Archives For Higher Ground

These are articles that relate to self-actualization, destiny, cause, calling or appeal to elements of the greater good.

Who Are You? (who who, who who)

joe —  Sat 5-Aug-17

Brilliant kids test answersOur son, Jared, has always been mature beyond his years. He’s also the smartest person I have ever met – except when it came to some basic things that Beth and I take for granted. He just graduated from Georgia Tech in Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering with Highest Honors (Summa Cum Laude at other schools). Having taught over 500 students, he was voted the Teaching Assistant of the Year for all of Georgia Tech his senior year. He worked for three semesters in engineering co-op positions and even went to France to be a teaching assistant at the request of the professor teaching the class.

I tell you this not to brag (well maybe a little) but to offer context for what would be one of the greatest and most humbling lessons I have learned. It all started with a phone call during his Junior Year. Continue Reading…

Mathematician or Jerk?

joe —  Sat 1-Aug-15

Speeding dog“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” George Carlin was a comedic genius. His knack for getting to the heart of our irrational engine of thought and self-preservation was typically spot-on.

I learn a lot about myself while in a car, especially in the quagmire that is Atlanta rush hour. Last week I was a passenger as my friend drove through a series of lane closures. A gentleman in the lane next to us decided to wait until the very last moment before merging into our lane. “What a jerk,” my friend Sam exclaimed. I was taken back by his comment. Sam is the nicest of all known men. In his vocabulary, jerk is a four-letter word. Clearly this guy had done something that hit a nerve with my friend.

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…and Thanks for All the Fish

joe —  Sun 15-Mar-15

Ronald In CustodyI hate goodbyes. I can’t imagine anyone really likes them, but I loathe them. Everything is so awkward. Should I hug or is a handshake the best protocol? What if I say the wrong thing? What if someone starts to cry?

A couple of weeks ago I had to say goodbye to my coworkers – friends who I had really come to love and respect. Having just tendered my resignation, the two weeks that followed became a swirl of emotions. Those two weeks also taught me some lessons that I wished I would have learned much earlier in my life. Continue Reading…

My Biggest Fan

joe —  Sat 7-Mar-15

Beagle fanMy wife left me a love note the other day. She was on her way to Sanibel to spend a week in the island sun with her mom, my mother-in-awe. She finished with, “Thank you for being my biggest fan.” My wife and I say that often. We are each other’s biggest fans in every sense of the word.

The other day someone at work asked what I thought about a coworker. I had said, “I’m a big fan of Daniel.” Clearly, the fanaticism I have for Daniel does not compare to that of my wife, so I stopped to think about what it meant to be someone’s fan.

My sports-loving friends would laugh if I ever called myself a sports fan.  Continue Reading…


joe —  Sat 14-Feb-15

Sit In a CornerI can only recall two things from third grade. The first is that my teacher really needed to invest in a better deodorant. The other was spending time facing the corner for being a little too sassy. Mrs. Thomas had said, “Words mean something” to which I abruptly replied, “Of course they mean something, isn’t that why they were invented?” All that was missing from my corner encounter was the dunce cap.

Years later I started to understand my third grade teacher’s Zen-like words of wisdom. I began to appreciate the importance of words when I couldn’t find one to express the way I was feeling. I am fascinated by words and phrases that mean something different when translated – like how the english “Got Milk” ad became the spanish “Are you lactating?” A simple word change can also affect the way you view the world. Instead of thinking “I have to go to work” think “I get to go to work.” Continue Reading…

It’s the Time of the Season

joe —  Wed 24-Dec-14

Drunk clockHere I am, once again, the day before Christmas wondering how I seemed to have missed the month of December. Where did that month that seemed to go on forever as a kid go? Why does it seem to get shorter every year? Is it just me?

Time gets talked about a lot during the holidays. As the year winds down, it seems fitting to take stock of what has passed. In the days of yore we had to rely on our own memories to form those images. This year we have Facebook to thank for scraping together the highlights of our past year and putting our lives into a nice photo album for us. We are now as Facebook thinks we are. <sigh> Continue Reading…

NEIL PEARTStephen Colbert cracks me up. His quick witted satire combined with an ability to keep a straight face is pure genius. My favorite moment was when he conducted the first American interview in 33 years of mega-rockers Rush. Perched majestically on high-top counter stools facing Colbert were my rock and roll idols Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson, and Geddy Lee. Colbert asks a few great questions, then hits him with this piece of art:

“You’re known for some long songs. Have you ever written a song so epic that by the end of the song you were actually being influenced by yourself at the beginning of the song, because it happened so much earlier in your career?”

You can tell that the boys in the band were amused. I hadn’t laughed that hard in years. After I finally stopped laughing, which seemed like hours later, it dawned on me that Colbert’s question was as deep as it was funny. Why is it that whenever a star is asked who their major influences are they never say, “myself?” It would definitely make that person look unsettlingly egotistical, so you would never hear those words uttered. But is it ok to think it? I think I accidentally answered that question this morning.
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