‘Be Prepared’: What the Boy Scouts Taught Me…

Grateful Blog: Day 92: I was Cub Scout when I was little. Mom was our Den Mother. And then I was in Webelos, followed by Boy Scouts. It was 30 years ago. Both of my older brothers were Boy Scouts so naturally I was expected to join too. It was really one of the most funs things we did as kids. Sure there were meetings and merit badges and award ‘banquets’ but all of those activities were virtual excuses for us to get together with a different circle of friends (different than school and sports) and run around like banshees. I’m sure our parents liked the down time too.

My Dad helped a lot as a leader. He drove us places, took us camping, helped us make our Pinewood Derby Race Cars (well OK, he made them and we watched but consequently they actually ran well) and got dragged along on a number of rainy hiking or canoeing trips. When my Dad was a kid he joined the Boy Scouts too. But I guess when he got home with his tan uniform on his Dad made him immediately take it off and take it back, and quit the troop. His father had fled Germanyin 1933 and had seen the Hitler Youth and Brown Shirt movements and apparently the Boy Scouts was too close of a reminder. I don’t know much about either, but I suspect it couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

I made it all the way to Eagle Scout. Of course by then I was 17 and I was ready to move on. I was headed into high school and Boy Scouts wasn’t ‘cool’ any longer. But the truth is it was ALWAYS cool. It seemed like about every other weekend we were doing something fun: Usually some from of hiking, backpacking, camping, that sort of thing. Sure we did things that sounded like work, fundraisers, paper drives, etc. but our friends were there and we made it fun. Our adult leaders, Mr. Carges, Mr. Staub, Mr. Sullivan and my Dad in retrospect were some of the coolest guys you’d want to have around. They read you the riot act when you deserved it, but they showed you a few tricks too. And unlike what you read about Boy Scouts leaders in the newspaper, there was never any hint of that. Just our friend’s Dad’s showing us the ropes—and the knots for that matter. The Scout’s motto is ‘Be Prepared’ and its funny how we it prepared us for later on in life. Maybe the best part of being a part of Troop #233 was heading to summer camp every year. Swimming, sailing (more like tipping the sailboats over), campfires, hiking, rafting, day trips into places like Lake Placid to see where they had the Olympics, and singing in the mess hall (weird food and all the Kool-Aid you could drink).

Then there was the year we went to New Mexico, to the Philmont Scout Ranch and took a 50+ mile backpacking trip through theNew Mexican wilderness. It was AWESOME! Several days on a bus across an America I’d never seen before—the Mississippi River, the St. Louis Arch, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Rockies and Cimarron, New Mexico. The scenery was gorgeous, the camaraderie was great, and the memories have lasted a lifetime. From that point on I was infatuated with the ‘West’ and I suppose I was destined to be out here. It stoked my love of nature at an early age, that wonderment at the cathedrals and epic landscapes that I saw. Later I’d become National Park Service Ranger in neighboring SE Utah.

Also on that New Mexico trip I first ‘Cowboy’ music, the Sons of the pioneers ‘Blue Shadows on the Trail’ being played around a campfire under all those New Mexican stars. I’ve been a fan of that ‘Western’ brand of country and cowboys ever since. It wasn’t all epic trips and it was often work, but the best things in life often are worth working for and looking back now the work seems minimal. Hell, I think that Mom and Dad probably worked far harder at it than we did (so we’d stay with it), more than anything.

There’s a lot to be Grateful for when I think of the Boy Scouts. It saddens me the perception that it’s turned into. All I know is it changed my life: The friendships, the value of hard work—and playing hard, the love of nature, the ‘West’ and even the love of music. There were so many positive things about it that it’s hard to find any negatives now. The other day I ran into another guy I know who was an Eagle Scout and he’s got kids in it now too. I said ‘Oh yeah, cool! I used to be an Eagle Scout’ and he looked at me very seriously and said ‘Dan, you still are.’ Uniform or not, I guess that’s true…

The New Songs…

 Grateful Blog: Day 91: I spent the morning writing 2 new songs. They’re coming lately in bunches. I can’t say why but I think finally having my CD ‘Ash and Bone’ done has a lot to do with that. The weird thing about being a songwriter is I never know when they’re going to come. I can prime the pump for sure; try to get in the right ‘space’, in the ‘flow’ as it were but sometimes it just boils down to some finicky combination of available time, restless energy and the sheer discipline of just doing it and not letting yourself get distracted.

The truth is I have no idea how or why it works. I spent several hours on one song this morning while it was raining furiously, the song was predictably moody, poetic and full of the melancholy I was obviously channeling. At some point I ran out off steam but felt it was close. I then noticed the bright sunshine that I’d failed to see for who knows how long it’d taken to get from downpour to just gorgeous out. I went outside, it was warm and suddenly and just as predictably, moody, poetic and melancholic felt inappropriate. I sort of reflexively went for something 180 degrees different, a little boogie-woogie thing and 15 minutes later something upbeat, catchy and weirdly compelling popped out.

I don’t know which song (if either) will last the numerous inevitable revisions they’ll be put through to get to ‘keeper’ status but I can tell you this: I’m still not sure why songs come. I’m still not sure that after the last one that another one will ever, ever come again. It feels that tenuous, like one day I might wake up and say ‘nothing inspires me’. I know that may sound funny or over dramatic but half a dozen years ago I had just had several years’ without writing a song. So it’s happened before and it crosses my mind that it could very well happen again.

So the thing is, they’ve been coming in bunches lately. So rain or shine, any day of the week, when a song wants to arrive I’m ready to open the tap and see what happens. Any day is always a good day for writing a new song. I’m just Grateful when they come…

90 days of the ‘Grateful Blog’: Tick-tock-tick…

Grateful Blog: Day 90: 90 days of the ‘Grateful Blog’. At the quarter pole as it were. When I started this blog I did it because I wanted to be mindful of ALL the blessings this life has given me. And I wanted to somehow re-create that feeling we get when we’re sitting around the Thanksgiving table, when we’re all holding hands, and your turn comes when you’re asked what you’re thankful, or Grateful for…

So far I’ve succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve put myself on the spot time and time again and I’ve managed to recall some vignette of the day or of my life that reminded me why I was here, why I had something to say, why I was Grateful…

So the thing is today I don’t have much to say. I was ‘Grateful’ most of the day. Even if I was exhausted from the week, the rain, the chattering brakes, the streaky windshield wipers, the skipping CD player, the working till 8pm every night, and the reluctance to engage the Universe in a meaningful way. Today I just more or less got up, got coffee, and plowed through a long Friday in a long week of long days. Nothing amazing or special happened. I survived it–lived to fight another day.

Friday night, finally home and for the first time this week I’m alone with the tick-tock-tick of the clock in my room and it sounds for a change like music, like a rhythmic pulse to relax to. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m Grateful the week had finally slowed down enough, that I can breathe, and just be Grateful for breathing…

The ‘Spirit of 76’…Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Grateful Blog: Day 88: Today was Mom’s Birthday. 76. Wow…76. I sent her flowers from my favorite florist back home. Mom cried. That’s how it goes. I called but she was at choir practice. Singing for the angels—much better than singing with them. Later I called again. It was past 11pm her time but she answered and we talked for close to an hour. About this, That. Nothing and Everything.

Mom comes from tough Bavarian stock. Her Mom—Grandma, made it to 89. I hope she does too. Sometime I think it’s out of sheer stubbornness, but other times I’m not so sure. This is the same woman who calls me every year on 9-11, my birthday, and no matter the time of day or night and sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. And she cries when she gets flowers. Probably 15 years ago in a particularly nostalgic moment I took the cassette tape of her singing on my answering machine and kept it, because you never know when you’re going to miss hearing your Mom sing you ‘Happy Birthday’. Besides, it’s Tradition…

There are so many stories. I can’t tell them all. Mom always likes to tell how she was 72 hours in labor with me before I finally made an appearance. Being the 4th boy and being promised 3 consecutive girls the doctor asked Mom is he should ‘push me back in’ because she was hoping for a girl. To which she replied ‘Hell no!’ In 1967 ‘Hell’ was a swear word and high treason to good Catholic gal like Mom, but I’m pretty sure she meant it what she said ‘Hell no!’ I was here to stay…  

Ever since then she’s survived 44 plus years of me. Tonight we talked about the wedding in 1974 inBrooklyn; I was not quite 7 yet. In the smoky din of the PFC (Polish Falcon Club) and the polka music I went around table to table drinking the leftover champagne. At the ripe age of 6 I got drunk, danced, and then passed out in a corner. It’s funny how we’ve always been able to laugh about that like ‘well, sometimes things happen’. Mom said something to the effect of ‘Hey, you were 6, a handful and impossible to keep track of.’ That’s so true but I’d never heard it so well said.

Yet despite that, along with Dad, they did an amazing job raising me. I knew right from wrong, and the value of things like hard work and respect. There’s no way to quantify that. One day you’re 6 years old and then you’re 44. One day your Mom is 38 and then she’s 76. It all happens so fast: Labor, kindergarten, champagne, baseball, soccer, high school, college, marriage, house, job, the flowers, and then here we are in 2012.

On the phone, Mom tells stories like I do. She weaves in and out until no stone is left unturned. And where the memories and the truth get mixed up there’s the undeniable fact that what’s important is the telling, the passing of the torch, the storyteller handing off he muse to the next generation. I get that from her. No one who knows me or her will deny that isn’t the gospel truth.

Yet talking to Mom tonight, on the 76th anniversary of her birth, there’s something different there. I’m no longer trying to prove anything and she’s not trying to teach anything. We’ve achieved that weird parent/child relationship where we can enjoy each other person to person, for who they are, not who we thought they were. It’s cool beyond belief because it hasn’t always been that way. She’s proud of me and I’m proud of her. We’re both survivors. Both stubborn. Both singers. Both storytellers of the first order. We’ve both been working on this a long time. It’s nice to come to the spot where she can cry when I send her flowers and I can cry because it means that much to me to make her happy.

Mom reads this blog. Every day. Hey, Mom—somewhere I still have that cassette, of you singing me ‘Happy Birthday’. Someday I’ll be 76 and I’ll need to hear your voice again. But tonight we can still call and do it in person, and tell our stories. I’m so, so Grateful for that. About every other day this ‘blog’ makes me cry and I’m Grateful for that too. It tells me I’m alive. And Mom, it’s OK to cry now. I’m way ahead of you….

Bread, Cheese and Perfect Strangers…

Grateful Blog: Day 87: It should surprise no one that knows me that I talk to the people at the grocery store. I mean we all do that right??? I can’t say that I know them all by name but we always talk. About this, that, life, the weather, and plans for the weekend. I always say ‘Hi’ to the checkers as well as the gals at the deli, and ask then how they’re doing, to the wine steward who lives in Battle Ground and the guys at the butcher counter, Johnnie and Ramón. Johnnie’s Dad died last year. It was a hard time for him. He took several trips toCaliforniato be with him, then to settle his affairs. Johnnie’s an easygoing guy but you could see how losing his Dad wore on him in his face. It’s been almost a year now and I still see it there. I know it’s still going to be awhile but every so often Johnnie gets this big laugh and I know he’s going to be alright.

Tonight Johnnie wasn’t there and Ramón was. We chatted a bit and of course I asked ‘how’s it going?’ and he said ‘Great! I can’t complain’. It was unusually chipper for him. So I asked ‘Well THAT’s positive for a Monday?!’ and then he said ‘It could be worse—a lot worse. You know the gal who works the cheese counter and olive bar?’ ‘Yeah, sure I do.’ She had a stroke the other day. Can’t talk or function. She’s got a 2 year old.’ My heart sank. I’d talked to her dozens of times. She’s a fan of country music and she always said ‘Hi’ because she saw my cowboy hat. We’d talked about music, and life—almost never about cheese or olives. I’m sad that I don’t know her name although I doubt that’d matter. I spent the rest of the time in the store in a fog, trying to wrap my mind around what a difficult time she must be going through while feeling Ramón’s sense of optimism and relief because that horrible something that suddenly happens wasn’t happening to him, or me.

I bought my groceries. The checker was new. It was weird somehow. The flowers I’d bought for my wife didn’t ring up right. There was no special occasion, mostly ‘just because’ I wanted her to feel special today. Ultimately I gave in, told the checker ‘whatever’ just to stop holding up the line. I went outside and it was windy, a storm front brewing. The wind hit my over-stacked cart and things fell onto the pavement. I started gathering up items in the road when a much older man, probably in his 80’s, stopped, stooped over, and took a new, warm loaf of bread that had fallen out of the sleeve onto the pavement and gently slid it back in and handed it back to me. Our eyes met briefly and he kindly said ‘Here’s your bread, I hope I didn’t make it worse’.

In retrospect it seems like such a weird thing to say, but at the time, it made perfect sense to me. That little kindness between perfect strangers that we might see every day and never, ever notice. Tonight I’m so Grateful for that…

A Little less Sugar…

Grateful Blog: Day 86: Bert Sugar died yesterday. Bert Randolph Sugar was known as “The Greatest Boxing Writer of the 20th Century”, as well as “one of the foremost historians alive,” and was elected to the International Boxing Hall in January 2005. Bert was one of those larger than life characters. He wore a fedora, smoked a cigar, rolled with the high rollers in some of the biggest sporting events in the last century and witnessed a ton of them in person. I’m not really a boxing fan but Bert was a regular guest on one of my favorite sports radio programs: ‘Prime Time with Issac and Suke on 1080 AM.’ Issac and Suke called Bert once for an appearance on the show and 2 weeks later Bert just started calling the show and giving tips on which college football teams would win that weekend.

It became a regular feature and I totally looked forward to it even though I couldn’t have cared less who won or lost. Bert would call in Thursdays at 4:30pm and tell stories about how he’d hung out with Mohammed Ali or drank with Joe DiMaggio and you felt like you were listening to the radio in 1956 or 1966 all over again. He was a complete throwback from another era, a living legend and a real-live link to the past that most folks just read about in books. He also had that wise-acre sense of humor and gravelly voiced demeanor that’s part weird uncle and part genius. The fact of the matter was that Bert Randolph Sugar was one of a kind, a world class storyteller, and the sort of guy we never see anymore, and that I think we could use more of.

There was one night I was listening and Bert was laughing loudly, his whiskey and cigar tinged laugh and said ‘Hey fellas, once upon a time don’t work no more’. I wrote it down and went home and wrote a song by that name that night. I’m Grateful he called in every week and told his stories. I think he just wanted someone to talk to who knew what a treasure he was. I miss Bert already…

Doverlaff House Concerts: ‘The Church of Song’

Grateful Blog: Day 85: (Part 2) Continued…

After yesterday’s Talent Show, I finished up my set list for the 2nd Official CD release show for ‘Ash and Bone’ and got ready for the show. The show was part of the Doverlaff House Concert series. It’s becoming legendary in the Portland area one epic show and fabulous artist at a time. It’s put on by Dan Dover and Cheryl Mitzlaff, 2 of the nicest people you’ll ever meet hosting musical acts in their home with 50 of the best audience members you could ever hope to have. In fact, it’s the polar opposite of the talent show: A full house and no judging. Its part concert and maybe part church service: The ‘Church of Song’ perhaps.

There’s something magical about the setting and the room, or I should say the people in the room. They show up early, stake out a choice seat, and then mill around with the artists prior to the show. Folks hug, catch up, and you can palpably feel the warmth in the air. Then the lights get set down low, the artist takes the ‘stage’, less than a foot from the front row, and then something special is about to begin.

There’s this beautiful mix of intimacy and electricity. At some point in the first set I played a brand new song, less than a week old. I wasn’t even sure I knew it. So just to highlight that (and because I’m a sucker for a certain degree of that high wire act) I got out from behind the microphone and played the song unplugged, acoustic and stood even closer to the audience. You could hear a pin drop. That might be scary for some musicians but for those of us who’ve played one too many noisy clubs the opportunity to really be heard is intoxicating. I think they loved the song as much as I did and somehow I believe they felt the experience as intensely as I did. It was truly amazing. The opposite is also true; with no real encouragement or direction that wonderful audience spontaneously bursts into song and sings along with you. Like being able to hear a pin drop, it’s also music to the ears. It’s better than that actually, it’s like being swept up in a wave and allowing yourself the freedom to enjoy the ride…

There are not enough words to describe how I felt about last night. Like the first ‘Ash and Bone’ CD release show it sold out and did so really quickly. I like to think it’s because my songs are getting better and because my shows are gaining a reputation for being special events. I don’t know. I guess I have no real perspective on that and maybe I shouldn’t. I’m just so dam Grateful when people spend their precious free time spending an evening with me, to let me tell my stories and sing my songs. It’s a bit like this blog. You start out thinking you’ll create something and then that something becomes more special than you ever imagined. And like the show at Artichoke Music, last night’s show was so, so special. It felt like part celebration, part graduation and part conflagration. For a little while we set the place on fire, fanned the flames and it kept us warm.

There’s nothing better for me than living in the moment and nothing better than that wonderful ‘Connection’ with the audience. Moments like last night define my life in a way I had no idea was even possible until I started this journey 4 years ago when I met Dan and Cheryl. I’ve often said that anyone you meet on any given night can change your life. It’s so true. And last night was just further proof of that. I’m so Grateful to be part of a circle of friends and a community that can still hear a pin drop, that loves to sing along on a chorus, that cries with you, laughs with you, and hugs you once beforehand and twice afterwards. Some night’s are better than other and last night was one or those…Amen!

The ‘Talent’ Show…

Grateful Blog: Day 84: (Part 1) I missed yesterday’s ‘Grateful Blog’. Actually that’s incorrect. I didn’t miss it so much as I lived it. I went to be early Friday night only to wake up Saturday morning at 4am and while tired and still 16 hours from my 2nd Official CD release show for ‘Ash and Bone’, I had a set list to do. Set lists are funny things. I’ve tried the spectrum form avoiding them entirely, under the guise of spontaneity to a blow by blow word for word set up. I’ve found the best lie somewhere between the 2 extremes. In any case, I was up early and spent a good portion of the morning toggling between working on my set list and listening to the early morning ‘Swing and Country’ radio show on KBOO 90.7 FM. By mid-morning I was off to do a talent contest (a what???), yeah, one of those American Idol type talent show deals.

It was set up very much like the TV show talent shows are. I was ENTIRELY unsure what the heck I was doing there but when they asked I thought ‘sure, why not, no harm right?’ It was first class and well run and when I got there the contestants backstage were anxiously awaiting their turn. At some point I realized that it was just like everything else I do in my life—I do it for the fun, for the experience and for the amazing people I meet. In fact I was having such a good time doing just that backstage that suddenly I was called up and it was my turn.

So there I was on this big stage, with almost no audience but the 3 judges at their table and I was clearly on the spot. It was actually a little nerve-wracking for a second or 2. But then I did what I did what I always do, tell my story in words and in song. I know that it’s not for everyone but for the people who like what I do, they really like what I do, and there’ll be that ‘Connection’ they’ll make with the songs and with me and that alone with be worth it.

I have no idea how I ‘placed’ or didn’t place in the contest but I know how it turned out—I did my thing, I met some great people and my song actually moved one judge to tears. I don’t know if that qualifies as ‘talent’ or not, but I do know this: I’m Grateful that I did it because it involves the process that as artists we continually struggle with: The fear of rejection. Nevermore is that so on naked display as a ‘talent’ contest. But I’m most Grateful because I met some really great people: Fellow contestants, organizers and judges–every last one of them. In the contest between ‘winning’ and that ‘Connection’ I’ll take the ‘Connection’ any day of the week. It’s really no contest at all. And I’m Grateful for the wisdom to know the difference…

What’s in a Name??? More than I thought…

Grateful Blog: Day 82: I’ve know this for a while. My whole lifetime actually. My last name is ‘Weber’. I often joke to people when I tell them ‘It’s like the grill’ so they spell it with one ‘b’ instead of 2. The ironic part is that despite being named ‘Weber’ and owning 2 grills of the same name; I am without a doubt the world’s worst griller. You name it; I can burn it, split it, stick it and generally kill it beyond taste or recognition. It’s a gift of sorts. Usually when it’s time to barbeque all it takes is a few minutes of high heat and shouting ‘oh crap!’ that brings the ‘Real’ cooks at the party running to ‘help out’. You know, the guys who just HAVE to be the one grilling (it’s either a pride or power thing I’m not sure which). They say ‘Hey Dan, can I help you with that?’ I look sheepish and hand over the tongs and the reigns, and rejoin my drink, the party and my friends in progress, which is what I’d rather be doing anyways. I’m not saying that was my plan all along and I’m not saying it wasn’t…

It turns out, that the name ‘Weber’ really has no connection to the grill and so I’m relieved by that. It’s generally thought to be derived from the noun ‘Weaver’ which I feel more qualified to do, that is if we’re not talking about working with yarn and we’re talking about TELLING yarns. That I CAN do. It comes natural somehow. But I think that comes from the ‘Winterkorn’ side of my family (Mom’s side) and I’m not sure how that relates. The meaning of ‘Winterkorn’ is likely more obvious and I’m thoroughly charmed by how the names of my ancestors come from their agrarian beginnings: Back ‘in the old country’ as my Grandparents used to say.

The thing is the world keeps getting smaller by virtue of the speed of travel, social media and the sheer volume of information available at a few keystrokes with our fingertips. I found lots of famous Weber’s out there. I may be distantly related to a few. There’s also a famous Winterkorn or 2, even one who’s now the Chairman of the Board at Volkswagon. Who knew right? In any case I’ve got a website now, www.danwebermusic.com and this blog, so I keep putting myself into cyberspace and sometimes you just never know where the connection is going to be.

So just recently I was contacted by a guy in Montana, near Kalispell. His name? ‘DanWeber’. And he’s a musician. His great-great Grandparents fled Germanyto avoid being drafted into the Prussian army against Napoleon. My Grandparents fled Germanyto avoid Hitler. Dan had his DNA sequenced a ways back and we’re checking notes to see how far back we have to go before we find a common ancestor. But I think we already have plenty in common right here in the present.

Just yesterday Dan was telling me that he “once won 50 silver dollars and a kiss from Miss Yucca Valley for playing a song.” Miss Yucca Valley “brought the silver dollars out in her apron, but said under her breath, “I aint kissin’ no hippy!!” But she did anyway right there in front of everybody!” Dan went on to say that he’d also “kissed a bear once” (waking up and have the bear’s nose right in his face) and that “having kissed both, I can authoritatively recommend the bear as the more memorable ‘kiss’…”

So you see Dan’s a ‘Weber’ and obviously a weaver too and he’s got stories to tell. We should get together. Swap a few tunes and stories. I’d even break out the grill. Put on some bratwurst from the local German deli. Maybe roast some corn. If he’s a better man with a ‘Weber’ grill than I am so be it. I’d be happy to hand him the tongs in a heartbeat. Turns out I’m not a griller, I’m a Weaver…

Let the Mystery Be: The search for Amelia Earhart goes on…

Grateful Blog: Day 81: I read in the paper this morning that there’s a new expedition in the South Pacific looking for clues of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, which happened 75 years ago. I’m too young to have grown up with Amelia Earhart but her flight and subsequent disappearance are legendary. Somewhere on July 2nd 1937, after leaving New Guinea her plane, a Lockheed Electra 10E, disappeared and she was never heard from again.

I think I first learned of her watching old 1980’s episodes of the show ‘In Search Of’ where the host Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek’s ‘Spock’) would delve into topics such as the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster and Amelia Earhart. Later, when I used to attend bluegrass jams at Seattle’s New Melody Tavern in the early 90’s, occasionally someone would lead the group in a rousing version of a song dedicated to her. There’ve been many songs dedicated to her, from artists as diverse at Joni Mitchell to Kinky Friedman to Bachman Turner Overdrive. I once stayed in the ‘Amelia Earhart’ room in the La Posada Hotel inWinslow, Arizona. Amelia Earhart’s legend got around…

But nobody exactly knows what happened to her that morning while attempting to circumnavigate the globe with her only crew member Fred Noonan. One only need to look at her Wikipedia page to see it rife with theories, myths and urban legends of what may have happened flying over the vast South Pacific ocean. The most salient is that through a series of navigational errors, they missed the island they were attempting to land at, ran out of gas, and crashed at sea. And for 75 years, only Amelia and of course Fred Noonan, know what happened…

The new expedition used the phrase of ‘finding a needle in a haystack’ when explaining their chances of finding meaningful evidence but I honestly hope they don’t. In today’s technologically driven world it feels like we’re one step removed from a computer algorithm telling us that we’re not human or real at all, that we’re somehow less than the sum of our parts. I know that’s far-fetched but we’ve already broken down the world into it’s smallest atomic particles, mapped our DNA and explored the new frontiers of nanotechnology and the far reaches of the universe alike.

It’s not that I’m a Luddite or that some of those scientific findings might not be good in advancing the cause of the human race, it’s just that I’m a romantic at heart. I like to think that some mysteries should just remain exactly that. That maybe the legend of Amelia Earhart should live on, in songs and stories and in our imaginations, rather than in an inglorious ending finding an aluminum strut washed ashore on some remote South Pacific beach.

So let them search for Amelia’s needle in that vast blue haystack, let them search and search and search until they’ve exhausted their wits and their funds. And let them return home empty handed like so many have before. Let the mystery live for another 75 or 175 years before technology rules every square inch of our beautiful and endlessly complex planet.

This morning, in the absolute middle of 64 million square miles of the beautiful, vast and calm South Pacific, there is only the rhythmic sound of the waves, the sea birds that sail over it’s waters, and the low, throaty ‘rat-a-tat-tat’ of Amelia Earhart’s silver Electra, still looking for a place to land…

I’m Grateful that Amelia’s still out there, and that some mysteries may never be solved…