Friday, November 28, 2008

Bedlam Series

The OSU/OU sports series is called the Bedlam Series. I guess that is appropriate. There is a common thread that runs thru the OU side of things that us OSU fans have to put up with namely:

Boomer Sooner, Barry Switzer, Billy Sims, and now Bob Stoops. The Bedlam Series

We sure have to put up with a lot of B. S.!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

mike gives thanks for the movies

We went to our traditional Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving afternoon movies. It's what you can do without kids at home! And the movie offerings were traditional as well. There is usually one holiday movie in the style of the "Trains, Planes, & Automobiles" where things go wrong. Then there's the big movie with big sets, big actors, and big story. Both were present this year. They are not academy award movies but they weren't planned to be.

The first was "Four Christmases". It is a fun movie with a great cast from the leads to all that play the families. It is fun. Tim McGraw, the country singer, will surprise with his role. But Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon are good together. I give it **1/2 stars.

The second was "Australia". (Kidney alert: 2 hours and 35 minutes not counting trailers and adds) This stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. It is long enough to be three movies. The first part is fairy tale with comedy. The second part is western. The third part is action/adventure. It has one part "Indiana Jones", one part "Quigly Down Under", one part "every western that you've seen" and one part "Pearl Harbor". Oh yes: One part chick flick.
It has something for everyone and then they even say the "F-word" one time (out of the blue)just to get a PG13. I will say that I am not a Nicole Kidman fan (I think she really is high maintenance!) Here is why I say chick flick. I give it ** maybe **1/2 stars, but Carol gave it an enthusiastic ****1/2 stars.

They are good practice movies. The biggies are on the horizon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Outliers withdrawal

I have finished the book "Outliers" and it has been a consuming book. I find myself processing almost everything thru what I have read. I will get over it, soon, but for now I'm thinking Outliers. Two of the interesting stories in the book had to do with the Beatles and Bill Gates. The Beatles got a gig, early on, playing strip clubs in Hamburg, Germany in the early years. He shows how the experience playing several hours a day, gave them a great start in forming their craft. They had many more hours of practice than most other bands in history. As for Bill Gates, at 13 he was given the rare chance to spend endless hours at a computer terminal at a time when university computer science professors did not have such a chance. (This was before PCs existed.) By 21 he probably had more computer experience than anyone in the world,certainly anyone his age.
No wonder he dropped out of Harvard after one year!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Pizza Hut Spot

By now you have seen the Pizza Hut TV spot where the people at this high end Italian Restaurant find out that the food they where eating was not prepared by Great Chefs but by Pizza Hut. The thing that drives me crazy is just before the announcement is made, one of the ladies is saying how decadent the "Mac & Cheese with Bacon" is.

Question: When is the last time you went out to an expensive restaurant to get MAC & CHEESE?

Outliers Lessons 2

Note: a continuation of Outliers lessons

On the church thought, what I have gleaned from this book is that we are more a product of our background than we think. We can be very intelligent and gifted people but given the lack of opportunity and bad experiences, we may not see the fruits of all that we possess. If your response to life is focused on "always" avoiding the possibility of bad experiences, are you equipped to allow good things to happen. Sometimes we test everything so much that the benefit is missed. If a person comes to the group with positive experiences, the chances that they will not find a home are greater because they do not test and challenge every idea for badness and therefore can not relate.

On the positive side: In my life I have always been taught that like most boomers, I was not raised properly or had proper training because both my parents worked. The book showed me examples of other lives and I saw some things more clearly than before. Example: My mother started working when I was in elementary school. My two older brothers were into more things and so a couple of chores fell to me since I had a bicycle. We lived about four blocks from downtown Haskell. During the week, I bought almost all groceries, went to the post office daily, and ran errands (cleaners, hardware store, etc.). So by 12 I knew every shop owner in town, I knew how to deal, buy, and have conversations about goods. My mother took me to buy the family groceries on Saturday and she took me on shopping trips for clothes.

Anything I know about dealing with people in business was learned during this period. No other opportunity in life was like this. I was trusted to represent my family (both by my parents and by the shop keepers.) Remember this was a time in which you could buy things on credit (without a card). They kept tabs in small receipt books at each store. At twelve I had dealt with store owners, bankers, postmasters, and salespeople. It was also at 12 that I started mowing lawns and a paper route. This was my training for owning a business. School did not teach it. College did not and working for others did not (they would not tell me the business side).

So what I had perceived as bad upbringing had a lot to do with what I am about today on the good side of things.

More later.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Gee, holidays come around so fast. Of course I'm talking of the National Holiday "Beat OU"!

Please, Please, Please

Outliers lessons

I am halfway with the new book "Outliers" and for me it is a ground breaking book. I can easily recommend this to anyone. It will challenge you as few books do. The theory that success takes 10,000 hours is enough, but there is more. (What have you done for 20 hours a week for 10 years?) It talks about how we are as much products of our family, opportunities, and timing as in anything we bring to the table. Don't believe it? I challenge you to try it. It has made me examine every experience of my up-bringing, my education and my work. I have come up with some surprising conclusions, that I would never have considered. I have also revisited some things about my church that has raised some very interesting thoughts.

Read "Outliers" and lets talk!

Here is an example of my thoughts:

Let's suppose, that at the beginning, a church was created by members that had suffered bad leadership at their previous church or churches and decides to become a church of refuge. They also decide that the leadership will never have a position to act as lords and will just be servants. They minister to others that come their way, who also have similar bad experiences with churches of the past. All draw close because of a common thread and become a close "family". They do good works especially outside the city or among the church family. As the church ages, others happen in who do not have bad church or worship experiences. How do they fit in? Can outsiders be trusted if they suffer no bad experineces? If the leaders and would-be leaders have no good church experiences, would they know a good church if it bit them on the butt?

Just a thought.

Branson Weekend

We just got back from a trip to Branson. We left on Friday morning and returned on Sunday Afternoon. You know the idea that "you can run but not hide". Saturday afternoon, I was setting on a bench in Branson Landing zoned out on my IPOD when someone approached me that I recognized. In a sea of thousands of strangers, a man and his son stop to talk. The man is my neighbor whose house is 40 feet from mine in Muskogee!

We went to Branson to shop and hang out. It is the first time we have ever gone to Branson without seeing a show. It was, though, the first time in 25 years that we went to Silver Dollar City. We went to see the lights, all 4 million of them. Cool! However, SDC is for kids. When you don't have kids with you and you pay almost $50 each to get on? Not Cool. We looked at lights and shopped. Paying a hundred dollars for the right to shop? By the way SDC at Christmas is neat and yes there were thousands of people there. i will share photos later.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19

It was 29 years ago today that our daughter, Heather, died after being struck by a Union School Bus. The only thing thirty years does is take the edge off. There are places that I can not mentally go for any length of time. You see such happenings not only rob us of the future, but also of some of our best memories. She is 35 and in a place far better than this.
November 19 is not one of my favorite days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Report

I just finished Sarah Vowell's "Wordy Shipmates" which I found very interesting. The history that I have read in the last couple of years has been either about the American Revolution or 13th to 16th century England. This was about the Puritans and there religious beliefs and influence on our country's birth. It is sarcastic, but challenging just the same.

I finished it just in time, because my new book arrived in the mail today. Outliers (The Story of Success) by Malcolm Gladwell. Galdwell wrote The Tipping Point and Blink. I read the review in Time magazine and can't wait to start. When I heard that is was being written, I preordered it thru B&N in both hardback and CD. Good News is it came. Bad News: It was the hardback!

I don't do actually reading any more. I buy the book as reference. I like to listen. I will muddle thru until help arrives.

Here is what the book is about (from the book jacket):

"Outliers explains what the Beatles and Bill Gates have in common, the extraordinary success of Asians at math, the hidden advantages of star athletes, why all top New York lawyers have the same resume, and the reason you've never heard of the world's smartest man-- all in terms of generation, family, culture, and class."

Mike: I sees crazy people.

I know people (real people) who believe Obama is Muslim and also believe he is the latest sign of the anti-Christ. They know this because they read an e-mail or saw it on the Internet.

I can't talk to them. I would not do any good. I would ask first: If he is Muslim, why was his first official act to select a Jewish man as Chief of Staff? I'm sure they have a theory.

I am old enough to see many predictions of the anti-Christ and the end of the world. In the 50's it was the Russians. It has changed many times since and all the clues have come from the same Bible verses. It reminds me of the Paul Thorn song where he says, "We are all reading from the same book, but we're just on different pages.."
If you want to see how bad it is: Google: Obama is Muslim (text and images)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Less traveled roads: comparisons

This is a version of less traveled roads:

When I was young:

My friends: Chevy me: Ford
My friends: Yankees me: Dodgers
My friends: Mickey Mantle me: Duke Snider
My friend's family: Democrats my family: Republicans
My friends: Baptist me: Church of Christ
My Friends: Coke me: Pepsi

My friends: OU me: Oklahoma State
My friends: McCain Republicans me: Clinton Democrat who voted for Obama
Nascar fans: Dale Earnhart Jr. me: Jeff Gordon
My friends: Palin me: Tina Fey
My friends: Diet Coke me: Diet Pepsi

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Zealots 2, a followup

If you read my blog in October about Zealots, you will remember that someone from my church sent me an up-setting e-mail. This week, two things happened: 1. Someone intervened and ask him to apologize, which he did. 2. I heard a sermon this morning about forgiving and making amends and left the church irritated all over again! Isn't that the way life is? You want to do the right thing. And I know what the right thing is, but I don't think the other guy does! I will move on with no problem and do not have hard feelings about this. I'm just having a hard time putting it aside. You see in the sermon today, the preacher said that non-specific statements like "If I have done something to offend you, I did not mean to." does not show much ownership in the repentance. If someone says, "I read something that I really agree with, and my wife sent it to you with my name on it. When I found out about it it was too late to say anything, but now I am sorry that it was sent and that you were hurt." You see, the way life works is I am not so much bothered that he sent it, but that he believed what he read. He also wanted others to feel the way he did. He is sorry that he sent it to me. He said it was sent to 5 people. Two of which were in the room, when he apologized to me. He did not apologize to them?

I know that I am expected to take the high road. I know that conventional wisdom says to let it die and be thankful that he apologized for something. But the reason I live along a different road is that we should care more than that. If we get caught just say I'm sorry and go on like nothing important happened. It is like a thief that gets caught and says, "Note to self, don't go back to that neighborhood to steal."

The preacher this morning basically said that it probably wasn't what I wanted, but then he hit me:

"Put your heart right, reach out to God, then face the world again, firm and courageous. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more."
Job 11:13-16

Home Alone, the movie. Not that movie!

My wife had to go to OKC for a work-connected convention and I had Sunday to myself. I started the day by going to Chouteau to attend worship at a Church that we are beginning a project. I idea is to see their personality and design according to there lives not our own. After that I came back to town and did a few chores and went to the movies. When going to the flicks by myself, I try to pick a movie that would appeal to me but maybe not my wife. I passed on the slasher hold-overs from Halloween and I shunned the comedies , "Role Model and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno". After all I am too old for these and if I went, I wouldn't tell you. The movie that has had my attention and my choice was "RocknRolla". This is a British/Russian mafia criminal underworld, dark comedy. The director is Guy Ritchie, Madonna's most recent ex-husband. I actually liked it more than James Bond (another British movie). I would tell you what it is about, but it had so many sub plots going, it must be watched in a big dark room.

It is R Rated for language. They do say the F word a jolly bit, but not near as much as USA gangsters. When the British curse, it is almost comical with the accent and all and the Brits tend to know how to have a real dialogue. So I really liked this movie, but cannot recommend it unless you like British dark comedies about crooks! It was a long, witty, fun afternoon in the dark. There was only one other guy in the theater so it was almost a private screening. For me it was a solid ***1/2 stars.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mike watches " a Bulk of Consolation"

Yes friends, a"Quantum of Solace" means a bulk of consolation. For James Bond consolation means revenge. A quantum of revenge. It is a good Bond movie, but of the vein of Jason Bourne.
I like this version of Bond because he doesn't mind getting dirty. However, I do miss the "shaken not stirred" and the banter dialogue of old Bonds.

It is fast paced and actually not very long.

**1/2 stars (no super cool car)

Quote of the week

"Sarah Palin is like an old girlfriend that won't go away."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Road to Hell

After writing the last post, I thought of one of my all time favorite rock songs. It is "Road to Hell" by Chris Rea, a British Rocker. The song came out about 20 years ago. It is playing now so wait for the lyrics and turn up your volume. It is from an album of the same name, and one of the best you will hear. His lyrics aren't tame. Some songs deal with the TV, some with violence and one about child abuse. The tracks have influenced many current musicians.

I will leave it up for a few days. But if you scroll to the bottom of this page you will find over 30 fairly interesting songs that mean a lot to me including that one.

Love thy Neighbor but keep plenty of bullets!

My surprise first came as I watched one of my favorite TV shows, "The Daily Show with John Stewart". He had this sketch about the current run on guns following the election of Obama. He mused as to why that would be and then showed a series of sound bites from the FOX News Network where people like Shawn Hannity, etc. was saying that Obama would set up a Marxist dictatorship and ban guns, etc. It was hard to believe they were making those statements and harder still to imagine what was really happening.

At my computer I goggled "run on guns" and ta da:

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram had this: "No matter how you look at it, DeWayne Irwin has seen gun and ammunition sales at his Cheaper Than Dirt gun shop dramatically rise in recent weeks. Until this year, his biggest day of sales was 9-11, when he sold about $52,000 of merchandise. On Wednesday after the election, his store sold $101,000.00. And in the past 30 days, as polls pointed toward an Obama victory, the store hit $1,000,000 in sales.

He went on to say that four weeks ago he said he paid $209 for an AK47. This week the same gun cost him $549."

Mike's comments: OK have you ever seen an AK47. I have. It has been the weapon of choice of every one from the Russians, to the Viet Cong, to the terrorists, and on and on. It "Ain't "for Deer Hunting!

I talked to my son today who works at an place that sells guns. He says the demand is crazy and one of the standard comments is, "I had better get some guns before the Muslim takes office!"
In Oklahoma we just passed a law by about 80% that makes hunting and fishing forever legal. I really believe that if a law was proposed that made it legal to kill anyone that came on your property, we would approve it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Facing Enemys

Have you ever had someone who just gets under your skin? They are out to get you. You know it. They know it. What's a person to do? I occasionally play Hearts on my computer. I changed the names of the three players that I face to ACE, Deuce and Tre. Deuce doesn't like me! He messes my games up. The others come at me every once in a while, but Deuce, who sets across the screen from me, just stares me down. I may have to change his name, or move him to another seat.

These kinds of problems are real weighty in the world at the moment! Right
Note: If you have a copy of the Eagles CD: Long Road out of Eden, listen to "Bad Grasp of the Big Picture".

The Eagles Part 2

We went to the Eagles Concert tonight. Yes, It is the second Eagles Concert in three months. Not much difference than having season tickets to the Philadelphia Eagles, except the This Eagles group plays better. I would see them several times a year if possible. The show tonight started the same as the first, but the second set was quite a bit different. The audience was different as well, (a little older, a little calmer). It is the group that can go to concerts on Tuesdays. I can not compare the two shows but will just say:
THEY ROCK! They do country as well as anyone. They Rock as well as anyone. Their ballads are as good as anyone. Their message songs strike as deep as anyone. Their voices harmonize as well as anyone. I could keep going.

Get the CD: Long road out of Eden and listen closely to the title song. It is as timely as it is good.

2 busy 2 care 2

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cool Weekend

Carol and I got to spend the weekend with two really cool guys. If you ever get the chance don't pass up these Rock Stars: Avery and Addison

mike finally goes to a movie

It has been more than a week since we went to a movie! And its been tough. Not wanting to squander this chance, we went to Tulsa to see "Changeling". Yes, we could have stayed in Muskogee and watched one of the many Halloween/slasher movies or one of the many "slacker" movies, but hey, when Clint Eastwood makes a Movie that Ron Howard wants to produce, I need to see it. "The Changeling stars Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich. It is a true story about a missing boy in LA in 1928 and the Police Department's mission to make the public believe that the boy they found is the missing boy. When the Mother (Angelina) refuses the boy, they have her committed to the loony bin. This movie is 2 hours and 24 minutes so get comfortable. It is also as well made as other Eastwood films. I set in disbelief and keep reminding myself that this actually happened. Again this his an adult movie because it is dialogue based and therefore may be paced too slow for young adults (under 30). It is well acted and the period filming using special effects of the 20's and 30's makes you feel that you are there. Production is well done.

I give it ***1/2 stars.

This is the first of many good movies coming our way. The trailers showed "Doubt" and "Frost/Nixon" . And of course the guy that got me going to the movies is back next week.

Bond, James Bond

2 busy 2 care

I am going to some important meetings this week with one of the organizations that I am a part. Scheduling these days is a problem when you bring together members that are a part of various businesses (which I would add : Each coming is either self-employed or control our schedule). We are bringing in people from out of state to moderate and so had to pin down times spread over two days. each of us changed our schedules except one. He is TOO BUSY. He is key to the meeting but TOO BUSY. Guess how I feel! I guess I have nothing to do because I can make it.

I know that we are over scheduled much of the time and over extended some of the time. BUT I live by the idea that: In life we essentially do what we intend to do. There are conflicts. There are emergencies. I remember going to a Zig Ziglar seminar years ago. he asked the question:

If you received a call on Monday that said you and one other could have an all expenses paid trip to (insert your dream vacation) and a check for $20,000.00 to spend if you can leave on Wednesday, Could you make it?

The idea is that most of our life is changeable if we desire.

As I have previously stated: One of my pet peeves is people who would have me believe that their life is busier than mine (without considering me at all).

Friday, November 7, 2008

mike rents a movie

I write a lot about new movies that I have seen, but occasionally I go to the rental place to find movies that I either missed or that bypassed Oklahoma (it happens!).
This movie, how ever, was a TV movie that I missed.
Many times when looking for a new book to read, I read the liner notes for "Memory Keeper's Daughter" and thought I will read it later. I have waiting so long that it is a movie and a good one. This movie tells about twins who were separated at birth by their doctor father because one had Downs Syndrome. He told his wife that the second child died at birth and gave the DS baby to his nurse to take to a home (1960's). The nurse keeps the baby. It is a griping story about living with regret, living with sorrow, living in secret, and how these things affect us and those around us.
The novel is by Kim Edwards and is one that I WILL read. As a parent that lost a child I tell you that the emotions are well acted.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Yorker Cartoon

New Song

Another Willie song for a day. I think he was riding on his bus when they recorded it.

NOTE: It is now in the music list at the bottom of the page. Click on Peaceful Solution by Willie

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mike goes to church: an organizational tale

I started this new posting in October as a draft and finished it today. For some reason it is posted in the October archive. If you want to read it look there. about October 29

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Turn out the Lights

You need to have your sound on!

I thought of this republican song as the night ends.

NOTE: This was moved to the songs at the bottom. Click on Turn out the lights by Willie

Quotes of Warren B

"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."

Mike's Comment: This seems appropriate today in light of the vote.
Think Martin Luther King Jr.

Quotes of George W.

"The great thing about America is everybody should vote."

Austin, Texas, December 8, 2000

from my desk calendar

Generation Gap

I am probably a minority, but I can't watch, "the Office". I do not see comedy. I get tense. I have seen too many of these situations for real in my life.

This weekend when the family was together, Carol and I mentioned that the new comedy, "Worst Week" is one of the funniest shows we have seen. The kids thought it was too tense to be funny.

When 5 years olds think like Republicans

My son, Nate, called last night and told me that Avery got to vote at his school yesterday. When asked who he voted for, he said McCain. Nate asked why and he said, "Because he comes with a girl, and I like girls."

Monday, November 3, 2008

NASCAR Weekend

Our whole family went to Fort Worth Texas this past weekend to the NASCAR races. It is the 3rd year in a row. Our daughter, Lindsey, and her husband, Jeremy, live one mile from the track and are our gracious hosts. All 8 of us went to the Friday night truck race, 4 went to the Saturday race, and 6 to the Sunday race. I'm sure most of you reading this think "how boring!"

Well, if you have been to the State fair or a major sports event to a rock concert or a festival. Think of it all rolled into to one weekend. It is no small event. The following blogs will hit a few highlights.
We saw 3 races, a rock concert, Rachael Ray, and went Trick or Treating. I even brought a mini TV to the Saturday race and watched OSU and the race at the same time!


On Friday the whole group went to the truck races. Being Halloween all kids were invited to dress up and Trick or Treat at the Corporate Displays before the race and they let the kids get in the race for $10 dollars which is $50 less than normal. Our Grandsons, Avery (Dale Jr.) and Addison (Jeff Gordan) dressed as NASCAR drivers. As we walked along we saw the Bank of America tent, or should I say the Bank of America people saw the boys! Bank of America's display was based on Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhart Jr. They asked if the boys would pose for photos in the displays. They gave the boys special gifts (not TorT stuff) and made over them like rock stars. I over heard a couple of Bank of America guys talking and I think the boys photos were heading to corporate. I think they helped justify something.

The boys loved it..... and so did the grandparents


On Saturday before the Nationwide Race we went to the Sprint Experience and saw Rachael Ray and Mario Batali (Food Network chefs). They talked about tailgate food and their careers. There were cool people.


NASCAR has what would be best described as a MIDWAY like at the fair. It is part of the show you can but food or race stuff or visit corporate booths and displays. We saw a guy win $10,000 at the Irwin tool exhibit in a contest. We watched Jimmy Johnson be interviewed.

And we took part in a Habitat For Humanity booth, where they let visitors assemble parts of a home to be erected in Weatherford, Oklahoma.,


This is the infield at prerace. The Motor Coaches are for the drivers and their families. Think Dressing Rooms. Note the big screen. REO Speedwagon was doing a pre-race concert!


There were about 200,000 fellow race fans at the track
so cars and RVs were everywhere

We also went to the Race!

This was lap one of the race. Notice how much time it takes. Remember it takes one lap to get up to race speed, therefore to next lap will be a few seconds faster!