New Years Resolutions

I have tried to think of a few resolutions for 2009.. I generally like to have goals.. but have come to the realization that my goals are more of the "take one day at a time" sort.
I do hope to be able to travel a bit this year.. I'd like to find someplace warm to stay for a few weeks in the next few months.. I have a few writing goals that involve rewriting my book of meditations on Job.. I have some home remodeling that I'd like to undertake if we do not move.. overall I'd just like to be able to flow a bit better with life and it's difficulties this year.

How about you? Any New Year Resolutions?

The Best Things Are Free :)

Don't you just love cliches :)

You may be a fundamentalist atheist if..

This site bearing the same name as my post offers 422 evidences of fundamentalist atheism. Here are a few that finish the phrase: You may be a fundamentalist atheist if:
  • You call a view held by less than ten percent of the American public "common sense".
  • You say that there is no God and that those who believe in God do so in blind faith, yet your claim that there is no God also rests on blind faith.
  • You complain when Christians appeal to their emotions when justifying their belief in God yet you feel justified on appealing to your emotions for lack of belief in God.
  • You blame God for the starvation, sickness, pain and suffering in the world...when, indeed, it is MAN's greed, politics, selfishness and apathy that not only causes, but also ignores the sick and the starving masses. We aren't our brothers' keepers....but we should be.
  • You say that the existence of God is a "blank idea", since no one knows the universe's secrets, yet you continue to state your opinion of God not existing as a "fact".
  • As a member of the Skeptic's Society you pride yourself on being skeptical of extraordinary claims. You also pride yourself on silencing everyone who is skeptical of the extraordinary claims of evolution.
  • Any scholar who believes in a historical Jesus must be a theist. If they are an atheist, then they must secretly want to be a theist. 
  • 100+ year old scholarship is good enough for you.
  • You desperately wish that Stalin and Mao hadn't been atheists.
  • You believe that any Christian who claims to have once been an atheist is either lying or was never a "true atheist."
There are many others that I could have included.. you can check them out here if you are interested.

I personally like the idea of seeing atheism as just another branch of fundamentalism. Many atheists come across as closed minded zealots for their cause much like the religious fundamentalists they seem to oppose. What do you think? Have you encountered many atheists?

Underrated Performers

Courtney Hazlett lists these as her Eight underrated performers in ’08:
  1. Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) - Certainly one of my favorite SNL actors.. pictured right spoofing Barack Obama.. I might have put him atop my list if I was hip enough to have one.
  2. Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married) - who?
  3. Craig Ferguson (The Craig Ferguson Show) - I liked Craig on the Drew Carey sitcom but don't stay up late enough to watch his show.
  4. Sherri Shepherd (The View) - Pulease.. the view itself is overrated in my opinion!
  5. The kids of “Slumdog Millionaire” - huh?
  6. Summer Heights High - I'm thinking that I am not hip enough for this list.
  7. Blair Underwood (In Treatment) - wasn't he on LA Law?
  8. Amy Ryan (The Office) - Finally someone I can relate to.. yes I liked her as Toby's temporary HR replacement.. I wonder if we will see her 2009?
I might add a few other names to the list.. I liked the way Lena Headey played Sarah Conner on the returning Terminator series.. also thought that Haeth Ledger's Joker overshadowed a good performance by Christain Bale's Batman.  Who would you add to the list?

Most Admired Sarah Palin Calendar

Not too late! Still available for only $15.95 at!

Of course calendar sales might now soar with the recent announcement that Governor Palin came in second to Hillary Clinton as the most admired woman in America.. hey.. at least she beat out Oprah!

Children of Columbo

This month it was revealed (by his daughter) that 81 year old Emmy-winning actor Peter Falk has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. A sad announcement that has me thinking of how Columbo, Falk's old TV Show that I loved so much, has spawned so many TV "detectives".

Here are a few TV detectives that I think have carried the Columbo mantel:
Adrian Monk (played by Tony Shaloub in Monk):
He carries on the quirkiness of Columbo to the extreme.

Bobby Goren (played by Vincent D'Nofrio in Law and Order):
Seems that Bobby often is almost out the door and makes a Columbo turn as he asks just one more question.

Gil Grissom (played by William Petersen on CSI):
Unlike many of his leading man CSI counterparts Grissom embraces his oddness and doesn't try to be your stereotypical cop.

Brenda Lee Johnson (played by Kyra Sedgewick on The Closer):
Brenda Lee is not your stereotypical glammed-up hot cop.. she is intelligent and crafty.. often lays a trap and closes in at the very end.. ala Lt Columbo.
I know I have probably missed a few of Columbo's kids. Anyone come to mind?


A number of years ago I heard a preacher say that there is no such thing as constructive criticism. I firmly disagree with this sentiment.. even the bible contradicts that attitude when it says:
Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise. (Proverbs 15:5)
I think that it takes a lot of wise humility to accept criticism or correction when it is earned and shrug it off when it is not. Here are a few quotes that speak to the topic of criticism:

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. -Winston Churchill

He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help. -Abraham Lincoln
These quotes remind me of that time in early 1975 when I was changing jobs and cities.. I was moving from Newark to Houston.. I had spent the past three years working hard in Newark but my reputation was marred because of my trouble-making union activities. A few days before I left a supervisor pulled me aside and told me how, even though I was a top technician, my attitude had stifled advancement opportunities.. he simply told me not to make trouble in Houston.

Well, when I got to Houston I could not shake his criticism.. it was true.. I had a chip on my shoulder when it came to management. I changed. I was still involved in union leadership but with a totally different attitude. One and a half years later I was promoted to a computer programmer position in Kansas City. It was amazing.. by simply accepting criticism I had achieved a goal that had eluded me for many years.

How about you? Do you have any good or bad criticism stories?

Warren to Give Inaugural Invocation

12/28 Update: TheJotus had this image at his place and I just had to add it to this post.
I thought that it was an interesting piece of commentary on the whole prayer-gate incident.

Of course there is this story about the Baptist pastor who says that "God will punish" Warren for agreeing to give the invocation.. extremists of all flavors seem to be mad.

12/17: According to this opinion piece at the Huffington Post:

Progressive groups are decrying the choice of Rick Warren to deliver the Invocation at the Presidential Inauguration as "disappointing" - but it is far more than that. It is an act of spiritual violence against lesbian and gay American citizens and a profound betrayal of the philosophy of inclusion and unity espoused by President-Elect Obama.
Hmmm.. let me reread that.. yes.. it is pretty crazy. The outrage stems in part (I think anyway) from Rick Warren's support of Proposition 8 in California and his belief that "a civil union is not a civil right" and "Nowhere in the constitution can you find the “right” to claim that any loving relationship identical to marriage".

I wonder if people on the right side of the political aisle would have had a similar reaction if President Elect Obama had chosen Jeremiah Wright or some other polarizing pastor? It makes you wonder doesn't it?

Of course he did not pick Wright. He picked a conservative evangelical pastor. While I may not agree with Rick Warren in everything, I consider him to be a brother in Christ and a generous man who is concerned about our nation. I applaud our new president's choice and hope that all Americans will eventually support him in this.. or maybe just tone down the rhetoric a bit.

1,000 Recordings Before You Die

For the last three and a half years, award-winning music journalist Tom Moon has been searching out peak musical experiences from all genres and every corner of the earth. 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die, published by Workman Publishing in August 2008, is the result of his journey.

Here are a few random songs and albums that I like from his list:

California Dreamin (The Mamas and The Papas): This song takes me way back to my teen years.. I had a teen penpal gal in California and loved listening to the song and thinking about her.

Good Vibrations (The Beach Boys): This song is more representative of surfin' music than anything.. brings back memories of high school (NY) pizza after basketball games at Gene's pizza.

How Great Thou Art (Elvis): The soulful side of Mr Presley comes though clearly in this song. I guess I include this one because I like his voice and and this is one of my favorite hymns.

The Sound of Music (Rogers and Hammerstein): The music helped to bring the story of the Von Trapp family to life. Climb Every Mountain is one of the most inspirational songs ever written.

A Hard Day's Night (Beatles): Six Beatles' albums made Moon's list. While I liked their later recordings I always will remember the Beatles in their early years and how original and exciting they were.

At Folsom Prison (Johnny Cash): I love listening to Johnny.. his style and voice transcend country music. I think that he had a gift that gave him the ability to connect with his listeners.

Peter, Paul and Mary: I loved so many of their songs.. Leavin on a Jet Plane was a classic.. remembering it causes me to think of the thrill of my first plane ride when I was inducted into the Army.

What are some of your favorites from Moon's list?

Grace Comes By Prayer

Here is an excerpt from the latest post from my faith blog:

Very often we are oblivious to the presence of the grace that comes when we pray because we do not understand that a primary reason that grace is given is to help us to endure - we need grace to endure.. and grace comes by way of prayer.

Check the rest out here.


Photo taken yesterday of a giant snowman in Anchorage, Alaska. The snowman, known as Snowzilla to many, was completed sometime late December 22 or early December 23 despite city orders that declared the 25-foot snowman a public nuisance.

Ebenezer Scrooge or George Bailey?

This is a rough one for me.. I love the way that Scrooge is transformed in A Christmas Carol but I think that George Bailey's realization in It's a Wonderful Life is hard to beat.
Which would have voted for?

Humble Entrance, Humble Life, Humble Death

Here is an excerpt from the latest post from my faith blog:

A local pastor said that pride is thinking that you are better than another.. he said that when we are impatient with a waitress or a person at the grocery checkout we reveal our pride.. we think that we could and would do the job better even though we believe that those jobs are "beneath us".

Check the rest out here.

Because of Christmas

My friend Sue sent me this today. I might substitute "We" for "I".. but I think that the tree is a nice depiction of who we are because of Christmas.

M. Scott Peck

This post is dedicated to my friend Barbara and this M. Scott Peck quote that she recently posted:
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
Morgan Scott Peck (1936-2005) was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He served in the U.S. Army where he was chief of psychology at the Army Medical Center in Okinawa, Japan, and assistant chief of psychiatry and neurology in the office of the surgeon general in Washington. The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978, is Peck's best-known work, and the one that made his reputation. It is, in short, a description of the attributes that make for a fulfilled human being, based largely on his experiences as a psychiatrist and a person. Here are some of the things he said:

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.

We must be willing to fail and to appreciate the truth that often "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.

Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.

There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.

It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.

Love is not a feeling. Love is an action, an activity. . .Genuine love implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom. . . . love as the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.....true love is an act of will that often transcends ephemeral feelings of love or cathexis, it is correct to say, 'Love is as love does'.

Does the Free Market Corrode Moral Character?

My blog friend Alex asks this question and points us to the Templeton website that also asks that same question to several 'experts'. The answer to the question that I liked most came from Robert B. Reich, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Here are a few excerpts from his answer:
We'd rather not know. Most of us are consumers who try to get the best possible deals in the market. Most of us are also moral beings who try to do the right things in our communities and societies. Unfortunately, our market desires often conflict with our moral commitments. So how do we cope with this conflict? All too often, we avoid it.
To be sure, some consumers do shop with an eye to these far-removed moral consequences, and some companies pride themselves on selling goods and services produced in socially and morally responsible ways. But the evidence shows that most consumers want only the great deals. Even if we like to associate ourselves with responsible brands, most of us don't want to pay any extra for responsible products.

The market does not corrode our character. Rather, in these two ways it enables us to shield ourselves from any true test of our character. It thereby allows us to retain our moral ideals even when our market choices generate outcomes that would otherwise violate them.

If the market mechanism were so transparent that we could not avoid knowing the moral effects of our buying decisions, presumably we would then have to choose either to sacrifice some material comforts for the sake of our ideals or to sacrifice those ideals in order to have the comforts. That would be a true test. Absent such transparency, we don't need to sacrifice either. We can get the great deals and simultaneously retain our moral scruples without breaking a sweat.
I am trying to think of some cogent response to the professor.. I have none.. I am one of those 'deal' seekers that want to stay ignorant of the moralities of my 'deals'.. but he has made me think about my future purchases.

Reign Over Me | ★★★★★★★★

Last night Ann and I caught this flick that I had previously DVRed and I was pleasantly surprised. This movie is one of renewed friendship.. it is a wonderfully acted tale of how we really need each other.. it is a moving peek into the grief of a man who lost everything on September 11, 2001.. it is one of the best movies on the journey of grief that I have seen. Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle give great performances and really capture the heart of their characters in a very nice way. If you have the dispsition for R-rated dialog and a heart for gut-wrenching grief I recommend this one to you.

On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★★★★

Stained-Glass People

Isn't this a great and inspiring quote? I so agree that inner spiritual light shines the brightest when life seems the darkest.

Does It Get Any Better Than This?

I was reading about the best Christmas movies and I thought about this one.
Do you know of a Christmas movie that has a better ending than this one?

Mission Statements

My blog friend Ed recently posted a few reflections on his 2001 goals. It got me thinking about this mission statement that I originally penned these in the late-eighties when I took a 7 Habits class from Covey and revised in 1993.

Sitting here looking these statements over, I am thinking about how I would probably write these a bit different today. I might not include the scripture references - the statements speak for themselves. I would probably rephrase some of these to reflect more of my own heart than a simple regurgitation of the bible. Overall I am okay with these though.. even if they are a bit over the top and rigid.. not bad to have goals I guess.

Have you ever written a mission statement? Was it a good thing?

Edward R. Murrow

I got interested in Murrow after seeing him portrayed in the movie Good Night and Good Luck. Here are a few excerpts from the wiki on him:

Edward R. Murrow (born Egbert Roscoe Murrow 1908-1965) was an American broadcast journalist. He first came to prominence with a series of radio news broadcasts during World War II, which were followed by millions of listeners in the United States and Canada. Historians consider him among journalism's greatest figures, noting his honesty and integrity in delivering the news.
Murrow's report from the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany provides an example of his uncompromising style of journalism, something that caused a great deal of controversy and won him a number of critics and enemies. He described the exhausted physical state of the concentration camp prisoners who had survived, mentioned "rows of bodies stacked up like cordwood" and he refused to apologize for the harsh tone of his words:

I pray you to believe what I have said about Buchenwald. I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it I have no words. If I've offended you by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, I'm not in the least sorry.
Here are a few other things that he said:

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices — just recognize them.

If we were to do the Second Coming of Christ in color for a full hour, there would be a considerable number of stations which would decline to carry it on the grounds that a Western or a quiz show would be more profitable.

A satellite has no conscience.

Except for those who think in terms of pious platitudes or dogma or narrow prejudice (and those thoughts we aren’t interested in), people don’t speak their beliefs easily, or publicly.

Anyone who isn't confused doesn't really understand the situation.

We are in the same tent as the clowns and the freaks — that's show business.

We hardly need to be reminded that we are living in an age of confusion — a lot of us have traded in our beliefs for bitterness and cynicism or for a heavy package of despair, or even a quivering portion of hysteria. Opinions can be picked up cheap in the market place while such commodities as courage and fortitude and faith are in alarmingly short supply.

Good night, and good luck. (Sign off line of his radio and TV broadcasts.)

Christmas Tree Ornaments

My creative blog friend Wanda decorates her tree with tea cups. My favorite tree decorations are ones that bring back memories of when the kids were young. What are your favorite ornaments?

Remembering those who passed in 2008

A tribute to actors, directors, screenwriters who passed away in 2008.
HT: Robin Lee Hatcher

Mele Kalikimaka

I went out and looked for this video after I made the following comment over at John Shore's place:

My dad spent time in the late 30s at Scofield Barracks in Hawaii (before the attack on Pearl Harbor) as an Army chef for a colonel. What carried over from this experience was the crazy Hawaiian music he loved to listen to.

The rule in our home on Christmas morning was that my sister and I had to wait until my Dad played Christmas music before we could come downstairs and open our presents.. and it was especially crazy when my Dad played a Hawaiian Christmas song.
It is fun reminiscing about those times so long ago. What about you? Do you have any Christmas memories to share with us?

Senator Princess Caroline

The recent news that Caroline Kennedy wants to be Hillary Clinton's replacement in the senate has caused me to have a flashback. Like it was yesterday, I remember that day in November 1963 when I saw on TV a young Caroline Kennedy watching her father's casket roll by in Washington, DC. I imagine that many in my generation have that image emblazoned in their memories.
I have mixed feelings about her being a senator. On one hand I like the idea of a person that doesn't seem to be a lifelong politician becoming a senator. On the other hand I don't know why a cultural icon celebrity princess should be a senator. Maybe you can can help me figure it out?

Foster Care

I am so amazed about how people open their hearts and their homes to children in foster care. Today I read a gut wrenching account from my blog friend (and UMC pastor) Andy Bryan where he recounts the gut wrenching decision to remove a little girl from their home. This paragraph from his post pretty well sums it up:
We feel pretty rotten about this whole deal, to tell you the truth. We feel like we failed. We feel angry at her parents for being really, really crappy parents. We feel relieved that she is gone from our household, and immediately feel guilty for feeling relieved. So we’re pretty mixed up right now, as you can imagine.
You can read his whole story here. Please pray for Andy and his family.. and for the little girl.. and consider leaving him an encouraging comment.

Bailey the Snow Dog

Guaranteed to make you smile :)


I voted with the 41% and will probably never do a dumbphone again. I have had my $50 Motorola Q since April of last year and find it to be very useful when I am away from my computer to:
  • Read the bible.. I have several versions on it;
  • Surf the internet.. use the mobile Bloglines reader to read blogs;
  • Read my email.. gmail has a very nice mobile presentation;
  • Listen to music using the media player;
  • Pass the time playing one of the games on it;
  • And just look cool.. hey I don't have much of a cool factor.
My cellphone deal is up in the spring and I have to admit that I tried the iPhone a few weeks ago and really liked it.. too bad Sprint doesn't carry it.

How about you? How would you have answered the poll? Do you have a smartphone? Do you like it? Would you buy another one? If not, what would it take for you to buy one?

The Voice

Here is an excerpt from my review of The Voice New Testament over at my faith blog:

On face value this seems to be a noble endeavor and one that may work for many Christ followers that flow in the Emergent stream of Christianity. I say that because prominent among the contributors is emergent sensei Brian McLaren.

Check the rest out here.

Moving Video

I know that this one minute video will speak to your heart!

What I Have Done So Far

Complements of Robin..

Directions: Copy the list to your blog, put an asterisk next to the things you have done in your life, and then pass it on to others in your blog - and let me know if you do! Also feel free to add a couple at the end, if you like.. I added a few.

*1. Started your own blog
*2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
*6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld
*8. Climbed a mountain
*9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
*14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
*15. Adopted a child
*16. Had food poisoning
*17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
*18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
*20. Slept on an overnight train
*21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
*23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
*24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
*26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
*29. Seen a total eclipse
*30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
*31. Hit a home run
*32. Been on a cruise
*33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
*35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
*37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
*41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
*45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted - drawn I think that counts!
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
*52. Kissed in the rain
*53. Played in the mud
*54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
*63. Got flowers for no reason
*64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
*69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (book!)
*70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
*73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
*75. Been fired/laid off from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
*78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
*82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
*84. Had your picture in the newspaper
*85. Read the entire Bible
*86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
*88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
*90. Sat on a jury
*91. Met someone famous
*92. Joined a book club
*93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
*95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
*97. Been involved in a law suit
*98. Owned a cell phone
*99. Been stung by a bee
100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
*101. Learned to play an instrument
102. Kissed the Blarney Stone
103. Ridden a camel
*104. Been to an underground church meeting
*105. Ate pizza in New York City
*106. Preached a sermon
*107. Visited someone in jail

Worst-Case Scenarios

Here is an excerpt from the latest post from my faith blog:

Worry starts when we project into the future. The mind searches for and examines all the angles it can find related to worst-case scenarios. We rehearse how to respond to what might happen—I'll do this, then she’ll say that, then I'll say this.

Check the rest out here.

What Kindness Looks Like

Following are a few thoughts about what it means to be kind:
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." -Plato

"Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up." -Jesse Jackson

"I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble." -Rudyard Kipling

"There is no greater loan than a sympathetic ear." -Frank Tyger

"Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." -Samuel Johnson

"The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway." -Henry Boye
I love these because in them we see that an act of kindness is a reflection of what is in our hearts. We are kind when we are acknowledge people's struggles.. when we give them a helping hand.. when we believe the best about them.. when we listen.. when we get past our dislikes.. and when we let go of our needs to meet the need of another.

How about you? What do you think kindness looks like?

Bailing Out Congress

Anybody wondering about all the money that is thrown away each year in congressional salaries? Consider that, effective Jan. 1, 2009, the salary each member of Congress is paid will rise from $169,300 to $174,000 per year. It kind of puts all of the other bailouts in perspective. Interesting that many of those in congress are against a bailout for those making minimum wage.

Christmas Blogging Wishes

Absolute Power

With the news of the corruption of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich I have been thinking of these quotes:

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. -John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true. -Eric Hoffer

Power - Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it rocks absolutely, too.” -Larry Kersten
That last quote (used in the poster) speaks to the real issue of power. Like most bad behavior it can often feel good in the moment.

And before we cast too many stones at the governor it would do us good to remember that one known as a many after God's own heart was corrupted by power.. King David used his power to take another man's wife and then murder her husband.

The good news in all of this is that corruption, like other crimes, is often found out. King David was confronted by the prophet Nathan.. the governor was locked up by the FBI. Let's pray that Governor Blagojevich will find a bit of humility in the aftermath of this public humiliation.

Cell Phone Deals

I love to get a deal.. doesn't everyone? But it seems that cell phone companies aren't really giving anything away these days. If you get a "deal" on a phone it usually costs you a two or three year commitment to that company.. and if you want smartphone services like email and web access.. well you wind up paying through the nose.

Anyone have a really great experience with a cell phone company or even a particular phone?

Inspirational Movie Clips

40+ inspirational clips.. I think I recognized 35 or so of them..
in just a little over 2 minutes.. complements of Robin.


For all of you that are addicted (as I am) to the reruns..

Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason. -Jerry

I hate asking for change. They always make a face. It's like asking them to donate a kidney. -George

I couldn't raise a kid? C'mon, I love bossing people around. -Elaine

I just can't be with someone who's life is in complete disarray. -Kramer

I think she finds my stupidity charming. -George

I relate to George through you. We're more like friends-in-law. -Elaine

You know what they say, 'You don't sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.' -Kramer

You know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You're telling the world, 'I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.' -Jerry

..alas, it is a show about nothing :)

What's up with High Heels?

So I was watching one of my favorite crime drama TV shows a few weeks ago and I saw the main female detective running after a criminal and noticed that she wasn't running too fast because she had very high heels on. It got me to wondering.. yeah I know why gals on TV wear high heels.. if heels are really all that "in" anymore.

So I started looking and noticing:
  • Almost every gal on TV wears very high heels.. I suppose they believe it complements their plunging necklines.
  • Women shopping at Walmart wear very high heels.. some higher than others but most of them seem to wear them.
  • Walmart workers seem to all wear comfortable shoes.
So it got me to asking:
  • Given that they are not all that comfortable - why do women wear high heels?
  • Is this dress standard inflicted from within or without?
  • Is it all about looking good for the guys who don't seem to really dress that great these days? In truth most guys look like slobs compared to 20 years ago.
  • Is it about looking "professional"? Do heels make a female cop look more "professional"? Is this an uncommunicated and informal expectation in Corporate America?
I hope this post does not come across too chauvinistic. In general I think that guys don't usually get fashion trends.. but this one has been around for a while.. I am just wondering.. please don't shoot the questioning messenger.

Gifts for Geeks

Yesterday Adrian Kingsley-Hughes posted these Christmas gifts especially for geeks:
IronKey is the ultimate USB flash drive! ($79)

Davis Weather Wizard III is the ideal gift for those geeks who spend a lot of time at their desk but still want to know that the weather’s like. ($250)

Dyna-Flex Powerball with Speedometer tones up your arm, wrist and hand muscles. ($40)

Khet is a strategy game that combines an Egyptian theme with lasers. ($44.95)

PC Dice is a randomized approach to fixing technical problems! ($20)
Interesting list.. not sure that I am geeky enough to really appreciate these gifts. For the record, a gift card at Best Buy or Starbucks would probably work better for me :)

Lookin Out My Front Door

Well.. not exactly.. Ann took this pic a few years ago.. I post it in anticipation of our first snowfall.. expected to hit KC this afternoon. Of course the weather geeks are predicting 60 degrees this weekend.. might be a while before we get snow that sticks around.

Christmas Letters

This cartoon reminded me that we have not put together our yearly letter.. not sure that I have the wherewithal to do one this year.. getting cards out will be hard enough.

What do you all think bout Christmas letters? Yea or nay?

Intolerant of Intolerance

Friday The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty ran this full-page ad in The NY Times.

I like what this ad says (not sure about publicly shaming people) but doubt that it will have any impact on those who preach "tolerance". I heard it said years ago that the only thing that is intolerant to some who preach tolerance is intolerance. The reactions by some in California are an example of this intolerance of intolerance. It is sad that the intolerant actions of those asking for tolerance are so violent. What do you think?

Humility is not an Option

Here is an excerpt from the latest post from my faith blog:

Pride is not an option for a believer.. and neither is humility. We can either clothe ourselves with humility or find God humbling us.. and the latter often resembles humiliation. So what does humility look like?

Check the rest out here.

Soft Skills Needed

Diane Stafford's column in Sunday's Kansas City Star:

12 skills that workers need

How do you stand out among co-workers or other applicants for a job?

ACT, a nonprofit research and information service, pinpoints 12 skills that employers say they want.

We’re not talking about job-specific skills, such as an ability to design a Web site or give vaccinations.

Sure, the right education, experience and abilities are the main requirements to get or advance in any job. But we’re talking here about personal attributes that make bosses want to hire, keep or promote you.

Having those “soft skills” is a very big deal in today’s workplace, where a lot depends on interpersonal relationships.

Employers say they want workers who:
  1. Think before speaking and plan before acting.
  2. Are cordial and likable.
  3. Can quickly summon creative juices or imagination to find new, cost-cutting or time-saving ways to do something.
  4. Follow through on tasks without being distracted or bored and, overall, are responsible and dependable.
  5. Forgive others and believe that others are well intentioned.
  6. Speak up and exert positive influence. (That’s leadership!)
  7. Exude confidence and a positive attitude.
  8. Are efficient and neat.
  9. Can read others’ moods and are savvy about office politics.
  10. Enjoy sociable interactions with co-workers.
  11. Maintain composure and rationality under stress, whether it’s real or perceived.
  12. Have high aspirations and will work to achieve those goals.
If you think that’s so much squishy malarkey, think again.

Many employers are measuring those traits through pre-employment testing. (Fair disclosure: ACT is a purveyor of such assessments.)

Unfortunately, you’re not going to hear back from employers that you “failed” such a pre-employment test. You just won’t get an offer.

And you’ll have to count on a communicative boss to tell you exactly which traits (or lack thereof) are holding you back.

More often, an accurate self-analysis is your best bet. In fact, it ought to be No. 13 on the list.

Agree with these? Any others that you'd add to the list?

Musical Stethoscope

Great 2 minute video compliments of Heather!

Spiritual Food and Exercise

Here is an excerpt from the latest post from my faith blog:

Jesus said (in John 4:34) that His nourishment came from doing Gods will. In this I think that we see a link from just eating and getting spiritually fat to being spiritually fit.

Check the rest out here.


Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. -Jonathan Swift

America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal - to discover and maintain liberty among men. -Woodrow Wilson

People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. -John Maxwell

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. -Helen Keller

Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. -Ayn Rand

The question is not what you look at, but what you see. -Henry David Thoreau

Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe. -St Augustine


Java-Log is the most innovative, funky new fireplace item that has quickly become the people’s choice firelog including even Ellen Degeneres’. It offers a wonderful solution to the much detested chemical smell associated often with other firelogs since Java-Log has No Chemical Smell, contributes positively to several environmental concerns and burns beautifully, hassle free. (HT: Kristen)

Casual Friday

This cartoon reminded me about a time around 1990 when we started this whole idea of Casual Fridays - those were the days when I wore a tie to work every day.. and absolutely no jeans or sneakers. When our group was asked via email about "Dress Down Fridays" one of the guys responded with this:

I guess I am okay with that.. but count me out for pants down Fridays!
What followed was a barrage of email messages (yes we had a crude version of inter-company email back then) asking about pajamas, shorts and bathing suits.. we all got a huge laugh out of it.

What about you? Do you have any Casual Friday stories?

Loosen Up, Before It’s Too Late!

Christian author and funny writer John Shore today encourages pastors and other Christian leaders to act themselves on his Suddenly Christian blog. Here is an excerpt:
If you are a pastor or a Famous Christian Leader, consider the possibility that maybe, when you’re up at the lectern, or doing your thing before the cameras or microphones, you could loosen up a little. Relax! Be who you really are, instead of who you think you’re supposed to be.
I have had a fair number of occasions to hang with people whose job it is to essentially represent God to truly vast numbers of people. And I’m always sitting around with these people, and they might be having a drink or two, the way normal people do when they’re hanging out with their friends, and they’ll be way funnier than you’d think. (Or that I expected, anyway.) And I don’t mean the kind of humor where you chuckle with restrained verve and then ask someone to pass the rolls. I’m talking Teamster humor. Rude stuff. Jokes that make you wish you hadn’t just taken a bite of a roll.

It’s awesome.

But then, later, I’ll see those same people on TV, or hear them on the radio, or whatever, and it’s like they’d gotten attacked and treated by a taxidermist.
I love this stuff (read all of John's post here) and I think that it is applicable to all of us. Take John's advice.. loosen up and be who you really are in whatever you are doing.. even if it is not religiously correct. Like the sign says - an original is always worth more than a copy.

Cartoon Chatter

You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. -Winnie the Pooh

Well whaddya expect in an opera, a happy ending? -Bugs Bunny

Can you imagine anything so ridiculous as majority rule? -Daffy Duck

Being a genuis certainly has it's advantages. -Wile E Coyote

Those earth creatures, always shootn' off their mouths! -Yosemite Sam

That's the first time somebody else shot my mouth off! -Foghorn Leghorn

One thing I've learned while chasing the bird... Avoid the dog!! -Sylvester the Cat

You'd be puny too if all you ate was birdseed! -Tweety Pie

You are my peanut. I am your brittle. -Pepe Le Pew

Th-th-th-th-That's all, Folks! -Porky Pig

Obama Validates Bush Policies

Columnist Michael Gerson wrote an opinion piece today on President Elect Obama's cabinet appointments. I found this excerpt to be an interesting one:
Obama's appointments reveal something important about current Bush policies. Though Obama's campaign savaged the administration as incompetent and radical, Obama's personnel decisions have effectively ratified Bush's defense and economic approaches during the last few years. At the Pentagon, Obama rehired the architects of President Bush's current military strategy -- Gates, Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Raymond Odierno. At the Treasury Department, Obama has hired one of the main architects of Bush's current economic approach.

This continuity does not make Obama an ideological traitor. It indicates that Bush has been pursuing centrist, bipartisan policies -- without getting much bipartisan support. The transition between Bush and Obama is smoother than some expected, not merely because Obama has moderate instincts but because Bush does as well. Particularly on the economy, Bush has never been a libertarian; he has always matched a commitment to free markets with a willingness to intervene when markets stumble.
I have to admit that I have not been surprised by Obama's appointments but I had not seen them in this light. Made me reconsider my thinkings of President Bush a bit and wondering if his disapproval ratings re more a matter of style than substance? Of course most of Bush's disapproval came from his administration of the Iraq War.. I suspect that Obama will not have that problem.

What are your thoughts about the President Elect's appointments? Any surprise you?

$250 Solar Powered Backpack

Is this really needed?

Would you buy one?

Is your name Indiana?

Christmas Music

I voted with the 31% in this Christianity Today poll.

My favorite all time Christmas song is the traditional O Holy Night.. nothing matches it.

I also like a lot of other genres as well. My favorite CD album is A Vineyard Cafe Christmas.

How would you vote and what is your favorite Christmas song?

Compressed Air Fun

Complements of Small Paul

Losing My Religion

Assembly of God pastor George Wood posts a review of William Lobdell's book at AG Think Tank. Here is the way that it starts:
Losing My Religion is William Lobdell’s memoir of becoming an evangelical, then a Roman Catholic, then a reluctant atheist. It is an engrossing and quick read. And unlike Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, Lobdell is not vicious. He disagrees with believers, but he does not despise them.

Lobdell is an award-winning journalist who covered the religion beat for the Los Angeles Times. As a one-time resident of Costa Mesa, California—where Lobdell lives—and a former reader of the Times, I personally know some of the people Lobdell reported on, and I remember reading some of his stories. His reportage on the sins of Paul and Jan Crouch and their Trinity Broadcasting Network sticks in my mind even to this day.

The book begins with Lobdell’s life in a mess. A friend tells him he needs God, and he ends up going to Mariners Church, an evangelical megachurch pastored by Kenton Beeshore. As he matures in his faith, he switches to St. Andrews Presbyterian, pastored by John Huffman. Eventually, however, he finds himself drawn to Catholicism, and he and his wife enroll in catechism classes.
I recommend reading the whole review that goes on to describe how Lobdell eventually got disgusted with the church and Christian behavior. He eventually lost his religion.

Do you know someone like William Lobdell? I do. It would be so easy to for me to sit here and cast stones at Lobdell and people like him. The truth is that I am also often disappointed by the same things that he was. I honestly don't know how I would have responded if I had to investigate and report on the things that he did.

I do know that I am often challenged by health struggles.. by heartbreak.. by sometimes unbearable pain.. by unanswered prayer.. and for some reason I hang in there seeking to embrace God in different ways.. discarding a belief system and religion that was so obviously broken. Maybe William Lobdell's fate was somewhat sealed by the type of religion that he embraced? What do you think?

You can check out William Lobdell's blog here.. it is where I initially read the review.

Searching with Firefox

Ever since I switched internet browsers I have been discovering some of the great features of Firefox. One that I'd like to highlight today is the search menu and bar.
I love that I am able to do a simple search of the bible (Via Bible Gateway), the dictionary (via Websters and, YouTube, Wikipedia and as well as doing a traditional Google search using the search menu feature.