Monday, December 31, 2007

Head in the Clouds

Perhaps it is fitting that the last day of 2007 would be draped in fog. Much of the Southeast had heavy fog and the drive from Montgomery to Wetumpka was an adventure. Anybody who would drive 60 to 70 mph when you can't see more than 100 yards down the road has yet to be involved in a bone-jarring crash--but it probably will not be long. The fog did not burn off until late morning and I took the opportunity to capture a few pictures of the Bibb Graves bridge crossing the Coosa River from beautiful downtown Wetumpka. I took about a dozen photos that all seem very interesting to me, but will share just three. If you click on the image, it will enlarge for greater detail. I could pass these off as early morning, but in fact they were taken around 10:30 a.m. Tomorrow begins a new year and the world will seem much brighter.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

"Great deeds are usually wrought at great risks. "

-- Herodotus, historian

As we approach the time many of us assess our growth for the past year and set goals for 2008, I submit the above quote and the following passage written by the late running doctor/philosopher George Sheehan;

Marathon: Reaching or Grooving?

"Reach for what you cannot."

"You may have seen my name in the Shore Marathon summaries on Monday. It was there in the agate under "Other area finishers"; 69, George Sheehan, Shore A.C., 3:18:32. Not bad, you might think. Not bad for place, with 235 starters. Not bad for time, about midway between my best(3:02) and my worst (3:33) serious efforts. You might think that. And you would be wrong. Because it was a marathon without tears, without pain, without distinction. It was a marathon that I am ashamed of, a marathon I would like to forget. It was a marathon that proved there is a point where prudence becomes timidity, where caution becomes cowardice, where respect becomes fear. The 26.22-mile distance tends to make all runners prudent, cautious and respectful. "Anyone," said the great Percy Cerutty, "can run twenty miles, but only a few can run the marathon." That extra six miles changes the game from penny ante to table stakes. Your entire physical bankroll can dissolve in a matter of minutes.
Disaster Awaits?
We are not quite sure why this happens. Some physiologists suggest that at 20 miles the body exhausts its available sugar supplies and must switch over to another form of energy metabolism. Maybe so, but whatever the cause the runner knows that however he feels at any particular stage of the race, disaster may be waiting for him at the 20-mile mark. This makes marathoning a chancy and risky business where the initial pace can be all decisive. Too slow and you have a poor time: too fast and you may not finish. So those even more timid sometimes use the first seven miles to warm up and thus change the marathon into an ordinary twenty mile road run. That is just what I inexcusably did. I had the mileage to go all out. Long runs with my Shore A.C. friends, meet director Tom Baum, teacher Gene Minor, psychiatrist Paul Kiell and Pat Barrett, the Monmouth College freshman. And a fast ( 62 minutes) ten miler the week before when I beat them all. But within a mile after the start of the marathon the quartet were minutes ahead of me and my warmup pace. A pace I kept at not for just seven miles but the entire outward leg of 13.1 miles. A mile and a half from the turnaround point they passed me going the other direction heading for home. Three miles and 24 minutes ahead of me they were giving the race and the course and the weather (it was a perfect 40 degrees and little wind) all they had. They had accepted the challenge. They were making themselves vulnerable, opening themselves to the possibility of a great achievement or a wipeout. Meanwhile I was sliding. That's what Ed Gentry, the get-through-the-day-man in James Dickey's "Deliverance" called it. "Sliding is living antifriction." He said, "It is finding a modest thing you can do, and then greasing that thing. It is grooving with comfort." But even groovers and sliders sometimes get religion. I did at the halfway point. The fact that I was in 154th place may have helped a little. Provided some additional incentive. But whatever, I set out at full throttle for my colleagues up ahead. I went through Sea Bright like the Blue Comet and hightailed through Long Branch passing seven or eight runners each mile. With five miles to go I caught the struggling Kiell (who was to finish in his best ever time and qualify for Boston) and a quarter mile from home passed Minor now walking Up ahead Baum had finished in a 3:03 and Pat Barrett had become the tenth fastest women marathoner in the world with a 3:04.
Niceties at Finish
The people at the finish line said some nice things to me. The time wasn't all that bad and I had run a helluva last 13.1 miles. But I knew where I should have been. Up with Baum and Barrett or walking. I had chosen the middle way, the way of the lukewarm. And afterwards when there were awards for almost everybody, I didn't wait around. I wanted to memento of that race. On the way home I recalled a Nikos Kazantzakis in "Report To Greco" asking his grandfather's ghost for a command. His grandfather answered, "Reach what you can, my child." But Kazantzakis refused that command and asked for a more difficult, "more Cretan" command. The ghost then thundered, "Reach for what you cannot." I may put that slogan on my running shirt. If there is a better rule for the marathoner, I have yet to hear it. If you try to be all you can be, you have to expect a failure from time to time. Finding the limits of your ability will most certainly end eventually in a walk to the finish line. Which is why you can never tell from the agate who is a failure and who is a success; who is simply out there grooving and who is reaching what he cannot; who is a twenty miler and who is a marathoner. Only God and the runner knows that."
Copyright © The George Sheehan Trust

This is not meant to be a post about marathons (especially not intended to dissuade Keith and Josh from a wise approach to their first marathon--to try is risk enough) so much as about your approach to life. Are you satisfied with last year's efforts? Was it a year with tears, pain, and distinction for you? Or did you just "groove through"? I could have done better. Therefore, new resolutions are under construction.

Friday, December 21, 2007

That's How I Roll

These are a few photos of vehicles I spotted around Wetumpka on a fine December day.

Does this racing stripe make my Neon look fast?



ROLL TIDE! Nice car. Why is the Alabama decal upside down?



Is there a correlation between intelligence and the amount of money spent on a vehicle?

Is it an inverse correlation? Nice Escalade. Could you get a little closer to the courthouse entrance?

Cool truck.

My hefty bag is bigger than YOUR hefty bag!

Can you read the writing on the trunk? Classy Lady. Truth in advertising?

Do you think this is accurate?

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Free genealogy

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hey, where's my December?

Wow! The last few weeks have been a whirwind. I will not begin a list because it would be long and, to most, boring. And everybody is busy. Maybe I will catch up in blogosphere updating recent activities--but not likely. For now, here is a picture of one thing I made time for during last week's busy weekend being made fun of at the church Christmas party.

Yes, that really is Santa. Yes, that is a real beard. Yes, I am negotiating a contract for my next career move. Hey, Santa is busy this time of year also! And he is going to need some help.

Friday, November 30, 2007

go ahead and JUMP!

This just in; Evel Knievel is dead at the age of 69! No, he did not die in a horrible, flaming motorcycle crash. His health had been declining for years, mostly as a result of his chosen career field of jumping motorcycles over......well, everything. Including canyons. Actually, he did not make it over many of the objects he set out to jump.


Most of you either were not alive in 1970 or can't remember much about 1970. By that time, most Americans had heard of Evel Knievel and seen him jump cars and buses on TV if not live. It was in 1974 that he attempted to jump a canyon in Idaho after the government refused to allow him to jump the Grand Canyon. Or jump INTO the Grand Canyon to be more precise.

If you could go back to 1970 and venture to guess the age at which Evel would die, what would it be? I remember hearing people say that he would not live to be 30. He was known as a daredevil and he took many risks, but the risks were highly calculated risks. And he apparently learned to accept broken bones as an acceptable downside to his job. In fact, I would guess that long before he had broken 40 bones, he learned that a couple of broken bones in a jump this year means more ticket sales and TV revenue next year.


Since he became famous in the late 60's and early 70's and I bought my first motorcycle in March, 1970 (a week before turning 16 and getting a licence) I would love to have a dollar for every time somebody called me Evel Knievel (or Bronson). Of course, motorcycles were not nearly so common at that time and people were just looking for something cute to say. Let me be clear--I never wished for his life. I never sought that much thrill. But.....what if we could harness his ability to overcome fear? Can you imagine reaching the point that you realize broken bones heal and bruises fade? Then imagine training your thought process so that major injuries became a minor inconvenience like getting caught in the rain.


I would not recommend suspending all fear. The fear of jumping over cars, trucks, and canyons is healthy. And those do not seem like worthwhile goals to me. But what if I could develop and apply his ability to suspend fear to things like fear of embarrassment and unpopularity in order to achieve worthwhile goals in the lives of others?

Here is what he said in April, 2007; "I know there's more to life than what I had, I wrote a book saying I had a life better than anyone, better than any president. Hogwash, because I didn't have Jesus Christ in my life."

Thursday, November 29, 2007



I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer
This is the first poem I memorized as a kid. I think of it often, including this afternoon when I noticed again the afternoon lighting up the reds and oranges of this tree in the pasture behind the Wetumpka Post Office. So I backed my truck up to the tall fence and stood on it to capture this photo. Photos are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.
ps. If you click on the picture to enlarge it the colors are shocking.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


1. Missouri
2. West Virginia
3. Ohio State
4. Georgia

That's right, SEC fans, UGA is ranked #4 in the nation with only a bowl game left. Which bowl?
Maybe the Rose Bowl vs. USC. Remember when people were saying USC was unbeatable and the certain national champion. Does that seem like a long time ago? While the odds of the top two teams loosing and Georgia sliding into the championship game are not good, neither were the odds for Appalachian State, Central Florida, Arkansas over LSU, Notre Dame going 2-10, and on and on we could go. It could happen. More likely they will end up in the Rose bowl with a shot at ending the season at #2 or 3. That would be incredible for this young team that began the season with LOTS of question marks. Could the SEC possibly have TEN teams in bowl games? Could they possibly WIN ten bowl games?


I took this picture while hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Clearly this is Bigfoot alive and well in North Carolina!

Friday, November 23, 2007

5 O'Clock Somewhere

For LaWanna's birthday, she asked for a few days in Florida for just the two of us. So I rented a condo from a co-worker (thanks Tami) and off we went. Here are a few pictures that capture some of the beauty;

I took lots of pictures of sea gulls following the boat out of the harbor during our "Dolphin Viewing Cruise" (yes we saw dolphins--yes, I have pictures). The gulls have learned at what point the "first mate" goes to the back of the boat and feeds them chips. Occasionally, a gull will swoop down and take one from his hand. Mostly, they soar along with the boat and squawk demands for chips to be thrown. If it did not take so long to upload photos to blogger, I would share several amazing pictures of the birds looking like a scene out of Hitchcock's movie.

I love when LaWanna gets a bright idea!

What could be more beautiful than a sunset like this?

Well, how about a beautiful woman enjoying the sunset?

We had some close calls....

....staying just ahead of the pirates.....

and the sharks......

But mostly, we had time to think about the vastness of the ocean.......

And to relax.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Leave No Trace

When our son, Mark, mentioned that he was going to get involved with the Leave No Trace organization I had vague flashbacks to the few years I spent in Boy Scouts as that was one of the principles we learned. "When you go into the wilderness, leave only footsteps." I did not spend much time in the Boy Scouts because my experience was lots of time in meetings inside a musty cinderblock building reciting pledges. But I have spent lots of time in the wilderness. After talking to Mark a few times about his plans with Leave No Trace and his new landscape company, another memory came to mind. It was of a hunting trip more than 30 years ago. A friend from work was introducing me to the world of deer hunting. Many of the details of that trip are very fuzzy now but one thing stands out. When I pulled a pair of gloves out of my pocket as we were leaving the truck a small piece of candy wrapper fell to the ground. I did not see it but my friend did. He neither reprimanded me nor ignored the litter. Instead, he walked to where I had been standing picked up the small piece of paper and put it into his pocket. The impact of that on my efforts to pick up after myself and replicate his action could not be overstated. I tell that story to point out that I believe in preserving nature as much as is reasonable. Few people love wild, undeveloped areas more than I do. You need to know that as I continue to ridicule the Bozo's that are preaching "Global Warming" and giving Al Gore emmy awards and the Nobel Peace Prize of all things. Probably, some readers of this blog see my persistance as narrow-minded or backward. Well, consider what this meteorlogist has to say;

By John Coleman, Founder - The Weather Channel

"It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild “scientific” scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens. Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minutes documentary segment.I do not oppose environmentalism. I do not oppose the political positions of either party. However, Global Warming, ie Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you “believe in.” It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a non-event, a manufactured crisis and a total scam. I say this knowing you probably won’t believe a me, a mere TV weatherman, challenging a Nobel Prize, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning former Vice President of United States. So be it.I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious. As the temperature rises, polar ice cap melting, coastal flooding and super storm pattern all fail to occur as predicted everyone will come to realize we have been duped. The sky is not falling. And, natural cycles and drifts in climate are as much if not more responsible for any climate changes underway. I strongly believe that the next twenty years are equally as likely to see a cooling trend as they are to see a warming trend."

Now, THAT sounds reasonable.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Have Digital, Will Travel

You will probably get tired of pictures of the seasonal color around the Coosa River before I get tired of taking and posting them. I just can't get too much.
This is near my "secret spot" where I stop to eat a giant Granny Smith apple (thanks LaWanna) in the afternoon.



The picture below is intended to show you the white water barely viewable through the trees. This is the last section of shoals before reaching downtown Wetumpka. The rocks here are usually under water, but as the water level drops more rocks are exposed and the louder the roar of water becomes. Almost every day that I cross the bridge just south of these rocks I think about paddling out and composing a picture of "walking on the water". That would work when the water level was just right.

This huge cypress tree is maybe 5 feet in DIAMETER. Three people would have to stretch to reach around it and touch hands. I wonder how many years it has watched over this spot?
This is where I walked out on some rocks and took this picture looking back at the shoreline. You can see some of the cypress knees, but mostly I liked the streaks of sunlight.
And one last shot of a cypress on the shore with knees exposed.

Life Equation

This is a slightly edited article with a simple, but powerful thought.

A Little Equation that Creates Big ResultsBy Chris Widener
“The purpose of man is in action not thought.” - Thomas CarlyleOften people will ask me how I get so much done in my life. They wonder at how I am able to accomplish so many things. The answer is found not in what a great person I am, but in an equation I came up with a few years ago and remind myself of on almost a daily basis. And when I live this equation out, it produces big results. What people don't seem to grasp is that this equation will work for anybody! Anyone can see results in their life if they will live it out!This little equation, when it is understood, and acted upon, is perhaps the most powerful equation there is in regard to long-term achievement and accomplishment. Yet, this is not a complex equation. In fact, it is rather simple. So what is it?
"Your short-term actions multiplied by time equals your long-term accomplishments."
If you want to see change in your life, see big results, the first thing you must do is change your current actions. Otherwise the old saying becomes a reality: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got!"
We need to take action on our dreams and beliefs every day.Here are some examples of how this works.
Who loses weight? The one who knows all about the benefits of exercise or the one who walks 3 miles a day? Who retires early? The one who dreams of a house on the beach, or the one who invests $300 a month? Who writes books? The one who desires to become a best-selling author, or the one who gets up early and writes for half an hour a day? Who has the best marital relationship? The one who knows how much spending time with their spouse can improve their relationship, or the one who sits down and talks with their spouse every night?Who makes the most sales? The one who believes they can become a great salesperson, or the one who makes 10 sales calls a day?I think you get the point. When it all comes down to it, we must act upon our vision, beliefs, and ideals or we won't see them come to fruition. I see too many people who know what is right, but don't ever do anything about it. Imagine what a difference we could make in our own lives and the lives of others if we would simply begin to act upon our beliefs! When I get to the end of my life, I want to know that I have done all that I can to make this world a better place and to enhance the lives of those around me. I want to know that I gave it my best shot. And I am sure that you do, too.I remember reading an interview with an author who has written numerous books that have sold in the tens of millions. They asked him how he did it. His answer was that he got up every morning before anyone else in his family and wrote, long hand, with a pencil, for an hour. Then he quit and went about his day. But his short-term actions piled up. Seven hours a week. Thirty hours a month. Three hundred sixty-five hours a year. After a while, he had lots of books!
One more time, so you can plug it in, memorize it, and live it. "Your short-term actions multiplied by time equals your long-term accomplishments."
Chris Widener is an internationally recognized speaker, author and radio host. Chris is the author of five books and audio series as well as over 350 success articles. To find out more about Chris, visit his website at

Saturday, November 03, 2007

How do you "Do Lunch"?

It occurred to me at lunch today that I have never shown you my lunch room.

What do you think? It is not very plush and there is rarely anybody to talk to but I really like it. Oh, look....somebody is passing by now;

The purpose of this last picture was to attempt to capture the river and the buzzards circling--I got a little of both. Do you know what a group of buzzards are called? A wake. Makes sense. There are usually 20 or so in the area because they roost about a mile down the river from this spot. I wonder if they can smell Mrs. Mary's fried chicken that I am eating? I am gnawing the bones pretty close. I may leave a little cornbread for the groundhogs, but the buzzards are just out of luck. Come see me sometime around 11:30.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Isn't it Ironic?

This is a quick post on my personal observation today combined with recent thoughts on weather. Anybody who lives in the Southeast or watches the evening news or the weather channel knows that this has been an exceptionally dry year. The rainfall is from one foot to two feet behind normal depending on exactly where you are located. Also, late summer was unusually hot with about three weeks of 100+ degrees. All of this really gives the global warming cheerleaders goosebumps. "We are headed for certain disaster!" they chant. "Well, it certainly has been hot and dry" says I. Al Gore gets awards for a movie that says the ice cap at one pole is melting. Somebody else gets an award who says the ice at the other pole is expanding. Since I rarely travel to either, I just have to take their word (with one eyebrow raised). But as I look around where I have the opportunity to walk and observe every day, here is what I notice; in spite of the drought conditions that are drying up the large lakes (artificially large, I might add) and the extreme heat, oak trees of all types are producing a bumper crop of acorns. "So what?" you say. Well, how do they do that? Where do they draw the water to support all the parts of the trunk, limbs, leaves, and still have enough to produce acorns in abundance? Not only that, but have you noticed the pecan crop? I have. Most trees are loaded. And not just lots of empty shells, but full flavorful pecans. How can that be? Then today I passed beneath a pecan tree and picked up a couple to crack and eat. Here is a picture of one of the pecans. It is a little out of focus but maybe you can get the main idea.

Can you tell? The pecan has three "halves". And I can testify, it was mighty tasty. Sure, if you want to believe what Al Gore and Michael Moore are preaching, you can say that more hurricanes=global warming, fewer hurricanes=global warming, decreasing ice=global warming, increasing ice=global warming, drought and heat that cause withered crops=global warming, and good crops of fruits and nuts=global warming.

There is so much that I do not know about the Earth and beyond. I just do not know if the average temperature over the face of the entire planet is a degree or two warmer than last century. Maybe it is. But I know for a fact that I have personally observed that this year in this area has been abnormally dry and abnormally hot but still the trees that God designed are producing very well. How can that be? Thankfully, I do not have to worry about it.

I do believe that I have a responsibility to clean up after myself and a little after others who won't do it. I believe I should not waste the resources provided. And I believe I should think about the possible ramifications of repeated actions on the environment. I also believe, however, that I was blessed to be born in a country that cares for the environment more than any other in the world. And sometimes we get a little carried away with it. Sometimes we deprive people of water in order to maintain the habitat of a snail or fish or bird. I can't reconcile that with the concept of an "abundant life". So maybe that "three-halved" pecan should have gone to a museum or been planted to grow a tree with more "three-halved" pecans. But I ate it. And it was mighty tasty!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween is so Weird!

Has your food been tasting different at Little Sam's lately? I knew there was a new cook and finally on Wednesday I burst into the kitchen with camera in hand and captured PROOF!

The devil himself is cooking! You'd think the liver would be done?
The cook is not the only strange character at Little Sam's. The waitresses seem to be leading double lives as well.

Here is one more to prove that the baseball player doesn't always have her eyes closed.

I don't know any of these folks, but their chicken costumes were GREAT! The irony is that thise chickens were scratching around on MANSION STREET. I am not making this up!

Finally, I arrived home where things would be back to normal. Not so fast.....

LaWanna won second prize in her office for having the courage to wear this outfit complete with stuffing and sans makeup and earrings.
One last shot of a "First Class" couple.

It is a strange, strange world.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ground Hog Day

Now that I have a small digital that I can carry with me, there will be opportunities to capture and share some of those moments that, before, I could only tell you about. Here are a few pictures of one of the ground hogs I have seen many times around beautiful downtown Wetumpka.

You can see him just above the headlight of the car. You are probably thinking "I am glad Roxy got that car in the frame so I have some size perspective." Wrong. I am closer to the car than the ground hog. If I could have taken the photo from the other side, you could clearly see that he is larger than an Audi. Also, I would be wet because the river is just beyond where he is eating acorns.

Can you see him below the vines? Crikey! Look at those cold black eyes! Obviously, this is not a full-blooded groundhog but rather some kind of mix with a litter bug. Come on Mr. groundhog, haven't you heard of "Leave no Trace?" Your den looks like a pig pen!

Monday, October 29, 2007


Today I received an invitation to attend a tailgate party for Troy University fans (Go Trojans!) that will be held in Athens, Ga. just prior to the Troy vs. Georgia football game. That sounds like fun. But here is my delimma; I have considered myself a Georgia fan for 35 years. Most of my friends and family know me as a Georgia fan. All my adult children are Georgia fans. Other Georgia fans seek me out in public settings. But I never attended the University of Georgia. I just became a UGA fan when I moved to Alabama and everybody tried to make me choose either Auburn or Alabama. Now I have somewhat of an emotional attachment. And, although Georgia has two losses this year, there is a chance that they could end up playing for a very high ranking at the end of the season. But this weekend they play Troy University where I DID attend for my masters. I have enjoyed watching Troy move up to the big league and play (even beat) a few top schools. I am not taking for granted that Georgia will beat them Saturday, although that is most likely. Sooooo, what does a fellow do? Go with the southern redneck tradition and pull for the school most likely to make me look like a winner by association? Or pull for the school I actually attended--you know, like an intelligent person would do? Well, really the choice is clear. HOW 'BOUT THEM DAWGS?!?!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

All the People

Here's the church,
Here's the steeple.
Open the doors
And see all the people.

All the people

God accepts all the people

And at Vaughn Park, so do we--all the people

All the people.

All the people.

And at the Fall Festival, some animals also.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fall Produce

One more reason to love Fall is the produce that can be plucked from trees at only this time of year. Here is a tree ripe for pickin!

Digital Debut

Here are a few pics I took today with the new digital camera. I still have much to learn. Like how to clean face oil from the LCD screen. Think about it....I have been using a viewfinder on a single lens reflex for a LOT of years. I would have included more but they are uploading to blogger VERY slowly.