Who and What is the Happy Warrior

The Happy Warrior is the title of a poem... and yes, I love this poem. I do not wish to be mischaracterized, for the most part poetry is not my bag. I am not an afficionado of literature nor am I a metro-sexual (I despise that term) but a dear friend introduced me to this masterpiece of prose several years ago... it has provided no end of inspiration. The Happy Warrior by William Wordsworth outlines the qualities of a magnificent soul. I aspire to possess even one or two characteristics that "every man in arms should wish to be."

This blog is a representation, in conversational form, of my voyage to wrap my arms around the world in which Mr. Worsdworth's warrior finds happiness.

(Standing disclaimer: Luckily tests of spelling accuracy ended in 4th grade otherwise I would still be in Elementary School. Be forewarned, spelling errors ahead. I subscribe to the wisdom of a great man who said, "I have utmost disdain for a man who can only spell a word one way." -Benjamin Franklin)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wacky Thursday (Special Christmas Edition)

Enjoy the Christmas season through music:

Christmas Confessions

OK, OK, so I became tremendously busy this season and my blogging suffered -something had to give. At least I wrote our family Christmas letter and met Mrs. Wicke's deadline. So I am forced to condense what should have been a nice drawn out process to one entry. As a 12 Days of Christmas gift I am going to suggest 12 books or articles (I am under no delusions about my reading proficiency, so articles are fair game in my book)that everyone should read. Let me say at the outset that these books/articles are clearly in my interest realm and might not make everyone's favorite list (listed in no particular order below). Nevertheless, I give these to you with high recommendation (I will visit topics from each of these in future posts):

1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
2. The Ideas that Use Us by Harry Emerson Fosdick
3. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
4. The Good Samaritan and Eternal Life by John Welch
5. The Seduction of our Gifts by Pat Debenham
6. The Proper Role of Government by Ezra Benson
7. Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
8. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
9. Preventative Religion by Harry Emerson Fosdick
10. On the Shoulders of Giants by Boyd Packer
11. The Olive Press by Truman Madsen
12. If you are Young, Uncynical and Idealistic by C. Terry Warner
(sorry, can't stop at 12)
13. Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
14. 1776 by David McCullough
15. Any Calvin and Hobbes comic book
16. The Price We Paid by Andrew Olsen
17. Abinadi: The Man and the Message by Todd Parker
18. Flint by Louis L'amour
19. Careless Society by John McKnight

So as a Christmas gift I give you the joy of reading -the ability to go anywhere and anytime, to explore the depths of human thought and to bust outloug in laugher. Happy reading and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wacky Wednesday: Joy & Laughter Edition

Finding something fitting for Wacky Wednesday that has a Christmas theme is somewhat difficult... Since joy and merryment are endemic in the season, you will enjoy this. My apologies if you've seen it before. Even if you have, enjoy yourself again... laugh out loud:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Time to get back to Christmas

My apologies for being absent so much last week. True to the song, this is the most glorious time of the year but it is also the busiest time. If you are like us, things are a bit tighter this year than in Christmases past. Let me suggest a few gifts that you can give TODAY that don't cost a thing. Ironically these gifts have the potential to make a greater impact in the life of the recipient than a gift costing you hundreds of dollars. Make this Christmas memorable and pick one of the following. Don't hesitate, give one of these gifts within five minutes from the time you stop reading this blog:

1. Call an old friend you have not spoken with for the past five years but with whom you have shared some great times in the "old days"... Call them and tell them that you were thinking of them and how much you treasure their previous influence in your life.

2. Write a letter to one of your children (or one of your parents) and express your love for them. Tell them about a good memory you have from 20 years ago. Mail it today so it arrives just before Christmas.

3. Think of a friend or family member who has a talent that you admire. Call them and tell them that you recognize this gift of theirs; tell them of your admiration for them (be specific) and how their influence effects your life.

4. Be proactive and forgive someone with whom you have had a disagreement or who has offended you. Don't mention the offense, just express your love and desire to be friends/close to them.

5. Call a local public official, HOA board member, the nearest military institution, church officer or similar type of person and express your gratitude for their efforts to make your life better.

6. Find a teenager (preferably one who looks kind of weird), ask them their name and confess to them something like, "I remember when I was a teen ager... life was not always what I hoped it would be. I just want to tell you that I think you can do fantastic things."

7. Go to a store (not one of the mega-stores like Wal-Mart) and open doors for people as they walk in and walk out. Wish them a Merry Christmas.

8. Drive to the nearest retirement home and hug 5 people (if you are really feeling like living on the edge, thank them for their efforts to give us a better world than they had and wish them a Merry Christmas).

9. Take a cup or hot chocolate or a soda to the cross walk guard who is helping children cross the street.

10. Do something anonymously for someone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wacky Wednesday Special Edition: Mrs. Wicke's Day in Court

Mrs. Wicke had her day in court yesterday and as the tune goes: "I fought the law and the law won." Not! After a brief crime spree (read about it in Mrs. Wicke's own words) where she broke not one but two legally established statutes, Mrs. Wicke finally faced what all fugitives eventually come up against: justice!

Her adept use of legal proceedure allowed her to put off her date with lady justice for some time (one week to be exact) but ultimately the day of reckoning arrived. I have always said that Mrs. Wicke would make a fantastic lawyer but her impassioned stand before the judge was a masterpiece of rhetoric, logic and persuasion that would make the ancient judge Solomon bow his head in respect. She singlehandledly moved American jurisprudence forward to a new level. Before it was over the judge was said to have offered her a seat on the City of Chandler Municipal Court. Three chronic parking ticket offenders confessed and threw themselves at the mercy of the court. It was an amazing sight. I am glad the court recessed to take this historic picture.

Some of you might ask what this blog entry has to do with Christmas... and I would simply answer that Christmas is, at its foundation, about redemption from past mistakes and the gift of an unblemished future. Laurel's early Christmas present: total absolution of all traffic violations.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My best childhood Christmas present

So what was the best Christmas gift you have received? As straightforward as this question is, there is some difficulty since Christmas changes fairly significantly in meaning from childhood, through the teenage years and finally into adulthood. Since so much of the joy of Christmas is contained in those magical young years I am going to narrow this question to childhood.

So delineated, this is an easy answer: a full size Minnesota Vikings helmet. Mind you that this gift was received back in the mid-1970's before the commercial craze of the National Football League. My parents perfomed a miracle to buy this gift -I think they actually had to send off to Minnesota (yes young readers this was before email, faxes, cell phones and modern communication as we know it... in fact I'm sure they had to have the help of a long distance operator to place the call. I barely remember those days). The amazing thing about this gift was my parents deep understanding of their little boy. I am sure I did not ask for a Vikings helmet, it would never have crossed my mind that such a glorious thing was within the realm of possibility. But my parents knew how much I loved football, how much I loved the Vikings and they made the unknown dreams of little boy come true. Thank you mom and dad!

So, what was your best childhood Christmas present?

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Season of Christmas Blogs

I’ll admit it. I am a socio-political junkie… it is my profession after all. I am, however, also sentimental –a hopeless romantic. I love planning surprises, giving flowers, writing (correction: attempting) poetry, the under-dog, little babies, epic stories of great sacrifices and fallen heroes. Don’t get me wrong, there is not a bone in my body that feels a pull to watch Steel Magnolias, You Got Mail, Pride and Prejudice and the like.

When I describe myself as “sentimental” I mean that my heart melts when I see the light in my children’s eyes as they fall asleep on Christmas eve. When I admit to being a romantic I mean that I get a high from planning a weekend getaway with my wife and leaving a trail of notes around the house that gradually breaks the news to her. I will shed a tear when moving away from dear friends but not when Mr. Darcy and Juliana (or whatever her name is) finally confess their undying love to each other.

So having got that straight, let me paint the direction of my blog entries for the remainder of the month. December, specifically because of Christmas, is my favorite period of the year. For me it is a little escape from the seriousness of the other eleven months. I have officially changed from my talk radio AM stations to the 24-7 holiday music channel. I will also change the tenor of my blog entries until after December 25th. The topics will now center on giving, memories, children, happy thoughts, friends, good food, redemption, trees, Chanukah, peace and goodwill toward men. In the spirit of giving and receiving, I will need your help.

For example, I will run a list of favorite and of suggested Christmas gifts. Please begin thinking of Christmases long, long ago and be ready to share your favorite gift (both the one you received and the one you gave). Stay tuned.

God bless us, everyone.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wacky Wednesday 6.1

I've got to admit that I'm sorely disappointed...I didn't get any comments on the incriminating picture of Mrs. Wicke from last week's Wacky Wednesday 6 so I'm drawing attention to it again. But in light of the coming holiday season and the pathetic plight of clueless men who straddle the thin line between expressinging their undying love and their undying idiocy, I offer this video in the form of a warning:


(I apologize for not embedding the video here but a link is all I could manage. Women, click and enjoy. Men, watch and learn.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

1,000 Blessings (don't abandon Thanksgiving so quickly)

Post Happy Thanksgiving! After a few days away from the blogesphere (am I spelling that correctly?) I am back but I just can't seem to let Thanksgiving go... and I need your help to move on. The socially conscious part of me hates that Thanksgiving is becoming something of a byword between Halloween and Christmas. This is visibly reflected in the commercial emphasis of retailers. Aside from grocery stores running specials on turkeys there is very little attention paid to a day devoted to giving thanks.

My longterm and loyal readers will also know of my affinity to language and how it reflects our values and culture. You can guess my unbridled consternation to the transition of "Thanksgiving Day" to "Turkey Day".... what happened to the concept of "Thanks" supposedly at the center of this holiday. It has transitioned from a day of indulging in thanks to a day of indulging in turkey. That does not speak well of our secularly leaning society.

So, in this one man's attempt to turn the cultural tide I am not moving on until you help me with my endeavor to identify 1,000 blessings. I took out a leather bound journal on Thursday morning and committed to identifying 1,000 blessings which garnish my life. One thousand is surely a pittance of the boundless quantity of God's tender mercies that daily fall upon me. I am well on my way but thought I would make this a public endeavor. So I invite you to each contribute only 10 (more if you would like) of the blessings that fill your lives. Make a "comment" and list them here: