Archive for the ‘The root of the problem’ Category


Yes, it is “Black Friday”, and I’ve been up since before 5:00, but only because a train rolled thru this town, horns blazing. Speaking of “Horns blazing”, a quick sayonara shout out to our friends at Texas A&M is in order, but I digress.


The guest abode we occupy south of the border on Black Friday is indeed dark and quiet at this hour, so I find myself checking in on the world via iLight. A friend (thank you, Coach Steph) shared the above picture from a Wal Mart sometime on Thanksgiving night.

And therein lies some of the irony: Thanksgiving Day, and people are sitting inside shopping carts in Waly World getting ready to likely charge a bunch of stuff they really can’t afford.

We watched a lot of football yesterday, and accordingly a lot of TV commercials promoting BF deals and “savings”. One of my favorite lines is “more saving, more doing; that’s the power...”. It doesn’t get much more ironic than that.

There have been several social media comments about this topic in the past 24 hours, but more from people who are expressing why they are thankful. I wish to do the same, so here goes:

I’m thankful for family and good times.

I’m thankful for the wonders of the web that allowed us to Skype with a loved one on the far side of the planet(“AG”), and to share thoughts and memories throughout the day with Little Frau (aka Aussie Girl Mommy) as she recup’ed to our north.

I’m thankful for our Faith.

I’m thankful for football, a two interception limit by Tony Chokomo, and a kicker who can see straight with the clock running out.

I’m thankful for turkey, and cornbread dressing.

I’m thankful for the game of “Balderdash”, and a Thanksgiving family tradition of laughing till we cry. The china cabinet references were living large, for those of you who understand what that means.

I’m thankful for the green tinted picture of Ulysses S. Grant that Santa brought to us all a bit early, and for the great “pre-Black Friday” online only deal on these duck boots at Academy.com.


Fraught with irony, indeed.


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When you look in the mirror, what do you see? I wonder what he saw? Did he look below the surface? Did he ever think he might be wrong? More on that in a moment.

Touring a museum has only given me goose bumps twice. Once was in Europe in 2008, while viewing relics of history from an event that changed the world. The other time was today when I accompanied my kids to the 45th Infantry Division museum here in OKC.

I’ve always wanted to visit this museum, thinking it to be a nice collection of old tanks and airplanes. Little did I know how much more was there to be seen. As I was looking in a mirror hanging in the Germany exhibit room, a museum docent approached and said the chilling words: “That is the mirror that Hitler groomed himself in on the day that he killed himself in the Berlin bunker”.

What did I see in the mirror today? A guy wearing an OCA t-shirt, an EMHS hat, and an OC jacket. Each piece reflected something about me, but were largely just a uniform of externals. What is going on inside the man? What is he about? What does he say? What does he do? If history remembers him, will it be for good or for bad?

How about the mirror’s previous owner? What did he see? What did he think, delusional though he may have been? While it was chilling to look at myself in his mirror, a mirror simply reflects what is currently before it.

What about the lessons of history? I love studying and examining history, and I love the veterans that remain with us and were recently honored during their day a week or so ago. As I have visited other lands and met the generations of citizens who call their home something other than the USA, I wonder what they are thinking. What do they see in us today? What do they think? If we look in the same mirror, do we see entirely different views? Who is right, and who is wrong? Absent an obvious moral issue, do people really see that clearly?

The following pairings of pictures reflect images of the time, the mid 20th Century war to end all wars. The second of each pair is an image from today in the museum in middle America, a reflection as we see it in the mirror of history. The first of each pair of images is from the museum in Europe, albeit not from Germany itself.







When you look in the mirror, what do you see? I wonder what others see? Do we look below the surface? Did we ever think we might be wrong?

Touring a museum has only given me goose bumps twice, and today was one of those days.

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It’s out there. I can feel it, but I can’t see it. There is a party going on, and I’m choosing to sit at home.

It’s day one with no Facebook. Why, you may ask? Because I was feeling the void: the void of what I was missing. Keeping up on FB was becoming a bit of a numbing crutch, so to speak.

So, here I am. I’ve read some this morning: actual books. I plan to do more. I need to exercise more, as well. I will work on how to tie these disciplines together.

10 pounds and 3 books, maybe more, and I will let myself stop by the party and say “Hi” on occasion, but I feel like there is more to see and do.

It’s out there. I can feel it, but I can’t see it. Not yet, at least, but it is growing brighter by the minute.

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Remember the 70’s? Television was still in it’s adolescence. We did not have VCR’s, DVR’s, or Direct TV. We had 3 to 5 channels, and the TV Guide. When you had a show you really wanted to watch, the anticipation was almost palpable. Then, those fateful words would be heard: “We are temporarily experiencing technical difficulties-please stand by”. Minutes turned to hours, and, you get the picture. Actually, you didn’t get any picture, and therein was the problem.


I wrote the other day about the value of a good clipboard, especially in the hands of a digital refugee. What about in the presence of a digital Chernobyl?

Little Frau had another doctor appointment last week, this time
with a new specialist. The anticipation
was almost palpable. Then, those fateful words: “I can’t get the computer to connect to the server. The doctor can’t see you till it does.”. Minutes turned to hours, and, you get the picture. Actually, you didn’t get any picture, at least, the doctor didn’t, and therein was the problem.

Anybody got a clipboard we can borrow?


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Unexpected; expect the unexpected. That phrase is even more ominous than “Bond, James Bond” and the like.

Yesterday was just such a day: unexpected. I will spare much of the detail for reasons beyond explanation, but when your day begins with coworkers meeting you halfway between your car and your building with phrases like “we need to warn you” and “I’m so sorry”, you know the day ahead will be a challenge. Have you ever seen piece of glass imbedded in a sheetrock wall 15 feet away from a broken window? Some of us did yesterday, and it was indeed unexpected.

Matthew 6:19-20 tells us “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”

So why, I should ask myself, was yesterday’s event so unexpected? I believe it is because of where our treasure is. Yes, I treasure the University where I work. I treasure the results of several years of hard work and the physical and financial sacrifices of many wonderful people. I treasure the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. But, do I treasure the physical part too much?

The morning yesterday was admittedly depressing. There was shock. There was hurt. There was anger. There was disappointment. For some, both this new day morning and for many to come, those strong emotions and others may continue. But, for me “and my house”, it is time to move on.

Mid day yesterday provided just such an opportunity. Many had been up and going for several hours, their days full and distant from their previously Microsoft Outlook Calendar scripted plans. Only when a colleague from outside the impacted/response group suggested we go “grab a quick lunch” did things start to feel better. Lunch was good, it was less than quick, and the time to visit, the nourishment, and the glazed Solpapia made the day begin to feel better.

Therein lies the true treasure of yesterday: friends, faithfulness, passion, hard work, caring and sharing, and a common commitment to “pick up the pieces”, literally, and move forward together. No amount of moths, rust, or thieves breaking can take those treasures away; it can only make the treasure of even greater worth.

Yesterday was indeed unexpected, and today, I am thankful.

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I was watching cable television tonight with the ladies in my family, and their choice of programing was sponsored by a particular new prescription drug. This was perhaps the most dramatic case to date for the side effects being worse than the basic treatable condition.

With limited editorial deletes (for the family friendly under 25 readership crowd) and only the drug name changed to avoid a potential international incident, here is the listing of potential side effects to endure:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); confusion; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; increased saliva production or drooling; increased sweating; memory loss; menstrual changes; muscle pain, stiffness, or weakness; new or worsening mental or mood changes (eg, aggressiveness, agitation, anxiety, depression, exaggerated feeling of well-being, hallucination, hostility, impulsiveness, inability to sit still, irritability, panic attacks, restlessness); numbness or tingling; persistent, painful———-; seizures; severe or prolonged dizziness or headache; shortness of breath; ——– thoughts or actions; swelling of the hands, legs, or feet; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased hunger, thirst, or urination; unusual weakness); tremor; trouble concentrating, speaking, or swallowing; trouble sleeping; trouble walking or standing; uncontrolled muscle movements (eg, arm or leg movements, jerking or twisting, twitching of the face or tongue); vision changes.

Seriously, why would anyone want to take this mystery drug? Oh wait, I just remembered what we were watching tonight. Someone, pass the pill bottle, and hurry. Side effects can’t be worse than enduring Monty….


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It happens all the time, or at least it seems like it. You think you are on top of things; you think you understand the situation around you; you believe you have it under control.

Then, it happens: something breaks down, and you begin to learn the full scope of things.

Case in point: air conditioning. I have been fairly faithful in changing out the air filters in our house for the four plus years we have lived here. Sunday night into Monday, the air stopped working so well. Come to find out, aside from being a little low on Freon, there was a “mystery” air return that I have failed to service. It was right under my nose, six feet above it, actually, and I somehow failed to watch it along with the other three. Suffice to say, a 98 cent air filter can make a huge difference. So can keeping your eyes open.

The same reality for home maintenance is true with systems, organizations, churches, and people. You have to keep your eyes open to the full scope of your surroundings, and a little inexpensive time devoted to preventative maintenance never hurts.


Not getting the whole picture? Does the message seemingly not make sense, especially in the current context? Sometimes you just have to go a little deeper, then it becomes more clear to you…


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