Summer School

It is the first day of summer vacation and what are the kids and I doing? SCHOOL! I know, I know. It is a bit crazy. But there are several things that have gotten me to this point. One is this thing called 39 Clues. 39 Clues is a series of mystery books for children that has the characters traipsing across the world looking for clues to their ancestry and power of their family.

My children are super excited to read the books. As I pre-read several of the books I realized that knowing some information would make reading the books more enjoyable. The first one involves Benjamin Franklin. So I decided that before the kids could read the books, they needed a little schooling.

I recently found a very nice curriculum about Benjamin Franklin from the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary. This recent discovery mixed with the need to find something to keep this kids busy as my wife, the teacher, is working all week has led us to attempt a summer school of sorts.

My hope is that the kids will have fun learning as we embark on this journey. They will be busy and I will get some work done. This will be a log of the things we do and learn as we proceed through this curriculum and study Benjamin Franklin. I hope you have fun reading about our experiences and I hope we have more fun than you.

Volunteering/Community Service

We’ve heard a lot about Volunteering and Community Service. You’ve heard phrases like “Give back” or “Lend a Hand.” You’ve also heard about giving a “Handout” or a “Hand Up.” Well I prefer to take a different perspective. These all seem to place one person in a different position then another. For example, If I were to give you a ‘Hand Out”, or a “Hand Up” it would seem I am in a better position than you are. I don’t necessarily think that or believe that.

Instead, I think we are all in this together. While we have different roles to play at this time we all have the same role. We are all on the same team. If we are on the same team, then there is not anyone in a position of superiority. If we are on the same team, then everyone is expected to pull their own weight. This doesn’t mean that everyone is in it for themselves. It means that everyone does what they can.

The underlying idea behind several popular thoughts in America right now is, ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’ This sounds like a wonderful thought. It even sounds very much like what I am saying. In fact is is very much like what I am saying. It is not, however, what I am saying. This ‘From each..to each..’ idea is from a government, overseeing organizational, perspective. This is the idea that the overseeing body has the authority and should take (read squeeze) from everyone what they have, according to their ability, and redistribute this pile of goods back out according to each person’s “need” (read ‘as determined by the overseers’). This seems like a great idea.

The problem is that it removes the value of the individual. It separates the efforts of the person from the fruit of his labor. He no longer sees what his mind and hands can create and accomplish. He no longer sees the good that he does for his family and his community. When he cannot see that his efforts make a difference in the world, he stops striving to make a difference.

This basic idea is why NGOs are so successful. In America you can’t swing your checkbook, if you still even have one, and not hit a dozen Non-Profit Organizations that are directly benefiting your community. If you give even $10 you can immediately see the impact in you community. I live in a community of around 200,000 people. I can not name all the organizations that are integral parts of making this a GREAT town to live in.

This is not meant to be a political statement, though by it’s very nature it is. This is not a Republican or Democratic, conservative or socialist agenda. It is however an activist, anti-government statement. Simply put we solve our own problems better when we work together here.

I am encouraging Activism. I want you to get fired up and hit the streets. I want you to take your husband, wife, brothers, sisters, kids, neighbors, friends, coworkers, and anyone else you can. Get up. Get out there and make a difference. Volunteer. Give some of your time and money. Encourage others. Let someone else encourage you.

I call this the ‘Be In’ campaign. ‘Be In’volved in the community! ‘Be In’touch with what’s happening! ‘Be In’terested in the people in your community! ‘Be In’vested in the future of your neighborhoods, parks and schools! ‘Be In’gaged in the lives of the people around you! Most of all, what I’m saying is turn off the entertainment box and Go! ‘Be In’ your community. You’ll be glad you did.

The Lure of Fishing

Fishing is an interesting undertaking. It can be as simple as showing up to a lake in Nebraska where Game and Parks has their Urban Fisheries Trailer set up. It’s called Family Fishing Nights, where rods and reels, as well as bait and fishing instruction are available. Our family attended an event recently and much to my pleasure, and theirs as well, my children caught several fish. This has submitted into their minds the idea that fishing is fun and they are successful. If only it was always that way.

I heard a story told by a law enforcement officer once of a man traveling at speeds that exceeded the posted limit. This man was traveling in a pack of cars all exceeding the limit. Upon being pulled over and being issued a ticket the man complained that he was the only one and asked the officer why he was getting a ticket, while the others got away. The officer simply replied. “Ever been fishing?’ The man said yes. The office then asked, “Did you ever catch ALL the fish?” With that, the man went on his way. (obviously this officer was not inclined to practicing Catch and Release)

There are a lot of correlations that can be made to fishing. Just visit a small bible teaching church and I’m sure you’ll hear several. For other practical analogies, just hang out where fishermen tell stories. For me though, I’m not really a fishing fanatic. I love the excitement of getting a fish on the line, and I thoroughly love the ‘fight’. I even enjoy the fry with fish and chips at the end of the day. What keeps me away though is the lack of success. It takes a lot of work. You have to study the fish, know their habitat, what they like to eat, when they eat, and most importantly, how to make what I have look like what they want to eat, and offering it when they want to eat it. To me, fishing is about as laborious as reading that last sentence, especially when I get done and I don’t have anything to show for it. The thing I liked best about the night with Game and Parks and the joys of the Urban Fisheries Trailer, is that I did not have to try to untangle my children’s fishing rods. I did not have to try to guess what lures might the fish be attracted to. I also didn’t have to tie on a single hook. This was all done for me. All I had to do was show up. Sign my kids names and pull the hooks out after they caught them.

I guess life is a lot like fishing. Whether you are looking for a job, selling a product, or finding a mate, I’ve heard it’s good to find out what the company is looking for and then tell them how you have what they want/need. It’s all about identifying your target, finding the right lure and presenting it properly. I often enjoy watching my kids practice the skills of fishing while playing with the other kids. I especially like the ‘take away’. “Well if you’re not gonna play by the rules, I’m gonna take my ball and go home.” What a great ploy! Take away whatever you want them to have and they will want it more. Why? Because people want what they can’t have. Tell people that they can have an IPad for $199, so what, everyone can get one. Tell them that’s it’s only $199 for a limited time and they’ll line up. Or better yet, price it higher so only a few can afford it easily, but not so high that it’s is completely unattainable and they will save their money, not spend it on someone else’s product and focus on getting the elusive IPad.

This, my friends, was just a lesson in goal setting. Don’t make the goal so easy that anyone can easily achieve it. Instead, set it out there just far enough that they have to focus and work on it. But don’t set them up for failure by making the goal so far and hard to reach that they will never attempt it because it is unbelievable. Set it just far enough out there that they won’t become discouraged. Then, give them little bites along the way. Make some smaller goals. These are goals that can be reached with only a little effort and focus. Just like fishing, it’s the excitement that builds to the main event. It’s thinking about seeing that fish on the hook that you’re tying on the line that helps you tie a good knot. It’s the thought of the worm being sucked up by the fish that gets you to put the hook through the wiggly slimy worm. It’s the little nibbles that you feel that stand the hair up on the back of your neck while you are waiting for the moment.

It’s the power of association. The one thing that can keep you going after a long eventless day of fishing is seeing someone reel in a big fish not far from where you are. It is this reassurance that you’re in the right place at the right time to catch one for yourself. This is what can keep you going, especially if he just caught a whopper. Seeing someone else succeed right next to you is one of the most affirming things you can experience. It tells you that you are doing almost everything right. For a fisherman, it all comes down to just one question. “What were you using?”

I’m headed out now. I’ve got a friend who wants to go fishing so I am going to go get my rod and reel ready. I’m gonna check my tackle and get my license. I think this time might be just a bit different. What is it in life that you’re fishing for? Are you using the right bait? How’s your presentation? Are you hanging around other successful people?

Happy Fishing!

Everyone knows everyone else from South Dakota. or How I was almost from God’s Country

There’s an adage that everyone in South Dakota knows each other, and that when we go on vacation we turn the lights out in the state. This impression isn’t helped when there are a million “I bet we can get to a million fans faster than….” pages on Facebook and the South Dakota pages is, “I bet we can’t even get to a million fans.” I can tell you it is not true. If you are from South Dakota, you do not know everyone from South Dakota. It is true that if you are from South Dakota then you know someone I know.

This was never more true than this week when I received an email from my friend Pat about an author friend of hers who is coming to Lincoln for a book signing. My friend Pat thought I “may enjoy meeting him and perhaps advertising this event on your website!” She was correct, at least about advertising the event on ToDoInThisTown.com. I haven’t met him yet, so I can’t say that I’ll enjoy it. I can say that I’ve talked to him. He’s written several books, three to be exact. When I spoke to him about one of my pet theories that delved deeply into one of his books, he liked my ideas. I think I will indeed enjoy meeting him. I look forward to it.

Who is this author friend? His name is Jon Lauck. Upon doing a little Facebook “research” we have not one friend in common, but more than I care to count. Jon is a South Dakota native who writes about what he knows. As I see it, Jon know a few things. He comes from the farm and his first book “American Agriculture and the Problem of Monopoly.” was published by the University of Nebraska Press. Here is a review of the book, “This book is the best that has been written on its topic and . . . one of the best works on twentieth-century agricultural history.”-Business History Review, Harvard Business School (Business History Review)

It would seem he knows his stuff. Jon was a History Professor at SDSU. (No, not San Diego State, South Dakota State University, you know, they’re coming to Memorial Stadium Saturday September 25th to get their Jack Rabbit’s turned into Hobos and sent home.) So he knows history and he knows South Dakota. Mix all these issues together and Jon’s second book “Daschle v. Thune: Anatomy of a High Plains Senate Race” (Oklahoma, 2007) is published. Jon delves into the reasons why John Thune is able to unseat the most powerful man in the Senate. This is all well and good I am glad we understand farm economics better. I am glad we can figure out how a Conservative Republican can defeat a Powerful Democrat in a conservative state. Now that we’ve gotten through the mud and the muck, we can finally get down to business.

In his newest book Prairie Republic: The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879-1889, Jon examines the dominant political and social forces at work in the territory in the decade that led up to statehood. It is during this time that the territory saw explosive population growth and it was the values that these settlers brought with them that gave the Dakota Territory it’s culture and values. Being the amateur interviewer I am, I asked what one of these qualities was. Jon said South Dakota has one of the highest levels of Social Capital in the Nation. He talked about the variety and number of civic institutions that existed G.A.R., lodges for Veterans of the Civil War, reading clubs, chataquas etc. This Social Capital is one of our territorial legacies. He then asked, “what is your web site?” and, “what do you do?” Well I said, I run a website that catalogs places to go and things to do around our community and then encourages people to get out and get involved. I think my Dakota (pronounced DakOHta) was showing. :)

In that vein, I encourage you to come meet this friend of many of my friends at another of my friend’s place, Indigo Bridge Books, in the Creamery Building of the Haymarket Sunday from 5-6. The signing is even promoted by www.ToDoInThisTown.com! Come and find out where God’s Country really is.

School, Teachers, Reading and Writing

I loved school at first. I loved my teachers too. Then there came a time that school mostly bored me and teachers were to be avoided. I had a couple teachers that frankly, left me cold and outside. Literally, one teacher said I could be her Outstanding Student that year. She meant Out Standing in the Hall. I didn’t write the book, Thirteen Ways To Sink a Sub, but after that, I could have written the forward. Now, I would love to go back and be a student again. I never dreamed I’d be a teacher. That was the furthest thing from my mind. Now, a lot of my friends think I ‘d make a pretty good teacher. How do you go from disliking school to being a pretty good teacher? I can attribute this to several things.

I’l mention just a few. For starters, I had some very good teachers; Mr. Robinson, Mr. Mickelson, Mr. Venner, Mr. Smith (the Grouch), Mrs. Zahaki, Mr. Schuetzle. These were not good teachers because they were good at teaching Math, Latin, Government, English etc… They were good teachers because they taught me about me. They taught me how to understand myself. I remember Mickelson teaching me how to take tests. (I then remember his head shaking as I did very well taking a test by flipping a coin.) :) I think most importantly, they taught me how to learn about me. I learned to recognize my strengths and weaknesses. I learned how to study others, see myself in them and then get better.

I eventually married a teacher, an English teacher. English was my worst subject. It’s interesting how life happens.  To this day, I’ve never said, “God, I’ll do anything you want, just don’t send me to Africa.” I’ve learned better. I’ve seen other people end up in Africa, metaphorically speaking. As a student, I hated reading and writing. Now, I read and write for a living. Because I have to? Nope. Because I am doing what I love. I’m not saying that I love reading and I love writing. No, I’m only slightly above neutral towards these disciplines.

I made a concerted effort to become learned. Why? Because knowledge is power. Who doesn’t want power?!? Even before watching He-Man  say, “I HAVE THE POWER.”  I wanted the power.  The power to control my life. To control what I did and when I did it. I wanted to go where I wanted and do what I wanted. Is it any wonder that one of my latest ventures is titled To Do In This Town? I discovered early on that it took the combination of Time and Money to create that kind of power. I saw that knowledge could lead to money. It was later that I heard words put to the idea that if you have enough money you can buy back your time.

First I learned good study habits. Then someone pointed me to a book about learning styles. The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. It was in this book that I started to actually put myself together. Cynthia taught me to understand how my mind works, how to order information so that my mind would best be able to take it in and process it. It was here that the door to education was first opened to me. By understanding how people learned, myself included, I began to learn how to communicate better with people. I combined this with another book that moved me substantially forward,  The Language of Love by Gary Smalley and John Trent. Now I was a communicating fool. Emphasis on fool.

In recent years another group of teachers reached into my life and pointed the way to the next milestone in my journey to becoming a teacher.  These teachers are John, Jack and David. These are very common names, but they are certainly not common men. This group of teachers  turned me inward as well. John taught me the gift of using story to give vision and inspiration. Jack has taught me many things, I think they could all be surmised as discipline. Were I to surmise what David has taught me, in a word, Love.

Some of us learn quickly. Sadly some do not. I’ve come to the conclusion that we all have the ability to learn. We all have different styles of learning. Some by reading and some by doing. Some of us learn in a classroom. Some of us learn best at the School of Hard Knocks. Me? I’ve had to go to school in all these ways and places. It depends on what I’m learning. I am learning how to learn better every day. The interesting thing is that the more I learn how to learn, the better I get at teaching.

As I reflect on this 1200 word ‘piece of work” (insert Sarc mark here), I find it interesting that my list of heroes, some of the worlds greatest leaders, can in some way all be considered teachers. I heard John tell a story of how he plants trees. He gives each tree a name, the name of one of his students. He talks about how each tree is different. Each tree has different needs. Each tree grows or dies. Some grow with his help, some grow inspite of it. When John told this story, I think he was making a different point. But as I recall and reflect on the story, the point I take from it today is that good teachers don’t really teach. They may help you remember certain facts or rules or whatever. They may even be very good at it. But what good teachers do, is not teach students, but grow people.

Over the last several years I’ve found myself surround by teachers. It seems that of all the people I’m around on a regular basis, they either are a teacher, were a teacher or are married to a teacher. I kind of feel like the odd-duck Irish in-law that married into a large family of Italian immigrants. Everyone around me talks this strange language. They all know that I’m standing there slack jawed and wide eyed with not a clue what they are talking about. At least there is a lot of love and good food.

It’s not likely that I’ll ever be a teacher with a classroom. I won’t use the word never, because in fact, I’ve taught in several classrooms. I’ve taught close to 100 students. Not for very long, and I’ve not taught them very much. I guess it’s hard to be around so many teachers and not start to look and act like one. I’m beginning to get the language down. I’m beginning to understand that these people are ‘called’ to their profession. More importantly, I think I’m catching the spirit. The spirit of growing and building people. The spirit that says I’m best at teaching, helping and growing others, when I focus on making me better. I guess I’ve learned to love helping others grow.

Earlier I said that I was doing what I loved and that it wasn’t reading and writing. Then I proceeded to WRITE about several books that I’ve READ. So what gives? This is what gives. I love growing and helping others grow. Now that you’ve READ this, I hope you’ll WRITE a comment that about how you’ve been helped in some way.

Story Tellers

I have always been a fan of good stories. I’m a huge fan of stories with happy endings, and especially when the story is the story of me. Well, aren’t you? Don’t you want a happy ending? One of my, scratch that. I think I can safely say, my favorite author is the amazing Orson Scott Card. It started for me, as like many others, with Ender’s Game. This quickly led to the rest of the Ender series. I remember eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. It continued with the Homecoming series and The Alvin Maker series. While I have not read all of his writings, I have read the majority. I dare say that it  is obvious by the viewing my personal library that there are more books by Card than any other author.

Two things in particular that I like about Card is his way with characters. From Ender on, Card has wrapped me up in the characters in his stories. Then the stories themselves, though works of fiction mostly, are so rooted in reality and believable that you almost expect them to be true. His stories like Treasure Box and Empire based so firmly in today and the characters so much like you and me, that you expect them to really happen.

Card is amazing in the depth of his research for his books. This is one of the things that makes his writing so amazingly good. The wealth of knowledge and wisdom of human interaction that Card has attained, is equaled by very few. Whether his books are set in the present, the past or the future, Card is ‘spot on’ with his portrayal. This is another of the many things that fascinate me.

I was sent and article about a speech that Orson Scott Card gave recently, in which he talked about story telling. The story that Card tells, sadly is not Fiction. It is the story of America. More specifically, it is the story of the dismantling of America. No, not by the Republicans or the Democrats. Not by this left-wing fanatic or that right-wing liberal. No, the dismantling has not done by any political party of movement.

Card has built and destroyed many civilizations in his stories, including the recent Empire. Two recent notations on hatrack.com, the official Orson Scott Card website, confirm the depth to which Card understands people and society. So it is with great interest that I read the excerpt of his speech. If you think think you know about the dismantling of America, I encourage you to read his speech. If you are concerned with maintaining the American society as we have know it for over 200 years or if you are interested in building a new and better society, then I strongly encourage to you listen to the story that Orson Scot Card tells.

Orson Scott Card on the Dismantling of America

Immigration

I wonder where I fit in on this whole Immigration thing. I am a HUGE fan of Immigrants. They work harder than most Americans. They still believe in the American Dream. Many of them are very successful. I’d like to know how many Americans work for Immigrants (in jobs created by someone born in another nation).

I think one of the best solutions to the ‘Illegal Immigrant Problem’ is to increase the quotas, so more can come to America Legally. (to be honest, other than logistics, I’m not sure why we have quotas) You can’t call it a jobs issue. Most people I know who don’t have jobs, won’t work the jobs most known illegals take. On the other hand, for those of you without a job, quit looking and create your own job. Then find some other people to work for you. Put another way, Quit looking for a job and start creating them. Yet another way, Quit depending on someone else and start letting others depend on you.

Personally I think of many immigrants as Heroes. It takes a lot of courage to take your family someplace where you don’t speak the language. You don’t know anyone. The culture is very different than yours. The laws are so different, you never know if you are breaking them. You don’t know what your “rights” are. There is a lot that we take for granted that make life very difficult for an immigrant. It’s simple things like going to the doctor. Enrolling your kids in school. Driving a car when you can’t read the street signs. Have you gotten insurance lately? What do you suppose it is like to have to get car, home or health insurance, when there is no such thing as insurance in your home country. It’s a truly foreign concept. Then try to understand all the ins and outs and options of insurance policies. To put yourself and your family through that, just for the Hope (no guarantee) that you can create a better life for your family. In my book that makes you a HERO.

I would ask yourself what you can do to help. Americans should start putting out the ‘Welcome Mat’ for immigrants. By that I mean a couple of different things. 1)Volunteer to help them learn English. Stop saying that They” should speak English and start teaching them. 2) Learn another language yourself. That way while they are learning English you can still communicate with them. 3) Just be neighborly. Say “Hi” to them. Take them some cookies when they move into the neighborhood. One of my best friends is an immigrant. When he and I met, because I volunteered to teach English, he couldn’t understand a word I said. Now he speaks pretty good English. He is looked at as a leader in the company where he works. His wife is about to complete her degree from a major university. He will be starting toward a degree soon. Our kids are best friends. All this, and when we met, we couldn’t even communicate because of the language barrier.

Where do I stand on Immigration. I am Completely and Entirely for it. I understand that everyone needs to be ‘documented’. I really struggle with the idea of just documenting those that are here unlawfully. It’s not right or fair to reward someone for breaking the law. I can’t say that I am for Amnesty. I also can’t say that I’m for sending them all home and never letting them back into the country. They’re here. They are managing to obtain food, shelter and the other necessities of life. So obviously our economy can sustain them. I see know reason that they shouldn’t be here except that the immigration quotas are not large enough for them all to come in to America as legal and documented. I say, “Set an extra place at the table and invite them in.”

The best option I can come up with that takes into account the logistics is to ‘drastically’ increase the quotas from the countries where the ‘Illegals’ are from. Maybe for a year or two. Make them file for immigration, work visas etc. from within their own country. This would hopefully encourage many of them to leave and return in a Legal manner. Let companies who have illegals currently working for them create a policy that would give theses people time off to go home, come back legally and still have their job when they get back. Then the company would not have to pay to retrain a good employee.

These are some of my thoughts on Immigration. Let me know if you agree or disagree, and then what politician or party feels the same way.

Solitude leads to Serenity

Every so often I feel a distinct need to get away. I feel that I’ve had enough. “I’ve had all I can take, and I can’t take it no more.” These times often coincide with times of fogginess. When understanding and vision are unclear. These are the times that I must take to the hills. I must find solitude.  Here is a piece of my writing from February 2008. It was typed on a phone and emailed to myself for record-keeping. It was not spell checked or edited for missing words, grammar or anything for that matter. Here it is in it’s original form.

Solitude:
Every man I’ve ever met or heard or read about that has achieved what they feel is success has found a time and place of solitude. For some it was chasing wild game in the wilderness. For others a cabin on a lake. Many find there solitude in a den or home office. Many a man has found his solitude in the garage or shop. A friend of mine loves to tend to her roses. She has a gardener tend to the rest of their property but he better not touch her roses. I imagine this has less to do with him harming the roses and more to do with her time with them being sacred.
I heard a man say recently that he has a hard time finding solitude because he is drawn into intellectualizing his thoughts. This exemplifies the necessity to find place that does not entice him into facts and figures but into peace and serenity.
Another man recently spoke of how limits on time obstruct him from finding serenity. It is the requirements on his time that prevent him from the ability to clear his mind. The thoughts of other things that need to be done or the next meeting or appointment prevents him from finding serenity in his mind.
These two men confirm that we need both a serene time and a place to go for solitude.
A place at home where you do not feel you have work to do. A place where you are not constantly distracted by things that you need to do.
Solitude is where your mind is cleaned out of all the rubbish that is put and taken in everywhere else in your life. It is the place where worries dissolve. This is where fear loses it’s power. Where pain is no longer a priority. Then the mind is organized. For cleaning is not enough. This is where thought are put into place. When a mind is clean your spirit will come ind and arrange your thoughts properly. This is when you mind starts to think accurately.
When people have been in solitude is when they are heard to say, that is when I started thinking clearly.
When you’re body and soul are brought together and united in organization and priorities is when your mind and spirit are one. This is when you are acting out of your true being. This is when you will be true to yourself. This is when you will flow. You will be natural.
It is in solitude where you find yourself. You become intimately acquainted with your inner being. It is here that you put your animalistic cravings and find your true self.
Solitude is the place where dreams and visions happen. Solitude is where facts, figures and rules don’t apply. It is the place where you are outside of the box. Solitude is where the abstract lays it’s foundation in reality. The great author of success, Napoleon Hill, stated that what ever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. These first two steps take place in the solitude of the mind. It is in this serenity that ideas are conceived. Solitude from distractions and Nay Sayers is where the visions are sketched and drawn. Here is where they are colored and find motion. This is when they become believable. It is later that they become reality. Only after you have spent time alone with your dreams are you able to start creating them in this world. Castles must first be built in the sky before they can be built on earth.
In summary solitude is where you find clarity. Solitude is the home of sanity. It is in quite serene solitude that we find the answers we can find nowhere else.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

For me, solitude is most easily found in nature. I have not found a place locally that I like. Mostly it has been walking the land that my family owns in South Dakota. I hope to find someplace that I like soon.

A Friend is someone who brings out the best in you.

I have heard it said that a true friend is someone who tells you the truth no matter what. I certainly value this in a friendship. If your friends can’t be honest with you, then who can? I think a better definition of a friend is someone who brings out the best in you. Someone who reaches deep down inside of you and stirs that something in your soul that makes you yearn to be better, to take on the challenge, to stand against the wind, to strap on, load up and set out.

I’ve read C.S. Lewis’ Four Loves and understand the difference between intimacy and strangers. I have come to the realization that some of my best friends are strangers. I recently met one such stranger while out on the prairie. Interestingly enough, this stranger on the prairie gave me a book about a river. Not just any river. A book about the Mighty Mo. This is a river that so embodies Momentum that one rarely uses the name and the word together.

I’ve read many books in my life. The far majority in the last 20 years. I have books to fill shelf after shelf. It is not often that a book grabs me not so much by it’s content, or how it is written, but because of it’s mastery. This book catches me because the grandeur with which it is written seems to match the grandeur of it’s content.

This book is The River and I by John G Neihardt. I am grateful to my new friend Thomas for putting this in my hand and reviving long still dreams with in my soul.

Thanks Tom.

Purpose Statement

I have been working with blogs for quite a while now. I’ve started quite a few. Some are still running. Most seem to have fallen by the wayside. Now however, I feel the need to blog again. This time for a more specific yet, at the same time, more general purpose. Specifically, I feel the need to log many of my thoughts and experiences. Generally, as with my interests, the topics are varied to the point some would call them random.

Another way to say this is that this is not a blog that you will be able to pigeon hole into any predefined category. So if you follow this blog, do not be surprised if one day it is interesting and then for the next two months it isn’t. On the other hand it may be amusing to see what comes out of the mind of the man called Thaddeus Fonck.

There you have it. My first blog. Small enough to be read on your mobile phone.  By the way, do we still need to call them mobile or cell phones? Has the Home phone been supplanted sufficiently to now consider the mobile phone ‘the’ phone?  Whatever.