Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Falling Star

Ann Hodges wasn’t looking for worldwide attention on this date in 1954.  Sometimes interesting stories just crash into your life.

It was a clear afternoon in Sylacauga, Alabama.  Ann was reportedly napping on her couch, covered by quilts, when a softball-size meteorite traveling at 200 miles per hour broke through the ceiling, bounced off a radio, and hit her in the thigh.  Didn’t kill her, just left a large bruise.

Ann was an instant international star (pardon the pun).

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t exactly have a “she lived happily ever after” ending.  With Cold War paranoia running high, the Sylacauga police chief confiscated the black rock and turned it over to the Air Force. Ann reportedly said. "I feel like the meteorite is mine," according to an article published by the Alabama Museum of Natural History.  “I think God intended it for me. After all, it hit me!"

But, there was one more hitch.  Ann and her husband were renters, and their landlady, a recently widowed woman named Birdie Guy, wanted the meteorite for herself. Claimed the rock should be hers since it had fallen on her property.  The law may have been on Birdie’s side, but public opinion wanted Ann to have it.  Guy settled out of court, giving up her claim to the meteorite in exchange for $500. Ann’s husband, good old Eugene Hodges, was convinced the couple could make big money off the rock.  He was wrong.  A couple of years later, the Hodges donated the meteorite to the natural history museum where it's still on display.

Ann later suffered a nervous breakdown, and in 1964 she and Eugene separated. She died in 1972 at 52.  Eugene suspects the meteorite and frenzy that followed had taken its toll on Ann. Museum director Randy McCready state, "The Hodges were just simple country people, and I really think that all the attention was her downfall."

I don’t know if there is a Carpe Diem Life lesson here.  If there is one, maybe it’s that if you’re ever hit by a meteorite, keep it quite.  You see, that wasn’t the only piece of space to fall in the area that day.  A one Julius K. McKinney, an African-American sharecropper, lived nearby. He’s reported to have been driving his mule wagon down a dirt road when suddenly the animals stopped. “Shaken, jittery, and nervous,” writes Emmett Burnett in Alabama Living, “The mules refused to pass a small black stone in the road. After the rock was authenticated, he sold it for an undisclosed sum but enough to buy a new house, new car, and property.” 

I just thought is was an interesting piece of trivia from this date.  Because what makes this story so unique is that Mrs. Hodges is the only confirmed person in the history of the world to have been hit by a meteorite.  Pretty amazing.   

UPDATE:  Earlier this year, for the first time in recorded history, a meteorite is reported to have killed a person.  The incident happened on a college campus in Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India.  But NASA has yet to confirm whether the mysterious object is indeed a meteorite.

David Kuhn

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


The past couple days you couldn’t tune in, or log on, or open a paper without being cyberbombarded with Cyber Monday Sale ads. 

Did you know that Cyber Monday is a real marketing term?  The term was coined by a real person.  Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation in 2005 coined the work describe the Monday after Thanksgiving when people could continue to shop online after returning to work.  Now it has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Thanks, Ellen!

of, relating to, or characteristic of the culture of computers, information technology, and virtual reality.
"the cyber age"

Seems that “cyber” is being used so often to describe so many things, it’s creating a, well, cyberoverload.  In fact, Wiktionary lists 382 English words beginning with the prefix cyber-.
And Cyber Monday was not even one of them (two words, I guess).

I say cyberenough already! 

Of course, this is all good news is you’re a Scrabble Player:

11 Letter words that start with cyber
    •    Cybernating
    •    Cybernation
    •    Cybernetics
    •    Cyberspaces
10 Letter words that start with cyber
    •    Cybercafes
    •    Cybercasts
    •    Cybernated
    •    Cybernates
    •    Cybernauts
    •    Cybernetic
    •    Cyberporns
    •    Cyberpunks
    •    Cybersexes
    •    Cyberspace
9 Letter words that start with cyber
    •    Cybercafe
    •    Cybercast
    •    Cybernate
    •    Cybernaut
    •    Cyberporn
    •    Cyberpunk

Carpe Diem Life (FYI, Cyberlife is already a registered trademark)
David Kuhn

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Key to Finding Synchronicity.

As I’ve written before, I’m captivated by stories of bazaar synchronicity (the simultaneous occurrence of causally unrelated events and the belief that the simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence).  It’s really beyond my understanding.

This weekend I found the key—literally!

My son-in-law and I took my grandchildren ages 5 and 18 months to the park to play on Friday after Thanksgiving.  Our original plan was to take them to Wesselmans’ Park to hike and then play on the playground, only to discover that it was closed.   For some reason, my next thought went to a playground way on the other side of town:  Sunset Park along the Ohio River.

It’s a pretty large playground.  Only a couple of other kids there.  As we are playing, I found, at the bottom of a slide, a key ring with a car key and a house key.  It also contained a library card from what turned out to be a town 417 miles away in Michigan.   Because the park is also at the start of our Greenway hiking and biking path, there are several parking lots around.  A walk through each lot pressing the panic button on the key and searching for Michigan plate was fruitless.  We figured that we’d just turn them into the police station at some point after we were done playing.

About a half hour later, as we were preparing to leave, I see a guy walk up looking around on the ground. “Searching for car keys?”  I no sooner got it out than I recognized him as my nephew.  My nephew and his wife from Michigan, in town, visiting family.  Michigan. Car keys from Michigan?  No way. 

They had played on the playground earlier with their two girls and then met up with other family members at the museum just up the road.  It’s at the playground that the keys were lost.  Where I found them.  And, where they came back looking for them just as we were ready to leave.

I don’t know if Albert Einstein played on many playgrounds, but I know that he certainly discovered a few “keys” in his life:

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

My nephew’s wife lost the keys going down a children’s slide.  Later, I found the keys going down the same children’s slide.  The Carpe Diem Life Lesson: Realizing that we’re all connected is the key to understanding the Universe!

Oh, and don't be afraid to stay connected to our childhood and have fun, but always keep your car keys secure and have a spare. 

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Thanksgiving Marathon & Friends

There’s a barren, saucer-shaped patch of earth in our back yard.  Been there about 10 years now.  Caused by a foreign object that landed there one Thanksgiving morning.  A tall silver cylinder with four legs and a flamethrower underneath.  The combination of intense heat and boiling oil that spilled over the ground for hours and hours rendered the ground forever scorched. 

Most of you know it as a turkey fryer.

It all started with needing to cook a turkey for our Thanksgiving feast.  My good friend Bill (a.k.a. Vuk) had, for years, been exalting the virtues of deep friend turkey.  So, I asked him if he minded cooking one of us.

“I would, but I’m going to be out of town.  You’re more than welcome to use mine, though.”

When I went to pick it up he carefully explained all the ins and outs of deep frying a turkey.  Seemed simple enough.  Easy.  That’s when he dropped the not-so-easy part.  “Oh, and by the way,” he said as if an afterthought, “I usually deep fry all the turkeys for my family.  You wouldn't mind to . . .”

Dateline:  Our Backyard.  Dawn.  Thanksgiving Morning.
The Great Turkey Frying Marathon.

Bill doesn’t have a huge family, but they must have huge appetites.  That, and the fact that the “Vuks” don’t do anything small.  There were more turkeys in coolers to be fried than Swanson has turkey TV Dinners.

Throughout out the day, a parade of Vukovichs started showed up at our door wanting their turkeys.  Sister, nieces, brother, father . . . even a guy whom I’d never met.  And Bill promised him I’d have a cigar and beer ready for him—which I did.  The final turkey was passed out sometime after sunset.  By 6 o’clock, the only one left to fry was ours.  We were running later than we had planned, but the epic tale of what “Uncle Bill” had put me through kept everyone in a comic mood.  And when we finally did eat, all agreed that Vuk’s fried turkeys are, in fact, most delicious. 

So, that's the short story of the first and only time I deep fried turkeys.

And that patch of scorched earth?  That remains . . . a beautiful reminder of one of the most memorable Thanksgivings ever.  A fun day filled with friends and family.

Happy Thanksgiving. 
Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgivng Head Cheese

Today (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving) is traditionally a day of carry-in lunches at many companies.  Everyone pitches in to provide a snack-all-day-smorgasbord of chips, dips, casseroles, desserts. . .  Sort of a chance to warm up and stretch the bellies before the big game that is Thanksgiving. 

My traditional contribution—at least for the past few years—has been head cheese

What exactly is headcheese?  I honestly couldn’t tell you.  Words simply can’t describe it.  Wikipedia defines it as: 

Head cheese is not a dairy cheese, but a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig, or less commonly a sheep or cow, [along with god only knows what else] and often set in aspic.

Meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig.  Yum!  Not your typical Thanksgiving treat, right? 

There are a couple of reasons

I choose to give head cheese at such events (after all, it is the season of giving).  The first reason is that I actually find it disgustingly delicious.  And the second reason is seeing how it's met with such revulsion.  Definitely a conversation starter.  You get everything from "What is heck is it?" to "My grandparents used to eat that crap!"  Some have tried it in the past and will never try it again, some will be brave enough to give it a taste, most won't go near it. 

But, at the end of the Pre-Thanksgiving day banquet, people are either thankful for having tried and enjoyed it or they’re very thankful that they didn’t eat it. 

Either way, my head cheese gift is a mindful way for people to be thankful.

Today’s Haiku

Today we give thanks
Time to carve up the head cheese
                                    Happy Thanksgiving!

Carpe Diem Life
David Kuhn

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Life Lesson From a Tree

Last Friday I knew that I would be entombed in a dark, windowless room, dimly lit only by a bank of television monitors (working A/V at the Small College Hall of Fame Basketball Games). So before I clocked in, I choose to make enough time to take advantage of the absolutely beautiful fall day and take a short hike at Audubon State Park.  That’s where I ran across this tree.

With 1/2 its roots exposed, how has it managed to grow so tall and strong?  The question reminded me of something I read a while back:  The Bio-Dome Experiment

It was an exercise in attempting to create the "perfect" living environment for human, plant, and animal life.

A huge glass dome was constructed and an artificial "controlled" environment was created with purified air, water, filtered light, etc, offering the perfect growing conditions for trees, fruits and vegetables ...and humans.  One problem was that when the trees that had been planted there grew to be a certain height, they would simply topple over.

It baffled scientists for the longest time, until one day they realized the one natural element they had forgotten to recreate in the Bio-dome: Wind!  Trees need the wind to blow against them, which in turn causes their root systems to grow deeper into the soil, which in turn supports the trees as they grow taller!

Nature’s wisdom at work.  Be flexible, give thanks for the wind of adversity, grow deep and strong. 

“Trouble is the thing that strong men grow by.  Met in the right way, it is a sure-fire means [of] putting iron in the victim’s will and making him a tougher man to down forever after.” 
                                                                                         —  H. Bertram Lewis

Next time I’m feeling overwhelmed by the strong winds of strife, I’ll know where to go for encouragement:  My old friend at Audubon State Park. 

Carpe Diem Life, 
David Kuhn

Monday, November 21, 2016

Seventeen Syllable Lesson

I started a practice of writing one haiku a day.  A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count.  Though usually inspired by nature, they can be anything that captures a moment.  

I present this one inspired by a tree I saw at Audubon Park.  Stay tuned tomorrow on the lesson that this tree teaches me.  In the meantime,  Long story short (or seventeen syllables):

 Exposed roots, yet strong
But how is this possible?
By facing the wind

Carpe Diem Life,

David Kuhn

Friday, November 18, 2016

What Can You Do in 585 Minutes?

I have a rather eclectic taste in music.  My “library” includes everything from folk to rock ’n’ roll to bluegrass to jazz (yes, I drive my family crazy on vacations).  Some of my first albums included The Doobie Brothers, Jethro Tull, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, Sparks, and even Tubular Bells (the debut record album of English musician Mike Oldfield, recorded when he was 19. The opening piano solo was used briefly in the soundtrack to the film The Exorcist).

But if there was just one group or artist I could only listen to?  The Beatles.

5 years older that I, my sister is the prototypical Beatles fan—so I was exposed to their music since I was 4. My friend Tim is the biggest Beatles fan I know, followed closely by my friend Curt.

This week, I decided to re-introduce myself to The Beatles.  Figured I’d start the journey with their debut album, Please Please Me (March 22, 1963).  14 songs; 8 of them original.  The album, according to Entertainment writer Alice Vincent, “Changes the face of modern music, and cemented The Beatles as a phenomenon.” 

What is most amazing to me is that the 4 lads from Liverpool (along with producer George Martin) cut the entire album in just 9 hours and 45 minutes.  Total time, including working through lunch and breaks, was less that 13 hours.  

Author Mark Lewisohn stated, “There can scarcely have been 585 more productive minutes in the history of recording music.”

So, in addition to some great music to listen to, Please Please Me gives me an appreciation for what can be accomplished in a day — or even 585 minutes. 

Choose your goals.
Organize your Action lists.
Utilize all your Resources.
Take Persistent action.
Evaluate your progress.
Change Directions if need be to move closer to your goal.
Improve along the way.
Enjoy the process knowing,
It’s My responsibility.

So, get your action list together for this weekend and start recording your own hits.
Oh, and if you need a little inspiration, put on Please Please Me and enjoy the process.
Rolling Stone magazine’s Steve Pond recommended Please Please Me “For The Beatles’ unfettered joy at making music.”

Carpe Diem Life,

David Kuhn

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trivial Event From Childhood

I happened to glance at “This Date in History” and ran across an event that brings me back to my childhood.  It’s a trivial sports story that leads me to some not-so-trivial introspection.  But first, a story to introduce the story:

I recently got together with a few old grade school friends at a bonfire party.

Whenever we boys get together we talk about the old days, sports, collecting baseball and football cards.  My wife usually just politely listens and rolls her eyes.  Can’t blame her.  My friends are often amazed at the now insignificant, trivial things I remember from my childhood.  This particular night one of my old friends laughingly stated something like, “Kuhnnie, had you applied yourself at school work instead of that other stuff you could have become somebody!”

All laughed. Suzanne nodded.  Of course,  I had/have to agree.  I should have applied myself.

I also remember so not-so-trivial things. I remember grade school summer vacations and having to attend summer school just about every year.  I'm sure I complained; I'm sure my parents retorted with something like, "Well, had you applied yourself during the school year you wouldn't have to go!” 

True.  Ignorance is a vicious cycle.

I remember one summer was different.  Instead of a classroom, I spent a few weeks at the University of Evansville being subjected to a barrage of tests.  Didn’t know why until years later when I found the letter they sent to my parents.  It was very long and very formal letter that basically said:  We can find no physical or mental reason why David is such a slow reader and learner. The boy just doesn’t apply himself.  (It sounded smarter than that, but you get the drift.)

Maybe I didn’t apply myself.  Maybe I still don’t.  Maybe there's something deeper there.  I do know enough to know I should have worked harder on the important stuff instead of playing and watching a lot of trivial games. 

Which leads me to this date in history (finally, right?).
November 17, 1968.  I was 8 years old and watching the Oakland Raiders vs. the New York Jets. 

With a little more than a minute left to play in a fierce contest, the Jets kicked a 26-yard field goal that gave them a 32-29 lead. What happened after that has gone down in football and TV history: Oakland scored twice in nine seconds, and the game was over: They’d won 43-32. 

Only I didn’t get to see the end of the game.  Nor did the rest of the country.  With 65 seconds to play, NBC switched off the game -- which was running long -- in favor of its previously scheduled programming, a made-for-TV version of . . . Heidi. 

Yes, it’s true that I don’t, for whatever reason, remember a lot of valuable information that, if applied, I could use to make something out of myself.   My friends are right, though, I do remember a lot of trivial experiences from my childhood, including . . .

The Heidi Bowl. 

Who knows, maybe that will be the million dollar question on a trivia show I luck onto someday. 
I only hope I can remember it.

Carpe Diem Life
David Kuhn

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

In Front of Every Silver Lining . . .

This story starts at the end. 

Monday, after my day job (a.k.a. Job A), I worked my audio/video job (a.k.a. Job B), an Evansville Aces Basketball game at our downtown arena.  I parked a few blocks away on a semi-deserted and semi-dark street.  After the game and I finished my work, I walked the several blocks back to my car only to discover that . . . my right rear tire was completely INFLATED.  This is the silver lining to my story.

Now the dark cloud.  Roll back a few hours to around 2:30 P.M.  Having not had a break from Job A, I decided to clock out and retrieve a book from my truck and relax for a few minutes.  While walking up to the driver’s side I noticed my left rear tire was low.  Very low.  A closer inspection revealed a roofing nail firmly embedded in the tread (no doubt a rogue nail from the roofing job on the building a few weeks ago).  Still enough air to drive it, I limped my car to Raben Tire and told them my flat out tale of woe.  They agreed to get it in as soon as possible.  I called work and told them that I would be late getting back.

Life has no smooth roads for any of us, especially with a flat tire!  A dark cloud casting a gloomy shadow on my day.

One hour and $20 later I was back up and running (thank you Raben Tire).  I made it back to Job A in time to pack my stuff and head downtown to Job B.  Believe you me, I got a lot of mileage out of the roofing-nail-from-my-own-work-caused-leaking-tire story.  Worked the game.  Walked back to my secluded truck, parked on an isolated, dark street.  Which leads me back my silver lining:  fully inflated tires — something I take for granted every single day. 

The way I see it, had I not noticed the tire going down and the nail in it when I did, I might not have even made it to Job B.  Or worse, I might have made it but later found myself stranded late at night.  The dark cloud of disappointment that was my afternoon actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

A Carpe Diem Life Lesson to be thankful for silver linings AND dark clouds.  And to roll with whatever life sticks in your craw — or in our tires.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Had the idea of working daily crossword puzzles to keep my mind young and sharp (I can use all the help I can get). 

My Mom was a New York Times Crossword puzzle worker extraordinaire.  My wife works a couple of day from our local paper.  Me?  I went with the Dell Fun-Filled Easy Puzzles.  You know, the ones at the grocery checkout line next to the tabloids with headlines that read, "ELVIS ALIVE & WORKING WITH HILLARY CLINTON ON PANTSUIT DESIGNS FOR 2020 CAMPAIGN!"

It's true that scientific studies have found no evidence to suggest that crossword puzzle experience reduces age-related decline in cognition; however, if you're going to get any benefit from them at all, you need to pick puzzles that are challenging enough to push your brain to the next level.  Again, I chose EASY.

1. Fool  (4 letters) 


No problem.  Let's look at 1, 2, 3, and 4 down.  

No help. 

Crossword puzzles, as in life, teach us that sometimes you know the answers; sometimes you learn.  Evaluating the situation (I'm already stumped) I look up the answer.

1. Fool (4 letters) D O L T

What the?  Even my Dell Fun-Filled Crossword Puzzle is mocking me.

I'll know better tomorrow.

Carpe Diem Life
David Kuhn

Monday, November 14, 2016

Drawing A Line In The Leaves!

The pastoral silence of Sunday morning was shattered by the deafening sound of a jet engine-like whine of a . . .

Leaf blower!

My neighbor Marvin, now 90 years young, is still a lawn freak.  My friend Bill is a lawn freak — cuts his grass diagonally in each direction to get that perfect cross-hatch pattern. One look at our yard will tell you that . . . I am not a yard freak.

I mentioned in my Halloween post that I do not rake leaves until after Halloween.  It’s my tradition.  I believe that children should have to kick a patch through a crunchy bed of leaves to get to our door.  A rite a passage, if you will.   Another reason I don’t rake leaves until after Halloween is that I am a procrastinator.  That, and I detest raking leaves.  Why not just let them do what they have been doing for thousands and thousands of years:  falling, decomposing, making more earth.  In fact, seems to me that raking leaves is in conflict with Old Mother Nature!

Having said that, I live in a neighborhood.  And neighborhoods should be neat and tidy.  So, this is the weekend I chose to rake the leaves.

If there is one thing I detest more than raking leaves, it’s the sound of neighbors’ hi-tech leaf blowers, leaf vacs, and leaf mulchers.  Besides, raking leaves should be a man’s war fought with a man’s rake!  Rake a pile, wipe the sweat off your brow, look around at the yard and wonder if you’ll ever win this battle.  My god, there’s football on and naps to take!

But something happened this year that I completely forgot about until I went to find my trusty rake.  There, in the shed, was the brand new lawn mower I purchased in the spring after our 30 plus year-old mower finally bit the dust.  This state-of-the-art lawnmower included a mulching platform and, and a bag!  Plus, right next to it, was a WORX leaf vac / blower I had purchased because I realized way back in spring that I would probably be sick of yard work and want to “modernize.”

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m the one who broke the Sunday morning tranquility!

My Carpe Diem Life System promotes choosing your goal, making an action list, picking the best resources (tools), persistent action, evaluating your situation, chasing direction if need be, improving, enjoying the process, and never forgetting that it’s my life — my leaves that need to be raked!

Yes, you can say that when it comes to raking this year, I have turned a new leaf!  (Well, more like blowing, mulling, and bagging!)

It is said that you should never judge a man unless you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.  Now I say, don’t judge a man until you’ve raked your yard using his hi-tech yard tools.  Work smarter, not harder. A Carpe Diem Life lesson taught to me by my 90-year old neighbor.  Thanks, Marvin.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn


An added benefit?  Innovation and modernization give you extra time to turn on a football game and take a nap on the couch!

Friday, November 11, 2016

My morning illusion

Every morning
On my way to work
I cross over
Two parallel lines
Cutting a tunnel
Through Old Wesselman’s Woods.

Once, I stopped
And peered through the oculus
Two parallel lines
Appearing to converge
In the distance,
A vanishing point.

My morning illusion
In perspective. 

 - - -

David Kuhn

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What's The Deal?

Been thinking a lot about a book I read a couple of decades ago.  Here is the basic advice it offers followed by a quote from the author (compiled by Peter Economy, The Leadership Guy):

1. Think big
"I like thinking big. I always have. To me it's very simple: if you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big."
2. Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself
"If you plan for the worst--if you can live with the worst--the good will always take care of itself."
3. Maximize the options
"I never get too attached to one deal or one approach.
4. Know your market
"I don't trust fancy marketing surveys. I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions."
5. Use your leverage
"The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you're dead."
6. Enhance your location
“First of all, you don't necessarily need the best location. What you need is the best deal."
7. Get the word out
"The point is that if you are a little different, a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you."
8. Fight back
"In most cases I'm very easy to get along with. I'm very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard."
9. Deliver the goods
"You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on."
10. Contain the costs
"I believe in spending what you have to. But I also believe in not spending more than you should."
11. Have fun
"Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game."

 The Book?  Trump: The Art of the Deal
By Donald J. Trump, Tony Schwartz  1987

Just something to think about.  After all, he did just pull off one of the greatest “deals” in political history.  Now we’ll see how President Donald J. Trump pulls off #9:  DELIVER THE GOODS! 

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Yinyang Election Results

Watching this year’s elections results got me thinking about an ancient “Zen” story:

One day in late summer, an old farmer was working in his field with his old sick horse. The farmer felt compassion for the horse and desired to lift its burden. So he left his horse loose to go the mountains and live out the rest of its life.

Soon after, neighbors from the nearby village visited, offering their condolences and said,   "How unfortunate you are!. How will you live, work the land, and prosper?" The farmer replied: "Who knows? We shall see".

Two days later the old horse came back now rejuvenated after meandering in the mountainsides while eating the wild grasses. He came back with twelve new younger and healthy horses which followed the old horse into the corral.

Word got out in the village of the old farmer's good fortune and it wasn't long before people stopped by to congratulate the farmer on his good luck.  "How fortunate you are!" they exclaimed. You must be very happy!"  Again, the farmer softly said, "Who knows? We shall see."

At daybreak on the next morning, the farmer's only son set off to attempt to train the new wild horses, but the farmer's son was thrown to the ground and broke his leg.  One by one villagers arrived during the day to bemoan the farmer's latest misfortune.  "Oh, what a tragedy!  Your son won't be able to help you farm with a broken leg. You'll have to do all the work yourself, How will you survive? You must be very sad".  they said.  Calmly going about his usual business the farmer answered, "Who knows? We shall see"

Several days later a war broke out. The Emperor's men arrived in the village demanding that young men come with them to be conscripted into the Emperor's army.  As it happened the farmer's son was deemed unfit because of his broken leg.  "What very good fortune you have!" the villagers exclaimed as their own young sons were marched away. "You must be very happy." "Who knows? We shall see!", replied the old farmer as he headed off to work his field alone.

As time went on the broken leg healed but the son was left with a slight limp. Again the neighbors came to pay their condolences. "Oh what bad luck. Too bad for you"!  But the old farmer simply replied; "Who knows? We shall see."

As it turned out the other young village boys had died in the war and the old farmer and his son were the only able bodied men capable of working the village lands. The old farmer became wealthy and was very generous to the villagers. They said: "Oh how fortunate we are, you must be very happy", to which the old farmer replied, "Who knows? We shall see!"

_ _ _

Another election cycle.  How fortunate are we?  How unfortunate are we?  In the end, we do what we have to do to live our everyday lives; we should not be attached to the outcome, or spend so much time and emotion trying to control a future that can't be controlled.  Do your best.  Who knows?  We shall see!

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Elections Cause Weight Problems!?

Leafed through the Evansville Courier & Press Sunday and started to notice some news behind the news.  Elections cause weight problems!  Says so right there in Section A — the heavy news.
Check out these ads:

Page 3A
“Re-Elect Stephen Melcher, County Commissioner”
“Re-Elect Ed Bessemer, County Council”
“Votes Are In. . . It’s Official@  Metabolic Research Center voted Readers’ Choice Gold Winner for Best Weight Loss!”

Wait, there’s more.
Page 6A
“Mike Goebel for County Council At-Large.”
“Vote Alvin Holder for Warrick County School Board!”
“Ryan Hatfield for State Representative.”
“Cellulite Fat Blast Wrap! Only $129.00 by Head To Toe Salon and Spa"

Page 10A
“Dan Ashley for Warrick County Recorder.”
"Cheryl Musgrave, Commissioner.”
“Lockyaer for Coroner.”“Re-Elect Angela Koehler Lindsey, County Council”
“Non-Surgical Fat Removal offered by Medical Cosmetic Center.”

Hmmm.  Fat Removal!  Blast cellulite fat from bust, midriff and back fat!  Overweight?  Not anymore! 

So, the good news?  Unhappy with our current government officials and your body?  Fortunately, there seems to be plenty of solutions.  Says so right there in there in the paper. 

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Simple Prayer

Received a card from our 5-year old granddaughter this weekend that reads (written by her mom):

As the last part of [earning] my Grandparent Badge, I need to exchange prayer requests with you.  Here is my prayer request. I filled a shoe box to send to a little girl.  Please pray for this girl because she may not have any toys.  Pray that she likes what I sent — even a doll in there.
Please let me know how I can pray about something important to you.  Love, Annabeth

A lot of thoughts went through my head.  I remember a quote from Neale Donald Walsh’s book Conversations with God:  “The correct prayer is therefore never a prayer of supplication, but a prayer of gratitude.”

Gratitude.  Yes, I am so grateful for all that I have, especially family. 

But if I were to ask for something earnestly, it would be this:

Annabeth, I pray that you and your little brother keep a shoe box in your hearts marked “Grandpa.”  I pray that you allow me to fill it will beautiful memories.  I pray that this box is limitless.  I pray that I have a long, long time before it’s closed.  Amen.

We each have shoe boxes in our hearts accepting beautiful memories.
Go make some today.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, November 4, 2016

Serendipity Country

Yesterday, I wrote about pondering about coffee mugs, which led me to a box on a shelf labeled old mugs, which lead me to a cache of "14 Country” coffee mugs, which led me to think about my old “14 Country” friends.  Serendipity. 

Later, during my lunch break, I turned to the next chapter of a book I'm reading.  The topic?  The power of serendipity.    Serendipity means a fortunate happenstance or pleasant surprise. It was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754.  It’s a fine word to describe making discoveries of things which you are not even in quest of. 

The article stated that when you value the power of serendipity, you start noticing it at work in all sorts of ways. Sort of like the coffee mugs leading to reminiscing about old Channel 14 friends.  That and serendipity reminded me of the philosophy of my old and super-talented Channel 14 friend David K. Wells. Hook (as he's affectionately known in Channel 14 circles) practices what he calls “Endeavor to Engage.”  He's always on a quest to make connections with strangers.  In part, because he just loves interacting with all sorts of people.  But, he also knows those connections can lead to “fortunate happenstances.”

I know, that's a lot to digest over a quick lunch break.

So, I get back into the store and who is the first person to walk through the door?  None other than Mr. David K. Wells — first time to the store.  Serendipity?

“I was just thinking of you,” say I, shocked.

It turns out that he's recently accepted the position of manager of Evansville’s premier cigar shop, Cigar Cigar – which is just down the street.  Serendipity?

“How did you get that gig?” I asked.

The story he told was a typical Hook tale which started with “endeavor to engage” and lead to the fortunate discovery that he was not even in quest of. (I’m always amazed by just how much creation and opportunity is the creation of serendipity.)

Of course, these chance opportunities start with being open to serendipity and then engaging them. We are, after all, stewards of our own potential. 

This weekend’s Carpe Diem Life challenge: To be open to the possibilities of serendipity, and endeavor to engage with people, ideas, or even mistakes that lead to unexpected pleasant surprises.

Just something to ponder as your

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

drink coffee from your favorite mug.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pondering Coffee Mugs and "14 Country"

I was sitting here this morning pondering.  Do you ever ponder? 

I was pondering the answer to, “Why do men who believe in the Bible always make the coffee?” when I noticed my coffee mug. 

Coffee mugs.  Something else to ponder. 

Why do many people have such a fond attachment to their coffee mug(s)?  In fact, one survey (by the Heinz company) found that nearly 60% of people said they had a strong attachment to their favorite coffee mug.  About 40% said their special mug was irreplaceable, and about one-third said they would be devastated if it broke.

But I bet that you don’t need a survey or a multi-million dollar research study done at the expense of your tax dollars to tell you that many of us have favorite mugs that we’re attached to.  What are some of your favorite mugs?  Mugs remind us of happy places we've visited.  Mugs remind us of special times and events in our lives.  Mugs remind us of special places we've worked. Mugs remind us of special people we’ve known.   I have many of those mugs, including “It’s a girl” mugs I received when my daughters were born, Happy Father’s Day mugs, “Mind the Gap” from our trip to England, one from my Mom's kitchen when we cleaned her house out, etc.

Pondering all that reminded me of a box I’ve had in the closet.   Simply titled

I opened them up to discover

Channel 14 mugs from the early 80s.  Channel 14 is where I spent the first five or so years of my career.  In addition to some unbelievable experiences, I made some of my best friends there.  Sadly, like my mugs, I now realize that I somehow put them away in a box and haven’t seen them for years.  I guess you can say that I find myself missing a lot of those ugly mugs.

I think I’ll use one of my new-found old mugs this morning while I drink coffee . . . and ponder.  Ponder the good old “14 Country” days.  And ponder why I ever put them in a box in the first place.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Oh, It says right in the Bible . . . HEBREW.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Big Hairy . . .

Came across a term yesterday that I’ve never heard before, but absolutely love:  Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). 

Authors Jim Collins and Jerry Porras coined the phrase back in 1994 for their book Built to Last. 
They wanted a term that vividly conveyed the excitement, energy, and envelope-pushing boldness stirred by very ambitious goals.  BHAGs help build a great organization by:

Getting you out of thinking too small.
Creating a sense of urgency.
Making people loyal to the goal and not the leader.
Becoming the beacon and inspiration that makes a business more durable.

“If you thinking standing at the top of the cliff is where the joy is,” Jim Collins told Inc. Magazine, “you don’t understand [BHAGs].  The real joy is in all the pain and growth and suffering and creativity required long before you get to the summit.”

So, that is what I learned yesterday.  Today, the BHAG idea is reinforced with an example from this date in history. It’s the story of one of the most successful, eccentric, and mysterious men in American History.  A man who lived Big Hairy Audacious Goals:  Howard Hughes.

Howard Hughes was a successful Hollywood movie producer when he founded the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932. This guy was bad-ass.  He personally tested cutting-edge aircraft of his own design and in 1937 broke the transcontinental flight-time record. In 1938, he flew around the world in a record three days, 19 hours, and 14 minutes.

Following the U.S. entrance into World War II in 1941, the U.S. government challenged the Hughes Aircraft Company with the mother of all Big Hairy Audacious Aviation goals: to build a large flying boat capable of carrying men and materials over long distances. There was just one big hairy problem — a lack of war-time steel.  So what does Hughes do?  He evaluates the situation, checks all his resources, and takes a different direction.  He decides to build his aircraft out of wood laminated with plastic and covered with fabric. Although it was constructed mainly of birch, the use of spruce (along with its white-gray color) would later earn the aircraft the nickname Spruce Goose.

This behemoth was SO massive (wingspan of 320 feet and was powered by eight giant propeller engines) and took SO long to build, the war had ended by the time the Spruce Goose was completed.  Still, Congress that Hughes prove the plane airworthy. So, on this date in 1947, Hughes obliged by taking the prototype out on the historic test flight.  It flew, sort of.  But in the eyes of Congress, the Spruce Goose laid an egg.

Howard Hughes refused to neglect what he saw as his greatest achievement in the aviation field (after all, it was built to last).  It’s reported that until his death in 1976, he kept the Spruce Goose prototype ready for flight in an enormous, climate-controlled hangar at a cost of $1 million per year. 

So, what’s your Big Hairy Audacious Goal?  What are you doing to see it take flight? On this date in history, Howard Hughes piloted one of his —the largest aircraft ever built— on its first and only flight.

Today, the Spruce Goose is housed at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Leaves and Little Feet







                                                 Trick or Treat!?

                                                   OLD MAN
                                                 Why, those are the best costumes
                                                 I’ve seen all night. 


                                                  Thank you!


                                                     # # #

I don’t rake leaves until AFTER Halloween.  It’s my tradition.  I believe that the sound of children traversing through front yards (the only day it’s really permissible), and kicking a patch through leaves is part of the ritual that is Trick or Treating.

"Crunch, crunch, crunch.  Knock, knock.  Creak of old door opening.  Trick or Treat!?”
Treat, of course.  Repeat.

I also love all the costumes.  Sure, I’ll give a kid a piece of candy for just showing up (don't want to tempt the tricks), but the kids who make the effort, they get an extra piece or two.  Kids (and adults, too) dress is everything from super heroes to villains. 

Before the Trick or Treaters showed up, I started a new tradition:  Early voting!

The voting room floor at the library wasn’t covered in autumn leaves — more like egg shells.  Polite conversation. Crunch, crunch, crunch.  Vote.  Given an “I voted” sticker.  What?  No candy?  Not even Circus Peanuts or AirHeads?

Candidates:  Super Heroes?  Villains?  Trick or Treat!? 

We shall see. 

No matter what happens, I hope we keep in mind that what we do today will alter the lives of those little feet who trampled through our leaves last night.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn