Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Australia - Break a Leg!

For context, this article was originally published at ACALA Sports Training Systems. It is in the form of an open letter to teammates that were with me at the World Masters Games in Sydney, and a report to teammates that were not with us.


I usually keep a journal on track meet journeys. It helps me remember the sequence of time and specific events during a trip. Often I will jot down an idea or two about topics I want to write about later. Before we left home, I stuck a spiral notebook into my carry-on bag as has long been my custom.

When I got home and began unpacking, I found the notebook, undisturbed, still occupying its original position. I had thought of the notebook on several occasions. Old habits are difficult to suppress, but I never managed to remove the book or write a single thought on its pages. Every page was pristine, the pen clipped tightly to the cover. If a pen could own feelings, it would have been suffering a case of neglect. It might have even glared at me for a few seconds since I had no ready explanation to offer.

Mark Hastings kept a journal. I watched him do it. Mark is always thorough in everything, so I know I can rely on his notes if I need them.

Without a note of any kind I sat down to write a blow by blow tale of the things our Houston Elite group encountered, and how we managed to fake, wheedle or cajole our way around every Australian obstacle placed in our way. I sat for quite a while without entering a single word through the keyboard. I was trying to reassemble a week’s worth of racing, touring and laughing without a written clue. Finally, with the monitor as blank as my notebook, I got up and headed for a meeting with one of my favorite clients. The client didn’t want to talk about architecture and the task he had for me. He wanted to hear all about Australia. Somewhere along the way, he asked me to rate my experiences there. He wanted to know what single event, site, or occurrence I would rank number one. I didn’t know the answer to the question, so I just looked past his smiling face and focused on a wind blown tree that stood outside his window. I took my time. I mentally cycled through the events and the days. He grew frustrated with my processing tardiness and went on to the next question. I left the meeting and began my drive home. My clients question hitched a ride with me. Like a summer mosquito buzzing my head, it wouldn’t leave me alone. Rethinking the week, memories worked their way in, soon to be crowded out by yet another memory, which was in turn replaced by still another memory of smiling faces and the surround of friends.

In that moment, as I drove, I knew the answer to my client’s question. There were too many memories to be ranked. There were too many warm embraces, both physical and mental. Too much laughter and fun to catalog in a tidy Letterman style top ten.

However, I fully realized the fountainhead for the cascade of warm memories. I comprehended the native source of my many fine memories. I had stumbled upon the origin, the wellspring.

The source of all the memories was the result of being surrounded by my friends. We were a tribe of several, and a warm unified heart of one. This was the answer to the previously unanswered question. I wanted to return and tell my client that I had arrived at an answer, and that I didn’t even cheat by looking in the back of the back. I knew the answer. Without my friends, without my tribe, without our unified heart, the source of all the memories and fun would not exist.

After I knew the answer I took the time to begin reviewing the video that Kathleen took of everyone during the competition. Captured on film is an extraordinary 4x100 relay run by a 100 percent Houston Elite team. The film documents a win for Houston Elite at a World Games level. The grand thing about it is we did it against a hand picked team of multi-national athletes that were many years younger than ourselves. The key to the win, no surprise, was the experienced and focused dash down the last straightaway by Coach Bill. Had that been all, it would have been enough to thrill. But wait, as they say on late night TV commercials, there’s more. Coach Bill performed the feat with a stress fracture that literally reduced him to writhing in pain at the end of the race, while he lay horizontal on the track attended by medical personnel. He was horizontal, but we were all victorious.

Why would a man with a ton of world competition gold medals do such a thing? He did it because he wanted to make sure his teammates, his friends, had a medal to take home. I don’t want to discount the remarkable valor of Bill’s sacrifice in any way, but I dare say any of us would do the same for the other. That’s the reason my memories are so warm and plentiful. I have friends that shared it with me, and cared about me all along the way.

There are times when our experiences in life unfold in a way that we can never fold them back. When a friend unfolds his friendship like Bill did that day, and you realize it is so meaningful it can never be folded back again, it can only make us smile, and be entirely aware why our memories are what they are.

I know what’s number one from my Australian trip. It’s all my friends. I promise I will run with a broken leg for you if I need to. Just like Coach Bill.

Please remember to pick me up and dust me off when it’s over. We have more memories to make.

To view the race go to: 4 x 100 Relay

Mark Hastings, Bill Collins, Rick Riddle, Charles Allie

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Appointment of Dictionary Czar Confirmed

Satire - Dallas, Texas

Frustrated that ABC correspondent George Stephanopoulos had the temerity to define the word ‘tax’ by looking it up in a dictionary, President Obama has appointed a new dictionary czar. Spokesman Robert Gibbs announced the appointment of Fred Jefferson at yesterdays press briefing. Mr. Jefferson is a former proof reader at ACORN according to Gibbs. Gibbs added that Jefferson’s extensive experience in proof reading gives him the perfect background to redefine words in a way that works well for the benefit of all Americans. “Production of a new authoritative and ‘flexible’ constitution, err, excuse me, dictionary is the change Americans voted for”, Gibbs continued.

When asked if it was true that President Obama is also considering a tattoo czar, Gibbs said he had no comment. Speculation has run strong in recent days that Kevin Inks, also a former ACORN executive, has been involved in talks with the administration about the possibility of creating a federal tax on tattoos that offer support to conservative ideas and tax breaks for those that support the administration. Contacted by telephone, Mr. Inks said there is no truth to the rumor. He also dispelled the rumor that Americans declining to get a tattoo would have to pay a tax, and that it had not been brought up by anyone outside of ACORN. “Besides, he said, the new dictionary czar should be able to work out all this word definition nonsense about the word ‘taxes’ in time to satisfy the less educated before the new tax is announced.” He added “ooops” before hanging up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Will you still love me, when I'm 92?

Ever wondered what life will be like when you’re 90 years old? I didn’t think so. I wondered it once, but it was because I was watching a local TV newscast about a 90 something year old. He was on the news because he had chased burglars out of his house at the end of a shotgun, while wearing only his underpants. Yep, really slow news night. He didn’t have a twinkle in his eyes. He was all stooped over and wagging a bony finger at the camera. A really big booger was at the edge of his nose. At least it looked like it was a booger. In French, of course, you pronounce it boo-jay, which I think is altogether more artful than buu-gurrr; which is how we say it in Texas. The old fellow was a mess frankly, but after all he was 90-something!

On that particular night I wondered what life might be like at 90 plus. Then I tired of the thought, with it being unpleasant and all, and I went on to think about sex and beer and fast cars. At one point I thought of them in all in the very same thought. It was a combining of the best ingredients of life into a virtual banana split of thinking. Yes, I’m aware that last sentence makes no sense whatsoever, yet any mental cases reading this are nodding their heads up and down and grinning, because they understood it anyway. Caught you didn’t I?

Yesterday, I saw another video of a 90 something year old. In fact, the man is 92 years old. After watching it I understood a little more about grace and dignity. You can watch the video here . Before you watch it however, I should fill you in on some detail. The speaker is named Ernie Harwell. For what seems like the last one million years, he has been the broadcast voice of the Detroit Tigers baseball team. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with an untreatable cancer.

Mr. Harwell is dying. He knows it. The Tigers fans that love him also know it.

He was asked to address the home crowd as this baseball season grows to a close, a moment pregnant with poignancy since Mr. Harwell’s season of life will end shortly, perhaps before this seasons bats and baseballs disappear from the dugouts.

Imagine you have been told you are going to die very soon. Imagine you have to say goodbye to 45,000 family members, under the lights, in front of a microphone on television and radio. Then pray you might be able to do it this well. If you can do so, it will testify to the fact that you have come to understand the power of acknowledging the ‘joy of your journey’. Listen to 92 year old Ernie Harwell say goodbye.

I was recently asked to collaborate on a book, which is now in publication, in which I pontificate as if I were wise about understanding the joy of life’s journey. The joy of the journey is all important to the quality with which we walk through life. Without this understanding, we merely spend our time moving from one completed action to another. Understanding the process and joy of being involved in the action can bring us new understanding about pleasure, joy and fulfillment. Some have simplified the thinking to a simple catch phrase; ‘living in the moment’.

Mr. Harwell’s farewell is simple, yet charged with a complex dignity that I believe so few of us possess and may never attain. But, I pray to God that someday, I might in my own life approach this same level of dignity when I tell the world goodbye. I pray my journey will have been so complete that letting go of life can seem so easy and even joyful that the word ‘dignified’ is the only word that can come to mind. I just hope I don’t have to do it in front of a microphone with the entire state of Michigan watching.

Watch video here

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ready to be like actually ....................

Back in 2002 I took my son on a tour of college campuses to help him ‘discover’ what school he wanted to attend. He ended up graduating from the good ol rootin-tootin University of Texas, right here near my backyard. Well, maybe its a little south of my back fence, but anyway at least its in his home state. But, before he settled on full time partying and frat slumming at UT, he wanted to see New York University.

If you haven’t been there, let me tell you about it. It’s a unique campus, just cuz it doesn’t have a campus. Its buildings are strewn about the south end of Manhattan like confetti on a windy day, following a hero’s parade before the street sweepers arrive. Each building flies a purple flag on their front, with the logo “NYU” emblazoned on it, or maybe I should say it is imprinted, since emblazoned is probably too effusive a term. The flag has a nifty torch on it too, symbolizing something about' holding out a lamp of knowledge against the darkness of ignorance'. Must have been coined by an Obama speechwriter (speaking of overly effusive) back when he or she was a student. Anyway, the point is, you know you got off the city bus or subway at the correct point, to hold up your lamp, if you see the purple flag on the NYU owned buildings. So what, you ask?

Well, on the tour of NYU, (which - oh by the way - costs per year what 2 new Lexus costs and oozes the same class divide snobbery) there was a very intense, yet pleasant, young man who relied heavily on the phrase ‘actually’. As in saying, this is ‘actually’ where we have business classes, and this is ‘actually’ where the freshmen students can puke after too much beer, and this building is actually near the actual police station for this district. And so forth he carried on, with a steady stream of ‘actuals’ and ‘actuallys’.

At one point, I turned to BEG and said, this kid is overly fond of the word actually! Then I made a prophet of myself. I told her that it must be the newest ‘catch-cool’ phrasing and was likely to spread from Manhattan to Los Angeles and soon kids all across America would be using this phrasing.

How right I was! Now it is even commonly used by major network reporters! I’m ready to throw things. I love words, even though it sounds major geeky and I’m always sorry for sounding geeky, old or cranky – but by God and Jimi Hendrix – PLEASE everyone quit saying ACTUALLY!

First it was ‘like’ this and I was ‘like that’ and I said “Like dude, just get over it” – and now it’s ACTUALLY!

I’m like actually, like banging my head on my actual table, because I have like recently caught myself using this overused word as if it were the damned actual swine flu and I had failed to wash my hands of it.

It has me in its grip. I’d rather be like actually dead.

Do you like, actually here me? Can’t we just move on to the next, yet new, horrible overuse of a common five-cent word?

Sorry, I guess it didn't have anything to do with purple flags after all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Etched in the Rain

I was riding in the back of the car watching the rain slash across the windshield, while the wipers cleared the way to drive. My son had stopped at a traffic light. My wife was in the passenger seat. I sat alone in the back of the car, staring straight ahead at my family in the front seat. No one was talking.

The next morning our son would be leaving Texas, for a job in San Francisco.

I was reminded of my father’s death. More specifically I was reminded of the night of his death. It was raining that night too. The night my father died I drove my mother home from the hospital in the rain. It was quiet in the car. Our lives had changed, and both of us were very tired from the hospital vigil and the intense emotion it had brought us. We had little to say, yet we were bound by time and circumstance to one another in this time of pain. Our ride held meaning beyond any routine car ride. It was the type of moment that can renew our role in one another’s lives, a moment that can burn the sights, sounds and emotions into our memories for a lifetime. We all know the rhythmic sound of the wipers moving from the top of their arc to the bottom. We know the sound of the rain, a sound distinct to us all, even with our eyes closed. These are the images and sounds of everyday life that can suddenly etch our memory, when they occur in a significant moment. The sound of the tires across puddles when you’re in motion, the hypnotic image of red and green traffic lights splotched across the windshields surface, reflected off the droplets of water where the wipers can’t reach. When you couple the sights and the sounds with the emotion, like it existed in the car that night, it becomes impossible to erase the memory. When it is silent in the car, the memories burrow even deeper.

The memory of my father’s passing and the quiet bond between me and my mother came home while we sat at that traffic light in my son's car.

I don’t know why the memory chose that moment.

Maybe the power we call fate throws out random reminders of our mortality.

Perhaps the gods expect us to miss the reminders, like we might overlook the note scribbled on a piece of paper in front of us.

This note from fate, or circumstance, or whatever it is that places our minds and hearts and our bodies in a common experience, I didn’t miss. I caught it solidly.

I understood many things in that quiet moment in my son’s car.

I understood my mortality.

I understood the bond between my son and his mother.

I comprehended their allegiance to me.

I understood I was being given a glimpse into the future.

A time when I will not be in the car, yet they will.

I saw a time when the son will comfort the mother, once again.

I understood and caught the moment as though I were already gone.

I understood my place in the world in a more defined way.

I understood it in its past tense and its present tense.

Now, in this moment, I was offered a chance to know it in its future tense.

And I saw it would be alright.

Fate and circumstance will turn in their infinite revolutions.

And it will be alright.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Lone Tree on a Barren Prairie

Don Miguel Ruiz published his book “The Four Agreements’ in 1997. It is an easy to read book that posits the idea that we all conduct our lives and make our decisions based on agreements we have made with life; agreements that are the result of our individual experiences and the positive and negative feedback received as we move along in time. The author states he is expressing a long held tenant of Toltec thinking handed down from his Mexican ancestors.

I am not a scholar of Toltec philosophy. To be so would require even more energy on my part than becoming a practitioner of Yoga, which still lies untouched on my list of things to conquer.

Nevertheless I remain fascinated by the concept presented and the challenge that lies inside this Toltec philosophy. Ruiz maintains that the ability to break these agreements, which are often founded in false reality, is the path of personal progress and self fulfillment.

It seems to me that he is on a track to understanding how to change destructive patterns of behavior and how to redefine our beliefs not by what we are taught, but rather by what we understand as a more natural truth. Like a lone tree on a barren prairie, we bend our lives in the direction the force of life takes us, just as the tree over time bends in the direction of the prevalent winds. We cope and adjust to life. We listen to parents and friends and teachers and we form agreements within our consciousness of what we believe and how we respond to circumstances of life. We rarely construct our agreements without the approval of others.

All this talk of Toltec philosophy and an eleven year old book brings me to the subject of politics. Specifically it enlivens the discussion of what we have come to know as ‘flip-flopping’. In the world of American politics it has become a negative term. Recall Bush supporters arriving at Kerry stump speeches waving flip flops in the air as he talked? The term is applied, as everyone knows, to the process of changing position or changing thinking on a political topic. It is assumed to be a political and personal character flaw in a candidate.

Is it a flaw? Maybe it’s merely the use of politically motivated language that paints such a heavy coat of negativity on a common life process. Can the practice of thinking through a position, then changing your opinion based on a re-analysis of fact be thought of as positive?

In my view this depends entirely on context. In matters of war it seems prudent to constantly weigh one’s position with respect to the facts available. Have the Iraqis let too many sunrises pass without taking possession of their governance responsibility? Would a very unpopular position to run Al-Qaeda from Iraq by sending more US soldiers work? Maybe, I don’t know the facts and I strongly suspect my readers don’t know unless you happen to be one of the privileged that receives top secret briefings. Isn’t it amazing how many of your friends and our celebrities around America know exactly what’s wrong and what to do without access to any of the facts available to the President? It is increasingly apparent that the hardest agreement many Americans have to break is the idea we are exceptionally wise while working with an absence of knowledge and fact about many world situations. A simpler way to express the point is to say, “We certainly have a lot of know it all blowhards in our midst, do we not?”

If we look at the context of abortion it seems less reasonable to own a shifting position. The biologic process has not changed and will not change between now and November 2008. Is the changing of one’s mind on abortion a negative when facts are stable?

I theorize that a majority of Americans will cast their vote for leadership based on agreements that remain unquestioned. Because of that fact, the candidates search for the so-called independent voter with their campaign dollars and their oration. Wouldn’t it be healthier for America if we all understood that our decision should be made on a rational analysis of available fact, with personal agreements questioned at every turn? Ruiz maintains in his book that this ability to reject agreements that limit us is our best hope for self awareness and the fulfillment of our potential.

Sadly I expect the populace and the networks to continue the vitriolic arguments that sustain and foster the strength of their personal agreements no matter the opportunity to base their opinions on objective assessment. We will argue our agreements instead of our natural truth, not comprehending the kernel of truth embedded in the Toltec philosophy. Vice Presidential candidate Spiro Agnew once referred to the press as “nattering nabobs of negativism” a well turned phrase pointed directly at this remarkable capacity of the media for finding fault rather than a positive, which returns me to the central point that ‘flip-flopping’ is not inherently evil or stupid.

Extending this argument about the breaking of agreements to the voting public is the logical extension of our expectation that our leaders be able to change position not only with grace but with intelligence. Can we, the voting American public, do more than vote our pre-existing agreements that Republicans are gun–toting mean racists or that Democrats are God hating socialists? Or, can we think and reason about which candidate offers our country and our children a safe and productive future?

Is our opportunity for continued success in America tied to our ability to no longer howl at the moon of our prejudices until we are hoarse? I think so, but it’s so hard isn’t it?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Truth Crushed to Earth

If we imagined that good always prevails would we engage life with a different plan? The answer to that question might be more important than we think and as in all things important it might be painstakingly elusive as well. Why ask the question in the first place?

It’s only important if we embrace the possibility of truth being embedded in the statement 'good always prevails'. The idea that good will prevail over the course of time is a philosophy handed down by generations of writers and thinkers, theological and secular.

If we accept the truth of that idea as an acknowledged principle, then it raises the question of whether or not it should alter the way we live our lives. If I accept that good prevails I might elect to care not a thread if I abet its ultimate triumph, another way of saying it doesn’t matter what I do in my life. I might also say it this way, “If good always triumphs in the end there is no need for intervention on my part.” Conversely, if I decide that the flow of good required for triumph is inherently tied to my personal actions, it creates the need of a demanding code of conduct, a code directly predicated on embracing one simple belief.

If I answer one way, the moral direction of the universe demands nothing of me. If I answer the other way, the moral direction demands everything of me.

Martin Luther King wrote the beautiful phrase “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It is a philosophical and poetic phrase. Is it true? If the moral universe bends toward justice do I have an obligation to help it bend? Do you?

In that same speech given on August 16, 1967, King quoted a William Cullen Bryant phrase of matching power, "Truth crushed to earth will rise again."

If good can be equated with justice or truth, then we might combine all of this thinking into the idea that good, justice and truth prevail over time, or as King poetically states, “over the arc of the moral universe”.

Do we have a part? Or is it out of our hands and lying in the larger hands of the Creator? Or, is it possible the hands of the Creator exist at the ends of our arms?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The One With The Flowers?

In the past few days I waded through an imaginary swamp.

It was filled with water the color and texture of sewage. Large trees ripe with summer foliage overhung the mire and blocked my vision of a sky dark with heavy clouds. A distinctive grey darkness cast itself across the surface of every plant and animal. Debris of an indeterminate composition, representing the mistakes of my life, floated on the top of the thick water. Snakes of evil, casting an aura of unknown danger moved across the surface of the water, gliding in that distinctive curving fashion of a swimming serpent, the darkness of their backs moving from one debris pile to the other. Their eyes locked mine in a threatening stare and my own eyes locked onto theirs. Each of us measured the other with equal loathing and fear.

I hadn’t come here by design. When I left it was fields of waving green grass, speckled with multicolored wildflowers that I searched for. Throughout a sunny morning I had walked along the forest path looking left and right for an opening that would lead me to that field of pleasant dream. From the trees above the locusts hummed their incessant song. An occasional unexplained noise diverted my attention from the path yet nothing showed itself to explain the scurrying noise from the undergrowth. The canopy of trees above my head grew thicker, darkening the sandy path as the day grew longer.

Just beyond a brown stone bridge the path split. The side I chose led me longer into the day and deeper into the dark. Eventually cold water tickled at my ankles and my feet slid an inch deeper into turf that had become mud. Dark images of large birds mocked me from above. The scurrying sounds of the underbrush were replaced by an eerie quiet, the type of quiet that magnifies its presence by the forceful power of its nothingness. Still, I moved forward. I knew what lay behind. I didn’t yet know what lay ahead, though I searched with hope for my sun drenched field of green.

I noticed the outline of his small figure mirrored in the water to my right side. My attention raptly focused on the snakes and piles of mistakes had honed my alertness to a level that gave the water borne image unusual clarity. I moved my torso a quarter turn in the bog, the swishing of the water at my waist breaking through the silence. I stared at the figure, fuzzy and dark in the shadows of the trees. The outline of a small human form crouched along the earthen bank, his right foot closer to the waters edge than his left, his elbows resting on his knees. He held up his right hand and with a soft and slow folding motion of the hand beckoned me to come closer. He spoke no words. I moved one step toward him, lowering my head in an effort to see more clearly. I squinted my eyes in the manner people use to try to sharpen their focus. I could see he wore only a white shirt, long sleeved and buttoned only in the middle, the sleeves rolled up on his muscular arms in a haphazard fashion. His skin was peculiarly free of any hair, glowing and sleek in the way dolphin skin might look if transposed onto a human figure. His feet were longer than his body size would dictate they should be. The hands had the same out of proportion quality, the fingers long as they folded up and then back out again in the beckoning motion. His penis was small as if Michelangelo had re-sculpted David, crouched on an earthen bank in a bog wearing dolphin skin. I was unsure if I should obey the hand command. I moved three more steps forward and his hand uprighted itself in the stop signal. He smiled a radiant smile of brilliant white perfect teeth that seemed to have caught light from nowhere, further obscuring his facial features in the grayness that surrounded all but the smile. The small man spoke to me in a pleasant inquisitive voice.

“Are you lost my friend?”
“Are you looking for the green field, the one with the flowers, the one that everyone that passes here is searching for?”
“You missed it because you were not looking when you found it.”
“That’s impossible; I have looked all along the path I’ve walked. I never once closed my eyes or quit looking for the field.”
“How is it then that you have come so far to find me?”
“I don’t know, I just kept walking, I was just hoping to find the field and lie down in the sun, I didn’t realize I passed it.”
“You have passed it as I said, yet it remains in front of you.”
“How can that be, how can it be both in front of me and behind me?”
“It can only be found my friend when you are not seeking it. It lies behind you. It lies in front of you. It is on your right and on your left, but you have chosen to wade with snakes instead.”
“No, it’s not like that! I am only here because I got lost!
I looked quickly to my left to keep an eye on the snakes and the floating debris. When I looked back toward the dolphin skinned man he was gone. The eerie quiet returned.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Innocence and Experience

Purple seagrass waves in the breeze
Summer announces
Am I seasoned, or am I young again?
Memories cross paths and the boy engages the man

Dreams of youth and the realities of the present
They seem strangers; the familiarity goes unexplained
The scent of cut grass and the memories of baseball
Phones ringing; insistence on experience

Innocence or experience
Collisions inside my mind
A girl in a short skirt
A stirring of memory

An unexpected glimpse of today in the mirror
A young girl laughs; her conversation amuses the elder
It excites the younger

Purple seagrass waves in the breeze
A tear decorates the man’s cheek

Memories cross paths
The boy engages the man
Familiarities go unexplained

They are staring at one another
Perplexed by the other image
Purple seagrass waves in the breeze

Hello, my soul

Monday, June 30, 2008

I'll give you something to cry about.....

I have been listening to all the news stories about the airlines charging $15 to check a bag.
I started traveling with one carry-on bag after my luggage was lost for 11 days during a trip to Italy. My wife's bag was lost (delayed in airline language) for the same time period. I learned something. You need far less things than you might imagine, even in a foreign country where you don't speak the language.
BEG and I made a pact to never check an airline bag again. It has nothing to do with fifteen dollars. We learned exactly what is really needed and how to pack it in a carry-on size suitcase. We spent 2 weeks in France this past March with one carry-on bag each. No problem, no kidding. It can be accomplished sooo easily.
Cut to the television interviews. One woman at O'Hare in Chicago is whining like a baby about the high cost of flying for a family with six children. Six children? Lady, this is the smallest of your problems. Having cashed 2 kiddos through college, trust me on this one, airlines are the smallest of your problems. And not to sound all Chinese and everything; but 6 kids! Good planning.
Another lady traveler is bemoaning the fact that she is being charged to carry the child seat she is taking to her daughter in Omaha. Huh? They don't have child seats at WalMart in Omaha? Think people! Another man says he might have to shift from his normal first class to sit in coach if fuel prices keep rising. Oh Good God! No, tell me it isn't true!
Another man says this is killing his trips to Las Vegas to gamble once a month. Oh no!
Cut to the TV anchor with a furrowed brow, asking the field reporter if there is ANY relief in sight? The field reporter sadly replies "not anytime soon." My lingering thought is this is a lot of silly crybaby excrement we're hearing. I'm sure the powers in Dubai are laughing their asses off at the ridiculous and whiny Americans.

My dad used to say when I would tear-up as a child, "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about." Harsh? Sure. But I know at this point in my life what he meant. I recently earned a bad ankle sprain and haven't been able to train on the track, which has made me agitated (according to BEG, and God knows she is the one that would know). I tested the ankle on the track this morning and still no go for me after 2 weeks of shut down. I grumped my way up to 7-11 to buy some coffee. A patron at the counter bid me a cheerful good morning. He was sitting in a wheelchair and had no legs. True story; not kidding you. Happened this morning.

"I'll give you something to cry about"
Now I Get It....maybe