Monday Perspective

Not much blogging today. I have been ill since last week. To make it worse (on me anyways) I lost my voice last night. The loft across the hall had furnace problems and his sprinkler went off. KC has a blizzard warning for Tuesday. Yet I consider myself blessed - my loft is dry, I do not have to get out in the weather and I'm getting better. How are you doing?

Happy 150th Kansas

Kansas became the 34th state on this date in 1861. Ad astra per aspera is the state motto. It is a Latin phrase which means "Through hardships to the stars".

Eat Pray Love | ★★★★★★

I thought that this true story was kind of worth viewing. What I liked about it was the message that life can go on after everything falls apart. The movie is pretty transparent as we see Julia Robert's character deconstruct after a divorce, jump into bed with a younger guy and then take off for Rome, India and Bali trying to put her life back together. I didn't care for the Eastern religion focus but I did appreciate the way that this focus caused her to examine her life and sort of embrace forgiveness. Even so, I thought that the story was very narcissistic (never did see any humility in her) and could have used a lot of editing - it was way too long. I give it a lukewarm recommendation.

On a scale of ten I give it ★★★★★★.

If Computers made Food

The Gluttony Tax

I heard about the Americans Against Food Taxes website yesterday and decided to check them out. Here is a blurb from them:
We don't want government telling us what to eat or drink by taxing our food and beverages. We can decide what to buy without government help. If we let government tax beverages, who knows where it will end? The next time government wants to fund more programs, they'll just slap taxes on more of our groceries. Government needs to trim its budget fat and leave grocery budgets alone.
This all sounds very high minded and ideological until you consider that the list of their Coalition Members is a laundry list of companies like 7-Eleven, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Yum! and others who would be hurt by taxes on sugary food and drinks.

That aside, I do wonder what some would say if the government raised other taxes because it followed the anti-food-tax rationale and eliminated taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. I think that this kind of gluttony tax is probably in line with these other sin taxes.

All that said I have to admit that I would not support this tax unless it was accompanied by an actual reduction in another tax. Ha! Like that would ever happen!

Road Rudeness, the Car Bubble and Pet Peeves

Saw this "road rudeness" term this morning in a AAA article titled Road rudeness—A big issue for most drivers. Now you have to remember that I grew up driving in New York and New Jersey. I know a little about rude driving - not that I have any first hand knowledge of the phenomenon. Here are a few thoughts on the subject from the Auto Club article:
Research has consistently shown that aggressive driving is a far more prevalent issue than violent road rage encounters. Forty percent of the respondents in one survey admitted to driving aggressively when they are late, or in a hurry, and 72 percent believed that aggressive driving has grown worse in recent years.
"When we’re enclosed in our vehicles, we’re removed from the direct human contact that normally promotes courteous behavior in public settings," said Mike Right, AAA’s VP of Public Affairs. "If motorists could see themselves acting in public in the same way they drive their cars–tailgating, weaving or slowing down while distracted, yelling, or making angry gestures–they would understand the rudeness of their driving behavior."

Almost every driver is guilty of road rudeness at one time or another, Right said. Also, many drivers underestimate the safety impact for them of distractions or aggressive driving, although they are quick to point it out in other drivers.
The idea of being in a Car Bubble removed from human contact is a thought provoking one. I confess to saying things in the solitude of my car that I would never say other places. I have acted in angry ways when a car has cut me off or done something similar. Being in the Car Bubble has produced some bad behavior.

Here are a few questions from the article and my insightful responses:
  • Do I yield to other drivers, even when I think they’re rude?
    I do now but in years gone by I have made driving a competition as I tried to get the best of other drivers.
  • How do I react when another driver follows me too closely or signals that he wants to move into my lane?
    I think New Jersey drivers are the worst tailgaters. I cannot stand it when someone follows too close - sadly it pushes a few of my buttons.. a problem in itself.
  • Do I honor the “every other car” rule when two lanes are merging into one?
    I honor this rule about half of the time. I think that I will try harder. Just knowing that it is rude behavior might help me to act better.
  • Do I let other drivers know my intention to change lanes by using my turn signal?
    I absolutely do - most of the time. This is another one of my pet peeves. Albeit, not as bad as tailgating.
  • Do I let myself get distracted with other activities such as cell phone or smart phone usage while I drive?
    My last pet peeve is how my Palm Pre cell phone requires me to look at it to answer it. If traffic allows I have used the phone but not sure that I should. My contract is up this year and I will be looking for a different kind of phone - or get a bluetooth ear piece.
How you would have answered a few of the questions. Do you have any driving pet peeves?

Farewell Tony

Update: Tony passed away today. Please join me in asking God to comfort his family.

December 21, 2008: Today is a sad day in Kansas City Chief football. It is the last Sunday in forty years that 96 year old Tony DiPardo and his band will be playing at Arrowhead for Chiefs' home games. They have been evicted due to renovations at Arrowhead that do not include space in the endzone for the band. Today they will honor Tony at the stadium.. as I honor him here today.

Blessings to you Tony.. you have been there in good times and bad.. the games just won't be the same without you!

Basements and Baggage

My very first house on the Jersey shore had a crawl space - we stored little there. My second place in Houston was on a slab - stored stuff in the garage. My first place in Kansas had a tall crawl space filled with some stuff. My next house had a full basement - half of it started leaking water as soon as we finished it. Our last house had a gigantic basement filled with "treasures". When we moved, and downsized, 90% of the stuff in the basement did not go with us. We store very few things in our loft.

The moral of the story is to travel the road of life lightly. You will eventually get rid of almost everything you own. And you can't take it with you.

State of the Union, Questions and Responses

I heard two of these questions today on the radio and threw in one of my own. Here are the questions and my answers to them:
  1. Do you think it is your civic duty to watch the State of the Union address tonight?
    No. I used to watch them all of the time but have grown tired of all of the rhetorical speech and partisan reactions in the chamber. Watching half the room stand/clap and the other half sit with sour faces brings out the cynic in me. And one thing I do not need more of is cynicism.
  2. What do you think about Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) giving a response speech for the Tea Party?
    Could be one of the most divisive things that has been pushed on the GOP since the Tea Party has experienced it's rise to power. It will be interesting to see where Ms. Bachmann agrees and disagrees with Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). 
  3. Is it really necessary for the GOP and the Tea Party to give nationally televised speeches responding to the president's speech?
    No. These responses have always annoyed me. They are many times a sad case of sour grapes talk and, in my opinion, no one really cares about the rantings of people who are elected to simply represent their respective states.
Please let me know how you would answer the questions. Even if you disagree.

Bragging About Rejected Super Bowl Ads

A week from Sunday the nation will sit mesmerized by muscular men duking it out on TV.. and in between those commercials they will also be watching the Super Bowl.

A few days a go the Business Insider asked Can We Please Put An End To The Fake "Rejected" Super Bowl Ads? Here are a few clips from it:
Ashley Madison doesn't want their ad on the Super Bowl. They deliberately made one that they knew would get turned down so that they could brag to the world that they are "controversial" and "too hot for TV." It's much cheaper that way.
Companies figured out years ago that the best brand strategy isn't spending all your seed money on a Super Bowl ad. It's manufacturing a non-existent controversy around your Super Bowl ad, so that you get just as many people watching it at a fraction of the price.

(That also happens to be's entire business philosophy.)

Yes, it worked. We just wrote a post about Ashley Madison and, right? But guess what? Women in lingerie and political humor isn't too hot for TV or the Super Bowl. It's also not funny and it sure isn't clever.
Fake "Rejected" Super Bowl Ads? You gotta love this sort of ingenuity. Looking back on these "controversies" I have to admit that it never crossed my mind that it was all a ruse. Color me gullible. How about you? Were you duped?

Violence, Bears, Packers, Steelers and Jets

Like many of you I will be watching the NFC and AFC championships this afternoon. I like NFL style football but I am becoming extremely uncomfortable with the helmet-to-helmet violence that permeates the game these days. Do you think the game has gotten too violent? I do - I cringe every time I hear about these guys getting a concussion.

I am cheering for the Jets today and don't have any strong feelings about the NFC championship. How about you?

Redemptive Bloggings

Just a reminder that I have been blogging daily at my other blog about the words of Jesus. My style has been to take a short sentence or thought and reflect a bit as to what He was trying to communicate. It has been very helpful to my own spiritual walk and has helped bring a renewed sense of clarity to my life.

I spent my first eight days pondering The Beatitudes. Since then I have been contemplating the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Here are a few of the titles I have posted:
Currently I am blogging every day about Jesus' instructions to us in the Lord's prayer.
I would love for you to follow, and comment on, my postings there.

Casey's Cookies

Saw this on the news this morning.

The mission of Casey's Cookies is to promote independence and improve the quality of life for developmentally and physically disabled adults through training and employment, and to develop a residential community in the Tampa Bay area where Casey's Cookies employees can live and work in a safe and nurturing environment.

Check them out

10 Most Technophobic Movies

Got a note from Florine @ the College Crunch site telling me about a post with the same name as this one. Here are a few excerpts from the intro:
"Technophobia" is a pretty easy word to break down: fear of technology, specifically of advanced computers or other devices and a belief that they will lead to humanity's ruin. ... real technophobia deals with tech gone awry, taking over a person or city or world in order to execute its own lethal agenda.
I have never really taken this seriously - although I still wonder if the government will one day mandate that a chip be implanted in our wrists or forehead.. as in the mark of the beast in the book of Revelation. I can see that happening as a reaction to identity theft. Even so I am not fearful about it and have not thought about it lately. Here is their list of most technophobic movies and a few of my comments:
  1. The Matrix - loved the imagination.
  2. WALL-E - have not seen it.
  3. The Terminator - love the idea of time travel.
  4. Frankenstein - this one scared me silly when I was young.
  5. The Day the Earth Stood Still - saw the recent version.
  6. Metropolis - have not seen it.
  7. Demon Seed - have not seen it.
  8. Jurassic Park - an interesting take on Dinosaur DNA.
  9. Avatar - was surprised that the story was pretty good.
  10. Star Trek - been a Trekker since the Kirk and Spock.
I recommend that you read the entire post here. They have good insights.

Are you a technophobe? Can you think of other technophobic movies?

Radon :: 50 times deadlier than Carbon Monoxide

Did you know that January is National Radon Action Month? In 2002 I had my home tested for Radon before we bought it.. the results were good and repairs unnecessary. The information below is excerpted from an email message sent by my insurance agent.

Radon escapes naturally from soil as a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that can seep through the foundation of your home and reach toxic levels. How toxic? Radon contributes to 21,000 lung-cancer deaths annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By comparison, carbon monoxide kills an average of 439 persons each year.

The EPA sets the maximum acceptable radon exposure at 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). However, because there's no "safe" level, the EPA recommends you take action when the level in your home reaches 2 pCi/L. Outdoor radon levels average about .4 pCi/L. You can test for radon two ways:
  • DIY tests. Buy radon test kits at home centers or through National Radon Program Services. Testing takes two days to a year in a closed-up house before you return the test to a laboratory for the results. Radon levels vary daily, so longer tests mean greater accuracy. Retest after making repairs.
  • Professional tests. A trained radon professional's electric monitor shows how radon levels fluctuate during the test period. Home buyers may trust professional tests more because they are performed independently of home sellers.
In general, treat radon reduction like any home improvement and obtain multiple bids before hiring a contractor. Fixing most radon problems costs $800 to $2,500, according to the National Radon Safety Board, one of two organizations maintaining lists of radon contractors. The National Environmental Health Association offers a list of questions to ask your radon contractor. The EPA has links to your state's radon control agency.

A good friend died a few months ago from lung cancer. He never smoked. He had worked from home for the past eight years. I know that they are testing his house. I wonder if his house had radon? A good reminder to get your house tested and know for sure.

Has The American Dream Drifted North?

I copied the title of this post from Tina Dupuy's blog article. I found some of what she said to be a bit surprising as she discusses a Canadian TV show named Til Debt Do Us Part that is hosted by Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Here are a few excerpts from it:
Then Gail handed the couple a wad of bills to illustrate they were going to be paying for things in cash from now on. The money? Canadian. These are Canadians. Their budget is manageable for one because they’ve chosen to not buy supplemental insurance and rely on the government to provide all of their health care.

This couple and most of the couples on the show don’t pay for health care out of their family budgets. The average family in America spends around $15,000 a year or around 22% of their income on health care. That amount will apparently pay most of a mortgage on an enviable home in the greater Toronto area.

Most notable, the show doesn’t delve into any sob stories about getting diseases and therefore having debt. There are no staples of the only-in-America saga of losing your health, then your health care and then your house. The debt is all from spending money on things they want. Simply because they want them. Which makes these spendthrift Canadians seem more American than Americans.
I think that Tina has gone a bit overboard to make a point. But she does make a few cogent points about how the expense of American healthcare impacts the economic health of average families. I know that our annual healthcare costs in 2009 were $9,549.. and we have really good insurance.. and there are only two of us in our family. So I tend to think that her figures are probably not too far off.. but I could be off base. Something to think about as congress moves to repeal last year's healthcare legislation.

How much does healthcare cost you? Do you think you Americans are paying to much for it?


I downloaded this cool freeware program over three years ago and it has helped me reduce keystrokes in about everything I do on my PC.. especially on the blogging front.. I use it a lot for HTML.

I recommend it to you and give it two thumbs up!

Tuesdays with Morrie | ★★★★★★★★★

I thought that Tuesday might be a good time to talk about this great made for TV movie that Ann and I watched a few weeks ago. It is hard to believe that we had not seen this 1999 flick.

This true story is the heartwarming journey of sportswriter Mitch Albom as he reconnects with his old professor Morrie Schwartz. As it unfolds we see two images of two very different men. Mitch is a thirty something guy who is driven and successful. Morrie is fun-loving academic who seems to have such a zest for life when he begins to experience the initials stages of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

Firstly I have to say that the movie reminded me of the amazing acts chops of Jack Lemmon - his portrayal of a dying man so inspired me. And I have to admit that Morrie reminded me of the way that Jill Hollis, another ALS victim, inspired me as she blogged about the challenges of ALS and dying. I was very touched by Morrie's zest for life even in his last days. I also like the way that they showed how difficult it was to deal with ALS.

I thought that it might be helpful to share a bit of Morrie's wisdom.. here are a few nuggets:
When you learn how to die, you learn how to live.

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.

Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too - even when you're in the dark. Even when you're falling.

We must love one another or die.

Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others.

As you grow old, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you'd always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It's growth. It's more than the negative that you're going to die, its also the positive that you understand you're going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.
I am sure that most of you have seen this movie. If you have I recommend that you see it again. I highly recommend it and, on a scale of ten, I give it ★★★★★★★★★.

The Home Office Sandbox

Click on the picture to get the rest of the story!

An Extremist for Love, Truth, Justice and Goodness

To celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr I give you this excerpt from a letter that he wrote from Birmingham Jail in April 1963 when he was 34 years old.

Was not Jesus an extremist for love -- "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice -- "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ -- "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist -- "Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God." Was not John Bunyan an extremist -- "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist -- "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist -- "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice--or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.

That last phrase grabs and challenges me! In the wake of recent violent acts in Tuscon, Arizona I pray that the people of our country, and those in other lands, would soar on the wings of love and rise above the violence and incivilities of our day. Amen.

Freezin' For A Reason

Saw a piece about this on TV this morning. I am very impressed by the care and compassion that people have for the homeless. Here are a few clips from this article:

"It starts with blankets, hats, warm hats, gloves, hygiene products such as bar soap, shampoo, deodorant, mouthwash, toothpaste and toothbrushes, that type of thing," said organizer Bryan Couch. Participants are only allowed to use discarded items for shelters and stay warm by a fire barrel.

The event is part of Operation Chillout, a year-long event at the church to help homeless people in the metro area. They said the event offers a glimpse at a tiny fraction of the number of area homeless people.

"That's something that a lot of people don't realize, that the average age of a homeless person in Kansas City is nine years old," said Couch. "Everybody thinks of the guy at the exit ramp holding a sign. They don't think about the mom with the two little kids that are trying to find shelter in one of the area shelters or in a hotel room or in their car."

Friday Bacon TV Quote Quiz

I never fancied myself with a tattoo until I saw this one today.. sigh. See if you can match these quotes about bacon to their TV show characters listed after the quotes:
  1. “Good Morning sweety. Oh my God, is that bacon?
    I love you, I love you, I love you.”
  2. “If you call ham “Canadian bacon”,
    what do you call bacon?”
  3. “Why was there BACON IN THE SOAP?”
  4. “I like waking up to the smell of bacon, sue me.”
  5. “Mmmm… unexplained bacon.”
  6. “I’ll have a non-fat, decaf latte, please. Oh, what the hell? Look, make it a full-fat mocha with extra whipped cream. What the hell, put a slice of bacon on it!”
  7. “Is it Bacon Day?”
Here are the TV show characters:
A:   Zim - Invader Zim
B:   Homer - The Simpsons
C:   Dr. Frasier Crane - Frasier
D:   Grace – Will and Grace
E:   Dr. Gregory House - House
F:   Michael Scott – The Office
G:   Michael Kelso - That ’70s Show
H:   Detective Adrian Monk - Monk
Warning, two of these quotes were said by one TV character. Also, two characters did not say any of those quotes. I will give the answers in a day or so. Have fun!

Certified Ethical Hacking

In all of my years in the software industry I have never heard of a Certified Ethical Hacker. Today I got an email message inviting me to attend a class and become one. Got me to wondering and googling. Here is what Wikipedia said about it:
The Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) is a professional certification provided by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council.) An Ethical Hacker is one name given to a Penetration Tester. An ethical hacker is usually employed by an organization who trusts him or her to attempt to penetrate networks and/or computer systems, using the same methods as a hacker, for the purpose of finding and fixing computer security vulnerabilities. Illegal hacking (i.e.; gaining unauthorized access to computer systems) is a crime in most countries, but penetration testing done by request of the owner of the targeted system(s) or network(s) is not.
Wonder what kind of deviousness would be required for such a position? It makes sense that large corporations need folks like this but it does surprise me that there are classes and certifications for them. I guess it is like other things in the software world - there is money to be made in training and certification.

Bacteria, ATMs and Public Toilets

This ATM keypad looks a bit dirty but not quite as dirty as a toilet. This article says "the bacteria we detected on ATMs were similar to those from the toilet". Talk about dirty money!

Color me grossed out.

Is the Fair Tax fair?

My friend Lynn and I had a Facebook dialog about the Fair Tax over the weekend concerning this article . Here are a few of my Facebook comments:
  • Why not call it a fair consumption tax? At least the name would actually mean something. And, in this era of "spin", that would be refreshing.
  • The "everyone gets the same level of prebate" and everyone pays the same 23% sales tax on new items is an interesting concept. Wonder what kind of shift there would be to used (vs new) cars. Maybe a whole new cottage industry of used stuff would surface.. might free us from China/Walmart? May not be good for manufactuing though?
  • Still don't understand what incentive I would have to buy new and pay 23% when I could buy used and pay no tax. And how will people pay taxes on things bought via the internet from other countries? Seems like the idea of this taxis based on the idea that people are stupid and are not frugal in their spending. What happens when folks figure this out?
  • I think that people who repair cars, shoes and the like might benefit a lot. But it doesn't seem to be good policy because it seems to exploit people's weaknesses. It seems that the ultra-rich would benefit the most, the poor would probably not be affected but the middle class would bear more of a tax burden because they will be purchasing the most - until they figure it out.
Now I have to issue a caveat.. I think that the Fair Tax would be very fair to me. I am retired, live off my retirement savings and get taxed every time I withdraw an funds from those savings. I would love to not have those funds taxed. And I do not buy many new things so my consumption taxes would be lower than most. Yet I wonder if this kind of tax would be fair to everyone.. especially hard working folks who buy a lot of stuff.

I thought that I might try to evaluate the pros and cons of the Fair Tax but I doubt that I could do this much justice. So, in lieu of that, I invite you to let me know what you think. Do you think that you would personally benefit? Do you have any concerns about it? What are your pros and cons regarding a federal consumption tax?

We are not Labels

From the No Labels website:

We are not labels – we are people.

We care deeply about our country.

We are frustrated and concerned about the tone of politics.

We are passionate about addressing America’s challenges.

We are Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

Most importantly, we are Americans.

We believe hyper-partisanship is destroying our politics and paralyzing our ability to govern.

We may disagree on issues, but we do so with civility and mutual respect.

We believe in the vital civil center — a place where ideas are judged on their merits.

We believe that together we can make the future better and brighter — and give us what we all deserve — a government and a political system that works — one driven by shared purpose and common sense.

We believe our politics can change, so that government will work again and produce better results.

The consequences of inaction have never been greater, because the issues we face have never been more serious, more complicated, or more dangerous.

And yet, we have a crisis of governance – A crisis that compels us to work together to move America forward.

We must put our labels aside, and put the issues and what’s best for the nation first.

A promising future awaits us.

Driving in Snow

Looks like we are getting the first real snow of the season here in Kansas City. Unlike some, I really do not like it. Still, I am glad that I do not have to get out in it. Does bring back a lot of memories of when I got my first front wheel drive car.. traction so much better. Then I got a 4 wheel drive Jeep and driving even got better.. except on that nasty icy stuff.

Do you like snow? What kind of vehicle do you drive in it? Any snowy stories to share?

To Know and Be Known

I have heard it said that being a Christian is all about being fully human in the sense that Adam was fully human before he sinned.
I guess I am not sure about that but I do think that Adam may have been a bit more relational before he took a bite of that proverbial apple. Eating the apple seemed to put a wedge between he and Eve.. wonder what their relationship was like after they left Eden.

Speaking about leaving Eden, consider this story that Ezra Klein describes in a Washington Post article titled Being 'fully human' online:
Consider the case of the CEO whose testimony persuaded Cooper to embark on this project: "He told me that he used virtual world games to play with his children," Cooper remembers. "He was divorced and had bad access to them, so he would meet them every evening in 'Everquest,' where they could play and chat. I asked him, what did they talk about? He told me they discussed things like homework, school, their mother; the normal stuff of humdrum reality."
I like this story because it conveys to us the idea that "being" human is all about "being" in relationship with others.. even if the relationship is virtual. I loved the idea that a dad found a way to interact with his kids via an online game. I know that he would prefer something different but liked how he embraced an alternate way of having a relationship with his kids.

I think that somehow we sometimes get the idea that "being" is all about "being" alone. Even religious people sometimes embrace an idea that all they need to be fully human is God in their lives. This idea gets wings when our relating to others wounds us deeply.. in pain we react by isolating ourselves. Yet in truth, God has designed us to be fully human "together". He looked at Adam and said that it was good not for him to be alone. Consider this quote:
Dialogue starts from the courageous willingness to know and be known by others. It is the painstaking and persistent effort to remove all obstacles that obscure our common humanity. -Daisaku Ikeda
Knowing and being known communicates a deep level of relationship. I like how Ikeda says this kind of relationship takes a courageous and painstaking willingness. I agree with him that this kind of relationship is not quickly built. Removing obstacles like anger, hurt and unforgiveness (to name a few) take time and requires a lot of persistence.

Having transparent and vulnerable relationships with others can help us to know ourselves in a way that nothing else can. When we share our hurts and failures we can experience a deep level of vulnerability. Revealing our fears to another can expose those fears to the light of humility. Sharing our hearts with another can strengthen us on the inside. Having the courage to be open helps us to be real - and it helps others to be as well.

Got Prejudice?

Prejudices are what fools use for reason. -Voltaire

Prejudice is the child of ignorance. -William Hazlitt

Hypocrisy: prejudice with a halo. -Ambrose Bierce

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. -Mark Twain

Prejudice squints when it looks, and lies when it talks. -Duchess de Abrantes

Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.
-E. B. White

Many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. -William James

Prejudices are the chains forged by ignorance to keep men apart. - Countess of (Marguerite Gardiner) Blessington

Bobby | ★★★★★★★

Just a casual glance at this image gives you a feel for the star power that was involved in this movie about the happenings at the hotel where Robert F Kennedy was shot. The actual shooting of Kennedy was somewhat incidental to the story that focused more on the culture and atmosphere of the late 1960s.

I enjoyed it but wonder if younger people would.. not sure that non-boomers would catch the nuances of life during those years. I thought the decision to use actual footage of Bobby Kennedy instead of an actor helped give a bit of reality to the story. A few of subplots were a bit over-the-top but even so I give the move a thumbs up and, on a scale of ten, I give it ★★★★★★★.

Eleven for 11 and a Dancing Governator to boot!

I may be a few days late on this but I thought that it might be fun to look at, and comment on, some of the things that folks are predicting for 2011:
  1. E-Books will outsell paper books
    I think that this prediction may be a bit of a stretch. But heck, even I bought Ann a Nook for Christmas.
  2. Alternative iPad-like Tablets will proliferate stores
    No-brainer here. Like the e-readers these devices are the new cool thing and everybody wants one.
  3. The Patriots will play either the Falcons in the Super Bowl
    One thing certain is that the Chiefs will probably not go to the big dance in Dallas.
  4. Airlines will have extra fees for In-Person Check-Ins and carry-on bags
    Guess I have gotten used to this idea of airlines bilking us for (not really) extras.
  5. A new third political party will emerge
    I seriously doubt that there is a group or famous person that can pull this off.
  6. Romney, Huckabee, Palin, etc will declare their intentions to run for president
    My thinking is that a relatively unknown will eventually secure the GOP nod as folks like these have to much negative political baggage with voters.
  7. Hillary Clinton will step down as Secretary of State
    I rather doubt that she will unless she tries to take another run at the presidency - which is highly doubtful.. yet she could probably beat Obama.
  8. The Supreme Court will agree to hear the California gay marriage case
    Not sure that the courts are the right place to determine this kind of an issue but they may anyway. If they do I predict that they will rule in favor of gay marriage.
  9. Inception will take the Best Picture Oscar.
    Have to admit that I have not seen most of the movies that are not out on DVD.
    I actually did see Inception this summer and would be very surprised if it won.
  10. Cash-strapped states like California, Illinois, and New York will beg for a bailout
    I think this will come true and we may the the autonomy of state governments challenged in the same way that the leadership of GM was when we bailed them out.
  11. Former Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger will be Dancing with the Stars
    I am still laughing about this prediction.. it is sooo funny.. the images that come to mind.. I think it could cause me to reverse my decision to boycott the show.
Any feedback on the list? Any predictions of your own - and please.. no religious clichés. :)

Do you have a Home Office?

Last year the LifeHacker site had an amazing set of home workspaces at their blog. Check them out here.

Got me to wondering how many people have a separate room in their home that they call an office. We used to before we moved. Ann had a desk, computer and a bunch of files in the room.. and sometimes it got a bit cluttered.

Do you have one? Do you actually work in the office or just mess around?


Before today I had never heard of this word. Yet, there is a wiki entry for it. Here is how it describes Christophobia:
Anti-Christian sentiment is an opposition to some or all Christians, the Christian religion, or the practice of Christianity.
Now I have to admit that, using this definition, the phobia aspect of the word doesn't seem to fit.. of course it rarely does.. but maybe the phobia part has more to do with the fear of Christian influence in society? Even so, the wiki expands the definition to include:
"every form of discrimination and intolerance against Christians" cites these examples of Christophobia:
Department of Homeland Security’s report on “Rightwing Extremism” that labeled conservative Christians as potential terrorists. Or when the police were called to a middle school in Kentucky to stop 8th graders from praying during lunch for a student whose mother was tragically killed. Or the murder of pro-life activist Jim Pullion in front of his granddaughter’s high school for showing the truth about abortion.
These things seem a bit extreme to me. Yet maybe that is the whole point of attaching phobia to words. Maybe it is a way to marginalize a large segment of society by equating adherents to the most extremes of the sect. Consider how Islamophobia has it's roots in the terrorist acts committed by the most extreme factions of it. Or how Homophobia incorrectly lumps all homosexuals in with it's most radical segments.

I guess I don't like the phobia suffix because it gives people a way to incorrectly, and unjustly, stereotype a large mass of people. It makes us suspicious of each other and it often brings out the worst in us. And the words are usually pretty imprecise.. at first glance you might think that Christophobic folks were afraid of Christ.

Bored Collies

Ann and I once had a Border Collie named Toby. I was reminded of him when Ann referred me to a Wall Street Journal post about people who rented sheep to keep their Border Collies from getting bored.
Here is the way it ends:
Border collies appear willing to herd until they drop. In fact, they never appear to grow bored of organizing sheep. If they do, for an extra $5 dogs at Fido's Farm can also herd ducks.

Take Time to Smell

I love Ziggy and I love clichés like this one. Even so, I love the idea of putting time in our schedules to slow down and experience the smaller beauties and wonders that life offers us. Here is the Walter Hagen quote in full:

You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

Sign me Just Visiting.

Kissing in the New Year

I cannot think of a better image to start our year off than this heartwarming front page image of a sailor and his sweetheart kissing in the new year in Times Square.
May 2011 bring much encouragement and blessings to those who serve in uniform.

Blogging the Beatitudes

Not sure if it is the beginning of the new year or if it is simply God inviting me to press in a bit more but I am planning to blog at my other blog a bit more in 2011.
Most of what I write will be pretty short and focus on one or two verses. My initial plan is to post about the words of Jesus and begin with The Beatitudes. I would love for you to follow, and comment on, my postings there.