Monday, November 29, 2010

things that go Bump.

I was reading a chapter in the Book, "Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places" with some background music playing. I don't know how the world works or the Spirit, but Willie Nelson and others came out of my ipod and startled me. They were singing what I was reading! Living in the Promised Land, connecting our lives with those around us, and all.

The passage: "We can attempt to withdraw, and many of us try, -- pick up our marbles, as our children say, and go home. It is fairly common as a stock response. It seems like an easy option but it turns out not to be effective in the long run. It looks like we are stuck with one another ("all the families of earth") in the grand arena of creation and as the huge drama of history plays to a full house. But it doesn't mean we have to like it. And it doesn't mean that we can't arrange something less demanding, or manageable. How about a Sect? Not exactly a denial of community but excluding as much of it as we are able and then redefining it to accommodate me." Eugene Peterson

The "accommodate me" is damning.

I can be a democrat without being responsible as a citizen of the Nation.
I can be pro-life with helping anyone in need.
I can be a "Christian" without being like Christ.
I can be an OSU fan but not share the idea of sportsmanship.
I can be a critic but not participate.

I can go on and on.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

on losing

My favorite football team, Oklahoma State, is a fun team to watch. But then we play the Big Three! I watched us play Nebraska for over 30 years before we beat them the first time and I think we have beat them about 3 times. We have only played Texas since the Big 12 was created and we have beat them twice (including this year). Then there is the University of Oklahoma. Since my first year of college until now, O-State has beat OU 8 times.

Eight times in 45 years is not much of a record. This brings me to my point, O-State fans don't hate the Sooners, we hate playing them. We are so used to loosing to them that we deep down expect something to happen. It usually does.

The two programs were vastly different. In the 1980's I did a lot of work with O-State. OSU's entire athletic budget for all 16 sports (men and women) was half of OU's football budget. The fact that we beat them at all was something to consider. It is the same as a Class A high school team playing a 6A high school team. It doesn't work. Thanks to OSU's benefactor, Boone Pickens, the gap is closing, but the gap is there.

Now, here's the thing OU doesn't just beat the Cowboys, they and there fans do everything possible to make the OSU family miserable. They are very good at it. Buzz words like "Hard to be Humble" and "Sooner Pride" come to mind.

So what's the problem. I can take loosing, I have much experience. It is the "plunder" that takes a toll. Plunder (to take by force) is the stuff that gets old. Example: I worked in a Fort Smith firm after College and everyone there was either Arkansas Razorback or OU Sooner Fan. OSU played both teams every year buy they didn't play each other. I was not just kidded, I was ridiculed. I was told that "I" was inferior because I rooted for an inferior team. I took that crap constantly for three years. The hard part was that when I went to church, I got the same treatment.

Over the years at every church that I have attended, there are always some that treat us as inferior people. As I aged, I put it aside and became smarter and harder. This stuff doesn't bother me like it did, but it still hurts. Today, at church, I watched an OU fan taunt an OSU fan and the memories came back.

The Bible doesn't say much about winning other than winning respect (1 Thes 4:11). But David sums up my feelings about bad treatment by "Friends". In Psalm 55:
"If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it;
if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend,
with whom I ONCE enjoyed fellowship as we walked with the throng
at the house of God.

My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant.
His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart."

Sports should be just be a sport. In our state it is much more, it's war.

And there is always another year!

PS: I'll lighten up tomorrow!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Short Poem from my School Days

Illumination by A. Guiterman

When I am dead, what I have felt so long
My soul shall know in clearer, purer light:
That where I loathed and hated, I was wrong:
That where I loved and pitied, I was right.

The Next Three Days!



I could be talking about the days after Thanksgiving, but in this case its a movie. I've gotten behind in my movies even though this is my 52nd movie of the year (one a week). It is the season of good movies. The movie season goes from thanksgiving to the first of February. The serious movies that are vying for awards come out now. "The Next Three Days" is not one of those, but it is a good, suspenseful movie that will keep your attention from start to finish. Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks star in this story where Crowe's wife is convicted of murder and he is convinced of her innocents and decides to break her out of jail. While the story is a little far fetched, who cares. It is a good action movie with no special effects! A good touch. It is PG13 for profanity, I guess.

It gave meet a pleasant relief from ball games.

I give it **1/2 stars

2010 Movie #52

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Love and Life, the Movie


We went to see the new movie, "Love and Other Drugs." I really didn't know what to expect because the previews show it as a sexy comedy, interviews with the actors on the talk shows made it sound like everyone is naked the whole movie (close!) or it was about the pharmaceutical industry. It is all the above except......

Like real life many of us when we were young did not think clearly, we had hormone problems! This movie starts out like most Hollywood stories: two good looking people in lust (graphic R-rated lust). Add to this that the Jake Gyllenhaal character is a pharmaceutical rep who can't please his family since he dropped out of medical school and the Anne Hathaway character does not want to have a relationship with anyone because she has early onset Parkinson's disease.

Like life the first part of the story is fun, sexy and fast. Like life the second half of the movie is about the changes in life that make people get serious. It is very well acted. You can see Hathaway change from a sexy carefree person to a person with very real problems. These two actors (who played husband and wife in "Brokeback Mountain) have a great supporting cast and great chemistry.

This movie is a hard "R" for profanity, nudity and sex. Use your own judgement. Don't blame me, its my job.

I give this movie ***stars.

2010 Movie #51

Thanksgiving 2010


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Distractions 2, The people who can vote!

Tonight, I was a presenter for a local public hearing. I am the architect for a school bond issue that will go to a vote "of the people" in December. The superintendent, the bond agent and I explained the design, the school and the cost. This is something I have done for 30 years. The Bond agent explained that we had applied for interest free bonds that the state is making available to school districts as part of the Federal Recovery Act (Stimulus). This old guy on the back rows asked, "Okay, if YOUR president gives the school those bonds, are they interest free?"

The bond agent replies, "That is the whole point. They are interest free."

The guy says, "So YOUR president is doing this with the stimulus!"

The bond agent says, "Sir, He is not just my president, he's your president too,"

The guy replies, "You don't want to go there."

We dropped it.

Later a question is asked about why we didn't vote the bond in November and saved money. We explained that bond votes work better by themselves and because the all the issues in November it was best not to be with them. Back Row Guy shouts, "Every thing in November worked just fine."

Later in questions he points at me and asked, "Do you pay taxes in this district?"
"No." I replied, "But I live in the community."

He smirks and says, " You should have to live in the district, to do this work. That's not right!"

I reply, "The other firms that interviewed for this work were from Oklahoma City and Tulsa. I'm sorry that I can't live in every district that I work. But if I will say that my daughter went to this school and people in our firm live and pay taxes in this district and the money we make stays in the community."

He starts in, "I own land in another district but I can't vote there. That ain't right. There are renters in this district that don't pay taxes, but they can vote. Do you think that is right?"

I said, "We just live with the laws that exist. it's is not something I can change. But maybe you can talk to some of the people you sent to the Capital."

He says he should be able to vote in places he doesn't live, but I am wrong for not being in the district? He refused to believe that the bond who be interest free because Obama was behind it. Obama is not HIS president. He's drunk a little too much tea.

So this is where we are heading!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

little things

Today was the 31st anniversary of the Funeral of our Daughter, Heather. In 1979 at the service we sung two special songs that Heather liked and one was "Our God, He is Alive." This morning in worship we service sung, "Our God, He is Alive." It certainly wasn't planned but it was cool!"

Well, it wasn't planned by me, but I think the One we were singing about, knew that we needed that song at that moment.

31 years is a long time or just a Blink! As I tend to say, "Its all compared to what?"

Brad Paisley H20 part 2


Saturday Night we went to the Brad Paisley Concert. Yes, it was indulgent sine we had seen the same show in August at the Amphitheater in Dallas. It was 104 degrees on that day so I can't say it was the same show. But sometimes I wonder if all the shows on a tour are the same. When we saw the Eagles twice in five months, the answer was NO they changed things a bit. As for Brad's show it was way different. Lasers, added songs, different videos, but same quality show.

Brad grew up in West Virginia and so did Country Legend Roy Clark. Brad used a Roy Clark guide to learn the guitar and in case you don't know, Brad is a master guitar player as is Roy Clark, his childhood hero. Roy now lives in Tulsa. Brad brought him out on stage and they did a guitar tune together. It was the first time that Brad had ever played with Roy! It was a special event.

The show was also Brad's last show of the year and he and Darius Rucker were at the top of their game. The opening act was OK. I just don't like "Hick, redneck, NRA power Country."

I go to a lot of concerts and Brad Paisley can match anyone. He received "CMA Entertainer of the Year" for good reason. It was just five years late.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Do you have a Harry Potter?



We went to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" this afternoon. Having read all 7 books, it is a law that you must see the movie so that you can say, "The book is better." Although as the HP movies continue, the makers are getting very very good at adaption. The last book is mostly a dark story and we enjoyed the movie a lot. This is one of those movies that special effects play an important part. It is still a good series for any over 10 years old.

This movie kicks off the Holiday Movie Season. The remainder of the year will mean more and better movies.

I give it ***1/2 stars.

2010 Movie #50

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Concert Distractions


We went to a Paul Thorn Concert, Wednesday in Tulsa at the Historic Cain's Ballroom. We went out to eat before the show and as a consequence we got too late to get a good seat. We set at a table at the back of the room and most of us could see good, but I stood beside the table.

In the middle of the concert Paul decided to sing three or four songs with just an acoustical guitar and the room acoustics. Before he started he asked the audience to be quite so it would work. As he started to sing, two young guys (20's) standing about 15 feet from me shouted. "Mic your guitar! Mic your Guitar!" Paul turned to them and said, "Do this!" putting his hand to his ear as if straining to hear. The audience laughed. Well, the two guys kept talking about amps and such and those around them kept giving them "looks" (meaning "let us hear"). They kept talking and getting louder. I took a few steps and grabbed the long haired guy's arm (gently but firm) and I leaned in to them and said, "We are trying to hear. You Guys Shut Up!" I stepped back to my post and they looked at me and sort of waved at me. I grinned back and they shut up. The lady at the next table came over and said, "I don't know what you said but Thanks."

Should have ended there.

The other guy (short hair) continued to eye me. After a while he walks over and stands in front of me but to the side (not blocking my view). Then he sets his beer down on the table near my wife and near my chair. I can see that he is baiting me, but all I am thinking is, "If he starts to set in that chair, I am yanking it out from under him. Max who was with us then gets up and walks back and stands next to me. Short Hair picks up his bottle and backs up next to me and stands. He finally leans toward me and says, "Two years ago He (Long Hair) would have kicked your ass." I am thinking what does two years ago mean? He continues, "He wasn't disrespecting Paul. He even went to see Paul Thorn to weeks ago with John Prine. But you (meaning me) disrespected them (Long Hair and Short Hair). I looked at him and smiled and replied, "Look if I offended you I'm sorry, but we came hear to listen to Paul and not you guys."

He turned and went over to Long Hair and they mumbled between themselves and then just left!

So I'm thinking: They are either waiting outside for me or they are thinking, "That old dude is crazy."

They weren't outside and I had many friends with me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A concert of the spoken word: Bill Bryson





Tonight we went to Fayetteville to hear the author, Bill Bryson, talk of his travels and his books. I have been reading his latest book, "At Home, A Short History of Private Life" and tonight got it autographed (Yea!). He grew up in Iowa but has lived most of his adult life in the UK. He is one of the best story tellers alive. The lecture flew by as did the 30 minute Q&A period.

His final story was about a friend from Australia who lived in a small house next to a large lot with her 4 year old daughter. One day a construction crew arrived and began building a house. The little girl spent much of her time standing near the lot watching and listening to the workers build. She became such a fixture that soon she was adopted by the crew as a sort of mascot. They talked to her often and at the end of each week they would give her a pay envelope full of coins. When she took her "pay" to her Mother, her Mother said that she should take her pay to the bank and put it in her account. So they went to the bank and she handed her "pay envelopes" to the teller. The teller asked, "Well, how did you earn this?" The little girl replied, "I'm building a house." The teller then said, "Will you be building the house next week?" The sweet little girl said, "We will if they bring the f*****g bricks!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's the story?




When I saw the previews to "Morning Glory" I thought, "That's nice." Probably another sappy comedy where Harrison Ford is the cranky guy and Diane Keaton is the person full of herself and Rachel McAdams is the young energetic girl trying to pull every thing together, Right?

Sort of. I got the characters right, but while I had seen this premise several times, this seemed very fresh and fun. It also dealt with the fine line between working too much and not enough. How do we balance our lives so that we have one? It also deals with the life of the TV morning show.

This movie won't win awards but it is fun. Note: There is some profanity that you may not expect. This is not "Doris Day. (Old person reference)

I give it **1/2 stars.

2010 Movie #49

Thursday, November 11, 2010

an architectural treat




I went to an American Institute of Architects lecture tonight. The presenting firm was Snohetta, a firm from Oslo, Norway(with a branch in New York City). Listening to the speaker describe their approach to projects and their corporate culture, I realize again what a big world we have and that I still have a lot to learn in my journey. It is fun to look at projects with giant budgets and giant costs. My question is what could they do if the budget is $100/square foot? Or what could I do with an unlimited budget?

Tonight was a night to celebrate creativity.

Cartoon Fix


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Check your self, before you wreck yourself!


NOTE: Take heed of the title.

I needed a very funny movie tonight and went to see "Due Date". The commercials look very funny, but it is rated R so what you see on TV is not exactly what you get. My brother went to the race with us Sunday, but Saturday night they went to "Due Date. They don't get out much and well, they were startled to say the least. They were still in shock on Sunday.

Don't get me wrong. This is a very funny movie in a "Hangover" sort of way. The language was bad but not as bad as "Hangover". The scenes were as outrageous but there is no sex scenes. Check that: There is a masturbating dog!

Think of this movie as "Planes, Trains and Automobiles 2010". It has many cameos, from Jamie Foxx to the cast of "Two and a Half Men."

I had to see this movie because Robert Downey Jr. played an Architect. So, this was research.

In the booth scene above the Zach G. character is having a reaction to waffles. He tells the other guy that is is allergic to waffles. Robert asks, "Then why are you eating them?" He says, "Because you bought me to a Waffle House." Zach's character is basically the same guy he played in "Hangover" and just as funny.

The blog title is from the movie.

The poster says: Leave your comfort zone. You will.

I give this movie ***stars (research)

2010 Movie # 48.

Texas Weekend





This weekend was about Family and Racing. Friday we went to the Nascar Truck Race, Saturday we took family photos and shopped and Sunday was the big NASCAR Sprint cup race. My guy, Jeff Gordon wrecked but as they say: "A good time was had by all," with a little Willie thrown in. Well until Sunday Night. We drove back listening to the Dallas Cowboys get creamed and then when I got in to McAlester, I got creamed! Going 63 in a 50 zone! $155.00 Yikes!

But I will tell you that the best thing we did was the family photos.

Mad Dogs and Okies



The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inducted Jamie Oldaker last Thursday night. You probably don't know him but you have heard him. This Tulsa boy was drummer for Bob Seger and later Eric Clapton. As a matter of fact the band that Eric had when he did "I shot the Sheriff" and "Cocaine" and "Tulsa Time" was ALL from Tulsa! Jamie was also the drummer for the Tractors and a session drummer for Leon Russell, the Gap Band and others.

For his induction he put together a band of 15 of his OKIE friends, many of which played in the bands mentioned. I was a once in a lifetime moment! It was music history played out before me. And it was super cool.

By the way he has a CD out called: Mad Dogs and Okies which features a whose who of talent including Eric Clapton and friends. It is also great.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My worlds collide


Tonight was the Induction Concert of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. As a founding board member it is a great rush each year. Tonight, though, was cool. We inducted broadway singer and showman deluxe, Sam Harris from Cushing and Sand Springs. This guy can sing anything and sing it great!

It was special for another reason though because his dad, Bill, was my seventh grade music teacher in Haskell. He was fresh out of college and was our town's new band director. You could say that he had an impact on my love of music. In a Small, Small way you could say that I had something to do with Sam's induction. After the concert I found his dad, Bill Harris and mentioned the connection.

He said to me, "I tell you something that you didn't know. Sam was born in Cushing, but he was conceived in Haskell!"

I say again: Sam Harris is GO-O-O-D! Probably because of the Haskell thing!

Two Little Girls

When my daughter, Lindsey, was three, we had our first stand off. She was in the bathtub and she was kicking water out on to the floor. I went in and told here to stop and before I could leave she splashed water, not only on the floor, but on me. She did so with a defiant smirk. I snatched her out of the water and took her straight to our bedroom and set her on the bed, still wet and naked.

I told her that when she said she was sorry, I would let her get dressed. She screamed and yelled and rolled around. It was my big test. I would either win this or she would control the house. A true alpha dog moment! It took one hour and 45 minutes. At one point I said, "Why can't you just say that you are sorry?" She stared at me and replied, "Its too hard!" (A 3 year old's exact words)

At almost two hours when I was about to crater, she finally started crying and said, "I'm sorry."
At that moment I understood the meaning of Strong Willed Child.

Funny thing happened this week. Lindsey took her little girl to the doctor. Kinley is only 7 months old. As the doctor tried to examine her, she rolled and screamed and tossed and prevented him from his job. It took both Lindsey and the Doctor to hold her down so that he could check her vitals. She had other plans. When the Doctor finally finished he asked, "Who was the strong willed child? Her or her husband?" Lindsey just had to laugh.

Pay Back so soon!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Mid Term Test


I always dreaded Mid Term tests at school. I had to study hard to show that I was paying attention and that I understood the subjects. I was not perfect in every subject, but I tried. In all this, I was taught that if you do the best you can, good things will happen. I also new that Mid Term meant that there was still time to get any weakness corrected.

Today we have a Mid Term Test for our Good Country. It doesn't work like school. If I could have only pointed out to the teacher what was wrong with everyone else in class, I wouldn't had to study so hard. I could just keep the attention off me. Or I could tell the teacher what I did two years ago with my grades. Experience counts. In the election today we tend to vote by emotion not necessarily on fact. We vote for crazy reasons and if we guess wrong, its not my fault. I don't have to study, I have people to tell me what to believe.

I thing I know from my school days: "We get what we deserve."

Obama said that if he was elected he would change health care. He was elected, He changed things and the country did not like it.

Today things will change again: The other guys will win and they didn't have to stick there necks out at all: UNTIL NOW.

I am very anxious to see the changes coming from tea parties and disgruntled people. At worst it will be Bush2 and at best it will be that the little guy will be heard. In my experience, people who just gripe have a hard time leading. It is easier to gripe.

Some times you need to go back to school a study the subject so that after the test, there is proof of moving ahead.

Another thing I remember about school is when the circus came to town. Starting tomorrow, the CIRCUS has arrived again.