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The U.S. economic expansion is setting records right and left. What began as a “jobless recovery” is now making history for its duration, and, without a major shock, there’s no obvious end in sight. The recovery wasn’t impressive at the outset, but slow and steady is winning. The current U.S. economic expansion now ranks in a tie for the second longest in history (with the Kennedy-Johnson period of the 1960s). more
Guess what? They are at it again. You know who I’m talkin’ about, don’t you? That’s right, phone creatures. Phone creatures, for you out there that haven’t been readin’ this junk I write for very long, is what I call those telemarketers. I know, they’re just tryin’ to do their job, but I have to do mine too, you know. What’s my job, you ask? Well my job is to enjoy life to the fullest, and one of the things I enjoy the most is givin’ phone creatures a hard time. more
I was fillin’ my jeep with gas the other day when I noticed a car parked out toward the street. It not only was filled with junk, but some of it was spillin’ out the windows. Beside it stood a man who I guessed to be about my age and he was lookin’ all around. About that time he looked over at me, smiled and headed my way. more
During the past two decades, we’ve gone digital. The development of the internet and related technologies and advances in communications have changed the way we live and work, affecting virtually … more
This past Sunday Brother Robbie Caldwell preached his last sermon as pastor at New Harmony Baptist Church. He is retirin’ after more than fifty years as a pastor; twenty-six of those at New Harmony. He is not leavin’ New Harmony Baptist Church, just retirin’ as our pastor. I have had the privilege of travelin’ with him on three different continents and can say I’ve never met a finer man. I wrote this story about him more than 20 years ago, and it is one of my favorites and yes, it is true. more
The number of job openings in the United States has topped six million for several months now according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up about a half million from a year ago and the highest the country has ever seen. Although the long years of high unemployment following the Great Recession make this welcome news, the United States may face major difficulties if unemployment drops too far or too fast. more
Guess what? That’s right, the phone creatures are back. I’m sort of glad. It’s been a while since one called and I was afraid I might have hurt their feelin’s or somethin’. Phone creatures are what I call those phone solicitors who call wantin’ to sell you somethin’. I like to give them a hard time. I know that’s not really nice, but somebody’s got to do it. more
Recently, there have been questions raised regarding the fairness of the use of the Texas Enterprise Fund, a key aspect of the state’s economic development incentives. At issue is whether the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex gets a disproportionate share of awards. The TEF is an important “deal closing” fund which has been effectively used to enhance Texas’ ability to attract desirable corporate locations and expansions. more
Let’s just say I don’t do stupid very well. Or laziness for that matter, but that’s another topic for another day. For today’s purposes, we’ll stick with stupidity and how it relates to the so-called “smart phone’’ and the irony wrapped around that wonder of modern society. It’s not as if I’ve suddenly woken from a 20-year slumber and noticed all the people around me staring at their palms in a zombie-like trance while they stumble off the curb. Nope, I joined the 20th century just in time to welcome the 21st century. A flip phone was all I required. It helped me make phone calls, which is all I thought (silly me) a phone was designed to do. Turns out, this handy little gizmo morphed into an incredible device that can take photos, record videos, play and store music, tell you what direction you are heading and help you find your way when you are lost. Oh, and it’s also a phone as well as a device which sends electronic messages via text, which shouldn’t be confused with the telegraph, which did precisely the same thing nearly two centuries ago. Yes, I own a smart phone now, but it doesn’t own me. Anyway, back to those goofs who can’t lift their heads up long enough to see an oncoming car while staring at their phone or worse, keep their car safely in their lane. Normally, I consider “common sense’’ and “Southern California’’ to be an oxymoron, but it seems the city of Montclair (near Los Angeles) has passed an ordinance to ticket anyone who crosses the street while on their phone. Montclair city officials were inspired by a law already on the books in Honolulu. Since I have a lot of respect for the damage a moving vehicle can do to the human body, there’s no way I would think of staring at my phone while crossing the street. And while it’s true that a pedestrian on their cell phone doesn’t pose a threat to someone in a car, it does penalize someone for being – you guessed it – stupid. Unfortunately, simply passing a law doesn’t mean the targeted problem will vanish overnight. Texas passed a law against texting while driving not long ago and there are still way too many knuckleheads doing precisely that. It has to be frustrating for law enforcement officials who know the dangers of texting while driving, yet they have to actually see someone in the act before they can issue a citation. During my morning and afternoon commute, I’ll summon my “get off my lawn’’ voice at least once or twice while screaming at other drivers who are content to weave in and out of every lane available, blissfully swiping away on their smart phone. Kind of makes one wonder how in the world someone was able to function behind the wheel before they had a cell phone. The noted Hollywood philosopher Forrest Gump once said: “Stupid is as stupid does.’’ I think ol’ Forrest was on to something. more
The other day a woman asked me if Janet and I were opposites. You know, like the saying “opposites attract.” Well, I can tell you, that lady hit the nail on the head. We are as different as night and day, even when we were growing up. Now, I didn’t know Janet when she was a little girl, but she’s told me enough about it that I’ve got a good idea of what it was like. more
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