Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Category 4 vs. Category 5

A few days ago at 4:30 AM, I was watching the morning news trying to follow the events surrounding hurricane Katrina. That was about the time it made landfall.

It occurred to me some of those news reporters are not the sharpest tack in the box. First of all, they travel into a hurricane to ask people who couldn’t evacuate why they choose to stay. Then they try to talk about something they know little if anything about. One news reporter said, “So, what is the difference between a category 4 and a category 5 hurricane? A category 4 is disastrous and a category 5 is catastrophic.”

Pulling out the new Webster dictionary, I looked up the words. Disastrous is defined as “catastrophic is nature”. Catastrophic is defined as “a disastrous or devastating event”.

I may not know the difference between a category four and a category five hurricane but you have to feel sorry for the people in the path of Katrina.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Mail Call

Having been traveling for a couple of days I was trying to catch up on the mail. Going through it was an adventure. You might even be able to relate to my comments in the brackets.

I won two free nights lodging at a five star hotel. (I just got home for cryin’ out loud)

I was eligible for a free flight anywhere in the domestic United States. (Yeah, you couldn’t tell me last week when I paid $900 for a ticket)

I might be a millionaire. (Call me when I am)

I’m pre-qualified for two credit cards. (Why do I need credit cards – I might be a millionaire)

I have four ‘free’ gifts waiting to be picked up. (If you could send me this letter why can’t you send my four free gifts?)

I can fly anywhere free if a friend accompanies me. (Of course my friend won’t be a friend when you stiff them for the price of my ticket.)

I am now a charter member and friend of a new local non-profit group. (Hey, you guys since we are friends do you want to fly somewhere?)

I am one of the few people selected to attend double value days. (What the heck are double value days?)

If I act right now I might be one of twenty people to get a free digital camera. (What do I have to act like?)

My instant points will expire if I don’t use them. (Darn it - I was afraid that would happen!)

But, my all time favorite was – I could choose the earrings I liked best and they would be my free gift. (If I wanted earrings, I could borrow some of Char’s – they are pretty nice.)

All this while trying to find out which bills were due.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My Last Post

No, this won’t be the last time I post a story. Rather it’s a feeble attempt to explain why my last post disappeared. It was called ‘All Gone’. It talked about how the Morrow reunion was over, how the visit from Millie was a thing of the past, how Tiffany went back to school, and what would Char and I do now. But, it’s gone. Why? I’m not sure but I think the answer is in Baton Rouge.

A few years back, I was asked to go to Southern University in Baton Rouge and teach a class. I am not a teacher but I was looking forward to talking with and interacting with the kids for ten days. Almost every night one or more of the students would stop by my room wanting to take me somewhere. It was quite fun and the kids where young and full of energy and excitement.

One night three guys showed up and want to take me out and show me the ‘real’ Baton Rouge. As we were driving around, I started noticing the same logo on many of the storefronts. Finally, I asked, “I’m seeing this logo on a lot of stores. What does it mean?”

They glanced at each other in a way that made me think I had seen something or at least asked a question that I shouldn’t have. Finally, one of them replied, “Well, Mr. Campbell, that is the sign of voodoo.”

“Voodoo,” I laughed. “You don’t believe in voodoo, do you?”

More silence. More thoughts about that was a question I didn’t need to ask. Finally, one of them replied, “Mr. Campbell, it’s like my mama says, you shouldn’t go messing around with something if you don’t understand it.”

I sat there for a minute before replying, “You have a very smart Mama.”

Well, that’s what happened to my last post. I got messing around trying to make some changes to my site not understanding what I was doing. The question popped up 'are you sure you want to' . . . and without being sure, I kept clicking yes. Then my last post was gone.

My apologies to Jamie Dawn who left me some great suggestions and to Just a Mom who commented on the post. When I deleted the post, your comments were sent to cyber heaven as well.

But, on a positive note, it wasn’t as bad as playing with voodoo.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Well, since you know there is a cell phone attached to my bike I might as well come clean - I also have a bell. I didn't want a bell but had to get one for a ride I was doing in Canada. In that country there is a law requiring all bikes to have bells. Why, I don't know because the Canadian riders with us never used theirs and always laughed when we did.

As the Canadian ride was getting closer, I was scrambling. I was trying to get things done at work, trying to get things done at home, trying to raise the final amount of money needed for the ride, and trying to keep training. But, more than anything, I was fretting over getting a bell. I talked a lot about it but kept putting it off. Finally, a friend showed up one day with a bell for my bike. She wanted to support me in the ride and the bell was her way of doing so. It is a great bell called a beehive - although it has been given other names.

That night I put the bell on the bike. If you hit the thumb tab, it gave off a fairly loud "Ding". It was okay, but I really didn't like it. So, I spent a few minutes coming up with my own distinct ring. I discovered if you hit the thumb tab a couple times really fast then had a brief pause and hit the thumb tab fast a couple more times it gave off a pretty interesting ring. "Ding-Ding". "Ding-Ding". Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it.

The next day out on the trail doing a little riding, I noticed a lady walking towards me. She was in her late sixties or early seventies, out for her morning walk using a cane to maintain her balance, looking down at the path. Since it was just the two of us I mustered all the courage I could to try the bell. Then breaking through the stillness of the morning it rang out- Ding-Ding, Ding-Ding.

The lady didn't look up. Getting closer I gave it another try - Ding-Ding, Ding-Ding. She still didn't look up. Getting even closer still, I slowed down and gave it one last attempt - Ding-Ding, Ding-Ding.

When I got within five feet of her, she looked up and looked me square in the eye. As I pulled up next to her she blurted out, "I heard you the first time!" I stopped my bike mainly because I really wasn't sure what she said. She might use the cane to walk but she was quite spirited. She spun around, lifted her cane a little, looked me square in the eye and said, "I heard you the first time. I might be old but I'm certainly not deaf. I heard you clear at the other end of the park."

I replied I wasn't sure she heard me and I certainly didn't want to startle any young women on the path. Now she turned bright red and said, "Now you just hush with that kind of talk and get on with your bicycle ride." I chuckled and got back on my bike.

A few days later, I was on the same path. It was early. I wasn't awake nor was I into the ride. Suddenly, I heard, "Ring the bell. Ring the bell." I looked up and there was the lady. Once again, the stillness of the morning was broken. Ding-Ding, Ding-Ding.

I rarely ring the bell anymore but I still have it on my bike. It was given to me by a friend and you never known when you might encounter young women on the path.
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Sunday, August 14, 2005

It's Official

Well, it’s official so I might as well tell you. After only fifty-three years, I have finally found a family that wants to adopt me. Better yet, they are willing to adopt me wife and kids as well. Or, maybe it’s because of my wife and kids they are willing to adopt me.

We “crashed’ the Morrow family reunion for the past three days and had a great time. Those people know how to party. You’ll have to check Cliff’s blog to get the details of the reunion. I’m not the youngest but the “newest” member of the family so I don’t feel it is my place to give the report. But, I will tell you at the banquet last night it was quite an honor to get accepted and adopted into the family.

We are still waiting on the paperwork but I am sure it’s just hung up in the process.

To all the Morrow's - THANK YOU. Thanks for adopting us. Thanks for a great weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cell Phobia

For our purposes here, cell phobia will be defined as the uncomfortable feeling you get when you realize you don't have your cell phone or you are out of your service area. I have it in a big way. I absolutely refuse to go anywhere without my cell phone. I have declined speaking at conferences because they were meeting at locations that had little or no cell phone coverage. I'm not going to make any excuses - it's just the way I am, so deal with it.

However, my neighbor took it to new heights. He showed me how he mounted his cell phone to his bike handlebars so when we did our annual bike ride it was readily accessible. Liking the idea, I did the same thing with a little improvement - I added padding to absorb the shock.

If there were a local chapter of CPA (Cell Phobia Anonymous), I would most likely be a founding member.
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Monday, August 08, 2005

Almost Perfect Gravy

Ah, Sunday. Time for an almost perfect home cooked meal.

The neighbors helped us out on a little project so we decided we should invite them over for dinner. I had the chicken slow roasting in the Dutch Oven – using Cliff’s famous recipe of course. Ten pounds of potatoes were peeled and boiling gentle in the pot just waiting to be mashed. The salad, well . . . the salad was a work of art. Not only was it quite colorful but also given the time of year it was sure to be full of flavor. It was time to turn my attention to the gravy.

Now you need to understand I have knocked over several open boxes of stuff in the pantry and have started putting many items in containers – the ones with the snap on lids. I was getting everything out to make the perfect gravy to go with the perfect chicken and the perfect potatoes.

But, other things were vying for my attention. My wife and neighbor were out completing the project they had been helping us with. I was trying to watch them so I could time the meal to be done at about the same time they were. So, when I reached into the cupboard and took out the cornstarch, used to thicken the gravy, it only had a portion of my undivided attention. I started making the gravy while trying to keep an eye on my wife and where she was on her project and also under a little more pressure than normal because I knew my neighbor likes gravy.

I noticed the gravy was not thickening up as it usually does. No need to worry I thought there is just more liquid so I’ll add more cornstarch. Nothing. I added more cornstarch. Okay, it looked a little thicker but still pretty thin. More corn starch. Nice color but it’s still to thin.

Suddenly it dawned on me. I had put more than a cup of powdered sugar into my gravy mix. I had reached right past the cornstarch and grapped the powdered sugar.

No body said anything about the gravy or, in this case, the lack of it. But, had we had ice cream . . . I had a pretty sweet topping ready.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Open House

One of my offices was moved into a new building. The building is brand new and is quite nice. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is now in a cubicle. The only complete walls in the whole building are for the restrooms. Even the conference room has walls that do not reach the ceiling.

Years ago, I had a cubicle so the change did not bother me all that much. At least until I heard the name that is now being used - democratic spacing. Everyone gets roughly the same amount of room and all the cubicles are alike as far as color and layout. It may be democratic spacing to some but to me it is just plain boring.

Anyway, wanting to make the best of it I unpacked all my boxes and even hung some pictures. Then it hit me. Why not have a cubicle housewarming party? I sent out invitations via e-mail and could tell by the laughter in our democratic spaced building when they were being read. Finally, the following day arrived and my cubicle housewarming party was held. Everyone in the building attended and got a good laugh. The party lasted only about three minutes but seemed to break some of the tension of the move. Besides that, it was fun Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Listening to a Book

When I saw the book, ’1776’ by David McCullough I wanted it. It's about the conflict between General George Washington and the British commander William Howe.

So, when my wife went to one of those discount stores I asked her to see how much it was and let me know. She called with the price and told me they had it on CD’s which I might like better because of the amount of driving I do. I told her I would think about. She went ahead and bought me the audiobook.

I just completed it. It’s a great book but there is a hidden danger. Much of the book is made up of quotes from American and British archives including letters and journals. It altered the way I talked for several days. I took on a vocabulary flare of 1776. Some examples are:

When asked,”What’s going on?” I would tell the person and then reply, “To what great matters are you directing your efforts?” Not your typical follow-up question.

When asked how the meeting went I started replying, “I gave no utterance to his word” or “I inclined their hearts to listen and engage anew.” That stopped a few people in their tracks.

When my wife asked if I was coming to bed, she just shook her head when I said, “I will travel with Godspeed to be at your side”.

It’s a great book. If you like history, you will enjoy this book. Therefore, until I have liberty to write again I bid thee farewell.