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.