Porsche P1 Electric Car

The first Porsche-designed car was unveiled in Stuttgart, Germany, on Monday. It had been sitting in an old shed in Austria since 1902.

The car is, officially, the 1898 Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton. It's known as P1, signifying Ferdinand Porsche's first design.

It is an electric-power car, developed by Ferdinand Porsche, who founded the namesake sports-car company in 1948.

... from yesterday's edition of USA Today. Read more here.

New Devotions on John

Yesterday I began a series of devotions on the Gospel of John at An Eye for Redemption.

Please join me over there as I share a thought each day from this amazing book of the bible.

Thanks, Bob

Geriatric Entitlement Rant

I am turning 65 in a few months - I got my Medicare Card this week. So things will be changing a bit for me. As a Ma Bell retiree I currently have good health insurance - not as cheap as it once was but pretty good. Even so, I do not think that my healthcare will change that much. My rant is more about the solvency of these government geriatric programs.

My parent's generation produced twice as many kids as mine. The consequences are that my kids will have a greater tax burden as more of us Boomers retire simply because there are fewer tax payers in the system to pay for the entitlements of seniors. I think that huge changes need to be made in Social Security and Medicare to compensate. A few thoughts:
  1. If they raise the eligibility to 70 (for example) that would mean that private insurers would have to cover people for an extra 5 years or so - who knows how that would play out. 
  2. Another solution is to do means testing for these senior entitlements - seniors would probably feel the rug being pulled out from under them but it may be the best option to make these programs solvent.
  3. And then of course there is a tremendous amount of fraud that should be dealt with - even these types of investigations are expensive and cost tax payers money.
  4. Lastly, I hate to even mention it, the government could raise the earning limit (currently $117,000) for FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes causing people who make more money to pay more into these geriatric programs.
I know there are other options - what do you think? I think that we are pretty much up the creek and the congress in DC is doing little to solve these massive problems. I so wish that there was a way for them to come to a consensus on these things. Yeah, I know that I am dreaming. Here endeth the rant.

The Butler | ★★★★★★★★★

I am not sure that I can do justice to this movie in such a brief space. Director Lee Daniels has created a wonderful movie about a man who lived through an awful time in American history. Cecil Gaines (played beautifully by Forest Whitaker) began his life on a cotton plantation and found his way to working for seven presidents in the White House. The movie tells the story of how he saw such tragedy in his life ... how his whole paradigm of life was upended so many times ... and how he was changed by his son's involvement the Civil Rights movement. I loved this movie.

The Butler reminded me of another movie, Forrest Gump, in the way that it told our American story through the eyes and life of one man. I was moved to tears as I relived the horrendous events in our history - the film allowed us to experience the sufferings of not only a man but of many courageous African Americans.

I highly recommend this movie and, on a scale of ten, give it ★★★★★★★★★.

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

Ten Pin Hodgepodge

The folks at This Side of the Pond have a meme called Wednesday Hodgepodge. Here is my entry for today ...
  1. It was decided on Sunday the Denver Broncos will meet the Seattle Seahawks in this year's Superbowl. So, when was the last time you bowled? Not where you thought this question was going is it? Do you like to bowl? Are you any good?

    I love to bowl but, with ankle and wrist problems, I am no longer able to do it. Interesting to note that I once bowled a 289 - one pin away from perfection. Also interesting that my cousin Ed averaged over 200 in league play before his right thumb was injured, learned how to bowl left handed and maintained 200+ as a southpaw. He bowled 300 with both hands. Pretty amazing guy!

  2. Should sports stars be role models?

    Probably not but they and other celebrity types often are. Even folks in congress are often not models of good behavior. That said, I do think folks like Peyton Manning and others tend to be good models.

  3. January is National Oatmeal month...are you a fan? How do you like your oats?

    I am not a fan but will eat oatmeal on a rare occasion. My wife is a fan - does that count?

  4. What is one book on your reading list for 2014?

    I began reading Zealot by Reza Aslan two weeks ago. Six chapters in and I am not impressed.

  5. What would you like your future self to say to your present self?

    Interesting you should ask. The answer is here.

  6. When scrolling through the TV guide, what is one movie title that makes you want to stop, grab the popcorn, and watch for a while?

    Forrest Gump.

  7. What are two style trends you hope never come back into fashion?

    Bell Bottoms and Leisure Suits!   ツ

  8. Insert your own random thought here.

    Came to me in the shower today. The idea that God is always leading me.

Thanks for stopping by. Got any hodgepodge to share?

I Have A Dream

To celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. I thought that I would post a few excerpts from his most famous speech given to that massive crowd in Washington, DC, on August 28, 1963. Reading it inspires me yet today.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Diabetes, Google and Contact Lenses

My first wife had diabetes. So I my interest was peaked when I heard about Google's Smart Contact Lens Project that involves the monitoring of sugar levels in tear drops through contact lenses. Here is a clip from their blog:
We’re now testing a smart contact lens that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second. We’re also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer, so we’re exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds. It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype. We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.
This could be an amazing revolution for folks who are now pricking their fingers for blood tests. I so hope that something like this could one day be the norm. Of course it would even be better it researchers come up with a cure!

Consumer Reports on Bacon

Yeah, I could not believe that Consumer Reports tests bacon as well as cars, washing machines and televisions.
That said, here is the bottom line result from their report on the heavenly food:
Kirkland Signature Regular tastes best. It’s sold as four 1-pound packages, so you may need to freeze some. ... Very good alternatives include Great Value Lower Sodium or, for thicker slices, Oscar Mayer Thick Cut. A higher price didn’t mean better bacon: The priciest product of all, Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked, rated lower than many others.
I was disappointed that they did not test or recommend center cut bacon as it seems to be less fatty that other varieties. Anyone ever buy 4 pounds of Kirkland Signature Regular bacon at Costco? Is it really better than other brands?

How to help a friend who’s ill ...

While we want to help when a friend or family member is seriously ill, it’s difficult to know just what to do – so we often do nothing. Sami Papacek, wellness program development manager at Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing, suggests three welcome ways to lend a helping hand.

First, take the initiative to make contact and make something happen. Whether it’s a thoughtful gift or an offer to provide a service, Papacek said families facing illness often feel they don’t want to impose on others. So it’s up to you to make the offer.

Second, it’s important to keep in mind that gifts like candy or plants might be prohibited from the homes of ill patients for health reasons. “I also urge people to think about basic life needs when thinking of a gift,” she said. “Running errands for the person or helping with household chores can be more welcome than a physical gift.”

Finally, if you choose to give a gift, think beyond the disease. After all, sick people know they’re sick. Giving a gift that draws attention to the disease – such as a book about the sickness or a jewelry mentioning the illness – might be counterproductive. Instead, think of a gift that might bring joy such as warm clothing, funny movies or comfy throws or pillows. You might consider giving a certificate for a relaxing massage or spa service.

Whatever you decide, remember that a visit or phone call might be just as welcome.

... a tip of the hat for this article to KU Med Center

Note to My Younger Self

Dear Young Bob,

You have a tendency to want to see things in very black and white terms. This tendency will lead you to places and people that are not good for your soul. Find a way to embrace a grayer view of things. Embrace the courage to be different. Seek God in all you do and recognize that He works in strange ways. Look for His presence in the smiles of strangers and the encouraging words of friends. Find ways to live out words like humility, love and mercy. Find ways to be kind to everyone you meet. Never forget to treat others the way that you want to be treated. Make it your goal to live a life that pleases the Lord.

Signed, Older Bob

Cape Coral Heaven

Today marks day seven of my Florida vacation. Been a wonderful time staying with my brother-in-law Lou. Hard to believe it has been a year since his wife (my sister) Eydie passed away. Plan to post some pictures later but thought that you might enjoy this one - click on it to make it larger. Hope it shows okay as I am posting from my phone. :)

Update: Posted more vacation pics on my photo blog. ツ

Inspiration not Empowerment

The word ‘empower’ never raised red flags in these years so I used it confidently and frequently.

Until a dear African American friend enlightened me. It had never crossed my mind before that what this word implies is that I have the power and you do not. Therefore, let me give you the power. This also goes against my theology of humanity: that no matter our circumstances we are all uniquely created in the image of God, with our own thoughts, our own beliefs, our own strengths and weaknesses. A beautiful messy collection of broken and poor people, this word ‘empower’ implies a giving of my strength to your weakness, rather than a mutual exchange of dignity. Thereby degrading you and elevating me.

I believe that we need to stop empowering and start inspiring. The word inspire is to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something (especially something creative). We inspire by living an inspired life ourselves. It is natural to be attracted to and want to spend time around inspired people. People passionate about life, creative, honest and fully present. I am inspired when I am with these people to be a better me. So what if, instead of seeking to empower, we began to seek to inspire? To focus inward in an effort to live our own lives fully, to love deeply, to be conscious in our mistakes and present to our pain.

... these thoughts were clipped from an article by Rachel Goble at Red Letter Christians


I saw a New Yorker cartoon today where Superman is talking to a lady in an office. He says: "Will I be penalized for not having health insurance if I'm young and actually invincible?" It brought a smile to my face until I thought about kryptonite. Yeah, even the Man of Steel was really not invincible. Sadly, or maybe not, it takes some of us a long time (and a lot of pain) to grasp the idea that we are not invincible. Often youth can be both a blessing and a curse.

My parents were exceptional encouragers - it was a long time before I understood that there were things in life that I could not accomplish. They deposited in me a strength and belief in my self that motivated me when I was young. Yet sometimes a substance like kryptonite is the vessel that shows us that we are weak and in need of One who is stronger. So often humility is forged by the painful rays of a very deadly substance that shows us that we are not invincible.

Share Your Favorite Posts from 2013

My Blogging Buddy Eddie asks us to post the best, or one of the best posts at our blogs for the year 2013. Here are the ones that I shared at Eddie's place:
What are your favorite posts from your blog? Feel free to share links to them in the comments section. I look forward to reading them - possibly for a second time!