Wednesday, February 22, 2006


We all grew up hearing the saying – opposites attract. That may be true but something just don't go together.

Earlier this week I was going to a meeting in a section of town I hadn’t been in for awhile. I was walking down the street and noticed a new restaurant called Mex-Thai. They were closed but the sign in the window promised, “Authentic Mexican Food and Genuine Thai Cuisine”. Now I’m sorry, but those two just to do not go together.

What a minute, maybe they do. Suddenly I have a strong urge for a curried chicken enchilada smothered with green chili. Well . . . maybe not.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Have you ever thought about what you are afraid of? I did this morning. Probably my greatest fear is having something happen to someone in my family that I cannot ‘fix’ or help with. Then there is my second greatest fear, which I did today.

On the way to face my second greatest fear, I got thinking about some of the things I have experienced in life. It was probably my way of coping with the situation. Throughout my life, I have:
- had a raging forest fire chase me up a mountain. Making it to the top and to safety with only seconds to spare.
- had a helicopter crash just a few hundred feet in front of me.
- been in a helicopter when it almost crashed
- been washed down a mountain by a load of slurry (used in fire fighting) that was off target.
- watched a slurry air tanker crash into the side of the mountain
- been run off a twenty-foot embankment while on my bike by a Miller Lite truck. To this day, I won’t drink Miller Lite unless that is all that is available.
- been in a tornado area when buildings were still falling without warning
- seeing a head on crash as a car crossed the median on the interstate and ran into a semi-truck. Then, with others, stopped and pulled the victims out.
- had a loaded 12-gauge shotgun pulled on me.
- I was shot at once that I know of.
- driving a vehicle, I knew it was going to be hit from behind at 70 MPH when there was nothing I could do.
- been chased out of the woods at night by a pack of wild dogs.
- stood in front of 800 people and gave a keynote speech.

Yet, none of that scares me half as much as going to the Doctor. What’s your fear?

Monday, February 20, 2006


As much as I hate being sick it might have happened at a good time. The past four days has been bitterly cold here. According to the news one of those days, we broke a low temperature record that has been in place for over a hundred years. I really didn’t notice the cold that much – I was so sick my idea of ‘venturing out’ was to get off the sofa and walk across the room. The high today was 38 degrees and everyone was talking about the “heat wave”. Sorry, but 38 degrees does not classify as a heat wave.

I took this picture of ladybugs last summer. I have no idea why. I am about over being sick and I’m definitely ready for Spring. Bring on the ladybugs!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Kids and Veggies

Yesterday I talk with both our kids. Funny, how I still call them kids when they are in their twenties and out of the house. I suppose I could call them adults or even young adults but they will always be our kids. This made me think about having them around.

They are more or less out on their own. That does has some advantages. It also has some disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is they occasionally have missed Holidays and special occasions.

While talking to my daughter yesterday she said, “Say, I haven’t seen a picture of your lovely daughter on your blog for awhile.” This made me think of the Easter she was at school and couldn’t come home. We went ahead and sat a place for her at the table. As usual, she had to stay there until she ate all her vegetables.

Tiffany here is the picture as promised.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sick Observations

While I am a little better, I’m still nowhere close to well. However, I do want to thank all of you for your well wishes. Today I made a keen observation.

Have you ever noticed when you are sick other people seem:
- ruder than normal
- they are very demanding
- they tend to fly off the handle at every little thing
- they are really impatient
- they seem unruly and unkempt

Wait a minute . . . I am standing in front of the mirror again.

While my wife will probably disagree, and at the risk of shocking most of you, I am not the most pleasant person to be around when I am sick.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Green Stamps

First of all, I am sick (just physical - so relax). I would like to go on record as saying it is Cliff’s fault. I read his blog about being sick then talked to him on the phone. He was sick. I think he gave me whatever he had. So – thanks Cliff.

Secondly, when I am healthy it’s hard figuring out how my mind works. When I am as sick as I am today, it falls into the category of, “We’ll find out the answer to that when we get to Heaven.”

I was working on something I truly hate, I was sick, and I was cursing Cliff (for making me sick). I pushed away from my desk to look at the computer screen and into my head popped the words – Green Stamps. Do you remember S&H Green Stamps?

As a kid I remember them being given out when you bought grocery, gas, etc. Sometimes you would get a lot, sometimes only one. But, what I remember most is while it was not the unforgivable sin not get them, it was certainly runner up. Those stamps would be put into books. When you collected enough books, they could be redeemed for certain gifts.

Do you remember S&H Green Stamps?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The High Cost of Love

Char and I celebrated Valentines Day last night. We had a great dinner (yeah, I cooked). This morning we did the gift thing. Then it started.

The news said the average person would spend $100 - $125 on Valentine’s Day. This will buy candy, flowers, cards, etc. According to the news the cost of roses today is $74 a dozen. I saw them last week for $24.95.

Also, don’t just think flowers - think beef jerky. That’s right a beef jerky basket is being offered as an ‘alternative’ gift at many flowers shops. I am not even going to address that ‘alternative’ thing. Or, how about the $12,000 necklace for that someone special? At $12,000, you certainly have to be glad there is only someone! Excuse me this is the news – not a commercial. Did we pull out of Iraq? Was peace reached in the Middle East? Has one “brilliant” journalist figured out why Saddam yelled in court, “Down with Bush!” But, I digress.

Then I met a program sponsor for lunch. This is always fun, he is a great guy, and very generous when planting trees. What is on the table? The Valentine Day special. Two plates of spaghetti with meatballs for $32.95. The fine print said salad, beverages, and desserts were extra. I looked at the menu. The cost of a plate of spaghetti with meatballs was $9.95. Not wanting to sound like a financial genius here but if you multiply $9.95 times two it is still is a lot less than $32.95.

I stopped at the store on the way home. Men and women were almost fighting in the card aisle. Yeah, baby – nothing says, "I love you" like a kidney punch.

Then there is my wife. She gave me a card this morning with a CD in it. On the CD was a short movie she made with her digital camera. It’s two stuffed bears singing a song. She later said the stuff animals cost $15 but the reason she didn’t buy them was not the money but rather what would we do with them. Great point. I have watched the CD three or four times already. I would have pushed the button on the stuffed animal twice.

Smart woman. One of the many reasons I’m glad I married her.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Mice Gone Bad

With all due respect to Rhodent, occasionally a bad mouse does surface. That was the case Friday morning when I walked into the office. The first thing I had to deal with was a dead mouse. Seems like my mouse went belly up.

Friday, February 10, 2006

It Happened

It finally snowed in Denver! This is the first significant snow fall we have had in Denver and on the plains in 2006. There was only about two inches on the driveway so we are still below normal.

It’s been so long since we had snow many people forgot how to drive in it. On my commute this morning, there were three cars off the road and seven accidents. But, most people were driving slow and cautiously.

The big news is not the snow but the cold temperatures. The high today will be in the low twenties. While I never thought I would say these words, it might be a good day to stay inside and work on reports and budgets.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Applied Research

Lately I have been dealing with researchers. Sometimes in meetings, sometimes over the phone, and some even on e-mail. In almost every case, they are requesting funding for their project. Some are very good projects, some are not.

There is what I term field researchers and there are techno researchers. The difference is simple. Field researchers have gone out and collected data. Then in many cases, they have verified at least a portion of their findings in the field. Then there are techno researchers. They are usually looking for funding for computer models. Most are using data they receive from other people and in many cases they even question its value. This falls into the garbage in, garbage out category. Rarely, have the techno researchers field-tested their finding. They assume because the computer ‘said’ this is what will happen – that is what will happen. No verification.

I always ask one standard question. The way this question is answer often tells whether they are interested in getting money or in getting their research completed. The question is, “How will your findings be interpreted and applied by people on the ground, people who are actually doing the work?”

This question has drawn some unusual answers. But, think about it – it makes sense. How can you make sure two or more people looking at the same thing will interpret it the same way, and reach the same conclusion? Here is a simple example. Below are two pictures. In each picture, there is one person from a large metropolitan area who has not quite adapted to rural life. Can you pick them out?

Research needs to be this simple.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Remember the Alamo

No one is sure who said those words first but several source credit them to Sam Houston at the battle of San Jacinto. While in San Antonio, I had to see the Alamo. It was nothing like I expected.

I figured it was going to be expensive to get into. I expected crowds of people. And, the worst part, I thought it was on the plains of Texas requiring a long ride in a tour bus or taxi. None of that was true.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas have been running and managing the Alamo since 1905. They accept donation but admission is free. This impressed me so much I gave a donation greater than what I thought the admission would be. There was also a sign requesting men remove their hats as a sign of respect. Rarely, do you find me outside without a hat but I didn’t wear one that day.

There were plenty of people but not what I would call a crowd. Plus, it is located on 4.2 acres so there is plenty of room.

But most surprising is its location. It is in downtown San Antonio. Step outside the wall of the Alamo and this is what you see. It made me wish it had been on the plains of Texas. I know there is one taxi driver who had a story to tell about the weird tourists he encountered. I was done with my meetings and my speech was given, I had a few hours before another appointment. A few of us were going to see the Alamo! Not wanting to waste any precious time looking for a map and getting directions we went outside and climbed into a cab. I asked how much it would be to go to the Alamo. There was silence – dead silence. I was starting to think he didn’t want to drive that far when he turned around and said in a friendly tone, “Sir, it will cost about five dollars for me to drive you. You can save money and even some time if you don’t mind walking two blocks.” He gave me directions and he was right it was no more than two blocks from the hotel. Next time I will ask for a map or directions.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

This is a Chair

Do you have a favorite chair? I do. In fact, I have several. If you walk into our family room, you will notice a sofa, a loveseat, and a large, beige, overstuffed recliner. I will offer you the recliner. It’s a sign of honor and respect. That and the fact it’s Char’s favorite chair – not mine. I prefer the sofa.

One of my favorite chairs is at my local office. I’ve had it for years so it is a little beat up. The fabric is wearing in places and there are a few holes in the armrests from it being shoved around but it is a comfortable chair. You can set in it but you will be cautioned not to play with any of the levers. It’s at the perfect setting and if you mess with it, you will be accused of slowing down my e-mail and crashing the hard drive on the computer as well. It is a great chair.

Then there are rocking chairs. I’ve never been a big rocking chair fan. Speaking of big, Char and I saw this one. That is Char standing under the chair. It is located on Highway 115 between Colorado Springs and Penrose at a place called Doxey’s Apple Shed.

It’s billed as the world’s largest rocking chair. I don’t know if it is or not. But, it is a little larger than Char’s overstuffed recliner.