The Strangest Thing I Saw In Charleston

It was a hot day in Charleston, it was a Tuesday, and it was a good day.. right up to the point that it wasn’t.

Drayton HallMy Southern bell wannabe girlfriend and I were on our second day of vacation. We were staying in downtown Charleston at the Francis Marion hotel and we were loving it. We had gotten up early to get in a full day’s worth of sightseeing. Our first stop that morning was a tour of the Drayton Hall plantation. A Georgian Palladian plantation house that was completed in 1742. Beyond its beauty and its history I still find it incredible that in close to 300 years not a single effort was made by any of the seven generations of Drayton’s who inhabited the mansion to add electricity or plumbing. Just keep thinking about that.

After we left Drayton Hall our next stop was to be Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum which is located directly to the East of Charleston, across the river, and across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. It’s an interesting place with the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, and the destroyer USS Lafey, moored there and open to the public. We had seen the ships in the distance the day before from our ferry as we took a tour of Fort Sumter on Memorial Day. Fort Sumter is in the middle of Charleston Harbor and I would say it’s a must do if you’re ever visiting the area. But back to the trip, we had just left Drayton Hall.. so being addicted to technology we simply punched Patriot’s Point in our GPS and started driving to wherever we were told. What could go wrong?


Which in hindsight reminds me: “Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.”

After a few minutes of following those GPS directions and wondering why in the world it had us going the way it did and how could 15 miles take over an hour.. we did what any rational adults would do, we turned the GPS off. Problem solved.

Those brief moments of carefree driving lasted until we noticed a Highway Patrol car blocking the on ramp to the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. The bridge was closed in both directions.. and that’s when this good day wasn’t so good anymore. Lacking any better plan to get across the river and continue our sightseeing we headed back to downtown Charleston and the river’s edge to catch the Water Taxi that runs from the East side of the Charleston peninsula across the river to Patriot’s Point.

Of course we weren’t the only ones to have this idea. There was quite a crowd waiting to catch the Water Taxi as the bridge closure had left few good options to get across the river. As the Water Taxi emptied on its return trip from Patriot’s Point the captain came up and announced he only had room for 10 passengers. The waiting crowd numbered into the 20’s. That’s when I noticed a well dressed polite man asking out loud if anyone would mind if he was one of those 10. He explained he had a meeting with Ben Carson in a few minutes and he was afraid he might miss the meeting if he couldn’t get across the river soon. Of course hearing this I had to ask if he was meeting with “THE Dr. Ben Carson”. To which he politely replied “yes”. Though not quite sure where I had seen his face before at least then I knew he had to be somebody.

No one in the crowd objected to the man taking a spot to leave immideately, and with more gratitude than I’ve seen publicly expressed in my life, the well dressed man boarded the Water Taxi.Bridge

As luck would have it within minutes of that Water Taxi leaving another arrived. The remainder of the crowd boarded and we were all off to Patriot’s Point. Ultimately the two taxis arrived at the dock at almost the same time.

There was some talk about the well dressed man on the ferry ride over, and after hearing his name I expressed my regret that I did not place his face earlier. I also expressed a little frustration that he would not follow me back on Twitter. Because as any Twitter addict will tell you, there are only two types of people, those who will and those who will not follow you back. #duh

Water-TaxiAfter later becomming stranded at Patriot’s Point, as the Water Taxi company was totally swamped with passingers, I realized the only saving grace to this day, and it was a day that by the end needed saving (just think heat, lines, hours of waiting with the feeling of being helplessly stranded on an island and missing your dinner reservations all because a half billion dollar modern marvel of a bridge was closed due to some buffoon overturning a semi full of toxic chemicals) was that someone of this man’s importance and position was stuck in the same heat, the same lines, and had to deal with the same nonsense we did to get to where he needed to go. Yes, what I’m saying is misery does indeed love company.

But to wrap this up, and to get to the strange part, when that well dressed man got off the Water Taxi… he took off running! And lets face it, you dont see adults dressed in business attire run all that often. At least not since they canceled the original Hawaii Five-O.

But again, somehow seeing something so simple reminded me that sometimes even “important” people fall victim to time and chance. But on the bright side, despite all that well dressed man has gone through in the last few years, and the fact that he had to be a hot sweaty mess by the time he found Dr. Ben Carson, at least I’m sure his house has electricity and plumbing.

P.S. That well dressed man mentioned above, and seen in the blue shirt running in the video below, is the former Governor of South Carolina and the current U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 1st congressional district, Mark Sanford.

And that was the strangest thing I saw in Charleston.

And A Man Will Worship Something

Having just seen a tweet about a “freedom from religion group” and a reply that accused them of “Nihilism”, I am reminded of this very true quote from Emerson:

The gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that. And a man will worship something;  have no doubt about that, either. He may think that his tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of his heart, but it will out. That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming. ~  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shorter Of Breath And One Day Closer To Death

Because it never gets old:

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

Time – Pink Floyd 

P.S. Thanks to @JessRighthouse for sticking this in my head this morning! #CoffeeTweets

A Life Of Illusion

For my friend Hannah.


What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. — C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity

Thoughts On Life And Ferguson

Thinking: You “judge” men one at a time. Not in groups. But by what they do in this life. Not by what their parents did, where they came from, what color they are, or how rich, or how poor they might be. But if we judge men through the stained lens of history, then in a not so small way we perpetuate that history.. giving it life today, and for countless tomorrows.

Happy 25th Anniversary – Sometimes The Treasure Is Not In The Vault

Twenty five years ago I was working part time for the City of Middletown, Ohio. I had the good fortune to work in their IT department with some great people. I was majoring in Systems Analysis at Miami University and driving to Oxford, Ohio for classes. I was living in a small one bedroom apartment and paying $230 a month in rent. A gallon of gas was $1.12. It is most certainly a time long gone.

Then one day I noticed a help wanted add in the newspaper. A local company was looking for a full time computer technician. The next day I put on a pair of dress pants, a shirt and a tie, grabbed a few copies of my resume, and walked out the door. While watching the addresses change as I drove down First Avenue, I crossed an old set of railroad tracks and finally came to a stop, the road had ended.

Of course in 1989, with no cell phone or GPS, every such trip was an adventure. But I had found the office of Parking in a gravel lot, and walking toward a half abandoned paper mill, I could not have imagined how my life was about to change. A few minutes later I found myself in what could best be described as a wood paneled throwback to the 1950’s. Stepping into a small office across from a giant vault door, I met John Beagle and Bill Schiering. John was the CEO and Bill the Sales Manager. They explained to me that they were in the business of renting computer, tablets, and other IT equipment to businesses in south west Ohio.

After answering a few questions about DOS, what I was currently doing for a living, and my driving record, I had a new job. January 16, 1989 was my first day at my first full time job. More than that.. it was the first day of a career. I was twenty five years old.

Today, that all seems like a dream. One of the only things that remains the same is the amazing opportunity I have every day to work with John Beagle, who is perhaps the most innovative and generous individual I have ever known. And every day we try our best to make things better for our customers, our employees, and our vendors.

Though I can’t possibly begin to share all that we’ve been through in these twenty five years, I can tell you it’s been fun, challenging, and a lifetime’s worth of good fortune to work for such an amazing company.

So, there you have it, a little bit more from my real life.  A post about my 25th anniversary. And yes, there was a party and the cake was awesome! Cake with champagne.. that must be an acquired taste.

Thanks for reading, and again, a special thanks to John Beagle,, and everyone over the years that I’ve had the pleasure to work with!

For a few pics of the party, and my drive to work that morning (I can’t resist a good sunrise) click here.

Alexander Hamilton On A Well Regulated Militia

Alexander Hamilton – The Federalist, No. 29, regarding the people’s militias ability to be a match for a standing army: ” . . . but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights . . . .”

If I Wanted America To Fail

By Andy Wendt:

If I Wanted America To Fail

I’d label successful women as “shiny packages” & mindless traitors, unless they agreed with my policies.

I’d demonize successful minorities in the other party & make “success” itself a dirty word.

I’d slowly shift the social norms so that what’s now perverse will someday be the American way.

I’d label as “haters” & “bigots” anyone who clings to traditional Christian values.

I’d label patriots as “extremists” & call the words of our founding fathers “outdated” & “dangerous”.

I’d claim our Constitution & our nation’s founding principles, were from the beginning, “flawed”.

I’d open our borders & flood the ranks of America’s unemployed with 11 million illegal aliens.

I’d invent fake “wars” & accuse the other side of being against the very things they cherish.

I’d convince people that redistributing the wealth was a good thing.

I’d pray on the kindness of the American people until they believed charity was the role of Government.

I’d remove God from public life until Americans forget from whom their rights are derived.

I’d borrow money from our enemies until they became our financial masters.

I’d use that borrowed money to buy votes & claim I was “putting America back to work”.

I’d burden our children with so much debt that they’d never have a chance at financial independence.

I’d cut our military & bow to Muslim kings while claiming I was making America safe.

If I wanted America to fail I’d travel from cost to coast calling out “Forward”… and not change a thing.