I've been known (upon occasion) to proudly bleed the red, white, and blue colors of my dear old American Flag. When it comes to television channel selection, my tastes tend to take me "Across the pond" (idiom meaning across the Atlantic Ocean) to the land of double decker busses and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. My absolute favorite BBC hero is Doctor Who. He's a real wiz at saving the entire universe from complete destruction with a little blue time machine (bigger on the inside than the outside), a sonic device he refers to as a screwdriver, and a great big brain that's led by his two alien hearts.


In the beginning of this blog entry, I mentioned ice cream. With all ice cream being created equal (which it isn't), there really is only one flavor in my book, and that one is...


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Some of you may question the title of this latest entry. Incase you're wondering, "What makes you tick?" is an English expression (idiom) that loosely translates to mean, "What's your reason for living? What gives you motivation to wake up in the morning? What's your true passion in life and why?".

If the question were literally translated, I'd be writing about pre digital age mechanical clocks that make a "tick tock" sound. Honestly, and as far as I know, there's no antiquated time pieces that chose to join EC and become participating members of this site here. So, think deeply before responding. Yes, I wouldn't dream of posting a serious question without first sharing a few thoughts of my own. There's another old saying in my language that states, "You only get what you give". Before attempting to prompt your response, it's only polite to share "what makes me tick". I'll present it in a cliché like format that's been well used by more than one American writer and late night television comedian in my country. It's known as "THE TOP TEN LIST"...Honestly, my own list is written in no particular order according to personal preference. Some of what's listed may be conceived as being positive and inspiring to some, while others see it as a negative. That's where we as members of English Club must decide upon what we read and how it suits our own opinions, tastes, and cultural values. 

So without further ado, here's the top ten reasons for (or what makes me tick) why I choose to wake up in the morning and deal with what life has to offer on this rocky little planet called Earth.




Some may confuse religion with spirituality at times. They're often intertwined. To me, spirituality goes well beyond what the religion of your choice dictates and how you should behave according to it's dogmatic and often all powerful "suggestions". It's about who you are, the level of compassion felt for the person sitting next to you at any given moment, and how you deal with the interaction that may or may not come to the fruition based upon your own biasness. Either way, agreeing to disagree with someone who doesn't share your lifestyle, opinion, religious views, socio economic status, etc., while celebrating what you do have in common is absolutely priceless and worth more than it's weight in gold. If you don't believe what I've just written, do a bit of your own experimentation with an open mind while existing beyond the boundaries of your own neighborhood. The experience you encounter while following my suggestion may change your life profoundly.



A Big Day For My Family

I'm not quite sure what the horses or ex- wife (to my right) were thinking and it really didn't matter. What mattered is that the mother of my child and I came together (despite our irreconcilable differences) to support our daughter while she rode that pony and did her best.



Yeah, I admit it. That's a rather outdated image of "Old Slick Willy" (Bill Clinton) doing what he seemed to do very well during his regime while encountering a lapse in personal judgment. Americans can't resist a celebratory chuckle when seeing our elected officials endure a moment of personal weakness . In the years that followed, George Junior and the guy who can't seem to figure out what country he was born in (Obama) have made similar mistakes. To summarize, politicians from the U.S.A are scrutinized and closely watched by the public eye. Yet, the men and women in power are still human beings in their own right who've agreed to take the job while enduring it's occupational hazards. 

Regardless of our elected officials and their all too human flaws, America is a great country. It's citizens enjoy a great deal of freedom and personal liberties. I could go on explaining the blessings and occasional burdens of what the previous sentence entailed. In the interests of brevity, that'll be saved for a future posting. Please realize that America is a wonderful melting pot of many different cultures and ideas. Somehow, we've managed to exist and thrive for more than two centuries and I'm proud to call myself American.  



Opinions on humor will vary according to your local region, cultural boundaries, religious beliefs, and personal preference. Yet, laughter is essential to ones psychological health and well being. Even Sigmund Freud recognized this fact and had the ability to laugh.


We all wake up in the morning with a head full of plans or well thought out ideas on how our day should go. The more ambitious amongst us will jot down a few notes or make a list of our priorities. No matter how hard we try, "someone messes with our plan" during some point in our day. When that happens, are you able to laugh about it while recognizing that humanity is flawed? Or, do you take it far too seriously? I may have mentioned this infamous quotation to a few of you in previous commentary. But, to prove a point, I'll happily repeat it..."If you wish to make God laugh, make plans... If you want to make him hysterical, do your best to plan the outcome of the plans you've just made." No matter how serious or dark your current situation may seem, there's always room for humor. As far as I know, our creator didn't design us for constant misery. Laughing in the face of adversity is not always a good decision. Sometimes, personal issues require a serious attitude. Yet, when they don't (and someone is just trying to "JERK YOUR CHAIN"), finding a way to grow beyond your own selfish and idealistic pettiness while laughing, is priceless.




We're a divided lot at times. Often, what's happening "in our own neck of the woods" can take precedent over people half way around the globe and what's occurring in their lives. Thanks to social media (English Club included), we've been given the ability to reach out and meet people from around the world when our hectic schedules allow the time. Yet, when the clouds finally part in our own personal life and the moment allows, we get online. We choose to participate in main chat (or not), compliment a prolific blogger like Noaslspls, Dimas, etc. etc., learn English, experience others opinions, and grow as human beings. No matter what, humanity and all of it's splendor is fantastic.



Sorry, I lied. It wasn't really a top ten list. You've just received five reasons to write with a little fluff thrown on the end of it all (#6)... If you have the guts and courage to complete the prompt I've just presented, "my hat is off to you". What makes you tick? Can you write about or even express your feelings in plain English? If you can, please help me solve this mystery within the moral and ethical boundaries of this site. If I was forced to complete the list, I might mention food, music, work, local ambition, sex, etc. etc.












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Honestly, I could rant and rave regarding the problems of our global issues. As a somewhat educated person, who's occasionally traveled and seen different cultures, watched the evening news, and experienced a bit of what life has to offer, standing on a soap box and picking just one subject would be too easy. My opinion through all of those collective experiences and memories is deeply mine and not something to be shared in a blog posting for English Club.

To me, The World's Biggest Problem lies much closer to the heart and is more personal than an opinion regarding religion, politics, economics, environmental issues, etc. etc.

It'd be nice to stroke my own ego while claiming an original thought to prove a point. Still, that's not the case here. Someone else wrote something so profound and life changing (to me) that I thought it warranted sharing with the members of English Club. The language and content will be edited to protect the anonymity of the author and suit the purpose in which it was meant.

Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today. When I am disturbed, it's because I find some person, place, thing, or situation unacceptable in my life. I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it's supposed to be at any given moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept this fact, I could not find peace in my life. Unless I could accept life on life's terms, true happiness eluded me. Today, I need not concentrate so much in what needs to be changed in the world but what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.

In conclusion, all I can say is this, "The real world begins when you turn off the computer, step outside your own front door, and face what fate your maker has bestowed upon you. How you deal with that fate is entirely up to you".

The one thing all English Club members have power (while online) over is there own attitude. Please, use that power wisely. Whether you're a learner, teacher, or someplace in between, show passion for the English Language while realizing that you're not alone. English is a beautiful language. Often the boundaries of where we reside dictate who we chose to respond to or speak with. Fear can make that choice for us at times.

Perhaps The World's Biggest Problem is what lies in our own thought processes and how we react to outside individuals?

With all of that said and done, did you think to hug your mother, father, child, wife, husband, relative, best friend, etc. and tell them how much they meant to you before turning on your computer? Hopefully you did. There's an old English saying that states, "Charity begins at home". Before we can tackle the problems of the world, we must first address the pressing issues that elude us locally. Perhaps the World's Biggest Problem lies in the gray matter that sits between our own ears. That gray matter is called a brain. Please, use it wisely.





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I've been a member of English Club for about two years now. Anyone here WHO's ever met me knows that I'm a huge DR. WHO fan.

Some may ask why I'd chose such an eccentric fictional character as a dinner guest. He's not exactly notorious for having excellent table manners.

(Here he is eating with his hands. Although not depicted in this photograph, both elbows are obviously on the table.)


Others may wonder, "WHO the heck is Eric writing about"?


For those of you WHO've been hiding underneath a rock for the past fifty years, don't receive the BBC via satellite or cable, or just plain haven't heard of or don't care for science fiction, I'll give a brief explanation of the storyline and main character involved. In a "nutshell", Dr. Who is a thousand year old (give or take a year or two) alien or time lord from the planet Gallifrey.

Gallifrey dream by nokeek

He travels through space and time in a ship that's disguised as a mid twentieth century British Police Phone Box. The ship merely looks small from the outside. It's actually much larger on the inside.

(Yes, it's rather tacky décor for the "business end" of such a powerful ship. The Doctor isn't actually known for his modest tastes in interior decorating.)


Through his travels, the doctor encounters many significant and often dangerous threats from alien invaders that possess the ability to alter the reality of past, present, and future civilizations here on Earth or anywhere in the universe. Although his brand of genius can appear to be awkward and dim witted at times, he always wins the battle and saves the day. He never uses violence or a weapon to accomplish his goals. The only weapon he posses is his words. His command of the English Language always has more power than any gun, sword, or laser. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. He does carry one weapon like device. It's known as a sonic screwdriver. Unfortunately, it's frequently rather unreliable and usually has just enough power to open a door or pick a lock at a crucial point in the storyline.


Oh gosh! It was so much fun describing my would be dinner guest. I almost forgot Tara's challenge...


Dinner service would consist of several hundred choices of appetizers, salads, main courses, and deserts. Time lords can often be somewhat picky eaters and it's best to offer them many choices. More than likely, I wouldn't be in the mood to cook. Having such a well traveled dining guest in my presence would be far too distracting. A well fortified dinner buffet in a Las Vegas casino has the ability to meet the dietary requirements of kings, queens, and visiting dignitaries. Why not a time lord?  


Keep in mind that our good doctor has a time machine and we're in Las Vegas. Why not invite a few dinner guests to our table from Las Vegas' golden age of entertainment.

(Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra)

Now that I've described the scene and cast of characters in attendance, it'd truly be a pleasure to describe what would transpire with such an unlikely gathering. Unfortunately, there's an old saying in Las Vegas. "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"...Sorry, I've been sworn to secrecy!


Lucky for you, keeping secrets isn't exactly a strength of mine so I will share one tiny photo from the would be evening that may or may not have transpired.


(I gave the doctor fair warning in regards to the adult beverages being served with dinner. I told him not to try and keep up with Dean, Sammy, and Frank. Unfortunately, he enjoyed one too many martinis.)














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In the often "politically correct" language of American English, we sometimes exchange the word "fear" for the word "challenge"...

To many Americans, "challenge" just sounds better when motivating a good friend while encouraging them to face his or her "fears".

For a brief example, I'll give you two sentences. One is written in the negative context. The other contains the positive. Both are written upon the same subject.

Example 1 (Negative)

"Your own fears are stopping you from achieving the goals you've attempted to accomplish. What's taking you so long to complete the task"?

On a personal note. I can guarantee you the results will depict this posted image...

Example 2 (Positive)

"I see that you're enduring a few challenges while working under the constraints of time and a great deal of personal pressure. How may I help"?

This sentence may achieve greater results in the end...

In my opinion, we're all teammates here. The one word in the English language that combats the two words that were highlighted is this. Please, read carefully and decide which one best suits your own needs. I'll give you a hint, the most important and highlighted word is towards the bottom. :)

To all of my English Club teammates,

Please, take that challenge seriously while showing all of them your COURAGE.




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A Lesson Regarding Internet Humor (images included)...

Now that I've given you a bit a personal insight into my own sentiment, it's time to share a bit of light hearted humor...





FOR MY FEMALE CHAT PARTNERS...(I'm only a man... Here's my "best guess")...


All of my friends here deserve an Academy Award for their determination and desire to learn, write, and speak English...

By the way, if you're looking at that last posted pic and trying guess which one represents me, I'll give you a hint. I'm the fourth guy from the left...

To all of my friends, chat partners, and even those I haven't met yet; "Please, log into EC with a smile and good sense of international humor". It takes a few more facial muscles to form a frown rather than a smile and honestly isn't worth the effort...

If you understood what was written, I look forward to joining you in EC Main Chat while playing the roll of "Ron Burgundy". My own "Anchorman Attitude" will show up when the best of the "Channel 4 News Team Unites"...


May all of us log into EC while sharing our own unique sense of humor. Learning is always fun. You'll never know what can be learned during that magical moment of thought or inspiration until you press send...


 "Stay Thirsty My Friends"...

 This posting is dedicated to an old Russian friend of mine...

In conclusion, the moral of the story is this. When in main chat, wear your armor along with a smile. While learning English, you may meet an interesting person...



















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For The Sports Fans Of English Club

This is a story that involves an American sporting legend. Most of you that weren't born upon American soil have never heard of him. He wasn't an athlete in the traditional sense. He didn't become famous for his athletic efforts on a soccer field, baseball diamond, or American Football Field.

His name was Dale Earnhardt.

He grew up in the American Southeast. Kannapolis, North Carolina was his hometown.

His routes were forged through hard work, honesty, and a fantastic sense of humor. After a great deal of effort, he earned a seat in an American Stock Car.

"Old #3" drove his way to success. Nothing was given to him for free.

His fans referred to him as "The Intimidator". He was one of the most skilled and wily drivers that the sport ever knew. Dale had the ability to drive an injured racecar into "victory lane". During a typical race weekend, there were only two fenders left on the equipment he drove. Still, that old "Cheshire Cat" kept on grinning.

Most of you may ask, "why am I writing this story"? Sincerely, there's two reasons for doing so. The first reason is this. I met the him briefly upon two occasions. When the Nascar Circuit visited Northern California, I was lucky enough shake his hand while exchanging a few words with the man. What he said to me was rather sarcastic, yet very encouraging in 1993. The following year, I showed up to the same race track after becoming a fan of his. When we met again, he remembered my name. He jokingly referred to me as "Alfonso". (look up the meaning of the name on Wikipedia).

Reason # 2

February 18th marks the 13th anniversary of his passing. Dale died in a very misfortunate accident while doing what he loved. On the final lap of The 2001 Daytona 500, he was running third. The old man was busy guarding the rear bumpers of two cars that he cared most about. One of those cars contained his son. Dale Jr. finished 2nd that day. The car that he owned took the checkered flag. #15 finished first.

As a fan of American Auto Racing with very large memory and sense of humanity, this story just needed to be told. #3 would have done so if he was alive today.












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My own weekend was spent away from the computer while tending to local family matters. In reality, it looked nothing like this Norman Rockwell Painting depicted...

Freedom From Want.jpg

Upon returning to my online family here @ EC, many of your blog postings were read and appreciated by yours truly. Still, I couldn't help but notice some of the sentiment behind the authors' writings...

Freedom of Speech.jpg

Yes, "Freedom Of Speech" may be an American right that's guaranteed in The First Amendment to United States Constitution...

Great Seal of the United States

Often, I read the postings here and plea The 5th. Amendment to the above mentioned subject while doing my level best to encourage all of you...

That lawyer should've sported a lighter tint of spectacles while choosing his eyewear...

All of the good EC Members who write and create in the spirit of kindness have my support here...

Shaw, that one is for you my friend. I stole your concept that isn't protected under U.S. Copyright Laws and decided to return the favor because that's what good people do here on EC. The very best of us protect one another while encouraging creativity. English and it's sentiment can be interpreted in many different ways. How we say it, how we post it, will be read by many. Their opinion is uniquely their own. Please, keep on doing what you do very well to help this site thrive.

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An American Holiday

It's 1/19/2014 here in the U.S.

Tomorrow is a nationally celebrated holiday. Some of us take the day off. Our government offices, banks, and many other businesses observe it's historical impact. Tomorrow is MLK's birthday.

Most Americans have no idea of who Martin Luther King really was or what he stood for. To me, he's an icon that deserves praise, admiration, and respect for his accomplishments.

He lost his life while fighting for what he believed in. That's an admirable quality in my opinion.

Yes, I may appear to be a "Rural Northern California Hillbilly Redneck" at times. That last statement "couldn't be further from the truth".

Martin Luther King Jr NYWTS.jpg

Kindness, respect, and a dream, always carry a great deal of weight here on EC. Admiration goes beyond local, regional, or political boundaries.


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The good members here on EC do their "level best" to help learners while encouraging the spirit that resides within them.

"Catfights, romantic interest, and vendettas, have no place".

During my very brief time posting here, I've read many of your comments via blog or main chat. Some of those typed and very well pointed words have true purpose. A few of them don't.

My kindest advice would be this, "Write, type, and think, before pressing "SEND".

A well posted travelogue or sincere writing always speaks louder than words.

We're all human beings here with the same interests. How you use those brain cells while expressing a well composed thought will make the difference "between night and day".

Please, spread a little "sunshine". Most of you are smart enough to figure out what I've said.

Take care and never quit learning.







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The Mastery Of Spoken English.

The journey is never easy.

What we say and how we post our sentiment here on EC can often be misinterpreted by others from different beliefs and cultures.

To me, "It's always good".., A healthy respect for learners and non native speakers is a prerequisite when considering what's posted.

If Noas wishes to post a travelogue of her visit to Australia, if Mickey writes about "The Captain", if Shaw chooses to share his creative paintings..etc...etc..

Please, give them the creative freedom to do so. This site depends upon it.

"Friends come easy. True heart and creativity take a lifetime to master".

No one ever said this language was simple. Understanding it's sentiment is often difficult through texted messages. Dimas knows what I'm saying.

Please, be kind and respect the lives of others. A little love and admiration go well beyond your own ego.

You'll never know what's missed until you open your own eyes and decide to see things from a different prospective.


Consider your landing point before pressing "send"..Hopefully, the wind is blowing in your face upon impact.

The best of us here on EC unite and support one another. To me, that's what this site is all about.:)

P.S..."I look forward to your angry letters. A little lead in the pencil always takes priority over prevailing wind direction".

Keep writing my friends and never give up. All of you are have a voice here. Please, tune those ears wisely when receiving a heart felt message. The very best of us know how to land firmly on two feet.





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Happy New Year To All

When all is said and done, 365 days of existence is merely a blink in God's eye. Scientists try to prove and count the seconds while the faithful rest assured that time doesn't matter.

Whatever your opinion is regarding the subject, time still passes. We're all born with a sense of optimism and hope. Some of us grow into adulthood while raising children. A few choose other paths while pursing fantastic careers. Many are caught somewhere in between those two scenarios for a brief moment. In the end, does it really matter? Some may say yes while others disagree.

Regardless of the sound your local clock emits, please make 2014 a great year. That second you waste and disregard may have been the one that truly counted. Luckily, the sun will rise tomorrow for all of us. How we use that light and who sees it may make the difference between night and day. 

My hope for 2014 is to see all of you shine. According to scientists, there's another 4 billion years to ponder upon it. Our existence is limited to the reality of biology. That doesn't mean limitations apply.

Take care my friends and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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Twas The Night Before Chrismas Here @ EC

Twas the night before Christmas. The laptop was on. Should I hang stockings, trim the tree, or chat with some guy named John?

Old Saint Nick was circling my roof. Like a 747 pilot in a holding pattern over JFK, his jolly smile became quite aloof. My head poked out of a frosty window to ask, "What is the matter"? He replied,   "Airport traffic, shopping mall crowds, and disbelievers, make my red, furry suit want to shatter"!

I thought for a moment and suddenly shouted, "Put those reign deer down here, your ability is never doubted. The magic of Christmas is always alive. Here on EC, learners, native speakers, and teachers alike, all dream to thrive"!

The old man agreed to briefly land his sleigh. We enjoyed a bit of milk and cookies while Rudolf and his red nose said, "Santa, we're running late and must be on our way".

After a few exchanged words and a good humorous chuckle, his spirit was lifted like the belt on his buckle. Talking to a man from the North Pole is always a joy. Even the most industrious elf has difficulties when polishing that perfect gift or toy. Children, adults, even those somewhere in between, can rely upon his magic while sleeping, sight unseen.

Although our conversation was brief and never forgotten, he warned me to go to bed early, or next year, my name on his list would be "Rotten". His plea was heeded. My promise of secrecy to what was seen, not superseded.

In 2014, under my tree may see coal. If you understood the point of this Christmas poem, it's author achieved his goal.

A good, bad, or indifferent story should always be shared. The only ones who receive coal in their Christmas stockings are those who never dared.

Christmas, Ramadan, and Chanukah, may take away our attention. What's learned from that experience is always worth a mention.

From California, I wish you a Merry Christmas with cheers and delight. Happy Holidays everyone, and to all a goodnight.


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My native speaking tongue and best wishes have always been on this site to welcome new members and celebrate the "victories" when someone finally comprehends and gains the ability to communicate in this "CRAZY LANGUAGE" that we all call English.

Lately, the moderation has apparently scared a few people away from EC.

If I were Tara or Joe, my efforts would go out to sanctity of this site and what it stands for. If my English speaking skills were limited (while trying to convey my thoughts), perhaps the choice for another site may be appropriate when ulterior motives prevail amongst curiosity.

Either way, the best members will shine and always make a positive impact upon the learning community here.

Please, allow them to "work their magic" while having a bit of tolerance Tara..English isn't about corruption. It's a form of art that takes a lifetime of thinking and practice to master.;))

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This site was formed by some very courageous people who had a dream. As far as I can see, It's working for many English Learners. During my own short stay here, I've seen so much improvement in many of you regarding comprehension and speaking ability. A year ago, some of you could hardly form a proper sentence in English. Today, I see your posts in blogs and main chat and am so impressed.

Yes, I have a very sharp speaking"California Native Tongue" and always enjoy verbally jousting with those who have the courage to "suit up and show up". My own slang and idioms probably should've gotten me banned more than once. Still, the moderators seem to give me a very long leash when this "California Dog" is barking.

At times, I look at that left hand corner of my screen and see so many members who never write a word or show up in main chat. That makes me sad. 

Dimas, Helen, Grape, Vivi, Bassam, Mickey, and many others have showed the courage. That courage has paid off. They've learned the language quickly.

The point I'm trying to make is this, "You never know what will happen until you try".

Sometimes, your own personal courage must override that fear. That fear switch can always be pushed up to the courage setting. Then, the light will turn on and you'll have the ability to see what's sitting right in front of you.

Take care my friends.

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My Tribute To A Very Good Man

This story is somewhat late in it's posting because my own thoughts and emotions needed to compose it properly. Honestly, It should have written it more than a few days ago. At least it's still September.

Our good EC friend (Helen) inspired me to finally write it.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was awakening to a fresh cup of coffee and simply watching the news before the day's work began here in California. Suddenly, it was interuppted by breaking reports that New York City was exploding. The World Trade Center was under attack by two jets that just flew into them. I called my supervisor at work on his cell phone and told him. He said, "Eric, just stay home today and be safe my friend". We both skipped work that day with our eyes focused on the televison. Neither one of us knew what was happening and put our own family's safety first.

The news stories kept coming in and finally reported on the third and fourth aircraft hitting the Pentagon and then in Pennsylvania.

Here's where it the story gets personal.

In 1990, I was visiting New York City because my sister lived there at the time. We decided to splurge and visit a resteraunt that's located at the top of one of those "Twin Towers". It was called "Windows On The World" .The meal was pricey, but the experience was unbelievable while looking out those large windows. Not to mention, the food was fantastic.

While visiting the restraunt, I met one of the most amazing men. He was the maitre d during the dining experience and fantastic while performing his job ! Actually, I let my food get cold and followed him back into the kitchen for a tour. My own enthusiam regarding food and cooking simply got the best of me.

Mr. Hamandi was a very kind and generous man. When we walked out of the main dining area, He broke out of professional character while exchanging some very funny jokes with me. Most of which I can't mention on this site. My own 21 year old mind at the time struggled to match his much wiser intellect. A friend was made for life. Even though, our conversational exchange was brief.

On the morning of September 11th. 2001, the man lost his life while trying to save other people. In my opinion, he's a hero and will never be forgotten.

The moral of the story is this. You never know who you're going to meet or how they'll impact your own existence. Whether it be here on EC, or while traveling. I still mourn that man's loss and cherish the impression he made upon me. When I read the final death reports and saw that he was included, My heart sank.

Mr. Hamandi made a lasting impression on so many people. The question I often ask is, "Will I do the same?"..Hopefully, there's another 40 years left to solve that life long riddle. The man that treated me so kindly, so many years ago, accomplished his goal.

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A Recent Sighting Over The California Skies.

One night (a few months ago), I was sitting on my back porch and joking around with some of the EC members while posting. Most of you who know me well are aware of the fact that I'm not much of an English Teacher and simply enjoy chatting here while doing my level best to help out when time allows. Writing and being creative is a part time hobby of mine. Yet, this is a true story and I'm composing it in a serious manner.

Anyway,... These strange orange lights appeared on my southern horizon with a northern heading. They were flying high and looked very similar to a passing satellite by the time they flew over Northern California. No sound was heard out of them and they formed a "V" pattern (like flying geese). Several others also followed them in a random and single formation. They were out of the atmosphere and traveling at a high rate of speed.

I know what a satellite looks like in the night sky. These objects were orange. A satellite appears white while viewing it from the ground. There's so many of them floating around our planet. Most of them pass by in a random nature depending upon their orbit and the way the sun reflects upon them. The naked eye can spot them if you look up at the right time in the evening.

Norad and the United States Airforce reported very little on the subject.

I've even seen missles fired in the night sky during military test operations upon occasion. They emit a glowing tail behind them while in flight. All are well documented while being seen for hundreds of miles by everyone. I've witnessed them from my inland location while being fired off the coast by a naval ship while looking westward. I've even seen one in the night sky to my east. It probably was launched from a Nevada testing ground. Trust me, I've observed it all in this state during my 44 years of existence (when I was lucky enough to have my eyes on the night sky). These weren't missles. They simply don't fly in formation like that.

When I saw them, I thought I was crazy and needed to call my daughter outside to confirm what my own eyes were observing. Unfortunately, my own iphone video couldn't capture the moment properly. I'll post two tube videos filmed by someone else at the end of this writing.

My somewhat uneducated guess tells me these flying objects were United States "Black Budget" aircraft out for a military flying excercise. Perhaps the space shuttle was retired for a reason. 

If you read this blog addition, give me your guess or opinion on what you think they are. I'd appreciate the comment and honestly have no idea on what was seen. It's a mystery to me. When I was posting that night on EC, my laptop computer was momentarily dropped in amazement. This is was what I saw few moments later on the same date and from a different state. Still, they must have been the same objects. It was a very clear April night here. By the time I saw them, they'd gained altitude. Luckily, I was outside posting to all of my friends here and witnessed this. Unfortunately, I didn't have the courage to tell this story until now. Still, so many people in my region saw these objects and thank God for the internet.

Take a look at this one as well.  

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One More Creative Writing From My Past

Note from the Author: This piece was written during a very dark and sad time of my own life. It represents the joy of optimism. One of my favorite English Club friends is enduring some personal tragedies and it inspired me to finally post it. In my opinion, "The sun will always rise tomorrow and life is what it is.". Please never give up on the true love of life. It's well worth the struggle and effort.

My Elusive New Star 

Not long ago, I sat on a distant hillside near my home after a long night of battling personal demons.

Facing the East and awaiting the sun's rising instilled enough hope within me to live another day.

Unexpectedly, an unfamiliar and strange light appeared upon the horizon. The sun wasn't due to rise for at least an hour.

To my amazement, an unfamiliar and faint glow manifested itself into a newly born star.

Was I the first fortunate sole to witness this miracle? Whom am I to say, and who cares? All I can say is, my own eyes were fortunate enough to see it.

The following morning, I sat on that same familiar hillside to re-live yesterday's past experience.

Sadly, an approaching storm nearly shattered the experience. Before the rain fell, I caught a glimpse of what was seen during the previous early morning.

The sky finally unleashed it's fury for many days. Would the clouds ever relent? Where was my newly born star?

On the seventh stormy day, the clouds finally parted and the sky became clear again.

I cautiously approached my all too familiar hillside while awaiting past pleasure.

To my amazement, that same and brilliant, newly born star once again rose in the East.

The light shined upon me was somewhat different than the first early dawn that we met, although, it was even brighter than before the storm.

To my good English Club friends,

English is such a wonderful language. As I always say, "Learn it, earn it, and love it.".

P.S. here's a great song that inspired me to write again. It's a bit of a hard edged song, yet, it was posted for one of my favorite members.

Take care all!!!!

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If A Tree Falls In The Forest...

There's a basic philosophical question that the English language has often pondered upon at times. Perhaps it's been translated to many of your own languages. "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?".

I though it'd be a fun and lighthearted subject to put a comedic twist on (Just in time for the weekend).

Of course you can always Google the question. There's even one site that answers it with comedy. Most of the comments are rather dry and obscure for this man's humorous taste.

I'll start off with my own addition. Feel free to add any of your own ideas. Please try not to think too deeply and just write out the first thought that comes to mind.

Here's mine.

If a man is running through the forest alone and he trips over a root while falling flat on his face, do the trees all break out in laughter? The man may have heard the sounds of laughter. Whether he did or didn't, not a word of the experience is spoken about upon returning home. No on would believe his story!

Have fun with that one my friends.

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Just An Interesting And Somewhat Original Quote.

Not long ago, I attended an office meeting that consisted of mainly male associates. There was a younger partner who had the floor and was speaking from a place where the sun doesn't shine (anatomically speaking). About half way through his presentation, I woke up and saw the mood his words were creating around the room. Believe me, it wasn't a pretty sight. Usually, I sleep during these boring quarterly meetings. God knows what inspired this native speaker to stand up and utter the words that came out of my mouth. For the most part, I'm a quiet man during the work day and tend to mind my own business while getting the job done. The verbiage can only be attributed to some of the great "one liners" that I've discovered by conversing and posting with many of the fantastic learners here on EC over the past year.

Here's the quote, "Reality talks and verbal manure walks. What's left behind is just a pile of mental debris, bones, and ashes. When a strong wind comes along, many of the lighter particles from the the previously mentioned topic are carried off into the breeze. The remains make an excellent fertilizer for a new spring garden. What seeds will you plant with such a valuable commodity?".

That statement will now be printed and posted on my supervisor's office wall. Of course the language was cleaned up to pass this moderated site's policies.

Thank you EC learners for giving me the inspiration to stand up and speak the truth. Even native speakers and part time teachers have a great deal to learn here.

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