I remember my first skiing lesson. Like just about everyone else on the bunny slope that day, I fell a few times. The only part of me that got a little beat up from that fall was the part God designed for that purpose. But today the entertainment world is mourning the sudden and shocking death of Natasha Richardson-from a head injury sustained in a fall on the beginner's slope.
When I heard a commercial airliner was down in the Hudson River, I feared the worst. I flipped on cable news, expecting the worst. It was the kind of story that almost always includes a tragic death toll. I was stunned to learn that every passenger got out alive and largely unscathed. The difference? The man at the controls.
US Air Flight 1549 didn’t last long. About three minutes. Who could have guessed that minutes after takeoff, the passengers would be in the middle of the Hudson River on a downed jetliner? I’ve been on airplanes in distress. I’ve been through emergency landings. So this one hits pretty close.
If you live down river from a manmade lake or reservoir, the words you don’t want to hear are “the dam broke.” That happened in central Missouri when the Taum Sauk Reservoir Dam broke and suddenly the people who lived down river were inundated with a billion gallons of water.
Engineers were shocked to find that a whole big piece of that reservoir was made out of dirt and rocks…little stones. The problem was that the dam that was supposed to hold back the flood was made of material that couldn’t withstand the pressure of the flood. Of course the test of what anything is made of is what happens when massive pressure hits.
Have you ever been in an earthquake? Our country is going through what could be called about a 7.2 on the Richter Scale. In the words of Jerry Lee Lewis, “There’s a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on.” We’re almost sick of the news—home values are tanking, unemployment figures are rising, bankruptcies are common, savings accounts and retirement accounts are disappearing. We are reminded of the danger when we hear words like Iran, nuclear, Russia, Bin Laden.
When you've got a rambunctious child, you've got to figure out a way to channel that rambunctiousness into something constructive. I know about rambunctious, believe me. The Johnsons do, too. And they turned spunk (much shorter word) into gold.
I spend a few vigorous minutes on my treadmill, and I feel like I'm ready to star in a Bowflex commercial. Then I watched athletes running the marathon at the Olympics. I need a few more minutes on the treadmill.
You're 16 and the whole world's watching you. That's Shawn Johnson at the Beijing Olympics. She's got a lot of expectations riding on her. The petite Iowa gymnast entered the Olympics, favored to win the sport's most coveted title, the all-around competition.
I wasn't expecting to be moved by an Olympic commercial. Then I saw Derek Redmond and his father. It was that unforgettable moment from the Barcelona Olympics when track star Derek Redmond had no way to finish his race. In the middle of his run, he got a crippling injury.
Who would have thought that watching people swim could be exciting? But then, how many people swim like Michael Phelps? I know I’ve been hooked into rooting for him as he goes for a gold medal record. And how about that guy who’s following all those guys with a camera? He must be a really good swimmer! Michael says his life is basically, "I eat, I sleep and I swim." I’m pretty good at two of those three. Don’t look for me in the Olympics.