The Victoria’s Secret incident ………………….


Walter and I had an appointment for lunch on Thursday. We met at the Big Fisherman, one of our favorite places. Once we were seated and pleasantries had been exchanged, a solemn look came over his face and he said, “I had something terrible occur yesterday”. Concerned about my friend, I asked if it was something he could, or even wanted to talk about. He said, “Not really, but I need too”. As it turns out I was the last person he should have talked too. I only made his stress worse.

He began his story like this: “With Christmas just around the corner, I have been trying to find something special to buy Leslie for Christmas …… something she would really like and enjoy. Lauren told me yesterday morning that she had been talking with her mom and learned that she really wanted a big, fluffy white bath robe. Today, while I was in Corpus, I went to the mall to see if I could find such a robe. A sales lady in J. C. Penny told me that she thought Victoria’s Secret, right there in the mall, had ladies’ bath robes and gave me directions to the store. All I knew about Victoria’s Secret was that the things they sold didn’t leave much of anything as a secret ………. so I had a serious debate with myself about if I could, or even should, enter such a store…………. I mean, Dude, a Baptist Preacher going into Victoria’s Secret? What if someone from the Church saw me? What would they think?

When I arrived at the store, the very robe I had pictured in my mind was on display in the front window. I thought, ‘I love Leslie enough to do this for her’, so I looked all around to make certain no one was watching me and quickly enter the store – just in, buy the robe and get out of there! As I entered, I looked around the store for a sales clerk, but didn’t see anyone. I called out but there was no response ……… so I nervously began walking around looking for help, nervous to even be in such a place ……….. and with no one seemingly in the store made it even worse.  I am not even sure what happened or why, but somehow I managed to bump into a table and knocked it over. Everything on it crashed to the floor. One of the items on the table was a bottle of bath oil and it hit the floor and broke open. The oil just ran everywhere. It was like a nightmare, and I decided that my best option was to just get out of there ASAP. As I hurriedly turned to make my escape, my foot slipped in the oil and I fell to the floor. As I was falling I reached out trying to catch myself and in the process knocked over a second table. That table had a large jar filled with blue marbles and another jar filled with some sort of dust…….. the jars broke when they hit the floor and the marbles and dusty stuff went everywhere.  There I was, flat on the floor, lying in bath oil – with marbles and dust everywhere. I tried and tried, but simply could not get traction to get up off the floor. Then, out of nowhere the sales lady walked up ……. I was pretty embarrassed lying on the floor and that condition …….. and the lady was quite perplexed. I asked her to help me up, but she said refused. Instead, she called EMS and I laid on that floor, waiting and soaking up the bath oil —- with that lady looking down at me.  I was really embarrassed. EMS finally arrived, checked me out and finally helped me stand up. I had to walk through the mall covered in bath oil and dust. What a mess”! I couldn’t help but chuckle as I imagined the scene my friend described.

After lunch, we went our separate ways, but I continued to think about his experience. Later in the day, I send a fax addressed to Walter at the Church office claiming that I was a reporter with the local newspaper and asked for an interview about his recent experience at Victoria’s Secret. I claimed that I wanted to come to his Church office and take a photo of him during the interview. I waited about an hour and then sent a 2nd fax saying that I didn’t need the photo after all as I had managed to get the security video from the store and would just use it.

I am not sure what all was said when Walter called the newspaper to warn them against printing any story about him and Victoria’s Secret …… I do think he suggested it was certain that there would be legal consequences involved ………..

After a few days passed, I could not stand it anymore and had to confess to Walter that the fax had come from me  ……….. not the Newspaper office. I think I will always remember the look that came over his face. I am pretty sure he was recalling the phone call he had made to the newspaper office ………… and perhaps the things he had said.

I am not sure how that kind, good, gentle man tolerated me ……………… I really miss him!

The Passing of a Dear Friend . . .


My Friend, Steve, called yesterday afternoon to tell me that his precious Mother had gone to be with the Lord.  It was a sad conversation, but we both knew that His Mom was already in Heaven . . .  experiencing a glorious reunion with many people she had loved and lost over her long life . . . we knew that she was seeing beauty and perfection like she had never imagined.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard what He has prepared for those who love Him” . . . and we know that Suzy did, indeed, love Him! We saw the evidence of that love in her life . . . and all through her life.

Her life reflected that love and did it in a way that was contagious to those around her.  She passed that love on to her sons and their families and to an untold number of others through her years.

She was a very special lady. Born in Vandalia, Missouri, she would later become “Miss Vandalia.” She went to the University of Missouri and then accepted a position with the Civil Service. She was assigned to Japan.  It was there she met her future husband, Frank. Frank was a recent graduate of the Naval Academy and a dashing pilot serving in the Korean Conflict. A Beauty Queen and her handsome pilot . . . What a couple!  Frank and Susie were terrific together . . . but that is how it is when one finds the very person God has created just for them! They spent 59 years together. Pretty amazing . . . Frank was born and raised in Alabama . . . Suzy was born and raised in Missouri. There is only one possible explanation . . . the Lord brought them together in Japan!

Frank and Suzy lived in San Antonio; then retired in Rockport. They are well-loved in both places . . . that is just Frank and Suzy . . . and how they lived their lives.

There were so many things I loved about Suzy! A few were . . .

. . . You could walk into a room where Suzy was and when she looked up and saw you, she was so excited; excited just to see you! People looking on would likely think she had not seen you in a year, but that was not the case at all. That was the way she greeted you . . . every time. Suzy made everyone feel special and you always knew she loved you. She was genuinely happy and she made others happy!

. . . Suzy was always ready to help anyone with a problem. If you were in a struggle, there was no one better to have around than Suzy. She would do anything she could to help. She truly knew how to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galations 6:2).  There is no telling how many times she cooked and delivered warm soup to someone she had heard was sick . . . or a meal for a family during a time of bereavement.  There is no way to know the number of under-privileged kids she bought shoes and school clothes for . . . how many people she drove to a doctor’s appointment . . . or how many prescriptions she picked up at the pharmacy for those who could not go themselves.  She knew how to be a friend!

. . . Suzy loved her family, and she loved for them to visit. She wanted everyone to be comfortable, healthy, happy and well-fed . . . and she made that happen! She delighted in having a houseful. She was a terrific Wife . . . Mother . . . Mother-in-Law . . . Grandmother. Suzy knew what made a family function as a family is supposed to function! She did what a Mom is supposed to do and she did it very well!

. . . Suzy was a tireless worker at Church and a wonderful example for others. I could not even begin to name the jobs she did in the Church. She did every one of those jobs well and she did them with a grateful and happy heart.   She had a servant’s heart.

A proverb speaking of the rewards of a Good Woman says, “and her children shall rise up and call her Blessed” and Suzy’s children have certainly done that over the years. Her family is wise and they always knew they had been blessed beyond measure by having Suzy . . . Today, they have a memory of her and they have the assurance of being with her again one day . . .

Dear, Sweet Suzy, a life of meaning and purpose. She did not simply live her life . . .  she invested her life in the Kingdom of God . . . and now she inherits the reward of a faithful servant!

She was an inspiration . . . She was my friend . . . I love that lady!

The Fiscal Cliff . . .


We are hearing the term “The Fiscal Cliff” used quite a bit today. I have recently had an increasing number of people ask me what the term means. Some who have asked are people I consider to be successful business people, people who have accumulated quite a bit of wealth.

The Fiscal Cliff is the new term for the conundrum that the U. S. is facing at the end of 2012, which is just days away. The danger is when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect, along with several other things that will happen at the same instant.  These events are scheduled to happen at 12:01 a.m. on 1/01/2013, and are viewed by many to be the elements of the “Perfect Storm” financially that will take us and the US economy over the Cliff. The events scheduled to occur are:

. . . Last year’s temporary tax cuts will expire, thus, immediately causing a 2% tax increase for wage earners;

. . . The end of a large number of tax breaks for businesses will expire;

. . . The scheduled shifts in the alternative minimum tax, which will take a larger bite;

. . . The end of the tax cuts implemented in 2001 to 2003 (referred to as the Bush Tax Cuts) will expire; and

. . . The beginning of heavy and new taxation related to what is known as Obama Care will kick in (one unknown component of the Health Care bill just announced today is the annual enrollment fee for those having “pre-existing conditions,” which is said to cost employers billions of dollars).

Even further, the spending cuts which had been agreed to as part of the debt ceiling deal of 2011 will go into effect. This will impact something like 1,000 government funded programs – including the Defense Department and Medicare. There will be deep, automatic cuts.

Nothing else needs to be done to make this become reality . . . the elements are all in place; but there is a great deal that must be done to prevent it from becoming reality. Most reports agree that there are three possible options available for us to deal with this potential financial nightmare. Those options are reported to be:

  1. We can let the current policy scheduled for 2013 go into effect. The result is expected to have a significant, negative impact on growth (which is now already non-existent) and will likely put the economy back into a deep recession. I have read that “If there is a plus side to this option it would only be that the deficit, as a percentage of the GDP, would be cut in half.” Frankly, I am not even sure what that means . . . but it seems to me that it simply gives economist a new way to look at the deficit. It seems to be to basically smoke and mirrors bookkeeping and is much like the things we read about that “will save a great deal of money over the next 10 years,” when in fact, there were no decrease in spending but merely a reduction in the projected growth of certain things in the budget.

 We can cancel a portion of both the scheduled tax increases and spending cuts. The result would be that the deficit increases . . . and thus, also greatly increasing the odds that we would face a financial crisis much like what is happening in Europe as our deficit continues to grow. Personally, I don’t see much chance of this as the Republican controlled House won’t agree to reduce the automatic spending cuts without also reducing the tax increases …. and the Democratic Senate and White House won’t agree to reducing the tax increases without also reducing the automatic cuts in spending. Where is the olive branch to make this option work?

 We could take the middle road and address the budget issues for a brief period of time. I suspect this is the best we can hope for — if anything happens at all. Sadly, this approach is simply kicking the can down the road and won’t begin to solve our financial problems.

 The truth is that our political environment today is so partisan in nature and our people so divided it is next to impossible to address our increasingly serious financial situation with any measure of prudence. The greater truth is that this is not a new problem. It has been building over the past 20+ years and only gets worse. We have watched the shadow boxing for the past three years as we have approached the cliff and our elected officials have done absolutely nothing to head this thing off . . . and they still are not.

The American people also did nothing to head it off – in November we sent a divided system back to Washington to represent us. Those elected won’t be sworn in until January 3, 2013 . . . three days after we are set to fall off of the cliff.

The Congressional Budget Office has warned that if all of these things come into play as designed, there will be a dramatic impact and we can expect a cut in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of at least 4%, and an increase in unemployment. American businesses have been warning for months that if these things all happen as scheduled, they will be forced to lay off workers in large numbers in an effort to survive. It is certain that unemployment numbers will rise sharply and quickly. The sound we will hear on January 1, 2013, will be something like $600 billion being sucked out of an already-troubled economy.

Do you know anything about economics? Let me show some principles of Economics 101.

There are seven (7) stages in the life cycle of a Nation’s economy, as follows:

Stage 1: Good Money;

Stage 2: Takes on Burden;

Stage 3: Massive Military;

Stage 4: Significant increase in National Expense;

Stage 5: FIAT;

Stage 6: Loss of Faith (in the Nation financially and in its currency); and

Stage 7: The End of the Currency.

Following is a brief analysis of those stages:

Stage 1: A Nation begins its economy with a currency that is backed by something of value to others besides the citizens in that nation. The currency is backed by something sound and solid such as gold or silver.

Stage 2: In this stage, the nation begins to take on financial burden to improve the nation and the way of life for its citizens. It generally begins with things such as roads, bridges, infrastructure, and other such things that benefit everyone in general. The danger over time for a nation is that this type of spending evolves into personal life and becomes ever-growing social programs, which ultimately rewards people for not working. This can grow like wild-fire, and has in the USA since 1937.  Over 50% of our annual revenue is being spent on entitlements.

Stage 3: At this stage, the nation develops a massive military. The purpose of the military is basically four-fold: national defense . . . to protect its wealth and way of life; to protect areas around the world that holds an interests for the nation; and to acquiring areas of the planet which the nation wishes to own or control.

Stage 4: The cost of being a nation increases greatly as it maintains its Stage 2 efforts and now maintains, funds, and expands its military. The more ambitious the nation, the more it spends.

Stage 5: As the nation’s expenses increase, its currency is produced in great amounts and there is less of the commodity that backs and supports the currency, so the nation’s leaders shift the system to this FIAT system. What is the definition of FIAT? There are actually several different ones, as follows: 1. A command, an act or will that creates something without, as if without, any further effort; 2. an authoritative determination (e.g. a FIAT of conscience); and 3. an authoritative or arbitrary order or decree (e.g. a government order). Example: In 1971 Richard Nixon took the USA off of the Gold Standard due to the cost of the Viet Nam war and USA monetary policy simply declared the value of the dollar.

Stage 6: Loss of Faith (in the currency): When a nation reaches this stage, several things begin to happen as confidence in the currency and the nation begins to fade. A couple of those things are:

  1. Other nations begin to demonstrate concern about the nation and its economy; and
  2. A move away from the currency toward precious metals. As an example, look at what has happened to gold prices over the past 4 to 5 years (from $300 per ounce to $1,700 per ounce).

Stage 7: This process is generally accompanied by either hyper-inflation or hyper-deflation. Mexico and Brazil over the past 25 years are great examples of a nation in this Stage where these events occurred.  In the 1970’s, the Mexican economy and inflation was so great that its interest rate went over 3,000%. The same happened in Brazil. Both nations had to recall their currency and re-issue a replacement currency.

The FED has understood this danger since the financial crisis in 2008 and has tried to avoid inflation in our economy. The FED has kept interest rates from 0 to .25%, and that leaves it without many other bullets.

So, what Stage do you think the USA sits at this moment in history?

What is your confidence in the group we have sent to our Capital to address our nation’s problems? Can this group fix this thing, or do we, in fact, go over the cliff? If we do go over the cliff, how far do we fall?  From the reports I am seeing, very little is happening to address this situation. Our leaders are too busy protecting their own turf . . . and rattling their sabers.

Seems to me it is time for action. If our elected representatives won’t act, then it is time for wise and prudent people to prepare themselves as much as possible. It seems pretty obvious that something is about to happen . . .

Stevan . . . A good guy!

Stevan is my nephew. His Mom is my sweet little sister.

Stevan is a good guy . . . quiet, deep-thinking, gentle, polite, has a great sense of humor, and is an easy guy to be around. Stevan is blessed with the graciousness of a man twice his age. He is one of my favorite people . . . I like to hang out with the dude and hear him laugh!

I remember the day he was born. I remember driving to Dallas that day to meet him. What a fine boy he was!

I enjoyed watching his as a toddler . . . I enjoyed watching him as a little boy . . . I enjoyed watching him as a teen . . . I enjoyed watching him grow into manhood.

I have been inspired by his commitment . . . and his ability to set goals and accomplish them. When Stevan says he wants to do something, you better take him seriously . . . I have certainly learned to do so. In fact, if Stevan showed up at the Kentucky Derby with a sway-backed mule and said he was going to ride him in the race, I would bet a few bucks on the mule, simply because Stevan brought him. Let me give you a few examples:

As a boy, Stevan wanted to be a pilot. I don’t have a clue where that came from . . . there are no pilots on either side of his family. But, I’ll be danged if Stevan didn’t pursue that dream, overcome some obstacles, and today he has a Pilot’s License! How many people do you really know who actually followed through on a childhood dream? Not many . . .

Stevan also wanted to be an Engineer . . . for several years, he has been taking classes and is getting closer to that goal. I have every confidence Stevan will, indeed, become an Engineer.

He also has great taste in cars . . . I like that! He always has a cool car or two.

I think I took Stevan on his first fishing trip . . . and watched him catch his first fish. He has traveled down here and spent some time on Aftermath with us.

Happy Birthday, Stevan . . . I love you, Man!


December 7th . . . “a day which will live in infamy”

On this date in 1941, a group of Americans woke up to what they assumed would be just another day in paradise. Were they ever wrong . . .

Most of them were assigned to Hawaii with the Navy at Pearl Harbor . . . Many were young and in love with life . . . perhaps, in love with someone they planned a future with . . . and in love with the beauty of Hawaii and their good fortune in this duty assignment.

On that morning, the Imperial Japanese Navy made a surprise military strike on Pearl Harbor. That event changed many things . . . for many people. There were only a few seconds that morning between normal, chaos, and tragedy . . . but a lifetime for many to remember the horror of it all.

The Pearl Harbor base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes, which arrived in two waves, which had been launched from six aircraft carriers. All eight of our battleships were struck, and four of them were sunk. In addition, three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and a minelayer were also damaged or sunk; and 188 planes were destroyed.

2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 were wounded. People, families, communities, and a nation was changed that day.

The Nation was shocked and horrified. The attack was a complete surprise. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed December 7, 1941, “a day which will live in infamy.”

The next day, December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan and entered into World War II.

Today, the USS Arizona Memorial on the island of Oahu honors the lives lost that day.

Recommended reading for those wanting a better understanding of this tragedy: At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Gordon W. Prange.  It is a comprehensive account of the events leading up to the attack. It is the first book of the Prange Trilogy of Pearl Harbor books (which consists of this book, Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History and December 7, 1941: The Day The Japanese Attacked Pearl Harbor.


Why Did the Chicken cross the Road?

For as long as I can remember this has been an old, unanswered question.

. . . Perhaps the question has been answered by the great minds of our day. See what you think.

When presented with the question, here is how they replied:

Barak Obama . . . The chicken crossed the road because it was time for change! The chicken wanted CHANGE!

John McCain . . . My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

Hillary Clinton . . . When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure – right from Day One that every chicken in the country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn’t about me . . .

Dr. Phil . . . The problem we have here is that this chicken won’t realize that he must first deal with the problems on “this” side of the road, before it goes after the problems on the “other” side of the road. What we must do is help him realize how stupid he is acting by not taking on his current problems before taking on new problems across the road.

Oprah . . . Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so badly. So, instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take the fall as some suggest is part of life, I am going to buy this chicken a new car so he can just drive across the road and not have to live his life like the rest of the chickens.

George W. Bush . . . We really don’t care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not! That chicken is either against us, or he is for us! There is no middle ground for the chicken.

Colin Powell . . . Now, to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

Anderson Cooper – CNN . . . We have reason to believe that there is, in fact, a chicken, but have not yet been allowed to have access to the chicken, or for that matter, the other side of the road either.

John Kerry . . . Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken’s intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it!

Martha Stewart . . . No one called to warn me about which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer’s Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

Nancy Grace . . . That #@!%^&# chicken crossed the road because he is GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and by the way he walks!

Pat Buchanan . . . The chicken crossed the road to steal the job of a decent, hard-working American.

Dr. Seuss . . .  Did the chicken cross the road?

Did he cross it with a toad?

Yes, the chicken crossed the road,

But why it crossed, I’ve not been told.

 Ernest Hemingway . . . To die in the rain. Alone

Jerry Falwell . . . Because the chicken was gay! Can’t you people see the plain truth? That is why they call it “the other side of the road.” Yes, friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay, too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media white-washes with seemingly harmless phrases like “the other side of the road.” That chicken should not be crossing the road. It is as plain and simple as that!

Grandpa . . . In my day we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.

Aristotle . . . It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

John Lennon . . . Imagine all of the chickens in the world crossing the road together, in peace.

Albert Einstein . . . Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

Bill Clinton . . . I did not cross THAT road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

Al Gore . . . I invented the chicken.

Colonel Sanders . . . Did I miss one?

Dick Cheney . . . Where is my shotgun?

Al Sharpton . . . Why are all of the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

Did you find the answer?