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#Tombstonetweet:What will they say about you?

February 1, 2017
#Tombstonetweet:What will they say about you?

I once heard someone say that we wouldn’t worry so much about what people think of us if we realized how little they actually think about us.
So, why do we do the things we do?
I was recently challenged to think of legacy in a couple of ways. The first was this question: “Who will be at your funeral and will not be looking at their watch?” Now, that’s a visual! To ask it a different way – “Whose life are you really impacting?”
A man died who was reported to have amassed a small fortune over the course of his life.… Read the rest

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Beating the system with a simple phone call

January 25, 2017
Beating the system with a simple phone call

So, in the old days – the 1970s – the Bride and I would go visit our parents about 100 miles away. (They lived next door to each other – don’t really recommend that, by the way.)
Eventually, the Bride and I drove home late at night, heading back to Austin where, we know now, we were Keep Austin Weird pioneers.
(You can also thank [or blame] the success of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to we Austinites of that time. And Redneck Rock as well as we called it then…Waylon, Willie, and the boys.)
Anyway, we would drive over Town Lake (as we called it then) to our tiny apartment – today: $1,000, then: $123 all bills paid – and would let our parents know we had arrived safely.… Read the rest

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Captivated or held captive: Searching and the Love Trap

January 25, 2017
Captivated or held captive: Searching and the Love Trap

How do you want to be loved?
Perhaps you favor a classic romance story. Perhaps you are more inclined toward the hero story, where one self-sacrifices the opportunity for personal romantic love for the sake of the benefit of many in need. Perhaps you are one who recognizes that the selfless love of a mother for her child is the nearest thing to perfect love.
The truth is, we all want to be loved passionately, heroically, and selflessly. Yes, even the manliest man wants to be the beneficiary of love like that. It just looks a little different in our imaginations.… Read the rest

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The tales of little known trio of Texas expeditions

January 25, 2017
The tales of little known trio of Texas expeditions

 

This column first appeared February 2, 2006.

Did you know that during the brief 10 years of the Republic Texas engaged in three different foreign expeditions? One was defensive, but the other two were not.
Although the Lone Star Republic lasted from 1836 to 1845 inclusive, the three foreign affairs encounters were 1841, 1842, and 1843.
The defensive one came in the middle. The problem arose because Mexico had never acknowledged that Texas was free and independent. Their president and general, Santa Anna, had signed a treaty granting independence, but he was deposed after the Texas Revolution. Later he would return, however.… Read the rest

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Children: Providing free comedy all the time!

January 25, 2017
Children: Providing free comedy all the time!

The saying “Kids say the darnedest things” is particularly the case for my son.
Since he could talk, he has provided a consistent stream of steady entertainment – and embarrassing moments – just by saying whatever pops into his head.
The most recent instance came about out of nowhere, as most of his do.
We were sitting on the couch watching TV when the following conversation took place:
HIM: “It stinks that I am good at math and not reading and writing.”
ME: “Why? People who are good at math can make a lot of money.”
HIM: “My friend told me that it was a turban legend that you do math as a grown up.”
ME: “A turban legend?!”
HIM: “Yeah, a turban legend, like Bigfoot.”
As I have many times, I had to withhold my laughter and just silently nod (and then immediately take to Facebook to share the comedy gold with my friends, most of whom have kids of their own and can completely relate).… Read the rest

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Marches come 1 day after inauguration of president

January 25, 2017
Marches come 1 day after inauguration of president

Thousands of Texans were on hand to witness the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20 in Washington.
President Trump closed his 16-minute inaugural address by saying: “Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together we will make America great again.”
Displays of patriotism took other forms the following day, when the Women’s March on Washington attracted a multitude ranging in size from 500,000 to more than one million people. Similar gatherings were held in Austin and other large cities around the country and the globe.… Read the rest

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Click me! THIS IS WHY THE COWBOYS AND RANGERS ARE CURSED FOREVER!!!!

January 18, 2017
Click me! THIS IS WHY THE COWBOYS AND RANGERS ARE CURSED FOREVER!!!!

The buzzword buzzing around lately is “clickbait.”
You know what clickbait is – an online, eye-catching photo or ridiculously trumpeted headline that offers something so enticing that one simply must click on it; in reality, the tease is just a way to route you to an advertiser’s webpage.
Clickbaits include lures like “WHAT HAS ANGELINA JOLIE DONE TO HER FACE??!!!”
And “THE MOST INSANE WEDDING DRESSES Of ALL TIME – No. 19 IS AGAINST THE LAW!!!”
Stuff like that. Then you click on it, and you’re down the cyber-rabbit hole.
Clickbait creators are tricky, knowing what sort of topics will appeal to which audience at a specific time.… Read the rest

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Let’s get to the heart of the matter

January 18, 2017
Let’s get to the heart of the matter

So what is this mystical “heart of the matter” that people talk about? Or for that matter, what’s the matter?
No, I didn’t just ask you what’s wrong. I realize that we often use “what’s wrong” and “what’s the matter” interchangeably, but that’s a false assumption. “What’s the matter” means that there is a matter at hand that needs to be identified so that it can be properly considered. Getting to the “heart of the matter” means that we look deeply into the core of the matter at hand.
Last week I began a discussion of core values. In that column I shared the first two of my four recently identified core values.… Read the rest

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Trips on the Oregon Trail brutal – even for men of God

January 18, 2017
Trips on the Oregon Trail brutal – even for men of God

This column first appeared July 10, 1980.

At the Fort Worth Public Library I found a tiny little book edited by Eleanor Allen called Canvas Caravans. It is the journal of Esther Belle McMillian Hanna, the 18-year-old bride of a Presbyterian missionary named Joseph A. Hanna. She wrote it as she traveled to the Oregon Country in 1852.
They left Canonsbury, Pennsylvania within an hour after their wedding ceremony and traveled by boat to St. Louis and St. Joseph, Missorui. And then by wagon train to Oregon.
It took six months from March to August. She knew she would never see her family again.… Read the rest

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In defense of Harper Lee, Atticus Finch

January 18, 2017
In defense of Harper Lee, Atticus Finch

About a week ago I noticed Atticus Finch listed as a trending topic on Facebook.
I became a huge fan of To Kill A Mockingbird and Harper Lee 15 years ago when I first read the book in high school.
Atticus reminded me a bit of my grandpa, which is enough for anyone – fictional or not – to solidify a favorable status in my world.
I very nearly named my only child Atticus when I found out he was a boy, but I digress, that’s a story for another time.
Back to Facebook, I couldn’t help but wonder what could possibly make the character a trending topic.… Read the rest

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