Sunday, December 31, 2006
I'm sitting here trying to think of one significant happening per month, or one high point of each month, just to see if my memory banks are clogged up. Let's try it, shall we?
January – A rough month on the personal scale, but as we moved past the first week of '06, I began to see I was on the right track. Highlights would include the weekend rituals with my buds, Josh and DJ, and going to see the same Beatles cover band nearly every weekend.
February – A trip to Florida to okay the final draft of the new version of "After This..." Then, onto Muskingum College in Ohio to kick off the speaking year.
March – Speaking at LSU on the very night LSU played Duke in the Sweet 16 – something that's never before happened. Small audience, but hopefully those in attendance got something from it. Throw in an entire day of St. Pat's celebration in Dogtown, St. Louis and I started wishing I had Irish blood!
April – Started the month with the wedding celebration in Nashville for my bud, Ted Pins. Speaking, speaking, speaking and the vacation weekend in Reno with my old college roomie, Ben – and yes, just in case you're wondering, I came home poor.
May – N'Orleans bachelor weekend with the boys from Wanca! Oh yeah, and I moved into my 31st year.
June – My annual voyage to Camp TAMBO to council senior high camp. Thanks to all of you guys who made that such a special week. Within a week, as things will happen, there were three deaths – baby Ruthie, daughter of my friends Kyle and Suzie Nix, my friend Tempe Humphrey who I worked with at the MO Div. of Hwy. Safety and my grandmother, Virginia Engel. From bad comes good, as the saying goes. The morning of my grandmother's passing, I went into the hospital for some minor surgery. Two days later, my best friend and editor, Marvelyne, came up from Florida to help take care of me. It was at this time that both of us started seeing our relationship shift and develop. Now, Marvelyne has the title: girlfriend/best friend/editor. What will 2007 hold for she and I? Wait and see!
July – Orlando, FL for the annual convention of the National Speakers Association. It was at this time that I set the goal to crank out another book, "The Other End of the Stethoscope" before Aug. 10, just 30 days away! Whew!
August – Speaking for the TREND conference in St. Louis, sweating my butt off in the mid-west and the wedding of my fraternity brother, Andy Netterville. Cheers!
September – If you ever get the idea to do a cleanse diet, do it with someone you get along with. The first 10 days of September, I cleansed with Marvelyne. Nothing but whole foods and veggies and fruit for 10 days. Can't a brother get a ham sandwich anywhere? Weekend in the Bay Area with my old college roommate, Ben, before heading to Spokane, WA to speak at Eastern WA University.
October – Uh, did I say I wanted to speak professionally? Well, I got my wish in October. I was on the road most of the month-Texas, Branson, NC, Tennessee, FL and then back to St. Louis for more speeches. Throw in the Cardinals winning the World Series, my book release event and the trip to Salt Lake City for the NODA conference and this was one packed month!
November – Spoke at DeSales University in PA, then to the Bacchus Network Conf. in Anaheim. Thanksgiving and a return to N'Orleans for the AFA conference made this a packed month, too.
December – Spent the first 20 days in Florida, with a side trip to Seattle thrown in for good measure. Seattle... love it! Salmon, rain, coffee and a conference of folks passionate about stopping impaired driving. Christmas with the fam, an overnight to NYC and now, here in Florida on December 31st, I can only wonder where I'll be to look back on the year in review, '07.
Happy New Year!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
"Charlotte" is a country girl from NC who goes to a present day Ivy League university and discovers a culture held hostage by sex, drugs and materialism. Since college wasn't all that long ago for your humble writer here, I got a warm, tingly feeling while reading of Charlotte's adventures in fraternity houses, in the dorms and all over campus. Waxing nostalgia, one might say. It's a fairly accurate picture of college life in the early years of the 21st century.
So, this morning, I was up way early and started doing a bit of Tom Wolfe research. Turns out Wolfe graduated college in (get this) 1951. Yep, over half a century ago. And now, in his 70’s (from my limited math skills which are a result of the afore mentioned culture of college), Wolfe is cranking out novels about 18 year olds with the accuracy of someone on the brink of their second decade. Wow. Just wow!
I truly, truly hope that when I'm into my golden years, I'm still as creative and relevant as I feel now in 2006. Props to Tom Wolfe for not sitting on his duff or playing golf in his 70s, but for creating something interesting and accurate for the rest of the world to enjoy.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
So, trying to get to know a president I don't remember has been interesting. What I've read, no matter the slant of the journalist, seems to come back to a single conclusion: Ford's pardoning of Nixon was good for America, but bad for his own career. And yet? He did it. Would Ford have made the same decision if he knew it'd cost him his job? God, I hope so.
Making a decision that hurts one personally, but helps the majority is a character trait we want in a president. It's not so bad for the rest of us who don't hold office, either.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Know me even moderately well and you know I'm a music trivia junkie. At one point during the show, I leaned over and said to my girlfriend, "You can really see the research that Roger Waters did into schziophrenia in that last song." She asked me how I knew that, then answered her own question with my usual response: "Misspent youth."
Yeah, through my teens I studied and loved Floyd, Zeppelin, the Dead, the Beatles and Dylan more than lifeitself. And more than any textbook, my nose was stuck in the liner notes of a CD. Now, is that so wrong? I usually say it was "misspent youth", but really, it wasn't. Springsteen says, "We learned more from a three minute record than we ever learned in school." He's right. Oh so right.
Floyd's tune, "Time" talks about seizing the day, that life is short, to grasp all you can in the time you have on this planet. Don't wait for life to find you, find it yourself. The one line from the song that always hits me in the heart is, "And then one day you find that 10 years have gotten behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun." God, powerful.
Throw in the emotions connected with Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut" from my time spent living in Colorado, "The Wall" from high school and "Meddle" from my days that were, without a doubt, misspent, and this band's music has written the soundtrack of this dude's life. Time is never misspent when you learn something. And I did. And I practice those today. And I love the fact I may not know what a logarithm is, but I can tell you every lyric on "Wish You Were Here."
Shine on, you crazy diamond...
This morning, I was out and about to get a few last minute gifts. And know where I had the most pleasurable shopping experience? Honey Baked Ham store, of all places. Stopped in to grab a sandwich for lunch and found three uniformed police officers directing traffic in the parking lot. Once inside the store, they had it arranged with roped "chutes" like you'd have at DisneyWorld before getting on Space Mountain. Even with wall to wall patrons, we were still in and out in under five minutes. And along the way? Workers handing out samples of carrott cake, ham and other little tasty treats. The workers were incredibly friendly and I can chalk that up to one thing: organization. When everything was set to flow smoothly, even with heavy customer traffic, it made the entire shopping experience that much more enjoyable. Lesson learned – everything is better with pork!
Friday, December 22, 2006
No one would ever, EVER want to be stuck in an airport instead of home for the holidays, but I'm betting there'll be some folks who will, even through all the frustration, see this as their best Christmas ever!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Whether or not you have winter weather where you are doesn't matter as much as the one thing we all have in common today: darkness. It's the shortest day of the year and, just so your seasonal depression doesn't kick in automatically, tomorrow starts the days lengthening process that'll continue for the next six months. So, enjoy the dark while you have it!
You may think this a bit odd, but not when you learn that this doctor's office is in a cancer center. And each of these four women were undergoing chemo of some sort. Have any idea how hard it is to be frustrated over a tardy doc when you're surrounded by cancer patients? A quick lesson – there's always someone who has problems that make yours look like child's play.
Thank you to the four wonderful ladies I sat with yesterday for teaching me that. Even I forget these things from time to time.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Just returned from speaking at the afore mentioned conference in Seattle, WA. In addition to eating more salmon than any single human being should ingest, I also had a great group of folks to present for; law enforcement officers, probation and parole officers, judges and substance abuse treatment specialists.
Special thanks to Brian Jones and Angie Ward for being such great individuals to work with! Can't wait to get back to the Pacific Northwest and get the Seattle experience once again!
Friday, December 15, 2006
So, yesterday, I flew into Seattle. God, I love this place! I'm here to do a program for the Washington State Dept. of Transportation on impaired driving (photos in the next day or two), but I'm seriously stoked about just being here. The rain, the coffee, the people, the salmon – this town is a dream come true for those of us from Generation X.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
A few days ago, saw an interview with a "business expert" who touts himself as, "The Ethics Guy." His subject was "re-gifting"; the idea of giving someone else a Christmas gift that you yourself received. I won't honor/advertise the guy's name because, as you'll now read, I think he's kinda full of crap.
We've all received a gift for the holidays we didn't like. And we've all wondered, "Hmmm, I wonder if I can give this to someone else!" Get rid of it; fill that "need" to give another a gift without actually buying one and just simply the idea of pawning off a white elephant on someone else.
Well, as the guy talked, he kept giving all sorts of pieces of advice on how not to get caught: regift only to someone out of town, to a person who the original gifter does not know, if the original gifter loves the gift to be sure to let that person see you enjoying it before you secretly give it away. Everything he said had something to do with deceiving the original giver through secrecy. Granted, he did state that you shouldn't do this if you're not comfortable with it, but to blatantly speak of deceiving someone doesn't sound like it's congruent with someone calling himself, "The Ethics Guy."
Personally, if I get a gift I don't dig, it goes to the Salvation Army or Goodwill sometime down the road. If it DOES go to another person, I'll flat out tell them I received it as a gift, I didn't like it/it doesn't fit, whatever, but be up front and honest. It's really the only way to be. You don't have to be "An Ethics Guy" to figure that one out.
Monday, December 11, 2006
We are so inundated with work, home lives, volunteer opportunities, social lives, etc. etc. etc. that sometimes, our worlds are just one constant motion. And if you're in that situation now? Then Bud's little lesson is a great one to learn – learn to say, "No."
No, I can't fit one more holiday party in this season.
No, I can't grab dinner any night this week.
No, I can't take on an extra project for which I do not get paid.
If people learned to say "No" at appropriate times, and be guilt-free after doing so, they might find their world running a little smoother. I personally have had to work hard to tell people no, but now that I'm good with it and use it when appropriate, I have to say, it has given me such a feeling of relief and fulfillment. The true wisdom comes when learning to turn down a request and when to accept one. We'll worry about how to know the difference in a future blog entry (I may still have to figure that one out!)
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Well, last night was about as close as I'll ever come to getting in a rocket. I'm in Orlando and, as you may have seen on the news, Discovery took off from the Space Coast last night around 10 o'clock. We went out into the front yard with the rest of the neighborhood and watched the red and orange glow of the booster rockets from some 60 miles away. The comradery of neighbors witnessing history being made was almost, almost as cool as the bond we shared in St. Louis when the Cards won the Series... but I digress.
Now, having witnessed my first launch and the rolling thunder of the takeoff some 20 minutes later, I want to go to a real launch. Like, up close and personal. Will it happen? Probably, but until then, I'm satisfied to know that just an hour's drive away, we continue to push into the future.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Last night, I learned why asparagus makes your pee smell, that sugar does NOT(as opposed to what my mom told me growing up) make kids hyperactive and that if you swallow gum, it won't sit in your gut for seven years (again, contrary to your mom's teaching).
I think the world needs more books of this kind. Why? Because when I give speeches and have Q & A time with those in the audience, I almost invariably have someone say, "I always wanted to ask a blind person this..." And then? I answer their long sought question. It's something I don't mind doing, but there's such a stigma over asking questions that, too often, people stay ignorant for life... out of simple embarrassment to ask. Thanks to Mark and Dr. Billy for giving the public something to learn from... and be entertained at the same time!
Friday, December 08, 2006
So, when doing a bit of research, I wanted to find out about the blogosphere. Easier said than done. Why? Because there are discrepancies on just how many blogs exist. The NY Times says 10 million. But the Blog Herald says 60 million. Some estimates are over 150 million. Uh, just a teensy bit of difference there, eh? Either way, one thing that DOES seem to be agreed on is that blogs are often started...then abandoned (poor little homeless blogs).
I knew when starting my blog that to make it successful, I'd have to post every day. That became my goal. Have I accomplished it? Nope! There've been quite a few days I've missed in 06, but more days than not, I've gotten a post up. Sometimes funny, sometimes random, sometimes opinionated, Engel's Ensights has become an outlet for me to share info with those in my reading audience. And since you're one of those people, thank you. Here's to another year of blog-o-riffic fun!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Is this odd? Yeah, kind of a unique situation, considering these women have resources to purchase practically any apparel in the world. How do I know? Because the dress they each donned is an $8500 Oscar de la Renta.
Obviously the First Lady needs to be properly attired, but it's just sad to think that for the cost of these four dresses, a family of four could live comfortably for a year.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Flatulence Leads to Grounding of Plane
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 5) - It is considered polite to light a match after passing gas. Not while on a plane.
An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said.
The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.
The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.
"It's humorous in a way but you feel sorry for the individual, as well," she said. "It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up."
The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident.
12/05/06 21:07 EST
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Well, I'm happy to report.... I'm in Florida! Granted, no power at the ol' Engel hizzy, and who knows when that may be back up. So, here I sit – in 80 degree weather questioning why I choose to live in the mid-west.
But yes, thank you, I'm fine. And if anyone has good info on my hood back home and the conditions therein, please drop me an E mail and let me know.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Now, to the uninitiated, getting out of the hospital is a great thing! No more crappy food, no more nurses waking you up in the middle of the night, no more stench of hospital antiseptic. But, for those of us who've served a lengthy tour of duty, leaving the hospital isn't necessarily a good thing.
As a patient, you learn to perceive things differently. Those middle-of-the-night disturbances are from friends who happen to be nurses. Those bland hospital walls are security. The frequent interruptions in the day are evidence to just howw much people care about you. Again, leaving the hospital is, for this young lady, not a great thing.
And yet...life goes on. Jessica is now a freshman at Middle Tennessee State University and a recent initiate into Chi Omega, the sister sorority of my fraternity affiliation, Kappa Sigma.
Props to Jessica and all those who've learned so much from the work of St. Jude's.