Thursday, May 31, 2007
Tonight, once again, I got on www.markdewalle.com to hear of Mark's progress. Read back a few posts and you'll see Mark is a 20 something in STL with terminal cancer. Earlier this week, he made the choice to halt all treatments. Tonight, I've been reading over the guest book on Mark's site. Wow, the guy has tons, TONS of support...humbling amounts, I hope.
First, I feel like a bum for having a BMW session about my crappy Wednesday. But aside from that, I'm just flat overwhelmed at the guy's guts. Do any of us have the experience of saying enough is enough? Hardly. And he did it with grace and style. I can only hope that I will some day have a portion of the courage as Mark. And, if you get a chance, please consider dropping him a note. Trust me, to a patient, support, no matter where it comes from, is priceless.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Now, take that excitement and multiply it times 100 for me. E maill made it possible for me to once again communicate in total privacy. I didn't have to rely on someone to look at the document I printed out, address and stamp an envelope and then direct me to a mail box. It was, in short, probably one of the greatest days of my life.
Today, however, I ran into someone who doesn't quite "get" how important the net/E mail is to me and other blind individuals. The thing is, this person actually works at a library for the blind! Yep, after finally getting situated enough in Florida to have time for leisure reading, I contacted my branch of the library with talking books. I explained I had a four page of books on my "to read" file and asked if I could send them. Nope! Uh, why not? Because I don't want to receive any spam. Spam? All I want is books-the books my tax dollars pay for. Can't you just send it? In hard copy? Sure, if you'd like me to give up the independence that the modern technology the world utilizes and set me back to the mid 90s.
With much ado, I finally was able to convince her to give me her E mail address, but not without her first reitterating, "Don't send me anything dirty."
Folks, ignorance is acceptable and treatable. But when someone works in a field to serve those with specialized needs and they still don't get it? Well, welcome to the 90s...I'll be your tour guide. Ffirst stop? Compact discs. Second sstop? The net. Third stop? cell phones...do we really want to return to these times? Apparently, some workers want us to. Thank you kindly, but I'll live in 2007.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I received an E mail from Mark's aunt today. She said that after a lot of soul searching, Mark has decided to refuse any more chemo. As you might expect, unless there is some sort of miracle, Mark has chosen to take control of his own life. And his own death.
When he spoke to his Mom about it, he said he was afraid everyone would think he was a quitter. Not sure about anyone else on this planet, but fighting cancer for this long doesn't show any traits of a quitter. Now, acceptance is sometimes even harder to fight, but Mark has made that choice. It's one that no one, NO ONE can make but Mark. And I give the dude props for choosing to control his life, the way he wants.
Still, if you're the praying type, throw a few out for Mark and Barb and their family. And if you're so inclined, check his web site and see the tremendous impact this guy has had on his world:
Thanks, folks...I appreciate it.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Tonight's episode showed an officer responding to a citizen complaint about teenage boys next to her home. The complainer(is that a word?) was an elderly woman who seemed like she had nothing to do but do the crochety old person role. The teenage boys were barely into their teens and seemed like they were doing nothing but playing some pick up Bball on the court next to the old woman's home. The officer listened to the old woman's complaint, questioned her, questioned the boys, explained to the woman that the boys had committed no crime and, as you'd expect from a crochety old woman, she walked away mad at the world...and the youth of the world. After smoothing things over with the woman, the officer went to the boys playing ball.. He told them they were doing nothing wrong, that they should just keep doing what they were doing. Then, with a quick smile, he said, "Any of you guys think you can outshoot me?" The boys all laughed, slapped high fives and passed the ball to the cop. The scene ended with the officer taking a few jump shots over the heads of the boys before hopping into his cruiser.
Now, had the world had interaction with a cop like this for their first ticket, maybe there'd be less hatred of law enforcement. Maybe Killa Cam and Ice T would be less stubborn about accepting the role of cops in the community. That short interaction with a cop will probably make the boys have less animosity towards the boys in blue for their entire lives.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
If you see a turtle on a fence post, he didn't get up there by himself.
His point was that no one can reach heigths alone...what he failed to mention was...if a turtle ends up on top of a fence post, said turtle is SCREWED!
His point is a valid one, but even more profound is the idea that once one is at the top, if they don't have help, they are completely helpless.
Whether you're a graduate or a turtle, be willing to help those who need a hand up, but also be willing to step in and run a rescue mission when the situation calls!
Friday, May 25, 2007
Driver is driving down the highway and his car stalls out. While this is happening, a tow truck just happens by, sees the stalled vehicle and stops to help. A few minutes later, Hancock comes along and runs into the back of the tow truck, ultimately killing himself in the wreck.
Authorites reported later that Hancock was drunk, speeding, not wearing a seat belt andd talking on a cell phone. Marijuana was also found in his vehicle.
When you learn the facts of the case, again, sympathy and sadness turn to disgust...at least, that's the case with me.
Hancock's father is now suing the restaurant where his son got intoxicated, the manager of the restaurant, the tow truck AND the driver of the original stalled car.
I hate, HATE that restaurants and bars will serve individuals who are already intoxicated. Yet, that is very, very difficult to monitor. There probably is some justification for legal action against a restaurant that knowingly served an intoxicated patron. But the tow truck company? The tow truck driver? The guy who's car stalled? Those all seem ridiculous.
Let's not forget that Hancockk did not HAVE to get drunk. He did not have to get in his car. He did not have to speed. He had the option to put on his belt. He had the option of NOT being on a phone...who's really to blame?
I feel for any family member who loses a loved one, especially in such a sudden way. But let's not forget who is really at fault here, people.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Campus Safety Month doesn't officially happen until the fall '07 semester, but it's a great time to start preparing. Thanks to this web site for linking to :
A few airports around the country have created fully landscaped pooch-parks. The following are some of the country's most canine-friendly facilities.
In December 2004, Reno-Tahoe International Airport celebrated the opening of the Gate K-9 Bark Park. Paw prints stamped on the sidewalk outside the terminal
lead to the enclosed Bark Park just north of the baggage claim area. The park is landscaped with trees and a canopy for shade and stocked with fresh drinking
water and plastic mitts for quick clean-ups. They even have a fire hydrant for pet dogs who like to do their business the old-fashion way.
In Texas, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has a small park with a figure-eight-shaped dog walk located outside the lower level, just past the
east end of the terminal. Landscaped and lighted at night, the park has stone benches, shade trees, grassy areas, a pet-level drinking fountain and plenty
of mitts and trash receptacles for clean-ups.
The folks at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport maintain two park areas for pooches. The 2,000 square-foot Bone Yard is just outside the baggage claim
level at the west end of Terminal 4, the airport's busiest terminal. This finced-in area is shaded in the day and lighted at night and has a bone-shaped
patch in the center filled with kitty litter and surrounded by crushed gravel. Pet owners and dog guide teams can use the park's faucets and buckets to
cool off and the plastic mitts to clean up.
The Phoenix airport's second pet-relief area, the Paw Pad, is located just west of Terminal 3 inside a framed archway and a fence decorated with paw prints.
This pet-relief area offers pet owners and working teams the same amenities as the Bone Yard, but instead of gravel and kitty litter, the Paw Pad has grass.
consult the list of pet-friendly airports on the
Not only did he and his wife walk down to take a look at our yard, but in the dark, he walked around and adjusted every sprinkler head. He then offered to take a look at every aspect of our home to be sure the builder did everything they said. When we asked how much this inspection service would cost, in broken English, he said, "For a neighbor?...Nothing!"
Without aany agreement, without a dollar being paid, he already helped us improve some aspects of our home. I'm not sure if this is a Venezuelan work ethic, the fact they're just nice people, that we're neighbors or what, but either way, this kind of friendly service is what would make him a valueable resource, no matter what biz he's in. We could all learn from this gentleman.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Today's mailer talked about fine arts. Folks, I'm a big ol' redneck and ballett, purty paintings and classical music don't hold a ton of interest for me. Still, I read through the list...and I'm glad I did.
One of the books listed was called, "Beyond The Tunnel: The Arts and Aging in America" by Joan Hart. Hart is an art educator and uses paintings to stimulate the elderly into activating their mind with memories. She likens the "tunnel" the elderly are in to a long corridor with doors that no longer open.
In the last several years, the baby boomers have continued to age(duh! Like anyone isn't aging!). Nintendo has created a gaming system specifically to stimulate the minds of the elderly, we are constantly barraged with supplements, quizzes, games, computer programs, etc. that all help ward off Alzheimers and the inevitable decline of the human brain...and all the technology the 20th century has created still doesn't add up to paintings created since the Renaissance.
Hey, whatever floats your boat-Michaelangelo or Mozart or MTV-just be sure you're doing SOMETHING to not let your brain turn to mush!
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
As the plane took off, it couldn't gain altitude and, as the seconds ticked by, it begaan to fall from the sky. Many people were killed and lives were changed...again, in mere seconds.
It made me think how precarious life really is. I mean, I could walk out the front door tomorrow morning and a meteorite may push me 50 feet into the ground. Unlikely, but the passengers on the flight thought the same thing. With so many potential accidents, I walk a fine line of philosophy: being safe...or being so in love with life that you never even worry about anything but the moment you're in. Oh, what to say, what to say!
Obviously, I'm a safety minded person. Yet, that's as much for the people who love me. I don't want to do anything stupid that could cause them harm. By that same token, I love life so much that I wouldn't want to risk losing this awesome time I'm currently having. Be safe, but only to the extent you don't hurt or kill yourself. Past that? Emotional safety? Hey, don't worry about that! Those times when one's comfort level is put to the side are the times we enjoy most in life!
Monday, May 21, 2007
A couple of dozen CEOs of some of the biggest corporations in America were asked what advice they'd give to grads. It was almost uncanny the similarity of responses, especially those including the word "passion." Of the first 10 I read in USA Today, well more than half encouraged grads to find their passion and cultivate it.I couldn't agree more. One CEO even went so far as to suggest grads take their dream job, even if it's for less money. After all, they're working their dream job and that is compensation of another kind!
It's true-finding one's passion is one of the aspects that can lead to the fullest and richest life imaginable.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
People pull that tridck all the time; I hate my life, so I'm going to try to get away from myself with booze. Or I hate my existence, so instead of confronting my problems, I'll buy items for comfort. Or I'll eat myself into oblivion every day, because that is, at least, SOME pleasure, if only temporary. You can't run from pain. Trust me, I've tried. the only true way to move on from pain is to fully embrace it, let it run it's course and don't expect anything unrealistic-like it'll go away completely. Remember, pain usually travels well.
So, back at the ranch...I was standing in line behind a gentleman at the meeting who was telling a story to another fellow. Being nosey, I pulled my super secret FBI espionage trick, also known as eavesdropping. He said, "Ya know, sometimes you just have to wake up and realize how luckky you are. Last month, my wife and I were on vacation in the Carolinas, staying in this beautiful mountain cabin. I woke up, looked out over the valley, saw the fog start lifting through the trees and realized how blessed I am. I have a great career, a wonderful wife, I'm in a beautiful place, none of my kids are in jail...yet..."
Ya know, he IS lucky...and if not having relatives in prison is a blessing, so be it!
Friday, May 18, 2007
I have no idea if Folgers is even using this jingle any more, but it'll be stuck in my memory forever. Yep, even the verse about decaf Folgers. So, of course, while this song is on auto rewind, I'm thinking about what it says: The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. Uh, no it's not. The best part of waking up is....WAKING UP! Ask any dead person what's the best part of waking up and they're darned sure not going to say coffee! Okay, they're not going to say anything, but they won't say Folgers, either!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Since then, I've heard the Kurzweil name come up now and then, but it wasn't until I read the following article until I realized just how brilliant this Kurzweil guy is. Enjoy! Oh, and don't forget to take your supplements!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
In the olden days, it was tradition to weigh the mayor every year to be sure he wasn't getting fat off the taxpayers' dollars. More for tradition now, that practice continues to this day. And we're all left wishing there was something so tangible and accurate as a way to measure the misuse of tax dollars.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Then there's Anna Nicole. Dead. Chances are, of a drug overdose. Now, she's immortal. As is Janis Joplin. As is Hendrix. As is Belushi.
It seems that while people with substance abuse problems are alive, we disregard them as nothing more than worthless users...but once someone dies of an overdose, they reach immortal status. Does this make sense?
Monday, May 14, 2007
The staff even went so far as to have an adult in a hooded sweatshirt beating on the door of the cabin, trying to get in. And why? To try to get the kids prepared if something like this really would happen. Fair enough-but let's think how many idiots, er, staff this needed to take place. There were over 60 students involved. This means there were probably a minimum of 10 adults in leadership roles. Not all could have been teachers, but some had to be. And teachers should know better than to think scaring the beejesus out of kids will prepare them for anything except anger at the offender. I mean, this was a fairly well planned out "drill"...during the planning, did no one stop and say, "Uh, is this really a good idea to scare the hell out of kids?" Apparently not.
I'm all for preparing our students to live in today's world. After all, we do fire drills, tornado drills and terrorism drills...many schools, in the wake of Collonbine, also do school emergency drills. This is fine, but to pull a prank like this just after Virginia Tech's recent tragedy was just insane.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
I can barely do my own laundry, much less that of children.
I'm not good at soothing others after they have nightmares.
One word: puke.
Scouts would go hungry if I was the Den Mother.
I do not feel funerals are necessary for goldfish.
I'd sing "Born to Run" as a lullabye instead of "Rock-A-Bye Baby"
I keep tools that are dangerous to farm animals on coffeetables for conversation pieces-things that attract little hands.
Breast feeding and Marcus do not go together.
I'd let kids have Kool Aid any time they want.
Two words: dirt bikes!
As you can tell, I'm probably not fit for parenthood, but definitely, DEFINITELY not for mommyhood. This is why it's so so so good that there are moms to fill those roles. To clean up scraped knees, to give unconditional love, to crawl into bed with when a headcold takes over, to tell where babies come from, to be sure discipline happens without belts and flyswatters, to break up arguments while respecting the feelings of the participants-just to be Mom. To all of you who do these things, thank you...and especially to my own!
This sorta fascinated me. Cam'Ron has a reputation to protect; that of being gangsta thug, participating in criminal activity, all things illegal. If he WOULD cooperate with police if he knows info on a crime, it really hurts his credability as a thug. Yet, for him to encourage average citizens to keep their traps shut seems irresponsible. Unfortunately, those living in the economically deprived areas of the inner cities idolize rappers like Cam'Ron and NOT true minority leaders like, oh, Bill Cosby. Thus, we have the entire "stop snitchin'" movement.
Now, I again have some sympathy/understanding of Killa Cam's position-he's a thug. If he acts like a responsible citizen, he hurts his rep. So, for weeks, I've been trying to think of scenarios where Cam'Ron could inform on someone where it wouldn't infringe on his persona.
Earlier this month, a California State University-Sacramento student was killed by a stray bullet outside a night club, right across the street from campus. This student, a service sorority member, was the sober driver for her friends. Gang activity in the club spilled out onto the street and a bullett intended for another found it's way into her. Dead. 20 years old. Innocent. Would Killa Cam inform on who did this? He says no. But would it hurt him? Doubtful. Anyone who can hear of an innocent dying in the line of gang fire and NOT want to inform is a fool. Killa Cam included.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Okay, as if this useless waste of humanity didn't annoy me enough already, now she has an on line petition directed at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that says(and I quote), " the American public who support Paris are shocked, dismayed and appalled by how Paris has been the person to be used as an example that drunk driving is wrong."
Really? She's an example? No one else who's driven on a suspended license has ever been jailed? It's a Paris witchhunt? Puh-leeze!
Ah-Nold's response was pretty priceless, I must say. Basically, Conan said, "Uh, yeah, I've got better things to do with my time than listen to this kinda crap." Okay, I sorta made that up, but he was just a little nicer about it.
Do the crime, do the time, girlie. Example or not, you did it and you should be punished. So should Mel Gibson. So should Congressman Kennedy. So should every other person who receives a conviction for DUI. We have over 15,000 Americans killed by DWI every year in this country. THERE is the example for the public why Paris' sentence should stick.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Do you know anyone who thinks like this? Do you? I'm just the opposite-I feel that you attract what you respect. So, if I walk around distrustful of everyone, always fearing I'm going to get hosed, then I'll probably get hosed! However, if I act confident and competent, friendly and courteous, then I'll get those sentiments returned.
But, aside from that philosophy, can she really be serious? She doesn't trust anyone until they earn her trust? So, she doesn't believe the guy behind the counter at QT when she goes in to ask for directions? She doesn't trust the waitress when she tells her the soup of the day? Stupid.
Being distrustful of the world will certainly accomplish one thing-the creation of a world where there is no trust. Leave it alone, treat others as you'd like to be treated and watch your world expand.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
In times of tragedy, we see some of the best attributes of humanity. Thanks to the Royals for giving us a glimpse of this during this horrible time. And folks in Kansas...the rest of the country is sending prayers and good energy your way!
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Two teams, one male, one female. Each member of the team is overweight. Obese, in fact. The members signed up to change their lifestyle with coaches, personal trainers and nutritionists. Every week there is a weigh in and whichever team wins gets something; phone calls home, etc. The weight lost is measured in percentages so the male/female weight losses are fair.
As with any good reality TV based show with teams, someone gets voted off the island, er, fat farm. Last night, when the voting began, I was struck by the two different personalities of voters on the men's team: compassionate and jerk.
The first man to vote said, "Seth, you're the youngest here, you've consistently lost weight, you've showed discipline. I think you'll have the most success in the real world trying to reach your weight loss goals." I thought that was sweet-voting him off the fat farm because they know he'll succeed anyway. However, the next men to vote were the typical jerks with the typical reasons: Nick, you didn't lose weight like you said, Bob you lost four lbs., but you should have lost 10, you're the weakest link. That sorta stuff.
This is one of the very few shows I've come across that is actually healthy, has a realistic end and does NOT make the person voted off feel like a big idiot. It's doubtful I'll ever watch this show again, but for the one time I did, it gave me a bit of a new perspective on people.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Paris gets a DWI? Same as for anyone-she deserves the fullest extent of punishment the law will allow. And since she took the softball thrown at her for her DWI sentence and totally disregarded it, she gets 45 days in jail. Good. Not just because I can't stand her, but because once again it shows such a disgusting example of entitlement. A total disregard for the law, then another total disregard for taking responsibility for one's mistakes is dispicable. Have fun, Paris...hope you learn something this time!
-Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now"
This is the book I've been trying to read for the last couple of weeks. While there's nothing in here I haven't learned from other books with the same theme, Tolle boxes it up in a quotable way that makes the light bulb over my head flash on. I thought this quote was especially appropriate, so I share it with you.
Monday, May 07, 2007
This afternoon, I got an E mail from a brother who pledged seven years ago. His message said, "Engel, remember when you gave us your interview? Scottie asked you if they magically found a way to restore your sight, would you want it done? You said no, that you'd already gone through one major life's trauma and the next big change might not be welcome."
I'm not sure those were my exact words, but they do have some of my thoughts. Most people can't fathom why, if the medical community would have knowledge to restore my sight, why I wouldn't do it. Well, there are lots and lots of things to ask before considering this: is it permanent? Would it be a 100% restoration? What is the process? How much recovery? Is there any chance of a loss reoccurring? So many questions that can't be answered now in May of 2007. In 10 years, maybe we'll know those answers, but today we don't. Thus, I'll cross that bridge when/if the medical community has that breakthrough.
After telling me what I said, the brother forwarded an article about the new breakthroughs in embryonic stem cell work that has restored sight to some blind mice(three of them? I dunno!) It was an interesting article with some work that sounds promising...but I put so very little stock into this.
It seems people are forever giving me articles on how new research is coming up with new and improved medical hopes for the future. That's all good and fine, but to state for the record-I love my life! I do not need my sight back to have a perfectly happy and fulfilled life! And I don't spend my time falsely hoping for docs to come up with something new. I just don't. If it happens in the future, well, we'll worry about it then! Until then, I'm pretty darned content with who I am(though I would like to lose about 20 lbs.) and I'm content with my life(though I would like to get some of these moving boxes unpacked soon)...if you're interested in the article, it can be found in Reuters.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
While I was watching the show, I got a call from my mom-a woman who really WAS a fifth grade teacher for many years. Even though she taught the stuff, I'm sure she'd also have to brush up on some of the items on the quiz show. And, if you ask some of the biggest and brightest leaders in the business world, chances are, many of them also would not do so hot on this show.
It kinda makes me sad that we sit there ripping on a 45 year old man for not knowing little bits of trivia that is considered 5th grade knowledge. Who is to say this gentleman doesn't routinely work in a field where he saves livves? Or that he leads America's young leaders? Granted, there is a certain amount of knowledge I think we all should havve, but the whole purpose of this show seems to be to try to get adults to look like idiots, just so the folks at home can get their jollies by knowing answers the contestant didn't get right.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I can honestly tell you I dreaded-flat hated turning 17. Why? Because I could no longer hold onto 16.
So, today is my birthday. And 16 has now doubled to 32. Freaking 32. Part of me asks, "Where has time gone?" and the other part of me says, "The last 32 years have been one hell of a ride!" Somewhere in the middle, I find what I now know; something I could not have fully known as a 16 year old. That is, life is a choice. I choose my life to be filled with good. Therefore, it is. It's all a choice.
If anyone doesn't believe that, then they've purposefully chosen to close their eyes to all the good life can(and does) offer.
Thanks to my fiance, Marvelyne, and my soon-to-be married into family for such a great day! A bunch of new biz clothes, a great lunch at a place with "Jimmy Buffett for President" shirts hanging in the lobby, a fat nap this afternoon, getting my name mentioned on the Dave Glover Show, and then cooking a birthday bananas foster....ah, life is good!
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
So, last Thursday, the headache went away. The house in Orlando had been closed on two weeks earlier, the sale of my home in STL went through after a few roadblocks set up thanks to the idiotic IRS, the movers delivered my stuff with minimal damage to our new home in FL AND everyone had received their invitations to our wedding in July. Did all these combine to be one ginormous load off my shoulders? You bet your criminal record!
Meanwhile, last week a bud sent me the link to the MySpace page of one of my favorite artists, Robert Earl Keen. Keen is a kick butt singer/songwriter out of Texas and, if you haven't heard of him, chances are, you're not a Texan. If you're a Texan and you still aren't familiar with REK, then you're lame! But, I don't know any lame Texans, so I'm pretty sure that's about the same as Sasquatch or Nessie.
On REK's MySpace profile, he has the song(my fav Keen tune), "Feelin' Good Again." Not only was it a treat to hear this pop up on my CPU this morning, but I thought, "Ya know, now that April is over, I AM feelin' good again!"
So, here's to May 07 being a less stressful, more joyful and even better time filled with my fiance, Marvelyne, my new almost stepkids and the beginning of my new life in Florida! Bring on the Buffett!
As the seventh and final book drew to a close, we find Roland standing outside the tower, gazing up at the thing he has hungered for since the first word of the first volume. Then, in a way only King can, he breaks in with his own(King's) voice, basically saying, "Shame on you, reader...we all know it's the journey, not the destination. We've loved Roland and the crew since the first sentence, can't you just accept that he's here, but not desire to actually mount the tower with him?" Obviously, we readers cannot! Thus, King begrudgingly allows you/me, the reader, to follow Roland to his final quest. Since no one spilled the beans to me as to what happens from there, I won't spoil it for you either, MY faithful reader.
Still, this whole scenario made me think-Roland's entire life was spent in search of the Dark Tower. It motivated him, fed him, it became his number #1 desire and carried him through situations so dire that, even though we know are fiction, still scare the beejesus out of us.
What's your Dark Tower? What is that thing that drives you? What makes you put one foot in front of the other every morning? What makes you not give up, even when it feels like the earth is crumbling in on top of you?
Everyone has their own answer to this...and DT #7 made me do some soul searching for mine. What is that? Another time, faithful reader...another time.