Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Happy Morales Dies Unexpectedly

Seven's Satire Report News
Laredo, Texas
Laredo resident Juan ‘Happy” Morales, the man who grew famous for always saying “Hello” died yesterday unexpectedly.
Happy Morales became a legendary celebrity in Laredo over the years because of his famous phrase “Hello, How Are You?”
According to family friend Jorge Cuervo he could not remember even one single time in his life that when he saw Happy, that Happy didn’t smile and say “Hello”.
“Later in his life, when he had begun to lose his memory he would greet me with ‘Hello. How Are You?’ at least 3 or 4 times every morning. That’s just the kind of guy Juan was. We are going to miss him terribly”, said Jorge.

Those familiar with the legend of Happy Morales tell of people traveling from across Texas to visit Morales’ convenience store in Laredo. According to Jimmy Credible a lifelong resident of Laredo, the tourists came from far and wide to see if they could enter the store without Happy telling them “Hello.” “It never worked” said Jimmy, “Happy would get them every time, just as soon as they come in the door ol’ Happy would say in his steady as the sun coming up way “Hello, how are you?”
“That was always the way with Happy, you just could not find a single day that he would miss saying Hello and not a single person on the face of the earth that he would miss saying it to if they came in his store.”
Some years ago a new legend of Happy Morales began when it was reported that he had said “Hello” to every single person at the Laredo County Fair on a busy Saturday.
“Well that’s what some folks was a sayin for a while”, said Helen Cooper, “But I’m not right sure that’s true. Still I would believe that stuff because that was just the way Happy was, he would say ‘Hello’ just as pleasantly as a sunny morning all the time and say it to everyone, especially if you was to walk into his little store.”
Juanita Jones Minton said Happy would also vary the way he said ‘Hello’ just to break things up and give variety to his style. “Sometimes when I went in his store he would say “Heeeeellooooo,” you know really drawing it out like a melody, and other times he would make it more of a question, like “Hello?”
“That used to crack me up, the way he could keep you guessing that way” said Ms. Minton.

According to family members Morales will forever be known in Laredo as the man that said “Hello” with charm, wit and purpose. “We know God has opened up the gates of heaven for Juan” said his sister Felicia, “And ol Juan probably walked right in there and said to St. Peter, “Hellloooo, how are you!” Felicia said thoughts like that would sustain her over the next days of missing Juan, the man that always said ‘Hello’.



Felicia Morales and her son Herbert (above) reminisce about Juan, the man widely known for always saying "Hello".
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Anybody Have One of These?

Did I tell you guys I compete in track meets despite being 55 years old? Yea, I thought maybe somewhere along the way I told you that. It probably sounds kinda weird to the casual observer, but I have managed to carve out a world class status for myself in my age group. And well, hell….I’ve never been world class in anything else so I just keep on doing it. Currently I am ranked 4thin the world at 200 meters for men my age.

To get there I have to stay in tip top condition and the work on the track and in the weight room can be really exhausting. By now you might be thinking…so what?….but there is a point and I have something to tell you about.

Just like show and tell in elementary school I want to show you one of my high tech Christmas presents from this past Christmas. Yes, the same Christmas I bitched and complained and moaned about in public repeatedly…same one…but I got an interesting present from BEG even if I was grumpy once again at the season of all seasons on the female calendar.

See this? Unless you are terribly nearsighted I guess that’s a dopey question, but if you are you wouldn’t have gotten this far ...........anyway, this was one of my Christmas presents.

It’s a scale, but not just an ordinary everyday scale. This lil baby is made by Tanita and it will tell you all the following using biomechanical impedance….

Weight: Allows users to monitor weight alone, without receiving a body fat reading.

Body Fat%: Displays the amount of body fat in proportion to your body weight.

Body Water %: Calculates user's body water %.

Muscle Mass: Displays the weight of muscle in your body.

Metabolic Age: This feature compares your calculated metabolism to the average age associated with that level of metabolism.

DCI/Metabolic Age: Daily caloric intake is the estimated number of calories that can be consumed within the next 24 hours to maintain current weight based on your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Bone Mass: This feature indicates the weight of bone (bone mineral level, including calcium or other minerals) in the body.

Visceral Fat: Displays the amount Visceral fat in the abdominal cavity (stomach), surrounding the vital organs.

Since I know you are dying to know, being social voyeurs of the seventh degree, here are my stats as of this evening:
Weight: 170.2 lbs
Body Fat%: 11.8%
Water %: 55.9%
Muscle Mass: 142.6 lbs of handsome head turning macho muscle
Metabolic age: 18 years old, and no smartasses they do not mean emotional age!
Daily caloric intake: 1,920 calories.
Bone Mass: 7.4 lbs
Visceral fat: 7 lbs

Consider the last 5 minutes of your life completely wasted by the science of biomechanical impedance and Seven’s delayed Christmas excitement, not to mention his inadequate attempts at controlling narcissism.

This next test is to see if you can find Waldo, err...Seven in the photo below. First one to correctly identify me in this lineup is trying too hard.

And last, but not funny…the Joke of the Day

Three women, two younger, and one senior citizen, were sitting naked in a sauna.

Suddenly there was a beeping sound. The first young woman pressed her forearm and the beep stopped. The others looked at her questioningly. "That was my pager," She said. I have a microchip under the skin of my arm.

A few minutes later, a phone rang. The second young woman lifted her palm to her ear. When she finished, she explained, "That was my mobile phone. I have a microchip in my hand."

The older woman felt very low tech. Not to be outdone, she decided she had to do something just as impressive.

She stepped out of the sauna and went to the bathroom. She returned with a piece of toilet paper hanging from her rear end. The others raised their eyebrows and stared at her.

The older woman finally said.........well, will you look at that... I'm getting a fax!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ask Any Mother

If I were to burn your house down the fire would certainly be damaging and scary. You would feel the intensity of the heat. You might be burned severely. You might die, and if you did die you would suffer horribly in the process. From such an experience you would be qualified to say that you truly hate fire. Fire can destroy, kill, disfigure and haunt you the rest of your life. Ask any apartment dwelling mother that has lost her children in a housing fire. It happens frequently in urban areas of our country.

If I did this to you I would be the cause of your pain and suffering. The fire would be an effect of my action.

I listened to the interviews of voters during the recent election period. Here is what I heard repeatedly from earnest and good hearted Americans; “I am anti-war, so I am voting against the war.” The results of the election point out the power of the peace seeking voter and I have no quarrel with our culture’s love of peace. This is a demonstration of the law of good in action. It may be what saves us all, if indeed we can save ourselves from one another.

I typically write here on my google allotted canvases in elected neglect of politics. It will seem this post is a political essay. It will seem so because our country has been so solidly divided that any conversation these days that involves a topic such as war is quickly cleaved and separated into a Lib/Con defense and inevitable spat. Without fail we reach a level of branding someone an idiot, retard, peacenik or warmonger. So I am warning early that this essay is philosophical in nature. It is not an easy read because I am challenging you to think philosophically and not politically. Yes, war can be contemplated without a single thought to your political affiliation. At sharpest focus none of us is defined by party, but instead by what forms our thought, oral discourse and action.

Today thousands marched on the capitol chanting anti-war slogans. Do you know the phrase full disclosure? That’s when the media or an individual confesses something that is important to the discussion. My full disclosure here is that I was a Woodstock type in my twenties, very focused on marching with antiwar signs and slogans across my t-shirts. Anti-War activity is not a stranger to my past. The peace symbol is my iconic heritage in generational history.

Fortunately, I have learned to think more critically as I have aged and observed. Here is what I think today, these many years later. With the rare exception for the deranged or psychopathic individual or fanatical religious subset all of us are anti-war. I find it annoying and shallow when people tell me with great conviction that they are “anti-war”. I would expect nothing less of a fellow human. It is not a slogan that sets you apart from the rest of the world in some sort of special class of intellectualism and compassion. It merely voices what every caring, feeling and correctly functioning human already believes and understands. The inference of this slogan and mindset is that anyone that holds an understanding of cause and effect different than the one you hold, or develops a contradictory stance to your own about how to end war is somehow ‘pro-war.’ I think it would be rare to find an individual that truly relishes war, particularly those that have served on the killing fields inside its horror, fear and chaos.

Philosophically war is an effect. It is not a cause.

If I were speaking to you as a listening audience I would repeat what I just said. I would ask you to write it down. I would ask you to divorce every political figure in our country from your thinking. That will be difficult because you have already begun to picture them and think about them as you have been reading. To divorce the political posturing of the governing classes and dwell instead on the cause of war demands mental discipline. To defeat the causes of war has precious little to do with shallow slogans such as “End the War.” I do not fault peace marchers. I have been there, and as the current popular refrain goes, ‘done that.’ I believe they are honest in their emotion and true to the cause of peace. It’s a good thing to feel the emotion. It’s a good thing to express the emotion. The idea I am placing before the reader is that the target of the emotive marcher is faulty. The emotion of honest righteousness is wasted by firing valuable ammunition into the sand. Yes, you can chant your government into political surrender, but the causes of war will merely smile at your impotence.

War is an effect and as such is servant to a discoverable cause. Search for the cause and you will be racing ahead of those that gather and mindlessly chant “No More War”. Imagine if we gathered at an urban apartment fire and chanted "No More Fire."

Before you begin a self–righteous “No More War” chant and begin crying out that the president is a warmonger because all the guests on NPR and CNN said so, it is advisable to first understand all decent humans oppose war and such a chant is intellectually similar to reading aloud from a Dick and Jane primer.

I have also learned in life that most things are never as easy as they first appear. Search for the cause. It is far more important and worthwhile than protesting the effect. Then we can gather together and work against the cause.

If I set your house on fire I am the cause of your pain and suffering. My fire is a deadly effect of my cause. If you fail to identify me as the cause then you have not defeated my ability to create effect. The fire is without feeling or knowledge, yet it is merciless in fulfillment of mission. In this way it yields the same effect as the loyal and well trained soldier of any nation or religious subset. War and fire have much in common.

Each has a cause that requires discovery before profit in human salvation can be attained.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

For you, from Rob

ROB said,
Seven and all my blogging friends. Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers. Just got back into a partial swing of things and thought I would check out 7's latest revelations. Wow, it's amazing to me just how much love there is out there and I am humbled and grateful that even momentary acquaintances and new life long friends will focus a few moments in my family's direction. Those prayers and well wishing will not return void. Bless you all.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Apprentice

Have you ever thought that you were something like God? I have. I think I should quickly work on context to avoid offending anyone. When we say we are ‘like God’ we are generally not reviewed favorably. Terms like narcissist and arrogant come quickly to mind. Deranged might be another term that a listener or reader would give domicile.

So it is with trepidation that I would engage such a discussion with you. I have over the years developed a sort of religion of my own. I really think all of us do this, don’t we? We don’t all set it to writing or outline it in a way that goes to hardcover and results in a church of brick and stone, but don’t we all develop an understanding of what make sense to us spiritually?

My religion can’t be outlined in a simple post. If I wrote my own text it might take more years than I have left. It would also be a continual work in progress, and thank goodness for the invention of the word processor/computer or I would destroy a forest of wood pencils in the effort; probably because the erasers on the end would be long gone before the actual pencils were depleted.

Are we actually God? I don’t think so. Do we have the ultimate potential? I do think so. Robert Shapiro reminded me of this in a very insightful post about being apprenticed to God while we are here on earth. This is a wonderful phrase isn’t it? To be an apprentice to God is a remarkable concept and a challenging contemplation.

This idea honors my personal thinking about natural law and the existence of ‘all good’ that runs in unending supply if we allow the natural law of good to guide our behavior.

Wrapped in such an innocent phrase as ‘allow the natural good to guide’ we discover difficulties that confound the best of us. I continually search for the framework of natural law. I have discovered it is embedded in faith and love, little surprise. Robert reminded it is also framed by the benevolence of the Creator. Is there a higher challenge than to pursue the attributes we perceive our benevolent God to own? Is it shallow to believe that the world would find its grace and peace if all its occupants emulated every movement and thought of God? To work diligently at this task is the calling of being an ‘apprentice to God’ as Robert artfully phrases. A noble calling is it not?

The complexity of this concept is that we must first define the attributes of our God. This is subjective of course. Perhaps my natural law of the good is different from yours.

Still, if I could engage each day with this concept, the idea that God is beside me teaching me to become God also, like a young boy working alongside a master carpenter. If the boy is diligent and attentive, will he not learn the skills of the carpenter?

Is this the divine idea behind free will? Surely the Creator has free will. If we are to study for such ascension of our own, isn’t free will unavoidable as a task to master?

Mr. Shapiro has inspired me to bring this thought to your attention. In a world that ceaselessly begs our attention through other stimuli and other deceptions, can we find time to listen as any clumsy and unskilled apprentice is required to do? Through broken tools, bloodied fingers and being bone weary at night can we persevere and continue the lessons?

The dawn, with all its virginity and freedom competes with my dark nights. I’m cheering for the dawn.

Arm Rasslin



OK, you can use 2 hands, but the loser has to live in San Francisco.
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dimmed Reflections of a Greater Light

Our friend Rob emailed me with sad news for his family. You all know Rob; he comments on this site regularly and is a valued member of our small community here. Rob lost his mother recently. In the past few days he also lost his younger brother Phil. Phil was 59 years old. In the space of less than a month Rob has had to deal with the deaths of these two important family members. He has been integral in making arrangements and comforting those around him and has flown across the country for funerals in Maine and California in a painfully short time.

I know, because I know Rob’s strength, that he has comforted all those around him. I know too that his hurt is real and it will stay with him for a period long beyond the immediate.

Many of us have never had the good fortune to physically meet one another. Despite that fact we do know one another and care about one another and pain for one of us here is pain for us all. I grieve with Rob and I also hold him up. I know Rob and his family will be in your prayers and thoughts as he is in my own.

Rob, have you noticed how it is difficult to say meaningful things to those around you at funerals? At least it seems that way to me. I always manage to give some form of comfort, I hope, but I also sense that we often simply hold out our arms and hope the embrace of caring is enough to sustain, and the words become the weaker comfort. We hold out our arms to you.

I lost my father when he was only 62 years old. I was 36 at the time. I respected him, loved him and I really miss him. At some risk of sounding too mystical, I will tell you that he still comes to visit with me. The most recent appearances he has taken the form of a bird. I know that is meaningful for you as a bird lover/expert. I know you can picture what I tell you next since we share a love of track and have physically met one another. Imagine me running a hard 400 meters in training at a pace of 70 seconds. Not racing, but cruising at a solid rate. Imagine from seemingly nowhere a hawk appearing above my head at around the 90 meter mark. It soared above me and literally followed me around the loop to the end of the course and then soared away. I watched it in wonder as I ran, my head held in an awkward position. My training partner, who was running right behind me in the same lane, asked why I stared at the hawk for so long and added “that was really weird the way it followed us around the track.” I smiled at him and said nothing because I just didn’t want to extend the conversation into the mystical. But I knew what it meant, and I knew who was reminding me that he still watches, cares about me, and patiently waits for me. It was not the first time he had communicated with me in this way. This is offered to me as a reminder that he is not gone. Like the Creator he also watches and waits. These are the dimmed reflections of a greater light above.

We hold you in our prayers
Stand on our shoulders and look above
For the signals that comfort you
Smile and follow what you might find
They remain with you
And they wait for you.

God’s Peace My Friend

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sleepless in Dallas

Well, honestly I’m not mooning you because I’m in a bad mood; I just had ‘writer indecision’ and decided to go with something simple.

At this exact moment I have removed myself from bed because my brain is on full flight, my body is in weekend exhaustion mode and it is an absolute given that I will not fall asleep. You know that weird feeling of lying in bed exhausted, a light sweat occurring under the covers, the brain racing along with a thousand thoughts, including “shut up and let me go to sleep”, but you know there is no chance that sleep will even come to flirt?

I am typically exhausted come Friday evening because as a...'ehem' ....seasoned athlete, I still compete in master’s track and field. My events are the 100 and 200 meter sprints and I train under the famous Bill Collins and run for the Houston Elite Track Club. The work is hard and I am very disciplined so fatigue is my regular partner on the weekends. Below is a photo of yours truly in the weight room at my local university where the track coaches are kind enough to let me use the athlete’s weight room. Weights are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, running on the track is M-W-F, sort of like a college class schedule. On Saturday and Sunday I veg out. Cool thing this year is that the World Championships are in Riccione, Italy in September. BEG is really excited about going to Bologna, Venice and Rome.

The mooning thing came up because I was torn between several different writing subjects. Leading up to MLK day I wanted to write about my personal philosophy that race is a concept, a human invention of cataloging humans that is now so out of control in the US that we resemble a third cousin to the sectarian strife of the type found in the Middle East. It’s a concept I love discussing. However, one resolution for the New Year is to quit being so danged serious in this writing space, so I moved away from an official MLK day writing.

So, rejecting the serious communication, I thought I might discuss a recent offer to have a Full Brazilian waxing accompanied by an anal bleaching. This was offered by a local salon to me free. Yep, I had to ask about the term Full Brazilian too. This is when salon technicians take off all your body hair with wax and they mean ALL your hair. Yes, down there too. Anal bleaching really got my head spinning too and it turns out it is all the rage in Hollywood, and now salons in urban areas have begun to offer this as a grooming service. Yes you probably understand correctly. Is your anus browner than you wish it to be? Well, no problem, they will massage in some lightening cream and turn it pretty pink again. Nope, I’m not kidding. You can google ‘anal bleaching’ and discover ol Seven is on the truth telling butt-end of things here. The root of my new knowledge was based on the fact that the owner of the salon, who made the ‘free’ offer, has 3 new girls that need hands on training to do a man since it is usually women that request this service. So, now my head is full of the thought of 4 women removing all my hair and bleaching my anus for free. The scary part of course is that it seems 3 of the girls are new at de-hairing a man’s genitals. Then there is the obvious problem of me not needing to be naked of hair everywhere, coupled with the solid belief that there is no soul on the planet that actually cares if my anus is pink or not, so I mean is there actually a point to owning a pink anus if you are a hairy 55 year old track athlete with Mexican-tone brown skin? So I’ll just put it to a vote here, should Seven go for it? Would you?

Then I thought I might tell you the story of being busted for mooning a tennis court full of girls during my high school years. I got suspended from school and the baseball team and the principal had a bizarrely serious conversation with me about whether or not I might be a little “cuckoo”. Yep, true story, but there were unique governing circumstances that made me virtually innocent of the act and certainly innocent of being “cuckoo”.

But after all the thinking about how to extend my writing career here on my posting book I was too tired to write so I just decided mooning YOU was the next best thing. I couldn’t find an actual mooning photo of 7 and I tried to do it myself but couldn't get the mirrors in the right place and push the camera buttons, so I let Bart do the honors. Besides I really want to wait until my anus is pretty pink before 'going cuckoo' and showing you an authentic 7 moon.

It's early Saturday morning and I can’t sleep. On my way to the keyboard I made 5 loops through my house in the darkness watching the security devices go off, blinking “gotcha” lights as I invaded each space. I made 5 rounds just to make sure they were all still working OK after the pass before. It’s a heavy obsessive compulsive night and I seem to be perking on DISORDER mode heavily.

Sorry, but I gotta go and check the locks on the doors a few times and make sure the porch light will go off and on 7 times.


And oh yeah, someone emailed about what does BEG look like? Well, here is my beauty with the confused Seven. Pic was taken by a friend at a small party 2 years ago.

Peace, out.

*****************

PS: And……the links in my blogroll still don’t work though my template has been untouched. Can you use the links in my blogroll successfully? Please try 7 times each just to make sure and let me know.

Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

" I'll Just Use A Big Stick "

Seven's Satire Report News
San Francisco, California

The Foundation for Eliminating Electronic Controls has released their findings from a 2 year government funded study. Their report suggests the use of remote controls reduces the number of steps taken and the calories burnt by the remote user. Working from a 7 million dollar grant by the US government the Foundation studied the behavior of subjects using a remote control to change their television signal and a separate study group that was not using a remote control. According to the data gathered those who were using the remote controls got up and walked to their television sets less frequently than the non-remote group. The researchers theorize that this is the result of being able to control the signals remotely. According to Tom Malone the leader of the study team “The non-remote group was forced to get up and walk over to the television set and change the channels manually since they were not given a remote.”
Startling as this information proved to be, Malone said the group was also surprised to learn that the remote control users switched channels far more times than the non-remote users.
According to Malone the study offers conclusive proof that those viewing television with a remote control burn fewer calories than those not using a remote. Malone said his group will offer guidelines that require remote controls to have a distance limitation built into their circuitry. “If we can end up with a remote that only works if used within 12 inches of the television, we know people will have to get up and move to within 12 inches of the set and change the channel the old fashioned way, the way we did it before we all became fat and lazy,” said Malone. He added, “This way Americans will become less obese.”

Malone’s group is expecting additional government funding to study anecdotal evidence that alligators prefer eating fat Americans rather than skinny Americans. He said the organization will change its current name to more accurately reflect the nature of the alligator study. According to Malone there is sufficient evidence to suggest that gators are more attracted to the fat cells of the obese. “If we can prove this, it will give Americans more reason to become skinny” said Malone.

Interviewed in his living room by Seven’s reporters, Max Sizeout said he felt the study about remote controls was just plain silly. The 5’-5”, 427 pound Sizeout said his remote broke a long time ago, but a 15 foot bamboo fishing pole he rigged up works very well for cycling through his televisions buttons. Max asked of no one in particular, “What are they gonna do next, ban fishing poles? If they do, I’ll just use a big stick off my pecan tree.”

According to Peter Wisenhimmer, the government spokesman for government funding of illogical projects, the government has funded far more stupid studies in the past. According to Wisenhimmer, “To point at this project in particular is a clear partisan effort by those that resist change and positive encouragement in the face of destructive behaviors. While we may believe that we know many things intuitively, the wise use of well spent money from US citizens has over the years revealed many things to be true that we expected were true from the beginning. It is a very settling feeling to give comfort to all Americans that they were right to begin with and I know they feel vindicated.”
I told Wisenhammer this sounded like a masterful verbal sleight of hand to fool the less sophisticated listener.
He said “Thank You.”
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Settled On Three

The weather was icy and Gate 6 at the airport was overflowing with travelers. Have you noticed how people spread themselves out in an airport waiting room? They occupy every other seat when it is possible. In this case all the seats were filled and people were also standing. We were waiting on a flight that was on schedule to make its way into the teeth of the recent ice storm in Texas. I knew and understood the weather conditions, so as I waited I began to scan the crowd.

I was looking for something in particular. I was searching for the face or the body language, or the combination that signaled leadership. What are those attributes? Frankly I don’t really know for sure. Have you played this game? Attempting to make some sort of guess as to who might lead the group under difficult circumstance?

Having my mind occupied with a scenario parallel to ‘Lost” I went up and down the aisle wondering which one of us would really be capable of leading this waiting room full of people in a life and death crisis. For the record I settled on three individuals. They just gave me the right vibe.

Those are the wanderings of a mind temporarily fuzzed off focus in an airline terminal. It did cause me to search under other stones of thought that might be more productive to our realities. I thought about the quality of leadership. Because that subject is so broad it naturally reduced itself easily to a more specific thought of “What type leadership do I offer in a non-crisis?" I have been praised in the past for my leadership in difficult circumstances, including a Medal of Valor in police work. But in many ways such awards reward us for behaving correctly and swiftly in circumstances where it might be required for another’s survival.

It seems to me it is harder to illustrate leadership under a more consistent observation, the constancy of everyday life for example. Maybe we can all be a hero when heroism is required and our life or another’s is at risk. But can we be a hero without the threat? Can we show leadership on a daily basis? The obvious answer to this question is yes, or we would not be consistently offering awards and crowns for leadership, nor would we speak about this person or that person’s leadership abilities. Still, we reduce our notion of leadership to sports, business, government and other institutionalized bodies. On second thought I should say I do this, perhaps you do not.

So what is my point? I’m contemplating that it is far harder to show personal leadership to others on an hour by hour basis. In the context of my thought I hold leadership to mean something turned from the conventional. I mean leadership that illustrates our happiness, joy and love of life. Do you know the phrase “If Momma aint happy, aint nobody happy?” This would be the evil twin to my thought. We spend so much energy expecting others to absorb and listen to our pain. This is plentiful in the blogsphere let me assure you. If instead of pain we offered brightness, are we a better leader than the one that offers pain and sadness at every turn? This is why it is hard. It is hard because what sounds like preaching on my part is nothing more than common sense that is easily rejected as silly or unsophisticated. Maybe we find a truth that is so innocent yet powerful in its simplicity that we decide to kick it on down the road because we are just too damned pretend sophisticated for such tough work?

Is the crutch of another’s attention what causes us to lean so hard on others? Is it a cruel fate that a happier countenance and leadership in the form of hopeful optimism gathers no attention from those around us? Is this inattention an enemy to our own happiness? Do we fail to lead on an hour by hour basis in the face of normal affairs because we simply cannot gather enough personal attention?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

7 is Cooler Than 24

We lost internet service in the Dallas area for the past couple of days because of an ice storm. It’s the longest outage I have experienced since high speed service was introduced. It’s not comfortable. I use the word comfortable because I think it is the best description of my feeling at losing something that has become a major element of my day. It makes me uncomfortable, I feel disconnected..……imagining that the ability to access the internet was not possible in any form for the majority of my life makes my dependence all the more remarkable. To use 70’s vernacular; it’s a ‘bummer’ when it’s gone.

I just finished watching the first 2 episodes of this season’s television premiere of 24. It looks like Jack Bauer is still a ‘can do’ kind of guy but slightly compromised from his 2 years in a Chinese prison. I don’t know why small things like that should trouble him.

Here is something I noticed while watching 24. No one in the fabled CTU magic government office is using a multiple monitor setup. I mean, come on Hollywood! I have multiple monitors (well, actually only 2). Don’t let my bragging have much influence on you however, cuz I just finished setting it up last weekend. I also set it up for BEG since she is a pro photographer and works with Photoshop constantly. Let me tell you I really like this. Here’s a pic of BEG’s set-up.

Cool huh?

In this configuration, the additional monitor functions as an area to store open applications or you can stretch an open file such as AutoCad across both screens. I use it very effectively to keep several spreadsheets open at once and transfer information between spreadsheets via copy and paste commands. I do this every day in my ‘earn a living’ work. Now, instead of having to click an open file up from the taskbar, I can keep it open on the other monitor. There are many other reasons that the set-up is very useful. I like it a lot.

Here’s a pic of my set-up.

I’m using a smaller second monitor than BEG because I don’t work with graphics as often and I like the primary and slave monitor ‘feel’ better. Also, I was able to use an older monitor that had been squirreled away in the top of a closet.

Notice the custom background? Here’s a close-up.

The design of the name Seven was inspired by recent comments left at this site. I bet you already know how to design a custom background, but if not email me and I will help you.

So….now I’m wondering if the fictitious CTU headquarters on 24 is such a fancy schmancy worldwide high speed computer kinda place……how come they aren’t using multiple monitors like humble Seven and the lovely BEG?

Postscript************

For the audiophiles like Rick Leonard, one thing I really enjoy is being able to keep I-Tunes open and expanded on the small monitor while surfing on the big monitor. Very handy.


Friday, January 12, 2007

My Lucky Day...In a Stupid Kinda Way

Remember I told you I was going to a track meet in Lubbock? I didn’t go. Here’s why.

Arrived at Dallas Love Field Airport. Interrogated by a heavy set female TSA attendant. Chap Stick confiscated from my pocket. She sized me up and down trying to ascertain if I had criminal intent with regards to the Chap Stick. I walked through the security scan thingy wearing no shoes, no jacket, pockets of jeans turned inside out, banana republic t-shirt with no pockets. Second TSA genius wants to know if I am carrying any liquid greater than this or that amount. Yes stupid, in my bladder, would you like some?

Sitting at the chairs they place at the end of security so folks can dress again. What’s that smell? Too many shoes off, and I’m sure it’s not me. Fat man puts his belt back on. It disappears from site under a massive belly as he buckles it. Damn magician he is, a god durn disappearing belt trick! It could play in Vegas with some choreography.

Bought a bottle of airport concession water for $3.50. Good stuff, thank you so much, here’s your Vaseline back. Standing at a urinal while Mr. Happy Goatee guy next to me stares down at my equipment and asks if I am from Dallas. Double-time walking from bathroom, long ago dismissed homophobia fears ablaze. Standing behind a West Texas matron going home to Lubbock…”my gran kids was soo excited to see their maw-maw came all the way out to Daaa-llas. Now I getta go on home to my daddy, and hell he’s jus lik havin anuther grankid, so I gues I ain’t really changing jobs er nuthin, just changing cities…”

Gate agent tells us “Ya’ll the weather in Lubbock is not so good rat now. But I think it will be OK for us if you leave pretty soon”….Did she mean that just like she said it?....Lubbock natives going home tell heartwarming stories of yesteryear regarding Lubbock weather. I finished the $3.50 water and noticed Mr. Goatee smiling at me…shit he’s goin to Lubbock.

Southwest boarding agent herds us toward Flight 24 aircraft. I pass the pilot talking on the jetway phone, he’s laughing and saying “Don’t you have any good news for me?”

Bangin along behind the crowd that appears to have no idea where they are supposed to sit or put their things….it looks like a casting audition for extras that can act like they have never been on an airplane before…..Maw-Maw is talking on her cell phone telling the grankids that Maw-Maw is goin ‘bye-bye on the big plane’ while she stands motionless in the aisle with 123 people waiting behind her. In my seat now. Back of the damned plane. Turn on I-Pod shuffle for exactly 7 seconds when I am interrupted by the same pilot I saw earlier.

“Folks, I’m not going to lie to you, the weather in Lubbock is real bad rat now. FAA sez we kaint even leave Daaalllas until the fog lifts in Lubbock and the winds settles down a little. It might be 10 minutes and it might be hours, I’ll be getting back to ya’ll in a minute…….(5 minutes later) “Well folks it looks like they want yall to get off the plane for jus now. Looks like the Lubbock airport has been closed down for a while.”

Banging back down the plane aisle dragging backpacks and wondering why in God’s name we were put on the plane to begin with…DUH……I guess that Lubbock weather kinda snuck up on them ‘ninja like’…..Gate agent says “I’m being told that the weather in Lubbock is gonna get even worse yall. If you still want to go on this flight it could be a lot later before we can go.” …Think, think, think…what is Seven to do? Go to Lubbock late? Wait it out with the crowd from Flight 24? Go home and forget about it?

Seven decides he is not going to icy Lubbock.

Standing in a long long line to ask questions of the gate agent that is no longer happy….Immensely obese women in front of me wonders if she drove to Midland and caught a plane to Amarillo maybe her kinfolks could fetch her by car back to Lubbock? The gate agent tells her she really doesn’t know the answer to that one. Turn in my boarding pass while the fat lady thinks things over. I get a voucher for a next time flight. Call the hotel in Lubbock and explain to the young girl that answers that her airport in Lubbock is closed and so I can’t come from Dallas. She asks if I want to cancel the reservation??? Uh, no sweetie I’m gonna walk on up there in the rain and ice for 400 miles and I’m figuring I’ll be plenty tired, so save that room for me……On second thought give me 7 nights I’ll just stay a while and watch the ice melt.

Drive back to my house. Phone rings. Seven?....Yes….”This is Wayne, the track meet has been cancelled by Texas Tech.”…….Thanks Wayne, I’m sure glad I’m at home instead of on a plane bound for Lubbock where the roads are icy and I have nothing to do….except maybe I could go visit with Maw-Maw and Daddy at their place.

And that is what happened to Seven on Friday.

I finally made a correct decision!

See what I mean?

It was my lucky day in a stupid way.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Into the Storm

I'm leaving the Dallas area tomorrow aboard Southwest Airlines. The destination is nothing special, unless you happen to like Lubbock, Texas. (and few do) I will be competing in a track meet at Texas Tech University over the weekend. This will be the first indoor meet of the season for both me as a masters track athlete and for the college athletes that will compete there also. I'm entered in the 55 meter and 200 meter sprints on Saturday.
So....I won't be around to comment on your posts or see what's left under my comment tree until Sunday.
Here is the spooky thing. The weather forecast is for a fearsome wind and rain storm to blow into Dallas at around noon. My flight time? Noon.
The storm is coming from the northwest. What direction am I flying? Northwest.
Well,,,,maybe I will be back Sunday.
TTYL
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Slow Dancin'

I can remember when I was 15 years old and I slow danced with Alexis Lankford.

She was a tall, pretty blonde girl with a dazzling smile. I learned later from a friend that she had a huge crush for me, but I didn’t know at the time.

I have a distinct memory of holding her very close with my eyes closed. I still remember her perfume. The most striking memory these years later is the warmth that came from her fully developed breasts pressed tight to my teenage chest, a very new experience for me. They seemed to have an infrared set of coils rotating around each one. Their warmth left a 40 year impression. During the dance she would give off involuntary shivers that also remain in my memory. She told a girlfriend, who later told me, that she was trembling from fear of being that close to her crush. Wish I had known that, I just thought she was vibrating for reasons unknown to a 15 year old. I thought all girls must do that.

There are times when we slow dance in life and everything seems to leave a lingering memory; a memory that could be so easily overlooked in the whir of each days fast dancing.

I first started thinking about slow dancing again while watching the movie Ray, a movie/biography of the late and great Ray Charles. Ray began going blind as a child. Naturally he had to learn to do things in his world in a new way. One of the sensory adaptations that come in the blind is the sharpening of the hearing sense. This happened in Ray’s world. In one scene of the movie he describes to his future wife how he can hear a hummingbird outside an open window some distance away.

To odd behavior I confess. I began to close my eyes over the next few days in random circumstances. I tried to keep them closed and still function. It will not surprise you how difficult this can be. I found I would sometimes open my eyes involuntarily; the need to see was so profound in my sensing vocabulary. I tried showering and shaving blind. I tried to find leftovers in the refrigerator by touch and smell. At the orthodontist office I tried to figure who and how many people were in the office by isolating sounds and voices with my eyes shut.

To odd behavior I confess.

I also confess to having earned a new understanding.

We aren’t slow dancing enough in our lives. By removing one sense, I discovered there is still a wealth of sensory clue remaining. This also taught me that there is a big bundle of sensory input that is extraneous. In the ortho office I had trouble distinguishing individual voices because of the irritating pop music that came from overhead speakers. In the shower I had trouble finding my razor because of the store of commercial bathing products aligned on the shelves. There is a lot in our world that we bring into our environment because we may feel bored and disinterested with what is already present.

I have been gone from our blogland a little while. I’ve been slow dancing and being blind, and learning new ways to see. I discovered my belly button feels different in the shower when I’m blind. Food tastes better or worse, depending. Music is sharper, traffic horns are louder.

So, whatever it may be worth to you, I suggest that once in a while you remove some sensory overload. Sit on the equivalent of a rock in the wilderness listening to silence. Discover what you have missed by removing a sense you depend on. What other things can we see if we are truly deaf? What can we hear when we become blind? Are the extras meaningful? I think they may be.

I am slow dancing in Texas, listening to the quiet and stumping my toes on the couch.

I have no idea why really, but all this reminds me of a song lyric that goes like this (paraphrased):

“Aint no use in turning on your lights babe, I’m on the dark side of the road. But don’t think twice, it’s alright.”

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We interrupt our regular programming to prove we are stupid...


There was a storm around my place last week. In fact you may have seen on the national news that George and Laura hunkered down in White House II in Crawford, Texas.

Crawford is about 100 miles from me as the interstate flies.

It was a big nasty black Texas storm, but the media may have overplayed the drama a bit. That fact probably surprises you as much as Mike Tyson’s recent arrest.

During this media enhanced storm, I was watching one of the college bowl games on television. In lockstep with more common cultural stereotypes, all bowl games tend to look alike to me. Nevertheless, I was interested in the game because it was a local team and they were mounting a remarkable and ultimately successful comeback.

Midstride of this comeback by the college locals the CBS television station broke in with news concerning the storm. Here is the rather odd bit of news and advice offered by those making decisions at the station.

We interrupt our regular programming to advise our viewers that a large portion of our viewing area has lost electrical power.

OK, thanks.

This news was followed by a long rambling message from a very self important appearing talking head about what to do if you have lost power. The sage advice included lighting candles and using blankets to keep warm. Also, don’t open your refrigerator a whole lot or leave the door of the refrigerator standing open, because your food could ruin.

Here is what my brain was screaming. You morons! If I don’t have power I CAN”T SEE YOU or HEAR YOU!! How do you think people without power are going to hear your message about what to do if they don’t have power!! I’m missing the great comeback as its happening because you are so incredibly STUPID!

So….what am I missing here? Usually when I think I am right someone comes along and points out something I have missed making me wrong again. A friend tried to tell me that the message could be relayed by phone to non-power havers and that way the important message loop would be complete. Wrong, because without power you don’t have phone service.

He called me a retard and asked if I had ever heard of cell phones? “OK”, I said, “so I’m supposed to call people on their cell phones and tell them to leave their refrigerator shut and light a candle and huddle under a blanket if they get cold?”

He said, “Yes, that’s right”

I said, “No, that’s wrong, I have smart friends, apparently your friends are consummate dumbasses”

Then of course, Mister TV talking head repeated the whole message just in case we were all taking notes and happen to write slowly.

When the game returned, the score was tied. GAAHHHHHH!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ten things I learned in 2006

  1. Don’t ask a hefty female acquaintance if it is a boy or girl baby.
  2. Don’t ask your wife if her panties shrunk in the dryer.
  3. Don’t shut the bathroom vanity drawer if your penis is hanging in there.
  4. Don’t handle live electrical wires whilst standing on top of a tall ladder.
  5. Don’t go outside naked after a storm unless you are sure your fence did not blow down.
  6. Always make sure the proper guard is on the haircut clippers before beginning your haircut.
  7. Do not get braces on your teeth.
  8. Do not drive faster than the police while listening to your I-pod on high volume. Also, continually scan your rearview mirror if the first part of the rule is not possible.
  9. Do not return your mom’s phone call from a bar where the DJ might yell out “who wants to see her naked!”
  10. Don’t shut the bathroom vanity drawer if your penis is hanging in there.
Monday, January 01, 2007
Sailing with wind behind my sails
In search of the better tomorrow
Across time and space I seek
2007; my time on borrow

Hoping, with a smile in my eyes
For a day as sharp as the sun’s ray
For peace that comes from knowing
Good waits on the horizon, and it can be my way

I want you on my horizon
I want you in my now
I want you to sail with me
Show me how

If I could sail round the world
Horizon ever distant
I would go with a smile, if I could go with you
The wind behind our sails, the moon a crescent

A happy search for our heaven
With smiling eyes in 2007