Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | May 15, 2012

Now on The Huffington Post

Read Lawrence D. Elliott at The Huffington Post

Read my articles and opinions at The Huffington Post:

The Internet newspaper with over 28 million readers.

Click here NOW to read my stories at The Huffington Post

Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | January 23, 2013

The Huffington Post: Furlough From Heaven

Lawrence D. Elliott - The Huffington Post - Furlough From Heaven

Imagine you literally died and went to heaven. After your first hundred years of enjoying the peace and tranquility of the place, the Lord pays you a visit. He puts his hand on your shoulder and says, “You’ve been a good little angel. I’d like to grant you a special privilege.”

“Wow!” you exclaim. “What is it, Lord?”

“I’ll grant you one day on Earth. You can go wherever you like. Do whatever you want. See whatever sites you can fit into 24 hours.”

Here’s my question for you:

What would be the first thing you’d do?

Click here to read more at The Huffington Post.

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | December 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Pie in Germany? Still FREE Christmas Collection at Amazon

Sweet Potato Pie in Germany? Yes!

Get your FREE copy at Amazon NOW!

There’s still time to get your FREE copy of   “Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life”, but it will end on December 25, 2012, at 11:59 PM, so don’t wait! All dates and times are Pacific Standard Time.

The first story is titled “Our Christmas of 1971″ and is about the first Christmas he and his family experienced after being homeless that same year.

The next story, titled “Unexpected Guests”, was first published in the book A Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas in 2007. It’s about a Christmas Eve the author spent in Germany with a young German couple in 1981, while serving in the United States Air Force. Their kindness never left his heart.

The third story is titled “Hands”. It’s a different kind of a holiday tale. It shows how the curiosity of a child reminded him of how we are all different, yet similar in many ways.

The final story is titled “Sweet Potato Pie for Christmas”. It shows how different cultures can come together in harmony, in spite of those differences.

As Lawrence explains, “These Christmas stories are moments that helped shape my understanding of the true meaning of the season.”

Get your copy NOW and please feel free to leave a review at Amazon.com.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | December 7, 2012

When in Germany…

"Knigge" were  the rules of manners in Germany

Is “Knigge” dead?
“Knigge” were the rules of manners in Germany. Many women believe it died when they became more liberated in the mid-1970′s. Either way, it’s seems DOA.

Back home in America, I’ve always seemed to be the outcast. In many groups, I’ve been the only black guy. I make some people uncomfortable because I don’t know how to “stay in my place”.

In my own predominantly black neighborhood, I was an outcast there, too. I was often seen as “too white”. And when folks heard I was taking German in high school, the comments came!

“Brothas’ ain’t supposed to speak German!”

“Man, you really trying to go white, ain’t you?”

“German?! Negro please!”

When I’d tell people I’m a writer, they just couldn’t grasp that concept, no matter what their color. One person even told a group of people, whom we’d just met, “This is Lawrence. He thinks he’s a writer.”

Yeah, after being published in 8 books, I’ve fooled a few publishers into believing my BS, too,

There’s this wonderful story I heard many years ago. Perhaps you’ve heard it, too. There are a number of versions floating around the Internet, but this is the one I know:

The Parable of the Poisoned Well

There once was a wise king who ruled over a vast kingdom. He was feared for his might and loved for his wisdom. In the heart of the kingdom, there was a well whose waters were pure and pristine from which the king and all the inhabitants drank. When all were asleep, an enemy entered the kingdom and poured seven drops of a strange liquid into the well. And he said that henceforth all who drink this water shall become mad.

All the people drank of the water, but not the king. And the people began to say, “The king is mad and has lost his reason. Look how strangely he behaves. We cannot be ruled by a madman, so he must be dethroned.”

The king grew very fearful, for his subjects were preparing to rise against him. So one evening, he ordered a golden goblet to be filled from the well, and he drank deeply. The next day, there was great rejoicing among the people, for their beloved king had finally regained his sanity.

This story is a greatly illustrates the dangers of nonconformity and it sums up my life perfectly. People love you when you fit into the box they’ve built for you. But the moment you don’t, they look down their noses at you. To them, you’re some sort of freak to be shamed and ostracized.

Here in Germany, it’s no different. After all, they’re people, too. Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of the German people have been in nice to me. However, to many folks, I’m an African with average language skills and strange habits. (For some reason, African is the first thing that pops into their head. American never doesn’t.)

I get absolutely wonderful looks when I pull out a chair for a woman or open a door and allow the woman to enter before me. And when I put on her coat…wow! It’s like I was standing in the room naked. They think I’m strange or I’m some sort of B.E.N.

It’s just not done here very often, at least not the areas I’ve been. One evening, I sat in a restaurant and counted. Out of thirty accompanied women, only two men helped a woman on with her coat. One of them was me.

One guy put his coat on, went to the door, and waited impatiently as his partner struggled to put her coat on. He even looked at his watch, as his demeanor betrayed his thoughts:

“Will you hurry? I don’t have all night!”

But the saddest thing about it is the women have grown so accustomed to it. To them, it’s normal. I’ve pulled out the chair for a woman, only to have her sit in one next it. Afterward, she looked up at me as if to say, “What are you waiting for. Sit down so we can eat.”

One winter day, a woman was taking out a bag of trash and it broke open. The contents were all over the sidewalk. She bent down to pick everything up as not a single passerby stopped to help. And most were men. When I came over to help her, she wore a shocked expression. She couldn’t believe it. She thanked me.

Okay, not every American guy is like me. I know this. American women can attest to this. But it seems like the lack of gentleman skills here have been kicked into overdrive. I once watched a woman walk out of a grocery store in the pouring rain carrying her items in her arms as her husband sat comfy and dry in the car. In Germany, if you don’t bring your own grocery bags, you generally carry your purchases to your car in your arms. But her dear, sweet husband…he let his poor wife do a balancing act on her way to the car. But no worries. The love of her life did push the door open from inside. Unfortunately, he was such a wimp, it took him three tries to get it open wide enough for her get in.

And there was the time when a German guy showed me what he does when he wants his wife to get him another beer. He just snaps his fingers. By the way, this wasn’t an old guy. This dude was under thirty!

And there’s the ingenious practice some men use to notify their wives when their beer supply needs to be replenished. Taped to the wall behind the bottles of their favorite brew is a note:

“If you can read this, you need to buy more beer.”

Warning: Guys, DO NOT try this in the US, especially those of you in my native Southern California. You might find a special note taped to the wall above your bed: “If you can read this, you need to use your hand.”

note-if-you-can-read-this

I once tried to assist a woman who walked down a steep, winding set of stairs holding a tray full of food. All the other men just stood there and watched. I, like an idiot, went over and offered to help. She looked at me and asked, “Why?”

“Why?” I thought. “Because I’m not interested in watching you fall and bust your ass!”

Perhaps my life would be easier if I were like the King and I drank for the poisoned well. Countless times

I’ve been given the shop-worn advice of, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.”

Hmm…when in Germany, do as the Germans?

However, my mom gave me different advice. “You have to be who you are. You couldn’t live with yourself if you didn’t.”

I smiled. Then she added, in a way for which she’s always been known:

“But if you do as those German men do, you leave it there in Germany when you come home.”Nope! I think I’ll drink from my own well. It’s safer. Snapping my fingers at my mom’s house could be dangerous.

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | December 1, 2012

The Huffington Post: One Ring

David Morris Scharlin

David Morris Scharlin

“The story of what happened the night the family returned home
from the hospital after Grandpa Joe’s death is quite amazing.”

In memory of David Morris Scharlin, who passed away on November 13, 2012. Whether he touched your life or not, I hope it makes you smile.

Click here to read more at The Huffington Post.

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | November 3, 2012

The Huffington Post: ‘Being Raped’

'Being raped'

‘Being raped’

Conny is a German mother of three adult children with three grandchildren. She’s not only a great photographer, but she’s also a great writer and poet. She also operates her own firm…

Click here to read more at The Huffington Post

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | October 27, 2012

Barack Obama and the A.N.D. Principle

Well, we’re less than a week away from the election and the evil shadow of race has been lurking below the surface. Only the bold have come out and made their feelings completely known. Very few “prominent” figures have put it right out there. Well, except John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor and current co-chairman for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. In the past, he’s made his comments well known by saying the President is “lazy” or that he should “learn to be a real American”. Such comments have left him with much wiggle room, but what he said on the Piers Morgan show left no doubt in the minds of anyone what he was talking about.

It was response to the news of Gen.  Colin Powell’s endorsement of President Obama for another 4 years term. Gen. Powell gave his reasons for his endorsement. Here is the video clip:
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But Mr. Sununu decided to give America the real deal. Watch to the video clip:

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Anyone who has heard John Sununu knows this was rather mild for him. It would have made you think his words were well thought out, even though they obviously weren’t. Of course, he later walked them back (as expected) saying he doesn’t doubt that Powell’s backing of Obama is based on “anything but his support of the president’s policies.” You say such a thing about someone who gave a rather detailed explanation for supporting the President, then you apologize later. By the way, has anyone heard from Mitt Romney? Anyone? Anyone?

Or course, how Mr. Sununu said what he said is not as important as the content of what he said. To put it bluntly, he was stating it didn’t matter which black person was running against Mitt Romney, a white man. Colin Powell would have endorsed the guy, no matter what. The claim that African American’s voted for President Obama only because of his color has been flying around since he won and I don’t expect it to die now. In fact, it will only get worse as November 6th gets closer. It’s the A.N.D. Priniciple: Any Negro will Do.

Black folks will vote for any dark face, no matter what his or her qualifications. No matter what their ideology. That means if Snoop Dog were on the ballot, he would be getting 95% of the African American. And Gen. Powell? He would endorsed him yesterday!

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | October 26, 2012

Gov. Mitt Romney: Willie Sutton in a corporate suit

Bank robber William "Willie" Sutton

William “Willie” Sutton

William “Willie” Sutton was born the fourth of five children on June 30, 1901, in Brooklyn, New York. He never made it past the eighth grade, but he was known as a “prolific” bank robber. During his 40-year criminal career, he stole an estimated $2 million. Legend has it that he was asked why he robbed banks. Reportedly, his answer was simple:

“Because that’s where the money is.”

Whether this conversation actually took place is not the point. It’s so believable because it’s so logical. Today, I find myself comparing Willie Sutton and the Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He’s spent most of his campaign attacking wasteful federal spending, even though he himself has partaken from that same federal troth.

When he lead Bain Capital, a highly profitable private equity investment firm, he earned millions and took full advantage of the tax codes to multiply his money. He’s even had accounts in the The Cayman Islands, Switzerland, and Bermuda. Hey, that’s legal, isn’t it?

Did you hear how he single-handedly saved the troubled 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic games? Okay, single-handedly isn’t exactly correct because he gathered his team and milked every penny from the federal government he could. Some of his methods seemed a bit cold, but that’s up to interpretation, I guess. But these pennies stacked up to be $410 million. Not bad, huh?

In a long-forgotten tape from the 2002 Massachusetts governor’s race obtained by ABC News, Mitt Romney is seen touting his Washington connections and his ability to get those millions of taxpayer dollars from the feds. You can click here to view the story and video on the ABC News website, but here is raw footage of Romney speaking, which was featured in the ABC story:

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It looked like one of those real estate infomercials we used to watch 20 years ago, didn’t it? But seriously, there’s a very important question to be asked and I’d love it if  someone from our news media would ask Mr. Romney:

“Gov. Romney, are any of the programs you used in Salt Lake City or Massachusetts going to be cut, should you become President?”

His answer would be quite interesting.

Did you watch the video? If you did, you might have heard Mr. Romney say five familiar sounding words:

“Washington is where the money is.”

Yeah, Mitt Romney: Willie Sutton in a corporate suit, just a few electoral votes from the presidency.

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | October 23, 2012

Mitt Romney: Geographically Challenged

Syria, in relation to Iran

The Middle East: Syria and Iran

Like millions of other Americans, I watched the third and final Presidential debate, not on television in my native California, but on my laptop in Germany. I was eager see how Gov. Romney and President Obama would measure up as they presented their knowledge of the world and their plan to guide our country through the often dangerous waters abroad. The contrast between the two men couldn’t have been more distinct.

Gov. Romney looked like a man out of his element, while President Obama was confident and knowledgeable of the subject. And why wouldn’t he be? Much of his four years in office have been spent cleaning up the mess around the world his predecessor left for him. With such hands-on knowledge, he’s supposed to be better than his challenger. But Gov. Romney said something that focused a bright light on a great deficiency he’s had since he decided to run for President in 2008: foreign affairs.

His weakness was exposed in his comment about the relationship between Syria and Iran. Here is what he said:

“Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea.”

[Here's a clip of him saying it at the debate.]

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At first, I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I just knew this wasn’t true, but he said it with such confidence, it actually caused me to question my own knowledge of geography. So I checked, just to make sure. Maybe he was right and I was wrong.

Well, he wasn’t and I was! Not only do Syria and Iran not neighbor each other (as you can see from the map above, they’re separated by Iraq and Turkey), Iran has about 1,500 miles of coastline of its own, leading to the Arabian Sea.

“Huh?” I asked myself. “How could he be so wrong?”

This wasn’t the first time he’d made such a statement. According to The Washington Post, he’s made similar statements on five separate occasions. He’s spent so much time giving his positions makeovers, you’d think this would have made the list. How can anyone so ignorant of the world even be considered for President of the United States? Given the importance of the position, shouldn’t that be a requirement?  Couldn’t he at least refer to a world map from time to time? Or perhaps, a President Romney would delegate this task to some underling.

His words reminded me of another American who landed in the news over geography a few years ago:

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America…seriously…are we really considering this man to be the so-called “Leader of the Free World” when he doesn’t even know much about the world?

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | July 31, 2012

Welcome to America’s Slaughterhouse

American’s Slaughterhouse: Whos Really to blame?

With the recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado, America is once again faced with the issue of gun control. And once again the words of comfort for the victims have been spoken and the country searches for who or what is to blame for such carnage. Recently, I was honored to publish an opinion piece for The Dean’s Report that just might surprise you with my answer.

The Dean’s Report is a website dedicated to giving you an honest and sometimes comedic view of the issues of the day, from politics to pop culture. It’s neither LEFT nor RIGHT. It’s not Democrat nor Republican. The site is creation of Dean Obeidallah, a former lawyer turned political comedian and commentator.  He’s appeared on numerous TV shows, including CNN, Comedy Central’s “Axis of Evil” Special, Current TV’s “The Young Turks”, ABC’s “The View”, MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes”, NBC’s “Rock Center”, and ABC’s “Nightline”.

Dean has written articles for CNN.com, The Huffington Post, BBC Radio and has written jokes, which have appeared on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update” segment and CBS’ “The Late, Late Show”.

I was honored to share my views on his unique website. Click here to read my piece, as well as his other great articles.

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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Posted by: Lawrence D. Elliott | July 23, 2012

Summer: Bensheim and San Diego

The month of July is coming to an end and I’ve literally had just a handful of summer days. Saturday, I spoke with my mom back in San Diego. While it was evening here in Germany, it was mid-morning there. It was very warm and I was envious as I wore a pair of thick wool socks. Two separate spots on the map—6,000 miles apart—experiencing two significantly different summers.

I could hear my two younger sisters—Cheryl and DiAnna—preparing to head out for a fund-raising picnic with their female motorcycle club Hard 2 Tame SC San Diego. The event was hosted by “The San Diego Deuces”. Knowing my sisters, they’d be having a ball under the Southern California sun.

Today, I saw a few pictures on Facebook. Everyone was clad in their leatherwear. The men mostly in black, the women mostly in pink. Every group had their club markings prominently on display. The sun was bright in the blue sky and the grass looked too green to be real. I could feel myself smile as I remembered the other beautiful city by the bay that never really stopped being my home.

Oh well, it’ll be August soon. Maybe the sun will come out to play for a bit and I can get rid of these thick socks for a while. Bensheim is a beautiful place, too.

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If you liked reading this post, please take a look at my books and singles. My most recent release is a collection (only $1.99!) titled Christmas Stories from my Heart: Four unforgettable holiday tales from my life . In fact, you can find all of my work listed at my Amazon.com author page here, or at my website here.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.

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