Natalie Merchant Discovers Tulsa Hospitality


Saw a great concert last night- plus a wonderful hometown story that I just had to share:

Natalie Merchant played a unique gig with the Tulsa Symphony orchestra this weekend at the University of Tulsa’s Lorton Performance Center. This is a great venue for this type of performance- wonderful acoustics and literally “not a bad seat in the house.” In fact, we were sitting in the balcony and had a wonderful view!

One of our favorite CDs from the Eighties.

She opened with a familiar 10,000 Maniacs tune, belting it out with that powerful voice that became a signature of the early days of “Alternative Rock.” The evening progressed through her 30-year musical career. Along the way she had high praise for our local orchestra and how fortunate Tulsa is to have such a treasure. After the intermission the orchestra was slimmed down and the music became a bit more intimate. So intimate she actually reprimanded someone in the audience, “Please stop filming me.”

But the best was yet to come. Continue reading Natalie Merchant Discovers Tulsa Hospitality

Made to Stick

The Heath brothers wrote a column for Fast Company magazine from 2007 to 2011. I found their articles insightful, clever and very often eye-opening. Their essays are sort of business advice with a mental exercise tossed in.

Turns out the best of these columns is available in an e-book called Myth of the Garage. From the best ways to spread great ideas to exposing the true cost of bad decisions- they’re all in there. It’s also absolutely free.

It’s a great read– let me know what you think.

Myth of the Garage


Second Teensy Walmart to Open

Guess I spoke too soon.

sprawl-martWal Mart is taking sprawl to a more intimate level. Last week I remarked that Bentonville appeared to be a convenience store gold mine and pondered why Wally World wasn’t getting in on the action. Well, turns out the retail giant recently opened its second “tiny” store- it’s only 2500 square feet! Both are located in universities and branded as Walmart Express.

Hot dogs from China, anyone?

Full story from CSP Net Online


A Yellow Alfa

Those of you who remember the Maduko World Headquarters Building in downtown Tulsa might remember Trent Fowler. He was an associate at the firm who helped me stretch Italian car parts, antagonize patrons and generally terrorize the neighborhood.

I recently discovered a blog about his first car. It was an Alfa Romeo of course, so it seemed worth sharing.

It’s a touching tale of  the wind in your hair on a crisp October morning- and your sister chauffeuring you around in your own car.  I laughed. I cried. See what you think…

Trent’s First Car.




End of the World Sale

First there was Black Friday.
Then there was Cyber Monday.
This year we discovered Grey Thursday.
Now it’s time to prepare for the end of the Mayan calendar. By shopping at Sam’s Club!

A recent email promo touts the wonderful selection of emergency supplies available from the Bentonville-based warehouse club. This is the first concrete proof I have seen that supports this theory that the world will end on December 21, 2012.

Pictionary Extreme

If you have ever done an image search on Google you probably realize the results can be a little jumbled.

Dictionary Based on Google Image SearchNow imagine creating a dictionary based from the first image you found for each and every word. What would it look like? Well, it just so happens Ben West and Felix Heyes have the answer: it’s a 1,240 page tome with over 21,000 images representing all the words found in your basic dictionary.

Now just how useful such a dictionary might be is… well, questionable. But it does offer a unique insight into our current culture. Maybe we can make another one in ten years and compare.

Google Image Dictionary

He Can Walk!

Well, sort of.

Eleven weeks after knee surgery I saw the doctor for my third follow-up yesterday. He finally gave me the go-ahead to begin bearing weight on my right leg! Of course after nearly 3 months on crutches it’s hard to just start walking around. I’m not even sure I remember how!

Fortunately the knee feels great. But my right foot has been out of action so long it’s almost painful to walk on! Tomorrow is my first physical therapy session with this new weight-bearing aspect thrown in. We’ll see how it goes.

This entire ordeal has been quite a learning experience. But the best part is I can finally drive!

Separation of Charge and State

I have a real problem with Oklahoma’s new policy for income tax refunds.

Oklahoma's Way2Go CardBeginning in 2012 if you do not provide direct deposit info (those funky looking numbers along the bottom of a check) any refund will be sent to you as a debit card. This bright idea is the product of a new law requiring all transactions from the State to be electronic.

I had never heard of this- and apparently my accountant hadn’t either. When it arrived in the mail we thought it was a scam (albeit a very professional-looking scam) and nearly tossed it in the shredder. Many years ago credit card companies would send people pre-approved cards in the mail hoping they would activate them and become a customer. Of course scammers had a field day as they intercepted the cards from mailboxes all over town. I digress…

Continue reading Separation of Charge and State

My Knee Blowout

Last November my knee “blew out.” I felt what seemed like a couple of gunshots. I’m sure it wasn’t really that loud- but it seemed like it to me! I maintained my balance, but was suddenly unable to straighten my right leg.

This set into motion my first experience with surgery, and another foray into the confusing land of medical care in America.

Everyone wants to know how it happened, but I have no exciting story to tell. I wasn’t playing football or racing or roofing the house. I was walking through the kitchen- the most strenuous activity preceding “the event” was kneeling down to pick up a box.

I contacted our doctor and she gave me a prescription for miloxicam and referred me to Tulsa Bone & Joint. By now I could straighten my leg, but standing or sitting was tedious. Certain positions would randomly send a sharp pain through my leg. Wearing a knee brace helped with walking, but seemed to cause more problems when sitting.

When I finally got to see the doctor I was managing to get around pretty good. After shooting some X-rays I waited for the doctor to look them over. When he walked into the exam room his first words were, “Is this the first time this has bothered you?”

I didn’t like the sound of that.

In any other business.
The X-ray showed a “sinkhole” in my femur. A sliver of bone fragment was also visible between the femur and the knee cap. That was the cause of my random pain, and occasional locked knee. He recommended an MRI to show more detail.

The MRI showed the sinkhole in greater detail. He explained that a chunk of my femur had been busted loose many years ago. They could tell this by the new growth around the edges of the sinkhole. It appeared that the chunk had broken but stayed in place for quite some time. When I kneeled down on that fateful day in November it was kicked out of place and became debris floating around inside my knee.


At this point I was referred to Dr. John Balbas, MD. His specialty is this type of thing and he offered me a few options. The bare minimum was to go in and clean out the debris. On the other end of the scale we had joint replacement or bone graft from a cadaver. In between was the option to fill in the sinkhole with some of my tissue scraped off of another area or take a sample of my cartilage for reproducing at a lab.

He recommended we clean it out and use some of my tissue to fill in the void. This would require 4-6 weeks recovery, the first few days off my feet completely and the first week or two on crutches. From here it got weird.

As the day for surgery got closer I was ordered to come in for a blood test and EKG, given various instructions for the night and morning before and asked a one by one if I was allergic to anything in the known universe. With all the information before me the only two questions nobody could answer seemed like the most obvious:

What time?
How much will it cost?

It turns out you don’t find out the time for your surgery until the day before. Everyone acted like this was common knowledge and seemed to be bothered when I asked. The cost is still unknown.

The most confusing part of this whole mess has been the conflicting information.

One party told me beforehand it was okay to shave my knee the day before surgery- the nurse in the operating room was shocked to discover I had shaved my knee.

One phone call advised to eat nothing after midnight, but coffee or water was okay if I didn’t use any creamer- the morning of my surgery the nurse told me I shouldn’t have put anything in my mouth. Not even chew gum!

After the procedure the doctor spoke with my wife. He stressed that crutches would be needed for at least six weeks. Quite a change from his original week or two. Then to top it off he said I shouldn’t even drive a car for six weeks!

So far it’s been 24 hours. The crutches have done a number on my armpits. My knee is sore and swollen, but the pain is tolerable. Hopefully things are looking up.