Friday, March 31, 2006

The Purpose

Been messing around with this for a couple of months now. Been adjusting the colors, etc., learning a few little tricks here and there. I will be getting down to business in the near future and start with the true purpose of this stream. In the mean time I want to thank Sam, Allison, Russ, Jeremy, David, and Savage for your examples - for letting me comment - and helping me realize that this is the outlet I've been looking for.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dead Man Walking

It's important to start this off by telling you how I feel:

"Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. "

Galations 2:20 from The Message

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Children are so neat...

...but then they have to grow up and turn into people! From my Wife:

JACK (age 3) was watching his Mom breast-feeding his new baby sister. After a while he asked: "Mom why have you got two? Is one for hot and one for cold milk?"

MELANIE (age 5) asked her Granny how old she was. Granny replied she was so old she didn't remember any more. Melanie said, "If you don't remember you must look in the back of your panties. Mine say five to six."

STEVEN (age 3) hugged and kissed his Mom goodnight. "I love you so much, that when you die I'm going to bury you outside my bedroom window."

BRITTANY (age 4) had an earache and wanted a painkiller. She tried in vain to take the lid off the bottle. Seeing her frustration, her Mom explained it was a childproof cap and she'd have to open it for her. Eyes wide with wonder, the little girl asked: "How does it know it's me?

SUSAN (age 4) was drinking juice when she got the hiccups. "Please don't give me this juice again," she said, "It makes my teeth cough."

Dee (age 4) stepped onto the bathroom scale and asked: "How much do I cost?"

MARC (age 4) was engrossed in a young couple that was hugging and kissing in a restaurant. Without taking his eyes off them, he asked his dad: "Why is he whispering in her mouth?"

CLINTON (age 5) was in his bed room looking worried. When his Mom asked what was troubling him, he replied, "I don't know what'll happen with this bed when I get married. How will my wife fit in?"

JAMES (age 4) was listening to a Bible story. His dad read: "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city but his wife looked back and was turned to salt." Concerned, James asked, "What happened to the flea?"

TAMMY (age 4) was with her mother when they met an elderly, rather wrinkled woman her Mom knew. Tammy looked at her for awhile and then asked, "Why doesn't your skin fit your face?"

The Sermon I think this Mom will never forget.... this particular Sunday sermon..."Dear Lord," the minister began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. "Without you, we are but dust." He would have continued but at that moment my very obedient daughter (who was l istening) leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in her shrill little girl voice, "Mom, what is butt dust?"


Friday, March 24, 2006

Lucky to be alive...

My Kids


It's a miracle my wonderful wife hasn't killed us (although she will probably kill me for posting this picture!)

Updated 3-31-06: picture taken from atop the Hungry Horse Dam, Hungry Horse Montana on February 24, 2001.


Fifty Things

Found this at Russ's and Cory's. I love these things...

1. How tall are you barefoot? 5'10"

2. Have you ever smoked heroin? No.

3. Do you own a gun? Yes.

5. Do you get nervous before meeting the parents? No. I usually fell in love with the mom anyway.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? As long as they aren't moving.

7. What's your favorite Christmas song? "The First Noel" Especially by Nat King Cole.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Diet Dr. Pepper Can't handle coffee.

9. Do you do push-ups? Yes.

11. Are you vegan? Cattle run in fear when I approach.

12. Do you like painkillers? Not really. I think reality is for people who can't handle drugs.

13. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? Just be games, no garbage.

14. Do you own a knife? Yes.

15. Do you have A.D.D.? My wife & children say I have selective A.D.D.

16. Middle Name? Barnett

17. Top 3 thoughts at this exact moment: 1. Friday! 2. Lunchtime! 3. Sleepy

18. Name the last 3 things you have bought: 1.Cell Phone 2. Vitamins & Supplements 3. Tires

19. Name five drinks you regularly drink? Diet D.P., Diet Mt Dew, Water...that's about it.

20. What time did you wake up today? 4:30 a.m.

21. Current hair? A little long. Style = what my wife likes since she cuts it...she has to look at it more than I do!

22. Current worry? None

23. Current hate? As usual: lawyers/politicians/anything relating to insurance.

24. Favorite places to be? Home

25. Least favorite place to be? Anywhere that requires me to wear a tie.

26. Where would you like to go? Back to Whitefish MT.

27. Do you own slippers? Only flip-flops.

28. Where do you think you'll be in 10 yrs? Hopefully the mountains.

29. Do you burn or tan? During summer months I'm often mistaken for a visitor from south of the border.

30. Last thing you ate? Chili last night.

31. Would you be a pirate? Aye-aye Cap'n!!

33. What songs do you sing in the shower? Mercifully none.

34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child? Frankenstein hiding in my closet.

35. What's in your pockets right now? Keys, comb, mints, pen knife, change.

36. Last thing that made you laugh? "Whose Line Is It Anyway"!!

37. Best bed sheets you had as a child? Just had plain ones, nothing fancy.

38. Worst injury you've ever had? Back injury playing football, sophomore year.

40. How many TVs do you have in your house? 4

41. Who is your loudest friend? Shelly!

42. Who is your most silent friend? Melissa

43. Does someone have a crush on you? Not sure.

44. Do you wish on the stars? No.

45. What is your favorite book? "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy

46. What is your favorite candy? Peanut M&M's. In Heaven we'll get to eat all these and as much Blue Bell ice cream as we want.

47. What song do/did you want played at your wedding? Whatever made her happy.

48. What song do you want played at your funeral? "Good Ole Boys Like Me" by Don Williams

49. What were you doing 12AM last night? Bagging Z's.

50. Do you love the pain a tattoo brings? Sorry, Tat's aren't for me.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams

"Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before.
Close your eyes, let your spirit
start to soar!

And you'll live as you've
never lived before... "
"The Phantom" has returned.
The movie is awesome. I would love to go see it on the stage but I can't bring myself to spend a car payment for a night at the theater so I can sit 4 stories up and use binoculars to watch the action. I'll just crank up the suround and watch it on the wide screen at home again!


Why I don't like the cowboys

Having been born and raised in Dallas you might assume that I am a cowboy fan (lack of caps on purpose). Well, I was. I used to bleed Blue-and-Silver until the summer of 1989...just after Jerry Jones bought the team. The day that moron fired Landry during a live news conference before ever having met him face to face he lost any respect or slack I might have been willing to give him.

In the years since his and the other J.J.'s (Jimmy Johnson) willingness to do 'whatever' to win has left a really bad taste in my mouth. In the last 17 years I haven't spent more than 5 minutes total watching a cowboy game...including their (how many was it?) Super Bowl appearances.

My heroes growing up were Tom Landry, Don Merideth, Roger Staubach, Randy and Danny White, Ed Jones, Harvey Martin, Cliff Harris, Charlie Waters, Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Bob Hayes, Mike Ditka, Dan Reeves, and many more. None of today's players can stack up against the ones from the past for ability, character, and heart.

Well, J.J. has pulled another bone head move by signing Terell Owens. I like the headline from our local ABC affiliate: "Cowboys Have no Honor". I couldn't agree more. Check out one of the best sports casters in Dallas, Dale Hansen. Watch the video. It's worth it, especially if you don't like the cowboys. He expresses my sentiments much better than I ever could.

Dale, I've always liked you...I like you more now. I agree with you: Clint, Tex, and Tom are probably not very happy right now. I think T.O. and J.J. deserve each other. And, contrary to what you say at the end, Jones has just given me one more reason NOT to watch the cowboys.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Quiet Man

What a wonderful movie. Just about become a St. Patrick's Day tradition around the Wright house. Don't know what it is about it that appeals so much to me...
  • I love Ireland: just can't beat the beautiful Irish country, the lack of city hustle, lack of the 'things of man'.
  • Great story: don't need a city or gets complicated enough without that as this shows. Still, it's the basic struggle. On the one side, balance materialism with life and tradition with matters of the heart. On the other side, trying to escape what we've done in the past and make a new start just to realize we can't start again unless we conquer what we've let the past do to us.
  • Wonderful camaraderie: whether it's the tradition of an Irish pub, a town full of people that get involved with and care about each other's lives, or the clear skies that can only come after the clouds have rained themselves out in the form of a climactic fight where everyone turns out friends.
This setting is what I picture part of Heaven to be like. In my life long hours, hard work and tobacco took my father at an early age. He never drank. Alcohol addiction stole most of my brothers youth and killed him at 37. Some day those things are going to be conquered and aren't going to steal anything from anyone again and I'm going to get to sit down in an Irish pub and enjoy the finest Cuban cigar and best draft anyone ever tasted with my father and my brother.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

"South Park" Chef Loses Voice

I've haven't talked about this since it came out but I gotta' call it like I see it. I've enjoyed South Park off and on since it first came out. Do I like everything they've done? No. Have I gotten upset and written the network? No. Have I organized groups to boycot the show? No. I've just done what Russ suggests: turn off the TV when I don't like it. One of the things that I do like is they totally make fun of everyone and don't discriminate, like the article says.

My favorite part of this article is Matt Stone's comment about Isaac Hayes: "He has no problem--and he's cashed plenty of checks--with our show making fun of Christians...He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin"

This old thing that a minority can't be prejudiced or a bigot is for the birds. Hat's off to you, Matt, for telling it like it is!


Monday, March 13, 2006

Back To The Future...

Thought I'd share the comment I left at Jeremy's regarding his post about The Action Office and what life in a cube farm is like [besides...mommy (my wife) made me take down my original post on 'Why Cyclists Wear Black Shorts']:

"Way back (no way I’m telling how far) in 2nd grade I envisioned a world where I wouldn’t have to see the teacher or other people face to face; I could do all my work in private in a small box with doors, walls, a roof and A/C piped in (our school wasn’t air conditioned…ooops! Just dated myself); would never need to write anything down (I had/still have illegible handwriting) ‘cause I could type it all and it would show up on a T.V. screen; machines like the ones in the original Star Trek series (just dated myself again) could correct my spelling and print it out when needed; I could just ‘beam’ my assignments to the teacher when I finished them; I could keep it all on those little plastic squares they used; we would all have those hand-held communicators to stay in touch instead of telephones; we would have another T.V. screen to keep contact with the outside world and pull up all the information from the library without having to go there; and, if needed, we could do all this from home. Funny how stuff you dream up as a kid never comes true…"


Friday, March 10, 2006

Missing Dad

The last week or so has been pretty intense. It's time like these that really make me miss my Dad and his wisdom.

Funny, he's been gone now a little over 27 years and though the sharp edge of pain and grief has dulled some the empty hole in my life is still there. Same thing with the others that I've lost too. We never really get over it. I don't want to. My wife keeps reminding me it's what we've been through that makes us who we are.

Like Kirk said in Star Trek V: "... Bones, you're a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They're the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away! I need my pain!"

One of the things Dad told me once has been bourne out in these recent events: If your in a position where you are trying to come up with a fair resolution for multiple parties in a situation and everyone definately agrees to it but no one is really happy with it you've probably come up with just about the best, most fair solution all the way around.

We must have come up with a pretty good solution this week. Thanks, Dad, for all the knowledge you passed along...but I still miss you and wish you were here.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Just Business Part 2

I'm fortunate to be a friend to a man who can look beyond the things in plain sight and look into the foggy future and trust where God is leading him even though he wasn't aware he was about to depart on a new journey and one who is strong enough not to let emotions carry him away to a dark place. This type of behavior shows honor, integrity, a love of excellence, a lifelong dedication to the things that really matter in life and an understanding that even when we go through a stormy sea sometimes there is a purpose greater than anything we could have imagined.

I have had to go through this myself in the past a couple of times. I probably will have to go through it again, maybe more than once. I just hope I can remember to take the high road like my friend.


The Final Battle

For 13 days the Alamo’s defenders held out, but on the morning of March 6, 1836 the Mexicans (variously estimated at 1,800 to more than 6,000) stormed through a breach in the outer wall of the courtyard and overwhelmed the Texans. The casualties and the time lost in reducing the Alamo dislocated Santa Anna’s campaign long enough to permit development of plans for the defense of Texas and a declaration of independence from Mexico. The Alamo has become a symbol of heroic resistance.
Paraphrased from Britannica

I can’t watch any Alamo movie or read the historical accounts without it having a profound effect on me. I know history has tried to tell us that maybe these men weren’t as noble as we have made them…well; real life isn't noble sometimes. After all, it’s lived by us humans. In the end I expect that the Alamo Defenders knew good and well what they were doing. One thing that the 1960 and 2000 movies touch briefly on but don’t, I think, make a strong enough point is that there were a large number of Mexicans defending the Alamo and fighting against Santa Anna. This was their freedom, too. It wasn’t Mexicans against Whites. This was a fight against oppression. A lot of Texas Counties are named after Alamo Defenders. I’m thankful every day for the example of men like these who have shown me what it means to stand for what you believe in. Check out this page for some very interesting Myths and Misconceptions about the stand at the Alamo.

Thanks for stopping by.

"Fading light, falling night,
Trumpet calls as the sun sinks in flight.
Sleep in peace, comrades dear.
God is near."
Taps by John Mitchum


Sunday, March 05, 2006

170 Years Ago Tonight

What was on their minds 170 years ago tonight…the night before the final battle…knowing what would probably happen the next morning…knowing these were the last few hours they would spend on earth?

I think it might have gone something like this scene from "The Alamo" (1960):

After one defender says he doesn’t believe in God or in an afterlife another, Jocko Robertson says, “I believe. I can never find a way to argue down you that don’t believe. But I believe in the Lord Gad Almighty: all knowing and all forgiving. And I believe that good shall be triumphant in the end and that evil shall be vanquished. I believe in a hereafter”

A Tennessean says, “Me too. I figure a man’s got to believe in those things…does he want to believe in the good things about man…about his very own self…The real good things. Like courage and honesty…and love”

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13


Saturday, March 04, 2006

13 Days of Glory

On February 23, 1836 (170 years ago last week), the Mexican army commanded by General Santa Anna began a 13 day siege of the Alamo. The small defending force amounted to about 184 men.

What goes through someone’s mind at a time like this? Why do they choose the path they choose? I look at the ‘critical’ and ‘important’ decisions I make (which brand of the latest must-have gadget? which house? which car? what’s for dinner?) then I look at the choices of these men and millions of others through history like them and I am humbled.

I believe John Wayne’s movie “The Alamo” (1960) is the best Alamo movie to date. This version did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit and feel of the period and what those involved must have had on their hearts and minds. By the way…even though some of the historical facts aren’t correct this IS the most geographically accurate of any Alamo movie ever made. It was filmed in Texas about 100 miles west of the real Alamo.

I think the following pretty well captures what must have been going through the minds of the Alamo Defenders:

John Wayne as Davy Crockett: “…you might think I'm talkin' about me. I'm not. I'm talkin' about a matter of fact I’m talkin’ about all people everywhere. When I come down here to Texas I was lookin’ for something. I didn’t know what. Seems like you added up my life and I’d spent it all either stompin’ other men or in some cases gettin’ stomped. Had me some money, and had me some medals. But none of it seemed a lifetime worth the pain of the mother that bore me. It’s like I was empty. Well, I'm not empty anymore. That's what's important, to feel useful in this old world, to hit a lick against what's wrong or to say a word for what's right even though you get walloped for saying that word. Now I may sound like a Bible beater yelling up a revival at a river crossing camp meeting, but that don't change the truth none. There's right and there's wrong. You got to do one or the other. You do the one and you're living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you're dead as a beaver hat.”

Can't say it any plainer than that.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This kind of stuff really gets me...

"Driver Allegedly Used Bus to attack bicyclist"
As a fairly active cyclist and sometimes-bike-commuter I am keenly aware of how poorly cyclists are treated by the motoring public. I haven't been hunted down and run over by a bus or car like this rider was but I have had other things happen.

Once while cycling along a relatively busy street in town within a foot of the curb a car full of guys came up behind me and the one in the passenger seat leaned out and screamed at me as they drove past. Luckily I heard the car approaching and was ready so it didn't surprise me. I guess they didn't realize that even a slow cyclist like me can cruise almost as fast as in-town traffic. I caught up to them at the next light and returned the favor by leaning in the passenger window and screaming in his ear. He didn't see me coming, though. Nearly jumped out of his skin. The other guys in the car got a big kick out of it.

Most of my traffic encounters have been due to the fact that most drivers just don't pay attention what with the cell phone / makeup / music & anything-but-driving distractions (I'm trying real hard not to call them morons but there are a few of them out there too). Mainly I guess people just don't realize that bicycles have a right to the road just like cars.

Here in Texas they are recognized as a vehicle and permitted to take up an entire lane. The law says cars have to give cyclists the same right-of-way they would another car, including no passing if traffic does not permit and no crowding when they pass.

ON THE OTHER HAND: This puts a tremendous responsibility on the cyclist...he is supposed to obey traffic laws just like any other vehicle. I see too many cyclists who ignore traffic signals, signs, and right of way, thus contributing to the problem and making it worse for the rest of us. The guy in the article probably could have avoided the incident had he not 'tapped' on the side of the bus.

One positive of cycling over driving: your hands are generally too busy holding onto the handle bars to get you in trouble by giving the 'Your #1!' salute to fellow travelers...