Archive for April, 2016

What Happened at Crystal City? (Part I)

April 25, 2016

What is It?

Journalism 101

  • What’s the hook?
  • Five W’s and the H
  • The Inverted Pyramid

As Journalism majors in college, we learned that these were the basic requirements of every good news story. The hook was what grabbed your reader’s attention and made them want to continue reading your story. The five W’s and the H were basic components of what happened – who (was involved), what (happened), where (it happened), when (it happened), why (it happened), and how (it happened). These elements weren’t always clearly defined, but they were a good starting point for a reporter who was gathering the facts. The inverted pyramid meant composing the story with the most important facts at the top, in case your reader lost interest before finishing the story.

Time Travel Back to World War II

Back in Time (from Back to the Future Soundtrack)

OK, so picture yourself as a reader of a newspaper story during World War II. Actually, as an aside, let me divert from the main point of this blog. Like many bloggers, I’m opportunistic – I see and hear something, and I get an idea for a blog. Beyond that, it’s a matter of putting it all together. Some ideas and projects obviously require more time to research and figure out, “America’s Social Ills” for example is one on my list. Also, I get ideas from people that I talk to, at the gym or other places – sometimes I think people who go to gyms (myself included) spend more time talking than working out. A classic example, is a conversation I had about Crystal City, Texas.

I was at the gym when I met Luis (not his real name), an older fellow like me. I noticed that he had a very unusual walking stick. I suppose that’s a sign of aging, my fascination with walking sticks. Anyway, I learned that he once lived in Crystal City, Texas.

Crystal City is a city in and the county seat of Zavala County, Texas. The population was 7,446 in 2013, and it has an area of about 3.6 square miles. It is 116 miles southwest of San Antonio.

Luis lived there during WWII when an internment camp was there. He was very young at the time, but the stories about the camp and the evidence of its existence remained long after it closed. He told me about it.

You’ve probably figured out the “hook” for this blog, but you’ll have to wait for the next installment to get more details about Crystal City. Trust me, you’ll find it very interesting and shocking.

Priorities – Are They Important?

April 16, 2016

In this blog I’ll be sharing some photos from recent memorable runs and hopefully some thought-provoking ideas about priorities.

First the runs – actually, let me rephrase that, first I’ll tell you about two of my recent runs with words and pictures.

You may have seen my piece about What is Serendipity? a while back.

Run 1 – Big Bird Lives

Interestingly enough, referring to one of the two run/walks I’ll tell you about in this blog and speaking of Great Blue Herons, a couple of my Tuesday running/walking group buddies and I saw one at Commonwealth Lake this week. Commonwealth Lake is in a local neighborhood near where I live. “It was amazing” to see this magnificent creature standing on the shore line of the lake not more than a dozen feet from the path where we were walking. The bird didn’t flinch, just stood there looking around. They’re actually very large birds. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera.

By the way (just a quick note) about my walking/running – sometimes, due to various and sundry aches and pains, I walk rather than run. I enjoy both running and walking, the main thing is getting off the couch and going out to get some exercise.

The Allman Brothers – No One Left to Run With

Run 2 – Another Run in the Sun


Mike & Jim along the Columbia River

On the second run on a Wednesday with a couple of other running buddies – be patient, I’ll get to the part about “priorities” eventually. Someone had suggested we run in a location where we hadn’t run in a while. We met in Vancouver across the river from Portland. It was a bright sunny day with a bit of a breeze, and we took off east toward Mount Hood and ended up on a paved trail that follows the river. I’m including pictures that I took. Afterwards we had a late lunch and drinks sitting in the sun. Everybody was out enjoying the weather. Eat your hearts out Californians, you take your sunny weather for granted, we Oregonians relish those wonderful sun-filled days.

The “Priorities” Part


What would your ribbon say?

The topic presented in my church one Sunday this year was about priorities, mainly how to focus on worshipping God, loving people, and using things in that order. I guess the first two priorities are pretty obvious, although you can substitute another word for “God” if you prefer. On “using things”, that covers a broad area – spending time texting, etc. – I guess the point is that “using things” should be the lowest rung on the priority ladder. I think the pictures illustrate that choosing your priorities carefully is what’s important. If it’s a choice between going for a run or spending time with my family, which one do I choose? For me for years, running took priority over everything. One day I realized that there were other things that should have a higher priority.

Take a look at the pictures. I was walking along the trail in Vancouver when I saw “The Soul Tree”. At first I didn’t know what all the ribbons were about until I stopped and read the sign. I decided to add my own ribbon (“My Family”), and I took pictures with my phone.

I’ll end on that note, but hopefully your priorities are well chosen.

Just a few quotes to end with . . . check out Brainy Quotes for a lot more.

Tony Blair
It is not an arrogant government that chooses priorities, it’s an irresponsible government that fails to choose.
Whitney Houston
I have priorities. Maintaining my daughter is my first.
Myles Munroe
Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.


The Passing of March

April 1, 2016

What Happened to March?

Obviously it happened and we’re moving into April. With nary a whimper from Caesar or his ghost on March 15, 2016 the “Ides of March” again slipped into history.

Steely Dan: Do It Again

According to Wikipedia

In modern times, the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius, were involved. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, “The Ides of March are come”, implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied “Aye, Caesar; but not gone.” This meeting is famously dramatised in William Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to “beware the Ides of March.” The Roman biographer Suetonius identifies the “seer” as a haruspex named Spurinna.

Caesar’s death was a closing event in the crisis of the Roman Republic, and triggered the civil war that would result in the rise to sole power of his adopted heir Octavian (later known as Augustus).

More history and trivia from Wikipedia about what happened to Julius Caesar in case you’re interested.

Just to end with two quotes about “mindfulness” (one of my favorite topics) and a link to more quotes.

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Writing can be an incredible mindfulness practice.
When you have children, you realize how easy it is to not see them fully, and perhaps miss all those early years. If you are not careful, you can be too absorbed in work, and they will be only too happy to tell you about it later. Being a parent is one of greatest mindfulness practices of all.

Hopefully the mindfulness quotes will inspire you.


Donald & Daisy Dine at the Blazek’s House

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