Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is one of my favorite musical performers. Here are three of his songs as found on youtube:

When No One's Around

Ireland's Green Shore


I Like the Way You Cook

Check them out.

What is a hero?

What is a hero? We think of heroes as those who respond to a crisis with daring and courage in times of need. Those who rise above selfish behavior and do the truly selfless—sometimes at the peril of their own lives—in order to help those in need. Those people are heroes.

There are also the quiet heroes. Those who rescue people, but not with quick action or brute strength. The quiet heroes are those who go about day after day, serving, helping where needed. Mother Theresa comes to mind as one such hero.

We love the movies about super heroes, those fictional characters whose super powers help them to fight off the super villains. We long for the ability to do likewise. “Imagine how much I could help people if I only could be Spiderman,” we might think. “Too bad I don't have a super power.”

The fact is, super powers exist. They are called, “love”, “caring”, “selflessness”. People who use such super powers become men and women of character. From the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. comes the quote, “The real heroes are not those who have something that we don't. It's what they do with it.” We have all been given gifts and abilities that if used to help others, to uplift and to protect them, enable and ennoble us to do acts of greatness. God gives us these gifts. Let's not be afraid to use them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

You'll have to think for both of us...

Rick and Ilsa from the great film Casablana. I often think of Ilsa's line "You'll have to think for both of us." I use it sometimes when I don't know which way to go, or sometimes which is right and which is wrong. Thankfully, the people I say that to are often those whom I trust more than myself to make great decisions. My own decisions too often are emotion-based and reactionary. When we learn that most of the time, it's better to go with the decision of the brain instead of the decision of the heart, we are on the good road--the road that will bring success. I'm indebted to those who can "think for both of us".

Fly killing...a sport anyone can try

If there's one thing in the world I can't stand, it's flies in the house. These vile things are my nemeses. I will use all means at my disposal to get rid of swatters, shovels, cannons—whatever it takes that will do the job. One of the most satisfying means of getting rid of flies, however, is towel flipping. This is the method I use:

  1. Grab a towel. A thin one is better than a thick one.
  2. Start at a corner and roll the towel so that the first roll is about two inches across. Roll until the entire towel is rolled up making a long strip.
  3. Wet the pointed end of the rolled up towel with regular tap water.
  4. Fold the non-wet end over itself about five inches, so that you have a good handhold, and something to stop the towel from coming unrolled.

Once you have your towel ready to flip, use a quick wrist action to flip it, so that the wet end snaps like the crack of a whip. Practice, practice, practice. When you feel confident in your ability to knock over full glasses of milk, thousand dollar vases, and antique china, you are ready to tackle flies. Try stationary flies first. See if you can flick them off of priceless glassware. Once you have perfected this, it is time to try for the beasts in flight. Knocking a fly out of the air with a loud “SNAP” will leave you feeling positively pumped. If you hate flies like I do, give it a try the next time the kids leave the doors open a bit too long, and the ugly little buggers get in.

Challenges and decisions

One of my favorite quotes is from The Lord of the Rings:

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

Sometimes, we get great responsibility thrown upon us, through no fault of our own. We cannot keep the evils that happen in the world from happening, nor the challenges that life places upon us. But we are given a certain amount of finite time, and with that time, we can add to the evil, or we can choose to fight it. It's our choice. Free will is the name of the game. Let us be brave in these times of challenge. Let us strengthen our faith. Let us choose to be on the side of good, even if that costs us some perceived security.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Life is an adventure

“Life is an adventure”. So true. There are things in our lives that challenge us to the very core of who we are inside. And there are joys so high that they almost cannot be measured. The thing is, one never really knows when each of them will come.

That's why, we must learn to cope with anything that happens. Why we must be able to not just survive, but come out a victor in the end.

As Charles Swindoll has said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.”

We can decide how to react in any given situation. Sometimes it's easier said than done, but it can still be done, no matter the circumstances. As Denis Waitley said, “The losers in life let things happen. The winners in life make things happen.”

So take off the tie, roll up the sleeves, and get going at making your life what you want it to be. As the old ranch hands used to say, “we're burnin' daylight”. Saddle up.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Tony Stark: the final picture

This is pretty much the way I looked on Halloween. Actually, it was Halloween when I took this shot, so I did look like this:

Still, not Robert Downey Jr., but I hope I pulled off the Stark thing well enough. I was trying to get a shirt that looked like this:
The center image would light up with battery power, but after I ordered in in late September, I was informed a couple of weeks later that they were out of stock, issued a refund, and was unable to find another place that sold them that also wasn't out of stock. I found the red Iron Man shirt at Target, which helped. I wasn't going to spend the money to rent a suit.

So, how'd I do?