Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Apparently, they were talking about America's reservoirs in terrorist centers in Afghanistan. As al-Qaeda documents were uncovered by American troops there, it became clear that folks who want to attack American interests have been at least considering some of our major water systems. So, security has really been beefed up at those kinds of facilities. And that's a good thing.

Monday, April 8, 2002

The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City were full of memorable spectacle and, of course, exciting performances. And, as most Olympics, they were tinged with a little controversy. This time the controversy revolved around some of the judging. For several days the headlines focused on the judging of the pairs figure skating competition. Now, most observers thought the Canadian skaters' flawless performance had won them the gold medal. But, much to almost everyone's surprise, the gold went to the Russian skaters. There was some evidence of deal-making between judges and that might have influenced the results. Commentators discussed how similar judging improprieties had actually shown up in other world class skating competitions over the years. Although the Olympic Committee later decided to award duplicate gold medals to both the Canadians and the Russians, that judging controversy - as well as some others - raised a lot of questions about Olympic judging and Olympic results.

Wednesday, March 6, 2002

In early 2002, Ford Motor Company made a dramatic announcement. Because of serious financial setbacks, they were launching a restructuring plan that would cut out 35,000 jobs - about one-tenth of their entire work force! They announced the closing of several of their major plants and the discontinuing of four of their automobiles - including that symbol of luxury, the Lincoln Continental. The new Chairman of Ford made the announcement - William, the great-grandson of the legendary Henry Ford. In his words, these steps were "painful but necessary." Then, with bold candor, he summarized how this had happened. He said, "We strayed from what got us to the top of the mountain, and it cost us greatly."

Friday, February 22, 2002

I'm looking out my window right now - and I can see everything clearly. But if I need to read these notes right in front of me, I would have to put my glasses on. When I'm driving down the road later today, I won't need my glasses. I've got no problem seeing the road ahead, the cars around me, that road kill I want to avoid. But if I need to pull over and look at my map, forget it - I'd better have my glasses or I'll never find that small town I'm looking for. I am, as they say, farsighted.

Monday, February 11, 2002

Alexander the Great conquered most of the then-known world by the age of 33. One of the reasons for that was the iron discipline that he insisted on among his troops. That's why a young soldier was so terrified as he was hauled into Alexander's tent to answer for charges of cowardice and desertion in battle. The general was seated at a table, and the accused soldier stood before him. Alexander said, "Soldier, you've been accused of deserting during a battle - guilty or not?" "Guilty," he replied almost inaudibly. The general followed up then by asking, "What's your name, soldier?" The answer came back - "My name is Alexander, sir." It was at that point that Alexander the Great leaped to his feet, reached across the table, grabbed the soldier by the collar and shouted, "Either you change your life or you change your name!"

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

It was a "dream car" for our teenage son - a blue, '66 Ford Mustang. He saved for it...he sold off valuable baseball cards for it - but eventually, he owned it. And it really was a pretty 'hot' car. I actually got to drive it once. Our son needed it driven from Chicago to New Jersey and somehow my wife and I were the lucky winners. And I have to admit, it was a lot of fun to drive. People would pull up next to us on the Interstate just to stare. Some would honk and wave. Folks would come over to check it out and talk to us about it at gas stops. I felt like a celebrity. Actually, the car was the celebrity. But as much as I enjoyed that Mustang, there was one thing I really didn't like about it. I had forgotten what manual steering felt like. And that hot little car was a "bear" to turn! I mean, I felt like a corkscrew by the time I finished wrapping myself around the steering column to make a turn.

Friday, January 25, 2002

We were all nestled into our tent for the night as the campground fell silent after a busy day. We had zipped each of the kids into their sleeping bag. I had zipped up the tent and tied it securely. My wife and I were all settled into our sleeping bags for a good night's sleep. And then came those words - "I gotta go potty." Great. The bathroom was down the trail and over the hill. So - unzip my sleeping bag, unzip boy's sleeping bag, put on shoes, unzip the tent, untie the flaps - oh, and be sure you've got your lantern, Dad. Father and son make their way through the real dark darkness of the campground. They can't see the bathroom - but, thanks to the light of their lantern, they make it to their goal.

Monday, January 7, 2002

When the President of the United States declared a war on terrorism, the lives of millions of American military personnel suddenly changed dramatically. Some of the first to be affected were the crews of our major combat ships, like aircraft carriers. In a matter of days, thousands were shipping out. Reporters were trying to guess what their destinations were. But, of course, not even the crews knew. Except for a few commanders, their orders were unknown.

Tuesday, January 1, 2002

When America decided to go after the Taliban in its war on terrorism, there were a lot of warnings about what a difficult battleground Afghanistan can be - and what a tough enemy the Taliban would be. That is why so many of us were so surprised when the Taliban fighters seemed to retreat so quickly from city after city in Northern Afghanistan as the Northern Alliance advanced. But Taliban defectors said that the relentless American bombing had really affected their morale. The U. S. military strategy going into the Afghan conflict was not a new one - begin with an air war - heavy bombing to "soften up" your enemy before the ground forces make a move. As we learned in the Gulf War, it can lead to a surprisingly quick victory.

Wednesday, December 26, 2001

My wife and I were traveling with our daughter and son-in-law and our two dynamite little grandsons. We were in adjoining motel rooms for a couple of days - and that's what occasioned our son-in-law's amusing comparison of our rooms. You see, our rooms were basically identical - when we each moved in. We moved our stuff into our room - they moved in themselves, their children, their children's world, and some "office on the road" stuff. Well, on our second day, our son-in-law plopped down in a chair in our room and he made this bemused observation - "You know, your room is three times bigger than our room!" Not true. See, our room was the same size. It was just one-third as crowded!

            

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