Just Sayin'! is the place where I share thoughts and ponderings. Most often, I share ideas and reflections about living in this crazy world of the 21st Century. There are also moments when I will share something that has transpired in my life causing me to stop and either smell the roses, or lie down in the middle of the street wondering how big the bus must've been that just plowed me over. Regardless, I don't share these thoughts in order to start an argument or prove a point. I merely intend to provide some food for thought - something for the windmill of your brain to whirl around for a bit to keep you occupied.
So, as you read through my ramblings, take them for the purpose of which they are actually intended. The educator in me wants you to contemplate and reflect on the topics presented. Then, after thoughtful and reflective consideration, you can draw your own conclusion. Hopefully, you'll arrive at a personal, more informed opinion that is uniquely your own. I used to always tell my students to "Engage their brain before engaging their mouth!" That only happens through careful reflection, mixed with deep contemplation of all the facts regarding the topic at hand. I hope you enjoy my ponderings, in Just Sayin'!
“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land!
II Chronicles 7:14
The way things are going today, maybe the country should take some time to think about that verse! As a nation we have a tendency to turn to God whenever we have a crisis! Look at 911. Nearly everyone in the U.S. began to pray to a higher power! Throughout our history this country has consistently turned away from God as things became too comfortable. That is until we are humbled to the point of hopelessness, realizing there is no other viable avenue than to fall on our knees to pray. As the stark reality of life’s challenge hits, it is usually only then that we begin crying out for deliverance from the clutches of tragic circumstance!
Have you ever had the opportunity to visit a national cemetery? I’ve visited numerous ones, including the National Cemetery in Normandy, France and of course, Arlington in Virginia. Personally, there is a sacred awareness that accompanies a visit to a national burial site. It really is like walking on holy ground. I believe part of the sanctity of visiting such a place involves the realization that so many of the remains buried there gave their lives for freedom’s call. At the very least, they devoted years of their lives to the advancement of this cause. Being buried with honors in a national cemetery is a tribute to the sacrifice and price required for Liberty.
I have been deeply honored to officiate numerous burials at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado. I must say I have been deeply humbled each time I was allowed to stand by the casket of a beloved veteran and provide words of comfort and hope to the family. As the fallen is honored with a 21 Gun Salute and the lone bugler plays a somber rendition of Taps, I can’t help but experience waves of tears welling up in my eyes and trickling down my cheeks.
There are over 160 national cemeteries throughout the U.S. and its territories. Every national cemetery is a tribute to the sacrifice of blood, sweat and tears from a grateful nation. Arlington National Cemetery is probably one of the most famous sites. The solemn reality of Arlington is that it entombs veterans from every major war that America has ever fought. Eleven veterans from the Revolutionary War are buried there as they were reinterred at the site after Arlington was established in 1876. There are even 14 veterans from the Spanish American War who were reinterred at Arlington. Making it the earthly resting place to veterans from nearly every war this country has ever engaged.
To read the entire article, In God We Still Trust,
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C’mon Man! Time to put on your big boy panties and man up! Just Sayin'! ~ Lanny Cook 10/2020
“Days of Isolation” – Just Sayin’!
The Bible states in the book of Genesis that it’s not good to be alone. So, what does it say about someone who always seems to be alone? What inference can be made when someone doesn’t really have a true friend in their life? Does it mean that one is to blame for relational isolation? Could it be assumed that maybe they’re too broken, cranky, self-absorbed or even too strange to be worthy of friendship? What does it mean to be a friend? What does it take to actually have a friend that is closer than a brother? Why are some people blessed with a host of friends while others couldn’t scrape one up if they had a million dollars? Why is it that you can spend an entire lifetime giving of yourself in service to others, but in the end not have a friend who could give you the time of day? How can a person have thousands of acquaintances in life and hundreds more claim to be friends on social media, but not have a single person in the world to call up and say “do you have time to be my friend?” Does the indictment of isolation belie one’s value or worth? So many questions. But just as it is in life, the answers are as rare as a friend indeed. Those questions and ponderings whirl through my mind as I struggle with life in this pandemic isolation.
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I Don’t Need…
...I’m an Adult! Just Sayin'!
I don’t need momma to take care of me anymore. I’m an adult.
This is the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Let Freedom Ring! Just Sayin’© Lanny Cook
Within each of us lies a tendency to be a bit rebellious, stubborn and self-serving. It's easy to fall into the mindset that we need everything to happen our way! When we don't get what we want we sulk, immerse ourselves in self-pity and begin to formulate ways to have it "our way!" We often choose to rebel against anyone and anything that doesn't agree with us and bow down to our entitlement based demands. Sort of sounds like the story of the prodigal son, doesn't it? If the younger brother from this New Testament parable were telling his story, it might start off something like this:
It’s difficult to know where to begin. By looking at me now, you’d never be able to guess I have made some really bad choices in this life. Which is why I would like to share this story. It’s not a story of romantic adventure, glamorous travel or living a life of luxury. It is however the story of how a young man chose to follow the wrong path and it’s also the story of a father’s love...
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I Ponder as I Wander…
Within the confines of our finite life on this earth, there are defining moments that present themselves on occasion. Now I’m not talking about the routine, mundane moments of life that happen on a fairly regular basis. But rather, I’m referring to those monumental, earth shattering moments. The kind that drastically change the heart, touch the soul, or forever change the essence of who we are or how we pursue life. These moments of human definition may only happen but a few times within our existence. Yet, when they occur, their impact on the human spirit often has an eternal significance. As I look back over the past sixty years of my life, I can honestly say I have only had a handful of such experiences. These few defining moments not only shaped my faith in God Almighty, but also significantly altered my earthly destiny. A revelation of faith, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a relationship all possess the potential to serve as events defining the very essence of our human spirit...
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Here's my political rant of the week - America's Latest Challenge, Politiphobes! - Just Sayin'!
It amazes me how the mindset of the political world has shifted over the past several decades. Even those who don't claim to be closely aligned with any political affiliation have become quite offended by certain government officials. It's like the sight of certain individuals from either side of the aisle makes your hair stand straight up with an electrical charge and you're ready to put up the dukes for battle. As a society we've lost the ability to think for ourselves, standup for our beliefs and debate others with differing views without going on the offensive and taking everything personal. It's sad because the loss of civility is a precursor to the loss of human respect and the ability to coexist with one another. This trend is perpetuated by not only the modern day media, but it's also contained within the very tenents of each political party.
I think it's time to start describing folks who are constantly pushing their own political agenda and will never admit someone from the opposing party has done something good as "POLITIPHOBES!" POLITIPHOBIA is a fear of recognizing the positive accomplishments an individual from the opposing party has made because it makes their party of choice look weak or inept. (Sorry folks but that describes all of Congress!) These folks include bigots from both sides of the political aisle who won't acknowledge the strides others are making for the GOOD of AMERICA.
Politiphobes are the ones that if they saw Jesus Christ walk on water, they would accuse Him of not being able to swim! Sadly, all of these anti-American bigots are nothing more than a pile of whiny, self-absorbed, narcissistic POLITIPHOBES. They're hell-bent on having it their way. They're also incapable of having an original thought in their tiny little brain. They can only entertain thoughts if they get political party approval. You know what we used to call that type of group think? Puppetry! Do you know what puppetry leads to? Dictators and socialism! It's time to drain the swamp! Not only in Washington D.C. but in every state across the country. Of course it wouldn't hurt to start on social media too, since that's where most of the political brainwashing occurs which leads to POLITIPHOBIA! I pray it's not contagious because it's a special kind of stupid! Just Sayin'!
God save the USA! God bless America!
I just saw an article where the baseball legend Bryce Harper’s expected salary offer will be somewhere in the $300,000,000 range for an extended contract. Wow! Now being a retired public school teacher, I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the reality of that kind of money. After all, when I first started teaching I was given a salary of $10,500 per year. When I retired after 28 years of service, with a double Master’s Degree and over 300 semester hours of additional graduate-level coursework and in-service training I had worked my salary up to top of the pay scale, around the $70,000 per year range.
Toward the end of my career there was a push for teachers to be paid according to merit. Not on their merit, but on the contrived evaluation of their student’s performance. Merit Pay could never begin to fairly compensate an educator for the unique intricacies involved in teaching a child. A Merit System can’t address the myriad of mitigating factors associated with a student’s academic performance. But yet, there are those politically motivated proponents trying to force a Merit Pay System onto all teachers based on the performance of someone else. Seriously? These people are nuts!
So, when I see a legendary athlete being offered hundreds of millions of dollars to play a game, I find it just a bit over the top. In fact, I find it audaciously perverse. In my mind it only goes to prove that it’s time to enact a Merit Pay System for every professional athlete. After all, they’re the ones getting paid for their legendary performance. If they are a superstar, then the skies the limit as to what they can make. If they have a stellar year, their pocketbook gets stuffed to the max. If they have an off year, well, they just better hope they put some of that extra stuffing in their bank account from the previous year. Here’s my Professional Athlete Merit Pay Proposal. I’m using baseball as an example, but this would work for any sport.
Just Sayin' Professional Athlete Merit Pay Proposal
Every player gets a guaranteed base salary of $75,000 a year. When he performs he gets bonus pay. When he fails there is a mandatory deduction. At the end of the season, if he’s performed well enough there will be a bonus check. Here’s the breakdown:
Bonus breakdown for Fielding
For every play resulting in an “Out” +$1,000
For every double play he is a part of +$2,000
For every triple play he is a part of +$3,000
For every error committed -$1,000
For every error that leads to an opposing run -$2,000
Bonus Breakdown for Hitting/Base Running
Batter earning a Walk +$1,000
Batter hit by a Pitch +$1,500
Getting on base by an Error +$1,000
A Sacrifice Fly Out +$500
A Sacrifice Fly Out that Scores a Run +$1,000
A Base Hit Single +$1,000
A Double +$1,500
A Triple +$2,500
A Home Run +$3,000
A Game Winning Hit of any type +$3,500
Striking out swinging -$1,000
Striking out on a Called Third Strike -$1,500
Hitting into any Out -$1,000
Hitting into a Double Play -$1,500
Hitting into a Triple Play -$5,000
Hitting into a Fielder’s Choice -$750
Stealing a Base +$750
Scoring a Run +$1,000
Sacrifice Bunt +$500
Suicide Squeeze Bunt +$1,500
Walk Off Game Winning Hit +$3,000
End of Year Batting Average per Point (.001) +$1,000
Bonus Breakdown for Pitching
Every Strike Thrown +$150
Every Ball Thrown outside of the Strike Zone -$125
Hitting a Batter -$300
Every Out Recorded +$200
Every Inning Pitched +$300
Every Run Allowed -$1,000
Every Baulk -$1,500
A Baulk that Allows a Run -$3,500
Maintaining an ERA under 1.0 per Game +$2,000
Maintaining an ERA under 2.0 per Game +$1,500
Maintaining an ERA over 2.0 per Game -$1,500
Every Win +$3,500
Every Loss -$3,500
Every Lead Surrendered -$1,500
Every Single Allowed -$500
Every Double Allowed -$750
Every Triple Allowed -$1,000
Every Home Run Allowed -$1,500
Every Run Allowed -$1,500
So, with all of that being considered, if you take the likes of a Bryce Harper and apply the merit pay system to the statistics he accumulated in 2018, he would have earned somewhere around the $750,000 range (10 times more than a highly paid teacher). Merit Pay for professional athletes; it all makes sense! Much more feasible than placing teachers on a Merit Pay system based on all the mitigating factors they have no control over! Just think about how much more affordable going to the ballpark would be for us middle class fans! You might even be able to afford a coke and a hotdog! Just Sayin’!
One of the gifts I was blessed to nurture throughout my life is the gift of humor. I've always had an ability to look at the humorous side of many situations. Often times, that has gotten me in a bit of trouble, especially during those formative years when teachers didn't enjoy having a class clown to contend with in a class filled with adolescents. However, my humorous ramblings were never intended to be disruptive, at least most of the time. There were times things just popped out of my mouth that were a play on words or casting a bit of laughter into a situation.
My humor was always subtle. I love sharing puns. Through the years I relished the role of being the token punologist of nearly every group or gathering. Puns actually require deep thinking and spring forth from the deepest recesses of the brain. That part of the brain, immediately above the "Brain Stem" is the part that I refer to as the "Pun-ebelem!"
Punology is truly an artform - almost a long-lost artform. Most teachers hate it; most leaders despise it; and the majority of the world just doesn't "get it." But for those of us that do "get it," the practice of punology turns into a constant challenge. It's a way of life, a way of viewing the world from a lighter side. It's the way our brains operate. It inspires creative thinking, while engaging our competitive nature. After all, there's not a punologist out there that doesn't want to have the final word in a pun-contest. With that thought, I will leave you with this one. Did you hear about the optometrist who fell into his lense-grinding machine? He made a "spectacle" of himself! Just Sayin'!