|[image courtesy of morguefile]|
Tell ya what. We're going to play a virtual game of cards today, and what's more... we're all gonna win, because I'm dealing us all the same hand. We're going to consider five different things, and I'm gonna assign a value to each one. (Hey! My blog, my rules!)
The key to success is playing the hand you were dealt like it was the hand you wanted.
Imagine it no more, because I'm going to show you such a thing. It's the Wujen Lotus Conference Center in China. This breathtaking building rises above a two-story subterranean municipal facility that lies beneath a man-made lake. The lotus part of the building houses part of the city's planning bureau, as well as some meeting rooms and conference centers. I declare this building to be our ACE. Rather than show you a mere static shot of our top card, how about a short video?
KING: I reckon 75-year old John Brooker, of Norfolk, England, was getting a wee bit bored with life as a retiree. So he spent thirteen years shaping a one-hundred foot dragon from his ten-foot tall privet hedge. What a guy, huh? (He can trim our hedges any ol' time... and there's no need for anything fancy, either. I'm happy if they're more or less the the same height...)
|[image: wikipedia, courtesy of Schwedde66]|
The Golden Bridge, near DaNang, Vietnam, which opened earlier this year, is a footbridge connecting a cable car station to the gardens at Ba Na Hill resort. Two giant stone hands rise from the ground, as though Mother Nature herself were supporting it.
Our fourth card is a TEN. For a pair of SHOES, you might wonder? Nope, for the company that makes them. In March of this year, Adidas announced that it had sold its millionth pair of Ultraboost shoes. (AKA ten to the sixth power...) Big deal, you say? After all, look at all the mediocre burgers McD's has managed to sell, right? But there's something different about these shoes. Something special. Believe it or not, they're made of salvaged ocean trash. In 2016, Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans, a global network of researchers seeking ways to rescue our oceans, and each pair of Ultraboost shoes is made from eleven discarded plastic bottles that were removed from our oceans, beaches, and coastal communities. One shoe at a time, one step at a time, they're making a difference.
Our last card is a...JOKER. A wild card... but we can make it a jack to complete our winning royal flush.
It's the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, and it's the tallest unfinished skyscraper in the world. Shaped like a pyramid, this 105-story, 1080-foot behemoth was begun in 1987, with much fanfare, of course, but construction came to an abrupt halt in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union. Like a giant abandoned ghost, it loomed over the city without windows or any interior work until 2008, when an infusion of money from Egyptian Orascom Telecommunications enabled the construction to begin anew. The exterior was finally completed in 2011, and a partial grand opening was announced for 2013, but it never happened. Still hasn't happened. Still isn't finished. Mysteries linger over whether it will ever open, or if more than a handful of people will ever get a peek inside. It sits dark and ominous, with nothing but a single night light at its tips to alert airplane pilots to its lurking presence.
So there ya have it... our winning royal flush. Come to think of it, in a way, life is kinda like a card game. To win big, you have to stifle your fear and go all in every once in a while. Sure, there are times it'd be easier to give up, to simply fold rather than to play the hand you've been dealt, but you can't win if you don't play. Believe in yourself. Think life has been stacking the deck against you? Nah, life's no four flusher... it's not a cheetah. But when the chips are down, only you can decide if what you want is worth the effort. Maybe, instead of folding, you should up the ante and try even harder. As far as the future goes, it's full of wild cards, because we never know for sure what's coming, but we do have the power to make of it what we will. One thing for sure: as far as value goes, you guys are all blue chips. Every single one of you, and THAT... you can bet on!
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the game. [Randy Pausch, professional poker player]