The Assault on Deer Mountain Monday, Oct 29 2018 

In August, Sarah and I assaulted Vesuvius, the Italian volcano of lore that presides over the magnficent Bay of Naples.

Today, Sarah, Ann, and I assaulted Deer Mountain in the spectacular Alpine heights of

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Deer Mountain affords stunning views of the Colorado Rockies.

the Colorado Rockies.  Our 6.17 round trip hike afforded stunning views of creation.

When we hiked Vesuvius, my Garmin registered the equivalent of 44 flights of stairs for the steep ascent; Deer Mountain today smashed that record, registering the equivalent of 65 flights of stairs!

In fairness, the torturous Vesuvius trail of ascent was only 1.1 miles; On Deer Mountain, we hiked uphill for almost 3 miles.  Also, Vesuivius’s altitude is around 6000 feet above sea level, compared to Deer Mountain’s 10,000+ feet above sea level.

No matter, we’re proud that at retirement age, we can still muster the stamina for assaults on mountains.  And we’re grateful for the blessing of exotic memories with families and loved ones.

 

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Marley’s Blissful Ignorance Wednesday, Oct 24 2018 

marley readsWho knows?  Marley watches us read, so he figures he’ll give it a try?  No one ever taught him the alphabet or  phonics.

Nevertheless, he doesn’t look at all discouraged.  As long as he doesn’t know that he can’t read, he probably thinks he can.  How would he know the difference between comprehending written symbols and just staring at the figures, shapes and colors on the page?

Ignorance is truly bliss!

We won’t tell him any different.  It’s probably best that he can’t read, in fact, because then he might read the section on “Dog by Breed” and discover that he totally lacks any kind of pedigree.

He’s just a happy, illiterate mutt who doesn’t know he’s illiterate nor that he’s a mutt.

But he’s happy!

The Deception of a Generation: Un-Lucky Strike? Saturday, Oct 20 2018 

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LS/MFT: Lucky Strike means fatal tumors.

Watching vintage episodes of the Jack Benny Show this past week reminded me how much tobacco culture has changed in my lifetime.  Cigarette advertisements on these shows, dating to the early 1950s (when I was born), were so brazen in their promotion of smoking not as an addictive habit, but as a sexy lifestyle marked by  vitality and success.

Some of the commercials were cartoons, others were live spots.  One that I saw last night really made me chuckle.  An attractive couple clad in swimsuits just hopped out of the pool, dripping wet from their swim; each lit up a Lucky Strike.  The announcer exclaimed, “Nothing goes better after an invigorating swim than a Lucky Strike break!”  The couple smiled and laughed flirtatiously, inhaling and releasing wispy puffs of tobacco smoke in one another’s face.

Wow!  Associating smoking tobacco with health and fitness? How misled was that generation!

Each commercial ended with the Lucky Strike slogan, stamped on the underside of the Lucky Strike package: (LS/MFT–“Lucky Strike means fine tobacco”).  Translated into reality,  that acronym more accurately  suggested, “Lucky Strike / means fatal tumors.”

We’re blessed to be more enlightened (at least to the truth of tobacco addiction) in our generation.

 

 

 

Unwired Monday, Oct 15 2018 

Liberation: We are unwired inside and will soon be unwired outside. Can’t believe all that ugly, wirey junk on the left gobbled both space and electricity with the devices’ blinking LED lights and luminescent digital imagery.

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The photo right (where much of that junk to the left once resided) shows the much neater “after” effect.

Next, those hideous cables strung and wrapped around the exterior house will come down.

And we’re not missing a thing on TV, plus we’re not paying half as much as we paid for the “junk!”

Farewell, DirecTV!

Country Roads, Acadiana: Country Comes to Town (or vice versa?) Thursday, Oct 11 2018 

Rustic pastoral scenes are common throughout rural Acadiana.  But this picturesque barnIMG_2799 and pasture with grazing cow sits at the southwestern corner of Landry Road and Le Violon Road, inside the city limits of Lafayette.  What’s country doing in town?  Lafayette is not a metropolis, by any estimation, but it is a thriving  city and university town with a palpable urban flair.

Rural scenes like this are evident around the edges of the city because these city edges have expanded farther and farther into the surrounding countryside as the city has grown over the years.   Thirty years ago, this scene really was truly remote from town.

I am happy that some of these country views have been preserved against the urban sprawl.  In my country-reared view, a homey patch of country looks good anywhere, but especially  in the city where its scenery contrasts colorfully to the bland urban landscape.

In Memoriam of Mr. Harold Loewer, One of a Kind! Saturday, Oct 6 2018 

We bid farewell at a memorial service today to Mr. Harold Loewer, an iconic figure and senior statesman in our church. The service was lovely and tasteful, directed

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Mr. Harold Loewer

principally by Mr. Harold’s gifted family, who shared a myriad of colorful anecdotes recalling and celebrating a life lived fully and devoted to his faith in God. He was a unique character, colorful and fascinating in so many respects, and we’re sad at his loss.

My favorite Mr. Harold story occurred seven or eight years ago when I got the bright idea that I would show off my German speaking skills. Mr. Harold’s first language was German, so I wanted to impress him with the small German vocabulary I had acquired (I do not speak German, by the way. French, yes; Spanish, a little; German, definitely not!). I had learned how to say, “That’s a big fat cow”—Das ist ein grosse fette kuh.”

After church one Sunday, accompanied by my wife, I ran into Mr. Harold near the front of the sanctuary. I summoned my nerve, cleared my throat, and in my best German, greeted him: “Herr Harold,” I began. When I saw I had his attention, I pointed at my lovely wife Sarah and pronounced in the best German accent I could muster, “Das ist ein grosse fette kuh.”

I hoped for some appreciative affirmation of my linguistic daring-do, but not a smile crossed Mr. Harold’s lips. Instead, he frowned. Then he delivered his reply to me in German, and with a stern tone of reprimand: “Das ist nicht ein grosse fette kuh!” (“That is not a big fat cow!”). And then he switched to English with a brief lecture on how I should not refer disrespectfully to my wife (who, by the way, is a charming beauty who bears no resemblance whatsoever to a big fat cow!”)

I was plainly chagrined. My effort to impress Mr. Harold with my linguistic prowess had blown up in my face!

After I processed the incident, I realized that Mr. Harold had shown me an old-school code of honor and dignity that I failed to appreciate in his nature. Even though my intent toward my beloved wife was good natured and humorous, he took offense, because he came from a generation and a cultural tradition that drew a line of decorum that I had crossed.

I never felt persecuted or chastised by Mr. Harold after that episode. In fact, he never recalled it to me thereafter, and we ever enjoyed the most pleasant associations in the years that ensued. But that incident will endure fondly in my recollection of this amazing character. May God bless Mr. Harold’s memory—He was one of a kind!

Enraptured Spaces: The American College Campus Tuesday, Oct 2 2018 

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Modern art graces the ornamental flower beds, looking across LSU Eunice’s main quadrangle from the Community Education Building.  The campus looks like a park!

I’ve been privileged to work on college campuses for most of the years of my career in education.  The campuses that intersected my life include the following: Louisiana College, McNeese State University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU, and LSU Eunice.  And, in my travels and business associations, I’ve visited a score of others.

What do most of those campuses have in common?

They’re laid out in romantic, pastoral gardens:  manicured lawns spreading away beneath the shade of majestic trees, dotted with lush garden areas and quadrangular arrangements of massive, red-brick buildings graced by ornamental shrubs surrounding their entrances.

Perhaps we imported this pastoral ideal for higher education from European universities.  Regardless, the traditional American college campus represents quite a concept.  I’m blessed to have spent so many years in such enraptured spaces.