Saturday, October 25, 2008
The overall theme of my life is not unique. However sometimes when we are in the midst of the ups and downs, we may feel like we are alone.
I am blessed with a loving, supportive wife, 5 kids (including step-kids) and their spouses and significant others, family and friends.
There were significant changes over the past 6 years at the radio stations that I work, both positive and negative. Yet life is more than what happens to us. It is how we decide to live, given the circumstances that are beyond our control.
As I look forward to the last couple of months of 2008, professionally, things are better than they have been all year. Balance that out with friends that are ill with cancer and it keeps everything in perspective.
The following piece was in my email today. May you take stock of your life and adjust now instead of waiting for the New Year.
Posted: 24 Oct 2008 05:53 AM CDTMaybe you’ve started a new health and fitness plan. Maybe you’re working on a grand project that will make you millions. Maybe you’re sorting out your financial situation once and for all. Whatever your goal is, you’re know you are putting in a lot of effort. But, do you know that you are making progress?
It’s a bit like being in the pool: you might be churning through the water, leaving others gasping in your wake, or you may be treading water and keeping afloat, or you could be out of your depth and about to hit trouble.
You need to figure out whether you’re swimming, splashing or sinking. Once you understand that, you can either change course or proceed confidently. Not knowing your progress will eventually sink you so let's prepare to be honest with ourselves and determine where we really are.
We all know what swimming looks like:
- Not just staying afloat, but making forward progress
- Moving in the right direction
- Keeping up a good pace
- If you’re trying to lose weight, has that number on the scale changed? What about your waist and hips measurements?
- If you’re aiming to be the next JK Rowling or Dan Brown, how many words have you written recently? Has anyone praised your writing? Have you sent anything to short story magazines, agents or editors?
- If you’re building up an emergency fund, how much money have you put into your savings account?
Sometimes, it’s tricky to tell the difference between splashing and swimming. Here are some warning signs that you might be splashing and expending a lot of energy without getting any closer to your goals:
- You’re making a lot of noise, but you’re not moving much. (You talk about your project a lot, but never do any work on it.)
- You keep “doing stuff” but you’re not sure if it’s taking you closer to your goal or further away.
- You made progress to begin with, but you seem to have stalled.
- If you’re trying to lose weight, you might be spending a lot of money on “diet foods”, magazines and club membership fees … yet you aren’t any thinner.
- If you want to finish a novel, you might talk to other writers a lot, make loads of plans, have great ideas … yet you’re not doing any actual writing.
- If you want to improve your financial situation, you might be keeping a spending log religiously … but you're not making any changes in your shopping habits.
Both swimming and splashing can turn into something dangerous: sinking. If your goal has become a burden, or if you’ve gone backwards instead of forwards, you might end up overwhelmed. If you’re sinking:
- You need someone to throw you a lifebelt – or lend you a hand
- You have to stop and recover your energy
- You may need to get out of the water completely
- Your goal was weight-loss butyou’ve gained 10lbs in the past couple of months.
- The thought of writing your novel makes you want to scream,and spring cleaning the house is more appealing.
- Instead of saving up money, you’re getting deeper and deeper into debt.
Where are you?
So, how’re you getting on with that big project – whether it’s a personal, business or academic venture? Are you swimming, splashing or sinking – and what are you doing to make sure you stay in (or get back to) a good position?
Wisdom from Harvey:
Harvey Mackay's Column This Week
Beware of danger in safe havens
"Bad habits," a pundit once noted, "are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of." Sticking with what's comfortable might be one of the deadliest habits of all.
In the bullfighting arena, expert matadors have long gained an edge by pinpointing a bull's comfort zone. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has studied this phenomenon. "In bullfighting there is a term called querencia. The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns," she explains. "Each bull has a different querencia, but as the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and more often to his spot. As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable."
What are the consequences of predictability? "In the end," Fiorina says, "the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something new, the bull returns to what is familiar. His comfort zone."
Many businesses retreat to their comfort zones when challenged. A new form of competition emerges. Or, threatening research undercuts a core product. This is bad news, and who wants to hear that? Even skilled managers sometimes tune out the static.
Merck's arthritis medication Vioxx became one of the most widely prescribed drugs in history. As early as 2000, some research indicated that Vioxx might pose unacceptable associated cardiac risks. Merck & Co. dug in its heels. The firm didn't withdraw the product until further research prompted it to do so voluntarily in 2004. In 2007, Merck agreed to pay out nearly $5 billion to settle existing Vioxx lawsuits.
Few companies were more oblivious to the risks of complacency than the Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers. Lehman started tinkering in sub-prime mortgages in the mid-1990s, lending money to an outfit named First Alliance Mortgage. In 1998, some financial firms began to distance themselves from First Alliance as regulators bored in. Not Lehman. First Alliance's fate? The company shut its doors in March 2000.
Undaunted, Lehman finished gobbling up BNC Mortgage, another sub-prime lender, in 2004. In August 2007, Lehman closed it down. The lure of fast cash had been so great, Lehman spent years in deep denial about the wisdom of subprime lending. Yesterday's cash cow proved to be today's pot roast, as Lehman became the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history last month.
Here are Seven Urgent Hazard Signals that should alert a company when it has become too comfortable for its own good:
- Do you continue to invest in business strategies with fundamental flaws solely for short-term gain?
- Have competitors found a way to deliver your core goods or services at a lower cost than you can?
- Are your suppliers suddenly treating competitors with more favorable terms than you enjoy?
- Are competitors shifting the spotlight to you as their number-one rival? A good tip-off: Are you losing your best trained and highest potential talent to aggressive competition?
- Are customers telling you they are taking their orders to new sorts of businesses you have never considered competition before?
- Is there candid—and sometimes heated—debate inside your organization about what your core business should be today and five years from now? There should be. It's healthy.
- Are you investing in new product development so that at least 10 percent (preferably 20 percent) of your business will come from products and services you don't even offer right now?
It isn't just companies who scurry for safety in the arena. Individual careers are vulnerable as well:
- Many of us get passed over for a promotion we thought we deserved. Are there new reasons for not making the grade this time?
- Have you recently matched your credentials, background, and training against other comparably paid people in your specialty? Make sure your skills are fresh and current.
- Are you projecting yourself as someone who wants to advance to a higher level? Are you a toreador or a "sitting bull" begging to be gored by an aggressive internal competitor?
- Do you volunteer for new assignments and projects? They can teach you new skills and increase your value to your company.
Retreating to the comfort zone is all about how one takes bad news and what one does with it.
"Bad news isn't wine," former Secretary of State Colin Powell once said. "It doesn't improve with age."
Mackay's Moral: In rough water, sometimes it pays to rock your own boat.
Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.
More information and learning tools can be found online at harveymackay.com.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Posted: 19 Oct 2008 10:47 AM CDTWant a quick, easy and (almost) free way to be guaranteed that you’ll make someone’s day special?
Send them a letter.
How often do you receive personal handwritten letters in the mail nowadays? Between receiving birth announcements via email and getting dumped by your girlfriend via text message, I’m betting it’s pretty rare. You’re probably used to getting bills, junk and bank statements by mail – and little else.
Why not set aside some time this weekend to sit down and write to a few people? If you don’t enjoy writing, try buying some nice postcards of your home town. If you’ve got an artistic streak, why not design your own notecards? You don’t have to write a long letter for it to be effective. It's the thought that counts and the personal touch that makes it special.
Who’s the Lucky Person?
So, who are you going to write to? Some good choices are:
- An older relative, perhaps a grandpa, aunt, parent…
- Someone who you admire or even hero-worship a bit: maybe an author, blogger, musician… pick someone important to you, rather than someone famous
- A child who you know, especially a niece, nephew or godchild
- Your spouse, partner or boyfriend/girlfriend
Maybe it’s been so long since you wrote a letter that you’re not sure how to get going.
Start with your address in the top right corner (if you’re writing a notecard, or writing to someone who you often correspond with, just put your town). Below this, write the date.
Then, begin your letter on the left hand side with “Dear”. Yes, it might seem a bit formal, quaint or even archaic – but it’s a time-honored way to start off a letter.
If you know the person, start along these lines:
- “It’s been a while since we last met up – how are you?”
- “I thought I’d write a proper letter for a change.”
- “Sometimes I forget to say how much I love you. So I wanted to write and tell you…”
- “You don’t know me, but I’ve learned so much from your books.”
- “My name’s Ali, and I wanted to write and say thanks!”
- “Hello from London!”
If you really don’t have much to say, just keep your letter short – there’s nothing wrong with that. But many people appreciate a “newsy” letter, especially if you’ve been out of touch for a while. Try including some details on topics like:
- Your family and home life
- Any hobbies or activities you’re involved in
- A new role at work, or a new step in your education
Making it Beautiful
Receiving any letter at all will be a special moment for the person you’re writing to, but taking a few minutes to make your letter beautiful (and easy to read) will make it something likely to be kept and treasured.
If your handwriting’s not great, there’s nothing wrong with typing your letter – but choose a nice font, print it out on good-quality paper (using colored or decorated paper can be especially effective) and sign your name by hand.
For those with neat writing, a short handwritten letter is sure to delight the person who reads it … especially if they’re from the older generation. And if you’re writing a love-letter, writing by hand is pretty much a must! Keep it short and sweet if you’re worried it won’t be legible.
Other nice touches are to decorate the envelope that you use as well, or if you’re writing to a distant relative, include a recent photograph of yourself.
Writing letters often seems like a big effort – the sort of thing we think we’d get round to doing if we only had a bit more time. But it only takes fifteen or twenty minutes to write someone a quick note. Pick a person now: it could be anyone – your granny, your favorite author, an old school friend. Promise yourself that you’ll write them a letter at some point in the next week. Better yet, post here in the comments and tell us who you’ll be writing to and why.
|Written on 10/19/2008 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.||Photo Credit: dok1|
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Got the following press release today:
A PIECE OF FORT WAYNE HISTORY ON DISPLAY IN LUCAS OIL STADIUM
FORT WAYNE, OCTOBER 23, 2008 - A piece of Fort Wayne sports history has recently been placed on display at the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The Indianapolis Colts purchased copies of two Fort Wayne Friars Football Team images from the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society (the History Center).
One is from 1910 when the Fort Wayne Friars were still a club team, and the other is from 1915 when they were a professional team sponsored by a local, fraternal organization.
These images are on display in the northeast corner of the stadium, in a transition area along the street level concourse. There are four large concrete columns highlighting pieces of Indiana's early professional football history.
Along with the History Center's Friars images are images of the Hammond Clabbys, the Hammond Pros, the Evansville Crimson Giants, and the Friars' rivals the Muncie Flyers.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Hey, it's nice that you stopped by, but expand your universe and click on some of the links that are on the right side of this page too!
Here's some samples of what I found this morning:
The idea for this post came up during an afternoon Starbucks convention-for-two with Chip. I decided to expand upon our conversation a bit and put a question to a few people who read my blog.
I am so tired, I can't hardly think.
GEORGE CARLIN'S NEW RULES FOR 2007
New Rule: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.
New Rule:Stop giving me that pop-up ad for classmates.com! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days --- mowing my lawn.
New Rule: Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unles s you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Lobster?
New Rule: Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged . I have a better description for these kids: 'Lucky bastards.'
New Rule: If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you're a dope. If you're a kid, the cards are keep sakes of your idols. If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.
New Rule: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: Do you have two of them? Good, we're done.
New Rule: There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but, without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.
New Rule: Stop screwing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.
New Rule: The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the asshole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a 'decaf grandee, half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low, and One ,' ooooh, you're a huge asshole.
New Rule: I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering My PIN number, pressing 'Enter,' verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want Cash back, and pressing 'Enter' again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my .
New Rule: Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you Spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to 'beef with broccoli.' The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You're just high.
New Rule: U.S. Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait, they're already doing that. It's called 'The Howard Stern Show' isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN Recently televised the
New Rule: I don't need a bigger mega M&Ms. If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms, I'll go nuts and eat two.
New Rule: If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.
New Rule: And this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with . I can't even tell If he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your webcam, Dude. I just want to wash my hands.
New Rule: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to hear '27 months.' 'He's two' will do just fine. He's not a cheese. And I didn't really care in the first place.
New Rule: If you ever hope to be a credible adult and want a job that pays better than , then for God's sake don't pierce or tattoo every available piece of flesh. If so, then plan your future around saying, 'Do you want fries with that?'
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Recently I featured a link to a local blog that is being written by Kim Richards. I have known Kim and her husband John for several years. One year I d-j'd a Father-Daughter Dance for the Girl Scout troop that Kim and Macy are a part of at St. Charles.
Kim's dad Bob and her mom attend church with us at Holy Cross.
One year, my wife Kathy was craving a cup of Higher Grounds Coffee on Thanksgiving Morning, and we walked into their Maplecrest location and they were there with a small group of friends, they got each of us our coffee and then we realized that they were actually closed. It was a Thanksgiving tradition that we had stumbled into, and John was gracious enough to invite us in and share a cup.
I don't know if you know the Richards family, but if you have ever visited a Higher Grounds Coffee Shop, you have tasted the fruits of their labor of love.
Earlier this year, Kim was diagnosed with cancer. It was a shock to all. Still is. Kim is sharing her experiences in a blog that you can access here. You can even sign up for an email notification that let's you know when she has posted a new entry.
I recommend that you start reading the journal from the beginning, back in July and get up to speed.
Here's a sample from her latest entry:
|TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2008 04:33 AM, CDT|
One of my favorite pastimes have become watching people sleep – I just can’t win, either all I want to do is sleep or I can’t sleep to save my life. I am starting to see a 3am pattern (I wonder if I was born at 3am & its my way of celebrating another day J). Tonight, John even recognized my need to blog…I guess it’s my way of processing life. I especially love watching Macy & Morgan sleep. It’s like life on pause. I get to enjoy how much they have grown (I think Morgan has gained 5 pounds since Nanna’s house – must be all of grandpa’s good cooking), embrace the beauty each one has to offer, envy their ability to sleep and imagine what they will be like as they take on the world. Even watching John sleep makes me appreciate how blessed I am to have found my soul mate. For a brief moment, you forget all the imperfections and distractions life brings & you just enjoy the beauty and wisdom of the moment.
Cancer has caused me to re-evaluate my life – something I am sure I would have done just wasn’t expecting it to be so soon. I have regrets like not keeping up with friends, or not making my family a priority. (I remember one Mother’s Day, I missed Macy’s preschool presentation because someone decided not to come into work – how I wish I could bring that day back.) But overall, I know it is the hardships in life that shape our lives – the business may have its moments and it is far from making us millionaires but it offered flexibility that most parents never have – with a few exceptions, of course. I am one who enjoys predictability, has to have order (or at least appear to have order), and I somehow leave my mark on this world. I always imagined it would involve something to do with kids. When I was 17, I wrote an editorial trying to stop them from tearing down the old Krosher house in an effort to convert it to a safe haven for pregnant teens, at 35 I convinced John to explore the option of adoption to expand our family (secretly, I envisioned a huge house with lots of kids running around), then most recently, I decided I wanted to create a support group called Mom2Mom which would embrace, celebrate, and support moms using the media of television & internet. (It’s never been a money thing but an effort to provide strength to ones life.) Yep, many people believed I was a little nuts – I probably am – but that never stopped me from dreaming big. Ironically, it appears God’s plan was to make my imprint on life with cancer. What a journey it has been so far…I have connected with so many incredible people thanks to a circulating email, made the Pat White show, and the News Sentinal even wants to do a human interest story on us. I am a pretty private person (only sharing my intimate thoughts with a computer) so it is extremely overwhelming. Even when it came to business, I always let John handle the media exposure & considered myself the “behind the scenes” girl. The fundraiser is even difficult – for fear that everyone will know how really weak I am (can’t hide behind a computer). But God has worked through me – giving me a voice. Hopefully, raising awareness and hope about a disease that affects so many woman – and rethinking the concept of not getting a mammogram until age 40. He has also given me reassurance that I have made a difference just in everyday life…and you thought you were just signing a guestbook. You have shown me that to be remembered in life has nothing to do with BIG events but it has everything to do with the little things in life. Thanks for helping me appreciate the little things - kim
Posted: 13 Oct 2008 09:03 AM CDT
|Written on 10/13/2008 by Abhijeet Mukherjee. You can catch him at Jeet Blog where he blogs about different Web 2.0 apps a nd online tools and how they can help you become more productive.||Photo Credit: |
For an average computer user working on a Windows PC (which is currently the majority of the PC users), there is a fair chance that most tasks take a little longer than needed.
There are 2 primary reasons for this: the computer isn't optimized well enough to make it faster and better, and second, the person isn't aware of the tricks and tools that can be employed to easily skyrocket productivity. This article points out 7 such tips.
Although there are many more advanced methods, I have tried to isolate the simplest and the most essential tricks. The goal here is to help everyone from basic user to geek to advanced geek.
Speed Up Your Computer
Speeding up your computer would refer to reducing the time it takes to start up and reduce its usage time (the time it takes to open programs and carry out tasks). One of the best ways to reduce the startup time is to remove unnecessary programs and services from starting up automatically using msconfig. You uncheck the programs that you want to prevent from starting up automatically thereby reducing the computer startup time considerably.
To speed up the normal functioning of the computer, there are several options. Some which are discussed in Top 12 Ways to Speed Up Your Computer. If you aren't a big fan of the colors and graphics in Windows, you could even optimize your computer for better performance by turning them off. Here's a microsoft article which shows how to do it. The steps given are for XP and are almost the same for Vista.
Learn Keyboard Shortcuts
Switching between mouse and keyboard frequently is certainly more time consuming than using just the keyboard or mouse. You may not be able to do everything using the mouse but if you get acquainted with the keyboard shortcuts you could definitely do almost everything on the PC using keyboard. Here's a big list of Windows keyboard shortcuts for you, which is easy to learn once you start using them everyday.
Use Application Launchers
Application launchers help you open applications and programs using your keyboard and hence save you time by preventing you from mousing every time you need to open an application. Check out this list of best application launchers.
In case you usually toggle between only one or two important apps and you think you don't need an application launcher for that purpose, you could still save time by creating keyboard shortcuts for important folders. Although, the article talks about folders only, you could apply the exact same steps for creating a keyboard shortcut to open an application like Firefox or Outlook.
Declutter and Organize Desktop
A clean and organized desktop would definitely make you more productive. Clearly, not having so sift through 80 desktop icons will lead to you locating it faster. As I mentioned above, you could use application launchers to open applications, files or folders so you really don't need to clutter your desktop with a lot of icons.
You could also use a tool like Google Desktop which lets you access important things like calendar, feeds and a to-do list neatly placed in a sidebar on the desktop.
Access Important Folders In The Taskbar
This is a tip that has helped me a lot and I am sure it would help all of those who are in the process of gathering data and resources from the web and saving it offline. You could create a new toolbar to include those folders in your Windows taskbar and access it immediately when required. This method only works with some folders because you really wouldn't want to clutter your taskbar with a lot of them. I've explained in this article how you can achieve this.
I didn't mention AutoHotKey earlier because it may not be one of the simplest tips and is probably aimed at advanced users. Anyway, it's a great tool to avoid repetitive tasks like typing the same sentence again and again. AutoHotKey is a free tool and here's a quick start guide to it.
Use Automation and Timing Tools
Using automation tools like AutoHotKey certainly do a great deal in making you more productive by helping ensure you only spend time on the important tasks. For example, LifeHacker recently talked about WakeupOnStandBy, a free automation and timing tool for Windows, which can automate the tasks of putting the computer to sleep mode, hibernate mode or shutting it down. There are many more such tools available. You just need to decide which task you would like to automate and then search Google for such app. I'm sure you will find it and I am sure you will backup your system before simply installing random apps.
Hope you liked the tips. As I mentioned initially, there are many more tips and hence I'll be closely watching the comments section to learn how you manage your PC and your time.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Okay, I don't know how factual these are, but if you want to investigate and leave a comment, please do so. The source for this is is right here.
Things You Probably Already Know, But Have Forgotten
- Money isn't made out of paper, it's made out of cotton.
- The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.
- The dot over the letter i is called a "tittle."
- A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.
- 40% of McDonald's profits come from the sales of Happy Meals.
- 315 entries in Webster's 1996 Dictionary were misspelled.
- The 'spot' on 7UP comes from its inventor, who had red eyes. He was albino.
- On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents, daily.
- Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine are brother and sister.
- Chocolate affects a dog's heart and nervous system; a few ounces will kill a small sized dog.
- Orcas (killer whales) kill sharks by torpedoing up into the shark's stomach from underneath, causing the shark to explode.
- Most lipstick contains fish scales.
- Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he doesn't wear pants.
- Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine.
- Upper and lower case letters are named 'upper' and 'lower' because in the time when all original print had to be set in individual letters, the 'upper case' letters were stored in the case on top of the case that stored the smaller, 'lower case' letters.
- Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.
- Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood.
- There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos.
- The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan; there was never a recorded Wendy before!
- There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with: orange, purple, and silver!
- Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. Also, it took him 10 years to paint Mona Lisa's lips.
- A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it instantly go mad and sting itself to death.
- The mask used by Michael Myers in the original "Halloween" was a Captain Kirk mask painted white.
- If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar (good to know.)
- By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can't sink in quicksand (and you thought this list was completely useless.)
- The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law, which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb (sign of a truely civilized society.)
- The first product Motorola started to develop was a record player for automobiles. At that time, the most known player on the market was the Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola.
- Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. It's the same with apples!
- Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying!
- The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.
- Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from Public Libraries.
- Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a space suit damages it.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Never before have I given as much thought to Iceland as I have in the last 9 months.
My son Josh is spending the first tri-mester of his senior year of undergraduate studies there, returning in about 5 weeks.
The group he is with from the United States was keeping us up-to-date on a blog, which hasn't been updated recently but we get emails now from Josh. Click here to go to the blog and check out the pictures! (Like the one you are looking at right now.)
One of my radio co-horts, JJ Fabini and I were talking Friday about Iceland and he commented about how beatituful the women are in Iceland, and I discovered that he had been to Iceland several years ago with his dad on a trip to Germany and they spent several hours touring the country side.
And if you haven't heard, the economy in Iceland is going thru some hardships, which may serve as a warning to our government leaders. This story was in the Wall Street Journal 4 days ago:
Dispatch From Iceland: ‘We Might Lose Our Country’
Iceland’s central bank today slashed its key policy rate for the first time since 2003 in an unscheduled announcement as the country remains perhaps the hardest hit in the financial crisis. The nation fell into crisis last week on concern that the Icelandic authorities couldn’t back up debt obligations of the struggling, almost entirely domestic-owned banking sector. Meanwhile, international trading in the krona has since all but stopped due to low confidence in the currency. Amid such broad turmoil, sometimes the plight of the average citizen gets lost. Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir, an Icelandic journalist, writes from Reykjavík to a friend in New York.
|Hallgrimskirkja, a modernist church in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Getty Images)|
Thanks for asking how we are — we’re fine, although the situation here is very strained. It’s such a strange feeling, having your entire perception of reality changed so drastically in a few days. Until these past weeks, we were living in one of the richest countries in the world, and although we were a little worried about the economy, nobody would have imagined anything like this storm. Now, all our biggest banks are bankrupt, our currency is basically dead, it may be difficult to buy food, oil and other necessities from abroad, and we even fear that we might lose our country, just like happened to Newfoundland. Hundreds of people are losing their jobs, many more might be losing their homes, and people’s life savings are either lost or drastically reduced. People are scared for the future, that our state may actually go bankrupt.
Everybody is very tired — watching your country suffer like this is almost like watching someone you love become ill, it’s like suffering from a broken heart. Most of our tycoons seem to have left the country, and the government is under police protection — a first — but it doesn’t seem like people are angry or aggressive. We are stunned, very surprised, that this expansion adventure that made a few people very rich but didn’t really affect the general public, has turned out this disastrous. Yes, people here bought expensive cars, and allowed themselves an annual trip to Copenhagen or to a Spanish beach, but most of us kept working 10 hours a day and kept on as we have always done.
There is also a sense of hope and unity, even a sense of humor — people seem determined to go on with their lives, even if it will be a bit harsh for a while. You can hear people all around say things like: we survived the terrible volcanic eruptions of the 18th century, we survived the frost winter of 1918, we survived famines, Black Death, earthquakes, we’ll survive this. Families and friends are coming together for dinners and chats, at night there are candles burning in the windows in most houses here, and inside people are sitting together, talking, talking, talking. Most of us are hoping something positive will come out of this, that our greed, arrogance and materialism will be replaced by care and gratitude for the more important things in life.
My family and friends are not affected by the storm yet; most of us are government workers, teachers, doctors, journalists etc., and not part of the jet set. None of us have been particularly patriotic up until now, most have lived for long periods of time outside Iceland. Now, however, we feel fiercely loyal to our nation, basically a big extended family, grandchildren of farmers and fishermen, who lost their way on the international markets.