Friday, December 28, 2007

...The rest of the Story

Among the goodies I received for Christmas, oops Birthday, was Steve Martin's autobiography, Born Standing Up. I've been reading a little bit each day and am 1/2 way through. It is fascinating. I became familiar with him when he emerged in the mid 1970's as a WILD & CRAZY GUY. So far everything I've ready about Steve happened before he hit the big time.

Lessons learned:

1. There are very few overnight successes.

2. Get to know the rest of the story, it will offer insight and enrich your experience.

3. Take time to read more.

4. Own a pair of rabbit ears.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

One More Day?

Recently, I saw part of the movie "One More Day". Harvey Mackay shares his thoughts:

Take time for yourself to do ordinary things

Author Mitch Albom says he wrote his book "For One More Day" when he became fascinated by how people answer this question: If they could spend one more day with a loved one already departed, how would they spend it? What would they do?

In Parade magazine, Albom says that he repeatedly found that people wanted to spend an ordinary day doing ordinary things with the people they had loved. Notably, almost everyone wanted to tell a special person just one more time how much they loved him or her. Others mentioned that they wanted to do the things they always did with that person, such as head to the racetrack, eat in a favorite hamburger joint or talk about old times.

One son wished that he could share knowledge that would have eased his father's guilt over an incident where the father threw a snowball and accidentally blinded another son. Later, after the father's death, the family learned that the son had a condition that had predisposed him to such an injury. He wanted to help his father lift his burden.

One man longed for a moment with his son who died in a car accident. He wanted to relive a favorite getaway, a walk with him in the woods.

Asking people to describe their wishes helped Albom understand what we yearn for. Often it's not something exotic or faraway. The most common responses involved personal connections and realizing that a normal day is something we should all treasure.

Chances are, you've been blessed with success and tremendous opportunity. You can likely recall some colossal failures and deep disappointments. Would you choose any of those for one more day? No matter how much the big things have changed your life, it seems that it's the little things, so many of which we take for granted, that make our lives worth living.

How does this relate to careers and work issues? No matter how passionate you are about your work, it's only part of your life. As you've heard so many times, don't work so hard at making a living that you forget to make a life. When work stress spills over to disrupt the rest of your life, you need to plug the dam. Is this how you would spend your "one more day?"

When you feel like you are tottering on the edge and you just need a break—you should take one. In today's busy world, it is easy to fall into the trap of never taking any time for yourself. Just about every time you pick up a newspaper or magazine these days, you find a study declaring that Americans are more stressed, sleep deprived and time-crunched than they ever have been. That's no way to spend one more day.

While you can't turn the clock back, you could certainly benefit from some real time away from the things that drain you. Spend that time instead with the people who are special in your life. Here are some simple suggestions:

  • Disconnect. Promise yourself that you will not answer your cell phone, return a text message or check your email. Lest you think I'm crazy, let me remind you that people have survived for centuries without these things. It's highly likely that you'll not only survive, but also probably emerge refreshed from unplugging and turning off for a change. When was the last time you had an uninterrupted dinner?

  • Escape for an evening. Leave work on time and stash your briefcase in a closet. Spend the hours doing something you love—anything but work! You know the old saying about all work and no play. Would you really come back—just for one more day of work?

  • Take your vacation time. Hoarding earned days? Do you lose them if you don't use them? Maybe you are just building up a cache of time that you will use "when you need to." People seem to be almost unwilling to take breaks when they really need them. Keep in mind that the workplace and world will survive, probably quite well, if you go on vacation. If you think you are indispensable at work, stick your finger in a bowl of water and notice the hole it leaves when you pull it out. Now try to imagine the hole in your family's life without you. It suddenly becomes a clear choice!

Mackay's Moral: You can't count your days, but you can make your days count.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Very Snowflake Christmas

It began a couple years ago, as a way to make Christmas fun and unique. Snowflakes, each one is unique and so the tradition was born. Last year we had a paper snowflake contest, and this year the competition was turned up a few notches. At Thanksgiving, word went out to create a unique snowflake and win a prize. Brandon, Rachael, Josh and Madeline each brought their own creations and the voting resulted in a tie, broken by a debate and the money was handed out.

And so that everyone would be included that visited, Snowflake pajama's were given out to one and all. Thanks to everyone that came over, called, played, and sang!

Here's a group shot of the kiddo's:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Five Lessons About How To Treat People

-- Author Unknown

1. First Important Lesson - "Know The Cleaning Lady"

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. Second Important Lesson - "Pickup In The Rain"

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.

A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3. Third Important Lesson - "Remember Those Who Serve"

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "50¢," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "35¢!" she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4. Fourth Important Lesson - "The Obstacles In Our Path"

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand - "Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition."

5. Fifth Important Lesson - "Giving When It Counts"

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her."

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Something I won't be doing anymore

Not that I ever could do a flip.......

Extreme videos

And Something I never did....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The truth behind Christmas

I was listening to N.P.R. this morning and they were talking about fulfilling little kids Christmas wishes with "Santa's helpers" etc. and I realized that Christmas can mean a lot of different things to different people:

  1. Family get-to-gethers.
  2. Snow.
  3. Christmas Presents.
  4. Thankfulness.
Yet there is one way to avoid disappointment over Christmas, and that is to focus on what we have already been given. It wasn't until around 2000 years ago we even had a Christmas to celebrate!

May you focus on the blessings that we have, and seek the truth behind Christmas...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Last minute Gift ideas under 10 bucks

I'm all done with my shopping but if you need any last mnute ideas, this is from the ZEN HABITS WEBSITE:

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to give cheap but meaningful gifts. Yes, I’m a cheapskate, but I’m a happy one.

I’ve always been into improving my life, and if I can help the loved ones in my life do the same, without spending a lot, I’m very happy.

Last week, I asked you guys for some suggestions for inexpensive gifts, and boy did you deliver. This week, I’m going to steal your answers for those who didn’t have the time to read them all — these are just my favorite ones, plus a couple of my own ideas. (Thank you, readers!) Read more »

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Finally got the car dug out of the snow...

Well somebody did, not me. We hit 40 degrees today and it's supposed to be 51 Saturday.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Time for something personal...

A family brag. Rachael, my oldest was the inspiration for the couple of blogs I update daily. She was successful as a server in Warsaw, successful in car sales as the sales person of the month, a couple years ago, and once again she has risen to the top. This email was names her as employee of the 4th quarter at her current job. Way to go! Again!

From: Joy Walker
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:36 PM
To: Everyone
Subject: Employee of the 4th Quarter

Congratulations go to Rachel Howard of our Ft. Wayne Branch….she was nominated by more than one person as being a “bright spot” to the entire H&S organization. Also, the ballot stated there was not just one instance where Rachel goes above and beyond, but she does this every day!!!! The customers love dealing with her and she has formed a strong relationship with Zimmer! She is always ready to learn more about our product-line and is always pursuing excellence!


Joy Walker

Customer Service Manager

Haggard & Stocking

A "Green" Christmas and other Holiday Humor and reflections

I cannot take credit for any of the following it came from an email from

Christmas Tips

Funny Tips –from many sources.

  • The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. – Jay Leno.
  • Let’s be naughty and save Santa the trip.
  • Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you’re home.
  • Christmas is the season when you buy this year’s gifts with next year’s money.
  • Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live.
  • The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.

Kids Tips

  • Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.
  • Nothing’s as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas.
  • To kids, Christmas isn’t a date on the calendar; it is a state of mind.

Twelve Days of Christmas Cost Cutting Program

To: All North Pole Staff

Date: December 12

Subject: Twelve Days of Christmas Cost Cutting Program

The North Pole's Season's Gift Distribution has missed budget this year. Internet shopping has diminished Santa's market share. Therefore, Corporate is herein outlining budget cutbacks. In the best interest of our shareholders, Corporate cannot not sit idly by and permit further erosion of margins.

Reduction in the reindeer will lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the North Pole has received unfavorable press (gas and solid waste).

A side note. Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the rumor that Rudolph's nose gets red, not from the cold, but from a ‘substance abuse issue.’ Calling Rudolph "a drunk who was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load" was an unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa's helpers and taken out of context at a time of the year when they are known to be under 'executive stress'.

Effective immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" music subsidiary:

1) The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree, which never produced the budgeted cash crop, will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance;

2) The inappropriate romance of Two Turtle Doves during working hours simply could not be condoned. The positions are, therefore, eliminated;

3) The three French hens will remain intact, until the next holiday when they will be (how do we say this delicately) assigned to the Restaurant division for consumption. Excellent ROI.

4) The four calling birds will be replaced by an automated Voice Tracking system. A study is in the field to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked;

5) Perhaps the most egregious expenditure, Five Golden Rings has been summarily ended. Maintaining a portfolio based commodity (“Bling”) could have negative implications for institutional investors;

6) The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be tolerated. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day was an example of the general decline in productivity.

7) The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order.

8) As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy EEOC scrutiny. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. Some of the maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process will solve all the above issues.

9) Nine ladies dancing will be phased out as these individuals achieve Boomer status and can no longer do the steps;

10) Ten Lords-a-leaping has been the subject of controversy. While there is nothing wrong with Lords leaping, ten of them is a bit much.

11) Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big.

Overall we can expect a substantial reduction in assorted personnel, fowl, animals and related expenses.

Deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to remain competitive. Should that happen, Corporate will then scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.

Taz’s Christmas Tip

When I was a kid, my Mom & Dad told me that they enjoyed watching us open gifts – more than we did receiving them. Then as a parent I understood they were right. Take note of that. For the next few days – forget about business; concentrate on the more important stuff like family and kids. Besides all the large “gifts” there are even better ones to give, in the next two weeks. As often as you can give some of the following “gifts” to family, friends, a couple kids, a stranger or someone very old. You can give them.

a smile

a good listening to

an affirmation

your friendship

a few minutes of your time

a compliment

a pat on the back

an example of caring

your undivided attention

And like my Mom & Dad, you’ll feel as good, or better, than the recipient.

Finally, I’d ask you to, for just a moment, think about, and say a short prayer for those overseas who are keeping us safe this Christmas.

That’s what I think this is all about. Thank you for your friendship and kindness.

Happy/Merry Holimas?

As I have been sending Christmas cards out to clients and friends, I have a stack of cards with a bible verse from Luke 2:11; also a stack that have Santa on the cover, plus a stack that has a gift wrap theme. All of them mention Christmas to one degree or another. As I select which card to mail to which person, I realize that there are some folks that are quiet with their beliefs, others are loud, and others I have no idea. There are a couple of folks that are Jewish. They'll get a Happy New Year card, eventually.
If you are reading this and waiting for your card from me and it doesn't arrive, forgive me please, my lousy handwriting can only address so many cards. And then the mail man has to try and decipher what I wrote!?!?!?
On this whole subject is this bit of news:

Happy Holidays' Or 'Merry Christmas'?

In its fourth annual survey, finds that 60% of holiday gift baskets were sent using the term "holidays" on the gift card as opposed to "Christmas." The company says it's a "stark reversal" of the previous three-year trend. The percentage preferring "holidays" was:

In 2004, 58%

In 2005, 43%

In 2006, 27%

In 2007, 60%

"The most surprising element of this test is the huge swing from last year," says Don Crowther, president of "For something to more than double in one year indicates that a major factor has changed.

"Perhaps it is because of the election season (note that the previous high was in 2004, a national election year), or perhaps it is due to the increasing sensitivity to other cultures and their holiday celebrations."

On the other hand:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Blogging on the radio?

Is there a directory or forum in your town for locals to find a local blog? Here in Fort Wayne, our local Public Radio station is doing a series on local blogging. The following is from Fort Wayne Observed:

Audio of Public Radio's Fort Wayne "blogosphere" story

WBOI FM broadcast Don Clemmer's story on the Fort Wayne blogosphere.

Jeannette Dillon and Don Clemmer have provided Fort Wayne Observed with an mp3 of the first broadcast segment from Northeast Indiana Public Radio.

You may listen to the segment by clicking here.

Second segment of the NIPR blog feature

Click here to listen to the second part of Don Clemmer's story on the Fort Wayne blogosphere which was first broadcast on Northeast Indiana Public Radio.

From NIPR's introduction:

In part one of our two part series exploring Fort Wayne’s blogosphere we learned that Fort Wayne actually has one of the strongest blogospheres in the country. In part two, local bloggers discuss blog behavior, politics and the media.

New Generation Radio’s Don Clemmer reports for Northeast Indiana Public Radio.

I have a list of Local blogs on the right hand side of my blog.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reading, what?

Amazon is selling something called a Kindle, which is supposed to take the place of printed books. I just checked their website and they are backordered, sold out at $400 a pop.

In the meantime my Sunday paper is still in the plastic bag in came in this morning and I have spent the last 45 minutes reading all the local blogs that I have listed to the right.

I read, I own books, I watch some TV, I listen to the radio, I get current information from the net, radio, & TV in that order. A Kindle? No way, are you Kindling Me?

Yeah, we got some snow

Not this much though. This was from the 1978 Fort Wayne snow storm. Drive carefully!

A preventable condition

Friday, December 14, 2007

Go Read a Book

Josh and his Radish got me the latest Steve Martin book, "Born Standing Up" for my birthday this week. It's number one on my list right now. However, if you have to stay on line, you can go to Steve's website.

Or you can go here

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Honesty, a lesson from Harvey

Many folks around my age think of Jimmy Stewart and the invisible rabbit when I mention "Harvey". ( Go check out the movie some time.) But this time Harvey is Harvey Mackay who's writings 20 or so years ago helped fuel my career.

This was in my email today:

Live and work like your mother is watching

I had the great honor several months ago of being inducted into my high school Hall of Fame at St. Paul Central in St. Paul, Minn. Previous honorees include Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts cartoon strip; Richard Schulze, founder and chairman of Best Buy; and Dave Winfield, a member of Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame.

Approximately 500 selected students were invited to the auditorium for the ceremony and to hear a few remarks from this year's recipients. I shared four ideas with students, the first three being: 1) Believe in yourself—even when no one else does, 2) Don't quit and 3) There is no "I" in team.

I want to touch here on my fourth point: Act like your mother is watching.

Let me tell you a true story about Professor Bonk who taught chemistry at Duke University. One year, three students were taking chemistry and all earning a solid "A" going into the final exam. The weekend before finals they decided to go to another school to party with some friends. They didn't make it back to Duke until early Monday morning, in no shape to take the final.

They explained to Professor Bonk that they had been away for the weekend and had planned to come back in time to study, but they had a flat tire on the way back and didn't have a spare, so they didn't get back to campus in time.

Professor Bonk agreed to let them make up the final on the following day. What a relief! They studied all night. When they arrived for the exam, Professor Bonk placed them in separate rooms, handed each of them a test booklet, and told them to begin.

They saw the first question was simple, worth 5 points. Piece of cake! Then they turned to question 2, worth 95 points: "Which tire?"

Unfortunately the business community does not get stellar grades for ethics the past few years. Too many companies have tried to fool the public.

Ethics and integrity must be the cornerstone of your existence. If you want your employees to tell the truth, a company better start by being truthful with their employees.

Let me tell you about our mission statement at MackayMitchell Envelope Company, which is: "To be in business forever."

What does that mean? It stands for no hidden liabilities ... no cutting corners ... no small print under the small print ... no red flags.

We in the business community need to set a good example for our young people. Surveys show that a disturbing number of students cite recent corporate and political scandals to justify their dishonesty.

It's critical to use good judgment so that you aren't hauled up before a court. And I'm talking about the court of public opinion as much as any court of law. If you don't use good judgment, you're already judged—especially in business.

A mother was invited for dinner at her son Brian's apartment. During the course of the meal, Brian's mother couldn't help but notice how beautiful Brian's roommate, Jennifer, was.

Brian's mom had long suspected a relationship between Brian and Jennifer. Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between them than met the eye.

Reading his mom's thoughts, Brian volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you Jennifer and I are just roommates."

About a week later, Jennifer came to Brian saying, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don't suppose she took it, do you?" Brian said, "Well, I doubt it, but I'll send her an email just to be sure."

So he wrote: "Dear Mom: I'm not saying that you 'did' take the gravy ladle from the house, I'm not saying that you 'did not' take the gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner. Love, Brian."

Several days later, Brian received an email back from his mother that read: "Dear Son: I'm not saying that you 'do' sleep with Jennifer, I'm not saying that you 'do not' sleep with Jennifer. But the fact remains that if Jennifer were sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the ladle by now. Love, Mom."

Mackay's Moral: Never lie to your mother ... or anyone else.

Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.

Weather: Fact, Fiction, or Hoax?

Blizzard conditions, Deathly Freezing Rain, Thousands of cars lying in ditches, tens of thousands maimed or killed. Flood wipes out entire state, no survivors. It is all a bunch of Hype, and Fear mongering by the over protective weather forecasters that are trying to justify their jobs and technology with false predictions.

I live in Indiana. Grew up here, returned 9 years ago. I lived in town when Ronald Reagan came for a photo opp due to flooding in 1982. We had a lot of snow followed by a warm spell and the rivers overflowed. As a result our city built better banks for the rivers, changed zoning, created a new park (Headwaters) and moved forward.

Today however, the weather forecasters are unable to accurately predict what is going to happen in the next 24 hours or even the next 6 hours when it comes to bad weather.

And really, what would we do differently if we knew that we were going to get 6 inches of snow overnight? What can you do? Not much, just make adjustments to your plans. But to rely on our forecasters is just plain, dumb, foolish and stupid.

Until they can prove the accuracy of their forecasts, they're just crying "Wolf". And we have grown numb to their words of warning.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

'nother year older and wiser?

It has been a fun day as I have received many birthday surprises and wishes from friends and family. But also in my email today was the following from Scott, "The name tag guy". Excellent words of wisdom:

9 Things People Don't Care About

1. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … how good you are.
They care how good you’re going to help them become.

2. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … what you’ve done.
They care what you’ve learned, and how those lessons can help them.

3. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … what you can’t do.
They care what you CAN do.

4. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … what they hear you say.
They care what they SEE you DO.

5. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … what you do for a living.
They care what you’re passionate about.

6. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … if you’re having a bad day.
They care how you’re going to help them have a better day.

7. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … about price.
They care about value, convenience and risk.

8. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … about your company.
They care about the problems your company can solve.

9. PEOPLE DON’T CARE … about being apologized to.
They care about answers, solutions and resolutions.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cats, Coffee and Choice

Cats: Nearly a week ago we had a grumpy neighbor visit us complaining about our cat Napoleon. Nappy is the white cat of ours that has grown accustomed to outside living. Problem is that he apparently doesn't know his boundaries and has been bothering this neighbor and getting into his stuff. So we decided to confine the cat to the inside of our house. And we did from Tuesday until last night. We took extra precautions so he would not run out when the garage door was open and it worked. Until last night. He got out. For about 3 hours and then we found him sitting on the front porch swing and brought him back inside. The training continues....

Coffee: Never drank the stuff except for the caffeine until I met Kathy 7+ years ago. Since then I have had my share of espresso drinks and overpriced mocha beverages. Here is Fort Wayne there are a number of coffee shops that offer free wi-fi which makes it an alternative to my desk and office. And there is also...

Choice: Yesterday, while hanging out with a group of friends at one of my favorite coffee shops, the topic of choice came up. What became an interesting dialog/debate/argument with a philosophy professor only became so because of the word usage. Words such as "choice" and "free will" were being debated, as Steve had this occasional puzzled look on his face. In the meantime, I understood where he was coming from and his perspective which was filled with both "absolutes", and "exceptions to the rule". Having read and studied various aspects of neurology, sociology, and psychology, has provided me with an interesting mix of perspectives and insights. My basic argument is that we make choices constantly, based on the world we are exposed to. The "free will" is only free to choose that which it knows about.

And the more I know, I realize how much I do not know!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Play Video Games for Exercise!

It looks like it has come full circle. As parents were concerned that their kids would become fat and lazy, now here's a story about how video games and keep you fit and active:

Wii Becomes Physical Therapy Mainstay in Canadian Hospital

Virtual bowling leagues hit
the retirement home

Since its launch last year, the Nintendo Wii has opened the video game market up to everyone, not just young men.

A year later, the Wii began popping up in the most unlikely of places. It can be found in gyms, in retirement homes — and most recently, in hospitals as a tool to assist in physical therapy.

According to Reuters, a hospital in Alberta has been using the Wii to assist those recovering from strokes, and spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries, for the past four months.

Occupational Therapist Robbie Winget told Reuters the console helps patients build balance, coordination, endurance and upper and lower body strength.

Act your Age!

November and December are two months filled with birthdays of friends and family. I'm not here to slight anyone born in the other 10 months, but December hits home with me. Amoung those born in November were my Dad on the 3rd and my son on the 15th. This month I have a co-worker Rod on the 9th, cousin Brenda and 1st wife Karen on the 10th (same year too!) an old girlfriend I think was also born on the 10th, but don't hold me to that. Mine is the 11th. My former mother in law was born on Christmas and I have a brother in law born on the 24th or 25th too.

My wife and I were talking about Baby Boomers that want to hang on to their youth and are offended by being called sir, or ma'am. Yet, while we may not feel (or admit to feeling) old enough to be called by those names by the younger generation, we need to relax and appreciate the respect that usually comes with those titles.

Don't expect your teenage daughter's friend to call you Tommy; you are Mr. Jackson. And you've earned it!

On the other hand, when I was asked if I qualified for the senior citizen discount yesterday, the thought of added back a little color in to my hair raced through my mind.

Happy Birthday one and all! Remember it's better than the alternative!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ask 500 people poll

Yesterday I submitted a question about taxes and health insurance to

Click here for the results.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I have terrible news..

I think you should probably sit down for this. I don't know how to break this to you, so im just going to go ahead and say it: Click here for the rest...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Christmas lights

I came home tonight and my wife had already started setting up the Christmas lights..... fortunately not like this......

Monday, December 03, 2007

Just another post

There are 2 college students in my family right now. Here's an almost true story:

A lecture about English

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day.
"In English," he said, "A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

How to pick a movie at the video store.

Saturday afternoon and Saturday night we watched two movies that I picked up at Family Video:

Astronaut Farmer and Hoax. Both were decent ways to stay inside on a nasty Saturday night. How did we do it?

I went by myself. 'nuff said.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

My paying gig involves Football!

UPDATE: Cougars lost 23-7.

Thank goodness, it's not playing football. Earlier this year I negotiated with the University of Saint Francis to carry their Football and Basketball games on our AM radio station at 1250am, WGL out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The USF Cougars are among the very best in their class. We are going to be carrying their game today on our live internet stream and if they win today, then they are in the championship game in 2 weeks.

Go here to get to the radio station website, which will have Christmas music on before and after the game. Just follow the link to get to the streaming.

And you can go here to learn more about USF.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Fun Friday!

I recall a few years ago when one of my daughters called me from college with a hesitant tone in her voice, telling me there was something she needed to talk to me about. Our thoughts went to the worst, (rape, pregnancy) to mild, (problems with grades or boyfriend) but we had to wait until she came home to find out the details.

When she showed me the Tat on her shoulder, we laughed and told her to go have another!

However, she may need this product in 20 or 30 years:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Learning can be fun

This is from Kim Komando's Cool Site of the Day email:

Today's Cool Site...

Fight hunger with your vocabulary

Did you know that about 25,000 people die each day from hunger? And sadly, most are children.

It is our duty to help those in need. But it can be difficult knowing where to start. Well, I have a fun way for you to help fight hunger.

At FreeRice, you can play a vocabulary game. For each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Program. The rice is then distributed to those in need.

This might not sound like a lot of rice. However, the vocabulary game is fun and addictive. Your contributions will quickly add up.

Wondering where FreeRice gets the food to donate? The site is supported by advertisers. The advertising generates money to buy the rice. FreeRice is a non-profit organization. You can learn more by reading the Frequently Asked Questions.

Now, the thing I like most about FreeRice is that it’s a win-win situation. In exchange for helping the hungry, you’re helping yourself. The questions can be quite challenging, so they'll improve your word power!


Mindless waste of time? or Guilty Pleasure?

Someone, actually lots and lots of someones watched Dancing with the Stars:

ABC 'Dancing' Away With November Sweeps
by Wayne Friedman, Thursday, Nov 29, 2007 8:00 AM ET
ABC IS NEARING A NOVEMBER sweeps period win--but that victory comes at a price.

Through Tuesday night, ABC averaged a Nielsen Media Research 3.6 rating/10 share--but those numbers are down 10% versus a year ago. CBS was just a tick off the pace at a 3.4/9, slipping 12% from a year before. NBC has been the hardest hit--now at a 3.2/9, down 14%. The CW trailed with a 1.1/3, down 13%.

Perhaps the biggest story has been Fox's 17% improvement to a respectable 3.0/8. Fox still came in at fourth place. But now it goes into its typical big January start, featuring its still killer show, "American Idol"--which is much stronger than in years past.

ABC gained much from its "Dancing With the Stars" finale on Tuesday night, where it posted a 6.3 rating/15 share. All that helped ABC to a 5.8/14 average for the night.

Even then, this was a difficult chore--as the fast-improving Fox, with the help of "House," grabbed an equally hefty 5.2/13. "House" actually earned a better 18-49 rating compared to "Dancing"--posting a 7.0/16.

But in adding in all viewers, "Dancing" easily had the better time of it, pulling in 24.9 million overall viewers to a 16.9 million for "House."

NBC was well down the list on Tuesday night--coming in with a 3.6/9, with its best a resurgent "Law & Order: SVU" with a 4.6/12.

CBS was far behind NBC at a 2.6/6, with its best coming from "NCIS" at a 3.3/9. Its worst was a free-falling "Cane," now at a 1.6/4.

The CW checked in with a 1.1/3, with its "Beauty and the Geek" posting a 1.3/3.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Computer Help Sites

This post is for my own reference as well as yours. See, over the years I have needed extra help tweaking, fixing, (and sometimes fixing after tweaking!) my computer(s).
My first experience of any substance was using my father-in-law's Gateway about a dozen years ago along with one at a radio station I worked for. 9 years ago got my own and then 5 1/2 years ago got my first laptop. My first Windows experience was Windows 3.1. Eventually I worked with Windows 95 and Windows 98, but when I first bought a new laptop and desktop computer in 2002, it was Windows XP. With the growing reluctance of Windows Vista and even the backlash against Microsoft, I have explored ways to get my work done using alternative software.

My first computer was one I inherited after my Mom passed away. Hers was custom built by a local computer geek. About 6 months later, I went to the Gateway store and handed them $3,000 for a laptop, desktop, a couple of printers, and all the connections I would need. The Laptop was for work, Desktop for the family. The Laptop lasted about 15 months and developed problems with the power cord socket. I bought a replacement Toshiba laptop from Circuit City after investigating for about a week my options, and knowing that I had a limited amount of time to transfer my stuff from the Gateway to the Toshiba before the Gateway would be dead. The problem with Laptops is that they need to be sent away for repairs instead of being done locally. Hopefully that will change one day.

Well, after 10 months of excellent service from the Toshiba, the screen started having problems. Not wanting to spend the money to replace it, I was glad it was still under warranty. However, since this was my work computer, I still needed a replacement while my Toshiba was being fixed which would take up to three weeks.

So, I ended up buying an Acer laptop on line from Circuit City, because I liked the price and I could pick it up in 20 minutes from my local store. When I went to pick it up and saw how big it was (17 inch compared to my 15 inch) I had doubts about keeping it, but at least I would use it for the time being. It took me a weekend to transfer files and install programs on the Acer before I could return the Toshiba for the screen repairs.

When I got the Toshiba back, I transfered everything back again. Well, a year later the screen on the Toshiba started going out again. This time, I knew how to transfer files and programs and it only took a few hours instead of an entire weekend.

As I write this on my Acer laptop, the Toshiba is sitting in a drawer at home waiting for me to decide whether to spend the money to fix it now, later, or never.

I have also played around with developing blogs and websites and am great full for all the templates that have been created by others that make it easy for someone like myself to do as much as I am able to do without having to learn "Code" (That's computer language).

So, on to the links: Kim Komando has been doing a radio show for several years. I trust her advice. She has links to all kinds of software and you can subscribe to her newsletters.

By the way, I recommend only going with the free software (known as freeware). Otherwise you could end up paying money needlessly. All the recommendations I am making are free, although some have optional premium packages that you can upgrade to.

Switch to Firefox as a web browser instead of Internet Explorer.

Try Thunderbird instead of Outlook.

And if you want internet based email, which everyone should have then go with G-mail from Google.

Be careful using the following tweaks. Always create a system restore point BEFORE you make changes. And if you don't know what you are doing, ask someone. The main thing is that with enough curiosity and caution, you can fix a lot of problems without having to pay tech support.

Here you go:
Free software-1
Free Software-2
Free Software-3
Free Software-4
Free software-5

Free Fix it guides and tweaks-1

Free Fix it guides and tweaks-2
Free Fix it guides and tweaks-3
Free Fix it guides and tweaks-4
Free Fix it guides and tweaks-5
Free Fix it guides and tweaks-6
Free Fix it guides and tweaks-7
Free Fix it guides and tweaks-8
Free Fix it guides and tweaks-9
Free Fix it guides and tweaks-10

And if you still can't find what you are looking for, Google it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Do I care? No.

Dancing with the Stars wraps up in a few minutes. I am only watching by spousalviewingosmosis.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Reading, 'riting, and relaxing

Did a few updates on the Blogs today. Found a few other Fort Wayne Folks that are blogging. If a blog had not been updated in 30 to 60 days, it was left off the list. Go ahead and click away. You'll find others with thoughts on our city, and life in Hoosierland.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Discovering Treasures

I wrote about my thankfulness for G-mail's spam filtering abilities earlier this week.
As of 11am Saturday 11/24 there are now 2260 and now G-mail should start deleteing the oldest messages (older than 30 days).

However I first started this G-mail account through the invitation of my son 3 years ago and today I decided to do some house cleaning and discovered this picture of my Uncle Carl and Aunt Lorraine from 2004.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I want my MTV (that stands for Music TV)

I lived in Kokomo twice in my life. 1st time as a single 20 year old. Then again as a young married guy. My two oldest were born there. And this is not the Kokomo that the Beach Boys sang about in the Tom Cruise flick Cocktail.

This Kokomo is located about an hour north of Indianapolis. Besides working on the air at the local Top 40 station, I also worked at Biggs Lounge, first as a disc jockey, then as a disc and video jockey. MTV was playing Music Video's 24 hours a day. And songs by artists such as Dire Straits and the Buggles were popular:

So what's MTV up to these days?

MTV Seeks Poker Players For 'Real Life'
MTV is looking for online poker players--and others who may lead alterative lives on the Web--to star in its "True Life" series. "We're reaching out to a number of different online groups and cultures, and we thought it could be fascinating to profile someone who gambles online," says Ben Rosen, whose company,, produces the show. Rosen, who has been posting in online forums, including those dedicated to poker, adds: "the key thing we're looking for is that our subject leads a life that is very distinct/unique/interesting when juxtaposed to his or her online gambling activities." The documentary series tells the stories of young people and unusual subcultures they might inhabit. It has featured people with Tourette's syndrome, gay marriage activists and people dealing with pregnancy, debt and other issues. - Read the whole story...

I want my MTV :(

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How long until we hit 2000 spam messages?

I got fed up with the poor filtering of my email and decided to filter it thru G-mail. Results have been fantastic. I started this on October 17th, 33 days ago, even though I've had a G-mail account for over three years.

I was deleting the messages the first week then decided to see how much spam I get. Any message 30 days old gets deleted automatically, and I've got until Saturday the 24th before this happens. Right now there are one thousand nine hundred and fifty one messages in the spam folder. I have only had to tell G-mail twice that a message was spam. I predict it will hit 2100 by Saturday. This is better than betting on the Dow Jones. How many do you think I'll have, or when do you think I'll hit 2000?

Wednesday morning update: As of 8:40am, there are now 2032 spam messages caught by G-mail. Add a comment to place your bets on what the total will be on Saturday.... Winners recieve, leftovers from Thanksgiving (if there are any).

Friday Afternoon Update: As of 3:40pm, the total is now 2220 spam messages caught by G-mail. I was not on the internet on Thanksgiving day, so I'm not sure when it surpassed the 2100 mark. And now we will see if it will ever hit 2500?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Family Friends and Frenzy

It was good to see Josh and Mad Sunday. They have been in Maine going to school since August. Stories will abound in the days and weeks ahead before classes resume in January. Rach came over, and we saw Abby briefly over the weekend without having to leave our home! In a couple of days we will have a houseful.

Saturday night we went to a private party hosted by our church that included dinner and dancing (drinking too)! I had previously wondered how Lutherans were supposed to party and now I know. There must have been 40 people on the dance floor doing the electric slide including a brother and sister that were at our table that were in their 80's.

This past Saturday Kathy, Mike and I did the leaf collection one more time. I'm ready to invent artificial regular trees (not just Christmas trees) that retain their leaves and have electronic technology so we can change the colors without ever having to rake.

The other frenzy I was thinking about was the Christmas shopping frenzy. I recoeved in my email today a list of where folks are planning on shopping this Friday. If you want to avoid the crowds, use the following as a guide:

Planned Shopping Locations (% of all respondents)


% Planning to Shop





Best Buy






Circuit City






Victoria's Secret


Source: MaritzResearch, November 2007