Several times since January of 2022 my sister and Mom explicitly urged me to getaway, to take a 4-5 night break away from my 24/7 Caretaking of Mom. She is 82-years old with severe Stage-6 Dementia. By March 31st it was so obvious to myself, to Mom, and especially my sister that I badly needed a break. Mom added, in her usual sharp wit, and said “I need a break as well, from you! It won’t just do YOU good Dwain!”
Mom was right. We had been getting on each other’s last frazzled nerves for several weeks. I soon texted and called a few of my close friends in Dallas to tell them I was coming up one weekend in April. Just planning the trip was quite reinvigorating, I hate to say. No offense Mom. But 4-5 nights just for me? Oh yeah! Where do I sign? Plus, my friends got excited, one in particular: my all-time best friend of near 25-years. Literally like a brother to me. His name? James, James E. Allen III, and he was my one and only closest male friend. Then a situation happened.
On the weekend-Sunday prior to my arrival in Dallas the following Thursday, James informed me he would have to have Quadruple Bypass Surgery and Heart-valve Replacement April 27th, the day before I arrive. My entire “Getaway” plans just changed, drastically. No longer was my trip going to be ALL fun and relaxation, especially with the main character (James) not being readily free and available as planned. Before this medical news, we had already decided to do several of our favorites things together: watch the Dallas Mavericks basketball playoff games as well as the Dallas Stars hockey playoff games together at two-three of our favorite bars. Chunk all those plans out the window now. He would be in a hospital bed my entire trip.
If you would like to read much more extensive details of my trip and the events surrounding James, my dearest friend, go here: Further details.
∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼
Tuesday morning, May 3rd, 2022. James coded 2-3 more times during the night and wee-hours, Erin texted me. James wasn’t doing well, she said. He can barely squeeze your hand/fingers.
About 1:45pm Erin told me it was all just too much for his body. He had passed away. When I got off the phone, I broke down. My closest friend was gone, my only dearest male friend. He and I would never again talk for hours about sports, mostly his two favorite: American football and basketball. We also shared and confided everything about ourselves with each other. We laughed more than we deserved together because each other’s wit made us. And our sometimes clumsy brain-farts and bad decisions cracked us both up. We knew our best and our intimate worst parts, and yet never wavered in our loyalty to each other, through the best of times and times of pure hell. James was a dependable brother to me like no other guy I’ve ever known. Life will not be the same without him.
James E. Allen, III: b. August 10, 1970 — d. May 3, 2022.
I will miss you terribly brother for the rest of my days. There’s another empty void now in my life, as well as one for many others. RIP James.
Fair warning to all readers and my Followers who might get uncomfortable or nauseated when a man gets sappy, romantic, and emotional. I am about to bear my heart and soul as if this were my private journal. BEWARE you anti-romantics, you cold-hearted corpses and anti-passionates to uncontrollable love! I am getting this off my chest, out of my heart and head… and out there for the world to read. I don’t care one way or the other what comes of it because THIS is therapy for me!
My Ridiculous Obsession with Fiery Passion
Beginning in 2002 those were three principles (at the top) I began living by no matter what. I have tried to maintain the courage they require every day and every night. To mean it and live it in their purest and most honest form. They are sometimes intense, and they are frank (perhaps blunt? overwhelming?) emotions from a man and his lifestyle that can make some uncomfortable and others liberated. In some cases reborn and other cases scared shitless. Either way I live my life deeply, sucking out as much marrow as possible as Henry David Thoreau wrote. For me, it is the best way to live and only way to live fully. This is one of those times.
The last two or three weeks I have suffered once again the crushing abandonment of a remarkably special heart, mind, and soul. Unfortunately, she became overwhelmed by the purest, rawest, most honest, wide open, liberating energy she had ever experienced. Her words. After three years she freaked out, unable to reconcile me with her previous life and so slowly withdrew in utter fear.
Safe mediocrity is a powerful, hypnotizing, binding influence on some, especially if children are involved. However, there is a side to rare, atypical passion and love that is not shown, hidden from children, to their (lifetime?) detriment. It’s terribly sad. How else will they recognize atomic, re-energizing love, passion, and commitment if their own parents don’t live it and model it in pure raw honesty? I am baffled by this. Timidness puzzles me when it comes to life’s beautiful experiences. It is one of humanity’s most enduring connections. Why be so scared to let it happen and let it fill you!?
Alright, alright, you may be asking what am I really talking about? I’ll tell you. Some people and friends can’t fathom what I am describing here. They might be too afraid that a human connection can feel like a hypnotic drug. But that isn’t all of it. For me, when intense soul-mate/twin-flame chemistry is choked, drowned, repressed, or removed it feels like the most insurmountable betrayal and ripping-out of life’s marrow one can ever hope to experience. It’s a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. But I know freak-outs, for whatever reason, are always based in fear. Fear that is fabricated like the Great Wizard of Oz behind his green curtain. Ironically, everyone survives in the end and life goes on.
Because I have less and less fear, and more and more courage to travel this crazy, rocky love-road of a minefield and have done it a number of times, each time gaining more wisdom and more boldness, more confidence, I can keep being exactly, unabashedly who I am! It gets easier each time. When things take an unexpected leap off the cliff, it’s okay. I’ll be fine. Why? Lord Tennyson answers with profound perfection:
“‘Tis better to have loved [fully] and lost than never to have loved [fully] at all.”
—Lord alfred tennyson
Truer words have never been uttered or written. As we’d sometimes repeat in the world of athletic competition, you can’t become a world-class footballer (soccer) while sitting on the bench or spectating in the stands. You must get in the game! You’ll win some and you will lose some, but you will improve every time. Maybe, just maybe you’ll become world-class if you are a Starter each game, every season, and not quit, and keep learning, keep improving. That’s the only way you become world-class—without fear or self-doubt.
When I first “fell in love” 1980 Halloween night, I was 17-yrs old and felt like the world was my oyster and I had found my precious pearl. Yes, seventeen years very young and so very inexperienced.
Wow, did I have a boat-load to learn!
There is a large difference between self-confidence bordering on audacious, and refined wisdom and eloquent technique gained through honest hard lessons and precision refinement, let me tell you. At seventeen—well hell, even 18 through 30 years of age—I was about as smooth, refined, and romantic as Pepé Le Pew the deluded eccentric skunk of Warner Brothers cartoon fame.
Now over 40-yrs later I have actually come a very, very long way to exquisite refinement in matters of amore, if I can say so myself and generally have all my Ladies, past and present, also chime in. With no doubt, in the Game of Amore, I am certainly not “on the bench!”
Those three above initial quotes at the very top are the only way one has a chance of finding their true, natural soul mate(s), in my opinion and experience. It is not reckless. It is not insanity. It is simply honest and raw. It is about accepting the fact that people YOU LOVE fully without fear will hurt you, intentionally and unintentionally. That’s life. That’s human nature. The real question is how will you learn from it, how to keep living, keep loving fully better, learning to fail better at times, and keep moving forward with courage, staying true to yourself without flinching… every single time. That’s how you live Tennyson’s words and those above quotes.
But enough about my abilities, understanding matters of the heart and libido, and vast experience gained. Let’s get to the Greatest Love Stories, shall we? Or at least those stories on cinematic celluloid.
Here are my Top Four Love Stories on film:
#4 — Silver Linings Playbook (2012):
#3 — Her (2013):
#2 — Out of Africa (1985), sorry, ignore the subtitles:
#1 — About Time (2013):
There are several other scenes I absolutely adore and crack-up about in this exceptional love movie and seizing the moment, seizing the present invitations for the fullest life led and sucking its marrow out completely. But I reluctantly and happily chose the single above scene. There’s at least 4-5 more great, profound scenes. But oh well.
What are your four all-time favorite, Greatest Love Stories… on film or in literature? Share them below.
Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often – Learn Always
Today me and my family have much to be grateful for in spite of so many recent events in our lives and country. Hence, on this day we enjoy the company of loved ones, laughing together, remembering all the good shared, missing those who in leaving this life took a part of our hearts with them. Together in gratitude we listen to music (two songs) befitting our mood and fortunes.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all with warmest wishes from the Miller-Strange family.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
This will (hopefully?) be one of my shortest blog-posts in a long while. Yeah, yeah, I can hear some of my regular Followers laughing, Pffft-ing, rolling their eyes, and tossing bouquets of flowers to me on stage for my acting/writing performance of not just lying through my teeth, but flowering me about my illusions of grandeur thinking I could actually write a brief, quick blog-post. Touché. You might win. But I’m going to try. Show your kind approval and praise if I pull it off, will ya? 😉
Yesterday evening I put in a pickup order at a nearby taco-texmex restaurant that is literally 130-yards away from my complex. It’s quick and easy. It’s also a fairly popular mid-range, affordable, family restaurant chain. I was about 5-10 minutes early picking up my dinner (6:00pm). While waiting at the counter, grabbing some lime-wedges to go with my delicious Modelo Negra beers at the self-serve drinks, ice, straws, napkins, etc, wall a STUNNING curly-haired blonde, hair up in a twisty, tight black shorts, summer cork heels, and tight black halter-top, no bra because she was quite endowed and full in the bust-size… walked by, out the front door, past the two gentlemen outside with their survey-stand—for the restaurant or the strip-mall, I wasn’t sure—who couldn’t stop gawking at her as she went by and stepped into her parked navy blue or black Jeep Cherokee for something. I thought she was leaving.
Nope, after about 30-40 seconds she got out and walked back into the restaurant, by the two men again, and down the long walkway in the middle of booths/tables, and to the back near and across from the men’s and women’s restrooms. She rejoined her equally stunning dark brunette lady-friend(?) or dinner companion. She stood up, my breathing paused, and was wearing a skin-tight workout, black with blue accents (in “key places”) shorts and spandex top, also accentuating her model-esque voluptuous physique. Yes, needless to say OR to expound upon they were both hubba-hubba. Your powers of deduction are correct reading what I’m explicitly and implicitly saying and can continue on your own! I mean, everyone in the restaurant would watch them as they moved around, especially the men, much longer than the women inside, patrons or staff. I tried to not be obvious. HAH!
Within 1-2 minutes of those Lookers rejoining each other at their back booth, a young man, say late twenties, early thirties in a tight workout tank-top showing off his finely sculpted neck, shoulders, biceps, triceps, tatted-up, and most likely well-defined abs underneath walked across the entire glass window-front of the taco eatery, pulled open the door and entered. I thought to myself as I watched him, “Is there a gym, yoga, boxing club in this strip-mall?“ No, of course not. The entire strip-mall, every single place of business was already leased. Has been for a long time. Then, instead of walking through the ordering or pickup line as I had done, that very buffed man, glued to his cell-phone as he walked by outside and now inside… went straight to the back where the two super hawt women were sitting. They began to chat, quietly, as if they had been friends for years.
Ahhh, then it all clicked. Everything made sense.
I chuckled at myself and did a mental pat-on-my-back for NOT being glaringly obvious I was taken by and intrigued(?) by the blonde I had seen first. Okay, VERY intrigued. When I was in my youth, I would have been a very gullible, horny Neanderthal boy. I readily admit it. But many life-lessons of love and eros—often not simultaneously I should confess—have since paid off for me. Saved me in some instances. Plus, at my heightened age and wisdom now, I have learned and mastered my healthy, jacked-up blood-flow that once emptied my cranium and flooded south, engorging my groins, thus incapacitating my broader, smarter, more patient cerebral cortex while ignoring the opposite, more primal creative fun cortex, which seemed to be way south. Today, these random encounters of thick eros oozing everywhere, no longer have the kryptonite impact on me they once possessed. It all strokes my ego a tiny bit, makes me proud of my maturity and wisdom presently! It’s damn near foolproof—but I’ve also learned “Never say never.“
As I walked out of the restaurant with my food and beers back to my residential complex, one of the earlier gentlemen outside the door there (in his 40’s or so) looked at me, I acknowledged him chuckling and said:
“I’ve rarely witnessed “female solicitation” that was so blatant, let alone when their “business manager” walks in and doesn’t bother to be discreet, glued to his phone, and sits with his two staffers, workers, I’ll say Courtesans, and all three of them pretend they own the restaurant.”
The surveyor gentleman replied “Yeah, blatant for sure, huh? It’s the oldest profession in history.“
I laughed in agreement and returned a similar sentiment:
“Yep, and not that I have ever thought prostitution should be illegal. It shouldn’t at all! One way or another, we all pay for what we want; monetarily and otherwise.”
He laughed and we parted ways. I heard him say from around the corner “Ain’t that true!“
Here’s my rub on life’s most ancient profession—the genders, orientations today don’t matter. Many people are more than willing to throw down loads of cash, credit, assets, emotional investment, whatever it is for that long-term, mid-term, or short-term feeling, dopamine fix all the time. Neurologically human nature will not change for many a millenia. But today, in a conservative, semi-pious or hyper-uptight pious society? There are pros and cons any way you examine it.
Legally, under our county/state marriages and family law, it costs us an insane amount, much more on all levels than you could imagine!!! That might be just fine, but it doesn’t disprove my intimate understanding of human eros and love. Some romantic relationships are great investments with very acceptable ROI’s. Others? Eh, not so much. And some are down right horrific, nasty, and disastrous in divorce court—children aside or not. Am I right or am I very right? Perhaps it is time for human society to evolve more? Be stronger and know we can learn from mistakes of the heart, mind, and the libido, huh? 😉 😛
I welcome any and all feedback, as usual. Just remember, good etiquette and be a little open-minded. A GREAT sense of humor is most definitely encouraged!
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
Just like as in a nest of boxes round,
Degrees of sizes in each box are found:
So, in this world, may many others be
Thinner and less, and less still by degree:
Although they are not subject to our sense,
A world may be no bigger than two-pence.
Nature is curious, and such works may shape,
Which our dull senses easily escape.Margaret CavendishOf Many Worlds in This World
There are a number of Earth’s animals, great and small, that care for each other. They seem to have feelings for the welfare of another. They demonstrate an innate behavior to protect their own as a whole rather than and possibly at the demise of themselves. In human terms this is called compassion, empathy, courage, altruism, love, and other inspiring virtues. In scientific terms it is known as eusociality and forms of superorganism behavior. In other words, the greater good of the whole is far greater than the one. Feel free to enjoy the accompanying music while viewing the slides of animal compassion, empathy, and selflessness and our planet’s sheer beauty:
There is an enormous goldmine of virtues to be learned and modeled by these animals and how they treat each other and other species.
OF VANITY AND LOATHING
There is one species on Earth that often regards and treats its own atrociously, let’s say by a form of cannibalism, but also treats its environment, its one and only home, nay even its own kitchen table—their food/water sources, their limited medicine cabinet, and the very air they must breath—with astounding naivety. As such, they carelessly risk their own offspring’s and their future offspring’s very home too in spite of evolving to astonishing levels of intellect. This one species for decades, no, no… centuries has persisted blindly and stubbornly in insatiable consumption, neglecting and biting the hand that feeds it, and with a bottomless amount of vanity. It has too often chosen ignorance or denial, prejudice or violence, and a habit of lethargy to change little, if anything, about its direction. Judging by its historical record it would seem this “superior species” is the epitome of self-defeating obesity leading to self-inflicted extinction. My accompanying tune and tribute to this brilliant, yet endangered species and slideshow:
WARNING — Some images are graphic and disturbing. Discretion advised.
After some 100,000 years of human “civilization,” is it time our species rethink its priorities and values, perhaps overhaul them completely? Is it time we stop exploiting, trashing, destroying, and ignoring our living kitchen that sustains all life on Earth, let alone our own kind? When will it be too late? How much business as usual becomes bankrupt, no more business, ever?
Most likely that deadline is much sooner than you think. Agree? Disagree? Indifferent?
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Love More