Friday, April 17, 2009


Kid 1 got accepted to Interlochen summer camp for the arts. She will be studying classical voice under some of the best instructors in he country for 6 weeks.

Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea what Interlochen was...I still don't know much, but those in that world say its a very good thing.

Way to go kid.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Journal it...

Not complaining. In fact, very blessed. My cup runneth's how:
- In the throws of an acquisition in Puerto Rico. Comes with 7 great employees, 20% more business and a footprint that gives us the entire Caribbean Basin.
- We close on PR April 30, prepping a retirement party for the outgoing "man", and prepping to bring the family down on May 1 for the party and the weekend.
- Looking to buy a building in S. Florida to get out of our rent situation and build some long term equity. Narrowed down the hunt to a primary, now trying to deal with financing, looks like we'll move our office in November if all goes as planned.
- In two weeks Kid 3 and I go on his 12 year old trip. He was gracious to Dad and wants to stay local...a day at Disney, a Day at Disney Quest and Nick Hotel, and Day 3 at Adventure Island at Universal...staying at the Contemporary one night and Nick the next.
- Just hired a new sales associate that is really working out...and putting pressure on one I should have fired long ago...may still need to fire.
- I've eaten 7 lousy meals in a row, with a couple of bad snacks mixed's this do ya:
Wed. afternoon, Duncan Donuts combo, coffee and two donuts on the ride south to get me through, Burger and Fries for dinner at Sports Bar, Pancakes for Breakfast, McDonalds for lunch, BBQ club sandwich and fries for dinner, Eggs and Chicken for Breakfast, Burger and Fries for lunch and about 4 servings of Recees Pieces this afternoon...I was doing well for about 3 and 1/2 weeks and just blew it. Thank goodness I still excercise.
- How bout my Rays going into Beantown and taking 2 of 3...nice way to start the season.
- Spanish Lessons are cutting into my reading.
- I'm having a hard time churning through my book on John Adams...Atlas Shrugged is next (all 1200 pages of it) bride is begging me to read The Barbarian Way again...says that my current state of grace would make it a much better read than 3 years ago.

Thats all for now...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Top 10 in my bracket...

My friend and second college (suitemate) hosts the mother of all brackets for the NCAA tournament. 58 participants this year.

Yours truly finished tied for 7th.

(Pops collar for the first time ever - not usually very good at these things)

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Not the Van Halen song...the country.

I was blessed with the business opportunity to spend all of last week in Panama. Although I spent 75% of all the available daylight time in meetings, the 25% was really nice, and my wife was able to come along...100% of her time unscripted.

Highlights included dinner at one of the Canal locks overlooking the Canal operations, some group volleyball in the pool, lots of quality time with my wife...

but by far the coolest takeaway was a tour we took into the Rain Forest.

It was 6.5 hours long tip to tip. We arrived a boat launch by way of a nice ride with our tour guide in his car. At the boat launch were several dug out canoes. And when I say dug out, I mean hand dug out from a large tree, approximately 4 feet in diameter and 30 feet long. Each canoe had a 30 hourse outboard and a driver. Up front was kind of a mate...he helped people in and out and worked this long pole to get us out of tight spots.

Did I mention that neither had any clothes on, except what appeared to be a home made thong with a washcloth hanging in front? These guys looked the part...tribal ink everywhere, chisled bodies...had they spoken english, I may have felt my marriage may be in jeopardy.

Anyway, the scantally clad hosts took us upriver to a waterfall to go swimming. Once we beached the canoe, we hiked about a 1/4 mile inland to this beautiful 50' waterfall with a lagoon at the bottom. Since the natives set the tone for attire, figuring out where to change for a swim wasn't a problem. Needless to say, our modesty found us finding a nice large, smooth rock to set a spell and watch nature at its finest. A few minutes into our stay, almost as if staged, 5 9-10 year old Indian boys, dressed like Dad, hike up and proceed to start diving off cliffs and playing king of the mountain on this fallen log. It was just fun watching them have fun.

After water sport, we hiked back to the canoe and set off for their villiage.

They took us up to a large hut, elevated 5' off the ground (to protect from animals). No water, no power, no heavy problem. These folks had it wired. This hut was masterful, and all of the others were too. The chief proceeded to explain to us how they live, how they get their materials, what they do to earn money (host tours and sell their wares - carvings, baskets, beads, etc.). As he is talking they fed us lunch...fried fish and plantains (a native banana)...very tasty.

This chief has been in charge for 12 years...he runs unopposed and the tribe loves him. He's 48 years old and early in his tenure he went into Panama City for a month to learn Spanish. Once he knew Spanish, he went to America to figure out how to host tour groups. Then came back and taught his tribe with the goal of being totally self sufficient from the Govn't. They charge $25 per person for the tour, and they price their wares based upon how long it takes to make - the going rate is $1 per day.

We bought a basket for $40 and a carving for $35. Our guide says that you can negotiate...but it felt kind of crappy telling someone their time was worth $0.83 per day, not a dollar. So we paid list price.

The lessons were countless. Lots of thinking goes on in 6 hours in the rain forrest. I'm sure those Indians are plenty wise too...they get to think all day.

I would be happy to answer any questions...

Monday, February 02, 2009

A Prophet Ministry

Thoughts come in waves.

Recently my friend posted about a book titled "Why I'm not Emergent, by two guys who aren't" or something like that. I didn't read the book and probably won't, but was very impressed by the quote that Brent posted from the book. My paraphase, which I've quoted 100 times since reading it is...

"Now that we know how many belly button hairs we have, it's time to transform. The Gospel is about Transformation, not wallowing in our issues."

So on a date the other night, we were talking about the need for a "prophet ministry". I mean, I know it sounds harsh, but its like we just find ourselves solving everyone's problems that we hear about. Biblically, it is a gift, right? And if managed effectively, it could work right? The councelling ministry is made of all mercy-gifted people...and they are great at dealing with grief issues, moral dilemas, etc. The prophet ministry could be where you send people that don't listen to the counselor. So you get a nice gently dose of "I hear you, have you considered trying this?" And if that has no send them over to see Jeremiah.

Like the young couple who are tapping into the benevolent fund, we know that the wife could substitute teach at the local Christian School, while the husband stays home with the kids to recoup. Jeremiah would tell 'em..."you should be ashamed of yourselves for tapping that's not for you."

And the couple with marriage problems...who seem to have really strong personal Christian convictions, but just can't cross over to give their spouse some grace...Jeremiah could solve that problem in like 30 minutes...just imagine.

So I mention my idea to the Executive Pastor and Chairman of our Deacon Board last night in passing...'cause they tend to be the resevoir for this type of stuff...and they chuckled and said something polite.

But at the core...I seriously doubt that people really want to change. And I can't figure out why.

So, here's what I want from you...

1. Is there a place for a "prophet ministry" in the local church?
2. Why do people seem content to stay screwed up?

Friday, January 23, 2009

More on "Me, Myself, and Bob"

Let's just say that the last 40 - 50 pages of "Me, Myself, and Bob" rocked my theology. Well, rocked may be a strong word...but strongly reinforced my current view on things may not have been as attention grabbing.

The book is definitely worth reading and buying...but the end makes it a must read for our "earn our way into the Heaven Hall 'o Fame" crowd that permeates middle class Christianity.

Vischer goes as far as to say that his mid-America conservative Christian upbringing created a cauldren in him that was equal parts ambition, God pleaser and Christian. He says his MTV inspired vision to become a Christian Walt Disney was so out of whack theologically, and so intoxicating in the moment, that he didn't even realize how outside the lines he had gotten. It took losing everything ($44 million business to a $12 million judgement against him, followed by a requisite auction of everything of value in the company - that's a $56 million swing or loss - literally overnight) for God to get his attention and to realize that God doesn't need him.

God "reveals" his plans for us very selectively. Until then, our part is to do what Noah did before God revealed his plan to him..."Noah was a righteous man. Noah walked with God."

Frankly, I'm a planner. I have long range plans, intermediate plans, annual plans...most of which feed a master plan that I hope will get me on a different plane or level...maybe even to the Christian Cooperstown.

I need to do better at "walking with God".

Thanks Phil.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Books I'm Reading

Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. I'm biased here, but Malcom Gladwell is my favorite author. He could write poetry on toilet paper and I would buy it. His previous two books The Tipping Point and Blink were homeruns. I might like this one best of all. The premise is on what makes people successful. He takes the age old arguement of nature vs. nurture and turns it on its head. It's not just the obvious...that both make exceptional people...but how exceptionally successful people got some amazing breaks, and how societies can learn from what breaks can be orchestrated. I like books that make me think, and this one did that.

Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer. First, he's my age (plus or minus a few months) so his entire upbringing brings tremendous nostalgia. Second, he's a creative type, raised in Christian circles who became an exceptional success in his field...if you've read previous posts, you can see this has been an angst issue for me lately. Probably the neatest thing is that he gives credit to MTV for inpiring him. He watched it a lot. And as a churchy-youthgroup-kid he felt moral tension watching Madonna gyrate to "Like a Virgin" in the 80's. Rather than spray paint her garage door with "repent" (his words), he said I need to do he made Veggie Tail videos. That's just cool...and he was 15 when he got the calling. Oh, and the financial lessons of this book are priceless.

Czar by Ted Bell. I'm a sucker for Bourne-like male-oriented entertainment...and that's what Ted Bell gives you. A mindless, action packed, respite from reality...for me, it filled the void over the holidays until 24 started up again. And, it was a great read.

That's it.