Vulcan Salute Quiz

William Shatner might have been a dashing Star Fleet captain and all around beloved intergalatic explorer in his role as Captain Kirk but there was one thing he just couldn’t master. What do you think he needed to perform the Vulcan Salute?

    1) Hypnosis
    2) Super Glue
    3) Fishing Line
    4) Physical Therapy

Check your answer here and let me know how you did.

Shop at Military Friendly Employers

The 10th annual list of Top 100 Military Friendly Employers® was released today on, a new site that highlights companies with leading employment solutions for military. The list of 100 companies represents the top 2 percent of more than 5,000 eligible companies whose annual revenues exceeded $500 million.

I am thankful for companies that pay more than lip service to returning vets. Here are a few of the companies that made the list:
GE (#9), Sears (#14), Verizon (#15), HP (#18), Pepsi (#24), AT&T (#30), Lowes (#38), State Farm (#41), Travelers Insurance (#52), Southwest Airlines (#58), Progressive (#69), T-Mobile (#71), Walmart (#78), (#89), Home Depot (#92), Microsoft (#99), Allstate Insurance (#100)
Wonder if the list will affect the ways that people shop for Christmas? Do you think that list will cause a person to buy at Walmart instead of Target? Wonder if it will influence anyone to buy HP/Microsoft over Apple? My guess is that the list will be unread by the masses. If you would like to know which companies they are you can check the list here.

Mr. 3,000

No, this is not a movie review. Just a chance for me to stop and reflect on this my 3,000th post here at Kansas Bob since I first opined here in November 2006.

    •  Blogging has helped me reshape my ideology and theology.
    •  Writing about movies (120 posts) I have seen has been a fun experience.
    •  I wrote more about the 2008 elections (186 posts) than in 2012 (34 posts).
    •  I must really like quotes because I have included them in 216 posts.
    •  Most of my early cyber-friends now prefer Facebook over blogging.
    •  Combined with my other blogs I might hit 5,000 posts next year.

Thanks for reading my blogs. I so appreciate your visits and comments.

Giving Tuesday?

Have you heard of this? From the Giving Tuesday website:

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help create #GivingTuesday™, the giving season’s opening day. On Tuesday November 27, 2012 charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. It’s a simple idea. Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to join in acts of giving. Tell everyone you can about what you are doing and why it matters. Join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity. And together we’ll create ways to give more, give better and give smarter.

Wonder what people will think up next? Taking Thursday?

No Waiting in Line on Cyber Monday

The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for. -Will Rogers

I think that this quote encapsulates the sentiments that many of us felt last Friday - or other times for that matter. With the advent on online shopping many of us simply stay away from the obnoxious crowds and long shopping lines. Even so, there is something that I do like about shopping at a local store. There is just something appealing to be able to actually touch something before you buy it. Of course one can always feel it in person then buy it cheaper online. What do you think?

Seven Rules

As many of you know I once loved rules very much - many computer programmers are attracted to that vocation because of the logical rules involved. A few thoughts on these rules ...

    1) The past can be an anchor in both good and bad ways.
    2) I need to make sure that I have a thick skin.
    3) Patience and perspective can often seem to work miracles.
    4) We are all so clueless. We need to always love not judge.
    5) Thinking too much sounds like worry.
    6) They say that joy is a choice.
    7) A heart filled with joy can handle a lot of pain.

In general I found these to include some good ideas. Any thoughts on any or all of them? I'd love to hear your reactions.

Happy Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence. ~William Jennings Bryan

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. ~Aesop

Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now. ~A.W. Tozer

Got no check books, got no banks. Still I'd like to express my thanks - I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night. ~Irving Berlin

We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning. ~Albert Barnes

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. ~Theodore Roosevelt

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. ~Cicero

O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness. ~William Shakespeare

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

Am I a progressive Christian?

To follow up on yesterday's post about being spiritual and not religious (the comments on Facebook were really good) I thought that I might share a a few of my thoughts on the conclusions of Presbyterian Minister Bruce Reyes-Chow in his Huffington Post piece titled "You might be a progressive Christian if..."

You can be described, but not defined:
I think that I probably share a theological box with Charismatics, Evangelicals and Methodists. I have to admit that some of my views are a bit different though and my box may be bigger than you think. :)

You are more than a party platform:
I like to think of myself as a compassionate fiscal conservative. Yet I find myself sometimes disagreeing with folks like me almost as much as those on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

You are not just waiting for the other side to get over its idiocy:
I agree with this sentiment: "The Progressive Christian will always honor the idea that community only grows if she is open to the possibility that she might be just as wrong as the other side thinks she is."

You believe God can and does speak through disagreement:
The word compromise has got a bad rap in religious circles. I am one who thinks that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Unless we find a way to debate in love we will probably never grow spiritually.

You seek the highest common denominator:
One of my favorite sayings is "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity!" People of faith have so much in common. Sad that we spend so much time fixating on our differences.

You find God's inerrant truth in a non-literal understanding of Scripture:
I sense that this one could really get me in trouble with some. Even so I have to admit my life changed for the better when I began to let go of my bibliolatry and embrace the glorious truth that I find in the bible.

You bear with the battles:
The battles that Bruce speaks of are church squabbles and schisms. On two distinct occasions I have been able to help churches get healthy by bearing with such battles. Even so I do not consider these my greatest spiritual battles.

You are appreciate the person over position:
I find religious position to be the least effective influence in my life. The influence of Jesus in my life has always been about love and forgiveness. This type of influence is always greater than position.

You choose the middle:
These past years I have found myself drawn away from black and white thinking. I find so much vibrant color when I stay away from the extremes. Even so, I want to be a person who is passionate about loving God and loving people.

You do not demand loyalty:
The things that I have done from a sense of loyalty to church leaders have never been my finer moments. Following God is not about loyalty to leaders. Following God is all about love. His love for us and our love for him.

What about you?
Wonder what you think of Bruce's descriptive points about what it means to be a Progressive Christian. I resonated with some but think that some may not be all that much about being progressive but simply being Christian.

the spiritual not religious cop out

Alan Miller, Director of The New York Salon and Co-Founder of London's Old Truman Brewery, offers a few thoughts in a post titled "My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out". Here are a few excerpts ...

The increasingly common refrain that "I'm spiritual, but not religious," represents some of the most retrogressive aspects of contemporary society. The spiritual but not religious "movement" - an inappropriate term as that would suggest some collective, organizational aspect - highlights the implosion of belief that has struck at the heart of Western society.

Spiritual but not religious people are especially prevalent in the younger population in the United States, although a recent study has argued that it is not so much that people have stopped believing in God, but rather have drifted from formal institutions.

It seems that just being a part of a religious institution is nowadays associated negatively, with everything from the Religious Right to child abuse, back to the Crusades and of course with terrorism today.
The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind. What is it, this "spiritual" identity as such? What is practiced? What is believed?
Yet the spiritual-but-not-religious outlook sees the human as one that simply wants to experience "nice things" and "feel better." There is little of transformation here and nothing that points to any kind of project that can inspire or transform us. At the heart of the spiritual but not religious attitude is an unwillingness to take a real position. Influenced by the contribution of modern science, there is a reluctance to advocate a literalist translation of the world.

But these people will not abandon their affiliation to the sense that there is "something out there," so they do not go along with a rationalist and materialistic explanation of the world, in which humans are responsible to themselves and one another for their actions - and for the future.

Theirs is a world of fence-sitting, not-knowingess, but not-trying-ness either. Take a stand, I say. Which one is it? A belief in God and Scripture or a commitment to the Enlightenment ideal of human-based knowledge, reason and action? Being spiritual but not religious avoids having to think too hard about having to decide.

Geezer Quiz

From my email inbox. Twenty fun memory testers for Baby Boomers ...
  1. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask, Who was that masked man? Invariably, someone would answer, I don't know, but he left this behind. What did he leave behind?
  2. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. in early 1964, we all watched them on The _______________ Show.
  3. 'Get your kicks, __________________.'
  4. 'The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to ___________________.'
  5. 'In the jungle, the mighty jungle, ________________.'
  6. After the Twist, The Mashed Potato, and the Watusi, we 'danced' under a stick that was lowered as low as we could go in a dance called the '_____________.'
  7. Nestle's makes the very best ... _________.'
  8. Satchmo was America's 'Ambassador of Goodwill.' Our parents shared this great jazz trumpet player with us. His name was _________________.
  9. What takes a licking and keeps on ticking? _______________.
  10. Red Skeleton's hobo character was named __________________ and Red always ended his television show by saying, 'Good Night, and'________ ________'.
  11. Some Americans who protested the Vietnam War did so by burning their ______________.
  12. The cute little car with the engine in the back and the trunk in the front was called the VW. What other names did it go by? ____________ &_______________.
  13. In 1971, singer Don MacLean sang a song about, 'the day the music died.' This was a tribute to ___________________.
  14. We can remember the first satellite placed into orbit. The Russians did it. It was called ___________________.
  15. One of the big fads of the late 50's and 60's was a large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist. It was called the ______________.
  16. Remember Lucky Strike ... _____ _____ _____?
  17. Hey Kids! What time is it? It's _____ ______ _____!
  18. Who knows what secrets lie in the hearts of men? The _____ Knows!
  19. There was a song that came out in the 60's that was "a grave yard smash" it's name was the ______ ______!
  20. Alka Seltzer used a "boy with a tablet on his head" as it's Logo/Representative. What was the boys Name?
Check your answers in the comments section. How did you do. I missed three.

Medicine as Art

Ann's neurologist was interviewed earlier this year by the Kansas City Business Journal. Thought this quote from her was worth repeating:

Medicine is definitely an art, in my view. While we need science to guide us in our knowledge of appropriate treatments, the choice of a specific treatment for a specific patient is guided by so many different factors that we need to use our experience and understanding of the specific circumstances of that patient to guide us. No two patients are alike. There is a need for flexibility and trial and error to decide on the best course for each individual.

I have found that to be true. Unfortunately some doctors do not seem to embrace the art as much as the science of medicine. What has been your experience? Do you see the art in the practice of medicine?

Spiderman Shrugged | ★

This was definitely not a great week for movie watching at our place. If you have seen the Toby Maguire flavored movies and expected more of the same you will be very disappointed with "The Amazing Spider-Man". This version is filled with wooden actors and an unimaginative too-long plot . The Ayn Rand based "Atlas Shrugged" may have been one of the worst movies that I have ever seen. The plot was bad and the acting worse. Doubtful that even Rand's most ardent followers could follow this tripe.

I hated both movies and, on a scale of ten, give each .

Catch my other mini-reviews by selecting the Movies link in the menu bar above.

House Calls

This morning I read this retelling of a time on Staten Island (my hometown in New York) when doctors came to your home when you were sick - no kidding, they really did.
On Forest Avenue, between Raymond Place (adjacent to Clove Lakes Park) and Manor Road, stood a small two story Tudor style house, brick and dark brown half timber and trim.

This was the office and the residence of Thomas J. Dunne, M.D., who delivered all of my siblings and me. He made house calls carrying his black bag. On one such visit to our house on Raymond place in 1951, he wrapped me in a blanket and personally took me away in his car to St. Vincent's Hospital with a diagnosis of poliomyelitis. Subsequently, I was shipped to an isolation ward in Manhattan as SI went through the last big polio epidemic before Jonas Salk's vaccine stopped the virus in its tracks.

Dr. Dunne would make change from his pocket during an office visit, and would see four of us kids for the huge fee of $3 or $4, and often gave my mother large supplies of sample vitamins left for his practice by drug companies. He lived and practiced medicine in that quaint little corner house for decades. In the mid 90's his small shingle still hung, though I am sure he was retired. I rang the bell, but no one was home.

He was a great caregiver to our family...the old fashioned G.P., a term not in use any longer.
Reminds me of the time when the doctor came to my house when I had a bad stomach ache. Before I knew it he called an ambulance and I was at the hospital getting my appendix removed. Are you old enough to remember house calls?

So much has been taken away ...

My friend Carla shared this on her blog a while back and has given me permission to share it here. I offer it to give you a glimpse not only into Carla's life but to the world that my wife Ann and I sometimes live in as well.

I have been sad, I despise needing help / assistance from anyone, especially my husband. I feel like a burden, I have little to no independence, & I am so over living in a 3 level house in which I have access to only 1 level. I have boycotted please & thank you from my vocabulary with my husband as he loved to remind me when I didn't say it. I can't stand when I have to ask for anything I need that I cannot reach, or is on a different floor, or even in a different vicinity (needing the van) it's as though the task is being recorded so it can come back at me as if I don't appreciate anything that is done for me - this is never pleasant because it always occurs when I am experiencing a bad day physically & am already ornery.

I am learning that caregiving is not for everyone, we were blindsided & this ordeal has been quite a lesson learned, our personalities have changed & the meaning behind the marriage vow "In sickness & in health" does not have to be performed out of love but by duty, you just never know what to expect & no one is at blame & I know my duty is to be grateful that the duties have been met.

This is a very difficult way to live! I have been sad, unmotivated, lonely even in my own home, I am kept from so much and the punishment continues because why? Oh right, I am wheelchair bound. Dang it, it's not my fault, I didn't ask for this to happen to me but I would sure appreciate encouragement verses ridicule.

I want to walk, to be able to go upstairs to my art studio & create & be amongst my Wizard of Oz collection, to go down stairs & do my own laundry, to be able to reach anything in the kitchen cabinets, go outside & cut the grass or work in the garden, visit my family & friends by myself or with someone, or go on a (walk) with my husband. So much has been taken away from me, things that made me "me" & now I have so little to replace what was taken & I struggle to pull myself up by my bootstraps & find a new way, I certainly can't rely of any sense of encouragement at home so I have to dig deep within myself, this too will pass.

I have faith, & through Christ all things are possible , so no more pity party but it has been beneficial for me to enter this into this blog / my journal so I can remember my struggles & how I got through them.

Pauline Devotions

These past 100 days I have so enjoyed sharing daily reflections on the writings of King Solomon in Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. I hope that you have had a chance to catch a few of my thoughts as I have journaled through his writings at my faith blog.

Beginning tomorrow I will be sharing daily devotional thoughts from the epistles of the Apostle Paul. I look forward to learning from and reflecting on what this amazing man teaches us about faith, hope and love. I invite you to travel along with me at An Eye for Redemption.

The Wiki on Wikipedia

This funny Ziggy cartoon reminds me that using Wikipedia is not like reading the old Encyclopedias. Here is the wiki on it ...

"Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism. Users can contribute anonymously, under a pseudonym, or, if they choose to, with their real identity."

Wonder how many understand this about Wikipedia? Suspect that some do not. Ever wondered about something your read there?

8 Glasses Rule :: Not Too Scientific

A while back Gillian Mayman wrote a piece titled "The mysterious origins of the “8 glasses of water a day” rule" at "Mind the Science Gap". Here are a few excerpts ...

The idea that you need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day is ubiquitous in American culture. I’ve had doctors tell me this. I’ve read it on credible medical web sites. I’ve listened to a professor of public health discuss this as if it is scientific fact. However, there is no scientific basis for the “8 glasses of water a day” rule. Even more intriguingly, the origins are somewhat of a mystery.
So how much water do we need? Clearly, athletes and people who live in very hot climates need more water. But for the average person, the amount of liquid that they take in just needs to match the amount that they lose through bodily excretions such as urine, feces, sweat, and exhaled water vapor. For women this is about 2.2 liters and for men it’s about 3 liters, according to the Mayo Clinic. [This translates to about 74 ounces for women and 101 ounces for men.] However, the liquid that is consumed does not need to be water. It can be tea, coffee, soda, juice or other beverage. It can also come from foods that we eat which contain water.

I do feel that the 8 glasses of water rule has some merit - even if only for the awareness that it brings. I think that it is a good idea to stay hydrated even if the means is not purely water. What do you think?

Debating Determinism

Greg Boyd has written an excellent post about the ways that the ninth chapter of Romans can be interpreted. I recommend that you read the whole of it here. He ends it this way ...

On the basis of these six considerations I conclude that the deterministic interpretation of Romans 9 is as misguided as it is unfortunate. It is misguided not only because it misinterprets Paul, but because it fundamentally clashes with the supremacy of God’s self-revelation in Christ. And it is unfortunate because it tragically replaces the unsurpassably glorious picture of God as Jesus Christ dying on the cross for undeserving sinners with a picture of a deity who defies all moral sensibilities by arbitrarily fashioning certain people to be vessels fit for eternal destruction — and then punishing them for being that way. It exchanges the picture of a beautiful God who reigns supreme with self-sacrificial love and flexible wisdom for a picture of a God who reigns by the arbitrary exercise of sheer power.

I unequivocally affirm that the sovereign God “has mercy on whomever he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whomever he wants to harden.” I would simply add that the “whomever” he has mercy on refers to “all who choose to believe” while the “whomever” he hardens refers to “all who refuse to believe.” The passage demonstrates the wisdom of God’s loving flexibility, not the sheer determinism of God’s power.

Tablet Buying Criteria

This summer I bought a Google Nexus 7 tablet (pictured below) for my wife Ann's birthday. She absolutely loves it and uses it all of the time. With Christmas just weeks away you might be thinking of buying a tablet. If so here are some questions, from David Gewirtz at ZDNet, to help you narrow the choice ...
  • If how much you spend is the most important, get the $199 Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7.
  • If how much you spend is really, really important, get the last-generation Kindle Fire for $159.
  • If the most important thing is using all your iOS apps, get the iPad mini.
  • If the most important thing is using all your Android apps, get the Nexus 7.
  • If you want the freedom to run apps that Apple might not approve of, get the Nexus 7.
  • If you're an avid Amazon customer and want all the benefits of Amazon Prime, free videos, and the ability to "borrow" Kindle books, get a Kindle Fire HD.
  • If you think you'll be infuriated when Apple introduces a better iPad mini for the same price and drops the price on this one, don't get the iPad mini right now.
  • If you want the most mainstream option, with better app security, and you don't mind spending extra for the privilege, get the iPad mini.
  • If you've never used a tablet or a tablet operating system and you want access to the most training resources and materials, get the iPad mini.
  • If you want to read magazines and books in the bathroom and don't want to freak out if you drop your tablet in the toilet, get the last-generation Kindle Fire.
For me price and the ability to run all Android apps was the most important feature. Ann surfs the web, does email and reads books using the Kindle and Nook apps. Let me know if this helps and how you are leaning tablet-wise.

The Day After the Vote

This funny Shoebox cartoon reminds me that ...

    •  America is a great country built on diverse views,
    •  People are divided on candidates but unified on freedom,
    •  My New Years predictions are often very wrong,
    •  Our constitution is an amazing and enduring document,
    •  Republicans are splintered and need to find common ground,
    •  The hardest change is often the change in my attitude,
    •  Ohioans like my friends Julie and Brian made the difference,
    •  For now, politics will not dominate the news,
    •  Squawk Radio pundits are not all that influential,
    •  I am probably a bit too much of a political junkie,
    •  Lastly, LOL, I feel more tricked than treated but still grateful.

What are your post-election thoughts? Feel free to share.

Voting: Godly Obligation or Not?

Just read a blog comment that opines:

"the Bible forbids one from voting for someone who does not Fear God, Kiss the Son, and uphold the Commandments. Neither candidate does so. Therefore I will not cast a ballot for president."

It is an interesting take on a Christian's civic responsibility on election day. My view is that religious passivity and sanctimony have never done anything for our nation. I hope that Christians will, if they have not done so already, cast an enlightened vote. What do you think? Godly obligation or not?

Election Advice from John Wesley

My friend Mary posted this advice from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, related to elections in his time – it seems like pretty good advice for Americans this Tuesday:

    I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing
    election, and advised them:

        • To vote, without fee or reward, for the person
          they judged most worthy.
        • To speak no evil of the person they voted against.
        • To take care their spirits were not sharpened
          against those that voted on the other side.

Especially like that last point. Whatever means you use I pray that all Americans will make informed decisions when they vote. Ignorance and apathy, not partisanship, is the enemy.

Argo | ★★★★★★★★

Always hard to sort out fact and fiction from movies based on actual events. I think that was one of the tensions I felt when Argo started with an indictment of America's involvement with the Shah of Iran and the events of the late 70s when he was overthrown and a new leader was put in place.

Once I got past that I found a way to sit back and enjoy this retelling of the rescue of six Americans from Iran. I thought that the directing was great, Ben Affleck's performance good and the plot was suspenseful. There were several twists in the story that kept me interested and on the edge of my seat.

I am not sure that I see it as Oscar worthy but think that it will make it into the company of the top ten 2012 flicks. On a scale of ten, I give it ★★★★★★★★.

Answering robots when they call ...

This funny SNL image reminds me that I always hang up on Robots, who pretend to be humans, when they call. My practice is also to answer telemarketeers with:

    •  Who gave you my number?
    •  I am on the Missouri the no-call list.
    •  My policy is to not answer questions from strangers.
    •  Please take me off your list.

How do you handle Robots and Marketeers when they call you?