An Unexpected Thrill

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves at a crossroads and encounter an event that changes us forever. The funny thing is, at the time, we often don’t even come to realize the impact that particular event might have on us. This is my story of one such life event.bbking69

In the late 1970’s, having grown up on Country & Western music and believing Hank Williams was just a hair’s breath away from godly status, loving the soothing voice of Patsy Cline and the dulcet tones of Ray Price, and knowing every word of every song Tommy Overstreet ever sang, I had become disgruntled with what was being touted at that time as “Country” music. If I heard one more boot scootin’ boogie I thought I would explode. In my disillusionment with the trash that had become country music, I began listening more and more to my next favorite genre, Blues.

So one night a weary young man from west Texas is on his way to Thibodaux, LA to pick up a load of cattle the next day. I had another 10 or 20 miles to go when out of the darkness of the Louisiana swamp arose an oasis – a marquis sign light the night outside a tiny tavern advertising the words, “Blues Jam Tonight”. Back in those days I still thought drinking was part of daily life and the thought a vodka tonic or twelve and some blues music would be perfect. Little did I know, when I walked through the door of that little bar what the next few hours would be like.

The bar was an open room. From the side door I saw the bar to my immediate left, rows of table directly in front of me, a dance floor to my right and to the far right against the back wall, a stage. I noticed people on the stage getting ready to start the next song, but honestly didn’t pay any attention. I was slightly more preoccupied with the knowledge that I was one of only a small handful of white people in the joint and a total stranger to boot. Actually, this was not an uncommon event for me back in those days, and I was more than willing to throw down if needed, but still a situation I entered into with caution and increased awareness. After a quick mental check to make sure I had my pistol inside my boot, I made my way over to the bar.

As I was ordering the first of many vodka tonics, I heard the band start the lead in to a BB. King song called “Got my Mojo Workin’”. After about 30 seconds of lead in, a voice rang out that sounded remarkably like BB King himself. After paying for my drink, I finally got an opportunity to turn around and see who this was that sounded so much like BB King.

Low and behold, in this little hole in the wall dump on the edge of the Louisiana swamp, there on the stage behind a small smattering of couples on the dance floor and past the tables of people dancing within the confines of their chairs, stood BB King himself. I was shocked. Shocked to the point that I began making my way closer to the stage so my tired eyes could verify who I thought I was seeing. Little did I know, the treat in store for me this night was only just beginning.

After doing a set, BB walked off the stage and was replaced with yet another legend, the magnificent Etta James. Had I died and gone to some sort of blues heaven? My astonishment only continued as the night went on. Before this night was over I would also hear some lesser known blues greats such as Paul Butterfield and Al King, before finally hearing the magnificent John Lee Hooker.

From that night forward, blues music formally took its place as my favorite musical genre. Who would have thought such an amazing night would take place in the middle of nowhere? I didn’t mention at the beginning, the tiny bar wasn’t even charging a cover charge. I got to hear three of my all-time favorite artists for free. But this night wasn’t about the money, for me or for the plethora of legendary entertainers who performed. This night was about old friends and few new ones, coming together to have a good time and play some incredible music, and leave an indelible mark on a kid from west Texas.

Years later, I would see BB on television doing another “jam session”, this time with other greats like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn. It reminded me that for BB, it was never about the fame or the money, but about the love he had for playing great blues music with his friends.

I join the legions of fans saddened by the passing of the last of those 3 blues greats, BB King. For BB, perhaps, the thrill is gone, but for me, it will always live on in my memory of one magical night.

Posted in BB King, Blues, Etta James, John Lee Hooker | 1 Comment

Do Not Respond

Sometimes I have an idea pop into my head that is so brilliant, I amaze myself. Many years ago Police protestwhile serving in the Navy and stationed in South Carolina, I bought a house in a rural area that was served by a Volunteer Fire Department. To support the fire department, they charged the residents an annual fee. I don’t remember how much it was but it was affordable. If anyone refused to pay the fee, they were put on a “Do Not Respond” list. If their home caught fire, the VFD would arrive at the scene to insure the fire did not spread to other property, but they would do nothing to assist in extinguishing the home.

Recently we have witnessed relentless targeting of Police forces across the country. While I fully support the 1st Amendment and the right to protest, (I have written about it many times on this blog), I also firmly believe actions have consequences. I think it is time for every police force in America to begin tracking a “Do Not Respond” list. Anyone caught at an anti-police protest should have their address placed on the list. If they live elsewhere, as many protesters do, their addresses should be shared with the police force at their home of record. Then the next time these protesters find themselves the victim of a home invasion or a drive-by shooting, they can just call some of their so-called leaders like Al Sharpton to come help.

I am fed up with the disrespect of law enforcement in our country. I am even more fed up with the fact that much of that disrespect is perpetuated by social and political leaders as well as many in the news media. Maybe if law enforcement started making itself “unavailable” during someone’s time of need, they would gain an appreciation for the job law enforcement officers have to endure. That job is difficult enough on its own without having to also deal with a bunch of low-life’s who want to spit on you, do harm to you and even threaten your families.

The irony is, much of the hatred in America today towards law enforcement is focused on racism, and the people expressing that hatred are guilty of the very racism they claim to be against. ACABHere’s a news flash – there are some worthless black people out there, there are some worthless Latinas out there, there are some worthless white people out there, and sadly, there are even a few worthless police officers out there, but this new form of racism wants to hold the entire sector of law enforcement accountable for the actions of a few. That is the very definition of racism, even though it is directed at an occupational choice, not a race of people. It’s still the same thing – hatred of someone for the actions of a few.

Law enforcement, just like any race of people, has a few bad apples. But there are far more, just like any race of people, who are great people. Not only are they great people, they are willing to put their lives on the line for people who despise them. That is integrity to the max!

I have a son-in-law who is a law enforcement officer and I am proud, not just of the fact that he is in law enforcement, but that his character is impeccable and that he risks his life every time he puts on that uniform. Law enforcement deserves the same respect as our military, who are also not shown the respect they deserve, but that’s another blog for another day.


Posted in 1st Amendment, Accountability, First Amendment | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Death By Tolerance

Death By Tolerance.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Death By Tolerance

images1PUBE260Since I started my own business a year ago, finding time to blog has been rare, and I apologize for that, but sometimes things just start to eat at me and I have to make time. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where our great nation is headed and how we got in this condition – and what – if anything, we can do to change it.

The argument can certainly be made that America was at its pinnacle of greatness at the conclusion of World War II. Since Berlin fell and Hitler took a dirt nap, and we introduced Japan to the nuclear weaponry, America has been on a down hill spiral that now seems to be spinning out of control and will soon end in our demise. In hindsight, vast volumes of books will be written after we are gone about how this once great nation fell into such a sad state of disarray. But I believe one thing will stand out as the principle culprit which led to our self destruction – TOLERANCE.

If you look at American history, our nation began because people of great courage were intolerant. The Pilgrims settled here because they were intolerant of religious persecution and the lack of religious freedom. A group of rebels took a stand against the world’s greatest empire because they were intolerant of 3% taxation without representation. Yes, 3% – today we tolerate taxation of as high as 70% for some. Once our liberty was secured and the young nation was founded, we were intolerant of Muslim pirates on the Barbary Coast and brave young Marines like Presley O’Bannon put an end to the savagery. Then in less than three generations the nation became intolerant of slavery. While this was a positive step for America and all of humanity, the south was forced to take the first steps of tolerance when states rights were usurped by the federal government. As western expansion occurred, despite the teachings of revisionist historians like Howard Zinn, we were intolerant of Indian savagery and attacks on settlements as well as tribal warfare. In the 1800’s, more Indians were killed in North America by the Sioux tribe than by the U.S. Army. Zinn never told you that, did he?

Throughout the reconstruction era and into the progressive era of the early twentieth century, forced tolerance began to work its way into our government; the aforementioned usurpation of states rights, taxation and social programs were tolerated in the name of “progress”, but we were still strong enough to survive these transgressions of our freedom.

At the conclusion of Word War II, under the pathetic “leadership” of Harry Truman, modern day tolerance was born. We had the greatest fighting force in the history of mankind  situated in a logistical “perfect storm”. My Uncle Floyd waited with Patton in Europe and my Uncle Zeland had just secured Hiroshima and waited with MacArthur in the Pacific. Both of these great leaders were primed and ready to put an end to communism and destroying the Russian Army, but the spineless Truman said we must tolerate communism. Had these two leaders been allowed to end communism then and there, there would have been no Korean War, no Cuban missile crisis, no Viet Nam War, no killing fields of Cambodia and millions of lives would have been ultimately saved.

Not only did we tolerate communism at the conclusion of World War II, our culture began to change. “Tolerance” became not only an acceptable part of American life, it became a virtue to be molded and cherished. John Wesley’s quote – “What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace”, has proven itself over and over in the past seventy years. We tolerated communism and now millions of American citizens who know no better, embrace the idea.

There was a landslide of tolerance thrown on the American people in the 1960s. Liberalism is a cunning evil and has carefully crafted how it will erode a great nation. We were taught to be more tolerant and that intolerance simply would not be tolerated. That’s the entire liberal mantra, they are tolerant as long as you agree with them 100%, then see how intolerant they become. Conform to their way of thinking or be labelled and condemned. Anarchy must be tolerated – freedom of expression, you know. Drug addiction must be tolerated – no one can be held accountable. Homosexuality must be tolerated – it’s not a choice, they were born that way. Rioting and looting must be tolerated – after all, if you oppose them you must be a racist. Personal freedom must be sacrificed for the common good – you don’t need a 30 round magazine, you gun-toting redneck.

Are you beginning to see how tolerance is forced on us by intimidation? If you refuse to tolerate something that is socially destructive, then there is obviously something wrong with you – this is the liberal tool of destruction and it is destroying America!

Look no further than the tools the left uses against anyone who opposes our Muslim President. The first and favorite tool they will use if one opposes his uber liberal policies is, “you must be a racist.” Let me now state emphatically, if I see Dr. Ben Carson’s name on the ballot in 2016, he has my vote. Refer to Barack Hussein Obama as a Muslim and you are obviously a bigot – despite the fact that he was raised by a Muslim father, in Muslim schools, in Muslim communities and has repeatedly demonstrated and proclaimed his devotion to Islam. Question his birth records or those of his “daughters” and you are some sort of conspiracy theorist – despite his “foreign student” status in college and all the questions surrounding his birth certificate. Say something about Michelle’s Adams apple and you’re labelled a homophobe. It’s all a ploy to force you to conform to the liberal doctrine.

Today, tolerance has reached new heights. We are expected to tolerate the Islamization of America. Mosques are being funded all over America by foreign governments. Illegal immigration is being forced down our throats and it has absolutely nothing to do with Hispanic emigrants – it has to do with paving the way for millions more Muslims to invade our shores.

imagesL5I2SGL5If our nation is to survive, it’s time to stop tolerating tolerance. Americans must proclaim, as Howard Beale did in the movie “Network”, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” – before it’s too late to turn back the clock. Stop tolerating elected officials that have ethics of a hyena, regardless of which political party they are in. Stop tolerating actors and actresses who spew their diatribe while having absolutely no connection with common society. Stop tolerating the intolerance directed toward Christianity! Stop tolerating the biased news media. Stop tolerating the indoctrination centers that have become our public schools. Stop tolerating higher taxes to support those who refuse to support themselves.

If we don’t stop tolerating the things that are so destructive to our nation now, soon we will be begging for tolerance from our captors.

Posted in American History, Core values | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Never Forget

13 years ago today, America changed forever. This horrific event should have jolted the nation into waking up from living inindex denial. It did for a brief moment. It brought everyone together and showed many people how to be a patriot again, but then we shoved our collective heads back in the sand, even further embraced the evil of political correctness and have, as a nation, rejected God. I mourn for my country and I am heartbroken when I think of the world my precious grandchildren will inherit. We, as a nation, are afraid of offending.

Well I’m offended by a lot of things. I’m offended that God is openly rejected in our society. I’m offended by having a muslim president who is openly trying to destroy America. I’m offended at the way he has treated Israel. I’m offended by his racism. I’m offended by his ghetto acting wife telling our kids what to eat. I’m offended by the cabinet members of this administration which contains far too many muslims to accurately represent America and people like eric holder who should be shot for his crimes and dereliction of duty. I’m offended by the race-baiters like al sharpton, opra winfry and jesse jackson. I’m offended at the way our veterans are treated. I’m offended by our judicial system. The death penalty doesn’t work because we don’t use it effectively. I’m offended that so many people are living off my tax dollars because they are too damned lazy to work. GET OFF YOUR ASS! I’m offended that I have to press 1 for English and that 13 years later our borders are still wide open. I’m offended at the absolute crap our children are taught in school, but ask them about Omaha Beach and they are likely to think it was a spring break destination. I’m offended by ignorance, period. Ignorance of the Word of God in America. Ignorance of history. Ignorance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Ignorance of political ideology by the majority of Americans. But because so many of the things that offend me don’t fit the liberal agenda, the things that offend me don’t get much press.

But there are plenty of other things that offend me that actually do get a lot of press and it doesn’t seem to have any real impact because these things still happen constantly. Things like animal cruelty, child abuse and bad manners. Why do we as a society tolerate these things? We will chastise the person who throws litter on the ground but not say a word to the obnoxious jerk who curses in front of women and children or to the lazy mother who allows her child to terrorize the poor girl working at the check out register.

What the hell is wrong with us? 9/11 was a tragedy, but for an all too brief moment in time it brought us all together and for a moment, it looked like America was going to turn a corner and return to our former glory as the client nation to God. How could we let that opportunity slip away and what can we ever do to get it back?

There is only one way and it is in the Word of God. The mind of Christ has provided every answer to every problem we will ever encounter. I know many people are turned off by what I just wrote because they have spent too many Sundays listening to some fire and brimstone-filled Pastor rail against the evils of sin but couldn’t exegete a single verse of scripture if he had to. Sin isn’t the issue! Jesus Christ took care of that when he bore our sins for 3 hours on the cross. And when he said “tetalesti” (it is finished in the cal imperative stem meaning it is finished with the result that it will last for eternity) there is nothing we can ever do to lose our so great salvation. The issue is living as Christ lived and we can’t do that without first knowing the mind of Christ and the mind of Christ is the Holy Word!

I don’t even know where I’m going with this – it’s just the anniversary of 9/11 and I mourn for the country I see today. Please pray for America. Love your family and take time to tell them you love them. I pray every day that I may have a positive influence on those around me – and that’s all we can do. We can’t control the world, but we can control how we interact with the world. Make a difference today and every day.

Never forget.

Posted in American History, Beliefs, Bible Doctrine, Constitution, government, History, Influence, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Effect of Emotions on Social Demise

A few days ago I was studying the Book of Acts where Paul is addressing the elders of Ephesus whom he had called to Miletus. Paul was about to make a critical mistake in his life by returning to Jerusalem where he would allow a religious act of taking a vow that would ultimately separate him from God’s plan. As a result of his sin Paul would spend 4 years imprisoned. God of course would turn Paul’s cursing into blessing as the Holy Spirit would guide Paul in the writing of the prison epistles during his captivity.

But back to the subject, as he exegeted these verses, Col. Thieme began a dissertation  about Paul Emotionsallowing his emotions to control his decision making. What the Colonel had to say about emotions really stuck with me and has been on my mind ever since until I finally felt compelled to write about it.

First I want to focus on the damage that living under the control of our emotions does to our personal lives. Think about some of the bad decisions you may have made in your life. The overwhelming majority of those bad decisions, if not all of them, can be traced back to emotions.We buy things we don’t need, or perhaps even can’t afford, based solely on emotions. We eat when we’re not hungry. Psychologists have even coined the phrase – emotional eating disorder. If we perceive someone has wronged us in some way,  rather than being forgiving we allow our emotions to damage or even destroy that relationship.

Perhaps the most devastating emotional decision for many is marriage as evidenced by the high divorce rate. Love is an extremely powerful emotion and while it is certainly necessary that you love the person you marry, it is also necessary that you not marry someone based solely on emotions. Let’s face it – people often fall in love with someone over an emotional based response to loneliness, sexual attraction and social status. While these are all legitimate reasons to be attracted to someone, by themselves they are hardly a reason to make a lifelong commitment. These emotions often fade as quickly as they arose and if you base a marriage entirely on these emotions you’re in trouble. Reason must be placed ahead of emotions.

Is this the person you really want to spend the rest of your life with? Am I marrying this person for the right reasons? Is this the person God intends me to be with forever? These are questions that must be considered and even though it is difficult, emotions must be removed from the picture when answering these questions.

We have descended into a society controlled by emotions and as bad as it is for us personally, it may even be worse for us nationally. Millions of Americans voted to elect an incompetent President because they were emotionally consumed with the idea of electing America’s first black President.  We give financial support to tyrannical governments that despise us. Before his assassinations, Senator Robert Kennedy proposed sending blood to the North Viet Namese. WE WERE AT WAR! But it gets worse – today we have implemented absurd “rules of engagement” on our troops, gelding their ability to actually win a war!

As a nation, we’ve become so fearful of offending our enemies that we’ve become a global laughing stock – all because our leaders now govern based entirely on emotions. Political correctness is nothing but a national system of emotions. Government handouts are nothing but a national system of emotions. The concept of global warming is an unproven theory that plays entirely on emotions.

We now have a social construct that demands forfeiture of personal freedoms to assuage the emotions of those who make the most noise. Take for example the long running battle for gun control. This is nothing more than a play on the emotions of the uninformed. Obamacare is nothing more than a play on the emotions of the uninformed. The call for immigration reform is nothing more than a play on the emotions of the uninformed.

Maybe you’re beginning to see a pattern. Emotions often control decisions when we are uninformed. For example, a parent may make a decision to buy their child a new pet based entirely on their emotions and those of the child. Because they lacked information and made an emotional decision, they soon learn that a brittany spaniel is not a good choice for apartment living or that a dachshund is going to construct an intricate system of tunnels in their flower beds or that a bull mastiff isn’t always going to be an adorable 10 pound puppy.

Paul made an emotional decision to remove himself from the geographical will of God. God’s plan was for Paul to take his ministry west into Spain. Instead he made an emotional decision to return to Jerusalem. Paul then removed himself from the operational will of God when he made the emotional decision to take a vow. These emotional decisions cost Paul 4 years of imprisonment before he was able to return to the geographical and operational will of God.

I point this out only to say, even Paul, perhaps the greatest believer of the Church Age, allowed emotions to interfere in his life. It happens to everyone at some time. What we have to guard against is – even though emotions may at times run our lives, we can’t allow emotions to ruin our lives. Be conscious of making informed decisions in life, not emotional ones.

Posted in Accountability, Bible Doctrine, Choices, Defining Moments, Emotions, Marriage, self improvement, Theology | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Master the Basics

I’m in the process of writing a new training manual for my company. Here is the INTRODUCTION.

Welcome to the RPM Storage Management team. You were selected because you display the skillsets and attitude we believe will make you successful in the self storage industry. We are committed to doing our part in giving you the proper training and tools needed to achieve great success in self storage management and we are confident you are just as committed to putting in the necessary effort to grasp, retain and utilize what you take away from this training.

This two week initial training is designed to prepare you with the basic knowledge necessary to begin operating a self storage facility efficiently. As mentioned, you were selected because you display the skillsets and attitude needed to be successful, but we don’t expect miracles. Becoming a “super star” manager is a process that takes time and devotion, both yours and ours. By no means will a two week training program make you an “expert”, that takes time and consistent effort, but it will prepare you to take the next step.

To make the most of this training period we highly recommend you take detailed notes. The primary methods of training during the next two weeks will be observation in week one and application in week two.

On opening day of spring training practice, legendary football coach Vince Lombardi begann-COACHES the training by teaching the very basics. He would hold up a football for all to see and proclaim to the team members, “This is a football.” He would then go on to explain the very basics of the game. Along this same line, perhaps the greatest coach in sports history, the late Coach John Wooden who coached his UCLA basketball team to ten national championships in a twelve year period, began his training camps by giving detailed instructions on the proper way for players to tie their shoes.

These simplistic approaches to training may hold little appeal to some, but you can hardly argue with Coach Lombardi’s or Coach Wooden’s results. Each of these legendary coaches set out to be the very best in their respective sports. Self storage is no different. If you are going to be the very best, you must begin with the basic operations. If you cannot do the basics better than anyone else, you will never achieve greatness.

Take for example the simple act of cleaning a self storage unit to make it rent ready for the next customer. You can go into any market and shop a few self storage facilities and you will find very few, if any, self storage units that RPM would consider “rent ready”. The truth is, most self storage managers approach the task of cleaning an empty unit with only one item – a broom. While a broom will be needed for the task, it is hardly going to accomplish the goal of being the “best” at this very basic operation.

Think of it this way: if you want to get your vehicle washed but don’t want to do it yourself, you have 2 choices; you can drive around until you find some civic or youth organization holding a carwash fundraiser or you can go to the place that specializes in providing detailed service. The difference in the expected levels of service between the two is enormous. You’ll pay much more at the premium carwash than you will at the fundraiser, but you will get in return, and will settle for nothing less, than a “new car” look complete with air freshener, armoralled tires and detailed interior that even got the dust out of the cracks and crevices.

To be the very best in the self storage industry, that’s the way you have to approach even such a basic task as preparing a rent-ready unit. To be the very best, your job is not to clean the unit, but rather to “detail” it. The floor must be spotless. There must not be a cobweb anywhere in sight. There must be no dust on the walls. The door, lights and latch must operate correctly and easily. There must be no musty smell.

Perhaps the customer standing beside you has already been to two or three competitors and looked at their units. If so, chances are they have viewed some units that were “sort of clean” and perhaps a few others that “needed work” and possibly a few that made them think “Oh, there’s no way I’m putting my things in here.” When you open the door for them you want them to take one look at that empty unit and see an immediate difference from what they have already looked at. You want to give them a clear understanding that they could look at every storage unit in town and would never see one as clean as what you are showing them.

That’s how you become the very best. You must master the basics first. If you’re doing the basic things better than anyone else, you will be the best. Let me take you back a moment to Coach Lombardi. The Green Bay Packers of the late 1950’s and 1960’s had the smallest playbook in professional football. They didn’t run trick plays. They didn’t focus on trying to fool anyone. In fact, most times just by the formation of the offense, the opposing defense knew exactly what play was coming, but because they focused on doing the basics like blocking and every player doing his part, the defense was powerless to stop them. They had games where they literally annihilated the opponent while running no more than 5 or 6 different plays throughout the course of the game.

Coach Lombardi’s practice sessions were grueling. The team would run the same play over and over and over until every man was perfect in executing his part. The formula was unstoppable then as it is today and it works in self storage just as it works in football. Becoming the very best begins and ends with doing the basics better than anyone else. With that in mind, let’s begin your training to make you a super star self storage manager.

Posted in Business processs, Customer Service, Management, Self Storage, Training | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment