Saturday, July 26, 2008
The loneliness hadn't yet subsided, but he continued living his life as best he knew how. In the words of the author:
"He didn't whine about it...he just wore it."
Is there anything more annoying than someone who whines? Whiners use up so much emotional energy whining and trying to evoke sympathy-energy they COULD be using to better their situation they're whining about already!
In the case of Nate, I respect the fact he's not a whiner. But still, he wears it.
Know anyone like this? Brave face forward, quiet and determined, but the kind of person who, with just a glance, you can see is filled with, well, something harming their life? Ever been this kind of person?
We will all, ALL face adversity. Duh. That's what we humans have that comes part and parcel with this thing we call "life." Yet, some choose to complain about their lot in life and never work to fix it. Some seem more immoveable from their situation, but they don't voice their discontent. Which is better? I dunno. Personally, I don't want to be either of them.
But when it gets right down to it? Whining just sucks. It accomplishes nothing and makes a horse's arse of the whiner. So, whine or wear? Easy call, huh?
Friday, July 25, 2008
Randy was a computer science prof at Carnegie Mellon. He was also dying of pancreatic cancer until he breathed his last breath earlier today.
As he was dying, Randy lectured his classes on things much, MUCH more important to the world than computer science; to live life like there's no tomorrow, to never lose the child's feeling of wonderment, and to love the gift of life that we've all been given.
His youtube video of his last lecture has been viewed by tens of millions, his video and book aren't far behind. He is simply one of the best conveyors of the truth of life message that's ever lived.
Yes, Randy died this morning, but he's got something that very, VERY few of us ever have: the knowledge that we touched millions and left the world a better place. This, faithful reader, is something we should all strive for every day.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Special thanks to my partner for the poster session, Melanie Thompson from Southeast Missouri State, for all her hard work and energy into our session on collaboration (if anyone needs the power point or more info, hit me up on E mail)
Also, thanks to Melanie for such an enjoyable evening with her family! Your peeps are a hoot! One of the most entertaining and enjoyable dinners I've had in a long, long time!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Just started reading it tonight. In the foreword, there was a quote which sums up a good bit of life-not just as it relates to the supernatural:
"The wise man knows what he does not know, and the prudent mann respects what he does not control"
Thought that was worth posting...even if it was said by a spook.
Monday, July 21, 2008
I Really Need To Thank These Strangers
Ok, so people often ask, where are the good kind people anymore?
Driving on Mt.Rose Hwy, and serving our communties is where! So I'm coming home to Reno on my motorcycle Saturday Evening after a short ride up to the
top and back down cuz it was too smokey up there, somewhere around 8pm I think? Anyways... Near the bottom, I hit some oil, gravel, not sure what... but
even as an experienced rider for some 30+ years, made my bike wobble so bad, I eventually lost control after doing everything I could try to do to keep
it up. From what I hear, might have even hit a guard rail at some point during the crash, no memory so not sure, all I do know is next thing I'm on the
pavement in a ton of pain. Rolling in the road I think...
Stranger #1 -
Then, there was a hand... holding mine, comforting me thru my gloves... Kept hearing a voice that I think was female telling me "everything was gonna be
ok" and "help is on the way". Couldn't really open my eyes much, that's why I'm not sure if it was male or female, but it didn't really matter at that
point, ya know? I just know 'till the day I die, I will forever remember how comforting it felt to know that "if" I was gonna die then, someone was gonna
be holding my hand while it happened and I would not die alone on some road tasting asphalt.
You have no idea what that meant to me, still does, and always will. You probably also have no idea how much gratitude I would like to express to you for
the comfort you gave me, a complete stranger, when I really, REALLY needed it. I just remember your hand, rubbing mine and your soft, kind, compassionate
words letting me know, someone cared. You didn't just drive by, you took time out of your Holiday weekend to help me - some fat ass biker guy that some
here on CL wish we would all crash and die.
No clue who this was either, but someone called police/ambulance, etc. super quick and there they were, hot on the spot within minutes. (felt like minutes
to me anyways, damn quick!), can't thank you enough and damn glad ya had signal...hahaha!
Again, same as the others, no idea who you were, but I heard someone else say something I think about removing my helmet. In my mind I was thinking please,
please don't do that, but I couldn't say it. But you could and did, you spoke up and advised against it. Damn I am glad there are people like you who know
better and again, my sincere appreciation and grattitude to you as well.
Strangers #4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc..
To all the police firemen/women, ambulance drivers, person in the back of the ambulance.. to all of you emergency responder type people who showed up who
did whatever it was you had been trained to do, and loaded me on some kind of back board or something I think, and then put my big ol' self in the ambulance
and got me to Renown so quickly - my most humble thanks and appreciation as well. I know you were "just doing your jobs", but damn you do them well! You
will NEVER hear me bitch about your pay raises or what it costs for the absolute QUALITY services you provide our community! I do know of one policeman
or hwy patrolmen who I think arranged to have my bike towed and visited me in the ER letting me know it's condition and where it had been towed to, cuz
he put his badge number on my insurance paper, as I get better in the next few days I would like to find you and thank you in person since I have a clue
on maybe how to find you from the badge #. You also gathered my personal belongings I had on the bike that would have been stolen for sure. (cam corder,
etc..) Yes, I know, small things to worry about in that moment, but you made sure I didn't have to, again, thank you for going out of your way for my needs.
To all the Dr.s, Nurses, and whoever else was working in that ER room, my eternal thanks and grattitude as well. Man I was hurting, them ribs are a bitch
when smashed, but you folks all again, did what you were trained to do in the finest proffesional manner (even on the embarssing stuff) and I just knew
from all your demeanors, I was gonna be ok.
I am sure there are some typos and mis-spellings in this post, forgive me as i am on some pretty strong pills for pain, but i just got to my computer and
wanted to get these thank yous out as soon as possible. All of you people just really have no clue what your kindness and compassion meant, and means to
me even now.I would like to let you all know, that from your kindess, skills and so on... I'm going to be ok. Could have been a lot worse, but thanks to
good people like you, a damn fine helmet and a little luck, both I and the bike are fixable.
If there is any chance of any of you "unknowns" letting me know who you are, I would greatly like to thank you all in person, if that's not your style,
I respect that and just know you meant alot to one hurting, scared guy, yeah... I was scared I'll admitt to it no problem!
Last and not forgotten in any way, once I was admitted to the 3rd floor, all the Nurses, CNA's, Orderlies, people waking me up every few hours to check
my vitals and stuff, I also sincerely thank you, but since I know how to re-find you all, i will be seeing you again in person to thank you properly, especially
Melissa, a nurse or CNA not sure, but one awesome lady I did not have enough time to thank properly today as I left! I really wish I could have stayed
and healed longer as today really ended up hurting, but you know why I had to leave. You friggin ROCK!
A little over a year ago, Barb lost her youngest son, Mark, to a rare form of cancer. He was 24.
When Mark made the choice to discontinue all treatments and let nature run it's course, Barb and the DeWalle family quickly set up:
This blog and web site was a clearinghouse for telling friends and family about Mark's condition, moods, etc. Since his death in June of 07, Barb has continued her blogs about memories of her Mark (I'm her other Marc.) It's therapeutic and helps her remember just what the family has gone through and survived.
Today, she posted a cute story I'd like to share with you...
When Barb's Mark was only two, the family got a new, beautiful sofa. Barb adored this new piece of furniture, so of course, it got messed up. When Mark was left in the living room alone for a few minutes, he found a few Magic Markers and started to "write" on the sofa(or maybe he was drawing pictures-kinda hard to tell with a two year old!)
Barb was livid, as you can imagine! In her own words, "That was the closest I ever came to hitting one of my kids!" Instead of a spanking, she scooped Mark up, put him on the front porch in the rain and made him stand at the screen door until she was finished scrubbing the couch. While Mark stood in the drizzle, her older son, John, came home. Although he was just an elementary schooler, John was the voice of reason: "Mom, why don't you just turn the cushions over?"
God, I hate it when little kids can outthink me! I bet Barb did, too!
But c'mon! We've all gotten so worked up over something that we simply lose all perspective! Barb did. I have. You, too, probably!
Sometimes, when we're so emotional, it takes the voice of a child to show us how ridiculous we're acting. Please remember this next time your temper hits the boiling point-I know I will!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Back in the mid-90s, I had a dormmate, Chris, who was a member of the Missouri State skeet and trap team. If you're not familiar, it's simply shooting moving targets with shotguns. Chris was a big gun lover and he and I often would talk about how fun it'd be to get me going on some target practice. We mentally devised several ways of doing this; trying to hone my senses enough to hit a set of windchhimes, or an egg timer, or an old alarm clock. We never actually got off our lazy butts to get out and get the goods, but it was something I've been thinking about for years.
You may have read of my interest in hunting on past blog posts. I love animals and really have no desire to go out and kill one, but I DO have a desire to do someething that, even now, I think would be really difficult.
So, imagine my surprise when I came across the title of "Guide Dogs and Guns!" I downloaded the audio version and, thanks to lots of cross country flights this past week, finished it in one day.
Carey McWilliams is a blind guy out of North Dakota who is around my age. He and I have similar philosophies on life, guide dogs, blindness and now, guns. His book is a great read and gives all his typical techniques for marksmanship. Really, his M.O. isn't all that different from what Chris and I dreamed up over a decade ago. Difference is, Carey actually did it.
Either way, here's his web site. Check out some of the video clips and expectto be impressed!
And thanks, Carey, for lighting a fire under me and giving me something new to accomplish!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
About four years ago, one of my monthly newsletters focused on my boy, Hubbard. Tim is a 12 year vet of the Army Reserves and, back in 04, was headed right smack dab into the Suni Triangle.. He served his tour of duty, came home and has continued on with the Reserves. So much so that he just left for his second tour to the Middle East.
Tonight, I got a note from his mom with his mailing address in Kuwait. He'll be there for a while doing orientation and, from there, probably back into the war zone.
If you know Tim, or even if you don't, and want to help hook him up with care packages from home, drop me an E mail:
Happy to pass along his contact info. God knows he's doing us a service by just being there, so the least I can do (as an American and as his friend) is keep him in fat city with care packages from home.
Hubbard, watch your back, man.
Three ladies boarded and sat in the front row, right in front of me. One lady (who's nickname is Cookie) was quite elderly and accompanied by her two daughters. As the engines started up, Cookie began calling out, "Oh my God! Oh my God!" Not in the sarcastic way ususally associated with text messaging, but more like she'd just witnessed a healing at Lourde's or something. Her daughters just giggled and explained what was going on-that the engines were pushing hard, that soon the plane would leave the tarmak and they'd be flying. Yep, for the 70 plus years she'd spent on this earth, Cookie had never flown.
For me, who flies all the time, it's no biggie. But I DO remember well the first flight I ever took, how I thought the plane was coming apart at the hinges. Total virgin, I was I was!
So, for Cookiie to experience this late in life was a treat to watch! The bigger treat, though, was the flight attendants on that Southwest Airlines flight. The two seated in the jumpseat asked her name and said, "Cookie, you're on the best airline and you've got the best crew for your first flight! This is exciting for us and we want to make it an awesome experience for you!" And they did!
Now, think of the "Oh my God! Oh my God!" on take off. Now, think about being that age, that level of inexperience flying, that new to the whole experience with Vegas...and think of the plane descending into Sin City. The lights, the size, the Stratosphere touching the sky...her "Oh my God!ss" became louder and more animated! Just so cute to watch this in action!
As always, the flight attendants on SWA should be commended for helping ease the fears of their special passenger! It really made my day to see this much kindness and compassion shown to Cookie, and even moreso that Cookie was having the time of her life!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Chances are, yes. We all have some things, whether major or just rinky dink stuff, we do because we "should." Chalk it up to feeling obligated, or feeling guilty if it's not done, we've all got something like that.
I just started reading "The Book of Fate" by Brad Meltzer. It's a Vince Flynn meets Dan Brown meets Tom Clancy sorta novel; Presidential assassination attempt by a secret society, you get the picture.
The main character, Wes, was a Presidential aid who was injured in the assassination attempt. He not only still carries some major physical scars, but some pretty deep PTSD, too. Now, eight years following the madman's shooting rampage, Wes is conversing with his friend, a lawyer who fixes traffic tickets and absolutely LOVES his job. Wes still works for the former President, doing all the little details of coordinating a celebrity who is no longer in office. The lawyer friend asks Wes point blank why he does this lowly job. Wes can't explain it verbally, but we (from the reader's perspective) know it's all about the guilt he feels about the assassination attempt. Still, nearly a decade later, he's stuck in a job he hates, going no where, continuing to have his life governed by others-all out of a feeling of guilt.
Is this any way to live? Not in my book. Yet, there are loads of people who DO live this way-every day.
Some things we need to be obligated to. Others, we mentally create obligations out of thin air.
Whatever your reasons for doing what you do, be aware, evaluate and be sure you are the person who controls your life. Because it is, after all, the only life you have. And living life out of guilt isn't living at all.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Wow! After 40 years, my folks are still married and still happy! That makes me happy, too! Here's a shot or two of their 40th anniversary celebration!
The little guy I'm holding is James Phillip, my newest nephew!
Lauren and Michaela - my nieces (and the big sisters of James)
THE smartest and cutest little girls EVER!
Friday, July 11, 2008
So, "Assassination Vacation" by Sarah Vowell was one of my reading pleasures these last few days. Know the name Sarah Vowell? You might if you're a fan of NPR(she's a contributor to This American Life and other such things).
Now, let me preface this by giving you a little overview of the book...
Sarah has a unique fascination with the first three American presidents who were assassinated; Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. Why she's not interested in JFK, I dunno. Sarah goes all over the country to visit places which are in any way linked to the assassination of these three presidents. Places like islands off the tip of Florida where Dr. Mudd was imprisoned after he treated John Wilkes Booth after Booth assassinated Lincoln. Or a statue of President McKinley in Arcada, California that once had cheese stuffed into "his" ears and mouth. Anything and everything related to these three presidents is where Sarah wants to go. Admittedly, she knows she's a little OCD with this.
Now, back to your humble author of this blog...
If you've read much of my rant on politics, you know I loathe slanted reporting. From either side. I've got pretty strong political opinions and those opinions have been formed by personal research, an open mind and a desire to learn the truth. I detest how much news reporting these days is simply journalistic editorials. The reporter goes into the story with an opinion which is already formed. Then he/she tries to twist the story to fit his/her opinion, then portrays it to the news audience so we (the lemmings that we are) will also share that reporter's view.
True, true-no one can ever be 110% objective. But in reporting? Please, dear reporters...just try.
Now, back to Sarah's book. I downloaded this audio book because I'm a bit of a history buff. Plus, it claimed to be a satire(of sorts) and takes a lighthearted look at the assassinations of these presidents. Sounds at least somewhat interesting, right? I thought so! And, folks, it was interesting!
So why do you feel there's a "but" coming in? There is...
But I read "Assassination Vacation" because I wanted to hear about the assassinations and observations from Sarah. I didn't expect the way the author took every opprotunity to throw potshots at the current president and current administration. I mean, does the Lincoln assassination in any way relate to John Ashcroft, President Bush's former attorney general? Seems unlikely there's any correlation some 150 years later, but the author certainly takes the opprotunity to paint Ashcroft as a racist southerner equivalent to Lincoln's killer. I ask you, faithful reader, do you see any logical connection? Doubtful.
This book left a bad taste in my mouth due to the party politics played throughout. Make a valid, logical point and I'll listen. I think most people will. But demonize political figures from 150 years ago based on their political party and one's current opinions of today's political parties by the same name? C'mon! That's a stretch!
In one instance, Vowell wrote about Lincoln's eldest son, basically calling he and President Lincoln cowards. Reason? Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln lost a child to illness. Then lost another son fighting in the Civil War. When their eldest son graduated from Harvard, Mary Todd Lincoln begged her husband to give their son a kooshy job in the military so he'd be safe. Understandable from a parent's perspective. The author insinuated this was cowardly since Lincoln was, as she stated, so willing to send other sons off to die, but spared his own son's life. Then, as the usual argument goes, this was related to President Bush and this Iraq War we're in. A decent (but slanted) parallel. And the reason this connection was made? Simple: Lincoln and Bush are both Republicans. And Sarah hates Republicans.
True, the book is about Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. But never a mention of Harry S. Truman dropping the bomb on Japan. Why? I think the author would probably admit as much, but because Truman was a Democrat. Again, slanted political views twisted into a historical read.
No, Sarah is not a reporter in the traditional sense. She's not reporting from the front line, trying to turn opinions against the current administration. She is, however, taking what should be an interesting bit of historical facts and current observations about the past and manipulating them into a portrait demonizing not only President Bush, but anything to do with his party, even if those connections are loose and unreliable.
Again, I liked the historical tidbits in "Assassination Vvacation." I loved her travels today to places of historical significance. I loved learning about the assassins themselves (Garfield's killer was a REAL nutjob!), but I read these items because I wanted to learn about them. Unfortunately, I had to wade through so much mudslinging and inappropriate partisiaship that it's doubtful I'll pick up another book by this author.
Last Friday morning, the lovely wife and I hopped a plane to STL for 4th of July weekend with family and friends. July 5 was spent with the fam and attending my 15 year class reunion. Awesome to see all the old friends from high school days!
July 6 was my parents' 40th anniversary! We had a banquet room at a local restaurant with close family and friends, then adjourned back to my childhood home (okay, okay, we'll call it my parents' home) for more socializing. Pics to come from all these events soon!
A day spent in STL meeting with doctors, lawyers and friends meant a midnight return to Orlando...where I spent exactly seven waking hours before heading up to Gainesville for my stepson's orientation and registration at University of Florida. Man, being at UF makes me want to go back to college!
When we finally arrived home last evening, it felt like we'd been gone a month-and that's not all that far from reality, considering the Austin/NYC trip the previous week. All in all, a few days to cool my heels and I'll be ready to head out once again.
And now? More posts about stufff I learned on my travels...
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Unless you live under a rock, you're probably as confused by all these oil players as I. I just don't get it. Why does anything grow by over 50% in an 18 month period? The reasons gas stays so expensive just doesn't click in my mind.
But, now I have a clue! I just listened to an incredible interview with Jim Tamney (don't quote me on the spelling) from:
He explained in layman's terms just why oil is so high. Want the easy explaination? It's not that oil is so high as much as it is that the dollar is so weak. Example: in Europe, oil is up more than 160% in terms of the Euro since 2001. In that same time period, oil is up more than 360% in American dollars. That's a prime example of just how weak the American dollar is. Does that make sense to you? It does to me!
I'll never claim to be an economist, and really I don't want to be. But I do want to understand our world better and RealClearMarkets.com is a great way to start self educating!
You guys were a fabulous, FABULOUS audience and I'm humbled by the response I got!
Special thanks to Dr. Norma Hannigan and Dr. Cook for making my appearance possible (and thanks to Norma for an awesome fish & chips lunch, too!) Thanks to all for making my journey to Columbia University so awesome!