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Monthly Archives: October 2007

Can we characterize our culture as a ‘culture of cheaters’?  Consider these few examples:

  • Track and field star, Marion Jones just acknowledged she used performance-enhancing drugs leading to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
  • E.F. Hutton, an American brokerage firm known for that commercial jingle, “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen” and once (I thought) a squeaky clean company,  is now a faint memory because the company cheated investers.  In 1980,  several Hutton branches began writing checks greater than what they had on hand at one bank, then making a deposit in another bank equal to the amount it wrote at the first bank. This strategy, known as “chaining,” is a form of check kiting.  “Chaining” gave Hutton the use of money in both accounts until the checks cleared. In effect, Hutton was giving itself a free loan that also didn’t carry any interest.  See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.F._Hutton.
  • Martha Stewart cheated when in 2002, she was accused of insider trading and other crimes relating to statements that she made to investigators.
  • Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire are suspected to have used performance-enhancing drugs.  Both men are clouded in mystery.
  • My daughter who graduated from a high school in West County (St. Louis) would often tell us of classmates cheating in class.
  • Good friends laughed as they told how they cheated through high school and college.
  • Husbands cheat on their wives; and wives cheat on the husbands.
  • A former co-worker shared how a former decorated Olympian was thought to be a male but when the athlete died, the autopsy revealed the person was a female.  Her name was Stella Walsh Walasiewiscz.  All in the name of cheating. 
  • And according to a report on St. Louis’ KMOX (1120 AM) this morning, now you can call Excused Absence Network and get a ‘legitimate and authentic looking’ written excuse to miss work.  See myexcusedabsence.com.

Do cheaters win?

I simply adore my grandparents – Henry and Willa Mae Bobo.  Henry is 85 years of age; Willa Mae is 83.  They are both struggling with health issues.  They eloped when they were 18 and 16 respectively (or so I remember).  Here is a short list of things I adore about them:

  1. they have been married over 65 years.
  2. they practically raised my brother and I.
  3. my grandad taught me the importance of having a good work ethic.
  4. my grandad taught me how to be affectionate toward my wife.   He still calls his wife, “baby.”
  5. my grandmother taught me how to use my imagination.  She would trick us when we were little by telling us that a guest stayed in the attic, her name was Minne and she loved hot dogs.  We were so gullible.
  6. my grandmother taught me the importance of having a balanced meal.  Each meal she served included protein, a vegetable, and fruit and a glass of milk.
  7. they taught me how to drive and they gave me my first car – a 1967 T-Bird (=Thunderbird) that I later took to college.  However, it sat most of the time because it did not run!

I hear that Cosby is making his rounds on the speaking circuit talking about the plight of young black men.  I heard from a friend that the high school drop out rate for black men is near or greater than 50%.  Even fewer go and graduate from college.  A good friend works in one of the historic black high schools in St. Louis and he tells me that many young high school age black men have no father at home so they laugh at any and most authority figures (principals, teachers, etc.).  All these stats about the young black male just break my heart!  The problem/issue is so obvious.  It’s like the big elephant in the room; it’s unavoidable.  The black family (biological father + biological mother + kids) has been literally decimated.  The family is vitally important.  It’s no wonder that without a family structure, that kids go astray.  I often feel guilty.  I often question, ‘what is my role’?  Can I do more than raise and provide a godly model for my son?  I firmly believe that just because I am geographically removed from the city and these young black men, I am still affected as well as all city, rural and county dwellers.  What to do?

raccoon.jpgMy wife, son, and I heard the sound of an unwelcomed visitor in our attic.  Our friend has come back.  Yes, our raccoon friend or perhaps a relative was back.  My wife said to me, “it’s tough being the protective husband at moments like this…isn’t it?”  I said yes.  Raccoons (I have been told) are no wussies.  They will stare you down!  So imagine my fear of climbing into the attic only to meet an animal that has an attitude.  I envisioned like last year fighting with a raccoon and falling through the ceiling.  And as one student of mine said, “you will be making memories.”  Yeah, a memory at my expense.  Well, this story has a happy ending.  I had a two phase strategy.  First, I peppered the attic with moth balls (another student told me that raccoons abhor the smell.)  Second, I patched up the entry way (the little critter had peeled back some siding and boldly came on in.)  Once again, my confrontation with a raccoon has been averted.

Until next year!

-The End

I was privileged to teach a week long course at a church in the city (located near the intersection of Page and Kingshighway).  Class started at 7:15 pm each night after a lecture; and class ended at 9 pm.  However, on Friday, class started at 6 pm.  Something occurred to me on Friday as I was driving home to West County after an exhausting week.  In the city, people congregate on their front porches, on the street corner, at local stores, kids play on the sidewalk, etc.  You actually see people visiting, talking, jiving, etc. with each other.  I noticed this while driving to the church in the early evening and while driving home late in the evening too.  In the county, you see the opposite.  In general, you don’t see people congregating on their front porches, on the street corner, at local stores, etc.  You typically don’t see people visiting, talking, jiving, etc. with each other like you do in the city.  One may see teenagers congregating on parking lots but you don’t see what I saw in the city.  Why is this?