Favorite Podcasts : August

1. The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships, by On Being

I'll admit it, without shame, that this podcast was by far my favorite from this past week. It's fantastically convicting and encouraging, and it's also deeply human. 

Here's the summary as written by On Being:

What if the first question we asked on a date were, "How are you crazy? I'm crazy like this"? Philosopher and writer Alain de Botton's essay "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person" was one of the most-read articles in The New York Times in recent years. As people and as a culture, he says, we would be much saner and happier if we reexamined our very view of love. Nowhere do we realistically teach ourselves and our children how love deepens and stumbles, survives and evolves over time, and how that process has much more to do with ourselves than with what is right or wrong about our partner. The real work of love is not in the falling, but in what comes after

Whether you're married, dating, single, or a combination of them all, check this podcast out. It's a keeper. 

 

2. Life, Interrupted, by Hidden Brain

- This one came to me from my sister, thanks Jenna! - 

"The human brain has become one of the main capitol resources in our economy", yet our understanding of attention and multitasking - of the impacts of text messages and emails - is extremely limited (Did you know it takes your brain, roughly, 20 minutes to switch from task to task? I didn't).

After listening to this podcast, I have a lot of simple (yet profound) changes to make. And not just for productivity sake, but for life and happiness and for cultivating deep relationships (coincided with The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships, the practicality of this podcast increases significantly). 

: Habits of Systematic Mindfulness :

  1. No social media

  2. Organize time

    1. Set strict hours of work

    2. Plan out day

    3. Don't let mood dictate how the day will go

  3. Get comfortable with annoying people

    1. Set expectations of availability

    2. No quick answers

  4. Tally hours of "deep work"

    1. Block out "deep work hours" well in advance

  5. Create a Shutting Down ritual 

    1. Leave nothing hanging

    2. Say a mantra out loud, something like, "Schedule shutdown complete."

 

3. Declutter, by The Minimalists

They don't like advertisements. But really, they don't need them, because they do enough of it themselves.

To get to the sauce of this podcast, you'll have to endure more then enough self-promotions, casual links to their books, essays, and ways you can support them, but in the end, it's all worth it. And by end I mean the first 20 minutes or so because that's where they wrestle with and answer some pretty great questions. Questions like:

  • What is one thing you always thought you wanted, but then, once you got it, you no longer wanted it? 
  • How do you gradually declutter your home?
  • How do you explain greed in our society?

You can stop listening after these, if you're stretched for time, it does get a bit too preachy. But there's still good stuff in there.

 

4. Has Lance Finally Come Clean, by Freakonomics

I've never been a huge Lance or Tour de France fan, but I am a fan of this podcast mainly because it wrestles with the process of reconciliation, personally, relationally, and (for those unfortunate few) publicly. 

At the time I listened to this I was dealing with a difficult relationship, still am actually, but at that particular time it was a very broken relationship (no, I won't tell you who it is) and Lance's journey, his thought process and his full circle of understanding hit home. 

Here's an excerpt from my favorite section, where Lance is describing why he finally took ownership of what he did and stopped trying to convince everyone (and himself) why he was being seen and treated unfairly.

Look, “betrayal” is a terrible word. It’s a word that nobody wants, a child to their parent or friend to another friend, a spouse to a spouse, a C.E.O. to — whatever. It’s a very heavy word. Complicit is 100x. For me, I had already started to get my mind and my heart around the fact that people had suffered this tremendous amount of betrayal, and then I was hit with complicit. And it just — it rocked me to the core. But it was, I tell you, it was the greatest — her name is Melissa — it was the greatest gift that anybody has given me the last six years.

And the story he tells after this, the one where a guy is standing on a bar balcony yelling, "F*** you!" is just beautiful.

5. Grass is Greener, by the Moth 

Okay, I'll be honest. I listened to this podcast over a year ago, but I've thought about it a lot recently, and many times in-between. Not only is she a great storyteller, but her conclusion of happiness (for her it's marriage but really, it can be anything - job, community, kids, whatever) is spot-on. 

"The grass isn't greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it." 

Sheesh, that's good. And so, so right.

 

I hope you enjoy!  If you have any favorites, send em along! I'm sure I'll listen to them at one point or another. 

If you want more, check out these top five favorites or peruse over here to your heart's content.

 

Thanks for reading!

Should we kill all mosquitoes?

"No other bite kills more humans, or makes more of us sick." Nor is there any animal more annoying. 

And to make matters worse, there seems to be no real purpose to these ridiculous pests. THE WORLD COULD EASILY SURVIVE WITHOUT THEM!!!

Andrea Crisanti, "a tousled, sad-eyed man with a gentle smile, was trained as a physician in Rome" then studied molecular biology in Heidelberg where "he developed his lifelong interest in malaria."  In recent years, he and his colleagues have discovered a way to "spread an infertility mutation to 75 percent of a mosquito population" (via).

Which sounds great! 

But . . .

For thousands of years, the relentlessly expanding population of Homo sapiens has driven other species to extinction by eating them, shooting them, destroying their habitat or accidentally introducing more successful competitors to their environment. But never have scientists done so deliberately, under the auspices of public health. The possibility raises three difficult questions: Would it work? Is it ethical? Could it have unforeseen consequences? (via).

The answers are a bit more complex than what one might expect. Yes, breeding sterile mosquitos could wipe out a large percentage of the overall population and eradicating them completely in smaller communities, but it's probably almost impossible to think they could be wiped out completely. But it's the bigger question, the Jurassic Park question of just because we can rid the world of these pesky insects, does that mean we should?

The larger concern, arguably, is over the use of CRISPR itself, and the awesome power it unleashes over the environment. “We can remake the biosphere to be what we want, from woolly mammoths to nonbiting mosquitoes,” Greely muses. “How should we feel about that? Do we want to live in nature, or in Disneyland?” 

“We will have engineered the ecosystems of people elsewhere in the world without their knowledge or consent. We go from the default assumption that the things we engineer will not spread, to assuming they will . . . as soon as you’re thinking of a gene drive technology, you have to assume whatever you’re making will spread once it gets outside the lab. Human error will win out, if not deliberate human action" (via).

After swatting and scratching and waving off that annoying buzz in my ears all summer long, getting rid of mosquitos was a no-brainer. Especially after watching this:

But then, "as soon as you’re thinking of a gene drive technology, you have to assume whatever you’re making will spread once it gets outside the lab." 

Nature is beautiful often because it is imperfect. And if Disneyland were to spill out and over the rest of the country, the world, and consume the mountains and rivers, making them "perfect", is that really a world we want to live in? 

I don't think so. But then, I'm brought back, again and again, to this. And suddenly, once again, I'm torn. Because it isn't about annoyances anymore, but lives. Hundreds of thousands of them. 

Suddenly the answer seems pretty clear.

But is it? 

Ridding the world of mosquitoes is an act of playing God, but without the ability to see the future of consequence. We get to decide what has the right to live and what doesn't. We bypass natural selection and head straight for extinction. 

What then? And will it be worth it?

 

Should we kill all mosquitoes? 

 

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Nature

Podcast Favorites : 1-5

 Photo by @_whydad_

Photo by @_whydad_

A friend recently said, "I find that most of my conversations or sentences start with, 'I was listening to a podcast the other day . . .'" and we all laughed with familiarity. Because it's just so true, not only for her, but for most of us, and for sure for me.

So I thought, "Why not compile my favorites and send them off for others to enjoy!" So I will. And so I am.

  1. Why We Choke Under Pressure (and How Not To), by Freakonomics Radio
    "We know that people sometimes don't perform up to their potential, precisely when they want to the most," but why? And how do we stop it? Whether in business, sports, school, and everyday conversations, how do we not fall when the stakes are at their greatest? Freakonomics dives in and tries to provide an answer.
    (While listening, I couldn't stop thinking about How To Fly a Horse : THE SECRET HISTORY OF CREATION, INVENTION, AND DISCOVERY - "Failure is not final. It carries no judgement and yields no conclusions. The word comes from the Latin fallere, to deceive. Failure is deceit." So if you have time, along with the podcast, check out this book also.)
     
  2. Analysis, Parapraxis, Elvis, by Revisionist History
    Perhaps my favorite episode of the season, which is saying a lot because I really really liked episodes 3 and 4 which talk about memory and truth and how we should interpret both. But then, the final episode, the one where I (literally) lol'd, cried ever so slightly, and thought about my entire life and uncertain future, because it's just that good. 
     
  3. What Wisdom Can We Gain From Nature? by TED Radio Hour - (9:49 minutes long)
    For a species that is supposed to be the top of the food chain, the most evolved or uniquely designed (however you choose to view us), we are fairly dumb, extremely violent, and truly destructive. We're even bad at designing things, which is why we model so much after nature and animals. So why not learn from them?  " . . . in the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the most beautiful parts of ourselves reflected back at us. And it is not only through other people that we get to experience our humanity but through all the creatures that live on this planet."
     
  4. Superheroes hold umbrellas and cut hair, by the Moth
    This one is a twofer. Two powerful stories of kindness and love, of the kind that boost our spirits and remind us of the beauty of humanity - even in the midst of darkness
    1. In Tim Manley's roughly eight minute story, A Super Hero Gets Sick, he tells of when, as a boy, he become deeply sick. He was terrified of needles and didn't quiet understand all that was happening, as most young kids don't. But what he does know keeps him calm: his mother is at his side because she is his faithful sidekick - as any good superhero must have. 
    2. The second story is from Melanie KostrzewaTold from a parents perspective, Melanie shares of the time her young daughter must undergo a craniotomy, the frustration of not being able to do anything, and the unexpected kindness of a doctor who did more than just save her daughter's life, he saved her hair.
       
  5. The Process of Procrastination, a TED talk with Tim Urban
    It's funny, enlightening, and worth every one of the 14 minutes. I even wrote about it on my 35 birthday.
    But you could probably just watch it later. 

At the very least, I hope you find these entertaining. At best, inspiring. I know I have been.  

Thanks for reading!

This guy launched a GoPro into "near space"!

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A lot of people asked me why I was doing this. Mostly, I had free time and needed a project/hobby to keep me engaged and secondly, space is neat.

Yes, it is neat. And huge! And somewhat terrifying. 

Here are a few other projects that help us understand and want to discover more about space.

 

Earthrise: 

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"Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts-Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders-held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Said Lovell, 'The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.' They ended the broadcast with the crew taking turns reading from the book of Genesis" (via).

 

To Scale : The Solar System

A film by Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh

"On a dry lakebed in Nevada, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits: a true illustration of our place in the universe" (via).

 

Near Space : A balloon with a GoPro attached

Two posts made that can answer many questions:

Post on the launch: https://imgur.com/gallery/UXezC

Post of How to do your own Balloon Launch: https://imgur.com/gallery/8a40L

If you are interested in doing your own balloon project check out this website. You can also read more about the Near Space project here.

 

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Are we alone?  :  Why the Solar Eclipse Will Blow Your Mind  :  We've sent some pretty cool shtuff into space

Why We Should Live Like Conductors

The role of a conductor is to organize the music and keep everything calm."

 

You should make the audience want to dance although you shouldn't be a circus act. I think people should focus on the music, and not the conductor.

When asked, "What bothers you in an announcer that you feel isn't measuring up?" Buck responded with,

"Over talking, doing too much, trying to prove to the audience that they did their reading, trying to make the call about themselves . . . I just want to state what happened. I want to do it an exciting way. I haven't always accomplished that, by the way. And I want to get out of the viewer's head. It's not about me. Nobody's tuning in - let's check the TV Guide listings and see what game Joe Buck is calling. Nobody cares. They want to see the Cubs. They want to see the Packers. They want to see the Cowboys. They don't care who's calling the game . . . if I get hit by a bus going into a game, they're still going to play. And the guys that bother me, without naming names, are the guys who sound like if they got hit by that bus, the game would be canceled" (via)

And when it comes to moments of great climactic celebration, moments where announces can make a name for themselves, moments like the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years, Joe Buck didn't try to keep everyone calm or insert himself into the moment. Instead, he kept quiet. "I could choose to make that call all about me," he says, "screaming and yelling and, you know, 'groundball to Kris Bryant, going to be a tough play, out at first. And for the first time in 108 years, the Chicago Cubs have finally won it all. They gather on the mound. Players jumping over'", but he didn't. He didn't say any of that stuff, because it wasn't about him. It was about something bigger. 

I wonder how many other professions would do well to adapt a similar philosophy. How many companies, schools, communities, and relationships have crumbled because the man or woman in charge is trying to make it about themselves, forgetting that if they were gone, the game would still go on.

People like: 

- Teachers/Principals
- Parents
- CEO's
- Pastors
- Presidents/world leaders

How many of them, of us, make the moments of life - both big and small - about us, and not the bigger picture? And in so doing, ruin everything?

Really, for me, it comes down to humilitas and the belief that we should be using (or withholding) our gifts and talents for the benefit of others, not just ourselves. Just like a conductor. 

Keep everything calm, inspire dance, help people focus on the music. 

 

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  On Living Music  :  Joe Buck  : Do Orchestras Really Need Conductors?

Rewind Forward : When today becomes the past

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I often return to the moment before the accident. One moment, I see a young beautiful lady laughing into the camera . . . CUT . . . three months later, she woke up from her coma. When I saw her for the first time, I asked my father, "Who is this woman?"

This video truly shook me a bit, and not just because of the death of so many family members (actual and relational), but I'll admit, the thoughts and memories of older days, when we were camping and living and struggling together, came rushing in. I easily resonated with,  

Do you miss him sometimes?

Not just sometimes . . . always!  Always!

And I don't think I'll ever stop. But also, 

I'm ready - to stop looking back, and to look forward. For a long time, I dreamed of standing here together again. But life took another turn.

Some of my family have said the brokenness we're experiencing is "God's will" and until He decides it's time for us to reconcile all we can do is pray. I think that's bullshit. I think we are a product of the decisions we've made, of the truths we hold so dear. Life didn't take the turn, we did. And now, we're miles and miles apart, still heading in opposite directions, waiting for and dreaming of the days when someone else will turn around. 

As I write, my family (wife and kiddos) are traveling the country. We're nearing the end of our fifth week on the road (from Wyoming to Pennsylvania with stops in Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and North Dakota). On our way to Virginia, I wrote in my journal,

We’re nearing 4 weeks of road tripping, and some days, I just want to be home, sitting on a couch, doing very little. Because traveling is expensive, because traveling breaks habits and somehow convinces kids it’s okay to push and break rules, and because one-year olds don’t sleep well on the road. And we are tired. 
But then we stand and look over the valley and I get to see the country with my son, my wife, my kids - my family -and then, through the perspective of young eyes, the miles and millions of cups of coffee are worth it. Because someday, I’m going to wish they all fit in the van again.

I don't know what sort of turns life has down the road, I just know that for now, we're all in the van together. I also know that however I travel now, the way I love my kids, the conversations we have or don't have, the stories we share the memories we create will most definitely and directly impact how we, a family, travers the road ahead. 

You can't outrun the past. With that I agree. But I can choose to sit in the present, to live and love and pursue with the tenacious truth that I'm not guaranteed tomorrow, and that someday memories might be all that I have left. 

Although hopes and dreams will forever be before me, I do have a say in how this thing plays out. These days are about these days and right now. The ripples will take care of themselves. 

Monthly Newsletter : July

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Hello all!

Welcome to Stories Matter, a place where humanity is shared and curiosity pursued. Which sometimes means heading to the darker places of life. Like hate.

For you newcomers, first off, welcome! But also, this is a bit more longwinded than normal. Sorry about that:)

For the past two weeks or so my family and I have been on the road, visiting China friends in Kansas City, Missouri, hiking with old friends in Turkey Run, Indiana, surprise visiting Judah's best friend from China in someplace-forgettable, Ohio, and then very much relaxing with my sister and family on a lake in eastern Pennsylvania. So far, we've had a blast (even though I'm currently sitting in an old and crappy waiting room while our van is getting looked at), but we've also had a lot of great conversations. Some easy, others not. All of them purposeful.

I'm sure you are all familiar with reuniting with friends and family. The first moments are a bit awkward, then comes the typical, "So what's new?" conversations, which will probably lead into some sort of remembering old times which are always great, and then there's the discussing of possible future endeavors or summer plans. But if we're lucky (either because we have enough time or because the present company is intentional) we get to discuss the real deep stuff, the personal stuff, the get-beyond-the-surfacy-bullshit- stuff. You know, the human being stuff.

Fortunately, over these past few weeks, we've been able to have some of those conversations, because we're fortunate to have those kinds of friends. But after each visit, as we drive to the next location, I've been thinking, "What is it exactly that forms friendships? Relationships? Community?"

What allows certain family members, friends, communities to flourish while others flounder? Is it diversity? Education? Religion? What? 

Then I recalled a discussion I've had (on more than one occasion) with my son about his friends and how I judge whether they are good for him. At first, my criteria was simple: "are they nice to your sisters? Because if they pick on them, then they aren't the type of kids I want you hanging out with." He wasn't thrilled with my assessment, and over time, neither was I. Because it was too simple. Too incomplete. So we added a bit more.

Good Friends Will:

1. Hurt when you hurt
2. Celebrate your success
3. Call you on your crap
4. Listen when you call them on theirs
5. Be nice to your siblings

While driving across country or walking unfamiliar streets in the early mornings (because babies don't sleep well in unfamiliar rooms) these ideas and questions on my mind and a variety of podcasts in my ears. And for whatever reason, a sort of theme has presented itself: Hatred.

At first this topic seemed a bit to heavy or dark to have as a theme, but the more I listened and read and watched snippets of news, the more appropriate it seems to discuss because our world, our country, our communities, even our families seem to be littered with this terrible disease. So why not talk about it?

Origins of Hate:

Today, 100 years ago, Nelson Mandela was born. And for the past 100 years, there may not have been a person on this planet who has had to endure and overcame hate more than this man. He says this about the origins of hate: “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” And I don't think he is wrong.

Think about this for a minute. In elementary school, who are our biggest rivals? Other local elementary schools, right? Then, as we all blend into middle school together and find common interests, we begin to have animosity towards other little further yet still local middle schoolers. The same for high school and college. Yet, whenever we attend a professional game of some sort, who do we hate? Teams from other cities, right? But then, during the olympics, those people from rival cities suddenly become those we lock arms with as we our national team competes against foreign countries, whom we grow to dislike, loath, and hate. From an early age, we are taught to dislike, distrust, even hate those who are different.

No wonder it continues on in our churches, families, politics, and communities. 

So then, what do we do about it?

The other day, while walking in the blistering midday heat of Warrington, PA, I listened to perhaps one of the most challenging yet enjoyable podcasts of the past few months, and found possible answers.

Why we hate, and what we can do about it:

We develop hate as a mechanism to not blame ourselves for failures and voids we are unable to fill," Christian Picciolini says in an interview with Guy Raz, "If I made people feel worse than I did, than that made me feel better about myself and that might have been the only way that I could actually feel good about myself. Many, many  people were doing that, if not all of t(the white supremacists) were projecting their own pain, their own trauma, their own unresolved issues onto other people so they didn't have to feel it themselves. But I also think it was about ignorance, isolation, and fear (Why We Hate, by TED Radio Hour).

What I loved most about this TED Talk though was not just the various explanations of why we hate and the discussions of whether or not it is innate or learned, but that it gave very tangible solutions to hate. They aren't easy, but they're concrete. And I like that.

While listening to this podcast (and I mean it, check it out . . . it's fantastic), I was reminded of the time I spent in Hawaii, roaming the streets, and forcing myself to talk to anyone who caused even the slightest bit of fear in me. The first guy I talked to was Trey, a large African-American man with tattoos on his arms, neck, and cheeks. It took me the better part of a block to approach him, and when I did, my voice shook. I was terrified. But so was he, which of course I found preposterous because why should he be scared of me? It wasn't until later on in the evening, when I was waiting for a bus, that he and I ended up sitting together for almost two hours and I learned why he was scared of white people (because they can't be trusted), why he was living in Hawaii (used to be married to a woman in the army), why he took a teaching job in Alaska (because people told him he couldn't), and why I was so scared of him. Ignorance.

Learning love and compassion:

The episode also reminded me of many other instances where we - the broken human race - have allowed ignorance and fear to lead to hate, but also - and more importantly - how, through compassion, conversation, and forgiveness, we've been able to overcome it. Here are a few of my favorites (in no particular order):

The Black Panther Party: For me, the Black Panther Party meant leather car coats, black turtlenecks and black berets. It meant violence and guns. It inspired fear. But like the many black men and women who joined the Black Panther Party with ideas of power and revenge, I was fully disillusioned. Because for many years my understanding of the Black Panther Party, their history and their purpose, was shaped by media and movies. And I believed that what I saw and knew was fully true.  Until this, a revised history of the Black Panther Party.

Muslims: In order for community and unity to be found, for ignorance to be beaten, somebody has to be strong. Kind. And bigger than the situation and themselves.  They must, "remain delightful" because, "you'll attract more bees with honey." Which also means, sometimes, those holding the honey will have to endure the stings of the ignorant and cruel. The Muslims are coming is one such example because, contrary to what is often portrayed, instead of hate and guns and violence, many Musslims are carrying honey.

Refugees and my Neighbors: What if we treated our neighbors like refugees? What if we treated refugees like our neighbors? Not that long ago, a young girl from Judah's class missed the bus because her sister overslept. She couldn’t go home because nobody was there and she couldn’t make it to school because the roads were barely plowed and most of the sidewalks hadn’t been shoveled. Plus, she was cold. She wasn’t wearing socks or a hat or even a jacket, and at eight o’clock in the morning, it was still a few degrees below zero. So she knocked on our door, and we treated her like a refugee

WWII Soldiers: An Oregon couple is providing closure to the descendants of Japanese soldiers killed in World War II by repatriating the "good luck" flags they carried into battle, which were acquired by American GIs. Lee Cowan talks to veterans and their families about a respectful and emotional return - and of a bond born of war and strengthened in peace.

I still don't have a concrete outline of how to create strong and healthy relationships and communities, but for now here are a few I'm working on:

Healthy Communities Will:

  1. Embrace compassion over judgement 
  2. Pursue conversation rather than gossip

  3. Be patient and provide second, third, fourth, and many other chances

  4. Seek first to understand, not to be understood

  5. Treat each other like good friends (from the list above)

In Conclusion:

Thank you all for subscribing and reading! Please, if you have any suggestions, comments, or recommendations, send them my way!!! In the meantime, here are a few things I'm currently wresting with:

What I’m reading: The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World,
by Charles C. Mann. Because by the year 2050 there will be 10 billion people on this earth, and our world simply cannot handle it. 

Quotes I'm considering: "Harmony : everything is uniquely itself and by being uniquely itself, part of a greater community" from "What Wisdom Can We Gain From Nature." This one too is extremely impactful, in just 9 short minutes!!!  Check it out. 

Enjoy the week! And be curious. 

Remembering Nelson Mandela

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He believed more in the power of the Springbok than he did in the guns.

And so helped change the world.

Nelson Mandela was born 100 years ago today. To honor his life and impact upon our world, Business Insider Australia published 24 Timeless Quotes to help guide and ensure life is well lived.

Quotes such as:

  • “A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
     
  • “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
     
  • “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
     
  • “I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”

May we all live in such a way.

 

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Nelson Mandela  :  One Team - One Country : When a President embraced a controversial sport

2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

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National Geographic recently announced the winners of the Travel Photographer of the Year contest for 2018. You can see the winners here and the people’s choice awards here.

I don't know why, but that alligator one really intrigues me. Maybe it's because I just spent the last ten days in a cabin on a lake and watched my kids play, almost daily, some form of king of the mountain (on rafts). I bet that's what those gators are doing too. And if I were the current king, I'd be leery of the big momma coming to claim her throne . . . sheesh.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Photography  :  best of . . .