Oscar Drama. Words. Opportunity. Rule Changes. Quote This. Taylor.

Thankful For Lady Gaga. English As A Second Language. Opportunity Knocks. The NFL Is At It Again. Being Authentic. A Tribute To Taylor.

  • In last week’s post I mentioned how put off I have been with award shows, and that due to the grandstanding of attendees and award winners, I would not watch last Sunday night’s Academy Awards. The Oscars are regarded by many as the most prestigious and significant awards in the entertainment world, with award-winners being honored for their artistic and technical merit in the film industry.

I did not watch the Will Smith-Chris Rock incident until sometime last Monday. I am not downplaying the seriousness of the incident…to me a criminal act of battery, but how sad for this once glamorous award show now diminished to one of personal mockery. In fact, Smith’s behavior overshadowed an Oscar presentation to Samuel L. Jackson. Despite Jackson’s illustrious career, and being the highest grossing box office actor of all time, with over $27 billion worldwide, the 73-year-old had never received an Oscar, until last Sunday night.

Chris Rock’s joke about Smith’s wife was not necessary and may have been a bit over-the-top, but what right did Smith have in leaving his seat, walking up on stage, and slapping Rock during a live broadcast? Was this incident fueled by the over-sensitivity of men these days, fueled by the ‘woke’ madness that has integrated itself into every thread of this country? Can you imagine this same shameful reaction from a studio audience watching and listening to Richard Pryor, Don Rickles, or Rodney Dangerfield? Will Smith: how about taking a step back, understanding that you are nothing more than an entertainer, and do something positive for the Academy. Or, with more relevance, support a former entertainer who is now the President of a sovereign country under attack from Russia.

The optics were and still are so bad for the Academy Awards, but thankfully the presentation from Liza Minnelli, supported onstage by Lady Gaga, brought some real significance and dignity back to this awards ceremony.

Liza Minnelli is among a rare group of performers awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

  • I had an interesting discussion last week regarding the English language. Many people around the world speak English as a second language, and most people who learned the language as their second (or third) have reminded me that English is not easy to learn. After a quick look-up, English has more phonemes than most languages, and an unusual amount of vowel sounds (11). There are an estimated 172,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary with the average active vocabulary of an adult English speaker around 20,000 words. Without thinking too long, using Google, or a dictionary, answer the following regarding the English language:
  • What is a phoneme?
  • What is the shortest sentence in the English language?
  • Provide three examples of words that sound alike but are spelled differently (homophones).
  • Name three words where the rule “I before E except after C” does not apply.
  • What is a plural noun that does not end in ‘s’?
  • What is one word that looks exactly the same, but with different meanings and pronunciations?

I have been told that English is not always easy to learn – as a native speaker I cannot imagine the trials and tribulations people deal with learning English as a second language. Some of us may take the English language for granted, but learning the language and its anomalies, including the number of contranyms imbedded in the language, is sometimes overwhelming. Yes, I said contranyms.

  • A past contributor to JustMyTake provided his perspective on the subject of ‘opportunity’. Thank you Chris A., for your very powerful and relevant content:

When I am on the NC Coast, I go to church in Southport, NC. The priest there is a Vietnamese man. When I first started attending, it was very difficult to understand him. Over the years, he has worked hard at his delivery. Now, I can understand every word and it turns out, he is quite a wise, thoughtful person.

He writes an article in the bulletin each week. Below is one from last year that I saved. I’ve had a few recent events that made me revisit it. For me, when I was younger taking advantage of opportunities usually meant career. As I get older, it’s about relationships … family & friends.

Taking Advantage of Your Opportunities
“In the days before modern harbors, a ship had to wait for the tide before it could make it to port. The term for this situation in Latin was “ob portu”, that is, a ship standing over against port waiting for the moment when it could ride the turn of the tide to the harbor.
The English word “opportunity” is derived from this original meaning. The captain and the crew were ready and waiting for that one moment, for they knew that if they missed it, they would have to wait for another tide to come in.
You may remember one of the most famous passages of William Shakespeare:
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune:
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries
On such a full sea are we now afloat:
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
We tend to think of “opportunity” as something that lies in the distant future. We dream of all that we could do and be if only given a chance. At the same time, opportunity knocks at our door every day that we live, with every breath that we draw.
What opportunity do you plan to take advantage of?”

  • To: Danny, Aaron, Anne, Annica, Art, Becky, Ben, Brendan, Bob, Bret, Chris, Cody, Daniel, Darren, Dave, Doug, Gary, Jason, Jeff, Jen, Jim, Joe, John, Jon, Kay, Kelley, Kirt, Les, Mario, Mark, Marty, Matthew, Nick, Pat, Pete, Peter, Phil, Rhonda, Richie, Rick, Salvatore, Samir, Sarah, Steak, Steve, Steven, Tom, Tracy, Wes, and Yvonne, and anyone else I may have missed who would have interest in chiming in on the NFL Competition Committees’ proposed rule changes. There a few proposed rule changes that are interesting, but this one is eye-opening: Make field goals 55 yards or longer worth four points. While it sounds like fun and adds some new math to the game, I have this bizarre thought in my mind with this scenario:

The Indianapolis Colts, now led by quarterback Matt Ryan, have the ball on the Atlanta Falcons’ 37-yard line, and it is third down and 16. Instead of running a positive play to pick up a first down, Ryan takes the snap, steps back a yard, and takes a knee, downing the ball at the thirty-eight-yard line. The Colts now line up for a field goal, with the ball now at the thirty-eight, plus the 7 yards where the holder sets up, plus the 10 yards with the goalposts on the end line. The Colts’ field goal kicker now lines up a 55-yard field goal attempt worth FOUR points. Am I missing something, or did I just describe a negative yardage play that yields the offense a chance for four points over three by losing a yard? Call me crazy, but to me that is strange. Note: there were more than eighty field goal attempts from 50+ yards in last year’s NFL season.

  • Shakti Gawain is a pioneer in the field of personal development. A best-selling writer, for over twenty-five years she has authored books on the subject, selling over ten million copies. I have only read random samples of her work, but this quote on living authentically is one that I really enjoyed reading:

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”

  • The tributes to the late Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins continue to pour in. Last weekend, Elton John performed in Des Moines, Iowa, and provided this heartfelt tribute and incredible version of one of his many great songs.
RIP Taylor Hawkins.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

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