Saturday, March 26, 2011

Somebody Has a Birthday Today

     It is interesting to look back on the friendships that I have made in my life and try to remember how they began.  There is one friendship that I have that I honestly cannot remember exactly how it began.  Most of the people that I became friends with at the OU Baptist Student Union (now OU Baptist Collegiate Ministry), I did so simply because that is where they went.  Practically speaking, I was friends with everyone that went to the BSU, but most of them I do not recall when/how we first met.  For one of these individuals I don't recall when we first met, but I do remember when we first started hanging out.  Matt Mahler.  The Glo '06.

     Matt soon graduated from OU and got a job as a meteorologist for the NBC affiliate station in Wichita Falls, TX.  During his tenure in Wichita Falls, he would occasionally make trips up to Norman to visit The Random House.  The Random House has a simple explanation.  Four individuals decided to live together and they each had their "random" idiosyncrasies.  Caleb, Ian, K Lai, and I.  That was The Random House.  Matt's visits always, always, always consisted of playing Mario Kart 64.
     I find it really interesting when a friendship begins to grow long distance.  This was one of those.  June of 2009 came around and it was time for me to get married.  Even though I was not able to ask Matt to be a groomsman, he was asked to partake in all of the pre-wedding festivities.  Phase 10, grapes, Mario Kart 64, Henry Weinhard Root Beer, and All-You-Can-Eat seats.  Consider him an honorary groomsman.




     Months passed by and Matt was still living in Wichita Falls, but not for long.  He was about to have a new boss.  Gary England.  Matt was moving back to Oklahoma.  I was really happy for him AND I would be able to watch him "put his thing down" for KWTV-News 9..."and meteorologist Matt Mahler."


     It was time for someone to get married again.  This time it was K Lai.  Matt and I were both groomsmen in the wedding.  Once again, the pre-wedding festivities involved Mario Kart 64, Phase 10, and a whole lot of Henry Weinhard.  Need to show the picture to prove the "whole lot of Henry" part.


     So, back to K Lai's wedding.  K Lai's rehearsal dinner had to be one of the best ever.  Authentic Chinese cuisine from Fung's Kitchen in Oklahoma City.  I lost track of how many courses we had to eat but we surely received a nice number of orange slices.  See?


     Well Matt, I think I have talked enough.  Let's see what your parents have to say.  Surprise!!!

     "He was born on a stormy night, maybe we should have known then that weather would be such a big part of life."


     "As a child he was painfully shy. He did not like to be if front of, or talk to, groups of people when he talked at all. It is amazing that now he not only enjoys it, but is so good at it."


     "One thing he did as a child makes sense now. He was always watching the sky. He would watch storms blow in and would watch the clouds even on a lazy summer day. He loves being outside and he loves nature. He absolutely loved a rainy day. When the weather came on TV, we knew where he was.  He has a tremendous sense of humor. Being with him makes even the most boring situation an absolute delight. He can find enjoyment in almost any situation. We love a visit from him and we love visiting him."


     "Also as a child he was fascinated by school buses. He knew each school bus company and what their symbol was. He could name each model and its details. When Howe schools purchased a rear engine school bus he was beside himself. He called it "flat nose" and just had to ride in it. When attending the Howe fall festival one year, there is was, parked off to the side with the door open. We had to sneak over and go inside. It was like a holy experience for him, to actually step into a "flat nose!" Among his toys were all kinds of school buses. Matchbox, Hotwheel, Tonka, and many unknown brands, even some wooden models I made for him. Other boys may have had lots of hot rods or airplanes but Matthew had lots and lots of school buses." (Actually, I think this picture also shows the start of his love of science fiction and superheroes...look at the left side of the picture.)


     Now a special message from your father..."He has a very solid faith in God. I have learned much from him whether he knows it or not." - Ted Mahler

     Matt, first of all, happy birthday!  You are loved by both your parents and friends.  You are a joy to be around and your friendship is truly valued and appreciated.  You rock my friend!  Once again, happy birthday!

Source of Matt's News 9 Photo: http://kwtv.images.worldnow.com/images/11654991_BG2.jpg

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Last One

     One of the sad and somewhat depressing things about being a student of history is when those that have lived it pass away.  World War II veterans are passing away.  Holocaust survivors are passing away.  The men and women that marched with Dr. King are getting close to passing away.  These are people that have lived through and experienced some of the most turbulent periods in American history.  Their stories need to be told and need to live on.  If we as Americans don't know where we have been, we won't know where we are going.

     Yesterday was the day that saw America's last World War I veteran buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  His name is Frank Buckles.  He was laid to rest near the site of where General John "Black Jack" Pershing is buried.  Pershing led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.

     There are moments where I get very emotional when it comes to the military.  My paternal grandfather served in the U.S. Army during World War II.  My maternal grandfather served in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam.  There is a special, patriotic place in my heart for our nation's military.  This summer I went to Arlington National Cemetery with my parents and my wife.  My wife's uncle is buried at Arlington and she, nor her mother, had seen where he was buried.  Close by to where her uncle was buried was this man...one of the greatest war heroes this country has seen...


     With every military funeral, it reminds me of my grandfather's funeral, of my brother and I folding the American flag that was draped over his coffin, folding it and giving it to our grandmother.  I am getting emotional just thinking about it.  Reading the description of the funeral procession for Corporal Buckles made me just as emotional as remembering my grandfather's funeral.  I cannot do what service men and women do day in and day out, but I am profoundly grateful for their sacrifice and service to this country.  This country was founded on freedom and that is what they protect.  Every time you see someone who is either active duty or retired, I urge you to thank them for serving.  They appreciate it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Grant and Kearns

     One was awarded lots of money and one is on some money.  Robert Kearns and Ulysses S. Grant.  Today, they share something in common.  Today.  Sixty-three (63) years difference, but today.

     Today in 1927, Robert Kearns was born.  Who is Robert Kearns you ask?  Have you SEEN the movie Flash of Genius (2008) with Greg Kinnear?  This movie is about Robert's fight against Chrysler and Ford for stealing his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper.  In all, juries awarded him $30 million in the lawsuits against Chrysler and Ford.  From the time that he went to court over patent infringement to the time the first jury ruled in his favor was 20 years.  His quest for recognition and an apology from the automakers cost him his marriage.  I still wonder if all that he went through was worth it.  In February of 2005, Robert died of cancer at age 77 in Maryland.

     Now for somewhat of a shorter story.  Well, it depends on your point of view.  President Abraham Lincoln had reached a point, after 3 long years of bloody conflict with the Confederacy, where he needed to pick someone to finally be the one to lead...and win.  Today was the day that Ulysses S. Grant was promoted from Major General to Lieutenant General.  And leading general of the whole Union Army.  The Civil War ended a year later and Grant was the one that managed to get the job done.  He had a rough side, but he understood what it took to win a war.  Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House in April of 1865.  Grant's fame and military prowess helped propel him toward the U.S. Presidency in 1869.  Many schools have been named after him.  One Federal Reserve Note features him.

Source of info: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lincoln-signs-ulysses-s-grants-commission-to-command-the-us-army

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Rivalry Like None Other

     I cannot explain the feelings and adrenaline that are pulsating through my body right now.  Today is the last day of the regular season for college basketball.  This means only one thing to me.  North Carolina vs. Duke.  Yes, I did go to college in Oklahoma and consider myself a Sooner, but that doesn't mean that I gave up my roots.  Carolina blue and Carolina basketball runs through my veins.  With every North Carolina point scored I pump my fist with excitement.  With every Duke point NOT scored I pump my fist with excitement.  For those people that do not understand why this is such an intense rivalry, there is one major reason.  These two schools are separated by only eight (8) miles.  This is pretty much the same distance from the Norman Public Schools Administration building to the Moore Public Schools Administration building.  Let me put this another way.  Consider the rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas.  The Red River Rivalry, especially when it comes to football, is a pretty serious rivalry.  Would you like to take that rivalry to a whole new level?  Imagine the University of Texas being located in Moore, OK.  Take the distance between Norman and Moore (after placing UT in Moore) and the rivalry between OU and UT and add them together.  THAT is North Carolina vs. Duke.  Finally, in honor of my father (UNC Class of 1971) and all the Tar Heel fans around the world, I leave you with these words...

Hark The Sound
by William Starr Myers, class of 1897

Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices
Ringing clear and True
Singing Carolina's praises
Shouting N.C.U.

Hail to the brightest Star of all
Clear its radiance shine
Carolina priceless gem,
Receive all praises thine.

I'm a Tar Heel born I'm a Tar Heel bred
And when I die I'm a Tar Heel dead.
So it's RAH, RAH, Car'lina 'lina
RAH, RAH, Car'lina 'lina
RAH, RAH, Car'lina
RAH! RAH! RAH!

'Neath the oaks the sons true hearted
Homage pay to thee
Time worn walls give back their echo
Hail to U.N.C.

Though the storms of life assail us
Still our hearts beat true
Naught can break the friendships formed at
Dear old N.C.U.
























Source of lyrics: http://www.lib.unc.edu/music/uncsongs.html
Source of picture: http://www.storycorps.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/blogger/blogger/3450/1037/1600/IMG_4678.jpg

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The First to #877

     Adolph Rupp was the first to 876 career wins.  Dean Smith was the first to 877 career wins.    

     Let me tell you a story.  I was a junior in high school and spring break came along.  This was the best time for me to go look at colleges.  I must preface this story by filling in some information.  My dad was a resident of North Carolina (even though we lived in Maryland), so I was considered in-state when it came to admission.  There were four universities in North Carolina that I was interested in checking out.  My dad decided that the best way to go would be east to west across the state.  The first that I checked out was East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.  The second was UNC-Chapel Hill in...Chapel Hill, NC.  The third was UNC-Greensboro in...Greensboro, NC.  The final school was UNC-Charlotte in...Charlotte, NC.  Greensboro was where my mom went to college.  Chapel Hill was where my dad went to college...and that is the school that I rooted for growing up and still root for today.  East Carolina was nice (and I later ended up applying and was accepted), but what I was really excited for was the trip to Chapel Hill.  Oh, how I loved going to that campus.
    
     There is a man and his family that went to the same church that I did in Maryland.  This man used to be a professor at Chapel Hill, and because of this, he still knew some people there.  One of the people that he knew was the secretary in the basketball office.  Once I had taken my campus tour, I had an appointment to take a private tour of the Dean E. Smith Center (aka The Dean Dome).  Let me say that again.  I was an avid, die hard Tar Heel fan and I had the opportunity to take a private tour of the Dean Dome.  I got to go into the men's locker room, go down on the court (but unfortunately not on the actual court) and got to walk around the basketball office.  This is what made my day.  Inside the basketball office, sitting on the table, were the three NCAA championship trophies from 1957, 1982, and 1993.  As I walked back towards the coaches' offices, out popped one of the assistant coaches, who also happened to be a former player, Pat Sullivan.  I got to talk to him for a bit, which was cool.  I was then taken into Bill Guthridge's office (he was the head coach at the time, former assistant under Dean Smith for thirty years, and was not in his office).  But nothing was as cool, jaw-dropping, and awe-inspiring as what happened next.  I walked by an office and at a desk there was a man talking on the phone.  It was none other than Dean Smith himself.  It was unfortunate that he was on the phone, otherwise I would have been able to shake his hand and say hello.  Also, I might have been able to remind him of this...























     Dean, thank you for being there in your office that day.  That moment of seeing you will forever be ingrained in my mind.  Happy 80th Birthday today (2/28) and I hope you had a truly wonderful day.

I'm a Tar Heel born
I'm a Tar Heel bred
And when I die
I'm a Tar Heel dead.
So it's Rah, Rah, Car'lina-lina
Rah, Rah, Car'lina-lina
Rah, Rah, Car'lina-lina
Rah! Rah! Rah!

Source of fight song: http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/trads/unc-trads-songs.html