Life Lessons

I wonder how many people know the significance of June 3rd in the world of popular music? And this year, 2016 is the 50th anniversary of this important event. Give up? June 3, 2016 will be 50 years since Billie Joe McAllistar jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge. How many of you just heard a bunch of strings playing a descending scale? I'm speaking of course of the Bobby Gentry song, "Ode to Billie Joe", released in 1967, that starts with the...

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I have a confession to make. I'm a serial monogamist. I know you're shocked. If you've seen my profile picture, your first thought was probably "Is that Brad Pitt?" Of course, your second thought was probably "Wow, he's really let himself go!" But it's true, all of this good stuff is being wasted on just one woman. It is not that I lack confidence or ego - I dare say I could sexually disappoint more than one woman at a...

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There was a cartoon I saw once on the Internet, and I just spent a fruitless 2 hours trying to find again. This was during a time when talking heads on cable "news" programs were explaining that a large part of the blame for our economic woes was the fact that teachers in Chicago were getting pensions. The cartoon showed three financial managers, dressed in pinstripe suits and smoking cigars, as they pushed wheelbarrows full of cash labelled "bailouts" out...

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It was the summer of 1998. On the radio Will Smith was telling us to Get Jiggy With it, Brandy F and Monica were fighting over The Boy, Britany wanted us to Do It Baby One More Time, and Offspring was Pretty Fly (for a white guy). In the theaters, Titanic was sinking, two different asteroids threatened earth (one dealt with by Bruce Willis, the other wiped out Téa Leone), and we were waiting to see if Tom Hanks could Save...

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It is a question many people are asking themselves right now. For my wife and I, our answer is yes, we are staying. This is our home. Maybe we would feel differently if we were in one of the areas of destruction. Our hearts go out to those who are struggling to survive. We recently traveled between Manta and Canoa, and we met wonderful people that we are very concerned about. Here in Salinas, if you were dropped into town...

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Things are very quiet here in Salinas, Ecuador today. As you can see in the picture, the beach is nearly deserted, only a few boats and jet skis out. This is a resort town for Ecuadorians, and most of them have left to go check on their homes and families in other parts of the country. We normally are very happy to see the "touristos" clear out (see The Most Wonderful Time of the Year), but today it feels very different....

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The picture above was taken at 6:55PM last night, local time here in Salinas. I stepped out on our balcony and took a quick picture, just to see if it would capture the colors, which were truly spectacular. Three minutes later, 210 miles away and 12 miles down, a sudden shift happened. Have you ever been to Disney World or Universal Studios, and taken one of the earthquake rides? They simulate the shaking, things slide towards you or tower over...

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Let me tell you about one of my proudest moments. I'm not sure why I thought of this today, since it is sunny and close to 90F here on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador, because our story begins on a snowy evening in Washington DC. I was working as a computer and network engineer for the US Senate. Our office was in the basement of the Russell building, and it was time to head to Union Station and catch my...

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There are events that can have profound effects on your life, in ways you cannot not possible see while they are happening. It is only the perspective that time gives you that allows you to see their significance. Looking over my life, one of the things that affected me most seems a little mundane. I'm thinking of a job I held in the late 70's, working mostly in a warehouse. Sounds trivial, I know, but working there I learned a lot of...

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