Saturday, December 31, 2005

SUCCESS: S- Steering

"Man was designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness." Zig Ziglar

Success is a God- given gift. You have within you everything you need to succeed. But like seeds, it requires action and direction on your part to bring success to fruition.

"Success to me is having ten honeydew melons, and eating only the top half of each one." Unknown

Your ideas of success must be YOUR idea of success. It is you that must drive towards the goal, no one else cares- so aim high and be sincere.

"It is better to be a nobody who accomplishes something than a somebody who accomplishes nothing." Unknown

Status with others means nothing. It is the status you have within yourself that matters.

I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate." George Burns

Don't let others decide what is important to you. If you succeed at others' goals- you will not feel accomplished- instead you will feel lacking.

Do you have a success plan? Do you know where you are going? Do you need to know? Only you can say.

A good rule of thumb is if you've made it to thirty-five and your job still requires you to wear a name tag, you've made a serious vocational error." Unknown

Happy New Year!!!
Good Bye 2005, Hello 2006!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Anatole France Said...

Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Rita Mae Brown Said...

The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

On The Flip Side

It may not seem like it, but the days ARE getting longer. Just a little bit each day.

We have spent the last 6 months dealing with shorter and shorter days and then on December 21st, it all turned around. By the time Daylight Savings time rolls around- the difference will be noticeable as well as incredible.

It's just another example of how just a little bit each day- in a consistent manner- makes big differences over time.

As we approach the season of "New Year's Resolutions", keep that thought in mind- Slow and steady is better then spurts.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Sunday Scripture Choice

Luke 2:4-16

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Double Shot of Christmas Quotes II

Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given--when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.
-Joan Winmill Brown

Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas.
All else is outward display--so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn't the holly, it isn't the snow. It isn't the tree not the firelight's glow.
It's the warmth that comes to the hearts of men
when the Christmas spirit returns again.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

From the Editorial Page of The New York Sun, written by Francis P. Church, September 21, 1897

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

"Dear Editor--I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West Ninety-fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Double Shot of Christmas Quotes

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall."
-Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

"Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself."
-Francis C. Farley

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Eating Perspective

"People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dr. Seuss Said...

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?

It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.

And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Noel Coward Said...

"I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me".

Monday, December 19, 2005

Yearnings of a Young Boy's Heart

Every Christmas everyone watches "A Christmas Story". The story about the little boy who wants his Red Ryder 200 Shot Range Model Air Rifle. It's a cute story, but it is also one that I know well.

I, at one time many Cristmas' ago, wanted a Crossman 760 Pump bolt action air rifle. It's all I wanted. I asked for it, dreamed about it, and just couldn't live without one. It was on Christmas morning that the dream was realized. Much like the story on the movie, I also got my air rifle as the last gift- just at the point of despair.

It was everything I dreamed of. I had looked at the one at K-Mart so many times that there was no surprise in the detail. It was beautiful. My mother was worried, my father wad proud, and I was about to embark on an adventure.

It probably only took a few days to clear every bird in a ten mile radius from our house. I routinely shot the icicles off of the houses as a service project... that was until I cracked a window. After that I was forbidden to shoot the gun within city limits. A rule I occasionally obeyed.

We lived in Reno, Nevada at the time. I had many occasions to load up the gun and head out into the desert. I eventually grew more respectful for life and stopped shooting the birds and such, and just went to shooting targets. The gun was everything I ever wanted. It went with me everywhere and introduced me to the world of firearms that would play a bigger part of my life later- in the wilds of Alaska.

But the bottom line, knowing what I know now, if one of my kids starts bugging me for a B-B gun- no matter what make or model- my answer is NO! Young boys cannot be trusted and You can shoot your eye out.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunday Scripture Choice

Luke 1:30-33

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday Success Series

"There are fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is surely yours is the present, hence this is the time to speak the word of appreciation and sympathy, to do the generous deed, to forgive the fault of a thoughtless friend, to sacrifice self a little more for others. Today is the day in which to express your noblest qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing which you have long postponed, and to use your God-given abilities for the enrichment of someone less fortunate. Today you can make your life - significant and worthwhile. The present is yours to do with as you will."

Grenville Kleiser
And with that thought, I will postpone the Success Series until Dec 31st.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Dan Rather Said...

"An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger".

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Best Noodler In Stone County Missoura

Last night was one of those moments that re-affirmed my calling in life.

I was on stage performing in front of a crowd, telling my "Billie Harold Jones- the best noodler in Stone County, Missoura" story. I was having fun, the group was laughing, having fun and smiling ear to ear.

Now I know the purpose of a public speaker is not to speak- but to serve the audience. Give them what they need, enrich their lives. This, I believe, I achieved.

But in the process, I got what keeps me going. There, on the stage, with all eyes upon me, I am in my element. I am doing what I feel is my purpose in life, the reason I was put on this earth: to move an audience, to entertain, to be the object of others enjoyment, growth, or inspiration- and at the same time-having a ball!

We all have our thing in life. It's just nice when we realize it while we're doing it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Memory Gold Rush

Out of no where, the past can come rushing in and flood your mind with memories, stories, and a feeling of longing to go somewhere you haven't been for a long time.

Just the other day, I stumbled onto a website that had an article on fishing in Alaska. Deering, Alaska to be more precise. The author and his party traveled up the Inmachuk River fishing and sight seeing eventually passing Utica, an old gold mining community.

I was part of that community back in the early eighties specifically 1980 and 1981! I was 14 and 15 years old.

The article focused on the fishing and only mentioned Utica in about four sentences, but just the mention of the name Utica invoked memories so strong that it was hard to keep the smile from my face. The thought that the buildings, in which I once lived, are still there was enough to make me feel like it was just yesterday.

The author, Tyler Eddy of Eddystone Inn, and I exchanged emails and from his short note I was again transported to the Inmachuk River and the old dredges that sit like monuments to the past on it's banks. One of which I climbed to the top of the mast to peer into an eagle's nest and look upon two juvenile Golden Eagles.

An additional google search produced a picture of the camp and the buildings in which I learned skills I still use today, the buildings in which I ate and played cards into the late evenings, and the buildings I fueled and maintained.

The fish I caught, the moose I saw and the bears I eluded all came back to life and took center stage in my mind. Performing the scenes that had been locked away for some time now.

I would love to re-visit the Inmachuk River valley and to look upon Utica camp once more with my own eyes. It is commonly said that you can't relive the past, it can never live up to our memories. But how excited I am to know that the memories are all still so close with just a few words and a google image!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The New Plague

Today's plague is not one of bacteria, rats, or even tobacco.

Today's plague is one that we allowed ourselves to contract.

Today's plague is one that once it hits, your life will never be the same.

Today's plague is...the "Check Engine" light.

With the beginning of the cold weather, that little light will be more willing to manifest itself upon the darkness of the console. A beacon indicating that the fate of your vehicle is no longer yours alone to navigate.

Your car may seem the same, start the same, it might even still have that new car smell- but with that amber glow comes failed emission tests, embarrassing questions from your children, and a feeling of attenuation. The "Check Engine" light IS a public blemish glowing amber before all mankind.

Good luck ridding yourself of this illuminated plague- it cannot be stopped, explained, or even contained. It is the sickness that plagues modern man and the vehicles we have created to harness our world.

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's In The Game

Watching football yesterday, I heard another doozie of a quote.
After a commercial for a TV reality show, the football commenter Dan Dierdorf popped off with: "Sports is the ultimate reality". Well, not really.

Reality is reality. Football, or any sport, is not reality. They are artificial competitions that we allow to be played out for our amusement.

Sports are, however, great real-life parodies. We can draw stories, inspiration, and strength from the struggles, victories, and defeats. We can cheer for our heroes and teams when they win. We can be sad and throw things when they lose. I've been known to get emotionally charged before, during, and following a game, but when it's all said and done- Sports does nothing directly to change our lives. Sports is entertainment.

To the Athletes- it's reality. However, if no one came and paid to see the games there would be no reason to play and, in turn, there would be no sports.

This all reminded me of another quote I've heard before. This time from another football analysis Joe Theisman. He said, "Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein".

Now that's reality!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday Scripture Choice

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C*E*S*S- Spirituality

Accepting that there are things outside the things you can see and touch, surrendering to the thought that there is a spiritual side to things, or acknowledging that there is a greater good than just yourself gives you an incredible source of power. It is now the ability of taking what was God- given and making it greater.

When you start to feel accountable for your actions beyond an IRS audit, beyond the approval of your friends and family, and beyond the acceptance of your own whimsical moral acceptance- you start to truly feel successful. Money value no longer matters. Mountain heights no longer matter. Accolades, awards, and titles no longer matter.

There are no lies to tell, no deceptions, and no explanations. Your actions will stand bare naked to the one who matters most. The one from which you accept the spiritual laws. Are you able to proudly stand in front of your success? Your methods, intentions, and motivations will not be a private matter. On the spiritual side- there are no secrets.

Did you stretch? Did you grow? Did you become better than you were? Does God agree? These are the intangibles. These are the things that make one happy. These are the things that make success feel like success.

The feelings of successfulness, of happiness, and of accomplishment are feelings. They can not be awarded, granted, or even seen. They are feelings from within and from within they must be earned.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Post Number 100!!

Although, I planned on having a celebration type thing on my 100th post, an unfortunate situation sways me another way.

I usually try to avoid specific news and events. There are many chronicles of those events made- this blog was never meant to be my personal journal. But December 7th, came and went two days ago and for whatever reason it passed almost in obscurity.

There was nothing posted on CNN until late in the evening. I heard nothing on the radio in my driving, and I missed any reference to it on the evening news, which doesn't mean it was not covered, but it had to be short and not at the top of the news. Mention of it in the newspaper was more like a filler story- not anything important to mention.

So I have decided to mention it in my blog because I believe in the saying: "those who do not know the past, are destined to relive it in the future".

So this post is dedicated to the memory of the Attack on Pearl Harbor and to all it represents. It is my desire to keep the memory alive and hope that we never forget its lessons.

"America stood up and changed the course of history for mankind. It was a day when weaker souls would have surrendered. Out of the ashes and oil, out of the waters came a resilience, lessons of determination, an unwavering spirit of the American people," Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii.
(Inouye was 17 and an eye witness of the attack . He later lost his arm fighting in Italy with the mostly Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the Army).

P.S.- Watch the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora" not "Pearl Harbor".

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Just because sheep and cows do it...

When I was 14 and 15, I spent two summers in Alaska working at a gold mine. We had several different vehicles and equipment and at 14 I was more than delighted to be able to learn how to drive and operate the different trucks, tractors and front end loaders. All my friends back home were still confined to bikes and buses.

We had two Chevy pick-ups in the camp. One was a newer blue four wheel drive. It was the "Cadillac' of the camp. The other pick up was "The Green one". It was older, faded green- not a good green either, two wheel drive and no frills. The suspension was tired and for 1980- it was a pioneer to the low rider craze that was just around the corner.

The Green One is the truck I got to drive more than any other vehicle. The back window was missing so it was always cold when you drove it. You had to be careful where you drove, because the two wheel drive and dirt roads were not always compatible. And for some reason it was always available.

The steering was probably it's most notable feature. It barely had any. It wasn't power assisted to begin with and the years of Alaska wilderness life had made for a lot of "slop" in the steering. You could practically turn the wheel 3/4 turn before it did anything! This made us all joke that no one could "steer" that truck- you just kind of "herded" it down the road.

I have since found this trait popping up in different parts of my life every now and then. I don't always steer toward my goals, sometimes I just kind of herd things along. The thought is always: "As long as you don't veer too far off the course and are going in the right direction- everything is fine".

Everything is not fine. Although I survived the truck experience- I was lucky. I was somewhere where I didn't have to dart in and out of traffic. There were no other cars to worry about, but what if some moose had jumped out in front of me? Are my goals something just to leave to chance and hope that no obstacles will happen?

Herding was "OK" in the sticks of Alaska. Herding might even be good for sheep and cattle or even the reindeer herds of the north, but I don't think it's good enough for my personal life direction and goals. Give me power steering in my life or give me...

Just give me power steering.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Winner In 66th Place

Lance Armstrong is a wild man when it comes to bike racing. The accomplishments he has racked up are just too much for me to comprehend. I've seen the Tour de France in person- it's insane just to compete, but to win it 6 times in a row!!!??!! And then when you add on the trials brought on by fighting cancer and surviving...ooh la la!- as they would say in France.

I like to believe I share qualities with those I admire such as Lance Armstrong- but it's hard to find equivalent accomplishments of my own. Lance (Mr. Armstrong to others) might be out of my league.

Luvsanlkhundeg Otgonbayar, a Mongolian runner, the sixty-sixth place finisher in the women's marathon at the Athens Summer Olympics- over 1:20 behind the winner, over 30 minutes behind number 65, seemed more like a possibility. "Now here", I thought, "is someone more my speed".

I mean 66th place! If you can't match up to that- what can you match up to? To finish dead last- you have to be some kind of loser, right?

I guess she did finish. She did run all 26 miles. She did compete in the Olympics.

I've never been to the Olympics. I have never ran a marathon. I can't even imagine running a marathon. I get tired just saying the words "Twenty-six miles". It may have taken her 3 hours and 58 Minutes, but I can't do that! I would die before I could keep my feet moving for that long.

I would love to hear a stadium of people cheer me on as I finish my last lap and cross the finish line. I would love to have competed in an Olympic event. I would love to have people rush to congratulate me. She experienced it. She lived my dream. The bottom line is that I have not put in the effort to put myself into that position.

The chance to run in a marathon is not just given away. The completion of the race is not automatic. These all have to be earned. Both Lance Armstrong in first place and Ms. Otgonbayer in last have something to admire. They put in the work and both have lived their dream.

I might not be an athlete, the Tour de France and Olympic Women's Marathon are not in my future- but I can emulate their drive. I can emulate their willingness to compete. And I can emulate their will to finish.

I just hope I'm closer to Lance than Luvsanlkhundeg in results.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Security to Aisle Four

My favorite aisle in the grocery store has to be the coffee aisle. I love the smell of coffee! I don't know the different brews, but I love strolling down the aisle and taking in the deep breathes and absorbing that sweet coffee aroma.

I also love the smell of brewing coffee. It just screams "Good Morning! Have a Fan-Damn-Tastic Day!!!" I love it. I would love to have a coffee pot in the house just for the smell.

The taste of coffee however is another issue. The few times that I have actually tasted coffee are times I would rather forget. If I want to taste burnt water, I'll save the cost of the coffee beans and just burn the water.

Some have suggested that I should add cream or sugar. If I want a glass of milk, I'll have a glass of milk. If I want sugar- I'll have a Coke.

So if you see me on the coffee aisle, looking like I'm having an asthma attack, don't worry. I'm just getting my coffee fix. It's not as dignified as sipping from a mug, but coffee's coffee, right??!?

Monday, December 05, 2005

And The Topic Is...

This morning, I was asked to give a short speech on a topic I would not know until the Emcee introduced me and announced the topic. I had input into five different topics that I would cover, but it was still tough to just jump into the subject with only a few seconds warning.

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". Vernon Sanders Law

The exercise was to test my confidence in my background and knowledge. It was hard, yet now afterwards, I feel more confident to go into circumstances where I might be asked to speak off the cuff.

Tests are great ways to prove to ourselves how much we have progressed and gets us excited for the future.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Spiritually Rich

Being from Utah, the question always ready to be asked of me is: "Are you a Mormon" or "How many moms do you have?"

I do confess that I am Mormon (with one mom). It's an odd question, nonetheless. I'm not exactly sure why one's religion is anybody's business, but I guess if it's interesting.

There are three huge advantages to being Mormon:

1) No one really wants to talk religion with you. Once you answer the question, that is usually all that is said.
2) All the Polygamy jokes!!
3) All the money I save by not buying Starbucks Coffee!!

Sunday Scripture Choice

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C*E*S- Segmenting

"Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered that I was not God." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Have you ever started an exercise program and found that your goals were more ambitious than your body? Your spirit is willing, but it's your body that pays the price. Many exercise programs die in the second or third day of its life, mostly because the body refused to abuse itself another day and convinced the brain to join the rebellion. This is why any good exercise coach will start someone out slow and point out the accomplishments along the way.

"Yes you hurt today, but it's less than yesterday". "Three workouts down this week. Only four more to finish the week!"

A good coach will always segment the task so that the small victories can be enjoyed and used for motivation. Without recognizing the small victories, it's too easy to be overwhelmed with the task.

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." Yogi Berra

Segmenting the task also allows us to constantly evaluate our direction. Sometimes options become available along the way that were not available or known at the start. Recognizing that it was the fact that you were on the path to your goal- accomplishing tasks- that lead you to your new goal. It's all part of the success path- not a failure and abandonment.

It's the small accomplishments that make the bigger goals possible or...

"He's got the whole world at his feet but he can't find his shoes." John Williamson

Friday, December 02, 2005

When Life's A Dream

Where does this stuff come from?

Ever have one of those dreams where you wake up and think, "How did I ever come up with that?!! And WHY!!!???!!" I had one of those dreams last night.

Occasionally, as I have wrote about one instance before (story), cats not belonging to me get into our basement, and I have to shoo them out. My dream consisted of one of those instances. This time however, one of the cats was an aardvark!

An aardvark!??!!! I'm not sure if I have ever seen an aardvark but on TV. I'm not even sure where aardvarks come from. Africa I guess. Of course in the dream, it's just a normal thing and I proceed to chase the aardvark and the two other cats out of the basement. (I was being very aware not to grab one- see "story".)

Where does this stuff come from? Does it frighten you as much as it frightens me?!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Don't Look In The Classifieds

What is a futurist?

Yesterday I quoted John Shaar. When I quote someone, I like to study who they are (or were) and get to know a little bit about the person. John Shaar was listed as a "futurist". I'm puzzled.

What is a futurist and how does one become one. Can you study other futurists? Wouldn't that be living in the past. Can you emulate a futurist? Isn't that living in the present? If you try to be what a futurist might be- could you be greatly wrong?

Were there more futurist in the past and the only ones we quote are the ones that guessed right about the future? Of course that's the beauty of being a futurist- no one will know you're making it up until long after you're wrong.

In a way, it's a step better than a meterologist. They are only right 50% of the time, but they have to face their subjects the next day. A futurist may never have to be accountable for what they say, and have a 50% chance of being famous. Of course they are only famous in the future.

I think I'll keep my day job.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Stupid Human Trick

"When you pick something up with your toes and transfer it to your hand, don't you fell, just briefly, like a superior creature?" George Carlin

Ah, the simple victories in life! Do yourself a favor, try it right now.

Take off your shoes and socks, pick up a pencil or a sock with your toes and "hand" it to yourself.
That does feel good doesn't it!

John Schaar Said...

"The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present,
but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity.

The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating.
The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination".

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hanging Around

"Hanging out with friends" is actually an activity I saw listed by an applicant under the category of "other interests".

Whatever happened to hunting, fishing, hiking, football, kayaking, playing in my band, or any other true interests? Have we really got to the point where "hanging out" is an interest?

Not that there isn't too much terribly wrong with hanging out once in a while, but to list it as an interest?

Do I need to list such activities in my "other interests"? Should I list eating? How about sleeping, showering, etc?. All told they do occupy an significant amount of time in my life. Do such items help in the decision of employment?

Actually in the case of the above mentioned applicant, I guess it did. He didn't get the job.

"The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore". --Samuel Butler

Praise To The Man

It's been over four years and I miss my friend as much now as I did when I finally realized that he was gone.

Andrew T. Lee died on November 23, 2001- the Friday after Thanksgiving. It was the end of a friendship that had grown over a number of years and then stopped suddenly. Upon his departure, I took notice of the growth and impact he had made:

I had met Andrew as a custodian and said good-bye to a Dialysis Technician.

Although always spiritually minded, I met a wayward soul full of problems and personal demons and said good-bye to a spiritual giant and a friend of God.

I miss our talks and our common goals and aspirations but I find myself quoting "Andrewisms" to my children.

I agree with the final words of his obituary: "A man so good, God couldn't wait to take him home".

Andrew, I can't talk to you right now, but I enjoy my memories of you. Until next time my ol' friend.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I received an email that stated that typical symptoms of stress are: eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast.

If that's stress, sign me up!!! It sounds more like a perfect day to me.

I think this is just another example of what happens when letting others determine your standards!

Just say it!

Isn't it funny how we have such a hard time saying what we mean?

On the radio, a reporter commenting on a suspect who had confessed to a crime added "he is for-sure likely to be convicted". Is the suspect "for sure" to be convicted? Or is he "likey" to be convicted?

On another report, I heard the reporter speak of the "alleged victim". The suspect of the action may have "allegedly" commited the act- if you are a lawyer, in the court room, in front of the jury. The victim, however, is the victim. Somebody did something to the poor guy. That's not the "alleged" part! You might have a alleged suspect, or an alleged crime, but the victim is a victim!

So why do we have such a hard time saying what we mean? I believe we have got to the point where we are so afraid to get pined down, to offend, or not to be politically correct- that we stumble over how to speak.

If we call someone a victim- does that mean we have "pre- judged" that there was a person responsible for the act that made them the victim and therefore we are no longer fair? Are we so afraid to confidently state what we believe will happen, that we have to say "for sure likely"?

I 'm not saying that we should all be rude, nor am I saying that blundt opinions are always the best. There are people's feelings at stake. But I think we all need to relax a little bit and just say what you mean. Forget the "policitally correct" mode and just remember that people have feelings. Treat and speak to others how you would like to be treated and spoken to: honestly, respectfully, and openly.

Say what you mean. Be clear and precise. Don't be wishy washy!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Scripture Choice

I Corinthians 1:18

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C*E- Execution

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas Edison.

Don't let the actual work discourage you. The work, the execution of the plan is the biggest thing that separates the winners from the losers, or the successful from the unsuccessful.

When you are willing to work towards your goals you enter a group of people that have separated themselves from the others.

"The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them." Robert Frost

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thankful Item #1

Apart from all the yummy food yesterday that is lingering into today and I am sure well into next week, I have my first "Thankful Thing" of this new "Thanksgiving Calendar".

Tradition dictates that Christmas decorating must start today and today it did. I opted to complete all of my roof top lighting this afternoon. We haven't had any snow yet so the roof was clear and dry. Icicle lights, colored outline, and the other decorations on the side of the house. As I started on the lower stuff, a nasty cold front moved in and chased me inside at 8 o'clock.

It isn't snowing yet but it is cold and raining and on the edge of turning to snow sometime tonight I am sure. And guess what! I don't have to risk life and limb tomorrow on the roof!!!

If one can't be thankful about that, what can one be thankful for?!!?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation that follows is taken from the collection of Lincoln's papers in the Library of America series, Vol II, pp. 520-521.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God,
who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Emotionally Mental

A 55 year old man, born on May 5th, married 25 years (or five sets of five years), father of five, earning $55,555 a year has never hesitated telling people his lucky number was five.

A friend called to tell the man of a horse, "Lucky 5", which was racing in the fifth race at 5 o' clock in lane 5. The man couldn't resist and immediately withdrew $5,555 from his savings account, went to the track on 5th Street, walked up to window 5 and placed a bet on "Lucky 5" (which was paying 5:1).

Guess what happened!!?!

The horse came in fifth.

Did you think the horse would win? Doesn't it make more sense that the horse would finish in fifth now that you think about it? Did you get caught up in the emotional result?

How many times do we wish for one thing even though the most likely result is something else? Not even a string of good luck or "good omens" insure success. Emotion is great, but not always the best mechanism to make clear decisions or to change outcomes. It takes more.

Don't just let things happen, make things happen!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Goldwynism: Alive and Well in Utah

Samuel Goldwyn was famous for his oxymoronic statements. Some examples are:

"A hospital is no place to be sick". Or,

"Every Tom, Dick and Harry is named Sam"! Or,

"Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined".

This past Saturday I heard another good one. This time not by Sam Goldwyn but from a football commentator during the BYU- Utah football game (known as "The Game" in these parts).

By halftime, Utah was putting a thumping on BYU. The radio broadcast team was discussing what Utah needed to do to maintain the lead and advantage for the second half. One of them spoke up and offered this:

"Utah needs to maintain the reckless abandonment they have been playing with...but they need to keep it under control".

Apparently the team took his advise, became confused and blew a 24-3 halftime lead. Luckily, they overcame their "controlled reckless abandonment", and won the contest 41-34 in overtime.

Monday, November 21, 2005

But You Said...

"There is always an option."

I found myself preaching this to a group of employees at 1 PM one day only to have another situation presented to me at 3:30 the same day where I really wanted to say there were no further options.

Did I really believe it, or was it just convenient to say it when it wasn't MY problem? I had to decide it was the way I believed. I pushed myself to find and explore options and eventually, I found a resolution. Isn't it amazing how much stronger you must live your beliefs once you have let them be known? It's a good peer pressure.

What is the moral of the story? It's two fold:

1) Be willing to stand up and state your convictions. People will respect you for doing so. Did I gain credibility by saying "there is always an option" and then just a few hours later, prove it by pursuing options in a seemingly impossible situation? You bet I did. You could see it in the faces of the people as they went from"So now what is Mr. Know-it-all going to do" to "He did exactly like he said he would".

2)Make sure you believe it and are willing to back it up before you go spouting off! If you want to erase credibility in a hurry, be a hypocrite. It won't fly- even if you do believe YOUR situation was different.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday Scripture Choice

Psalms 46:10

Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

SUCCESS: S*U*C*C- Commitment

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." Vincent T. Lombardi

Are you committed to your own success? Do you allow others to dictate the value of your dreams? Are you willing to stick to what YOU think is important?

"There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results." Source Unknown

Are you merely curious about your success? Are you ready to dedicate yourself to it? Are you ready to show some results of your planning, are you up for the pursuit?

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston Churchill

Are you committed to work through the hard times, the failures? Can you remain enthusiastic? Is the dream worth fighting for?

And finally, don't promise yourself anything. Commit to yourself that you will pursue, fight, and dedicate yourself to the achievement of your goals and success. Now write it down, because...

"An oral contract isn't worth the paper it's written on." Samuel Goldwyn

Try to argue with that logic!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Doug Larson Said...

"What some people mistake for the high cost of living is really the cost of high living."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

“As Mark Twain"

Script from a speech I did, impersonating Mark Twain. Enjoy.

May I just say, the report of my death has been highly exaggerated!

For the few, who may not know me, I am Samuel Langhorne Clemens, otherwise known under my nom de plumb, Mark Twain.
"Mark Twain". A term from my days on the river. It meant the depth of the river was two fathoms or twelve feet- deep enough for any river boat; clear sailing. Huh!! Clear sailing my life has not been!

Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn't any. But this wrongs the jackass. I have been a printer, riverboat pilot; miner, newspaper reporter, lecturer, author, and pretty much an ass for (check watch) 169 years now.

I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one. Each time I thought I had everything figured out- things never seemed to work out quite like how I thought it would. I've sailed around the world several times, I've met people of all kinds, and somehow I've gained some well founded wisdom. I should be able to share that wisdom with you if you have, say, 5 minutes.

I had heard about a river called the Amazon. I was immediately intrigued. Some friends and I were to embark on a trek of a lifetime. One thing led to another and I was soon on a solitary expedition. My voyage led me to a trip on the Great Mississippi River and onto one of those great river steam boats, the "Paul Jones". It was there I fell in love.

Not with some beautiful woman, but with the glass cathedral which was the Pilot's house of the Riverboat with its Princely views of the muddy, mysterious waters of that great river. I forgot the Amazon and set myself determined to become a steam boat pilot. I spent $500 and 2 years training with Pilot Horace Bixby, learning to navigate the 1200 miles of river between New Orleans and St. Louis.

A pilot, in those days, was the only unfettered and entirely independent human being that lived in the earth. Piloting on the Mississippi River was not work to me; it was play--delightful play, vigorous play, adventurous play--and I loved it! It wasn't but two years later and the so-called Civil War stopped the Riverboats on the river. And Although I momentarily aligned myself with the Confederates, I always thought it is easier to stay out than get out. I took leave of the river and rode the overland stage coach out to California and the mine fields of Nevada.

Nevada. Some people are malicious enough to think that if the devil were set at liberty and told to confine himself to the Nevada Territory, he would...get homesick and go back to hell again.

I began mining, thinking I would become rich by either striking the mother lode or by selling my many mine shares. Neither would produce the fortunes I had hoped and I found that I had an untreatable addiction to wanting to eat, even if but once a day. I had to once again look for employment.

In looking for work, I was very particular about what I would accept...I didn't want to work! So I took a job as a newspaper reporter since I couldn't find any honest employment. I began writing dispatches for The Enterprise in Virginia City. They first published my reports from the developing State Assembly in Carson City. I eventually began to write travel dispatches as I began to travel the world and writing about my travels.

Behold the fool saith, "Put not all thine eggs in the one basket"--which is but a manner of saying, "Scatter your money and your attention;" but the wise man saith, "Put all your eggs in the one basket and-WATCH THAT BASKET."

I had found my gold mine! in addition to the dispatches, I began to write books and lecturing on my adventures. Success came easy. It was like fixing a watch.

When your watch gets out of order you have a choice of two things to do: throw it in the fire or take it to the watch-tinker. The former is the quickest. I could make a living by speaking and writing, or by working. The former was the easier.

I hear a few of my books are even considered "Classics". Of course a classic is a book which people praise and don't read. But I am pleased nonetheless.

With all my early failures, was my life a tragedy? No! Just great writing material.

Carpe Diem! Seize the day! Don't let opportunity pass you by whatever that opportunity might be, or be disguised as.

Who knows? You might find yourself talking about these opportunities somewhere, sometime when people are surprised to find you still kicking!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Coming Of Age In A Brown Bubbly World

I actually like Diet Coke. I didn't always feel that way, but once one has ventured down the diet soda path, it is hard to stop. Much like the Dark Side of the Force, I imagine. Regular or "leaded" soda is just too thick and too sweet, and I was seduced by the more graceful, albeit more bitter, taste of the Diet Side.

This, however, is not to say that I am on a diet! Some might say I should be on a diet and I watch what I eat- to a certain degree- OK, so I really don't, but I am not on a diet nor am I admitting that I need to be on a diet when I order a Diet Coke.

I do not believe that if I was on a diet, diet soda would be the key component of that diet. It's not a health issue, it's a "I'm over 18 now and the sugar just amps me up too much" issue.

I wish we could just call it Coke Lite, or Sugar-Free Coke, or maybe even Adult Coke. Unfortunately the name Diet is well in place and will be around for a while.

I just hate the look on the cashier's face when I order a Classic Triple with cheese, Biggie size and Diet Coke. It's that look of , "Yeah that's going to offset the rest of it!"

I like Diet Coke. I like it and no matter what they call it, no matter what one may think, no matter the mocking looks from people who will forever ask "Do you want fries with that?", I will drink it and I am not on a diet.

I'm just more mature.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Step Away From The Tray!

While in St Louis, I ate at a number of fine restaurants, but, like most people, after a while, I needed some "real" food. I had heard of a Wendy's being somewhere near my hotel, so on a beautiful afternoon, I set out to find it.

Straight up the street from my hotel, the Adam's Mark, on the corner of Chesnut and 6th street, I found my culinary refuge. A taste of reality. Finally a quick fried burger, fries and a Diet Coke. (I'll talk about Diet Coke tomorrow). I ordered, was served and found my place in the dining room.

Not very much time passed and I was greeted by a lady who was "working" the dining room. She said hello and then commented on the group I was with. She had noticed my conference badge and had already discussed the group's "raison d'etre" with others. I was impressed how she had actually taken time to be informed about her customers and she was quite welcoming to talk to. It just added to the whole "homey" feeling.

She made her visit brief, I am sure she sense my feeling of joy of sitting down to eat- by myself, no salesmen, no call to impress, just good old fashion fast food!

I finished eating, stacked everything nicely on my tray and stood up. But as I reached for the tray, as if to pick it up and carry it over to the trash bin, a voice boomed from behind me as if on a loud speaker,

"Step away from the tray! I know you weren't even thinking about picking up that tray. You just leave it right there and I'll get it."

I spun around, shocked and not sure what was going on. I was greeted by laughter as the lady who was so pleasant before, came over and picked up my tray and wished me a good day and welcomed me back soon.

I was so surprised that I just smiled and laughed back. I even thanked her for letting me eat at "her place" and walked out the door with a smile beaming across my face. Life was beautiful at that moment in time.

Others may prefer the fancy restaurants with the waiters, waitresses, and busboys. But I know who I am and where I come from and I'll take the good ol' folk atmosphere of a fast food place any day. And if I ever find myself in St. Louis again, I'll be finding myself at that Wendy's!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Vince Lombardi Said...

“Winning is not a sometime thing; its an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.”

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday Scripture Choice

Colossians 3:23

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men

Saturday, November 12, 2005

SUCCESS- S*U*C- Challenging

Challenging does not always mean it has to be hard. It can also mean that it goes against conventional wisdom. Challenge the accepted limits. Challenge the Status Quo. Challenge your self-imposed boundaries.

Jim Rome (national sports radio talk show host), in responding to the aggressive style of John Stockton (Past All-Star guard of the Utah Jazz) and the reports of how maybe Stockton "got away" with aggressive defense and aggressive offensive moves, simply stated:

"If you ain't cheating, you're not trying."

If you are not willing to push it, you're holding back. If you're holding back, you are not reaching your potential. If you are not reaching your potential, you are not experiencing true success. True success is not natural. It must challenge you, push you, make you go beyond that which you would have normally accomplished.

I'm not saying you need to be a cheater to get ahead. Nor am I saying anything about being unethical or immoral (see S*U*C*C*E*S*S- Spirituality). I am, however, saying if you play by the limits, fears, and comfort zones by which everyone else plays, don't expect to reach the heights that are your personal success.

Friday, November 11, 2005

"It Is Easier To Stay Out Than To Get Out"

Downtown St. Louis is in trouble. Buildings are empty, some under repair- some in a state of disrepair. Busch stadium is currently being torn down as a new Baseball stadium is being built up right next to it.

The Arch, built 40 years ago, was a response to "re-vitalize" the water front. St. Louis apparently has been struggling for some time with "fixing" it's city and re-capturing a glory from days long gone.

The buildings are there. One can easily see how there is a great city lurking beneath the current city. One senses the wishes of the people that live here to rebuild the city. They want to make it great once more. I have little doubt that they will do so.

I say this because other cities have done it as well. Once a city has established itself sometime in history- desire and effort can resurrect it.

Why do we let them run down? Why not just keep them up?

Are our cities much different than ourselves? Why do we as human beings notice what we don't have only when we no longer have it? Why do we let little problems become big problems, requiring wholesale make-overs?

Appreciate the things around you for what they are now. Take care of the little things that are eroding away your glory days, before they become major "re-vitalization" projects. In the case of problems it was Mark Twain that said, "It is easier to stay out than to get out."

I look forward to coming back to St Louis in the future. I feel that the next time, I will have only glowing reviews of how nice they fixed it up!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Missouri V. Missoura

I am so disappointed with St Louis! I spent all this time, years actually learning and training to say Missoura! and now I find out it ain't hip no more!

I spent a number of days making sure I said "Missoura" waiting for someone else to thank me for saying it correctly, but instead everyone kept asking me if I was from Missouri! I thought that's how Missourians wanted me to say it. I don't get it! I fought off the "foreigners" when I lived in Reno. "Its NE-VADA! Not NE-VODA"!

My wife's family is from Missouri and they have drilled me for years to say it "right". At long last my big chance arrives. I say "Missoura". And I get, "No one says that any more". A group of teen-agers followed me to my hotel last night- taunting me. Asking me if I wanted a cane pole and catfish bait and calling me Huck!

Maybe I'm just in the wrong part of the state. Maybe I just have a bad Non-Missoura accent and everyone knows I'm being a wannabe. Maybe, this has all been a cruel joke on the family newcomer! "Let's see if we can get him to say Missoura, so one day when he's in Missouri, he'll make a complete fool of himself."

People wouldn't do that to In-Laws, would they?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Size Does Matter!

Listening to the radio the other day, an interesting question was asked. On K-Love's John and Sherry Morning show, Sherry asked, "Who decided that "Fun" size candy bars are better than "Full" Size candy bars?"

Good question. And to it I add, Who decided that bags of fun size candy bars should be smaller?
Who decided that Biggie size fries is better than Great Biggie size? Who decided that Value meals were too big and changed them? Have you noticed that the size of everything is getting smaller, but the price stays the same or goes up? Who decided that we are so dumb that we won't notice?

As for the fun vs full size- which one is better? Let it be known that you will be giving out full size candy bars at Halloween next year and see how many Tick-or-Treaters you get and/or the look on their face when the unsuspecting see the full size prize. The kids will tell you what they prefer!

People of the world- Size does matter! Unite and don't let them take our Supersize away!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The View From The Arch

I had a few minutes to spend today so I made a small detour from my hotel and went out to the St Louis Arch.

I made a quick pass throughout the museum and bought my ticket to ride the "tram" to the top. This tram ride is worth a story in and of itself, but I will let the reader experience it on his/her own.

Upon arriving at the top and climbing the last set of stairs, I found myself 630 feet above the ground and Looking out over the city of St Louis on one side and The Mississippi River and Illinois on the other.

On one of the plaques there was a quote from the designer of the Arch, Eero Saarinen. "From the summit, the public could confront the magnificent river."

With that thought, all the ideas from the museum 630 feet below me focusing on the westward expansion of the United States, and the sight of the "Huck Finn" riverboat below- I seemed to sense a coming together of time.

I thought of my predecessors. I don't know if they ever came through St Louis, but I know they had to cross the Mississippi River at some time. I know they came by wagon, hand cart, or train. I know they traveled at speeds much slower than I do now. I knwo that even after traveling by those means - they were traveling to nothing. No home to buy but one to build. No food to buy but crops to grow. No life quaranteed but survival required.

Would I have been one of those people? Would I be brave enough to travel into an unknown wilderness? Would I be willing to carve a home out of nothing? Could I even figure out how to cross the River???!

"Bee" Fun!

I had a blast yesterday! I was in the booth for the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau at the conference I am attending. We were promoting the conference next year in Salt Lake City.

Tamme, who I was to meet at the booth, had a problem arise and was delayed in arriving. The two of us had not actually spoken, so I was trying to be polite and stand off to the side so as not to "invade unwelcomed" into the booth and start doing things wrong.

As 8 o'clock approached, I decided to just jump in and start promoting the conference. What a blast!

I started giving out a embroidered bee sticker for people to add to their badges. I also told most that I encountered that I was "personally" inviting them to the conference next year. I met and laughed with people from all over the country as well as Australia, Korea, Japan, Canada, France and the UK. I laughed for the hours that flew by!

Tamme did eventually show up once her emergency was resolved and the two of us got to know each other better and we had a good time as well. That is after once she learned who the guy that was working her booth actually was.

What I found was that a smile usually begats (??begets??) a smile and fun welcomes and generates fun. Our booth had great energy and we had a great response.

I won't invite you to Salt Lake City next year (although you are welcome to come), but I will invite you to be the fun person first. Afterwards, watch all the energy come back to you. I think that there is so many serious people in the world, and sometimes that's the right way to be, but most are looking for the places where they can relax, have fun, and laugh a bit.

Even if it is generated from a guy with an embroidered bee.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Flight Gone Bad

I am not one of those people who complain about everything. In fact, I might laugh about a situation later, but I rarely complain out loud at the time. I am a dream customer, but yesterday's flight is worth talking about.

Upon arriving at the airport, it was discovered that my flight had moved from the B terminal to E Terminal. No big deal. Just a little more walking. The fact that is was gate E-70 worried me a little bit. I know there has been a lot of work being down at the terminals, but I didn't know they had added so many gates and I feared a long walk. Luckily the gates started at 60 something. Not sure what happened to the rest of the "E" gates, but I was thankful.

I soon found out that we were on a 75 seat jet and not a 737. I guess that was OK. I'm a big guy and I still had an aisle seat. I was carrying my laptop and I kept it, but others gave their bags to the ground crew to stow in the storage compartment. These planes do not have a lot of carry-on space in the cabin. It's still better than checking baggage in.

After a little bit of time, the stewardess made an announcement. She had a couple of carry-on bags in her hand. She announced that they were over weight in the storage compartment and that she needed to find the owner of each bag so they could be stowed in the overhead compartment. They were found and one could sense a little bit of uneasiness into the group. Someone even quipped they hoped we were going to use the "long" runway.

Shortly after everything calmed down, the pilot made an announcement. Apparently we were waiting for four more passengers that were on their way. Everyone started to look around to where these four were going to fit, we already felt crammed in. And of course the whole weight issue was quickly revisited on everyone's mind.

The people showed up and then the Stewardess made a another annoucement. She said that the overhead storage compartments were all full and they were asking if anyone would like to let them place their luggage in "another" compartment. Now the weight issue was the issue of the muffled roar in the plane. Can we fly or not?

"Good afternoon, I am your pilot. Thank Your for flying with us today. If you want to look out the left side of the plane, you will see the number of bags we had to leave behind, conveiently left on the curb. If you recognize one of them as yours, please ask the Stewardess for a claim ticket and we'll get it right out to you on a future flight." that's what I expected to hear, but instead we started out of the gate, stopped for about 20 minutes and then got...

"Good Morning, I am your pilot. Sorry about the delay, but we had an electrical thing that wasn't working so good. Don't know why, but it's working now, so we'll be under way." Yes I am feeling good now. The only good news is that my fear that there was no restroom on the plane was unfounded. There was a "hidden" door behind the stewardess' seat in the back. Whew!!!!

We were all very relieved when the plane did have enough run way to get off the ground. We were left to assume that all the "electrical things" were working.

The flight was about three hours and full of turbulence. It wasn't 't horrible, but about every 15-20 minutes the plane would either raise or fall about 50 feet, or so it felt, and you would loose your place on your reading material. At least it keep everybody awake.

"Hi, this is your captain again. " Oh No. "We are approaching Kansas City..." Kansas City???!?? We're going o St Louis! The look of worry was distributed all the way throughout the plane. " We are locating I-70 and we will follow that to St Louis. On behalf of the crew Thanks for flying with us."

I-70? Isn't that a highway for cars? Maybe I misunderstood and an "I-70" is an electrical thing that is working now that we are near Kansas City. There's no way the plane is following the Highway for navigation. Right???

We eventually "dropped" onto the runway in St Louis and the flight was over. My luggage showed up at the baggage claim and we were on our way to the Hotel.

Glad the worse part of this trip was over...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday Scripture Choice

1 Samuel 16:3-21

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

SUCCESS: S*U- Understanding

When my wife and I were first dating and we began to talk about "our future", she asked me what I thought would be a successful wage.

$40,000 was my answer. That was what my boss was making and if someday I could make that...whew, that would be incredible!

She immediately shot that down by explaining her understanding of a successful person's wage would be around $1,000,000 a year.

"WHAT!!!!!!???? That's crazy!!" was my response. "Only the President of the United States makes that much!". I was very young and naive in those days.

Getting in the speaking business- I figured a six-figure income was the goal. My wife just shook her head. So she bought me a book, Money Talks- How to make a Million as a speaker by Allan Weiss.

I read the book through and then again and again. And not because I'm a slow learner, it is so full of how to do things. I learn something new each time- another area to focus on, a reminder of past things learned (OK, so maybe I'm a slow learner), and the insight of someone who has already done it.

Setting a goal is not enough, the understanding of what it takes is imperative. If you can tap into the experiences of those who have forged the trail- so much the better.

Usually, I hate it when my wife is right, which is like all the time. This time is no different...but I'm glad she is.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Finer Things in Life

It's funny how you don't appreciate things in life until you don't have them anymore. I learned this lesson once more this morning.

Living in the second driest state, one really doesn't have to deal with rain very often. A few "real" storms a year, a couple of thundershowers on summer afternoons- no big deal. What does it matter if your windshield wipers only work sometimes??

My windshield wipers used to worked a little. You would get a good "wipe" about every two-three minutes- if you put the setting on high speed and immediately turned it back off after one stroke. If you went two strokes- you chanced to over heat the motor and the blade would stick in some awkward position on the windshield. This is not only embarrassing, but also signals to any Highway Patrol that you do not have working windshield wipers.

If the wipers are stuck mid-stroke, sometimes hitting a pothole will jar the truck enough to release the blades and they'll finish the stroke. Sometimes not. This morning however, they stuck on the first pass and stayed that way.

This morning it rained, and rained quite hard for that matter. Add to that the mornings are getting darker- it was quite dark at 5:30 this morning. My truck's "real" headlights decided also not to work anymore. Fortunately, the truck is wired for daytime lights. Unfortunately, they only light up to about half illumination and point more forward then on the road. It keeps the cops off your back, but doesn't help much when you are driving on a dark road.

The whole situation- the dark, no lights, windshield blurred- all reminded me of driving in the tulle fog in the Central Valley in California. I fixed on the car ahead of me and followed the lights.

I'll get it all fixed soon enough. We still have about 4 months of dark mornings and plenty of rain and snow storms coming up. I can't fake it through all of that. But the important thing that happened is:

Through the anxious moments, the cursing of the truck's mechanical challenges and the rhythmic sound of the lane edge "sleepy driver" alert groves- I really took time to appreciate the finer things in life such as headlights, windshield wipers, and daylight savings time.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Out of the Closet

I am a rocker. No I don't hang sheetrock, I just like good rock music. However on occasion, I like to check in on the "other side" and listen to a Country station. Let me say two things about Country.

1. I do not say Country Music for that would be an oxy-moron.

2. I think it is a test from God that the strongest stations on the radio dial are Country stations. Are you strong enough to pass on by and look for "Good" music?

Anyway, on one afternoon while driving, our station scanner stopped on a country station and we heard a song that just made us laugh. The title is "Drunker than me". I'll include part of the lyrics here:

I ain't tryin' to ruin your good time.
But I damn sure ain't lettin' yours ruin mine.

You ain't gonna ruin my good time, baby.

I keep worryin' about who's drivin' home,

Who's got the keys, who's got the 'phone.

Who'll pay the bill, call a cab.

I don't mean to make you mad,

But I don't want that responsibility,

An' I can't be with a woman, baby, who gets drunker than me.

No, I can't be with a woman, baby, who gets drunker than me, yeah.

That's funny stuff there. Maybe there's a reason why so many people like this stuff.

OK, so it may not be my first choice, but every once and a while...I guess Country is OK...good...worth listening

Fine! I admit it. I'm a closet Country admirer! I like Garth Brooks- he's like the "acceptable" country singer, most people won't hold that against me. But I also sing along with Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, and (gasp) Shania Twain.

I have two country stations preset in my truck, but only on the second series of Presets! I'm sorry to disappoint my friends and family.

I still prefer Rock, but every once in a while...I'm so sorry to disappoint everyone, really I am...I was just born this way. With lyrics like the ones I shared, how can one resist?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Darrin Weinberg Said...

It matters not whethter you win or lose; what matters is whether I win or lose.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Simon Says...

I finished reading the book by Simon Cowell "I Don't Mean To Be Rude, but...".
I don't mean to be rude,, actually it was a fun book to read. My wife and I have watched the four seasons of American Idol and to read the stories behind the stories of the first two seasons was intriguing. Even if you hadn't seen the show I think the book would be a great way to see what happens in the music industry and what happens within a TV show about the industry.

In the last chapter, Mr Cowell gives some advice to would-be Pop Stars on auditioning. I read through the advice and I actually believe it translates across many worlds, many industries. It's about how to move upward, go forward. So here are Simon's Top Ten Tips for Success, accompanied by my comments. Sorry Simon, this is MY Blog!

1. Don't copy another performer. Be yourself. Learn form those who have succeeded before you, but don't try to be them.
2. Don't Overstyle yourself. If you don't wear a tux in real life, don't pretend that you do. It's important to make good first impressions, but they back fire if you don't really live up to them.
3. Don't Sing and Dance. Pick what your good at and do it. Make sure you pick the more important thing.
4. Make eye contact when performing. It shows you're not trying to hide anything. The eyes are the window to the soul, leave them open.
5. Choose the right song for your performance. Choose your actions and/or your words wisely.
6. Don't grovel when you come in. You may be thankful, but you're still the one they are interested in.
7. Believe in yourself the second you leave the house. Confidence comes from within. Unlike beauty, it cannot be skin deep.
8. Be sure to eat and drink prior to an audition. My Vette always handled better with a full tank of gas. If it's good enough for a Corvette, it' good enough for me.
9. Rehearse. Practice is said to make perfect. False. Practice makes permanent. If your practices are lousy, you'll be lousy. Believe me it hurts to say that! Practice allows you to rehearse out the flaws and make the material, the wit, the charm, the whatever second nature and real.
10. Listen. Listen to what people say, especially those who would know. Weigh all criticism and accolades and judge if it is helpful or irrelevant. Always consider the source. You will always learn more by listening than by speaking. Stop. Listen. Rinse and repeat.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

The Fear That Lies Beneath the Bed

I know everyone has experienced it, some time or another. The irrational fear of going into the basement, entering a dark room, or walking through a grove of trees at night- especially at this time of the year when all the leaves are gone and there are just sticks and spooky shadows. For whatever reason, we just know something is watching us, stalking us, and at any moment- when we least expect it- is ready to grab us from behind and drag us away.

Generations of kids- and sometimes not so kids- have lived in fear of what lies beneath the bed. They are in terror of leaving a foot too close, too long next to the edge of the bed. I admit it, I have always been afraid of that brief moment after my foot hits the floor and I start to stand up. "Is there anything under the bed?" Just to be on the safe side, I always offer a quick prayer as I put space between myself and the edge of the bed.

It happened on one of those nights when everyone is asleep and you're there still wide awake...feeling thirsty. I wanted to get a drink of water, but that would mean I would have to get out of bed...and it's dark. I was a prisoner of my own irrational fear.

No!!! Enough is enough! I decided to prove to myself (and to all of humanity) that this fear of something being under the bed is completely unfounded! It'’s not like I had never seen beneath the bed before. All previous inspections had turned up not one demon, not one monster, not even one bad guy! I would symbolically, and actually, put my foot down once and for all and not be afraid. I was not going to pray for protection either! I was going to be the grown man that I was and just do it!"

I flung my covers off with authority and in a mighty gesture I took my small step for man- giant leap for mankind and planted my foot squarely on the floor. My other foot majestically took the spot right next to the first as my body swung around to an upright sitting position. I sat there for a moment as if I was King of a newly conquered world. And then it happened.

In a wink of an eye, my foot was grabbed from the dark underbelly of the bed. I gasped for air, felt my blood run cold and I could feel my whole body swell with fear. After all those years of waiting for me to blink, to let down my guard, something had grabbed me, caught me- like a fly in a spider's web! My own arrogance had lead me to this demise. "Do I dare look?"”, I thought. Of course, I have to look!

I looked down at my feet and there, with a firm grip was my worst fear. An arm, a skeleton arm, partially clad in a dark robe sleeve protruding out from under the bed, it's bony fingers securely wrapped around my ankle. I was stunned, injected by the venom of fear. I couldn't think. I couldn't scream for help. I had already screwed myself on the praying thing. I began to accept my doom.

I felt the grip of the hand tighten as it started to pull back as if to pull me under the bed. I didn't move. The arm pulled again, this time a bit more forceful and with a jerk. I still didn't move. A light turned on in my head! It had waited too long! What started out as a scrawny 6-year-old boy was now a "too-much-for-skeleton-demon" 240-pound man- definitely not to be dominated by bone and robe!

I kicked my leg up as hard as I could and could barely contain my smile when I heard his bony head clunk against the bed rails. I laughed as I did it several more times. This was fun now! I felt his grip loosen, so I quickly reached down and grabbed the arm that had held me bound and yanked that so-called demon out from under the bed. And then I saw what I believe no one else has ever seen before...I saw fear in the face of fear!

I laughed in its face- "HA!" and let it go. It and his black robe began disappearing...Nay! Running...Nay! Fleeing into the darkness.

What exactly was I supposed to glean from this moment? I am not entirely sure, but I know I learned a couple of things, four things actually.

First: Sometimes, as in the case of my skeleton friend, you can wait too long for some things.

Second: Sometimes, as in my case, good thing do come to those who wait.

Third: Size does matter.

And Fourth and the probably the ultimate lesson: THERE WAS SOMETHING UNDER THE BED!!!!!!!