My Life – Above Ground

Texan Pride
August 15, 2008, 5:00 pm
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Ok – I admit it – I LOVE BEING A TEXAN!  I’m proud of my heritage, my accent, my everything related to Texas… and here’s a video that I think says it all… enjoy….

kinda makes you tear up, huh?


Leaving It On The Field…
August 9, 2008, 3:17 pm
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If you didn’t get a chance to catch it, the opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics was completely breathtaking.  They can go ahead and retire the trophy for opening ceremonies… the Chinese seriously knocked it out of the park.  In essence, they “left it on the field” (or the stadium, if you will). 

That’s what is inspiring about the whole Olympic theme – leaving it on the field.  Leave all your strength.  Leave all of your abilities.  Leave all of your passion.  Leave all of your emotion.  Leave all of your soul.  Leave all of your intellect.  Give everything that you have… and leave nothing…. nothing at all on the field.

A great example of this – one which has been widely tauted over the past few years, but which is a consistently inspiring story is Lance Armstrong.  I am, of course, a HUGE cycling fan, and what he’s done with his ‘Live Strong’ brand, is nothing short of inspiring.  Check it out.  

I’m certainly not consistent with it, but I like to apply this ideal to the things that I do everyday.  Marriage.  Kids.  Family.  Work.   Play.  Leave it all on the field.  Don’t hold back.  Don’t overthink.  Don’t just talk.  Do.

During those quite moments when I take the time to reflect on my actions and life, I ask myself this question – am I leaving everything on the field?  Am I holding back on anything… if so, what and why?  Then I make a decision to face fear head-on and just do. 

We only have this one life… let’s take courage and make it count! 

Leave nothing on the planet.

Turn Up The Radio
August 4, 2008, 2:26 am
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It was perhaps one of the first mediums which connected large masses of people on an emotional basis.  Next to TV, it was (and still is) one of the major means of mass marketing.  Radio. 

Check out this retro-ad for the first mass produced portable radio:

My earliest memory of listening to the radio is of riding in the car with my dad, and listening to Rod Stewart’s scratchy voice, while next being entertained by some certain George Jones nasal-bleeding, country tune.  As a kid growing up in North Texas, there were some great stations and I have some wonderful memories – even remembering some of their station identifier marketing slogans.  After leaving home, living in Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, LA, Cheyenne and back to Fort Worth, I’ve had a chance to listen to a host of outstanding radio stations. 

Below, I’ve tried to identify all of the stations which I thought worthy of recognition – some of which have long been off the air… some of which I still listen to: 

  • Q102, Texas’ Best Rock.  Dallas/Ft. Worth.  Long live Redbeard!
  • 98 KZEW – The Zoo.  Dallas/Ft. Worth.  Great Classic Rock station. It’s where I learned to love Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, AC/DC and the like.
  • 97.1 The Eagle.  Dallas/Ft. Worth.  Used to roller skate while listening to this station.  Did I just say that out loud? Come on, I was only 8 or 9… give me some slack!
  • 94.9 The Edge.  Dallas/Ft. Worth.  The first major, all-alternative radio station in Dallas. It’s now 102.1, but has kept the same format.
  • 99X.  Atlanta.  It was fuzzy, but I had reception of this station in Charleston, SC.  It was awesome!
  • 90.5 WUOG.  Athens, Georgia.  This was an AWESOME college radio station that I happened upon while traveling through northern Georgia on my many South Carolina-to-Texas trips in the early 90s.
  • KROQ.  Los Angeles.  I dated a girl who worked for KROQ.  I also listened to Kevin & Bean before they were Kevin & Bean.
  • Pirate Radio 100.3.  Los Angeles.  My friend Robert got me hooked on Pirate Radio in the early 90s, something for which I am eternally grateful. 
  • 101.9 – Adult Alternative.  Los Angeles.  My friend Carl & I almost cried when it went off the air in 1997.  Last song played was Sarah Mclaughlin’s, I Will Remember You.  Sad time. 
  • KFI AM 640.  Los Angeles.  One of my two favorite all-time talk stations.  Bill Handle is AWESOME! 
  • KRLA – 870.  Los Angeles.  The other favorite talk station.  Home of the two Dennis’ – Dennis Prager and Dennis Miller.
  • 93.3 – Area 93.  Denver.  It was fuzzy, but I received this signal from Cheyenne… at least when the wind was blowing hard from the south. 
  • 99.9 – The Point.  Cheyenne.  Had a good alternative format, but wasn’t always on the air for some reason.

… and I close this post out with an offering appropriate for this theme… an REM tune of course… 

Polar Opposites
August 2, 2008, 3:24 pm
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It’s one of my lifelong dreams, actually… to go on an expedition to one or both of the earth’s poles. More than anything to test and build my mental endurance – not to mention the personal sense of satisfaction after having completed such an adventure.  My oldest son and I have talked about making this trip a High School Senior Trip getaway – the Summer after he graduates, before he goes off to his next life adventure.

Funny thing though, people use the term ‘polar opposites’ for metaphoric reasons of contrast… when in fact, the North & Sole Poles are very similar, actually.  Geographic opposite each other, but other than this, life at these points of origin are pretty much the same.  Windy.  Frigid.  Mostly uninhabited.  Icy.  Did I mention Frigid?

Now, I’m not one to talk or write about politics in public… too many slippery slopes, pot holes and dead ends.  Mostly though because of the trend in the U.S. (and maybe the world) to place people in ideaological buckets.  You’re either a X or a Y.  Period.  No in-betweens. 

Polarization.  To me, it’s very tiresome and short-sided… including those who place themselves in a polarized position.  It’s unfortunate, really.  We are all different from one another… noone is the same.  It’s what makes us unique and why we have so much to give to and learn from each other. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty idealistic lad myself… but I try very hard to not let my ideals get in the way of decency, respect and humanity.  Learning how to successfully live and work with those who don’t share your beliefs is actually one of the most important and sought after traits in personal and professional circles.  Having the ability to respectfully agree to disagree with someone, while maintaining a strong relationship… very important stuff.

When I think about it, and if I’m honest, maybe that’s why the idea of exploring the geographic North & South Poles are so appealing to me… because I attempt it in my everyday life.  Sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding.  I enjoy the challenge of learning how to relate with those who don’t share my values.  Exploring the ‘why’ around others belief systems.  Survinging those chilly, icy moments of conflict upon reaching relational empasses and crevasses.  It is a challenge, but it’s very insightful and in the long run, encouraging.

I think Rodney King was on to something in his desire to have everyone “just get along.”  Not thinking or believing the same things.  Not abandoning ones identity or uniqueness.  Getting along.  Playing nice in the sandbox together.  Didn’t we learn to do this in kindergarten?  What happened to us? 

We “growed” up and became “sophistamacated,” as my 5-year old son would exclaim.  

My hope and the active adventure that I’m on is to explore the nether-regions of relational differences, placing cairns along the route for future explorers.

Want to join me?  Come one, a fearless mind, some endurance and $10k will get you a true polar experience.  So what do you say?

Happiness Is A Serious Problem
August 2, 2008, 2:19 am
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When I moved to LA some 15 years ago, my daily commute to & from work was tedious and long on the best of days.  One interesting side-effect of sitting in LA traffic was my getting hooked on talk radio.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive music fan and loved listening to KROQ, Pirate Radio and KSCA 101.9 Adult Alternative .  But more often than not, I yearned for something to better stimulate my mind while experiencing the rigors of the 5, 210, 10, 101 and 110 freeways of downtown Los Angeles.

There’s one talk radio personality – based out of LA – that has caused me to think with greater depth and question those things which we assume and take for granted in everyday life.  Dennis Prager.  I still listen to him today.  I’ve found him to be as vulnerable and honest with his audience as one can be through such a medium.  He’s actually a well-recognized speaker and has written a handful of best-sellers… one of which shares the title of this blog entry – Happiness Is A Serious Problem. 

In his mind, happiness is such a serious problem in today’s society that he not only wrote a book about it, but devotes an hour a week on his radio show to discuss various topics around this theme. 

When you think about it, it’s true, huh?  Happiness IS a serious problem.  

How many people do you know that you would consider genuinely and consistently happy?  For those who are unhappy, what makes them so?  Are people born with a predilection toward happiness or unhappiness?  To what degree does ones life circumstances control happiness levels, if at all?  Does ones gender, religion, sexual orientation, and/or political beliefs have any influence on ones happiness?  How about the impact of copious amounts of unhappy people on our society?  What about hoards of happy people? 

Think about it… there are people in this world who are the poorest of the poor and who are genuinely and consistently happy people.  Conversely, there are those who are in want of nothing, yet who are very unhappy in life. 

How about you?  Really?  Are you genuinely happy in life?  I’m honestly curious if you’re reading this… are you happy?  It’s a simple question, really.  Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.  Go with your initial, flinch reaction to the question, and you’ll have your answer.

Interesting thing about Dennis’ book and years of research, speeches and thought on the topic… he believes that he has isolated the one anecdote, the one ‘gene’ to achieving true happiness in life.  And I agree with him wholeheartedly. 

What do you think it is?  Wealth?  Being part of a specific religious group?  Fame?  Job?  Toys?  New Age healing?  Meditation?  Yoga?  Exercise?  Eating specific foods?  Sex?  Chasing your dreams?  Power?  Traveling the world?

In and of themselves… not so much. 

It’s one word.  It’s excrutiatingly personal.  Starts with a ‘g.’  It’s sometimes very easy to achieve and maintain, while at other times it seems impossible to hold on to.  What’s the silver bullet to happiness you say?


The more grateful you are in life, the happier you will be.

The less grateful you are in life, the unhappier you will be.  It’s as simple as that.

What type of society would we have if gratitude was a pervasive characteristic? 

What type of person would you be if gratitude ruled your world?

Curious questions, huh?