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books by Jack McDaniel

Life

Mr Fix It

Occasionally I become a fitx-it guy. You know, the guy who sees something wrong, old, worn or broken, who has to grab a tool and tinker. This isn't to say that I'm mechanically inclined. I'm not un-inclined.
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Occasionally I become a fitx-it guy. You know, the guy who sees something wrong, old, worn or broken, who has to grab a tool and tinker. This isn't to say that I'm mechanically inclined. I'm not un-inclined. It's just that most days I'm completely uninterested. Besides, I have to fix things like bad code in a web site design all day long so who wants to mess with the knob on a door at the end of the day. ... more »

Chaos Theory and the Tea Party

They are staunch conservatives. They abhor socialism, government intervention, and taxation of any sort. They insist that this country, the United States of America, needs to return to its Founders' original vision and values, as they interpret them.
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Tea Party ChaosThe Tea Party movement - essentially a creation of Fox News that now is receiving corporate news coverage - is filled with individuals screaming for government to get out of their lives. They are staunch conservatives. They abhor socialism, government intervention, and taxation of any sort. They insist that this country, the United States of America, needs to return to its Founders' original vision and values, as they interpret them.

The Tea Partiers will scream at gatherings in every corner of america for lower taxes and less government control. They don't seem to understand that their current President — yes, the black man who really isn't an american — gave more than ninety-five percent of the populace (and almost all Tea Partiers) a significant tax break last year, thank you very much. Not one of the mainstream media outlets has run an article pointing out this very simple fact. The president has already cut taxes (to the poor and middle class). ... more »

Vancouver Olympics

The Winter Olympics are taking place in Vancouver, Canada. I find myself following events I wouldn't normally watch.
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Shaun WhiteThe Winter Olympics are taking place in Vancouver, Canada. I find myself following events I wouldn't normally watch. Don't get me wrong, I would probably pay a bit of attention in the intervening years between Olympics, but television pays them no mind. For once, I'm happy to not be dating anyone at the moment. There is nothing worse than watching guys in sequins acting feminine. I'm not watching figure skating. I'm not watching hockey, either. There aren't any stories in hockey. Just a bunch of pros we already know. I like my Winter Olympics with a little unknown, with a little home-town humility and obscurity. ... more »

Colonel Mustard With A Candle Stick

DaVinci was more than an artist. Quite probably he was one of the greatest inventors and scientists that has ever lived
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William Feathers once said: “Beware of the person who can't be bothered by details.”

Leonardo DaVinciDig deeply into any work of art, any novel of note, and amongst its mountain of details you will find its excellence. Broad ideas, bold strokes, and colorful images are the signal posts of our world and how we navigate it, but it is only in the details that we can truly see its beauty.

Design is no different than any other endeavor. No matter the apparent simplicity of the work, there are always an array of complicit details that make it shine. A professional designer is aware of this and strives with every project to focus on the little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary, the competent from the effective. ... more »

Just A List

my favorite movies that have over the years provided me reasons to laugh and think. There's no particular order
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The Ususal SuspectsI was driving into work this morning and I switched the radio to ESPN and Colin Cowherd. Colin is a sports talk show host but I like him because he likes to talk a lot about life in general. This morning he was discussing movies and listed his favorites.

That got me wondering about my favorites - for now anyway - and what sort of list I would have. ... more »

Railbender

There is a skate park near to our house and my daughter has been going there for some time now. She's just learning to skate and there are kids of all skill levels at the park day and night.
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Railbender ParkThere is a skate park near to our house and my daughter has been going there for some time now. She's just learning to skate and there are kids of all skill levels at the park day and night. ... more »

Better Than Talent

Rick Reilly, former Sports Illustrated and current ESPN writer, interviewed legendary basketball coach John Wooden recently. Wooden turns 99 soon. Though confined to a wheelchair because of a bad hip, he's still sharp as ever and looks great.
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John WoodenRick Reilly, former Sports Illustrated and current ESPN writer, interviewed legendary basketball coach John Wooden recently. Wooden turns 99 soon. Though confined to a wheelchair because of a bad hip, he's still sharp as ever and looks great. ... more »

Vacationing With the Dead

A basic definition of life is the capacity for growth, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. So what do you call it when one voluntarily surrenders those requisites?
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Lindbergh, Da Vinci, Galileo, Martin Luther King, Jr. They thumbed their nose at convention. They spat into the wind and dared it to spit back. Each of them reached beyond the horizon and grabbed tomorrow. Not for themselves.Cruise Ship Not for posterity. They did it because they had to, because, as Jack London wrote, they "would rather be ashes than dust." These men, and other men and women like them, could not float on the tides and be content to take life as it came. No, they were meant to carry others in their wake. They created the eddies that brought us changes in perspective and forced us all to swim against the current. They made us bigger than our evolutionary roots, bigger than our petty grievances. They gifted to us the human spirit; each one building on his predecessors. ... more »

Female Math

Some things are so indelibly etched into our framework of electrical impulses, DNA encoding, and sweat and dreams that we rarely question their rationality, let alone their existence.
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NumbersIt’s all about me!"

Some things are so indelibly etched into our framework of electrical impulses, DNA encoding, and sweat and dreams that we rarely question their rationality, let alone their existence. There are times, however, when a psychic knock on the head causes us to stop and look at things anew, to re-focus and examine that which was before seen as a given. ... more »

Let It Snow

The question is part of the daily barrage the seven-year-old whiz kid throws my way. "Where does God come from?"
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Let It Snow!So dad," comes the still-tiny voice from the back seat of the car, "when Santa finally gets too old and tired and decides to retire, who will take his place?"

The question is part of the daily barrage the seven-year-old whiz kid throws my way. It is early February, the holidays are recent memories and next year’s Yuletide aspirations still occupy Madison’s thoughts.

I'm momentarily caught off guard by the question, but I quickly recover and chuckle softly to myself.

"You know how excited you get when Christmas gets near? How fun it is to see all the pretty lights and snowmen?" ... more »

Agents of the Undertow

Regardless of the synaptic rust that may have accumulated, there will come a day when viewing that picture brings back the sun’s warmth and you will again step into that place between yesterday and today, that place where
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TidesTake this picture: a young child stands in the half-sunlight beneath a group of large pine trees, reaching out to touch the flowers and smell their spring-time fragrance. The child is smiling. The back of her printed dress hangs loosely in the breeze as she bends forward. The picture is a conduit, a reminder of simpler times, of the sun’s warmth and how there are moments when time can stop and the sun can wrap its warm rays around us and coddle us. This momentary sidestep of time that accompanies such episodes--this photo--breathes life into us and connects us, making us aware of the fluidity of existence. This standing still of the world--where the minutest detail is crystal clear--is unexpected but always welcomed.

Keep that photo, place it away somewhere safe, somewhere that you are sure to come across it in the future. Regardless of the synaptic rust that may have accumulated, there will come a day when viewing that picture brings back the sun’s warmth and you will again step into that place between yesterday and today, that place where time slows down and tranquility washes over you and memory ambushes you ... more »

Footsteps

Human newborn are among the least developed creatures on earth. It takes longer for us to reach maturity than any other animal, physically, socially and emotionally
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It is very early in the morning and I have stolen Madison from her bed and taken her to the beach for a sunrise walk. The beach, like most of Hawaii, is sleeping, only a few egrets are keeping watch over us. The sun is emerging from its morning bath and the ocean is beginning its retreat from the heat until later toward evening. We walk along the shoreline where the water has recently come and gone, leaving a smooth ... more »

Hitting Bottom

If we are lucky we find a place in the world (and within ourselves) and then begin a search for greater things. If we are lucky we begin to dig with a purpose. Our digging will then shape the world and the lives around us.
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If we are lucky we find a place in the world (and within ourselves) and then begin a search for greater things. If we are lucky we begin to dig with a purpose. Our digging will then shape the world and the lives around us. If we are lucky we learn to see the unlimited potential in others and we mine it for the benefit of all. As we age, what we learn from our digging and exploring is that it is difficult to create a world without boundaries. It is difficult to step outside of the things that we know and fly freely. Too many constraints force us to view the world and its inhabitants with a twisted eye. ... more »

The Value of Things

A short time ago, I received in the mail an inventory booklet from my home insurance agent. It was, of course, blank and asking to be filled in, something I’d avoided too long. Start small, I thought. It will be easier.
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PatchesA short time ago, I received in the mail an inventory booklet from my home insurance agent. It was, of course, blank and asking to be filled in, something I’d avoided too long. Start small, I thought. It will be easier. Take measure of the little things first, the seemingly insignificant, the ordinary. Progress toward larger stuff and keep a tally along the way. In the end, when the counting is finished and the books have been totaled, there will be a sum and the value of things will be known, ordered. Or so it seemed. As I looked around the house I realized it would be difficult to discern the junk from the treasure. Measuring the value of things is a tricky business, I found, even when their cost is known. ... more »

The Rhinoceros Is Eating S'ghetti

I think about the large animals, the predators, the grazers, even the scavengers. They are disappearing, all of them, including the rhinoceros.
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This is how it begins. We are driving to San Diego from Colorado. The trip has taken two and a half days, leisurely and fun. Surprisingly, our twenty-month-old daughter has spent most of her back seat time singing ("Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Ring Around the Rosy"), looking out the window, and asking for her coloring books. Or rather, book--she has her favorite and the others don't pass the test. Her speech has grown exponentially over the past fortnight. Her vocabulary, it seems, doubles each hour. Still, it surprises us that she can form complex sentences at ... more »

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