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)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from our family

To family, friends and readers, I hope this Christmas time brings to your mind the many blessings of freedom, family, faith and prosperity that enrich our lives every day.  I recognize, more and more, that each of these four gifts from God are not to be taken for granted nor is there some default guarantee that they will always be in our possession.  Millions who now live and the greater majority of those who have come and gone before us have not known the quality and the quantity of these things as we have.  They are given to us by a benevolent God and only limited by our willingness to serve him with our own modest lives.  May these blessings of heaven fill your lives this season and throughout 2012. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Optical Illusion Christmas Card

The Captivating Mrs. Wicke and I are very fortunate on a number of fronts.  One of which is that our lives have always been garnished with many, many good friends.  So Christmas time is always associated with many cards and pictures from friends now far away.  This year, however, I may be pressing the limits of card viewing as a very strange thing has happened with the card a dear family sent to us.  Either my eyes are playing tricks on me or they have sent a card that utilizes some pretty cool new technology... 
OK, so far so good... 

What?... Is that Wilson...

... a smiley face  (what kind of subliminal message is this?)

... an extra-terrestrial? 


Could it be Elvis?

Well done Megan and John, well done!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Prognosticating Doom

One of the most important results of my professional socialpsychological development (first through years as a student and now as a researcher) is a critical and deservedly cynical view of the media.  While most of their inaccuracies and errant analysis are not intentional I am coming to believe that the one percent they get right is due to sheer accident.  Perhaps I am exaggerating a bit but I have truely come to question nearly every statement verbalized by some individual from the great nameless mass we call "the media".  The lack of credibility portends dangerous consequences for society... but that is a subject for another time.
Let us examine a specific article on MSN.com headlined,  "Why all signs point to chaos" byAnthony Mirhaydari a writer for The Edge.  Before we dive into the specifics let me point out one of my pet peeves:  fear mongering.  I hate it, especially fear mongering wrapped in sophistication.  This hatred is at the root of why I am averse to home alarm systems and particularly auto, life and health insurance.  Do not try to sell me by petitioning one of the most basic and basest of human sensibilities:  fear. 

Needless to say, the headline got my, allbeit annoyed, attention.  It took less than twenty seconds for annoyance to evolve into infuriation.  Here are the first two paragraphs:
You don't have to look far to find evidence that the glue that binds us together is losing its grip. Blame the years of economic turmoil and hardship. The volatility. The booms and busts. The persistent joblessness. The increasingly narrow path to financial independence.
For the vast majority of us -- dare I say, the 99% -- the social contract seems like a raw deal these days.

My self-imposed 2 minute blogging rule is about used up so let me be brief:
 "For the vast majority of us --dare i say, the 99%--..."  "Dare I say"???  Yes, how dare you say it!  I am tired of media, government pundits, social narcissits (groups that say, "to hell with the greater good, we want such and such") and so called intellectual elite claiming that their views are shared by some "vast majority" of Americans.  No, there are not even close to 99% of "us" who think we have been shafted in the matter of our social contract.  Your thinking stinks of the social cancer of entitlement.  Inherant in your statement is a belief that we have been wronged by some external force.  If the social contract is falling apart, the American people have no further to look for the source than their own bathroom mirror.  And while we, individuals, bear the burden if our social ties are threadbare, I have great trust that the American tapestry is not about to fray. On the contrary, I believe that a great majority of the American people still beleive in that contract and feel extremely blessed to live in a country of such magnificent prosperity, freedom and opportunity.  Are there problems, yes.  Is there need for serious reformation?  No!  What we need is rededication to the original principles of that uniquely American "social contract" we call the Constitution, to principles of self-reliance, limited government and to moral virtue. 

So, according to you, "You don't have to look far to find evidence that the glue that binds us together is losing its grip.  Blame..." and you produce a laundry list of causes for the weakening of American social capital.  There are arguments to be made about the waxing and waneing of American social capital, evidence exists to support both a weakening and an invigoration.  Let me grant you a rather large point for the sake of argument:  if the glue that binds us together loses its strength and we slide into chaos as your classic media-sensationalized headline proposes, it will not be for any of the reasons you "blame".  It will be, rather, because American's have discarded their native virtue, their trust in God (which is at the root of their trust in each other), their belief in a civilization fundamentally different than any this world has ever seen.  Yes, I reference the idea that we are exceptional.  But we are being told far to often that we are not.  We are no different than Europe, than Tehran, than Bosnia.  Perhaps we are no different than 1939 Germany.  These countries all have experience with chaos in the face of  economic turmoil, hardship, volatility, booms and busts, persistent joblessness and a narrow path to financial independence.  America has a system, a culture, a set of values and beliefs that makes her exceptional.  But that social contract depends on a critical mass of Americans who still believe in such things.  I do not know if we will slip into chaos and social discontent but if we do, we can only blame it on ourselves for abandoning the morality, the system, the exceptional features of society and a government that made us great over the course of the last two hundred years.  We do not need "real change", we need real rededication.  I believe a vast majority (somewhere around 65 to 75%) of Americans believe exactly this.  The trick is to get them to stop listening to the 1% who claim to be the 99%.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Farewell Mr. Hitchens... say hello to God for me

The world lost a tireless pursuer of truth today. Mr. Christopher Hitchens lost his battle with cancer.  I cannot fathom the road he has recently traveled and wish his family and friends a great deal of solace in the memory of a gifted and courageous man.  Mr. Hitchens was a strong voice of conservatism and atheism (antagonistic, intellectual atheism) during the latter decades of the 1900's and til his death in 2011.  One of his most popular books is boldly titled:  God is Not Great.  Agree or disagree with him, his mind and courage in speaking his convictions demand respect.  So it is only with great honor that I make this observation as he passes out of this life and (as far as my convictions hold) into the next.  I do not mean to be even the slightest bit inappropriate, unfeeling or otherwise disrespectful.

Since Mr. Hitchens was a tenatious pursuer of truth, I hope that today, right now, is the most enlightening experience of his existence.  Of course there is no way for us to prove or disprove his current spiritual reality, such things pertaining to our existence of life before mortality and after mortality are entirely outside the realm of scientific observation.  They are relegated to the domain of faith.  As one who believes that scientific and spiritual truth can co-exist, I trust that Mr. Hitchens is now engaged in a level of comprehension he did not know on earth.  I am not privy to the progression or order of things beyond this life but I trust that when Mr. Hitchens comes face to face with God there will be a tearful and soul-felt retraction of previous assertions regarding the quality of God's greatness.  And since God is great there will be no strict reproof for a son who has just come home from a long and difficult journey through a foreign land.  The Father will take his child in his arms and Mr. Hitchens will know of a goodness and love that is impossible for our language to convey.  This will be the greatest discovery of Christopher Hitchen's life.  For this truth I am most excited for Mr. Hitchens in his current condition.  This world will miss him perhaps (no less or no more than it misses any other who briefly dance across it's stage) but his discoveries have just increased a hundred fold.  All my best to you Mr. Hitchens.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wacky Wednesday: One week and counting until Christmas

No commentary needed (although some back stories would be very interesting):

Photos courtesy of AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com

Monday, December 12, 2011

Know thyself...

Last week I had the opportunity to prepare for a high level interview as a company flew me to their headquarters to further explore my fit for a position.  I have not pursued the interview process for a decade and a half and felt some significant trepidation over the entire process.  In the end, it went very well and was quite an enjoyable adventure.  The preparation process provided much opportunity to take inventory of my own philosophy that has developed over the course of my adult life.  I wanted to be prepared to present my core beliefs in a practical and concise manner.  Here is some of what I self-identified as some core personal and business beliefs:
1.  People want to matter, they want to make a difference.  This applies to their jobs as well as to their overall life.  People want to feel like the eight or ten hours they spend engaged in their occupation has some purpose beyond "putting in time".  An extension of this claim is the belief that people basically (there are always some exceptions) want to succeed; they want to make a contribution.  The problem is they are often held back from this out of fear/lack of confidence, a work environment or management situation that does not allow or facilitate this or finally, some don't have the "tools" (the know-how, the habits, a strategy, etc.) to succeed.  The good news is that proper leadership can often facilitate success.
2.  We should manage figures and processes but you lead people.  That is a primary difference between "management" and "leadership".  No one likes to be "managed" but most of us will follow a good leader into hell for a worthy or noble cause.
3.  Subordinates will be as committed as they see you (their leader) are.  The truth is, most followers do not preform because they are reflecting the cues (conscious or subconscious) of their leader(s).
4.  Leadership is most effectively and powerfully done on a one-to-one basis.  A prerequisite to this type of leadership is knowing the names (at the very least) of your team.
5.  Goodness, honesty and hard work will always win the day.
6.  Most victories are gained on the extra mile (where most people don't venture).
There you are, a look inside my mind and heart.  Any additions?  Please make recommendations.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's the truth, that is why it hurts: global gobbely-gook

The globe is warming, the climate is suffering, weather is out of control, the oceans are rising, we are all going to die!  I've never believed in this cirque de fanaticism.  Environmentalism is nothing more nor less than a contemporary secular religion  -complete with its articles of faith and unquestioned devotion.  Al Gore is the high priest and the United Nations is the temple.  I think President Obama was supposed to be the environmentalist's savior.... 

The preceding paragraph probably endeared me to 50% of people and made me enemies with the other 50%...  No matter.  This segment (It's the truth, that is why it hurts) is bound to cause such a reaction.  I am not here to make friends, I'm here (this particular segment specifically) to speak truth and fact.  Here is a fact from a fantastic piece in the Wall Street Journal:

On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm.

There, a beautiful little piece of truth that none of the climate and global warming people are running to the nearest microphone to tell you.  Why not?  This is a fantastic piece of information.  Seems relevant to the discussion.  Truth people, truth.  That is all I'm asking.