My Life – Above Ground

I Really Do Love the ’80s
July 30, 2008, 9:53 pm
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Sitting smack dab in the middle of the X-Generation, I feel very fortunate to have grown up in the 70s and 80s.  What a great time that was.  A less complicated time.  Being able to ride my bike all over my neighborhood at all hours of the day or night.  Playing tennis during the Summer until I couldn’t stand anymore.  Sleeping over friends’ houses.  Lock-ins – that were completely safe.  And Crystal’s Pizza.  Man, I loved that place! 

I could write about a whole host of things about my experience in the ’80s, but what one thing that has kept me there, much to the chagrin of my friend, Chris, is my musical interests and tastes.  

I found a site where many of my favs are captured, and thought I’d share.  Let me know which were/are your favs – especially my friend, Chris!

Come on, just admit it!  Brings back some memories, huh?

1. Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1983)
2. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics (1983)

3. Tainted Love – Soft Cell (1981)
4. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears For Fears (1985)
5. One Way Or Another – Blondie (1977)
6. Burning Down the House – Talking Heads (1983)
7. Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds (1985)
8. Down Under – Men At Work (1982)
9. I Ran (So Far Away) – A Flock of Seagulls (1982)
10. You Might Think -The Cars (1984)
11. I Melt With You – Modern English (1983)
12. Take On Me – a-ha (1985)
13. Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran (1982)
14. Whip It! – Devo (1980)
15. Peace, Love And Understanding? – Elvis Costello (1979)
16. Don’t Stand So Close To Me – The Police (1980)
17. Shout – Tears For Fears (1985)
18. People Are People – Depeche Mode (1981)
19. True – Spandau Ballet (1983)

20. Brass In Pocket – The Pretenders (1980)
21. Something About You – Level 42 (1986)
22. Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins (1984)
23. Turning Japanese – The Vapors (1981)
24. She Blinded Me With Science – Thomas Dolby (1984)
25. Is She Really Going Out with Him? – Joe Jackson (1979)
26. Rock Lobster – B-52s (1979)
27. Need You Tonight – INXS (1987)
28. Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners (1982)
29. Heart Of Glass – Blondie (1977)


It’s the Olympics, Man!
July 11, 2008, 9:51 pm
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Don’t know about you, but I get excited every four years when it’s time once again to light the flame, squat in front of the TV (usually in the wee hours of the morning) and sing along with the ‘Dum, dum, tee-dum, dum, dum, dum… dum, dum tee-dum… oh, I forget how it goes.  The Olympics, of course!  This year the action starts on August 8… in China nonetheless… 

Being such a huge sports fan, I have found that the most inspirational, dramatic moments in sports have occurred at the Olympics.  Athletes who are among the best in the world train for an opportunity to compete with and amongst the best. 

Grit.  Determination.  Perserverance.  Leaving it all on the field.  That’s what life is all about, right?

To prepare for this year’s events, I decided to find & watch – via You Tube of course – some of the more memorable Olympic events in history.  There are many, but here are a few of my favorites.  I hope they inspire you as much as they do me…

Talk about some guys playing their hearts out… this is awesome!

Amazingly inspirational. Great lesson about not giving up.

This 16 year-old girl vaulted with a fractured ankle, and won the Gold for her Team. Unbelievable.

… Quietly Protecting You
July 5, 2008, 2:55 pm
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In honor of the 4th this year, I decided to read through a few sites of Medal of Honor recipients – taking note that their sacrifices are what provide me & my family, and you & your family the freedom that we experience in our country.  If you’re interested, it’s very inspiring to read through the stories of these courageous and selfless soliders, airmen, sailors and marines. 

It occurred to me while reading through these records, that the vast majority of those in our country don’t realize the character of people like this.  The portrayal of these types of men & women in almost all media forums (movies, TV, news, radio, print, etc.) is usually less than flattering.  Some even have disdain for this type of service and these type of servants.  Being a veteran of a foreign war myself, I have some strong emotions around this topic, needless to say. 

In any event, here’s the Navy SEAL Leadership Oath – taken upon being awarded the Trident.  As an example of the type of servants who volunteer to protect our country and the freedoms we experience, I hope it conveys to you the moral character of the people who quietly protect us everyday.  So, in honor of all of my brothers who have served before, with and after me:

In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed.  I will not fail.

June Bugs, Cicadas & Fireworks
July 2, 2008, 9:17 pm
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Summertime.  Growing up in North Central Texas, summertime meant riding my bike wherever/whenever I wanted, playing hours of tennis, cooking out and going to the Brazos River with family, among numerous other things.  I have some very good memories of childhood summers, and here are a few that my forgetful mind can remember: 

  • June Bugs (annoying little bugs that come out only during early Summer);
  • Swimming (either in a pool, a lake and/or a river – whether clothed or unclothed – yep, skinny-dipping)
  • Cicadas (this is a natural sound to me – having grown up around it my entire life, but my wife despise their incessant buzzing)
  • Fireworks (black jacks, cherry bombs, bottle rockets and roman candles – haven’t even burned anything down (yet))
  • Cooking Out (come on now, nothing’s better than food from the grill – doesn’t matter what it is)
  • Baseball (not only playing it myself – for over 9 years – but also going to Texas Ranger games)
  • NO SCHOOL!  Need not say more.
  • Wearing the same pair of shorts EVERYDAY (Was kind of cool when I was a kid, but it’s kind of not now)
  • Bike & Motorcycle Riding (riding my Huffy Black Thunder (yeah, baby) all-day, and the Suzuki RM80 that I bought brand new and wrecked in less than 90 days)
  • Ice cream truck!  (the same guy came at the same time everyday, and all of the neighborhood kids would swarm like bees to his truck)
  • Sun Tea (just nothing better than having the sun cook your beverage)
  • Hot, hot, hot! (one summer it was over 100 degrees consecutively for over 42 days)

I enjoyed my youthful summers, and hope to help my boys do the same. 

Tell us about your experiences – would be interesting to know…

Before you leave though, could you turn the fan on, please? It’s hot!