Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Veteran’s Day: 11 Nov 10

November 11, 2010

As I paused in remembrance for two minutes today, on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, for Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, or as it was originally called, Armistice Day, my mind was flooded with a variety of thoughts.

May we all remember:

It is the Soldier

 

It is the Soldier, not the minister

Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter

Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet

Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer

Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer

Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician

Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,

Who serves beneath the flag,

And whose coffin is draped by the flag,

Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

~Charles M. Province

The end of World War I hostilities on the Western Front, as stipulated by the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany, took effect at the eleventh hour, and in respect for the 20 million that died in that war, a two minute moment of silence is observed by many to this day.  I like this tradition, and continue to observe this form of respect, and am constantly amazed how much I believe we can all benefit from such events.  Prior to this war, the concept of a multi-national involvement in a war was not new, just as the French were involved in our Revolutionary War.  This war presented a new twist on the battles between peoples due to the significant magnitude of mechanization.  Military tanks, aircraft, submarines, and other products of engineering played a larger role than in previous wars or hostilities.  In my opinion, all of these tools aided in a huge conceptual change to how we viewed war, unfortunately for the worse, they all made the combat less personal.  Furthermore, in subsequent wars, conflicts, and other combat operations, this detachment has been made even more possible by technological advances.

It is that disconnect of direct and personal involvement that essentially dulls the magnitude of such events on an individual level.  We all have experienced tragedy or loss, in our lives, in some form or another, and the closer that situation is connected to how we identify ourselves, the more profound impact it has on our lives.  For instance, if we consider how many people that we have personally known that have died, the number is probably lower than 20. Compared to the 20 million that died during World War I, and the associated grief to their family and friends, the idea is staggering, especially since it was a much larger percentage of the population in 1918.

Interestingly, despite the range of images, they all returned me to the same three conclusions:  gratitude, awe, and hope.  There is much gratitude for all those that have served before me, protecting this country (and the world) “from all enemies, foreign and domestic.”  So many have served throughout our history, overcoming all odds to preserve our ideals, and we should be forever grateful and never forget.  Awe is the only way to describe the concept of the almost inconceivably possible role that the United States of America has as the world’s sole super-power.  We, not the UN or any other organization, are the global guardian, despite our low percentage of terra firma, short historical time frame, or great diversity of our people.  Again, sometimes we can be distant from the meaning of things, even the name, “United States.” I actually like the Spanish and Italian translations (“Estados Unidos” & “Stati Uniti”), which of course mean the same thing, “States United.”  Somehow the mere transposition seems to have a more fraternal feel.  There is hope, hope that we all can learn from history, past mistakes, and experience, to create a better life, a better community, and a better world.

My hope, is that as the planet continues to evolve, while growing smaller every day, a change is made in how we all think, specifically that we remember to think, and think to remember.  

Take care, God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America!

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The Learning of Importance

October 16, 2010

It may seem that I have transposed words in the title, but I assure you that the order is very intentional.

We all have been told, taught, and perhaps trampled, with the phrase, “The Importance of Learning,” but what do we know of the reciprocal? Rest assured, I am certainly not disputing nor discounting the value of this age old lesson, not only would that be ludicrous but absolutely contrary to my being as a lifetime learner. The intent of my question is to search for a deeper understanding of how the mere grammatical transposition of the two terms provides a different answer.

For instance, if I consider this an academic question, specifically an algebraic word problem, I utilize what I was taught in high school, by my beloved math teacher. It still amazes me to this day, some 30 years later, how vividly I can remember her, and how well she taught. Perhaps that memory is impacted by the fact that I got A’s, … I love math (& science, thanks to Dad), the logic appeals to my brain. That being said, you would be correct in deducing that English (particularly Literature) was my weaker subject, and that is a “can of worms” for another time. Perhaps the memory, and the associated clarity, is because she was my teacher for 4 out of my 5 years, while oddly enough, always calling me by the wrong name (Mike). Regardless of the cause, my purpose is not affected by that phenomenon, and that discussion would be an expansive one.

Sometimes she would say, “Listen here, Sweet-sweet,” which she called everyone, if not by their name (or the wrong one), and “you have to READ it WITH pencil AND paper.” That is an incredibly valuable lesson, one that can be applied in so many aspects of our lives, and one that has served me well. The clarity was not caused by understanding the quadratic polynomials, logarithms, or trigonometric functions. It was not due to the “what” of the course, but instead due to the “HOW.” It was due to how she presented the material, how well she explained the mechanics, how she interacted with / involved the students, how well she instructed the “how” of getting it done, and how it could be applied elsewhere. We all seek answers, but that is just half of the equation, but I will pause here, before I get off on a tangent (unintentional mathematical references), I will delve into that in the next post.

The phrase, “the importance of learning,” is intended to focus our attention on how we learn what we learn. Meanwhile, the reciprocal, “the learning of importance,” as I introduced here, is intended to focus our attention in a different (but not necessarily inverse — again another unintentional mathematical reference, however accurate & appropriate) direction. The intention is not “how we learn what we learn” but “HOW to apply what we have learned.”

Smart as Peanuts, Thank you, Charles M. Shulz

October 6, 2010

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. You don’t have to actually answer the questions, just read, and you’ll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do? The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields, but the applause dies, awards tarnish, achievements are forgotten, accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier? The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards, they are the ones that care.

God bless America!

July 6, 2010

I sincerely hope that everyone had a great Fourth of July weekend, and may God bless America, and all Americans.

As I reflect on Independence Day, and our country’s beginning, I have a renewed sense of patriotism and thankfulness for this great nation. I find it quite remarkable, in fact, the meteoric rise of our country from such humble beginnings to the profound effect that we have on the world today. Pause for a minute to frame that into perspective, from settlers to world leader in roughly 300 years, a relatively short amount of time as countries are concerned. I once visited in a house in Scotland that was built in the year 800. Yes, you read that correctly, that is not a typo, the building was 4 times older than America the beautiful!

America, as most of us know of it, began with the first society of settlers, the Puritans. This period was a simpler time, a time that may seem more innocent and therefore reverent. However, as part native American, I know also that it was also a time of ignorance and fear. How I wish we knew then what we know now, regarding the equality of all colors. Despite all the challenges facing our founding society, they established very honorable principles for our country, emphasizing each person’s responsibility for their own moral conduct and that of others in his community. The Puritans founded a theocracy, without any intentions or conceptions regarding separation of church and state, however Puritanism (or Calvinism) is not perfect, nor what I believe, yet I truly desire for America, and Americans, to live a more noble and holy life. We, as Americans, all need to embrace our role as ambassadors of the Christian principles for which this country was founded. As George Washington stated, you can’t have national morality apart from religious principle.

I am an American, a true patriot, and a true believer that we are all … all … here for each other. That for me, means to strive to live like Christ, to love (honor and praise) God, and to love all my brothers and sisters as myself. For once upon a time, my ancestors were the poor, the tired, and the huddled masses.

God bless you, and God bless America!

From Memorial Day to a Better Future

June 4, 2010

As an American and a USN Retired Veteran, I truly hope and pray that everyone had a great Memorial Day and weekend. Therein, I certainly hope that there were thoughtful and sincere moments of reflection and gratitude for all of our brothers and sisters that were “the brave” so that we could be “the free,” especially those who paid the ultimate price.

In fact, I also wish that those moments served (and will continue to serve) as an inspiration that positively impacts every aspect of your lives. I believe that we all need inspiration, as a motive force to overcome the proverbial cancer of stagnation. As I have said before (in a previous post — it’s worth repeating), we are all here for each other. Just as the bees are a vital part of the ecosystem, we are all part of a larger organism. Despite the planet population total, we each in our own way, affect the world around us, and hopefully for good.

“No man is an island.”
~John Donne (1572 – 1631)

This concept has a great deal of meaning for me, because of the profound way that others have impacted me, and how those encounters can be objectively analyzed to explain my life journey. Sound like some sort of classroom lab physics project? Well, as a matter of fact, that is exactly what I am doing. In accordance with the purpose of this blog, my search includes an inward component, including a cause-and-effect analysis to aid in formulating my future.

Thus, as I examine and ponder, I evaluate all of the influences upon my life, and treasure all of the positive.

“Positive reinforcement is the best motivator of professionals…to miss a chance to give that reinforcement is inexcusable.”
~RADM L. E. Angelo

In closing, I wish for you many positives to charge your conversion of power, and that I may be one of them! Take care and God bless.

Website Launch

March 10, 2010

As previously mentioned, I have started my own website, and proudly announce the initial launch of my website, “Elephant Wisdom.”

This website, is a concerted effort to be a positive impact in our lives. “Here at Elephant Wisdom, we are committed to provide assistance on how to understand, communicate with, and succeed with the proverbial “elephants” in our lives.

The website is located at:  http://elephantwisdom.com/default.aspx.

Acknowledgement of Gratitude:  A million thanks to my friends Leslie and Michelle, for your insight, assistance, and encouragement!

And to all, remember to let God rub off on you.  Just as the others that we are around rub off on us, so can God.  Thank you to all my friends for rubbing off on me, for you have had a positive effect on my life, I hope the feeling is mutual.  Afterall, we are all here on this planet for each other.

The oars are in the water and active!

February 28, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to inform you that I have finally started my website!!!  It is a crucial part of my new life approach, to no longer just go with the flow, however and wherever that the universe may desire.  I will no longer be just floating down that proverbial river, aimlessly bobbing and listing, towards whatever lies ahead, rapids, forks, waterfalls.  I have taken control of my life and am “burning a lot of midnight oil” to do deliver this effect.  I still have some more website building to do before it is revealed, but the initial “opening” will be one week from today, 07Mar10.  Take care and God bless!

Have an Awesome Veteran’s Day!

November 11, 2009

All,
 
Happy Birthday to the USMC!
 
“I do not intend for ‘honor, courage, and commitment’ to be just words; I expect them to frame the way that we live and act.” 
 
 Charles C. Krulak (1942 – )
31st Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps 
 

November 10, 1775
Birth of the U.S. Marine Corps
During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passes a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service as landing forces for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution, drafted by future U.S. president John Adams and adopted in Philadelphia, created the Continental Marines and is now observed as the birth date of the United States Marine Corps.
Serving on land and at sea, the original U.S. Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations during the Revolutionary War. The first Marine landing on a hostile shore occurred when a force of Marines under Captain Samuel Nicholas captured New Province Island in the Bahamas from the British in March 1776. Nicholas was the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines and is celebrated as the first Marine commandant. After American independence was achieved in 1783, the Continental Navy was demobilized and its Marines disbanded.
In the next decade, however, increasing conflict at sea with Revolutionary France led the U.S. Congress to establish formally the U.S. Navy in May 1798. Two months later, on July 11, President John Adams signed the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy. U.S. Marines saw action in the so-called Quasi-War with France and then fought against the Barbary pirates of North Africa during the first years of the 19th century. Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States and in most cases were the first soldiers to fight. In all, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.
Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines, divided into three divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; and Okinawa, Japan. Each division has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on two weeks’ notice. Marines expeditionary units are self-sufficient, with their own tanks, artillery, and air forces. The motto of the service is Semper Fidelis, meaning “Always Faithful” in Latin.

Hello world!

August 4, 2009

Welcome all, to my perception of our reality, my view of our beautiful world.  That view is often times very complicated inside my own mind, for my thoughts are always racing in several different directions.  It is not frantic or high anxiety, but instead an over exuberance of fascination and joy of all the cool things to think about and experience in this life.  I am continually presented with stories of people that display amazing accomplishments in the face of overwhelming odds.  The though patterns and stories dump warm fuel onto the comfort and gratitude that I feel inside for our Creator and the human race.  I believe that we are all brothers and sisters, all here for each other, in this journey, the adventure called life.  The purpose of this blog is to openly self-educate myself as a life-long student, but also for therapeutic value for me, and hopefully for you.  May blessings be upon you.