Our daughter was just a toddler, and she'd often talk with me while I was brushing my teeth in the morning, or shaving, or combing my hair. But one morning, unbeknownst to my wife, our daughter got in the bathroom, stood on something, and got the blade razor that I shaved with. When her mother walked in, our daughter was stroking that razor across her face, minus any shaving cream and leaving some pretty serious scratches and scrapes behind.
People in the real estate business will tell you that three things really matter when it comes to the value of any property: location, location, and location. Apparently, the President's White House team believes that, too. After the re-election of Bill Clinton many years ago, "Newsweek" actually described the efforts of various officials to get the best office spaces at the White House. I guess it happens with every administration. But I liked the title, "The Geography of Power." So what makes an office at the White House a good office? Well, if you had a choice about your office, you'd probably want the one with windows and plenty of space. But that's not what matters most in the White House office scramble. It's how close are you to the Oval Office! You've got to be near the President! Right? The way they put it is this - "proximity is power." Uh-huh, it is.
A few summers ago, I went on a river trip with some young people. It was a river that had not been nearly so friendly just three months before. The spring rains had been record breakers and the resulting floods had even redirected parts of the river. Our guide took us down a whole new channel of the river that hadn't even been there three months earlier, and he pointed out this palatial home that was built near the river by a multi-millionaire. The flood had suddenly made his home very vulnerable. It was saved only by a hastily-constructed brick wall. A lot of the landscaping around that home couldn't be saved, like the bridges for example. See, since this had just been a little stream before the flood, the homeowner built some charming wooden bridges across it at several points. Now the bridges weren't really destroyed, they were just, like, relocated. As we moved downstream, we saw this charming wooden bridge sitting in the middle of an island of mud in the middle of the river. Later we saw another bridge, pretty intact, just sitting on the riverbank. Oh, they were nice bridges all right, they just didn't go anywhere.
It would have to be near the top of the list of one of the most memorable commercials of all times. It actually goes back to the 1980s. Anybody who was around then will remember this commercial. See, there are men who sit in ad offices all day long, struggling to come up with that million dollar slogan that will impress the nation. Well, there was one that was on everyone's lips back then; three haunting words: "Where's the beef?"
Hanna lives in coal country so she's been around miners a lot. Being in youth ministry for years I've been around minors a lot too. Oh wait, that's a different kind; it's spelled differently. But Hanna and a friend of mine were talking recently about the mines and the miners and a surprising fact came out. Hanna said the most common cause of death among those coal miners was electrocution. She said they live in a real remote area and the mining operation was pretty old and relatively primitive. So there were sometimes problems with the wiring in the mine, and miners actually getting electrocuted. What compounds the problem is that the nearest doctor is many miles away, which led Hanna to ask the doctor one time if there was anything the local folks could do to help while they're waiting for the doctor to arrive. She was surprised by the doctor's answer. "Well, there is one thing. Hug the injured miner." Well, obviously Hanna wanted to know why. He said, "When people are about to go into shock, there is something about a hug, about human touch - about human tenderness."
When your airplane flight is over, it's not really over. See, there's that closing chapter of a trip that you get to spend at baggage claim. At my home airport they have these big carousels where suitcases are dumped out and where they circle until their owners claim them. Now, my bags seem to have a knack for waiting until almost all the other bags are out, for some reason. So I just keep watching those suitcases of all shapes and sizes and conditions appear, and waiting for one I like - no, no, no. I mean, one I recognize. But there always seem to be some phantom bags there. Have you noticed that? They just keep circling and circling and circling. And since the luggage carousel is all I really have to look at, the show gets pretty boring! Yep, there goes that baggage again!
I saw this news story about a highly successful New York surgeon who volunteers a month every year to donate his services in needy countries. This particular summer, he'd had set up a tent clinic in the jungles of Costa Rica. In the middle of operating on a five-year-old boy, it became apparent this boy desperately needed blood. Problem: only 2% of the human race has that boy's blood type. Suddenly the doctor excused himself, only to return a few minutes later with the needed blood. It turns out that doctor is one of the 2% with that type! There, in the middle of that jungle, that boy's life could only be saved by one man's blood. Just like me.
The phone rang in my study. I thought my wife was asleep at the other end of the house. Even though I was really preoccupied with what I was writing, I answered the phone so it wouldn't disturb her. A guy named Mike said hello and he started explaining his special offer related to satellite TV. I wasn't interested, and I tried to tell him that. He just kept talking. I was just starting to tell him no a little more forcefully when I heard a little giggle on the phone. My wife was awake; she had picked up the extension. That's when I woke up! I hate to tell you this. I was talking to a recording. Feeling stupid now! Click.
You learn a lot about eagles when you spend time with Native Americans. Like how their babies learn to fly. When Mama builds their nest, she lays a foundation of rocks and sticks - then covers it with leaves and feathers and foliage. And the baby eaglets love hanging out there.
There's this two-lane highway that's a main link between communities. And when they had to close one lane for a short-term road project, it created some delays for all of us tremendously patient people. It was one of those projects where one flagger stops the traffic in one lane while another flagger allows the traffic for the other lane to proceed. All day long, open your lane, close your lane, open your lane, close your lane. They had a car with a "pilot car" sign on it that led the proceeding traffic to the end of the one-lane area. Then the pilot of the pilot car (How you doing with all this?) got to turn around and drive back with the traffic following him from the other side. That's got to be exciting work! One lady apparently was short on patience that day. Oh, she waited until her lane was open and the pilot car came. She happened to be the first in line, but her patience ended as soon as she started to follow the pilot car. She decided to floor it and pass the pilot car. Bad idea! She crashed right into their heavy equipment.