Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Call to Arms, 2017. Part One: Hang Up the Fear

Since our recent trip to Salt Lake City, my four and a half year old son has been fascinated with airplanes. We have been building Lego airplanes. We have looked at pictures of airplanes. We have read books about airplanes. His enthusiasm, of course, is contagious. When the subject of the 747 came up in our conversation, I told him that the 747 is really the greatest plane ever to fly. When the inevitable question of why arose, I explained that a 747 can carry the Space Shuttle piggyback. “What Space Shuttle, papa?” Of course, I thought, the Space Shuttle program ended before he born. Space exploration just isn't what it used be when I was his age in the 1970s.

So, we did what you do these days, we looked up the Space Shuttle on Youtube. We watched it launch. We watched it ride on the back of the NASA 747. He watched with wild eyed interest. My face began to sting and my eyes began to water. The Space Shuttle was cool. Putting people inside of space crafts and shooting them out of the atmosphere in the name of science is cool. And it made me patriotic again for the first time in well over sixteen years. Watching those old recordings of American ingenuity just made me so proud and heartbroken.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Preamble to a Call to Arms, 2017

It's happening again as it has happened before and I am certain it will all happen again. We were in the garage at my mother's house a few days back. As we were taking off our shoes, I whispered to my wife: “I wish I wasn't such an asshole.” I got no response from her. Perhaps she wishes I wasn't such an asshole too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Being More Effective-The conclusion: Break everything up in small easily attainable tasks

Where were you in the summer of 1997? I was at Camp Dietler. I spent the summer as the shooting sports director. The job required me to load shotgun shells most of the day and in the afternoon, I taught kids how to shoot a shotgun. A shotgun. I've never been very good at shooting a shotgun. In fact, my staff used to joke that I could not hit the broad side of a barn even if I was inside.

The job also took me to Camp Tracy to get a certification. The certification process, as you might well imagine, was pretty intensive and definitely challenging. I mean, after all, you don't want just anyone teaching kids to shoot guns, do you? I went through the NRA certification program. Now, before I lose one half of you or the other half or both, hear what I have to say. The NRA has the best safety and training programs available. The NRA believes in gun safety and they believe that everyone should learn how to use a gun and use it safely. I found the training program inspiring. I also found it to have qualities that transferred over into the rest of life. Of all the merits of the training program I still use these two items:

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Being More Effective - Understand that Youtube videos are short, until you watch 50 of them

In the last 25 years, maybe longer, I can count the number of months I've lived in a house with a Television. I lived with Nic at 901 Sherman, in Denver, between September 1996 and December 1997. I was there during the school year, three semesters worth. During the summers, I worked in the country far away. Nic was a TV head. He had that thing on much of the time he was at home. He turned it off during meals, which was something I was greatly appreciative for during our dinners together.

And there was a three or four month period in 2006, also a roommate situation, where a TV was in my house. This particular roommate worked in the television industry, so the fact that the TV was on all the time was almost permissible.

When I tell people that there is no TV in our house, I am almost without fail, envied. It has become a point of pride for me and my wife that we are raising our son without the TV. We do not watch reality TV, sports or political debates. In short, we are not subjected to mind-numbing entertainment augmented by commercials for pills, processed food and new cars. In a way, we are lucky.