iPod, therefore iAm
- Jimmy Buffett, Songs You Know By Heart. Jimmy goes with everything, and nothing beats sitting in Margaritaville with good friends, sipping that frozen concoction, and pondering where in the world it might be 5:00 at that moment. "Son of a son of a sailor...I'm just glad I don't live in a trailer." Take it, Coral Reefers.
- Sheryl Crow, The Very Best of Sheryl Crow. Sheryl is so a propos of something, yet I just can't place it. "Hello, it's me, I'm not at home. If you'd like to reach me, leave me alone." Yeah, a change would do you good. Think I'll go buy a Subaru or something.
- Frank Sinatra, The Very Best Years. Frank had the best pipes in recorded music, and the ability to turn so-so pop and jazz numbers into unforgettable ditties. Once chastised for smoking cigarettes, Frank replied, "You go your way, I'll go mine." Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo.
- John Cougar Mellencamp, Scarecrow. It must have been all those years I lived in Indiana, for I think I have some Hoosier blood running through my veins. This is essential Mellencamp, who really was known way back then as "Johnny Cougar."
- Trans Siberian Orchestra, The Lost Christmas Eve. After seeing TSO four years in a row, I can honestly say I have not seen a better performance band ever. These guys are awesome, and their music transcends the seasons. This is the way Christmas music should be played. Rock on.
- U2, The Joshua Tree. I've been a U2 fan for over 20 years, ever since their October album. The depth of their lyrics is what keeps me rattling and humming.
- The Eagles, Eagles Greatest Hits. Every time I drive through Winslow AZ I fire up this gem. Although it seems like half their songs are about the problems of boy/girl relationships, I am more intrigued by the pop/rock sensibilities of their music. Imagine writing a song like Take It Easy in the Key of G, and then leaving everyone hanging by ending it on an E-minor chord. Nice effect.
- ZZ Top, Afterburner. If you're going to work out, this is the album. And no self-respecting Texan (native or transplant) can continue to call the Lone Star State home if they don't pay homage to this pure Texas trio.
- Chris Tomlin, Arriving. Tomlin is the worship leader's worship leader. He has more songs in the Top 25 of CCLI's Christian music playlist than anyone. You know his songs. You sing them in church. And if you time it right, you might get lucky and find him in town leading the music at Austin Stone Community Church.
- Toby Mac, Diverse City. Once part of the cutting edge dcTalk trio, Toby Mac has carved a successful solo career as a hip-hop artist whose stage band is as diverse as the album name implies. And to see them in concert is an experience beyond compare. It matters not how old you are. You will be dancing in the aisles.
Between The Lines
- To Own A Dragon, by Donald Miller and John MacMurray (2006). Miller and MacMurray tell what it is like growing up without a father. Miller continues to grow and mature as a writer, this time by taking on a co-author. I just can't get enough of what Miller has to say.
- The Professors, by David Horowitz (2006). This thick tome skewers "The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America," exposing how universities have become havens for pro-terrorists, communists, and other such liberal-minded ilk. He opens with a recap of the Hamilton College debacle last year when they wanted to bring Professor Ward Churchill (University of Colorado) to campus. Churchill, you might recall, published an essay in which he basically said the victims of 911 in the WTC pretty much deserved to die. Thankfully my university isn't populated with the likes of these troublemakers.
- The Search, by John Battelle (2005). This is a detailed look at what Battelle calls "the database of our intentions," focusing primarily on Google, but more generally on the whole search process. Must reading for anyone wanting to truly understand this phenomenon.
- The Google Story, by David A. Vise (2005). A close look at Google, the Wall Street darling and gobble-upper of any company with a glimmer of online hope. How many companies can say their name has become a verb?
- Naked Conversations, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (2005). Blogging rules! Scoble and Israel tell how blogging came about in the first place, and how companies are using it to better their own public image.
- Collapse, by Jared Diamond. Having read Guns, Germs, & Steel and The Third Chimpanzee by Diamond, I knew this was a must-read. In this hefty tome Diamond compares over a dozen different societies throughout time, and how (and why) some survived while others failed. There's a lot of food for thought in this volume, even if it takes a few weeks to digest.
- The World Is Flat, by Thomas Friedman (2005). Friedman dishes up the authoritative word on why outsourcing happens, and how we should prepare for a new world that is no longer round but instead flat. Of course, he's using metaphor here, but his point is not lost. Can you say "Bangalore, India?"
- Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell (2005). Author of The Tipping Point, Gladwell reprises his 2000 opus with another insightful look at human nature. In this edition he explains why some of the best decisions are often made in the blink of an eye, a knee-jerk gut reaction sort of thinking.
- Freakonomics, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (2005). Just in case you can't remember how all that stuff in ECON101 is supposed to be used, Levitt and Dubner toss out a bunch of wacky real-world illustrations. Like why drug dealers live at home with their mothers, and how some sumo wrestlers throw their matches. Oh yeah...and let's not forget that the crime rate is lower because abortions became legal over 30 years ago. Sure it is.
- Through Painted Deserts, by Donald Miller (2005). This is the re-release of Miller's first book, and is an epic telling of a roadtrip. Two guys leave Houston in a rickety VW van, bound for nowhere but headed for uncertainty. They bounce around the country before ending up in Oregon, where Miller now resides. In between they find van parts in a Vegas junkyard, free food at a diner, and summer romance. I felt young again reading this one. You will, too.
- Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller (2003). I count this one as the greatest spiritual development book I have ever read. Miller tells how and why he is a Christian, but at the same time destroys previous notions of what it means to be one. The story of his group's confession booth at a Portland college is priceless, and should be required reading in seminaries. Worth a second read.
- Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell (2005). Bell is the pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids MI, as well as the developer of the Nooma DVD series. In the DVDs Bell says more in 10-15 minutes than most preachers could say in an hour. In the book he does likewise, engaging the reader in Milleresque stories of faith that cut to the chase, leaving old misconceptions of religion by the wayside.
- Spychips, by Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre (2005). Mostly a scaremongering book, Spychips tells the story of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and how these nasty little chips might wind up in everything we own. The result? Someone will know everything there is to know about you. Are you scared?
Caught In The Act
- ZZ Top. Their August 2007 show in Lubbock was awesome. And our seats were superb (second row floor-center). They only played for an hour and a half, but they did very ittle talking or goofing around. They played all their hits with aplomb, never missing a note. The only disappointment was the lack of an encore. It was like, "OK, it's 10 o'clock. Time to go." And so they did. Warm-up act White Starr spent most of their time on-stage disrobing. We tried not to watch.
- Jerry Seinfeld. His November 2004 show in Amarillo was hysterical. And for nearly $70 a ticket times 2400 people, I'd say Jerry did very well that night. Consider that his only stage props are a stool, glass of water, microphone, and a mike stand. Sheesh, he could travel in a Yugo.
- Trans Siberian Orchestra. I can't get enough of these guys. All incredibly well-trained musicians, they also know how to rock. I've been fortunate the last four years to have seats down on the floor within 10 feet of the stage. What memorable experiences!
- Toby Mac. I've seen him three in Amarillo (November 2006, March 2006 and February 2005), all on his DiverseCity tour. Ohmygosh. It's nonstop motion on the stage, along with some incredible music.
- REO Speedwagon and Styx. I can't believe we drove to Missouri twice to see these guys (2000 and 2002). I also can't believe that, while I grew up in Illinois, I never saw them back in the 70s. They still know how to rock. Those hits haven't lost their luster.
- Black Sabbath and Van Halen. Huh? Your prof a headbanger? Well... In October 1978 my buddy and I caught this duo in Indianapolis. Van Halen was promoting its first album. They played every song and then called it a night. Ozzy Osbourne was still fronting Black Sabbath, and we got to see why he mumbles so much today. He was so-o-o stoned.
- Ian Moore. Caught him at the former Brewster's, as well as Golden Light Cafe. This former Austin musician knows how to fuse the blues and rock. Unbelievable.
- KISS and AC/DC. I'll never forget this. It was my first concert. It was December 1977, and my Old Testament final was the next morning. Rather than staying in the dorm studying scripture, I was at Market Square Arena in Indy in the mosh pit. Angus wowed everyone with his guitar antics, and then KISS splattered us with blood and flames. Oh yeah...I aced the final.
- Stryper. This is the Christian hair band from the 80s, but reunited for another go at it. I drove with a preacher friend one Sunday right after church, headed for Fort Worth where the band was playing that night. We rocked out with them for most of the evening, and then drove back to Amarillo by 6am. It was crazy. We laughed ourselves silly trying to stay awake, acting like a couple of college kids on their first all-nighter. I saw Stryper twice in the 80s as well, but I must say they were better this time around. They ditched the spandex (thankfully), because the middle-age spread looks terrible in it. (Nov 2003)
- Chicago. Here's another band I never saw while growing up in Chicago. What was I thinking? But now that we're all a lot older, I feel this special affinity with the Illinois bands. Awesome concert in Amarillo in April 2006. It was a stroll down memory lane. Who says you have to get old? After 39 years Chicago is showing that aging is only in your mind.
- Wayne Newton. What? Are you kidding? Nope. Mr. Entertainment is actually a lot of fun. It's as cheesy as you might expect, but the man is talented. Plus, you cannot say you've really "done" Las Vegas until you see him. Ask my friends who shared the experience with me. It was a memorable night. (Feb 2006)
- Seinfeld. Seasons 1-7 are out, and worth every penny. These episodes just don't get old. Your grandchildren will be watching these in syndication.
- How I Met Your Mother. What a fantastic show! While the show is still very much alive (Season 2 on Monday nights on CBS), Season 1 was rushed to market in Nov 2006. Once I started viewing I couldn't quit.
- NewsRadio. This was one of the true gems of the 1990s, but NBC screwed up and never gave it the support it needed. I've got Seasons 1-2, and plan to get the rest shortly.
- Frasier. He was so cerebral, yet pathetically insecure. That's what made for 11 years of madcap comedy. Besides, you can improve your vocabulary by just listening to Frasier Crane speak.
- I Love Lucy. The ultimate sitcom, all five seasons are available on DVD. It's funny watching how far television has come, while at the same time appreciating that this show was the first to use three cameras with a live audience. Very high tech for its time.
- Andy Griffith Show. There's so much advice for living in these shows that you could teach an entire Ethics course using nothing but these discs. Homespun and corny at times, yet intellectual to the core.
- Dick Van Dyke Show. One of the most intelligently written sitcoms ever, and it almost failed its first season. The comedy is first-rate in each episode.
- Friends. These hapless folks were in every American living room for 10 years, and I miss them. The show made me feel young again as I pondered all the pitfalls of being a 20-something. It still makes me feel young. And never mind that snappy theme song.
- Gilligan's Island. Definitely pure camp, but every Baby Boomer knows these shows backwards and forewards. All three seasons (yes, it really lasted that long) are available, and good for lots of laughs on a cold, snowy winter day when there's nothing better to do.
Sudoku. This is cocaine for the brain, a puzzle with gazillions of permutations that will have you seeing the world in
numerical strings of 1-9. Knock yourself out at WebSudoku.com.
- WordSpy.com. Need to enhance your nouveau-cabulary? Want to be a part of the buzzword crowd? Then visit WordSpy every day for a new word or phrase that is on the lips of the cognoscenti. Your friends, family, and employer will be impressed with your worldliness. Maybe.
- UrbanDictionary.com. When WordSpy fails me, I go checking for urban slang. Sometimes the definitions from this user-supported site can be a little offensive, but that's the whole idea. Some words and phrases simply have distasteful meanings. This is a great place to visit if you want to understand what your students are saying.
- ChurchSignGenerator.com. Ever wished you could tell it like it is on a church sign? Here's your chance. Hours of fun. OK, maybe a few minutes.
- TombstoneGenerator. Same idea as above, except that you get to create your own snappy last-word saying. I had one taped on my office door for quite some time.
- Skeptic.com. I am good friends with the Director of the Skeptics Society. Check in here regularly to see what the folks in the Skeptic Tank are thinking. Prepare to be challenged.
- Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park CO). This is heaven on earth, a place where I go for spiritual awakening, fresh air, scenery, and some awesome cycling.
- Mojave National Preserve (Baker CA). My all-time favorite place to go is the desert. Headquartered in the desert breakdown town of Baker CA, the Mojave offers everything you'd expect in a desert. The scenery is stark and spare, the exact opposite of RMNP (above). But therein lies its beauty. I go there to find solace; I go to find myself.
- New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins CO). Take the brewery tour. See how Fat Tire Ale is made. And then saunter up to the bar to taste all the varieties of beer they make. Take your time. This is an experience to savor. Last time I went I bought the neon sign of the Fat Tire bicycle. It stands proudly in my living room.
- Giordano's Pizza (Chicago). This is real pizza. You have to try it to believe it. Pizza Hut shouldn't even be allowed to use the word. If you want pizza, you gotta go to Chicago.
- Dry Tortugas National Park (Gulf of Mexico). Accessible only by seaplane or high speed catamaran from Key West 90 miles to the east, the Dry Tortugas is the most inaccessible national park. Once a Civil War era prison, the 16-acre building is a photographer's dream. Never mind the crystal clear azure waters that seldom chill even in the dead of winter. What a place to be dropped off...and picked up a few days later. With a little planning, you can do this. Just bring plenty of drinking water.
- New Orleans April 2006. While in NOLA for a conference, I had a rare opportunity to have a 1-on-1 personally guided tour of the Katrina devastation. Click below for the ouptuts of that tour:
Ph.D. Indiana University (1990). Major in Marketing, Minor in Geography,
Work-in-depth in QBA.
MBA Indiana University (1982). Emphasis in Marketing.
BA Anderson University (1981). Majors in Marketing, Economics, &
West Texas A&M University, 1989 - present.
Online learning, e-commerce, electronic music downloads, blogging as a method of teaching in the online classroom, the emerging church, and the growth of
the megachurch phenomenon.
- Board of Directors, Canyon Economic Development Corporation. Appointed August 2006. Our job is to help Canyon prosper and grow.
- Board of Directors, BikeTexas. This is the bicycle education voice of Texas. Currently serving a six-year period on the Board.
- Leader of Messy Christians Life Group at Trinity Fellowship Church.
- Member of the Promotions Committee of the Canyon Main Street Program.
- Director of Wheels In The Wind, a bicycle tour in the City of Canyon.
- Have designed and donated numerous websites for non-profit organizations and emerging entrepreneurs both locally and nationally.
- Designed and maintain the MMGB Dept. website.
- Served on the Amarillo Hike and Bike Committee for two years, and developed the Master Plan that is now being implemented throughout the City. I am partially to blame for those well-designed and correctly-placed bike lanes you are driving on.
- More University, College, and Departmental committees than I care to remember.
- Founder and Event Director of Hell Week Bicycle Adventures. These 8-day tours, which are currently in TX, WI, FL, and the 4 Corners region, help me maintain my sanity, and give me something to look forward to during semester breaks.
- Served on the Board of Directors, Center City Amarillo.
- I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
I am active in bicycle racing, advocacy, event promotion, and commuting (I once weighed in at 215,
but used cycling to get my act together), along with electronic keyboards and
performance, and basically living on the computer. I am also a fan of pop culture and social change, as well as the emerging church movement. I have a voracious appetite for books, and read many books each year. Unfortunately, I tend to buy more books than I could possibly read, so I have somewhat of a backlog.