Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I don't really have a blog. I just wanted you to click on the above photo. It's about as good as airline photography gets.

Friday, February 24, 2006

One Final Assembly

Today I endured my final Black History Month program. I've never been quite comfortable with the idea of devoting a month to celebrate one race over the others...seems counter-productive to the idea that we are all Americans equally, with none inherently superior.

With regard to the programs, I've seen it all. Once we had John Wiley Price as our speaker, and he railed against Anglos throughout...and this was after he did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

In the '90's, there was never any "history" to our programs. Just vulgarly gyrating dancers exhibiting what I assume was their culture.

Today we had DISD board trustee Ron Price enlighten us. Ole Ron is a character. He is a convicted wife-beater, but is nonetheless allowed to sit on the school board. He is well-known for being, shall we say, disingenuous. Knowing beforehand that he loved to stretch the truth, particularly about himself, I listened keenly. Here are the gems:

"I am the chairman of a $2 billion company." (Name of the company, sir?)

"The Alamo was fought because of slavery." (Just check any Texas history book)

"Stewardesses (sic) make $100,000 a year."

Uh, maybe our assemblies should be Price-less.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


3 Favorite Holidays
1. Columbus Day
2. Thanksgiving
3. Memorial Day (summer is here!)

3 Favorite Stooges
1. Curly
2. Moe
3. Larry

3 Favorite Cartoon Characters
1. Foghorn Leghorn
2. Yosemite Sam
3. Tweetie

3 Surprising Favorite Places
1. Hawn Fwy. Service Road at Hillburn (this is where I sit in my bus every morning and prepare mentally and spiritually for what lies ahead)
2. On my lawn tractor in the summer. I used to wear radio headphones until I realized that I was zapping my hearing by cranking up the volume so high. Now, I use it as prayer time...sometimes 2 hours of prayer time.
3. Seat 1 and Seat A on my bus. Sometimes after my elementary school bus run in the afternoon, I get back to Hood in time to stretch my body across the first two seats. I close my eyes and relax for the first time since 7:30 AM. Most days it's only for 10 minutes, but it is rich, sweet time.

3 Great Voices
1. Luciano Pavarotti. People hate the guy for his vanity, but few can quibble that voice.
2. Ann Murray. Something about rich alto voices that make me turn into a lover-boy. And I'm 57.
3. Dave Edmonds. Sings bass in our praise team at Highland Oaks. Such an effortless effort producing smooth, rich low notes. I want his voice in heaven.

3 Saints
1. My mother-in-law.
2. Anne Thomas. Was one of my Sunday School teachers growing up. An humble servant of the Lord. They named a street for her at Christian Care Center.
3. Carl Ketcherside. The greatest example of intellectual brilliance, humble character, and courageous attitude I ever witnessed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

T-minus 63 and counting...

I think I've got the days counted right. Pretty silly thing to do when you think about it. Happiness isn't predicated on attaining earthly milestones. But I'm starting to sense the sweet relief I'll feel when I'm done with the madness known as public education.

Today, I have one of the finer cases of laryngitis in recorded history. I can make a sound or two, but they in no way sound like speech tones. To top it off, I'm administering the TAKS writing test to my 1st period class. So far, they've been very understanding.

I'll take tomorrow off to see if there can be some improvement. A teacher without a voice is like Elvis without a chocolate cake.

Uh, 62.5 days now.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A challenge to the men of my family

I just watched Dirk Nowitzki win the 3-point shooting contest for this year. With that still fresh on my mind, I hereby suggest a similar competition with the men of my family. Except for Ralph. Not to suggest he's a woman. But you know what I mean. Ralph is excellent in other fields besides athletics.

I hate to brag, but not really. I once scored 63 points during a game in the fog one evening on Ambler Blvd, Abilene, TX. I saw all the shots go in; some of my teammates and opponents missed seeing some of them because of the meteorological conditions. It was their loss.

I have never had trouble scoring or beating my sons or my brother in basketball. Charles, not John, of course.

Now I am limited by a left leg crippled by a combination of nerve damage and a land mine I stepped on in Vietnam. I wear a leg brace with more titanium than the Eiffel Tower. But I can still bring it.

I am very interested to see if (1) Brett can still shoot given his advanced age and belly, (2) Blake can do something besides dunking over shorter opponents, and (3) if new son-in-law Michael (Detention) Hall can stand up to Perkins mystique.

Blake, it's up to you to arrange the shootout. You have the keys to DC's facilities. I'll wait a year if I have to. If I'm still alive.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Wonderful Family

Time for payback since my family has been so nice to me in their blogs.

Carole: My bride and roommate for nearly 34 years. She is so beautiful. I don't know how she does it, but she looks very much like she did in 1972. I catch myself looking at her when she's not aware of it...and I thank God that I could be so blessed.

She is also enormously intelligent. This is both good and bad. It's good when I need her input. It's bad when her smartness makes me look stupid.

She is the finest mother our kids could want. She can raise a baby better than any woman alive.

And I get to spend eternity with her.

Brett: Ah, the firstborn. Were it not for the way blogs let folks open up more than usual, I might have a different take on this guy. But through his blog, I have discovered incredible sensitivity toward his family and toward his fellow man. The way Brett is so single-minded about serving God really warms my heart and brings joy that a lot of parents never experience.

I love how he dispenses financial wisdom that normally comes from someone much older, and how that wisdom is anchored around giving to God.

He is probably the wittiest person on earth, and seems to effortlessly have something funny to add to any remark. What a gift!

He married well and has blessed us with two wonderful grandsons.

Thanks, Brett...for all you've done and will do to make us proud.

Blake: Son #2 has his father's good looks, mixed with incredible caring and love for those around him. My mistake with Blake was to always underestimate him throughout his life. He knows how to overcome adversity and triumph over tough times.

I can't really pinpoint why I've sold him short. Was it because that always happens with the 2nd son? Was it because it seemed things came easier for Brett? Was it all those broken bones in junior high school? Don't know, but he has proved me wrong so many times.

He and I share so many values in life. We both approach discipline the same. We agree on how to budget. Because we both teach, our outlooks on education are the same. If ever I'm locked in an elevator for four hours, give me Blake as a fellow prisoner and the time will fly by pleasantly.

He also married well, and has blessed us with our beautiful granddaughter.

Thank you, Blake...for making me proud every single day.

Brooke: This kid has never experienced a single day in life when she wasn't beautiful...much like her mommy. She is a fierce Christian warrior and would have made a great apostle.

None of our kids went through such a transformation as Brooke. She went from being an extremely shy, quiet child to an effervescent, talkative extrovert within the course of about four years. Still don't know who or what flipped her switch.

I don't know anyone who is as fiercely Christian as Brooke. She gives Satan fits. She has every reason to live off her good looks and be a lazy, conceited snob. Instead, she is full of compassion, love, and energy for good works.

She didn't marry until the perfect guy came along...and Michael is indeed our 3rd son. I can't wait to hold their kids in my arms.

Thank you, Brooke...for showing the rest of us how to live life in a godly manner.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

He Shoots, He Scores!

The main reason I got up at 5:40 on this Saturday morning to stand in the 20 degree wind chill at Love Field was to try and photograph one of Southwest Airlines' special scheme planes.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Faith or Works?

Our salvation is dependent on Christ's blood, for sure. But what is our role in the salvation process?

According to Paul, we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). According to James, faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26) What's a Christian to do?''

What I'm about to offer is easy to type, difficult to live out. For indeed, from our infancy we are drilled that reward comes from work. Those who don't work deserve no reward. To get something undeserved makes us uncomfortable.

But here's the deal.

Works are not a condition of salvation. They are a consequence of salvation. Any true believer (emphasis on "true") cannot keep from being a servant. An inert Christian is not one. Much as Peter and John in Acts 3 said they couldn't help but speak about what they had seen and heard, if we're truly saved, our servanthood will be spontaneous and joyful.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A State of Readiness

I'm convinced we are in the "last days". This morning, I watched Dr. Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist on TV, and he said he thinks all the prophetic criteria of the last days have been met. I'm not so sure, but he's a lot smarter than I.

Most scholars who study this say that one sure sign will be nations ganging up on Israel. This is surely happening now, witness Iran.

What does this mean for a Christian? Excitement and urgency. Our reunion with our Savior is nigh! The everlasting defeat of Satan and sin is imminent! The time we have left to save the souls of others is rapidly filling up the bottom of the hourglass.

Each day I awake now, I sense this could be THE day. Hopefully, this means more commitment, less frivolous talk, more prayer and Bible reading. More of saying those things that need to be said to loved ones, less concern about material possessions.

Since singing ruins my voice for a few days, during worship I tend to just close my eyes while hymns are sung...and soak up the lyrics. This morning, the singing was so good at Highland Oaks that I let myself imagine the "choral anthems" ringing in my ears as all saved believers praise their King.

Bring it on.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Lasik Update

It's been a month and a half since I let Dr. Boothe do a burn on my eyes. This week I returned for another post-op checkup and my eyes tested out at 20/16. They may be better than that. With my distance eye, I could read the lowest line on the eye chart. With my close-up eye, I read the smallest print on the card they handed me.

I guess they'd have to give me more stringent eyecharts in order to see if I'm indeed better than 20/16.

I can't tell you how pleased I am with the results. All of the things that were nuisances during the first couple of weeks are gone. I have the ability to switch from looking at fine print to looking at a faraway object with no lag time. I wake up in the morning with perfect vision and no glasses or contacts to mess with.

I want Carole to experience this freedom. Her vision problems are more complicated than mine, but I'm confident they can handle it.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Smart Kids!

Every Friday before the Super Bowl, I have my students guess the final score. They really get into it. But some seem, uh, somehow athletically challenged. I guess they've been living under a rock.

Here are some of the guesses through 5 periods today:

Seattle 1
Pittsburgh 0

Pittsburgh 16
(that was all that was listed)

Pittsburgh 206
Seattle 150

Seattle 3
Pittsburgh 1

And then...

Pittsburgh 18%

Uh, it's been a long year.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Yesterday as I was lecturing for the umpteenth time in my teaching career, something happened that I assume happens to all teachers or ministers every so often. I caught myself listening to myself.

It is very uncomfortable, comparable to hearing oneself on tape. You pull back and say, "I sound like that?" It made me wonder if all my students were hearing me just as I sounded to myself. That made me feel sorry for them.

Much better to teach without this personal feedback.