“There is a destiny that makes us brothers, None goes his way alone, All that we send into the lives of others, comes back onto our own.” (Edwin Markham)

I never had any brothers but I was blessed with five of the best male cousins any man could ever want. Allen McClintick, Tom McClintick, Bruce McClintick, Dan Croswell and Jack Croswell were more like brothers to me because we all shared a common ancestry with our Grandfather McClintick. To be one of only six men on earth who could say, “Yep, that’s my grandpa,” put us in an exclusive fraternity we all cherished with a passionate fervor, few can comprehend. We are closer than any other cousins I have ever known.

We all ended up in different parts of the country but the common ground of our place in Minnesota kept us close in spite of geography. We each made the journey to the property  and did our share of the work that was always plentiful. It’s called paying your respects and hard work was the only form of payment my Grandfather McClintick would have accepted from us. Every descendent of Guy R. McClintick was blessed with a name that equated with honesty, compassion, integrity and dedication. We all accepted the mantle of responsibility that came with this incredible inheritance.

Now that we’ve reached the later stages of life and we face the end of days, I believe we will be closer than ever. We’ve already lost Dan Croswell and Tom McClintick but there are no regrets for any of us. We all did our part to make the world a better place and followed every rule our Grandfather McClintick taught us about dedication and faithfulness. That’s what it takes to call yourself a McClintick Grandson, an undying desire to make a difference every day until there are no more days. It was always the path less traveled but made easier by our Grandfather’s footsteps leading the way. His guidance fortified us for every difficulty and created a bond that will never be broken, even in death.

I love my cousins like brothers and I’m proud of who they are and what they have done with their lives. They raised good kids, loved their wives, worked hard, played harder and helped others wherever they went because to do any less would be unacceptable to any McClintick. Life is hard but living is easy when you have a family around you who shares the joys and sorrows that come every day. We’re close as a family because we work at it and we accept God’s plan for our lives, unequivocally. We don’t waste our precious gift of time by dwelling on what might have been but rather we focus on what still needs to be done and how to get there.

I’m looking forward to being reunited with my cousins in the next life and I just hope there’s plenty of work that needs to be done in Heaven. Our Grandfather has been there for decades so I’m sure he’s got many things planned to keep us happy for eternity. It will be great to be together once more, sharing the load with my Grandpa, my dad and my uncles. Heaven will never be same after all the McClintick men get there.

Even God will be amazed!

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

“I remember things the way they should have been.” (Truman Capote)

Memories are funny things. One man’s comedy is another man’s tragedy, or so it seems after the fact. Many of the stories I have told here on WordPress are vivid recollections of events from my past but are they true or just the way I want to remember them? I think I have a very good memory but every once in a while I get challenged by someone else’s version of the same story. Today’s post is my version of one such story.

The summer of 1968 is fondly remembered as the Summer of Love. I was only 14 that year but I sure didn’t want to miss out on this once in a lifetime event. I couldn’t make it to San Francisco to join in all the fun with the flower children and DeadHeads so I had to settle for one week at the lake in Minnesota to make my mark.

Her name was Connie Larson and she was the most gorgeous girl from Minnesota I ever met in all my summers at Portview Resort. Connie was one of six sisters who came there every summer but I only remember four of them being there that year. She was a year older than me and it was very apparent I was in over my head but that didn’t stop me. I followed her around for a week hoping for a few precious moments of soulful bliss and she didn’t disappoint. I made sure her cabin was attended to every day with fresh firewood and clean garbage cans. I offered her guided tours of the property even though she knew the place as well as I did. We played together in the sand at the beach in front of her cabin and that summer I even swam across the lake and back just to show off for her. It was a mile swim that I only did once, so yes it’s a big deal. As I recall, I even swam it after I got stung by a hornet that same day. She was a whole year older, I had to do something extraordinary. For that act of bravery I got her undivided attention for the rest of that day and evening. I never hurt so good in all my life.

By the end of the week, we were inseparable and planning next year’s summer vacation at the lake. After five days of being missing in action, my mom was starting to get worried about me and the blonde love of my life. She even caught us fooling around in the old icehouse. It was still full of sawdust and it was the perfect place to hide out from the world while we planned our future together. My mom didn’t share my enthusiasm for blondes and sawdust and she quickly decided that this ancient structure was a death trap. She even had my grandfather tear it down before the next summer. Truth be told mom, we never even kissed but it was kind of fun seeing your face when you thought so. After the best week of my life, Connie left me all alone to face my future. We never saw each other again and the resort closed a year later.

My summer of love was over before I knew it and my childhood memories gave way to manhood and little time for romantic notions. That’s probably how it should be because fantasies are always better left unfulfilled. I went home that summer actually believing that girls could be interested in me and that I wasn’t the completely useless dork my sister Karen had convinced me I was destined to become. An older female had changed my life in just one week and I was forever grateful to Connie Larson for every bit of confidence she gave me that one blissful summer.

And then, 47 years later, Connie came back into my life right here on WordPress. I got an email a few weeks ago telling me that ConstanceL had just signed up to follow my blog. I took a huge chance and sent her an email to thank her for signing up and to find out if she was the girl I remembered. She immediately answered my inquiry with an emphatic, “No, I don’t remember you but my family always stayed at Portview Resort and I was searching for information about Portview when your blog came up.” After several hours of looking for my ego, I decided to try again so I sent her another email with more detailed depictions of our summer romance. She finally allowed me a tiny shred of encouragement when she said she remembered a boy that was pretty cute. I’m old now so I’ll take that any day.

After I pulled the faded memories from her brain she started to piece things back together but not quite like I had. She has blocked out the icehouse escapade entirely but at least she didn’t try to deny that it might have happened. So now I’m left with memories that sure seem real to me but the only other person who could testify to my storytelling isn’t quite ready to do so. It’s her loss really, in my imagination she gets to be Cinderella and Show White all rolled into one and I’m perfectly happy to be her pretty cute prince charming, if she would let me.

It’s your turn now Connie, I think we all want to hear your side of the story.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.” (Sir Isaac Newton)

If there was ever one universal truth for all mankind this has to be it. This is Newton’s Third Law of Motion but it clearly explains humanity as well. There is no action taken that doesn’t create an equal and opposite reaction. We need to consider this fact in everything we do and yet we continue to function as if it doesn’t exist.

My concern for the inevitable outcome of this truth is our ever increasing reliance on technology. I’ve been reading up on artificial intelligence and the future ramifications of its application. Even some of our foremost thinkers like Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk are voicing their concerns for the future of mankind if we continue to focus on this technology. I’m not qualified to voice an opinion on their level of expertise so I’m going to stay within my area of experience, the demise of problem solving skills in humans.

As we continue to increase our dependency on smartphones and tablet computers we are chipping away at our innate reasoning process in favor of ready-made answers to every question. The more we rely on our devices to think for us, the less we develop our own problem solving skills. I can foresee a future where the smallest difficulties will be handled by Artificial Intelligence and we will be perfectly happy to relinquish our decision making ability over to this little robot companion. If they make one that looks and acts like a dog, people will be lined up at the Apple Store like never before.

I’m not suggesting we give up our technology. I am stating emphatically that it doesn’t have to own us. I still force myself to do math in my head and I can do simple calculations faster than most people can get to the calculator on their phones. I can still spell better than anyone I know without having to look up an online dictionary or ask Siri. I’m not that smart but I make my brain work as often as possible to keep it alive. I’ll match wits with anybody in a problem solving contest that requires deductive reasoning, not just fact finding. Reason and wisdom are the most valuable parts of our existence and they make us who we are more than any other aspect of our being. Why would we ever want to minimize their importance in favor of AI?

The world of tomorrow is being created today by extremely bright humans who can reason, who can solve problems with tenacious intellect and who can and will inject a healthy dose of humanity into every decision. Artificial Intelligence is just that, it’s artificial and it has a place in our lives but it shouldn’t be given the key to the vault of our collective human experience. Each one of us has the ability to improve the world in ways that no robot could ever imagine. Each one of us has a duty to all of mankind to improve the human race so that all of us can thrive on this planet. Each one of us must act in our own unique way to impact our corner of the universe so that the future is better than today.

By following Newton’s Third Law and sharing these responsibilities equally, we will never have to be afraid of AI  and the future will be better than anyone can imagine.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Don’t think twice, it’s all right.” (Bob Dylan)

I have always admired songs with great lyrics and this is my favorite Bob Dylan song. I actually prefer the version that Peter, Paul and Mary recorded but the lyrics are mostly the same. As I listened to this song again recently it became apparent that this song could easily be edited to render a completely different sentiment with just a few changes. Please read through it first and then I’ll give you the rest of my thoughts.
It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, Lord
If I don’t know by now
An’ it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, Lord
It don’t matter any how
When the rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I’ll be gone
I’m the reason I’m trav’lin’ on
Don’t save my life, it’s all right
It ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, Lord
That light I never knowed
An’ it ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, Lord
I’m on the dark side of the road
Still I wish there was somethin’ you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
We never did too much talkin’ anyway
So don’t save my life, it’s all right
So it ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, Lord
Like you always did before
It ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, Lord
I can’t hear you any more
I’m a-thinkin’ and a-wond’rin’ walking down the road
I once loved you father, like a child I’m told
I gave you my heart but you wanted my soul
So don’t save my life, it’s all right
Well I’m walking down that long lonesome road, Lord
Where I’m bound, is probably Hell
But goodbye’s too good a word, Lord
So I’ll just say fare thee well
I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
I could have done better but I don’t mind
I just sort of wasted your precious time
So don’t save my life, it’s all right
Instead of a song about breaking up with a girlfriend and trying to make peace with the experience, I used it to express my failure to put the Good Lord first in my life and my willingness to accept whatever fate that may bring me. I think it helps me express some longstanding doubts I have had about my faith. Do I believe there is a God? Absolutely. Have I lived my life with Him in charge? Not so much. The challenge for me has always been about free will. God could have easily created us to be slaves to his commands but he gave us all free will instead and free will is essential to any proclamation of faith. It wouldn’t be much of a commitment if we couldn’t choose.
Free will has led me down a path filled with selfishness and then I asked Him to save me from my poor decisions. Does that sound familiar to you? I can’t speak for anybody but myself but the world I see every day is filled with people who
live in quiet desperation hoping for a miracle that never comes. It’s not God’s job to save us from ourselves. That’s not how free will works. The choices we make every day will lead us, inevitably, to our fate. We can’t have it both ways. We don’t get to be selfish and then be redeemed by the blood of Christ. We have to walk the walk and frankly, I’ve been wandering not walking. I hope those days are over. Maybe, by rewriting this great song, I can start the process of redemption for all of us who wander through life. The great thing about free will, it’s never too late to make better choices. God put us here to take care of each other, the planet we live on and all living things. I promise to try harder to be the man God needs me to be and I hereby relinquish my free will to His service. Sorry it took me so long, Lord.
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” (Samuel Johnson)

I think it’s time for a new challenge. I recently posted my 200th blog and passed 150,000 views here at grhgraph. Given how little I know about the tricks of the trade for social media, I would like to think the quality of the writing itself has generated all of that attention. In order to prove that hypothesis once and for all there remains just one major challenge to calling myself a writer. I have to publish something that sells. I have published an e-book before and it was overwhelmingly ignored.

It’s clear to me now that leadership and small business management lessons aren’t very popular subjects, so this time I chose to go out on the proverbial limb and write something humorous. At least I hope so. Time will tell if I’m right about that. My favorite kind of humor is sarcasm so I’m taking a huge chance here that others will share  my views on humanity and the bizarre way the world works. Trust me, this book is definitely not for everyone. I even included a warning in the preface. I’m not crazy enough to believe this will ever be a huge success but I’m hoping for more than a few readers this time. Friends and family aren’t going to be enough to cure my need for writing validation.

In my usual way of self-promotion, which is minimal at best, I will give you a brief synopsis of the book. It’s called, Say What? The inspiration for this creation came from Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth. In my opinion, Letters from the Earth is the most irreverent book ever published and it remains Twain’s most controversial piece of writing. To me, it was pure genius and it spawned a million wild ideas in my adolescent brain that have been put forth in my five years here on WordPress. Letters from the Earth was a series of stories explaining life on this planet as Satan would have explained it to God in some parallel universe where those two were on speaking terms.

My version of this story consists of me being abducted by aliens from the planet Zyntaaxea and asked to explain the English language and popular culture to them so they can better understand our civilization. I am taken away to their planet and over a period of hours I am engaged in a dialogue with Mitra, who is a female Zyntaaxean and head of their linguistics lab. I do my best to explain the mind-numbing way we communicate and the irrational way we behave but my cynical sense of humor gets the best of me and I can’t help but make fun of it all. Even those of you who love to laugh will still be challenged by my sarcasm.

I would really enjoy writing as a full-time career if it paid the bills. It’s just the kind of work I could do for another 20 or 30 years which would be great because I really don’t want to retire.  The older I get the more my life experience lends itself to good writing and especially the humorous stuff. I think Mark Twain inspired me when he wrote these words, “It takes a heap of sense to write good nonsense.”

Here’s the link to the Amazon Kindle site where the book is for sale. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T852RYK

The way I understand it, you can buy the e-book for $2.99 or read it for free if you’re a member of Amazon Unlimited.. Either way, I get paid something for my 8,000 word effort. I only need about $5 a word to make this profitable and quit my day job. I guess that means I need about 50,000 people with a sense of humor as warped as mine. Today is my 61st birthday so maybe I should just hope for 50,000 people who are crazy enough to pay Amazon $2.99 just to encourage me to keep writing. Stranger things have happened, but not to me. That’s what makes this opportunity so much fun.

Thanks again to all who have read my blog. I am still amazed that people actually take time out of their day to read the things I write.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

“When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

robin universe

This is a photo of my good friend, Robin Rakes. This is how I want to remember him, now that he’s gone. If there was ever a person who embodied all the wonders of the universe, it was Robin. From the wiffle ball he’s holding to the cosmic cloud he painted on the wall, Robin’s world was the universe and every amazing thing about it was his to explore.

We went to high school together but we didn’t meet till I was in college. The day we met was a moment that will always be special for me. He struck me as kind of arrogant but in a comical way, as if he knew everything but he was willing to let me in on his secrets if I passed his test of friendship. As long as I had a well developed sense of humor and a capacity to laugh at his absurd statements, we would get along fine and we always did.

Robin was a fountain of information and opinions and he flooded my life with ideas and jokes about every subject from art to music to sports to food and he was ever the cynic when it came to humanity. Fools were not tolerated and friends were held to the highest expectation of friendship. Friendship, for Robin, was an Olympic sport and he always went out of his way to make sure those of us in his circle were enthralled, not just entertained.

I’m still not sure what I brought to his life in return. I had no artistic skills at all, my musical tastes were ordinary and I wasn’t epicurios. Maybe he recognized my willingness to learn from the master and took pity on me as a poor lost suburban kid who needed a pilot to take him to the stars. I went along for the ride because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. He taught me things I will always have with me to remember him by, like classical music and art and not just the beauty of it but the finer points that make it even more amazing.

It was in the minutia of life that Robin found his happiness. The tiniest details made him giddy with excitement and eager to share his revelations with others. He looked for ways to enrich every experience for others and to spread the wisdom he gleaned from each new discovery. I once drove 15 hours from Houston to KC just to get there in time for a party he said would be great and he wasn’t lying. I didn’t sleep for 24 hours but it was worth it.

Robin had a knack for creativity and problem solving that was amazing. At his funeral, someone told a story about how Robin figured out a way to bake an old audio tape of the 1969 KC Chiefs Super Bowl to restore it to its original quality. I came home thinking about this blog and how I could honor his memory. I remembered that I had this old photo of him on a 35mm slide but I had no way to scan it for this post. It took me the better part of an hour but I finally managed to use a little slide viewer to light it from behind and then I used my digital camera in macro mode to shoot it. I did some quick retouching in Photoshop and it came out pretty good, all things considered. Robin’s life should be an inspiration and all of us who knew him need to find ways to carry on his legacy.

I’m just sorry I didn’t make more of an effort to stay in touch. I didn’t even know he had cancer until I read the obituary. It’s not much but at least I have this photo and the phenomenal memories that it brings back to me. On behalf of Robin and all the other amazing people we have in our lives right now, let me just say this as tactfully as possible. Let’s all get off our butts and tell each other what we really mean to each other. It’s not hard to say, “I love you and you mean a lot to me. Thank you for being my friend.”

Thanks again Robin. You are unforgettable and I’m proud to be your friend.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” (George Orwell)

I haven’t slept much lately and I’m writing this blog at 5 a.m. because I’m deeply troubled by the terrorism taking place all over the world, but more specifically the tragedy in Paris. This one hits too close to home for those of us who believe that freedom of speech is the single most important human right. I can’t stop thinking about the danger to the future of humanity if speech is curtailed in any way, shape or form.

What these terrorists did is one of the most cowardly acts of cruelty ever conceived. It ranks right up there with the Holocaust, as pure evil. They don’t get to hide behind their so-called faith and justify their actions by being called to jihad. That’s the essence of oppression and we should all be outraged by their evil ways.

Killing another person is no way to express faith in any religion and it will not change the world. It will have the opposite effect. It will make the rest of us try that much harder to renew our faith in the sanctity of life and the value of human rights for all people, everywhere. It will bring us together and give us the strength we need to fight hateful ideology of any kind and freedom of speech is the way to win this war.

I believe in freedom of speech and I exercise my right every time I write this blog. I say whatever comes into my head and I believe my words have value for all to hear but I absolutely respect those who disagree with me and the validity of their opinions. That’s how the process works. Open and honest debate is an exchange of information not prejudices. Even when I don’t agree with someone else’s views, I’m not offended by them, they are just opinions being expressed. My reaction to them is something I choose to have, it’s not obligatory. I’m not controlled by some animal hind-brain that controls my impulses. I save my outrage for real human tragedies, like this one in Paris.

Here’s the lesson I want to impart today. Freedom of speech is the most important part of the social contract that makes peaceful coexistence possible and keeps us from living under any form of tyrannical rule. If we ever let go of our right to speak freely, we will see despotism and oppression on a scale that makes the Holocaust seem insignificant.

Fanaticism, in any form, is always guided by a lack of values, an obsession with control and a ruthless mindset. By silencing their critics, fanatics hope to intimidate the rest of us into compliance out of abject fear for our lives. They can’t make a valid argument for change because they don’t have one. Fear is all they can achieve and that’s why they hate free speech.

Free speech is the foundation of education and eventually, wisdom. It spreads the good news of humanity and compassion that fanatics are deathly afraid of and it makes life worth living. I would rather be dead than living in a world where anyone else arbitrarily decides what I should be thinking or saying. I will defend that right with my last breath if necessary and you should too. We would dishonor everything our founding fathers did for America if we ever succumb to this form of tyranny. Let’s not forget the admonition Jesus gave us long ago, “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required.”

If there was ever a New Year’s Resolution worth keeping, this one is it. We must ALL resolve to fight oppression with the truth, abhor violence while demonstrating  compassion, speak out for those who cannot and never give in to terrorism.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments