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)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On Vacation!

To my loyal blog readers (all twelve of you),

So much has happened and I've been absent for several days. You can bet I have some things to say about our President's genius domestic policy strategy (i.e. call law enforcement officers "stupid", inflame racial tensions and then lecture us about the "teaching opportunity" such situations present... not to mention proposing to fix the problem by inviting the effected parties over to the White House for a beer)... genius! I can't wait to hear of his full foreign policy agenda... I suppose we can plan on ice cream social night with leading dictators on the White House lawn sometime in early September. But this is not the subject of this blog. I am writing to quickly inform you that I am on vacation for a few weeks. Yes, Mrs. Wicke and I loaded up the mini-van and took to the highways. We are hoping to deepen families ties and to make memories. Knowing that you are stuck at work, here is a short video to get you in a vacation mood.

See you in August!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

To the American politician: no read = no vote!

Here is a genius idea that I came up with all by myself (sorry for the lack of modesty but for the 3 times in my life when I actually did evidence genius mental capacity, it is not too pompus to point it out):

To our elected politicians (Democrat or Republican),
Do not vote for any bill, motion, budget matter or legislation of any kind unless you have actually read the entire bill first! I may be a crazy citizen -some might dismiss me as a right wing nut job- but is this too much to ask? No read = no vote. Or if someone like a certain Chief Executive pressures you to take some action for the sake of America and American families (of which I am one), follow this slight variation: No read = vote "no"!

To do otherwise is actually a dereliction of your stewardship.

Oh, a couple videos that speak to this:

Amazing what promises can be set aside in the face of real or fictional "crisis". Americans will find their country and constitution fundamentally changed as the result of and legitimization of drastic actions said to counteract one crisis after another.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wicke Family Pictures

(Time to set aside the arduous task of revealing truth in all things political and philosophical... long enough to report on the happenings on the homefront)
Summer is a busy time for most families, it is no different with the Wickes. Here are a few snapshots into our summer activities:

Thomas as part-time barber

Griffin at swim meet. Preparing for his race.

Mrs. Wicke's shrimp boil (yummy!)

Another haircut. Lincoln is not too thrilled.

Logan warming up for swim meet. No, she is not drowning... it is the breast stroke (and she got 3rd place in the race).

Boating on Roosevelt Lake (picture from the boat toward the shore)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Scorpion Hunt: revealed

To all of my 12 blog readers: a few days ago I posted results of my latest scorpion hunt. Since Mrs. Wicke could not even locate the little critter in the picture, here is a hint:
Yes, they are difficult to find... unfortunately we have brown carpet inside our house so finding them crawling across the carpet is challenging. Many times we've had to carefully sneak up behind a potential intruder only to discover that the would-be offender is a thread or twig. Also there is nothing like stepping on something small in the darkness of night only to discover it is a small toy. Arizona is great!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sermonette: The challenge of inherited prosperity

This is not one of my usual sermonettes (a short snippet of religious thought from a recognized ecclesiastical authority) but rather just a good ole fashioned scripture... and I'm going way back into the Old Testament. As I get older and my vision expands further, I am more and more convince of the fact that the human condition -both at the individual and at the societal level- is not all that different now from millenia ago. People in the days of Abraham faced the same fundamental challenges as we do even with all our technology and material comforts. We all face the same battle of carnal human nature, we all are engaged in the work of scratching out a living for our families, we are all required to treat our fellowman kindly and justly, we all struggle to find God's purpose for us and seek to be obedient to his will. We all are born into this world naked and screaming. We all will leave this world unable to take our fortunes, positions and mortal powers with us. All the other stuff -the technology, the honors, the houses and cars, the particular country we are born into and live out our lives in- is largely fluff and context for these more important matters. The matters upon which our character is developed and eventually will be weighed.

So here is the wise observation of Joshua, speaking to a people who inherited a pretty good life; A generation whose parents and grandparents were tried by difficulties and poverty (even coercive oppression) but who won their freedom by virtue of the power of a gracious God. These are Joshua's words to a generation who would not be challenged by their difficulties but rather by their prosperity:

And I have agiven you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.
Now therefore afear the LORD, and serve him in bsincerity and in truth"
-Joshua 24:13-14

Sounds like a message and a warning that is appropriate for another generation who has inherited a very comfortable standard of living....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Groundrules of Life, Part 1

I'm a list and definition person. I take very seriously the inscription at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, namely "know thyself". Not surprisingly then, the subsequent directive verbalized so perfectly by Shakespear through his fictional sage Polonius, "To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man" is of equal weight.

My efforts to both know myself and to then be true to the highest that is and that might be within me usually take shape in the lists that are the fruits of my meditation. These lists reveal why words and their meaning have deep import in my life. Take, for example, the second ground rule of life (see below) I've identified: life is not fair. Knowing what "fair" means, especially as contrasted to synonyms and popular substitutes, is of seminal importance. In fact, the primary battle ground for so many of the contemporary socio-political issues is rooted in definitions. What defines marriage, what is justice, what constitutes freedom, what are civil rights, civil liberties and civil responsibilities, what is government, what is life and when does it begin, what is tolerance, what is evil (is there any such thing as evil for that matter), what is sex, what is the definition of "is". Language and definitions are the battleground. Confusion about self and our place in society is, perhaps, the greatest confusion of our age (an age, interestingly, that is more highly educated then any prior).

Well that was a rather long tangent, back to the point. I've collected a list of my "Groundrules for Life". Here are the first group for your comment and contribution:

1. Yield to God’s will.
2. Life is not fair.
3. We are always required to act with honor (especially in the face of #2).
4. Pursue truth unrelentlessly.
5. People always have priority over things and accomplishments.
6. Ultimately we cannot control what happens to us/how others treat us, however we have absolute control over (and we have responsibility for) how we respond.
7. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.
8. Most effort/time/energies should be spent on people and causes proximate/known to you.
9. It is in the little things, the details and quiet minutia of life where character is both developed and revealed.
10. All righteousness (goodness, happiness, niceness and truth) always stir up evil’s vengeful jealousy (in all its range of severity).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wacky Wednesday 2009, Vol. 19

On a lighter note (since "laugher as the best medicine" is in serious danger of government health care rationing), here are a few pictures that make you wonder about the events leading up to the image captured on film:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Our Angels

Due to time constraints and the busy-ness of life, I thought it might be good to post a recent picture of our three little angels. And since the picture itself is worth a thousand words, I'll stop writing now.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Enlightenment: Character Counts, Vol. 2

Another great 30 second message that should cause you to think about life for at least another 30 seconds.

View Full Clip

Friday, July 10, 2009

Life (and hazzards) in the Desert

On Wednesday night I went scorpion hunting. (WARNING: Mrs. Wicke, you may not wish to continue reading this entry since, I have learned, sometimes ignorance really is bliss). This was only the second time this year but I had a hankering for some adventure and I took my flashlight and a can of insecticide and wandered off into the far reaches of our back yard. The eastern wall seems to be the abode of choice for our creepy little friends so I started at the farthest reaches of the "back forty" and worked closer toward the house. This picture shows just how difficult it is to see these creatures among the landscaping (a real life "Where's Waldo" activity). Can you spot it?
I found two of our exoskeleton friends lounging on the lip of the spa. These were healthy sized scorpions. After confirming the kill I inspected the wall and found another near our vegetable garden. When I sprayed this one, its back appeard to shed in several pieces. I realized that I hit the motherload (literally). Scorpions carry their babies on their back until they are old enough to fend for themselves. I wish I got a closer look to see this curiosity of nature BUT I am glad I found this one before the little ones spread like a contagion in our yard (I wonder how many I do not kill before they reproduce).

I continued to our side gate where I found two more pests and dispatched them. Five confirmed and an unknown number of baby scorpions exterminated before they could do any harm. All in all, a good night.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wacky Wednesday 2009, Vol. 18

If I can poke fun of other people, both known and anonymous, it is only fair to laugh at myself as well. I found this great site that will analyze your face and identify how similar you are to celebreties. Here is my first resemblence analysis:

Who knew I have a distincitive Russian look (a la Peter and Yuri)? What really surprised me was how beautiful I must be with strong resemblence to Britney Spears (63%), Diane Keaton (50%) and Drew Berrymore (46%). I suppose this proves that I am in touch with my feminine side. Matthew Perry is not a bad association either. My biggest question is who in the world is Zamfir?
OK, OK... so the skeptic in me decided to upload another picture and see if there is any reliability in this process (besides, I don't know that I feel comfortable with 3 of 8 of the strongest celebrity resemblences being female). Here is the second analysis:
Now, that is much better! Arnold, Matt Dillon, Van Der Beek, Rock Hudson, Nicolas Cage. I'm feeling better and better about my looks every second. Oh, but not one common celebrity between the two pictures.... Hmmmmm. Maybe this isn't the most scientific exercise but it is kinda fun.

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Family sites - Pedigree

Monday, July 6, 2009

Coup and Soup... many of the same letters and yet not the same

I've always wanted to craft a title that looks like it has some deep meaning but..... in reality no one knows if it is profound or profoundly stupid. Now I know how most of the contemporary artists feel -splatters of paint on canvas; genius! But let's talk coups.

A "coup" is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "a brilliantly executed strategem." This is, in fact, exactly what the Honduras Supreme Court, Legislature and military pulled off. It is important, however, to distinguis between a "coup" and a "coup d'etat" which is defined as "a sudden, unconstitutional overthrow of a government by a group of persons in or previously in authority". Notice the essential qualifier "unconstitutional". This DOES NOT describe what transpired in Honduras although neither the national media nor the President (Obama) will speak of this essential distinction. Why won't they? To be candid, they think one of three things:
1) you are too stupid to comprehend anything more than a trite slogan like "Change for Ameerica.
2) you could care less about a country that 87% of American's can't even locate on a map.*
3) that what transpired in Honduras actually was an affront to democracy, or at least the charade-democracy that is currently being touted by governments in Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. As if the German Democratic Republic (AKA East Germany) had anything in common with the principle of democracy existing in the US.

Just because something appears to be a democracy does not make it so. Likewise just because something appears to be a step away from democracy (i.e. the coup in Honduras) does not make it so. Ironically, the coup in Honduras was actually action taken to defend democratic principles. You may not have known a few vital facts:
1. the ouster of former Honduran President Zelaya was ordered by the Supreme Court and supported by the national legislature.
2. the man put in power to replace President Zelaya is from the same political party AND he supported the coup.
3. the military did not seize power for itself (key eveidence that this was not a law-less power grab).
4. the governmental system and apparatus that existed prior to the coup continues to exist/function now. There was no "overthrow of a government" (see definition of coup d' etat).
5. the action of the judicial and legislative branches was a response to President Zelaya's illegal referendum whereby he sought tosecure a degree of power not previously allowed by the country's constitution.

Finally, here is the point of my argument: what was President Obama's reaction to Honduras' bold defense of democracy? (Compare this condemnation to his anemic reaction to Iran's anti-democracy actions)

(notice the continuing trend of apologizing for past US wrongs)

I can officially say, I am embarrased to be an American if we have come to a place where we hesitate to champion those brave citizens struggleing for their freedoms in Iran while in the next breath we quickly and soundly condemn our Honduran friends for defending theirs. Are we so blind so as not to see where real democracy and real freedom are? We have fallen so far from the clarity spoken of by Thomas Paine less than 250 years ago:
"Freedom hath been hunted round the globe, Asia and Africa hath long expelled freedom. Europe regards freedom like a stranger, and England hath given freedom warning to depart. O America, receive the fugitive freedom, and prepare, it time, an asylum for humankind."
-Common Sense, 1776

Should we now add the United States of America to those countries who, if for their apathy alone, are antagonists of freedom. We desperately need to get this right. Is it too much to ask our leaders at the highest level to know who are and who are not freedom's friends. So far President Obama is 0 for 2. Since much wisdom can be traced back to The God Father, to Star Wars and Seinfeld (I'm more realistic than to think we might look to the Bible as a source for our wisdom so I won't even include it in the list), I suggest a new approach for determining our foreign policy: whatever stance you were going to take... do the opposite! This explains the strategy in greater detail:

*-statistic is a complete fabrication, I made it up... although I'm afraid that this guess might be an accurate reflection of reality.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009