Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One-Word Wednesday

This blog is specifically for my Twitter followers to explain a trending topic I created called #1wordwednesday. The concept is simple: On Wednesday, just use ONE WORD to express yourself.

Why clutter up the Twitterverse with so much white noise? Why say it in 140 characters when you can just as easily express yourself with one word?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about #1wordwednesday

Do the single words mean anything when they are strung together?
Maybe. Usually not. It’s random, dude.

So you’re saying #1wordwednesday doesn’t make any sense?
Duh. What rule says everything has to make sense?

Then why do this? I don’t get it!
Hey, what generation are you? Did your father serve in the Civil War?

Will one person’s word trigger off a round of “word association?”
Sometimes that happens. If it happens, it happens.

But I love talking! I can’t just express myself in one single word!
Discipline, grasshopper! #1wordwednesday is the ultimate stripped-down haiku. Think of it as poetry and you will fly.

Do I have to do #1wordwednesday ALL DAY? (gasp, pant)
Of course not. Feel free to tweet one word all day, just a few times, only once, or not at all. Your choice.

Will #1wordwednesday ever become a Top Ten Trending Topic?
Probably not, unless Justin Bieber @justinbieber or Ashton Kutcher @aplusk join us.

Are there any prizes for best single word?
Why not? All prize donations graciously accepted.

#1wordwednesday sounds silly and stupid.
Thank you very much.

So come along and join a new emerging trend!







To keep track of this trend, be sure to use the hashtag #1wordwednesday when you post your one-word tweet.

New to Twitter? click here to see my profile page.

Already on Twitter? Follow me @kencanedo


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Brother Tops

Those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter know of my request for prayers for my brother Terence, whom my family has called “Tops” since childhood. A few weeks ago, Tops was rushed to ER for difficulty in breathing. He had a collapsed lung, and blood clots were found near his heart and in his leg. Immediate surgery followed, to drain the excess fluid. It was determined that the cause is cancer, and now Tops must heal from his surgery before he can begin chemo and radiation therapy.

Tops and most of my family, including my mother, live in Los Angeles. I live in Portland, Oregon, and the distance from my family during this time has been difficult for me. Hearing-impairment prevents most of us from using the phone, but we have stayed in touch via text messages and emails.

Without anyone near me whom I can really talk to about this, I turn to writing, the solace and comfort of the solitary writer. Tops is in his late 40s and I’m in my 50s, but in my heart’s memory I always think of the days of our youth. I did not learn to drive until after I was 21, so I got around West Los Angeles on my Schwinn bicycle, and Tops was never far behind, tagging along on his Sting-Ray. And we biked everywhere: to the mall, to the beach and, our favorite spot, the just-developed Marina del Rey.

At the Marina we discovered the Undersea Gardens at Fisherman’s Village and, with our younger siblings Celeste, Orlando and Vicky, explored the wonder of marine life in that mini-Sea World attraction, marveling at the different colorful species of saltwater fish that the aquarium kept on display. Afterward, we always went to Orange Julius to enjoy their delightful frosty treat.

I taught Tops how to be an altar boy, and I still laugh about the first time we served Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament together. The other altar boys didn’t show up, so it was just me as Master of Ceremonies and Tops as thurifer, serving in that role for the very first time. Talk about learning by doing! As the congregation sang “O Salutaris” and “Tantum Ergo,” poor Tops was kneeling behind the priest and me, struggling with the chained incense burner. “That holy smoke just kept coming up my nose,” he told me later.

My brother is one of the most creative persons I know. He is a gifted artist whose penciled drawings always amazed me. He even created his own comic strip about “The Filipino Monkey Who Thought He Was a Boy,” a kind of Curious George set in the Philippines. But it was in music where Tops truly shined. I remember us sitting across from each other with our guitars as I taught him the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” At the time, Tops was just a beginner. Two weeks later he showed me how he figured out “Mother Nature’s Son” all by himself, just by listening to the White Album. I was stunned.

The Canedo family in 1973. Tops is in front of the lamp and behind our mom.

Tops is a loving father to his teenage daughter, Katya, and has been a caretaker for our mother and her house. If mom ever needs a repair done, she just asks Tops, who also has skills in plumbing, gardening, and roofing. He was doing the Home Improvement thing long before and after that television show was popular. All these wonderful memories fill my mind now as I reflect on Tops’ current medical challenges. I need to get down to L.A. soon, and I will find a way. But at this time, perhaps the best and only thing I can do is pray, and be with Tops in spirit.

I am blessed to have a large group of friends on Facebook and Twitter, and from the various parishes and communities where I have served over the years. When friends ask for prayers for their loved ones or their special intentions, I try to pray for them immediately. Now I am the one asking for prayers and the response has been overwhelming from around the world.

Sometimes people ask, “What good does prayer do? Isn’t it just wishful thinking?” Prayer is a difficult concept to explain to those who do not pray. Soren Kierkegaard, the theologian-philosopher, once said, “Prayer does not change God, but changes us who pray.” In prayer we are not trying to influence God. Rather, we become one with God and one with each other, and in this oneness we find the peace and the strength to move forward and accept God’s will.

For me, prayer is like a safety net that lifts me up at those times when I need it most. Through these prayers, I know I am not alone. I pray for my brother Tops, for healing and for inner peace, that God’s will be done. My family and I are most appreciative of your prayers and the prayers of all our friends far and near. Please be assured of our prayers for you.

Tops drew this picture of the Beatles for me when he was in high school.
What a talent!