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Version 4

Courtesy on the road is a Texan marvel. I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.
The past state of my birth and many historic life chapters is also known for its aggressive drivers. It is not a casual activity on the Left Coast. Rather, driving is a demonstration of status, a way to flaunt social success, and to make sure that attention is arrested from the common folks.
To use the turn indicator is an invitation to be victimized. It’s a consistent habit for me. Of course I check my mirrors before I use it. I have experienced the consequences it too often.
When I merge or change lanes and use my turn indicator, I have seen traffic behind me actually accelerate to crowd my move. Once in my chosen lane, the driver behind me often is growling aggressively at me. My move apparently inconvenienced him.
I have observed that many vehicles on the road have broken turn indicators. Those drivers move with dominant intent. Small gaps, barely a car length, become targets for the pushy drivers.
Here is my most peculiar observation. One of the more expensive auto makers doesn’t even install turn indicators in their vehicles. Of course I would never want to disrespect that brand but the common initials of these premium automobiles make them the choice of a person wanting to shout “success”.
They power their way down the freeway, dodging the rest of us as if we are a nuisance. Some times we all wonder or at the very least wonder if those drivers want us to see their brand while being cut off or passed while we motor our way at posted speeds.
Texans are very different. I remember my first days on Lone Star freeways. When I engaged my turn indicator, cars slowed down to let me in. I was shocked. Then, I smiled.
Now, I enjoy the pride of a people who are all plagued by heavy traffic. My neighbors still use courtesy to let other drivers make their way through our ribbons of asphalt. All y’all use your turn indicators out there.
photo by bruce w. fong photography

UnknownMy adopted home town of Houston is huge sports city. After all, we have 6 million people who call Houston “home”. It’s also the fourth largest city in the USA. Our fair city only trails New York, L.A., and Chicago in population count. It leaps to second place as an entertainment center, just behind New York City.

In addition Houston leads the nation with its harbor, amassing more international tonnage than any other port city in our great country.  Houston is also the most ethnically diverse cities in the USA. Add to these notable items, one of the leading medical centers in the entire world and the city rises as a world-class city.

Can you imagine all of the related conversations that fill up the air space in city limits? Nevertheless, like the rest of the country, honest, helpful, edifying conversations have taken a massive hit. Argument and disagreeable conflict have replaced honest dialogue. People are readily offended and quick to disagree.

Sports is an enjoyable alternative. Within the massive geographical region of Houston, there is a camaraderie supporting our sports teams. At least that is true as long as they are winning.

Right now, is professional basketball season. The Houston Rockets are doing well at the moment. Superstar, James Hardin, just tied the legendary Wilt Chamberlin for 40 successive games with over 30 points. That’s just “Wow!” Basketball is not even my favorite sport, but I marvel at such skill and of course smile when a Houston team is making that kind of international news.

May I observe a contrast on these two arenas of conversation? Politics and related issues generates anger, even hatred. We can’t carry on a descent conversation in that realm because the ire erupts into insult, offense, and bitterness. At least in sports within a fan-base there is a collective and collaborative interchange of delight, agreement, and celebration.

To keep this spirit of cheer alive I keep my personal minion close by and decked with an appropriate sport cap. Right now, my smilin’ minion is sporting a Houston Rockets cap. He makes me chuckle whenever I see him, hear his buddies over the media, or read a cartoon. My smile reminds me to always keep conversations civil, helpful, and edifying. Let’s hear it for uplifting conversations!

photo by bruce fong photography

Lion 2019
Chinese New Year has arrived! After a yearlong wait, it is time to celebrate. Take it from generations of those learning how to celebrate, the Chinese are going to whoop it up not just for a day. They don’t celebrate for two days. When the Lunar calendar hits the reset button, it is time to party-on for 3-4 weeks.

Companies in Asian countries plan on shutting down for weeks during this festive time of the year. People plan their budgets and make the long journey to be with family. Together, the bonds of blood draw people together.

They reflect, count their blessings, pour out their savings for the best decorations, delicious meals, loud celebrations, spectacular fireworks, and generous sharing with relatives. It is a picture of the goodness experienced over the year that has gone by and an optimistic look into the future year to come.

This is the year of the Pig. In the legend of the 12 animals representing the lunar calendar, the pig overslept on the day that annual assignments were passed out. The pig arrived last and was assigned the 12th and final year of the lunar cycle. At least he didn’t get volunteered for any dangerous mission.

While the pig may not have the prestige, reputation, or regard as some of the other animals in the West, it is painted in a very positive light. The pig represents prosperity. They have a beautiful personality. Finally, they portray a good and prosperous life. Not a bad portrait at all.

The Chinese have a way of saying something positive about every creature, person, and set of circumstances. If you were born in the Year of the Pig, you have a lot going for you. These years would be 2019, 2017, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947 and 1935. Whatever year and under whichever sign, I wish you the Happiest New Year!

photo by BWFong