Sketches: Bob and Stan

  We hope you enjoy this bonus ink sketch of Bob Kane and Stan Lee, i.e. Batman and Spider-Man. It’s taken from an old conversation, we call it “Bob and Stan”.

Vacation Plans 

  A vacation, it’s what most Americans dream of, but fewer of us are taking them. Why are they important? There are many reasons, but I’d like to focus on three.

First everybody, at some point, needs to regroup mentally. The cares of this life can, at times, be overwhelming. The ability to unplug for a few days functions almost like a reboot on a computer.

Second, whether it’s a staycation, (time off at home), or a trip, your body could use the rest. You work hard everyday, between commitments at your job and at home, you could use the break. Time off isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, just as sleep is.

The last reason is that it gives you a chance to reconnect as a family. Spouses, children, and even friends need you. They need the you that isn’t overworked, sleep deprived, and stressed. A vacation allows you the time to spend with the people you love.

These are just three reasons why we all need a vacation. I’m sure you can think of many more, but I would ask you one last question. Do you have a vacation planned? Is there a block of time you’ve set aside that you can look forward to taking?  

I would strongly recommend, at the very least, you schedule a day off, and write it on your calendar. It will function as a relief valve on high stress days, giving you a pleasant reason to look ahead. Last year, a mini trip, reset my perspective at a very crucial time in my life. I’m excited about this year’s vacation, because I know firsthand how vital they are to my health.

The Sea Horse: Siegel Heights

  “To understand the Wonzu’s plan you have to understand the key to her exception.  We knew when we asked her to confine their activities to their own base, that she had a loophole.  That loophole is Siegel Heights.”  Swordfish explained to their allies.

The Brittish Rose was frustrated. “Then why give her an out at all? Don’t tell me it was the best deal you could make, you defeated her, she had a blood debt.”  Inspector shot a look towards him.  “It’s not the deal she had to make, it’s the one we wanted.”  

Loggerhead projected a holographic 3d map using his drones. “Alligate was once the richest area of the city.  It’s no longer, because  of her organization, with one exception. Siegel Heights forks, one area makes up the docks.  The other, although rezoned, is still technically Siegel Heights.”

The Sea Horse continued the briefing. “Only now it’s known as Tyson Row, and the crown jewel of the area is the Colonnade.”  “You want her active near the Colonnade, why?”  “Because that’s where everything is going to happen.  This isn’t just about Hyperbole’s plan, it’s the center of the war zone.”

“The remnants of the old crime organization, the leftovers from your agency’s failed agenda, and all the freelancers are hungry for control.  They have a catalyst that has set them in action.  He’s got them swirling around his whirlpool day and night.”

“So your idea is to what? Play into his hand, hope that Wonzu takes down everyone else, and then take her out?”  “No, we can’t be sure what Hyperbole is planning, or anyone else for that matter.”

The newest member of the group spoke last. “What we can do, is force everyone towards the center, and minimize the collateral damage.”  The figure was clothed entirely in various shades of yellow.  

He could tell that the tall, muscular six foot-two man was Native American.  His mask and vest were golden yellow.  While the gloves and boots were a more fiery yellow.  His pants and boots were a dark yellow, and he seemed to have no symbols of any kind on his costume.

“What do we call you?”  “Spectrum.” Was his only reply as his costume instantly changed to hues of blue, red, green, and orange.  “I’m the one who’s going to end the Wonzu’s reign of terror in Alligate!”

Tech Troubles

  Tech troubles, we live in an age where many are intimidated by computers, smart phones, and tablets. At the same time, it opens up a whole new adventure for others. I believe the main difference is twofold.  

The first is that it can be intimidating. Computers can be confusing. The people that I know, who face the frustration, want technology to just work. This is something we all can understand. To them, it’s only reasonable, that it should be as reliable as a coffee pot.

For all of its advances, it still has a ways to go before that is the case. However, that shouldn’t rob anyone of the options that it opens up. There are ways to insulate them from the annoyance factor in many cases.

An iPad, or tablet computer is a perfect companion for both the tech novice and the tech geek. It’s been my primary device for five years now. I like it because you can add a keyboard when you need it, and leave it behind when you don’t. It’s a lightweight, reliable way of accessing digital resources.

Others prefer a phone, laptop, or a desktop computer. For some, an Android or iPhone phone is the only computer they use. Bigger smartphones fit the bill for many people. Google has an inexpensive laptop known as a Chromebook that is very low maintenance. While I prefer Apple computers, to me the easiest to use, there are now has several low stress options.

Besides the intimidation factor, is the issue of time. They may not have the time that geeks like myself have to watch keynotes, read imore.com, and listen to podcasts. Thankfully they don’t have to, there are other ways of accessing information.

One is family or friends such as myself. I love technology, and I love sharing it with others. If you are a computer enthusiast, make yourself available to help those in your life who are not. It can be a very rewarding experience.

Second there is your IT technician at work. Yes, they can at times be bombarded with questions, but most of the ones I know enjoy helping. You’re approaching them, not as another wanting something fixed, but needing their expertise. Most are glad to advise anyone who wants to learn.

I would also encourage you to view technology this way, as a better coffee pot. The coffee maker of today is better than twenty years ago. Computers are much the same, an advance of typewriters, telegraph, and other tools of the past.

It’s not a matter of skill, talent, or intelligence. Everyone, regardless of age or interest, can take advantage of the options that technology brings. A whole new horizon, from history to medicine, and even college level courses are available free on the internet.

More than that, you have something to contribute. No one but you knows your story. Computers are just an avenue to allow you to share it. Others could benefit from your experiences. 

Overcoming the tech hurdle can have life altering effects. Not only in your life, but in the lives of those you could reach. Someone, else has a different issue, one you’ve already solved. They may be sitting at their computer, searching for an answer. You’ve got it, let’s get you up and running, so you can help them resolve their problem.

HisBit: The Resolute Desk

Wikimedia Image

Like many of our nation’s treasures, it was built in England. From the Mayflower to the founders, our roots run across the shore to Europe. Even the Lady who stands in America’s harbor, arrived with a French accent. Like her, the Resolute Desk is made more and not less American by it’s heritage.

It began life as a ship in Her Majesty’s Navy, and was part of an artic rescue mission.  It served admirably, until the icy waters stranded her, forcing Captain and crew to part company. Later, an American ship rescued it, returning her to America.  

At a time when our two countries were politically at odds, a Senator from Virginia, James Murray Mason, proposed a bill. His idea was to purchase the boat, repair it, and send it to England as a gift. Soon the talk of war ceased, many crediting the Resolute in the process.

When old ships die, they usually are only remembered in paintings and history books, but not the Resolute. At least three desks, not two, were made from its timbers. One to the widow of Henry Grinnell, a man connected with the rescue mission. Another for Queen Victoria, and a third for an American. 

That man was President Rutherford B. Hayes as a gift for America’s kindness. With the exception of four Presidents, it has been used ever since. The decisions of World War II were made on the back of this timber immigrant. Both the pens of Kennedy and Reagan turned bills into law on it. Finally, September 11, 2001 and all the hard days that followed have been helmed at this desk.

Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative, the majority of America’s executives found this desk up for the job. The reason may have something to do with it’s name. Resolute means admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering. It certainly proved it in it’s pedigree, and like so many other wonderful gifts, has added to our country’s rich history.

The Resolute desk is uniquely American. She is as much a part of our history as any other immigrant who who traveled across the world to make our land their land. I believe that, the great melting pot we are so blessed to partake in, is still the greatest country in the world.  

The artic ship that became an Ambassador, and later a truly Executive assistant knows courses can change. Waters will be tough to navigate, storms will rise, but they will also fall. One decision on its surface alters history, showing us that you and I can do the same. We know, that if we are resolute in our convictions, no obstacle can stand in our way.

Dads

  Andy and Opie Taylor, some of my favorite Mayberry moments were between Father and son. I’ve often thought my Dad reminded me of Andy Griffith. He was funny most of the time, noble always, and serious when he had to be.

Isn’t that the perfect description of a Father? Someone that rides asteroids with you, protects you from the monsters under your bed, and from the very real things you face as you grow older. Isn’t that what our Heavenly Father does for us?

He gives us dreams, and the ability to achieve them. He walks with us on the journey, ready to catch us when we fall. He went ahead and dealt with the things that could destroy us before we ever faced them.

Some of the things I watched my Father do as a child, held an importance I couldn’t appreciate until I became a man. Budgets, bills, and balancing work and family didn’t seem like anything at eight. At thirty eight, I sometimes wonder how he did it.  

He proved it could be done, before I knew I would need it modeled. He was training me for my future, just by living, and loving us daily. Fathers in that way, really are Superman, Jedi, and (insert favorite childhood character here).

Today we honor those special men who get up each morning and do whatever is ask of them. They simply, and quietly, go about the business of being a Dad. It isn’t glamorous, but is one of the greatest gifts a child could have. Thank you Dad for caring, modeling, and walking ahead of me to show me the way. Happy Father’s Day to Fathers everywhere!

The Sea Horse: A Different Game

  Armor, for the first time, was angry at his Mother.  “Why did you promise this?  It restricts us, now we are …”  Suddenly he stopped, knowing that expression.  “You have a plan. You were pleased with her request. Was this your plan all along?”  

The Wonzu, pleased that her son knew her mind, answered his question.  “No, but a good general adapts.  For too long, the factions of this city have tried to play us.  They viewed us as pawns in their game of Chess. I grow tired of it, now we will play a different game.”

“What is your plan?”  She smiled.  “They tried to limit our movements to our territory, they’ve made it a game of Monopoly, about real estate.  We are to stay on our Boardwalk and play nice.  They forgot that we also own Park Place as well.  Here is what we are going to do.”

In another part of the city, Tournament stood conversing with his Wife, Elyse.  “You think he will give you what he has promised?”  “If not, I’ll take it. He’s entertaining, he could be a genius.  Either way, I’ll play out the game until it changes.  In the end, we’ll rule the entire city.”

“Let Hyperbole create chaos, and when he brings order, I’ll take over the new regime.  To be famous, you don’t beat every player every game.  You pick the championship games, and defeat the champ.”

Galleon had the same plan, truth be told, it was in all of the criminal’s minds.  Each one was convinced they could defeat Hyperbole once he defeated the Sea Horse and took over.  Which is ironic since Hyperbole had never said this.

As it turned out, Hyperbole did not want to run the city, it was too messy.  He didn’t even want one person to run it.  He had another playbook entirely.  Like the Wonzu, his was a very different game.