Saturday, February 28, 2009


At different stages of my life I've been mentored and a mentor, sometimes at the same time. Great advice from the Art of Manliness blog as we say goodbye to Month #2 of 2009:

The Art of Manliness

Every Man Needs a Man Mentor

manmentor Every Man Needs a Man Mentor

When I was 15, I met a man who would have a profound impact on my life. His name was Andrew Lester. I first encountered Mr. Lester at church. He was the fun old guy that everyone liked being around. Despite being in his 8os, he had this boyish, mischievous look to him. He also made wearing a Breath-right nasal strip look cool. He wore them all the time. Mr. Lester was an artist by trade. His mother was a Cheyenne Indian, so his art focused on Native American motifs. A tribe called him the White Buffalo, and he made a really beautiful painting representing the name bestowed on him. I have print of it hanging up in my office.

While Mr. Lester dabbled in painting, his real skill was in sculpting clay. He sculpted mammoth busts of great people from history like Martin Luther King Jr., Jim Thorpe, and Western movie star Tom Mixx. When he wasn’t working in his studio, he volunteered in various community organizations aimed at helping underprivileged Native and African Americans. Mr. Lester was very active in the African-American community in Oklahoma and founded the Oklahoma African-American Museum Hall of Fame.

When I first saw Mr. Lester at church, I never thought he would become a mentor and good friend to me. But by chance, I was asked to regularly visit him and his wife to help them out around their home. Little did I know the impact this man would have on my passage into manhood.

A few weekends a month throughout high school, I would drive up to Mr. Lester’s home in Guthrie to visit him. Our visits usually began with me doing some chore around the house or in his art studio. This often involved me pulling some weeds or moving the big clay busts around in his studio. He sometimes had me actually work on his busts. I remember doing some fine tuning to Tom Mixx’s hat and nose with a chisel and some sandpaper.

lester11 Every Man Needs a Man Mentor

After I finished my task, Mr. Lester and I would go to his living room or studio just to talk. He’d share with me stories from his life. I learned how as a teenager in the 1920’s, Mr. Lester hitchhiked all the way from Cheyenne, OK to San Antonio, TX just to see if the Alamo would display a bust of Davy Crockett that he had sculpted. They agreed. The sculpture is still there today.

He shared with me his experience as an art teacher for troubled students in inner city Los Angeles during the 1960s. This was an intense time to be a white guy living in that part of LA. Racial tensions were high and boiled over in 1965 during the Watts Riot. But despite being a white guy from Oklahoma, Mr. Lester was able to make fast friends with the students in his class. And he quickly became involved with helping the African-American community in the city.

With each story, Mr. Lester would always impart a life lesson. He’d used the story about his trip to San Antonio to teach me about doing whatever it takes to accomplish a goal in life. His experience in Los Angeles conveyed to me the importance of tolerance, respect, and compassion for people who are different from you and that a real man will stand up for the oppressed and downtrodden.

Mr. Lester would always ask me about what was going on in my life. He’d listen intently and provide some counsel and words of encouragement or sometimes a verbal kick in the butt if I needed it. After each visit with him, I felt uplifted and edified.

But my friend and mentor became sick. He was diagnosed with cancer. Our visits became shorter. It was hard to see this man who was once filled with mischief and vitality become weak from the chemo. But Mr. Lester still shared stories and lessons, and he still gave me advice and counsel.

Mr. Lester died during my senior year of high school. I remember driving up to Cheyenne, OK, to see Mr. Lester return to his birthplace. His final resting ground was appropriate; Cheyenne’s wide open skies and desert landscape provided enough room for a spirit as big as Mr. Lester’s to roam.

lester Every Man Needs a Man Mentor

Andrew Lester Working on a Bust

It’s been almost ten years since Andrew Lester died, but I can still vividly remember the conversations we had and the lessons he presented to me. From Mr. Lester, I learned the importance of being an honorable man. I learned that success in life requires tenacity and enthusiasm. I learned that the strong should look out for the weak. And I learned the value of respect towards all men, no matter their race, creed, or social background.

Why Men Need Man Mentors

There are some lessons and bits of wisdom that only a man can impart to another man. Men and women are different. We view and interact with the world differently. So it makes sense for men to seek out other men for guidance on how to navigate life.

Unfortunately, it seems like a generation of men went without mentors growing up. We hear on the news about absent fathers and the effect it is having on young men today. Even when a man has a father he can look up to, it takes a village of man mentors to raise a child. Yet men find themselves more and more isolated, without the community ties and relationships that helped previous generations learn the art of manliness. Without good examples of men to emulate, young men often get a bit lost. Studies have shown that the lack of a male figure in a boy’s life increases the likelihood that the lad will perform poorly in school or get involved in crime. And beyond the obvious consequences like crime and education, this void can affect a man in a myriad of subtle ways.

In addition to providing some guidance in navigating through life as a man, mentors can expand one’s view of what it means to be a man. Every man has had different life experiences and been exposed to different philosophies and worldviews. They’ve been brought to their knees by different trials, been carried away in different joys, and have learned unique bits of wisdom. They can help you see things a different way, inspire you to dare greatly, comfort you when you grieve, and help you become a better man.

4 Man Mentors Every Man Should Seek

The Older Friend Mentor

I will always cherish my friendship with Andrew Lester. He was able to pass down his eight decades of wisdom to a young man still trying to find his way in the world. Whether you’re 15 years old or 40, every man ought to have an older friend. Think about how you viewed your life and the world just 5 years ago compared to how you see things now. Now imagine having several more decades of life experience added to that. An older friend has a lifetime of knowledge to pass to you. And most older guys love to share those lessons with others. To find an older man mentor, strike up a conversation with an older man at church, join a fraternal lodge, or start volunteering at a senior center. An older man mentor doesn’t have to be elderly either. If you’re 20, having say, a 40 year old man friend can be quite enriching.

The Professional Mentor

Learning the ropes of a new job can be pretty nerve-racking. Even when you’ve been on a job for awhile, it can be difficult to understand office politics or how to move-up in your position. This is why finding a professional mentor is so essential. Seek out a guy at work who has been there awhile and who is in a position you eventually want to attain. A professional mentor can give you honest feedback about how you’re doing, warn you about what not to do, introduce you to valuable connections, give you advice about how to get promoted, and put in a good word for you to the higher-ups. Perhaps most importantly, a professional mentor you can truly trust becomes a friend you can go to when you’re having a terrible day at work and need to vent. They’re probably just listen to you, chuckle at your amateurishness, and point you in the right direction.

The Spiritual Mentor

Spirituality is a lifelong journey with incredible ups and downs. It’s a lonely road to walk alone. Every man needs a spiritual mentor to help them along this path. A spiritual mentor should be someone who carries himself in his faith in a way that inspires you to be better and helps your faith become stronger. He is someone who won’t dismiss your doubts and will instead help you grapple with them. He’s someone with which you can discuss and expand your insights. A spiritual mentor holds you accountable when you’re slacking off in your commitments. He’s someone who will impart the spiritual perspective on things when you’re beset with difficulties or dealing with grief.

The Intellectual Mentor

If you’re not a religious or spiritual kind of guy(or even if you are), seek out an intellectual mentor. An intellectual mentor can be a particularly valuable resource while you’re in school. They can point you to books that will further your education or challenge you in discussion that will stretch your world view. An intellectual mentor can be used to bounce ideas off of while you’re writing a research paper. An intellectual mentor can be useful even after school. Your education isn’t complete until you die. Seek out men who can help increase your knowledge and ability to think throughout your life.

Be a Man Mentor

Just as you need man mentors, so too do other men. No one needs guidance in the art of manliness more than boys and young men, who are trying to figure how to become worthy men. Every man should make mentoring a part of his life. Here are just a few ways to do that:

  • Become a Scout leader. Boy Scout troops always need volunteers who are eager to make a difference in boys’ lives.
  • Become a Big Brother. A lot of young men out there are growing up without a positive father figure in their lives. Be the man these boys can turn to and emulate as they grow up.
  • Volunteer with your church’s youth group. Lucky is the young man can find a man who is both an older friend and a spiritual mentor.
  • Get to know your kids’ friends. I guess some kids try to hide from adults, but I always liked chatting it up with my friends’ parents. Some of my friend’s dads became my friend in their own right. Obviously, you don’t want to be the dorky dad who’s always hanging around, and you should know when to let your son and his friends alone. But if they’re game, it’s okay to hang out with them from time to time. Take you son and his friends fishing or hunting.

How about you all? What has been your experience with mentors? Is there a man mentor who has had a profound influence on your life? Are you mentoring a young man now? Drop a line in the comment box and share with us.

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Big Brother & Big Sister are watching

Seth Godin is someone you should pay attention to. I subscribe to his blog, have a few of his books and, well just Google him.

Speaking of which, he wrote this:

Personal branding in the age of Google

A friend advertised on Craigslist for a housekeeper.

Three interesting resumes came to the top. She googled each person's name.

The first search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. Under hobbies, the first entry was, "binge drinking."

The second search turned up a personal blog (a good one, actually). The most recent entry said something like, "I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and I'm annoyed by it. I'll certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings."

And the third? There were only six matches, and the sixth was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.

Three for three.

Google never forgets.

Of course, you don't have to be a drunk, a thief or a bitter failure for this to backfire. Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you're on Candid Camera, because you are.

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Friday, February 27, 2009

Work Computers & Your Personal Life

Earlier this month one of my co-workers left to work elsewhere. Because I was taking over some of his accounts, he gave me the password for his office computer. I discovered that he used his work email account as a personal account too. Don't do that. And here's a few other bits of advice from the DLM Blog:

Dumb Little Man - tips for life

Link to Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life

Don't Keep Personal Data on Work Computers

Posted: 20 Feb 2009 10:02 AM PST

Anyone working in a professional environment knows that standard 9-5 jobs are a thing of the past. More and more, our jobs are seeping into the time that we'd spend running errands, shopping, or keeping in touch with family. Because the borders or work and play are blurring, many people are now not only bringing work home, but bringing some of home to work in the form of keeping personal files on their work computers.

It starts innocently enough. One day you're checking personal email on a work PC and before long, your workstation becomes a storage system for personal to-do lists, photos and music. If you are in the office enough (and way too many of us are) you might start to pay bills online and save the confirmation pages to your computer for your records.

In all honestly, most companies do not mind this type of thing as long as you are doing it on your time (breaks, lunch, before work, etc.) and as long as the stuff you are saving is not harmful to the company (like viruses in email attachments). Being able to do this kind of stuff from work keeps you happy, keeps you in the office longer (which usually means more productivity in the long run) and just makes life less stressful. So, we're all happy, right?

Well, for now. But, what happens when you leave the company? I work as a Computer Tech in a corporate environment and that means, that sometimes, I know a person is being let go before they do. We are asked to disable that users account as they are being called into a meeting and given the news. This is not done to be mean to the person, but to protect company assets. So how does that employee now get their data back and how much of it is read by others?

I know what many of you are thinking. It is their data and they should be able to log in and get it. Unfortunately, you are wrong. If the data is on a company computer, it is the company's data, and if the employee is let go, they no longer have a right to access it. So what can you do if this happens to you?

Prevention, Prevention, Prevention...

Like just about everything else, your best bet is to prevent this from happening. Pick up a USB flashdrive at your local electronics store. If you feel that you have to do personal business at work, use that to store all your data (if external drives are allowed). This will allow you the comfort of being able to save files while at work, and at the same time, the data stays yours. Take it home with you at night to keep it safe.

Ok, great. But, what if you have data on your computer and are let go tomorrow after reading this. (lets hope this is not the case)

Here is what you do:
  1. Let your now former boss know that you have some personal data saved on the computer that you would like to get off before leaving.

  2. Explain that none of it is company related and that he (or someone else) is welcome to sit with you to verify this while you copy the data to DVD/CD or External hard drive.
At this point, most people would say go ahead. At my old job, we usually would allow this unless we had a really good reason not to. So let's say they have a really good reason not to.
  1. Ask if they can have IT get the data off for you

  2. Be prepared with a list of the files you need and the location of them, and have an external Drive ready for them is possible.
When we had a reason to keep the person off the computer, we would get the data for them. I cannot remember a single instance where we refused a person their personal data after being let go, there is just no reason to do it. So be nice, and chances are all will end well for you.

What NOT to do:
  1. Do not make threats. The data is on their computer, it is now theirs, you have no claim to it, so be nice.

  2. Do not try to hold company data hostage in exchange for yours.
    • In another post which inspired this one, one commenter mentioned that he had configured his computer to only allow a login with his fingerprint and if they tried to block access to the computer from him, he would never let them back on. Several IT personnel quickly pointed out that as long as they have the computer, there is little the person could do to keep them out, and this is very true. The only thing this does is anger the people you want something from.

    • If you have company data at home and make this kind of threat, be prepared to be charged with theft. The data belongs to the company. You withholding it from them is theft.
  3. Do not be unreasonable. Do not expect them to let you take projects you worked on, documents/articles, etc. that you authored. If you did it for work, it is now theirs, that's the end of it.

  4. If they let you get your data, do not try to steal company data. This is illegal and a quick way for you to not only lose what you want from the company (your personal files) but also get in a lot more trouble.

  5. If they let you get your data, do not try to delete anything that isn't yours from the computer. This is just stupid and can be considered destruction of private property. You will get in trouble for this, and most companies will have backups of the data anyway, so it is useless.
Written on 2/20/2009 by Jordan Silva. Jordan Silva is a Systems Administrator living in Honolulu, Hawaii and author of Think Smarter, a blog created to share tips, tricks, and hacks to get technology working for you. Photo Credit: TedsBlog


The word "fair" has been used a lot recently. Our president and his actions talk about making it more fair for the poor and middle class. If my mom were alive, I wonder how she would feel about this.

See the last few years of her life, I lived with her after my dad died and got some insight into her priorities. Fair was her word. She wanted to be fair when she was writing her will. She wanted everything to be as fair as possible.

The problem, I told her, was life is not always fair at the moment and that it was okay. We had a few long arguments over this.

This morning before leaving for work, I saw this in my email and wanted to share it with you. From the DLM Blog:

8 Harsh Truths that Will Improve Your Life

Posted: 26 Feb 2009 04:25 PM PST

They say life is what we make of it. By the end of this post, I hope to have helped you decide whether that statement is true or not.

There is no doubt that life has its ups and downs. However, how we deal with them can sometimes make all the difference. Today I want to share eight harsh truths that I've come to learn from life. There's also a message in each that I think we can all learn from, and when applied, will improve our lives infinitely.

Some of these lessons may be old-hat for you. If so, look for ways to refine the idea to ensure your getting the most out of it. On the other hand, you may completely disagree with an idea or two and that's great! Let us know your thoughts so we can all learn from each other.
  1. Friends Come and Go
    When I was in high school, I always imagined spending most of my life with the same people. Then when I realized I had to move to college, that all changed. Once again, I made some close college friends but left them all behind when I moved from the UK to South Africa.

    Friends will always come and go in your life; even though I'm back in the UK now, all my friends are in university around the country and not exactly in meeting distance. It can be a hard thing to accept, but many of the friends you spend time with now, might not be around in the next few years.

    Important Lesson: There are an abundance of amazing people out there for you to meet and build relationships with. If you don't have many friends, don't stress, there are literally billions of friendship possibilities.

  2. You Won't Always Get What You Want
    I remember one Christmas when the only thing I had asked for was some second hand turntables for DJ'ing. I didn't ask for anything else so I was pretty sure I would get them. However, they didn't come and I ended up having to save for 10 months on my own in order to purchase them.

    You won't always get what you want in life: people are going to be late, people will let you down, items you want won't always be available.

    Important Lesson: Don't look for happiness in material possessions and if things don't go your way, learn to accept them. Life's too short to stay miserable.

  3. Many People Will Love You, but Many Will Not
    Whether you are a celebrity, a charity worker or just a normal guy, there are going to be people that love you and what you do, but there's also going to be plenty people that don't like you. There are many possible reasons such as jealousy, similarities to them, or just not being someone's 'type'.

    Important Lesson: Not everyone is always going to like you, and that's fine. If people want to spend time talking about you then that is their problem. You are perfect as you are. You shouldn't need everyone to like you to have some form of self-esteem.

  4. Nobody Can Transform Your Life Like You Can
    Wouldn't it be lovely if we didn't have to go up on stage, but we could just read a paragraph of a blog post and become a perfect public speaker? Or, wouldn't it be nice if our friends could do daring things, and we would benefit from them as well?

    The support and help of others can only take you so far, you're going to have to do your own thing to make big changes in your life situation.

    Important Lesson: Do things for yourself and learn to stand on your own two feet. People you rely on won't be around forever, and you don't want to have to use others as a crutch to get anywhere in life.

  5. You Are Going to Fail
    I built more than 7 websites before I created one that actually started making me any money. I even put hundreds of hours into my own company that I actually closed down last month. Whether it is exams, projects, companies, or even the odd pub quiz, there are times when you will fail to meet your goals.

    As the saying goes - "Only those who are asleep make no mistakes".

    Important Lesson: You can learn a lot from others, but it is your own failures that are going to teach you the most valuable lessons in life. Learn from your failures, embrace them, and use them to drive you on to success.

  6. Rain Will Sometimes Cancel Play
    On some occasions when you have your shorts on and you're ready for the beach, it's going to rain. Or, when you get to that first hole and you're ready to tee off - the clouds will open. Things aren't always going to go how you would like them to.

    Important Lesson: Don't stress about the things that you can't control. Learn to live with things that happen. You can't change the past, but you can change how you react to things.

  7. There May Be No Tomorrow
    At least, not for you anyway. We never know what is around the corner, a car crash, a heart attack; heck...even the end of the world is possible. Let's face it, although we would all like to live till we are 70 years old, that's certainly not always the case. There will be one day that is our last.

    Important Lesson: Make the most of each day. Make sure the people you care about actually know it, don't worry about little matters, just make sure you spend time doing the things you love.

  8. Someone Else Will Always Have More
    Whether it is money, partners, friends or even blog subscribers, there will always be areas where other people have more than you. That isn't to say you can't become abundant in whatever you want (i.e. someone always had more money than Warren Buffett until 2008 when he was noted to be the richest man in the world).

    The wanting of more actually holds a very important lesson...

    Important Lesson: Just because someone has 'more', that doesn't mean they are happy. Read the biography of any celebrity and they will tell you they enjoy their process of earning money, rather than what money can do to make them happy. In other words, focus on what you love, not what the thing you love can get you.
BONUS: Linking all the lessons here together is actually quite simple, and I can share the majority of what you need to know to enjoy life in a few simple bullet points:
  • Live life for the moment

  • Accept what is, even if things don't go your way

  • Happiness is here, right now if you stop resisting and start accepting
I hope you all enjoyed my slightly unique take on the topic of improving your life. I would love to hear some harsh (but necessary) truths in the comments below!

Written on 2/26/2009 by Glen Allsop. Glen writes on the subject of Personal Development at PluginID. His site's main aim is to help people Plug into their Identity, be who they want to be, and live the life they want to live.Photo Credit:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Found another political blog. Click here to go there.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Video Time: Andy & Jimmy

I heard about this but never saw it before:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

I'm there every couple of weeks, how about you? Click here to go to their blog. It's not a coffee shop!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Video Time: If life was this easy...

but then again there are some drawbacks like you'll see at the end!

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Video Time: The View

Another reason I'm glad I have a job instead of watching crap all day:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Monday, February 23, 2009

Word of the Day...

is Balance. From the DLM Blog:

13 Things You Must Balance in Your Life!

Posted: 21 Feb 2009 04:35 PM PST

It’s not easy to stay balanced. In fact, we live in a very cluttered and unbalanced world and I'd contend that many of us can't even identify the areas of our life that need attention (let alone balance them!).

Admittedly, it's very easy to get into this state. A typical person goes through a very similar routine every day: wake up, eat, work, eat, over. If you don't work in a little time to at least think about the varying aspects of your life, it's incredibly simple to lose balance.

Give these 13 points a little consideration. When was the last time you made a conscious effort to improve in these areas?

  • Your Spending
    Spending too much? Most Americans do. Take a good look at your monthly outflow of cash and trim where you can. But, don’t be so cheap that you're cutting out birthday gifts or being rude at occasions. Remember, we are not taking our money with us!

  • Your Time
    This is not always easy and even the best of us work too much and don’t stop and smell the roses. Unfortunately your time is a limited resource. Seek balance!

  • Your Diet
    No breakfast and a big dinner - that’s the way a lot of people eat and the opposite is usually a lot better for you! Big Breakfast and small dinner is a better balance for most of us.

  • Your Checkbook
    Little deliberate actions really add up (pardon the pun) when it comes to mastering your personal finances. Does your checkbook match what the bank says?

  • Your Children
    Making certain that your children are balanced people and that they give and take, study and enjoy, watch TV and read.

  • Your Meals
    Too many carbs and not enough healthy fats, or too much fat and not enough carbs. There is really nothing wrong with a little junk food once in a while, but there is definitely something wrong with junk food all the time.

  • Your Net Worth
    This is a balance sheet: Your assets – Liabilities = Net Worth
    The formula always balances out, but it should be calculated from time to time. Ideally, you'd see an increase in your net worth each year.

  • Your Relationships
    Do your friends drain you? Do you drain them? Good friendships are balanced, thought provoking, informative, enjoyable and a little challenging.

  • The Tires on your Car!
    Too many people miss this one! It can save you thousands in gasoline over the course of your life and make you a little safer too.

  • Your Goals
    They shouldn’t be too hard and impossible, but yet challenging enough to excite and stretch you.

  • Education and Action
    Too much action without education can lead to major mistakes and pitfalls. Not enough action on things we learn can be lost education. You either use it, or lose it, when it comes to education.

  • Positives and Negatives
    Too much positive feedback can kill us, we need some negative feedback too (constructive analysis/criticism). If you are not getting negative feedback, ask more people to critique your work.

  • Your Portfolio
    A balance between stocks and bonds, and then rebalancing as you age is a must to meeting your life long financial goals.
As a veteran financial planner, reader and someone who cares about people very deeply. I have noticed the real value of balance over and over again, especially when it comes to your finances and investing. In the world of investing, there are complicated formulas that prove being balanced is the way to go, and yet you go through this list and you realize that it is really just common sense.

Written on 2/21/2009 by Bob O'Brien. Bob has been a financial advisor for 14 years and is a Sr. Instructor at Photo Credit: NCinDC

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Another Fort Wayne Blog...Click here to go there.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Video Time: Blast from the Past

I was just a kid when this aired:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

A blog I found the other day. Click here to go there.