A writer recalls his family's move to Dallas, and what he learned from his father about work and life:
"Because my dad had preached the importance of critical acumen in all areas, I couldn’t help but apply that principle to him. I studied his sales techniques and concluded that, although he seemed to have mastered complex economic matters, he had major limitations. I was not surprised that in the course of his 25-year career he did only moderately well. At a time when many of his colleagues became wealthy, wealth eluded him. He earned little more than a middle-class income and at times barely that. When he and my mother fought, which was often, she would ask the question that I believe haunted him until the end of his life. 'If you’re so smart, Milton,' she’d say, 'why aren’t you making more money?'
"The answer had to do with his style and the imperfect nature of his reinvention. My father was amiable. He was also charismatic. He bristled with energy and had his own distinct charm. He was gregarious and curious about people. He expressed interest in their stories and was sympathetic with their problems. He also believed in his own vision of the world. These are the qualities of a great salesman, and yet, by large measure, he missed that mark. The reason was obvious: in selling others, he was also attempting to sell himself. Because his self-doubts cut so deep, that process was exhausting. As a result, he overexplained and oversold."
PUBLISHED: Feb. 24, 2013
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4205 words)
A profile of Rhonda Roby, a forensic scientist who has identified the bodies of victims of 9/11, victims of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Vietnam and Korean War MIAs, bodies of the Romanov family, victims buried in Chilean mass graves, and more:
"Standing there in the middle of the smoking apocalypse of the Twin Towers, she pushed aside emotion and forced the scientist part of her brain to click. 'I kept thinking, "These people are walking on my crime scene."' She checks herself. '"Well, not my crime scene, but the crime scene. Of course, I wanted to identify as many remains as possible."
"While firemen and policemen all around her desperately searched for signs of life, Roby was doing math. At the time, she was the forensic manager for Applied Biosystems, a private biotech company. She stepped into the scene at 9/11 as one of the world’s leading experts in mitochondrial DNA, with hard-core experience identifying victims of mass disasters from tiny fragments of bone. There were thousands of dead. It would be necessary to sequence about 1,000 bases of DNA information on each sample of human remains, the painstaking process required to order the building blocks of a person’s unique DNA.
"In the end, Roby led a team that processed 21,000 DNA samples dug from the rubble of the World Trade Center. She will go down in history as one of the scientists who rushed to Ground Zero, including superstar biologist Craig Venter, famous for his work deciphering the human genetic code. Venter, instrumental in tapping her expertise for 9/11, became a friend through the experience."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 24, 2012
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4634 words)
How Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo went from a small Wisconsin high school football field to the NFL, and what teammates, coaches, and a local sportswriter remember about Romo's performance at one particular game:
"'He knew what he was doing,' Luther says. 'He doesn’t look like your prototypical quarterback in high school. He knew where to put it. It was probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever been involved in.'
"After watching Romo in that game, Jackson says he believes that if Romo had played with any of the Racine city schools, they would have won the state championship. 'It just doesn’t happen,' he says. 'You knock a guy out, he comes back in, and he just torches you some more. It was just a game that you don’t ever forget. I think if he goes to a city school, he goes to a high Division I university. We had all the exposure in the city. At given games, Wisconsin was there, Nebraska was there, Ohio State was there. All the scouts come into the city, because you find good talent with good competition.'"
PUBLISHED: Aug. 27, 2012
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4885 words)
It's still remembered as "That Night"--when bowler Bill Fong stunned the crowd at the Plano Super Bowl:
"Most people think perfection in bowling is a 300 game, but it isn’t. Any reasonably good recreational bowler can get lucky one night and roll 12 consecutive strikes. If you count all the bowling alleys all over America, somebody somewhere bowls a 300 every night. But only a human robot can roll three 300s in a row—36 straight strikes—for what’s called a 'perfect series.' More than 95 million Americans go bowling, but, according to the United States Bowling Congress, there have been only 21 certified 900s since anyone started keeping track.
"Bill Fong’s run at perfection started as most of his nights do, with practice at around 5:30 pm. He bowls in four active leagues and he rolls at least 20 games a week, every week. That night, January 18, 2010, he wanted to focus on his timing."
PUBLISHED: June 20, 2012
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4622 words)
So you have to understand, when Robert Jeffress says things like “Mitt Romney is not a Christian,” or “Islam is a false religion based on the teachings of a false prophet,” or that Oprah Winfrey is “a tool of Satan,” he’s not just trying to say something bombastic because he likes the attention. He says it out of love. He truly believes the culture is in decline and that he is slowing the decay and that this could prevent you personally from spending forever with your flesh on fire.
It’s the reason Jeffress has his own radio show, his own television show, and why he’s about to publish his 18th book, Twilight’s Last Gleaming: How America’s Last Days Can Be Your Best Days. It’s the reason First Baptist Dallas recently decided to undertake one of the most expensive church construction projects in modern American history. At a cost of $128 million, the new campus will feature a glass skywalk, a giant cross-shaped fountain, and a sleek 3,000-seat sanctuary that will rival Madison Square Garden.
PUBLISHED: Dec. 21, 2011
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6432 words)
Rais Bhuiyan felt his heart soften; he felt the pouring forth of something warm, something invigorating. He felt something leaving his body. He felt forgiveness. What had been pure fear, pent up for years, was now compassion. He didn’t hate Mark Stroman. He pitied him. Thinking of this man sitting in a prison cell, counting down the days he has left on this planet, he wondered if he could help him in some way. He remembered what the prosecutor had told him, and he didn’t want to break the law, but Bhuiyan wanted to talk with the man. He wanted to tell the monster haunting his dreams that he had forgiven him.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 22, 2011
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6380 words)
As they get settled, ready to hear about surgical manipulation of the biliary tract, Jennings notices a magazine on the coffee table. From the cover, it appears the entire magazine is dedicated to conspiracy theories revolving around the John F. Kennedy assassination. Six floors and 44 years separate the place where they are sitting from that moment in November 1963 when the president of the United States was carted into the emergency room in a condition witnesses would later describe as “moribund.” Andrew points to the magazine. “Were you here when they brought him in?” “Yeah, I helped put in the trache,” McClelland says matter-of-factly.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 24, 2008
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4044 words)