Thursday, December 20, 2012

Linus, Luke Christmas

Let's all have a Charles Schultz Christmas.
Charlie Brown asked Linus, "What's the true meaning of Christmas?"
Linus dropped his blanket and waltzed over to a Bible and quoted Luke 2:8-11: "And there were in the same country Shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
We watched this video at Central Methodist church during community meals.
That glorious message has nothing to do with Santa Claus or gift giving or decorating a tree or feasting on turkey and ham and dressing.
Jesus is the reason for the season!
We celebrate the birth of Jesus and his mission on Earth: To spread love. Work miracles. Love your enemy as you love yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Then, he endured the penultimate sacrifice. His life. He died to save us of our sins.
Then God performed the greatest miracle and Jesus' human body was resurrected.
The apostles witnessed this and spread the word founding a new religion based on Jesus' and God's love for us.
Our mission should complement Jesus'.
We should spread love throughout our daily lives with everyone we meet.
We should be missionaries converting others or just sharing our life experiences and being a good role model to praise God.
Red Skelton once said: "God blesses us all with a talent. When we utilize that talent that's a blessing to God."
My talent is writing. My New Year's resolution is to continue this blog and hopefully expand it into a book.
I'm just counting down the days when I receive my Social Security benefits and can afford a laptop.
So, everyone have a Joseph and Mary Christmas!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


"I want to be remembered as a winning coach, but I also want to be remembered as an honest and ethical coach." -- Darrell Royal

One of the coaching icons, Darrell Royal, just entered the football hall of heaven. He joins another legendary icon from Arkansas, Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Two of my favorite stories from the coaching lexicon revolve around these hallowed saints.
Once before a bowl game, Royal was queried if he planned anything different or surprising for the upcoming foe.
He quipped: "It's like when you take a girl to the local barn dance. You dance with the one who brung ya."
In other words, you maintain the offense and the defense that brung ya to the bowl game.
Royal and Arkansas' iconic coach Frank Broyles shared a unique relationship.
They were best friends during the off-season and enjoyed playing golf together. Their families even vacationed together.
That's unheard of in the modern era where some coaches exchange epithets rather than handshakes at the end of a hotly contested game.
The penultimate reward for a coach is to have the football field named after him.
Both Royal and Broyles share that honor.
When Royal announced his retirement prior to the conclusion of the 1976 season, Broyles preferred to forgo his announcement until after the Arkansas-Texas game.
But Orville Henry, the sports editor of the Arkansas Gazette, and a close personal friend of Broyles, thought it would give Texas a distinctive advantage that Royal's announcement might provide inspiration and motivation to the Longhorns, knowing their illustrative coach was bowing out.
So, Henry announced Broyles retirement prior to the game.
Broyles didn't appreciate the gesture because he had only told close friends.
Nevertheless, Texas upended the Razorbacks, 29-12.
Here's another gem from Royal: "You've got to think lucky. If you fall into a mud hole, check your back pocket, you might have caught a fish."
In the 1982 Sugar Bowl, Arkansas clashed with No. 1 Alabama.
"Bear" Bryant remembered a young coach climbing up his tower once during a practice session to try and impress him with a fake punt he'd devised.
Sure enough Bryant remembered that encounter and used that fake punt against Arkansas and Lou Holtz en route to the national championship-clinching victory.
I had the pleasure of covering that bowl game. My assignment was to go to the Alabama dressing room and interview the winning Crimson Tide.
Coach Bryant's quotes were indistinguishable on my tape recorder. He sounded like a bullfrog.
I had to resort to the Alabama hand out sheet to quote Bryant.
I always wondered why or if he ever contemplated coaching at Arkansas. He grew up near Fordyce, Arkansas.
In his biography I read that he was discontented at Kentucky and pondered interviewing for the vacancy position at Arkansas.
So, the Kentucky alumni furnished Bryant with a bottle of whiskey and kept him all night drinking and negotiating. He signed a new contract for $5,000 more.
What if Arkansas had reciprocated?
Oh, my!
Just another day in sports memorabilia.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Hop to Waffle House

Whenever adversity strikes, I hop to Waffle House!
In the early days of my homelessness, I found myself sleeping in a field.
Whenever it rained I hopped to Waffle House, where they fed me.
Whenever a skunk, Pepe LePew, gnawed his way into my tent, I hopped to Waffle House and they gave me coffee and a safe place to hang out.
Whenever I had to dodge rain drops last weekend and await my Sunday cleanup of Razorback Stadium, I hopped to Waffle House on Dickson and stayed there all night drinking coffee.
So, the moral of the story is: if you need a safe haven, you can go to Waffle House and you'll be in the International House of Passion (IHOP).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Legend died

Sadly "Beano" Cook died today at the age of 83.
I remember when he predicted Arkansas would win the national football championship the year after the Razorbacks upended Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
He brought Hog fans into a feverish frenzy.
The Razorbacks were the cover boys of Sports Illustrated.
Alas, that cover jinx hexed the Hogs who didn't fulfill the nirvana dreams we had hoped for.
Kind of reminds me of this year's preseason hype and hoopla.
I thought it was intriguing that Beano never married.
His first love was sports and reporting about it and commenting about it.
He was a lovable man who exuded enthusiasm.
He also was a quick quipster.
When baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn offered lifetime passes to the freed hostages from Iran, Beano jested: "Haven't they suffered enough!"
He will be missed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tent city

It's ironic that the Fayetteville police tear down "campers" tents indiscrimately in the woods.
They literally rip them to shreds with their knives.
Those gnarly beasts!
But this week during "Bikes, Booze and BBQ" Dickson Street resembles "Tent City."
You bet your bottom dollar if you participate you'll be down to your bottom dollar!
The price of everything on Dickson skyrockets as the permanent merchants inflate their prices to attract huge profits from the bikers and their babes.
And an influx of entrepeneurly merchants from all over the United States of greed swoop into Fayetteville and erect tents and start cachinging their merchandise.
Is this good?
It all started when some bikers decided to have a poker run to benefit a cancer victim 11 years ago.
Year by year the event has grown by leaps and varooms.
No one really knows how many bikers blast into Fayetteville because there's no official registration. The only guesstimate is made by helicopters taking photos from above.
A good time is had by all, except for a few rowdies who get plastered and end up in Jailbird magazine.
But by and large it's a splendiferous event.
Who profits?
The "Tent City" immigrants and the Dickson Street moguls.
Everyone needs a "Bikes, Blues and BBQ" T-shirt.
Or at least that's what they would have you believe as you stroll up and down Dickson.
Ironically while I was homeless in Rogers and Bentonville a few years ago I dreamed the great American Dream and wanted so badly to come to Fayettenam for the pilgrimage.
Alas, I had no money and no ride.
Now, this week I've been enriched by a Triple Crown.
I labored 10 hours on Saturday helping supervise parking before the Razorback football debacle against Rutgers.
On Sunday I vacuumed for 11 hours cleaning up the remnants of peanuts, popcorn and other festive trash at Razorback Stadium. That job really sucked! (Pun intended.)
And, lastly but greatly I was informed our film "Why I Went to the Woods" won $400 for Sarah Moore and me.
I now have enough money to go down to "Tent City" and enjoy the festivities.
But, my heart and soul just don't feel up to the occasion.
I'd rather ruminate about how some of my brethren are just trying to survive in their own versions of tent city.
For them it's a 24-365 routine.
Just another day in paradise!

Monday, September 17, 2012


Serendipity: The faculty of making fortunate and unexpected discoveries by accident.
Whenever good fortune smiles on us, how do we act and react?
Last Friday exemplified a serendipitous weekend for yours truly.
Much to my chagrin a few weeks ago Mother Nature played a cruel trick on me as I was racing with the wind and trying to escape a torrential downpour.
Alas, when I ventured into the covered shelter at Walker Park, a library book and a DVD suffered the consequences of my misfortune and were dampened despite being sequestered in my backpack.
I meekly waited a week hoping Dame Fortune would smile on me when I submitted them back to the Fayetteville Public Library.
Whoosh! Gadzooks! Shucky darn!
I received letters from the library proclaiming I owed $5 for the DVD and $32.99 for the book.
So, I suffered the consequences and had to forgo using the computer and checking out books and DVDs.
Finally, my wheel of fortune spun in a positive manner.
A very nice lady saw me walking down Dickson Street two weeks ago and buoyantly asked me where I was headed. To the library to read she noted optimistically.
I then related my travails and revealed my library privileges had been suspended due to rain drain.
She pleasantly proclaimed she'd pay my fine. So, meekly and humbly I gave her my card.
When I next checked my library status, much to my manner of well-being I discovered she'd paid $20.
So, last Friday I summoned the courage and pled my case to Second Mile Ministries to see if maybe, just maybe, they could help me out with the remaining balance of $17.99.
The very cherubic lady from College Baptist Church in Fayetteville informed me that was the initial time anyone had made that kind of request.
After some soul-searching, she graciously requested from the treasurer that I be granted a reprieve and a check.
Miraculously, or maybe just a kind gesture of Christian benevolence prompted them to cut me a check for $17.99.
So, my sadness evolved into gladness.
Then, while still floating on Cloud Nine, I went to eat at Seven Hills.
My good fortunes multiplied when I was asked if I wanted to work Sunday helping clean up the upper echelons of Razorback Stadium.
Glory Be and praise the God above!
Saturday I worked seven and a half hours aiding Razorback fanatics park their vehicles.
And, seredipitously one of the parking attendants gave me a ticket to the game.
My euphoria lasted until the Razorbacks committed sooie-cide vis a vis, five turnovers.
Oh, well, I picked up the pieces of my disconsolated spirit after the 52-0 debacle and surged into Sunday to overcome the blow with some furtherance of my monetary gains.
For 12 hours we cleaned Razorback Stadium's plush theater seating area, sweeping up all the popcorn, peanuts and other remnants from the upper decks.
My back still aches from hauling the vac-pack vacuum cleaner, but I garnered approximately $88 which is payable via cash this Friday.
All in all, I earned $165, before taxes, to assuage my depressed feeling from the Razorbacks demise the past two Saturdays.
Originally, before looking up the definition of serendipity, I felt very blessed.
Now in retrospect and with the knowledge of the meaning of serendipity, I realize the serendipity might have been good fortune but maybe not by accident.
So, here's to you Chloe Seal, my good friend from Three Bags in Two Days!
And here's to you my providential benevolent spirit who used to work for Proctor and Gamble (who prefers anonymity)!
And here's to you Bob Wright for recommending me for the clean up job Sunday!
As we took a lunch break I told my co-workers: Once upon a time I covered the Razorbacks from the press box.
Never in my wildest dreams did I envision I would someday be on the cleanup crew!
Now I've penned the exploits of the Razorbacks as a sports writer. Ushered three years ago. Assisted in parking cars. And swept up the trash left behind in the luxurious penthouse suites.
What a roller coaster of emotions I've endured throughout all of this.
But it sure feels redemptive to be making money again.
I feel like I was in the right place at the right time.
Just another day in Hog Heaven!

And here's to you

Monday, July 23, 2012

Of mice and men

I can identify with John Steinbeck's book entitled "Of mice and men"
That sums up my worldly experiences heretofore today.
Last night when I arrived back at my humble abode the power was off.
At first I thought there must be a power outage but the other folks at their respective residences didn't seem to be experiencing a lack of power.
So I checked the power cord connecting my trailer and the adjoining linkage.
Alas, it wasn't unplugged.
So I slumbered restlessly amidst the heat without a fan to cool me off.
I even dreamed I awoke and figured out my dilemma and power was restored. Only in my dreams!
Alas, I awoke and didn't have a clue why I was powerless.
So in the doom and gloom of a pitch-black environment I trod for Fayetteville.
Much to my chagrin it was only 3:10 a.m.
Nevertheless, I boldly traipsed to the University of Arkansas and recharged my phone.
So, I theorize a mouse chewed on the power cord ensconced in my trailer and cut off the power.
I purposely didn't eradicated the little creature because of one of the 10 commandments: Thou shalt not kill.
Now I wish I'd offed the little varmint.
Maybe he was getting revenge on me for playing my television too loud!
Maybe he was reeking revenge on me for not leaving the fan on all day!
Who knows what lurks in the mind of a measly mouse?
So I daydreamed nightmares of my future plight.
There's nothing to look forward to anymore when I get home.
No fan.
No DVD player to entertain me.
No more coffee in the mornings.
No more nuking food with my microwave.
No more reading without a light.
Why me!
Then, some friendly folks intervened and offered me some Good Samaritan deeds.
I got a ride from Community meals to the library.
Another kindly soul is going to give me a ride home later.
I even won "fictitious" money on Zynga poker.
So now I just gotta figure out how to find another power cord to restore my creature comfort of electricity.
And I've got to figure out whether it's nobler to slay the mouse or just forgive and forget!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Be an Andrew

In Central United Methodist Church today Senior Pastor Tony Hollifield challenged his parishioners to be an Andrew this summer.
He was referring to Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, who approached Jesus and Jesus saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the 10th hour.
One of the two which heard John the Baptist speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
He first findeth his own brother Simon and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is , being interpreted the Christ.
And he brought him to Jesus and when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jonah: thou shalt be called Cephas, (Peter) which is by interpretation, A stone.
So, Rev. Hollifield challenged us to make a list of seven people who need Jesus.
He implored us to Look Around and make that list.
II. Look Up! Pray for the welfare and the natural opportunities to approach these seven welfare cases.
III. Look Out! Invest time in these people and help them.
IV. Look Forward! Build bridges and go the extra mile for these wannabe Christians.
V. Look After! Stay close to them and encourage them. People don't care what you know until they know you care.
Be an Andrew!
Build a relationship and bring these people into the fellowship of your church.
I have a friend named Andrew who bestows his love on me by offering me a ride home during this long, hot summer.
Now it's my turn to pass it on to some of my fellow men who desire a better life.
That's my challenge this  summer.
I want to be an Andrew!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Try to remember

When was the last time you forgot something?
I don't remember.
Is that an oxymoron?
You can't remember when you forgot something.
To commemorate an iconic essayist Nora Ephron who passed yesterday, I'm reprinting one of her essays entitled "I Remember Nothing" with some of my jestful critiques, asides, besides and otherwise humorous aphorisms.
"Why do people write books that say it's better to be older than to be younger? she wrote in "I Feel Bad About My Neck"
"It's not better. Even if you have all your marbles, you're constantly reaching for the name of the person you met the day before yesterday."

"A couple of years ago, the actor Ryan O'Neal confessed that he'd recently failed to recognize his own daughter, Tatum, at a funeral and had accidentally made a pass at her.
"Everyone was judgmental about this, but not me. A month earlier, I'd found myself in a mall in Las Vegas when I saw a very pleasant-looking woman coming toward me, smiling, her arms outstretched, and I thought, Who is this woman? Where do I know her from? Then she spoke and I realized it was my sister Amy.
"You might think, Well, how was she to know her sister would be in Las Vegas? I'm sorry to report that not only did I know, but she was the person I was meeting in the mall.
"In 1964 the Beatles came to New York for the first time. I was a newspaper reporter and I was sent to the airport to cover their arrival. It was a Friday. I spent the weekend following them around. Sunday night they appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show." You could make an argument that the '60s began that night, on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was a historic night. I was there. I stood in the back of the Ed Sullivan Theater and watched. I remember how amazingly obnoxious the fans were -- the teenage girls who screamed and yelled and behaved like idiots. But how were the Beatles, you may ask. Well, you are asking the wrong person. I could barely hear them."

I digress.
I remember watching that show on television and likewise I could hardly hear the singing from all the gaga girls screaming.
I also remember the movie "It's Been A Hard Days Night."
George Harrison became enamored with one of the cheerleaders in the movie. He approached her. And he boldly asked her, even without an introduction, "Will you marry me?"
Brusquely she retorted, "No!"
He responded, "Well, will you go out with me?"
She remarked, "No, I've got a boy friend."
When she related this to her friends, they rebuked her by saying, "George Harrison asked you out and you told him you had a boy friend! You fool!"
Ironically she later married Harrison.
Then, Eric Clapton, one of Harrison's best friends fell in love with her.
Clapton once asked her to elope with him.
In the same vein as her first encounter with Harrison, she told Clapton she couldn't because she was married to Harrison.
Discontantly Clapton told her if she didn't he would go off and do heroin for three years.
He penned "Layla" in memory of her and went off on a drug-binge.
Eventually Patty, aka Mrs. Harrison, found Harrison cuckolding Ringo Starr's wife and she divorced him and married Clapton.
Why is it I can remember stories like this, but I have a senior moment remembering what I had for lunch yesterday?

Back to Ephron:
"I went to stand in front of the White House the night Nixon resigned and here's what I have to tell you about it: my wallet was stolen.
"I went to many legendary rock concerts and spent them wondering when they would end and where we would eat afterward and whether the restaurant would still be open and what I would order.
"I went to cover the war in Israel in 1973 but my therapist absolutely forbid me to go to the front.
"I was not at Woodstock, but I might as well have been because I wouldn't remember it anyway."

I digress.
My 18th birthday coincided with the first day of Woodstock: Aug. 15, 1969.
In 2009 approaching my 58th birthday, I told interested friends it was the 40th anniversary of Woodstock and the 40th anniversary of my 18th birthday.
A man heard me talking about this and he bragged that his birthday was also Aug. 15 and his father took him to Woodstock on his 12th birthday.
I asked him about his recollections.
He said he didn't remember any of it because his father had him stoned out on LSD.
What a bummer!

Back to Ephron:
"I am living in the Google years, no question of that. And there are advantages to it. When you forget something, you can whip out your iPhone and go to Google. The Senior Moment has become the Google moment, and it has a much nicer, hipper, younger, more contemporary sound, doesn't it?
"The true Senior Moment is nightmarish. The long search for the answer, the guessing, the self-recrimination, the head-slapping mystification, the frustrated finger-snapping. You just go to Google and retrieve it.
"You can't retrieve your life (unless you're on Wikipedia, in which case you can retrieve an inaccurate version of it)."

So, if you can't remember something, just Google it.
But then will you remember tomorrow or will you have to regurgitate Googling?
Nevertheless, here's to you Nora Ephron!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Faith, endurance pays off

"Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." -- James 1:2-4.

Oh, ye of little faith!
So many naysayers were ready to proclaim the Razorback baseball team persona non grata after they lost to Baylor last week, 8-1, in the first round of the Super Regionals.
Well, relief pitcher Brandon Moore sported a wristband with that Biblical passage on it.
And the Razorbacks rallied to bop Baylor twice and burst into the College World Series with mounds of faith and their endurance paid off.
Sometimes a simple little passage can rally a team or an individual through trials and tribulations and that faith produces endurance and the endurance has its perfect result.
After the Hogs bested Baylor, 1-0, in the finals, Moore knelt and prayed before hopping on the Hogs' celebration.
Moore provided more inspiration for the Razorbacks and that bonding process produced the winning chemistry.
Now as the Razorbacks venture into the College World Series they face further enduring encounters.
Lets hope they persevere again.
But we don't need to pray, just root!
In another inspirational testimonial, a friend suffered a very painful motorcycle accident a few weeks ago.
One of his visitors related to me that he couldn't use his right arm.
Well, this man of faith called an inspirational friend and asked him to pray for him.
Lo and behold, following that prayer, he could move his arm again!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


"If you're poor and you commit a crime, the legal system works quickly and leaves you in pieces all over the highway. If you're educated and have money, the process becomes a drawn-out affair, like a terminal cancer patient who can afford various kinds of treatment all over the world. But eventually he ends up at Lourdes." -- James Lee Burke, "Heartwood"

For the uneducated, Lourdes is a Roman Catholic miracle-healing center in southern France, where thousands of wealthy Catholics sojourn.
The poor who get in trouble with the law can't afford an attorney and end up with a public pretender, er public defender, and they make a deal with the prosecution. They both work for the state of Arkansas.
Unfortunately, those with wealth can afford to hire an attorney who will do anything and everything to help them seek another form of justice.
They have a much better window of opportunity to make a deal which precludes the kind of "justice" the more unfortunate receive.
In other words, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, or are incarcerated because they couldn't afford that high, falutin' attorney.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knock, knock

"suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him'
"Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened...How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" -- Luke 11:5-13.

Knock, knock. Who's there? It is I who is seeking the Holy Spirit and some bread for my friends.
How many of us pray for monetary benefits or just stuff?
God could care less whether you receive more money or a raise or stuff unless it's to benefit his kingdom on earth.
He will grant you his Holy Spirit and grace if you're sincere and desire to benefit others.
We must be altruistic when we ask for something.
Today I walked and walked and walked and then prayed.
A young lady at the University of Arkansas shot footage of me walking to the library and at the University of Arkansas and at Bible study.
We're coordinating our talents for a film contest at the Fayetteville Public Library.
The winner receives a $1,000 bonus.
We're going to donate anything we win towards the construction of a homeless shelter in Fayetteville.
I'm not a movie star, but there were some gawkers who were naturally curious about our film making today.
The executive director of the library was even curious and came to greet us today.
What is your legacy?
I hope my legacy is partially fulfilled in June when the contest concludes.
I've been dreaming and praying and writing since 2008 for the fruition of my legacy: a homeless shelter in Northwest Arkansas.
Please dream with me. Please pray with me. And I'll let you be in my dream, if you'll let me be in your dream!

Friday, May 18, 2012

London calling

2012 is a momentous year for London, England.
London hosts the 2012 Summer Olympics in July and also this marks the Diamond Jubilee of the crowning of Queen Elizabeth who garnered the crown in 1952.
Hallowed be the name of London this year.
In commemoration I'm going to revisit the album, "London Calling" by the Clash.
It's one of my favorites and the louder it sounds.
I remember when I purchased it and cranked up the volume, my roommate, Steve Kirk was flabbergasted at my taste in music.
Nevertheless, the rock and roll gospel, "Rolling Stone" proclaimed it one of the top albums of all time.
While reading "The Times" from London (er, I wasn't in London, I was in the UofA library reading the newspaper, I happened on a humorous pair of lines about London.
"London is full of parks and you can't ever park."

Indeed, Fayetteville similarly has oodles of parks but it costs to park in downtown Fayetteville which has depleted the business at such venerated establishments like the Dickson Street Bookstore and Flying Possum Leather because people  don't want to pay a $1 to buy a 50 cent book.

"A wise man once said that a man tired of London is tired of life, but everyone is tired of hearing about that."
Maybe, some of us might be tired about reading about London by the end of the year, but our hearts will be vicariously thrilling at the exploits of the U.S. Olympic team this summer.
I've never been to London, but to paraphrase W.C. Fields, I'd rather be in Fayetteville because that's where I call it my home, sweet, home.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


"He (Mark Twain) had been deeply impressed during his stay in England by English benevolence, by silent acts of charity that seemed characteristic of the English upper class, even of English society as a whole, especially in comparison with tightfisted American sink-or-swim individualism or American charity as self-glorification."
In a dangerously turbulent storm, the captain of the Batavia had orchestrated the rescue of 10 surviving crew members of a wrecked ship.
The Batavia's captain wanted neither praise nor publicity for fulfilling his humane duty to help others in distress, even at great risk.
So, when we do an heroic deed do we seek fame and fortune? And we feel we deserve a pat on the back?
Americans are sink-or-swim individualists. We seek self-glory for our charitable acts.
Not everyone fits into that typecast.
I have friends who have helped me and didn't want publicity.
I disdain publicity.
While going through what I thought to be a job interview, I ended up being interviewed for an article on homelessness.
Someone wanted my input and opinions but not my skills as a writer.
Shucky darns!!
So do you seek a claim for fame when you're benevolent, or do you do out of the goodness of your heart?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


"Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself." -- T.S. Eliot, "Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca (1927).

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." -- James 4:10.

If you don't humble yourself, God has a way of making you humble.
Indeed, pride goeth before the fall.
Just ask Bobby Petrino!
He was too proud to admit his guilt and he fell very hard.
I learned the hard way to humble myself.
God humbled me and now he's lifting me up.
Once I was a foolish too proud man.
I didn't heed those words of wisdom from T.S. Eliot and James, the brother of Jesus.
But thanks to friends along the way who intersected into my life in very significant ways I can survive.
Most of them prefer anonymity. But you know who you are and how you've lifted me out of my despair.
One man came up to me very sheepishly and said, "I want to help I just don't know how."
I can see clearly now because of his generosity!
One photographer wanted to take my picture and he's been a very generous friend ever since!
One lady saw me walking home in a Santa hat and she befriended me with pizza and other love offerings!
One man and his wife saw on Facebook that I needed a place to lay my head and they've been great neighbors ever since!
Thanks to my humility I've been lifted up by the generosity and love of God intersecting with those angels of mercy.
So, I'm proudly humble!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Character, integrity

"What a web we weave when we practice to deceive." -- Willie Shakespeare
Too bad Bobby Petrino didn't take a class in Shakespeare while he was devising his ingenious offensive formations.
Petrino tried one too many deceitful games en route to his helter-skelter crash from not only the Pig Trail but his career as the Razorbacks football guru.
Petrino/Bimbo-gate ended with a bang and a whimper.
The bang occurred on April Fool's Day when Petrino crashed his motorcycle and then tried to lie his way out of his predicament.
The reverberations from those foolish mistakes he made after the wreck, banged up not only his body but also his relationship with Jeff Long who had entrusted Petrino with the Razorback football program.
The whimpers came from Long as he addressed the public and the press while announcing his pain-staking decision to axe Petrino to leave the scene post-haste.
Most of us true-Red-blooded Razorback Nationalists suffered through some excruciating moments as we pondered the future of the Porker football future.
Some of my friends adamantly defended Petrino's peccadillos and said it's alright to lie if you're trying to cover up an illicit relationship.
Unfortunately, I was right when I predicted Petrino had unceremoniously sealed his own fate by his deceitful coverup.
Petrino should've learned from Tricky Dicky Nixon that coverups can get you terminated.
So, is there light at the end of this tunnel or is it an onrushing train headed for another disastrous crash?
Today as I pondered all of these thoughts I looked up in the dark clouds hovering over Fayetteville and saw one of God's wonderful creations, a beatific rainbow.
Yes, sometimes amidst life's black cloud scenarios a rainbow appears to guide us into the future.
Hopefully the Razorbacks will rally around this adversity and respond to the interim coach and win a national championship.
I'm proud of Jeff Long who kept his priorities in order and disdainfully fired Petrino for his deceitfulness.
DeAngelo Hall, a former Falcons defensive back said last weekend: "Trouble always follows him (Petrino) and it's mostly by the decisions he's made. He's a clown. I have a 10-year-old son and I would never ever send him to a college to play for a coach or a person like Petrino."
If Long had given Petrino a second chance, that attitude might've been ever prevalent in the minds of parents of recruits.
So, let's take a breath of fresh air. Say, wooo, Pig, sooie and just tell Petrino he committed sooie-cide on the Pig Trail.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Self-deprecating jokes increase humility in all walks of life.
When a clergyman pokes fun at himself, it's nice to laugh and observe that they're not all stuffy-headed.
Sometimes jokes in which the religious figure comes out on top also bring us the jollies.
A group of 20 cloistered nuns received a special gift of free tickets to a baseball game. The mother superior gave them permission to go to the gma and enjoy themselves which was a special treat to the normally cloistered environment they worked in.
So, they all sat together in one long row and bought sodas and hot dogs and popcorn and hats and noisemakers.
Soon they were rollicking and creating quite a commotion.
Behind them sat three grumpy diehard baseball fans, who became annoyed with these ebullient nuns.
One of them said loudly enough for the nuns to hear him say, "This is ridiculous! I'm going to move a few rows ahead, where there are probably only 10 nuns! Maybe then I can watch the game in peace!"
The embarrassed nuns sat quietly. But in a few minutes they were in high spirits and enjoying themselves again.
The second diehard fan says very loudly, "I'm going to move to the expensive seats. They are only five nuns there!"
The nuns were very embarrassed and sat quietly until they finally were having fun again.
Finally the third diehard fan angrily and loudly spouts off, "I'm going to the box seats! There are probably only two nuns there!"
Finally one of the nuns had lost here sense of decency and couldn't take it any longer. So, she remarked, "Why don't you go to hell? There are no nuns there!"
In his book "Between Heaven and Mirth" James Martin a Jesuit priest points out that humor and laughter in our daily lives embraces an essential truth: faith leads to joy.
Most humor is healthy and purposeful.
But like that beleaguered nun, sometimes we can only take so much and we have to speak out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sense of humor

A man enters a strict monastery. On his first day the abbot says, "You'll be able to speak only two words every five years. Do you understand?" The novice nods and goes away.
Five years later the abbot calls him into his office. "Brother," he says, "You've done well these last five years. What would you like to say?"
And the monk says, "Food cold!"
"Oh, I'm sorry," says the abbot. "We'll fix that immediately."
Five years later the monk returns to the abbot.
"Welcome, Brother," says the abbot."What would you like to tell me after 10 years?"
And the monk says, "Bed hard!"
And the abbot says, "Oh, I'm so sorry. We'll fix that right away."
Then after another five years the two meet. The abbot says, "Well, Brother you've been here 15 years. What two words would you like to say?"
"I'm leaving," he says.
And the abbot says, "Well, I'm not surprised. You've done nothing but complain since you got here!"
In a book I'm reading, "Between Heaven and Mirth" the author, a Jesuit priest emphasizes that God loves people with a sense of humor, if they apply it in a mirthful way.
Sometimes we attach stiffness of purpose and a lack of a sense of humor to the religious.
As the Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, "Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God."
Or  as the Protestant theologian Karl Barth said, "Laughter is the closest thing to God's grace."
It's one of God's enjoyments I'm sure to see Christians and Jews laughing and having fun.
So, as we all will be very solemn during the upcoming Passion week we must also keep in mind that a little humor can ease the pains and sorrows we sometimes must endure.
I've found another joke to share tomorrow.

Friday, March 23, 2012

How does it feel?

During my research and composition of my series of articles on the psychological feelings and exposition of the conflicts one experieces while not living in a stable environment, I now must confess, it's dangerous being a camper.
Two campers have been severely assaulted this year.
One, Michael Phipps, suffered burns to 45 percent of his body and he lost his prized possession, his fingernails which enabled him to play the guitar and make money to survive.
Another, who shall remain anonymous, to protect his privacy, was so beaten up in his tent that he went into a coma and doesn't remember what happened.
He spent a week in ICU and then called Human Services which helped him stay in a motel in Fayetteville for a week. Then his daughter helped him get another week's lodging in a motel.
His next game plan is to go the Salvation Army which he vowed to never go to again.
He told me he developed foot fungus there once while showering and never wanted to experience that misery again.
So, what's the moral to these sad sagas?
It's tantamountly urgent that these campers have a safe refuge to live in.
A homeless shelter would provide the missing link to survival.
So, it's my adamant goal to help solicit funding for the foundation of a homeless shelter in Northwest Arkansas. I know enough campers who would gladly provide their construction experience in building or remodeling an existing facility.
If anyone desires to participate in the steering committee which is currently meeting let me know via e-mail at
About all I can personally do is buy lotto tickets and pray I can win some money.
Otherwise, pray and seek further assistance.
Lives may hang in the balance.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Don't meth around

Hugs are better than drugs.
Two news items prompted this blog.
"Maggie Jean Wortman, 27, a Humboldt County, Calif., woman whose 6-week-old son died of methamphetamine toxicity after drinking her breast milk, has been sentenced to six years in prison."

Wyatt Gungoll, 24, of Enid, Okla., and his girl friend have been incarcerated after the girl called 911 to report a medical emergency.
Her two-year-old child had vomited a baggy and ingested meth.
Responders found three meth labs in the vicinity of the boy and other pharmaceuticals.
The baby was rushed to the emergency room with a heart beat of 210 per minute.
Both the male and female are not in custody and the baby has been turned over to human services.

These are two of the most despicable news items I've ever had the displeasure to read.
The careless and inhumane treatment of these two innocent boys is indescribable.
Anyone who can't take care of a child and prefers to do their own thing -- meth -- have no sympathy from me.
To be so careless and permit their baby to die from meth milk deserves punishment both now and in the hereafter.
And to carelessly let a baby swallow a meth baggy deserves punishment now and in the hereafter.
Hugs are better than drugs.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pray constantly

This will be a very solemn and sad plea for prayers.
One of the unfortunates in Fayetteville suffered an ignominious fate Monday night.
Some prankster set his tent on fire and didn't come to his rescue.
Sadly he was airlifted to Little Rock for severe burns. He was in a coma when he was found.
Rumors have it the culprit is in jail now, but it's not humane to even comment on that incident.
Just pray for Michael Phipps.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
"Though I have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.
"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
"And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." -- 1 Corinthians 13

Biblically speaking there are three variations of love.
Agape, love of all mankind.
Erotic love.
Romantic love.
We all say "Happy Valentines' Day" to our loved ones today.
But the true meaning of love expresses our love for our fellow man on a daily basis.
There are some of us who still love our significant others.
But all the faith in the world and all of our hopes and dreams for the future can't be accomplished unless we love our fellow man with agape love.
I've been blessed to experience that agape love during the holidays and during the new year.
Some very charismatic Christians adopted me as their spiritual kindred and bestowed on me rides to and fro.
I used to walk between five and 10 miles a day, but now I'm blessed to have a very special gentleman who picks me up in the morning and gives me a ride to the library and likewise gives me a ride home.
Another spiritual experience occurred when a nice lady saw me wearing a Santa cap and intriguingly gave me  a ride and has become a benefactor to me.
So, today I say I love all of my old friends and all of my newfound friends who've blessed me with their presence in my life.
I don't have a romantic significant other due to long, lost circumstances.
But I'm a happy camper because I know people care about me.
As someone once said, "Sometimes people don't care what you know, until they know you care."
I try and pass on that message in every way I can.
Others have provided me with warm boots to wear and a warm place to reside.
I love them for providing me shelter from the storms of life.
To end this blog I resolve and challenge everyone to follow John Wesley's Rule:
"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all they ways you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can."
So Happy Valentine's Day all ye kindred spirits!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Three Dog Night

With temperatures projected to dip down to single digits tonight, it's apropos to say this will be a "Three Dog Night."
The coldest Eskimo night is termed a three-dog night, because it takes three dogs to keep them warm.
Some of us wish we had dogs to snuggle up with us and keep us cozy.
For my houseless brethren, they're praising the humanitarian gestures offered by College Avenue Baptist Church which opens its church up to those less fortunate whenever the temperature is supposed to go below 20 degrees.
And this is from a church struggling just to meet its own needs financially.
Praises to Pastor Aaron Combs and his Christian spirit!!
Those folks at College Avenue Baptist on the corner of Martin Luther King and College possess the kindest hearts in Fayetteville.
They've been feeding the struggling souls of Fayetteville on Sunday mornings with scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy and sausage and hot coffee.
If anyone wants to contribute or just drop by and see what's going on please support these kind-hearted Christians at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Don't get know better than that for helping the needy!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


"Religion is a great force -- the only real motive force in the world; but what you fellows don't understand is that you must get at a man through his own religion and not through yours." -- George Bernard Shaw, "Getting Married"

Why are there so many denominations of Protestants?
Why are there so many Baptist churches?
Why didn't the Jews choose to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah?
I don't have any of the answers to those queries, but I do have faith in one God.
I do believe Jesus was the Son of God and died for our sins on the cross.
I believe salvation comes from one's faith in that statement.
I believe we must also do good works along with our faith.
We have a mission to help others.
But we can't convert heathens if they won't listen with an open mind.
I have some friends who are very intelligent but they're agnostics or atheists.
I won't change their mind so I just have to be a patient listener.
I respect all religious followers and I don't try to convert them to Methodism and I don't expect them to change my religious persuasions.
I'm a proud follower of the religion practed by Rev. Major William Maurice Lanier and Ruth Kornmeyer Lanier, aka, my parents who I eulogized upon their earthly deaths.
I felt God working in my life when I delivered those eulogies.
One of my biggest regrets occurred when I received a phone call from the Conway United Methodist Church requesting a copy of my eulogy for my father. They were compiling a book of the greatest sermons ever preached at that hallowed church and they considered my eulogy to be included.
I felt overwhelmed but also guilty that I didn't follow in my father's footsteps. He wore a size 10 1/2 shoe and I'm just a midget with a 7 1/2 shoe.
Nevertheless, I'm proud to have lived in the Laniers house and grew up a little bit confused about my destiny until my father told me, "David, you like to write and you like sports, why don't you become a sports writer."
I felt God was working through him to motivate me into that higher calling.
I miss sports writing but this blog is very cathartic when I'm facing a crisis situation.
Thanks patient readers for sharing your lives with me.
We are all blessed to know each other.
I appreciate my true friends when I need their assistance.
God bless you one and all!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


"When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground." -- Old African proverb often quoted by the blues scholar William Ferris

Wisdom is in the mind of the beholder.
When I was a child I spoke like a child and thought like a child and acted childish.
I respected and revered my father and grandfathers.
But I didn't seek wisdom from them because I was too shy.
Now I wish I'd picked their brains and sought life wisdom.
I spend most of my day in the library garnering wisdom from the sages.
While perusing the latest edition of the "Oxford American" magazine I found this African proverb and it tickled my brain cells into philosophizing about the meaning behind the saying.
No one is sure who originated this very deep proverb.
We all have a wealth of knowledge stored up and we should be adding to it every day.
As Bob Dylan crooned, "He not being born is busy dying."
I just turned 60 and I used to think that was an old man's age.
But I feel like I'm 30. I know from all the walking I do I'm in better shape than my "old man", er, excuse me father in heaven. You were a scholar and I'm a dope compared to you.
I eulogized my father at his funeral and thought I'd encapsulated his life, until I heard the eulogy given by Dr. Francis Christie, a dean from Hendrix College.
I wish I'd kept his eulogy but the theme revolved around where scholarship and memory intersected.
My father was a biblical scholar who attended Yale Divinity School and he prized the memories he collected from his youth.
I don't proclaime to be a scholar but I do have a fantastic memory.
So, when you die what will you be remembered for?
Will a library of knowledge burn with you?
I hope I have at least one book in the library.
When I interviewed for a job at Barnes and Noble I told the manager my career goal was to have an autograph signing party for my first book at that Barnes and Noble.
I'm still striving to attain that goal. But book writing isn't as easy as it sounds.
Another old African proverb fits in here: "Everything has an end, except for a banana which has two."
So to end this blog, we all have an end. We don't know when it's going to be, so we must live each day to its fullest and try and become wiser in knowledge and how we apply it to aiding our fellows become better individuals. Then when we die, we not only have a library burn with us, we've left an indelible mark on others lives who will salute us for our accomplishments and not mourn but praise us.

Friday, January 20, 2012


God blesses us with special friends.
Sometimes when we least expect it new friends intercede into our lives and aid us in our life's toils and tribulations.
I've been blessed this New Year of 2012 with some awesome good Samaritans!!
While trekking down Morningside/City Lake Road I've been amazed at how many charismatic Christians stopped to offer me a ride.
And today marks a watershed in my pedestrian adventures.
A very, very, very, very nice gentleman who delivers the mail to West Fork is going to provide me transportation on a daily basis early in the morning from just a few blocks from my abode to the library.
And he'll also let me ride with him from the church at the corner of Morningside and 15th in the afternoons.
So, my tennis shoes won't have to be reshod anytime soon.
And, a very, very, very nice lady has been blessing me this year, too.
She saw my Santa hat before Christmas and offered me a ride home. She blessed me with a Christmas pizza party and on Wednesday picked me up and took me to Subway.
I love the kind-heartedness of the friendly folks at the U.S. Post Office Distribution Center. At least four of the workers there have provided me with their vehicular blessings.
I sure am glad I ate black-eyed peas the two days after New Year's!! Maybe, my "God squad" of transportation did too!!
In the meantime, I hope to be able to reciprocally help out some of my less fortunate friends who still must battle the elements in tents and in my estimation their foot soldiers who deserve a resting spot they can truly call home, sweet, home.
I love Fayetteville and its awesome hospitality!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Martin Luther King

Happy 83rd birthday Martin Luther King, Jr.!!!
On Jan. 15, 1929, MLK sprung into this world.
The profundity of that birth correlates with the birth in Bethlehem. A very insignificant event to their respective parents, but their historical and spiritual legacies transcend most of the others who've ever traversed this Earth.
Martin Luther King was accused of urging others to do things that he did not do. Some self-righteously proclaimed that Dr. King didn't spend enough time in jail.
So, on April 16, 1963, Dr. King wrote an essay in the form of an open letter while serving a jail sentence for participating in civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Ala.
Eight prominent "liberal" Alabama clergymen published an open letter which called on King to allow the battle for integration to be engaged in local and federal courts. They warned that King's nonviolent resistance would have the effect of inciting civil disturbances.
Dr. King desired Christian ministers to see that the meaning of Christian discipleship was at the heart of the African American struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
So, he penned "Letter from a Birmingham jail."
"The Negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations. He has to get them out. So let him march sometime; understand why he must have sit-ins and freedom rides. If his repressed emotions do not come out in these nonviolent ways, they will come out in ominous expressions of violence. This is not a threat; it is a fact of history. So I have not said to my people "get rid of your discontent." But I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channelized through the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. Now this approach is being dismissed as extremist.
"Was not Jesus an extremist in love -- "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despisefully use you."
"Was not Amos an extremist for justice -- "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."
"Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ -- "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."
"Was not Martin Luther an extremist -- "Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God."
"Was not Abraham Lincon an extremist -- "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free."
"Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist -- "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equally."
"Will we be extremist for hate or love?
"Will we be extremist for injustice or justice?
"In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime -- the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. So, after all, maybe the South, the nation and world are in dire need of creative extremists."
In Dr. King's most dramatic speach "I Have a Dream" he eloquently delivered on Aug. 28, 1963, before the Lincoln Memorial he orated:
"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places shall be made straight and the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
"This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with.
"With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
"With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."
"Let freedom ring..."
I have a dream, too, in the same spirit of those homeless people in Northwest Arkansas who are despised by many as being worthless bums who don't want to work for a living and they deserve to sleep in tents and God is punishing them for not participating in the Great American Dream of wealth and prosperity with the proper work ethic as a reward for a decent place to lay one's head and not have to sleep out in the cold, that there be a caring spirit which will discern these people deserve a homeless shelter!!
I don't pretend to be a spiritual mentor with the eloquence of Dr. King. But I hope I can enlighten others to get angry enough to unite and set these people free from the bondages of houselessness.
Let freedom ring for the less fortunate to be more respected. Keep the faith my homeless brethren!!
Like the Negro spiritual, "We Shall Overcome."