Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wearing a hat indoors!

Wearing a hat indoors offends some people.  Today, it seems the old rule doesn't apply the same as it might have 50 or 100 years ago when everyone wore hats.

The etiquette mongers still maintain that it is disrespectful for a man to wear a hat inside.

No one knows for sure when the custom started, but it is assumed it happened about the same time and way as handshaking began.  Wearing a hat indoors was not a good idea while trying to convine previous enemies of a peaceful intent.

Mossant, c.1935When communities of people began to fight other communities of people, it became important to establish peace, agreements, and alliances to survive.  When one warrior chief approached another for purposes of peace, they would sheath their weapon and offer an empty hand.

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In the same way, it is thought that protective headgear was removed to expose a peaceful vulnerability in order to communicate with words rather than weapons.

So, out of respect, men would remove their hats while indoors.

The authorities on manners established certain rules.  Over the years it became the custom for a man to remove his hat or at least tip it even outdoors during an introduction, a greeting, a conversation, especially while speaking of someone recently departed. 

Men removed their hats during funerals and while a funeral procession passed them by.

Also, a man would remove his hat and place it over his heart during the performance of the national anthem or when the flag passed by.

It was expected that a man remove his hat while in confined inside quarters, but not so necessary in large open indoor areas like malls, lobbies, hallways, airports, train and bus stations.

During the 1950's, pompadour haircuts made popular by Elvis Presley and others, made wearing hats indoors and out a little difficult.  The custom began to disappear.  Soon the haircut styles changed again and ball caps and cowboy hats became a part of our culture.  The old rule prohibiting the wearing of hats indoors became a little confusing to the new generation.

Some people are still offended today when they see a man wearing a hat indoors.  Most people don't care.

People with lots of hair and little tolerance for new customs think bald men wear hats indoors, first to disrespect, and second to hide their baldness.  Now, having been bald for a few years, I can set those confused people straight. 

A great deal of heat is lost through an uncovered bald head.  Covered with primitive hair of a cave man, the hair helps keep the heat inside.  A fully evolved modern man such as myself has no protection from the elements except the hat.

Today, the fragile sensibilities of the easily offended must take a back seat to the demands of our fragile environment.  To save the massive amounts of energy lost through the top of an uncovered head, people need to wear their hats to preserve that precious energy.

The more energy we import, the more money finds its way into the hands of terrorists who hate us.  It is time we keep wearing those hats indoors to reduce the energy we must import.

It's just not green to remove your hat anywhere energy might be lost requiring an adjustment of the thermostat. Saddam Hussein seemed always to hold his hat indoors and wear it outdoors.

I'm a bit of an old man, and old habits die hard.  As much as I want to respect all things worthy of respect, I might, from time to time, forget the need to respect the environment for a few moments.  Out of misguided respect for overly sensitive people I might just take my hat off.  If you see me do that, politely remind me that this rule has been rescinded in favor of national defense.  To starve the terrorists of their ill-gotten energy money which they use to destroy us, we must adopt new ways.  We must protect our fragile environment and reduce energy use.

After 9-11 the world changed.

To see some of the coolest hats in the world check out our affiliate. 

Sheplers Western Wear

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quantum Rainbows...Quantum Jumping

by Randy Cox
Quantum Rainbow…quantum jumping! What is that? Tonight I stumbled upon a number of threads and websites concerning something Burt Goldman calls“Quantum Jumping”. It was difficult to grasp until the rainbow concept helped me understand what it was all about.

Some believe men have an exponentially larger reality than what we perceive from our own limited perspective. This theory has it that at each juncture of a man’s life, he faces many choices.

A Newtonian view sees a man’s life in a linear fashion with the choice made and the man continuing on to the next choice, the man defined by all his past choices.

Quantum theory, however, allows for the possibility for all probabilities. Imagine that at each turn in the road the man would split and travel all possible directions. Each different probability would become its own reality. Each man would be an infinite sum of realities.

If this were true then as the man ambled along, his total reality would grow to gigantic proportions. Multiply that by all the men, and other creatures, and add all the movements of inorganic objects having multiple probabilities, the concept of that kind of universe is staggering.

The Newtonian concept of a single man traveling through time from birth to death is miniscule compared to the Quantum view.

Quantum jumping is a technique used by the “enlightened” Newtonian man, trapped in a life consequential to his choices, to get in touch with his alter realities. A Quantum jumper will imagine himself jumping, temporarily, from his Newtonian single dimension to one of the infinite other dimensions of his choice.

Suppose through poor choices a man finds himself homeless and addicted to wine. In theory, he could pick some version of himself he would rather be, like maybe the lawyer he might have been had he not dropped out of high school.

By getting in touch with his other self, the quantum man might hope to get a better insight into how he could make a future choice that might lead to a more favorable life than the wino reality.

If these quantum probabilities do exist, it should be possible for one to consult with the other. After all, they are the same person, just existing in different realities. It should be no harder than for the Newtonian man to talk to himself weighing different choices within his single linear reality before he actually makes one and moves on.

At first, it would appear that these infinite different choices would split the man and separate him from his other realities, especially as they travel in different spaces. How could they all still be the same man?

As I viewed a picture of a full rainbow on the internet, and remembered once chasing a partial rainbow in West Texas, I suddenly saw the quantum man as a quantum rainbow.

As I drove from Amarillo to Dallas years ago a storm followed us. It was not large. Sometimes it was in front of us, sometimes to our rear. One minute it would rain to the left,the next minute it would rain to the right. At the end of this strange storm a partial rainbow appeared.

We followed the rainbow for several miles. It seemed to travel at exactly the same speed as we did. Sometimes it would be larger, sometimes smaller.

At one point it made a perfect complete half-circle rainbow. It was one of the largest full rainbows I’d ever witnessed.

From my Newtonian perspective, the rainbow I saw moved with me, fast or slow. I couldn’t catch it, pass it, or lose it. It seemed like a simple half arc of color, but really it was everywhere. Of course, a rainbow is light falling upon millions of droplets of mist, each bending the light and projecting a color. Relative to a man it is an arc, but relative to all perspectives it would be many rainbows over a far larger area that the Newtonian man could see.

The quantum man is like the quantum rainbow. From the perspective of the single dimension we live in, man is a simple individual composite of his choices and linear movement in space. From the quantum perspective, a man is all possibilities, multilayers and existing over the full area of which all his probabilites have traveled in space.

The quantum man is like the quantum rainbow.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Adsense Makes Cents!

by Randy Cox

Adsense is a hot topic! As the economy spirals downward, many people are rushing to bury their head in the sand. Those who don’t like the taste of dirt have discovered Adsense.

As everybody knows, Adsense is Google’s program to share ad revenue with anyone who has a website. Why not?

It is a new day in communication. We are no longer bound to the choice of one or two television channels, whichever radio station comes in best, or a couple of local newspapers.

At the beginning of civilization news and information was carried over the grape vine, one voice at a time. With the invention of the telegraph and then the vacuum tube, we used information brokers to spread the news faster.

Today, it has come full circle and information is carried voice by voice, or website by website, once again. Everyone with a website has a gateway to the world. If we can tell our story or illustrate it in an attractive or unusual manner, we can have the eye of the world in a moment. Adsense is our opportunity to monetize our communication.

In America, the visionary is no longer to be found. At the beginning of our nation, we were driven by lofty ideas such as individual freedom, social contract, free enterprise, universal literacy, equal opportunity, and manifest destiny.

Gone are the long term plans. We’ve been to the moon, already! A few years ago we had the Super Collider, but we lost interest in the 60 mile tunnel and cancelled it. Not only were our leaders bored with the whole matter, but they filled it in with rocks just in case the vision returned in a better generation.

As we lose jobs one by one, the only hope offered seems to be Adsense. If we listen to the infomercial we don’t need a job, we can make millions with our website. Google doesn’t make these promises; Google just wants to give the little guy and the big guy an equal opportunity.

Adsense is a great idea, but it isn’t going to replace jobs or forward thinking. America, and the world, needs new long term ideas. Google is doing its part, but the rest of us need to step up to the plate with real solutions. Current leadership is dull and lacking.

Our old leaders can’t stop picking at each other long enough to come up with a workable plan to make anything better. If you have a really big idea, the kind our forefathers had daily, now is the time to “bring it on!”

All you have to do is publish your earth changing idea on your website. Adsense can make you rich and give others a chance to sell their products as the world accepts a new vision for the future.

Friday, November 20, 2009

How to reverse Cardiovascular disease

How to reverse Cardiovascular disease

by Randy Cox

Cardiovascular disease is just a fancy word for heart disease. Cardiovascular diseases are any diseases that involve the deterioration of the heart or blood vessels. Mostly it refers to atherosclerosis.

If you are reading this, something has caused you concern. If you are lucky, you are taking an interest long before you have developed any serious cardiovascular disease complications. If you are not so lucky, at least you have come to the right place.

Victims of cardiovascular disease can reverse the process.

In the United States cardiovascular disease is so common it has become a major industry. Cardiologists, vascular surgeons, thoracic surgeons, , neurologists and interventional radiologists cash in on the problem.

Most of these doctors, including my own, will tell you there is no cure and the best you can hope for is to slow the process long enough for you to live a nice life.

In 1956 at a Cardiovascular convention, several German doctors announced that they had examined the bodies of thousands of prisoners who had died in the concentration camps, but found no sign of cardiovascular disease.

Your body, though crippled with fatty substance, clogged veins, and hardened arteries can rejuvenate itself completely.

Toward the end of the World War II, fatty food was in short supply in Nazi Germany, and in the camps virtually none of the prisoners were allowed such luxury. Obesity was non-existent. The victims had exhausted all the fat deposits in their bodies.

In the 1956 International Congress on Arteriosclerosis, Pathologists examining the bodies of those who died afterwards reported the absence of fatty deposits, even in older people. Atherosclerotic fatty deposits had disappeared in the arteries of both the heart and the brain. All fat had been absorbed.

The poor souls at the camps had lots of problems, but cardiovascular disease apparently was not one of them.

Your blood can flow freely again!

Every year more and more countries report increasing cases of cardiovascular disease. In America more people die from heart disease than from cancer. It is the number one killer in America and Europe.

A few people have inherited constitutions capable of adapting to the insane American diet by using only the what fat they need, then harmlessly discarding the rest. Most of us do not fare so well. If you stop doing bad things to your body and form new healthy habits, you can reverse the process that is killing you and making you feel so poorly.

You can be vibrantly healthy!.

It is no secret that Americans are overweight. We love fried foods, fat filled diary products and all manor of fatty foods. We also can afford as much as we can eat, and demonstrate very little discipline to not indulge.

You can have energy like you never had before!

By the time you discover you have a problem, atherosclerosis is usually advanced to the point of causing problems. You can continue to do all the things that brought you to this point, or you can reverse the risk factors with healthy eating, exercise, fresh air in place of smoke, deep relaxed breathing, zero stress, and a happy fun-filled lifestyle.

The Choice is Yours!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Long Horn-Honkers

Long Horn-Honkers!

by Randy R Cox

Long horn-honkers are people who wield the horn on an automobile like it was a weapon. They press hard enough on the button to crush the skull of the other driver if the hands were there. Some really long horn-honkers use both hands as if wrapped around the other person's throat.

The horn was only designed to warn another motorist or pedestrian of a possible hazard.

You watch someone backing up and there is an object the other driver can’t see…you honk your horn. If your brakes fail at an intersection, you honk your horn and hope for the best as you sail through.

One driver drifts from his lane a bit; another driver touches his horn to alert the first driver there is a small problem. A driver’s mind wanders as he waits for a traffic light to turn green, the driver behind him taps his horn slightly to put him back on course.

Proper use of the horn can save lives and property.

You see someone on the road that you know, or you want to hurry someone you are waiting for, you might tap the horn lightly. It might not be approved use by your manufacturer’s handbook, but the world probably won’t end if you do this on rare occasion.

These things are usually not a problem to other drivers, but some driver’s are more poisonous than others. Like a rattlesnake uses his rattle to warn others of the danger they present, some drivers use the horn to warn before they strike.

It is an outburst of rage, audio terrorism. It is a venting of anger so severe, the long horn-blower might actually explode if the pressure relief of the horn wasn’t available. Car bombers and Camel-kazi terrorists probably all demonstrated the sign of their inevitable violent act of destruction by first pressing their auto horns so hard and so long as to shatter windows nearby.

Doctors recognize long horn-honking as an early symptom of dangerous psychotic behavior. Long horn-honkers require immediate physical restraint, observation and careful treatment in institutions of mental dysfunction. Other symptoms associated with this illness include a cramping of the muscles of the hand which cause all fingers but the middle one to curl back toward the palm. Facial muscles, during an attack, may twist up the face baring teeth like a dog ready to bite. The eyes often glare and pierce with intent to kill.

The best a normal human can do is avoid these anti-social ticking bombs. If we are caught in inescapable situations, there is one tactic that sometimes interrupts the pattern of the psychopath long enough to avoid inevitable homicide.

The target of hostility can act as if the crazed driver is simply trying to say, “hello!” If one meets the the challenge of the upthrust finger as a greeting rather than a threat, it confuses the mentally challenged road criminal. The target can catch the eye of the long horn-honker, wink, smile and wave with friendly sincerity. The more the finger pokes; the more robust and friendly the wave returned.

Being a bit more inclined to accidently pull in front of people, fall asleep at traffic signals, and attract the crazies like flowers draw bees, I am forced to use this technique a little more often than your normal driver. As the angry long horn-honker tries to make it clear that his is not a friendly gesture…I perservere. The more the other guy shakes his digit and mouths words of obscenity about my mother, the more I smile and wave. Eventually the road rage behind the finger is fully spent. The highway terrorist almost gives up in frustration and simply waves back weakly.

Randy R. Cox

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Making America a Better Place!

by Randy Cox

Yesterday I wrote an article pointing out how America was something great getting worse. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I often say I’d rather be a part of something bad that is getting better than something good that is getting worse.

That does not mean I’d rather not be part of America. America is the greatest political experiment the world has ever known. I only want America to get better. America was never perfect, but she was great enough to serve as a model for the world.

I’m not ready to let her go.

So how do we make America, or the world for that matter, a better place?

All we have to do, all we can do is make that part that we stand upon better than it was. All we have to do is pay attention to those around us and do for them as we wish someone had done for us when we were in trouble.

There are massive charities we can and do give money to. These are good, but  we can do so much more. 

When we give to the large institutions we seldom see the results close to our feet. Sometimes we learn that much of the money that was given never  reached those who need it. Lots of these old institutions have highly paid employees that suck up the donations for themselves.

Some institutions have fancy charity events that sound really good in the newspapers, but in reality mostly serve the participants. When our art Gallery, Touch of Texas was  active in the N. Texas community we were a part of a lot of black tie affairs that were lots of fun to attend.

Sometimes there were auctions where we and other more well to do people could get really good bargins. The evenings were filled with high priced entertainment, gourmet food, networking opportunities, and often a chance to take home luxury items for pennies on the dollar. The cause always contributed a little money to something worthy, but too many times the real volume of cash was consumed by the party.

Is this the way to make America a better place?

I know a true story about  two blue collar workers who worked side by side for several months. These two guys came to know each other pretty well.

One of these guys was a good manager of money; the other not so good. One did not live from paycheck to paycheck while the other found himself in a situation that demanded he find $600 or suffer an irreversible loss.

Out of desperation, the worker with the problem asked the other for a loan.

The good manager was not a rich person, just a steady worker and prudent manager of money. He considered giving  loan but couldn’t see how it could ever be paid it back.

How could either of these guys make their world a better place?

The worker with savings just gave his associate the $600. “I don’t want you to pay me back,” he said. “It wouldn’t really solve your problem if you had to worry about paying it back. Just pay it forward to someone else, someday, when you can afford to do so!”

If you help those who are right in front of you and ask nothing in return from them except for them to help others in a similar fashion, you will be changing the earth you stand upon.

You can start a chain reaction of good things that will have far reaching effects. Your part of the world will be better! You’ll be better. The people you help will be better. It is that easy!

Try it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lies From Ft. Hood!
by Randy Cox
I don't want to make too much of this, but yesterday we were all shocked when told of the horrible deaths at Ft. Hood. Shortly after the first confusion, Lt. Gen. Robert Cone stepped forward to tell us several details, one of which was that the shooter was dead. It was good that a calm voice appeared in control. The nation needed assurance and we got it.
A little while later we were told the President was going to speak.
We waited...and waited...then finally the President appeared on the podium. The wait for presidential leadership was reminescent of 9/11, only substantially a much less threating ordeal. When Obama finally appeared, he attended to the previously scheduled business first, while America waited.
After the niceites of the occasion, thanking the hosts, and some forgetable and inappropriate lighthearted statement he finally got around to the business we were waiting for.
This whole thing seemed like Dejavu cica 9-11. Remember the blank look in Bush's eye and the delay before he responded.
Later we find out the shooter is not dead as we were told, but alive.
Maybe I'm the fool that saw the emperor was naked...and said so, but something seems wrong. America is so accustomed to being told lies that none of the talking heads are talking about the initial lie.
I don't know why I should be surprised; the talking heads have been missing the point, distorting the truth and even fabricating stories for so long it seems normal. Does anyone remember when missle parts were seized in transit to the Middle East during the Iraq War. We were told that North Korea was the shipper. That was not true, but it suited the purposes of the situation to condemn North Korea.
Weeks later, we learned the shipment was from Pakistan, but they were our ally, so our elite leadership, changed the facts. Nobody seems to care about the truth! Well, the problem with a liar is that once you know how easily they twist the truth, you never know what to believe.
America is asking questions about the event at Ft. Hood. We are getting some answers and we are hearing about some pretty heroic actions. I love it when American heroes are even more brave in reality than they are in the movies.
Only problem is....I remember other lies we were told that turned out to not be true. Remember Jessica Lynch! She was a hero, for sure, but not in the sensational way that some led us to believe. Being the true hero she was, she told the whole truth at her first opportunity.
I want to believe what our government tells us, but I can't stop thinking about the previous lies. I keep thinking about the things I heard and believed, then learned were just not true.
We have new leadership, but it doesn't seem that much has changed. The rich keep screwing up and getting rewarded for it. Working Americans keep working harder and getting paid less. We all seem to accept the lies as if they were truth without any correction.
The problems we face as a nation are not easy ones. The first step, I believe, is to demand truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the help us God!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Over Qualified for the Job!

by Randy Cox
Twenty years ago, America had a recession. I remember that our art business was down and jobs in the electrical trade were few. There were so many sad faces that showed up at each single electrician job offer that I began to look to other areas for a possible job. Everything that I could think of that an electrician might be able to do, other construction people thought the same way. When a job opening happened, hundreds of construction workers applied for them. As I picked up some supplies from an art wholesale company for a rare order, I was complaining to a friend of mine filling my order about how employers wouldn't hire me because I was so over-qualified. He told me that years before he had been a high paid engineer with several degrees. He said the electronics industry had a shake out and he hit the ground hard. He said everywhere he went they told him he was over-qualified. Eventually, his unemployment insurance ran out and he was desperate for any kind of job. He applied for them all but as soon as they read his application they would turn him away as "over-qualified." One day he applied for a job as a warehouseman. The hours were long and the pay was weak. As usual, the guy who interviewed him slid his application back toward him, shaking his head. "You are way over-qualified for this position. You would hate it, and you wouldn't last long enough for us to train you. I'm sure you'll find something better!" So as was the pattern, my friend left the building. As he turned the key to his ignition, anger overwhelmed him. "I turned off my engine and stomped back into that building to give that guy a piece of my mind," he said. He confronted the interviewer. "Listen!" he said. "I've got two degrees and I've managed departments ten times larger than this whole outfit. I can handle any work you've got and probably do it better than anyone you've ever had working for you. I want this job. I need this job. I don't care how long the hours or how little it pays!" The man again assured him. "You'd hate it here! Even if you stayed for a little while, a better offer would come along and you'd be gone!" "So what?" my friend demanded. "If this job is as bad as you say, you must have a terrible turnover rate anyway." "That's what I've been trying to explain to you," the prospective employer said. "You wouldn't last; no one ever does. These guys come and go! You are way over-qualified!" "I want this job!" my friend demanded. "I can do it! There is no excuse for not giving me this job. Even if I leave after a few weeks, that's probably longer than the next guy will last. I'll be here on time every day until I get that offer you tell me is coming. Until then, you'll get the best worker you've ever had." The employer couldn't talk him out of it. He gave him the job. My friend was the best person he ever had in that position. He stayed 13 years; then his employer retired. My friend bought him out and now he is president and major shareholder in the company he was once too over-qualified to work for. There is no such thing as over-qualified. People that hear those words need to present their case better. That could be exactly the right job for them! There is no such thing as over-qualification.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Protective Shield for Positive Thinking

by Randy Cox 7/7/09
Keeping a positive mindset is a habit. Either you have developed the habit or you haven't. It is simple to develop good habits ...or bad. All you have to do is interrupt the pattern of your old habit, then practice your new habit. The behavioral scientists tell us 18 times is all it takes to make a new habit, but I prefer 21 times. That gives us three more than the required amount. Three and twenty-one are both special numbers if you tend to the mystic. Even people with the "habit" of positive outlook have their bad days. Sometimes things just go wrong and you begin to dwell on the negative. It is so easy to do. When you find yourself doing this, there is a shield you can turn on that will take you back to your positive self. It is called gratitude. Whatever may be happening to you in the moment, there are things you can find to be honestly grateful. Find them! Stack them up and surround yourself with all the wonderful things you have to be thankful for. It is impossible to be negative and grateful at the same time. With gratitude, negativity melts away. Try it! Don't let a few bad turns spoil your day...or your life. Learn how to walk within the Protective shield of gratitude.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Man Who Lived in a Hole!

The Man Who Lived in a Hole! By Randy Cox 2009 Back in the late 1970’s, before all the hippies grew long in the tooth, a precursor to the green movement happened in America around an underground magazine called, “Mother Earth”! Most Americans, then as now, had dug themselves into an economic “hole” with demanding jobs to pay for upside-down mortgages. One man, whose name is lost to me now, climbed out of the traditional hole into another of his own choosing. He tuned out! He found an eccentric landowner willing to experiment with alternate lifestyles on his lake property. This man found himself high ground and dug in! He made himself a nice hole and covered it with sheet metal. Without a day job to slow him down, in no time he had a nice hole with everything a “Mother Earther” could want. He even talked the landowner into allowing him to run several extension cards from his hole to the main house next door. If the mood struck him, he’d dig a little on his hole. If it didn’t, he’d just loaf. The man thrived in his new home. It was warm in winter with a small wood stove, and it was surprisingly cool in summer. He also had no utility bills. Remember we had an energy crisis in the seventies similar to what we have today. Hooked to the extension cord was a TV and a small refrigerator. Word spread, and the day came when one of those pretty local newscasters came to interview him. I just happened to catch the interview, and I have never forgotten it. The man in the hole talked freely about his proud new life of leisure, but he sensed the TV newscaster was mocking him a bit. At the end of the interview, the newscaster prepared to leave. It was late into the afternoon and Lewisville Lake was about 20 miles of bad traffic from Dallas. “I know you think I’m crazy, “ the hole man said, “but when you get stuck in that five o’clock traffic in this Texas heat, when you’re breathing those toxic fumes, I’d like you to take note of the life you’ve chosen. When your blood pressure is soaring and you’re trying hard not to respond to the obscene gestures, and occasional show of arms, think about me! I’ll be sitting back in the cool of my hole, sipping a cold one, watching my favorite TV show. You’ll be struggling! Who’s crazy now?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Glass Houses

The best way to find out what kind of house you live in, is to throw a few stones at your neighbors Randy Cox July 05, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Social and Historical Nature of Art

Historical Context Art has developed over the history of human beings from the cave wall to the modern museum and home. Each artist from time immemorial has added his heart to the sum total of what we recognize as art. To be successful, an artist must connect to the old art and expand it to a new level. If an artist does not connect to the old ones, he must re-invent totally--a formula for failure. If an artist expands so much as to go beyond current recognition, his art will be ignored and miss its opportunity to participate in the evolutionary process of history. An artist must find his own balance to be successful. Randy R. CoxAmerican Artist 11/24/00

Friday, May 29, 2009

Read Before You Sign! We live in the information age. Written information is everywhere; sometimes we just take it for granted and ignore it. We sign for everything, gas, money, bills, websites, school and work. Hardly an hour goes by that we are not presented with a form to sign. The form always comes with terms, on and on they go with rules and then the final blank where we agree to all those terms….whether we have read them or not! House closings, they push stacks of paper in front of you to sign. People everyday sign things without reading them. The agent says its just boilerplate. Read it before you sign it! The small print is never to your advantage. They don’t expect you to read it so that put stuff in there you can negotiate away…but you have to know it is there and you have to negotiate it. Employment contracts, work rules, and mandatory memos control a third of our life. If we pause to read them, someone will tell us to just sign it. Read it before you sign it. A teacher was handed a slip of paper to sign while teaching her class. The messenger waited! She scanned it quickly, and then signed it to get on with her class. Later she read the receipt she had signed. She had agreed to remain standing, moving from the back of the room to the front to give all students equal access to her as she taught. It seemed like a small thing at the time, but it would come back to haunt her. The school year went on, and often she would start to take her seat but remembered the memo she had signed. Being a person of her word, she’d stand up and walk the room. Before the term was out, she had to take medical leave. She had vascular trouble in her legs from being on her feet too much. How about those thousands of people in Katarina who lost their houses to flood-- only to find out about the flood exclusion after it was too late. Similar thing in Ike, people lost their house to hurricane winds only to find out they had signed an endorsement excluding wind in return for a lower premium on their home insurance. They read the part about the cut in premium, but they were too busy to read the part about giving up wind coverage. It didn’t turn out to be such a bargain after all. For most of us our home is our largest investment. How many people have read their policy? After major disasters, when some people are hurt badly because they didn’t read their policy, the news media likes to do stories about how bad the insurance company is. Those talking heads have pretty faces and brains that are NEVER tuned to a higher level than the average 7th grader. Instead of urging people to read their policy, they convince them that they are full of legalese, small print and impossible to read. That is not true! Most homeowner’s policies are very readable and fairly short and the print large enough for old people to read. Of course, if we don’t read it we will never know. It is so customary to sign without reading that the person on the other side of the table gets annoyed if we don’t just sign and move on. If you pause to see what you are agreeing to they act like you are being unreasonable. We can’t stop America from jumping the cliff like lemmings, but each of us can break the pattern by reading everything before we sign. Each time we interrupt the brainless pattern of signing without reading, the zombies on the other side of the deal get a chance to break the coma they are in. Recently Congress voted to bail out financial institutions with our money…lots of our money. Our elected officials signed the bill and then the details began to come out. They gave away billions without any oversight at all. Their excuse was they had signed without reading the bill. That’s not unbelievable, but it should be! If ever there was proof that we are on an insane course of self-destruction, collectively and individually, our quickness to sign without reading is it. Take a deep breath. Take two! Let the oxygen refresh our brain, consider the foolishness of not reading the agreements we sign, admit that we do this, and commit to never doing it again. Read it, then sign or not based on full knowledge of what we are agreeing to. Read everything before you sign it. If you don’t have time to read it, you don’t have time to sign it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Increasing Our Range of Vision! Currently America is having a few economic problems. Well, actually we are having more than just economic problems. I think a good deal of our problems are related to our collective lack of vision. Our founding fathers had a vision unique to history and America was the result, but they are all dead. Their vision was so far reaching that we still use it as a road map…but maps get old as the terrain changes. The best way to solve America’s vision problem is to increase our own. Vision is contagious! If we can see a better way for ourselves the light from that certainty will shine like a beacon over the darkness of others. Some near us will see what we see and the vision will spread. But how do we build vision? We are the 30-second generation. If it can’t be explained, understood, or seen in 30 seconds we lose interest and move on. Our forefathers were given to exploring their visions at great length. They argued passionately until all edges of their theories were tested against the theories of others. They didn’t always agree, but their individual ideas were well beyond the thirty-second limit. So how do we find the vision that we need to get us through troubled times? I remember an old Cherokee story teller laughing at how the Euro men thought Columbus had discovered America and proved the earth was round at the same time. “We always knew the earth was round,” he said, “and we were not lost or in need of discovery!” This old man told me how the Tsalagi lived in many villages before the diseases from Europe decimated them. He said if you look down the path, there was always a high spot in the path beyond which you couldn’t see. He said if you walked to the high spot, a whole new sight would open up and another high spot would be revealed. The old man told me a long walk gave one plenty of time to think. If you keep adding up the high spots and you think about it, it becomes obvious that the high spots are just ends of a curve and if you add up the curves…you get a circle. “We dance in circles, you know! We always knew the earth was a circle!” Ask any old Indian about circles. Any of them can tell you that, they don’t even have to be Cherokee!” he said with a grin. I already knew the earth was round, but I learned something else from the old man’s story. I thought about the walk from one village to the next and all the changing horizons in the path. As we begin a long trip, we can’t see our destination at the beginning. We can see the edge of that circle where the horizon moves down beyond our vision. We have to believe there is something beyond it. We see beyond the edge as a mental haze…but we can see if we use our imagination to fill in the details of the blur. We can’t see the actual village but we can see our mental image of that village. Once we have the expanded vision of that which is beyond what we can clearly see, we are motivated to move closer. The closer we get to the edge, the clearer we can see the old vision and the more we are enabled to build new vision in our mind’s eye. As I practiced looking beyond, I realized something else was happening. Once I looked beyond the horizon directly in front of me and punched ahead, a new range of capacity opened up. It was a simple process taking only a few seconds to complete but a lot of words to describe. By observing the details that were near and the way they changed as they got closer to the horizon line I could see a story develop which hinted of details to come. The hint of things to come was my expanded vision. Once I did this looking straight ahead, I could turn my head and a whole new range opened up. Ever how far I could see ahead in my path, I could see that far ahead as I scanned all around. Now that was a much bigger vision than that which I could see. We stand at the center of our own little universe, but if we look beyond our horizons, we can see. It is a huge new vision! We know it is not a complete vision so as we choose any of the infinite paths leading to that new expanded vision, we adjust the details as we go. Always we should look ahead and let that larger vision build from the story told by the changing of details near and far and the hint of things to come. Randy Cox

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Ultimate Long Term Goal!
I hope everyone reading this keeps written goals. Tony Robbins and others have systems to help you decide what you really want out of life. I set the usual 5 year goal, one year goal, and I have daily goals that I set up each week. During the day I have flexible goals for the day, subject to change in an instant.
Most importantly, I have mini-goals as I work on whatever projects I have going at the time. I nearly always have a time value to these goals, and I adjust them as I go. It helps me get through the day efficiently.
As crucial as these goals are, they are not really the subject of this post. I have an ultimate long term goal that really helps me know where I'm going. I have shared this goal with others and they usually laugh. I'm serious about it, but laughing is very important to health so whether my ultimate goal strikes you as funny or worth adapting to your own, I hope it serves you well.
I'm told that man is genetically coded to live 120 years and then the cells just quit replicating themselves. I love life so my goal is to squeeze as much out of it as I can...until the last day.
On my 120th birthday, I want to wake up before the sun as I do most days. I plan to walk down to the jogging trail a few blocks from my house and run or bike two miles. I then intend to return home and wake my wife up proving to her I still love her and that I can.
After a nice breakfast, I'll read my paper (or whatever it is that we do at that time) check my bank account for new deposits that have been building up for some time from passive income sources.
I plan for a nice family get together around noon, to celebrate my 120th birthday. I figure it might have become a family tradition by now. As my grandchildren and great grandchildren begin to storm through our house, I'd like to take a little time with each of them to give some words of advice from an experienced old man.
I expect to stuff myself with a large meal of all our family favorites. Then I'd like to confront a cake large enough to feed Cox's army and blow out 120 little burning candles with one breath.
After cake and ice cream, I'd like to sit down in my rocking chair, take a nice peaceful nap....and never wake up.
To accomplish this grand finale, I have to attend to my shorter range goals tweaking and adjusting as I see results I like from those I don't like.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Choosing Our Surroundings!
Nobody asks us what we want to look at as we drive the freeway. We aren't consulted as to what color we want the machine we work on at our job or the decor of the sidewalk between where we park everyday and where we go to school. We get what someone else selects if we are lucky and happenstance if we are not. At home we get to choose. Once behind the locked doors of our humble quarters, we can paint the room whatever we wish and we can hang whatever art we want. We don't have to collect expensive sculpture by dead artists. We could keep our eye open for form that pleases the eye, even if the form was secondary to function. We don't have to expend a lot of money, but we do have to pay attention. Birds collect bits of bright colored paper and fabric to spruce up their nest, and the pack rat collects shiny objects to keep him happy while he hides from his predators. Some people adapt their surroundings to things that suit them while others just accept things they way they are... at home and everywhere else. While we operated Touch of Texas Art gallery I must have heard a thousand times, "I don't have much taste, but I know what I like!" That's pretty much at the center of good taste. If one pays a bit of attention to what he likes and what he doesn't like, it's not hard to move out the ugly stuff and move in the pleasant stuff. A little adjustment here, another there goes a long way in making a house into a home. I just wanted to remind people that the space they live in belongs to them. Take a moment and make it like you want it. R. Cox

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why bad things happen to good people!

Why do bad things happen to good people? This question seems to haunt many people. I first asked the question as a child and spent a great many years of my life trying to find the answer. When I found it, I was amazed at the simplicity. I shouldn't have been surprised; most of life's complex questions have simple answers. Why do bad things happen? They happen so good things can happen! Let's take a scientific approach to the answer. Before we do that we have to define science. Science is an attempt to explain the world around us in terms of observable phenomena. That's pretty much how the old indians did it; then guys in white coats started doing it a couple of thousand years later. When I look around I observe that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Okay, I'm not the first to discover that, but if we look around we will see that it holds true...always. If we assume it was always true then it follows that for every good thing that happens, something bad must happen--the opposite reaction to good. You can't have hot without cold. You can't have light without darkness. In the world as it currently exists, it is impossible to experience good without having a measure for bad. Up until now we have been dealing with abstracts; let's look at specifics. Smarter people than me quantify the values of reality as mathematics. I appreciate the need for that, but I'm pretty simple so I'll keep the math simple. If it is true that there is an equal and opposite reaction for every action, then for every value of one there would be an equal and opposite value called -one. If we could identify everything and give it a value, I believe it would have a corresponding negative value. I don't know what matter or anti-matter is, but I'm told it definitely exists. So I see the universe as an expanding infinity of positive and negative values. This helps me keep things in balance. When something bad happens to me, I look for the corresponding good. I try to be thankful for the bad because it helps me appreciate the good. For my first blog, I thought I'd tackle the big question and get that out of the way. In future discussions, we'll deal with smaller questions. I hope this gives everyone something to think about, and I hope you will share what you think with us all. R. Cox