Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Guy on a train . . .

So I'm on the phone yesterday with a consultant I work with occasionally.
He's on a train somewhere on the East Coast.
After the conversation was over I said, "Have a good train ride."
And his response?

(You guessed it.)

"You, Too!!"

I hung up the phone laughing heartily. See, I was nowhere near a train and he knew that.

I absolutely love the pre-programmed responses we have sometimes. Seems our mouths try diligently to stay one step ahead of our brains - I'm quite guilty of that myself.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

In the same country?!

So I talked to my sister-in-law on the phone tonight. Her husband is in the military and they live in Guam. They're expecting a baby this fall. There's a chance that her husband will have to be away on military training when the baby is due. We're just talking about this and she said something that for whatever reason caught my attention. She said - "At least he'll be in the same country." She wasn't being sarcastic or anything, she actually took solace in the fact that her husband would be somewhere in the US, other than with her, while their 4th baby is born.

This made me think for a minute about the real sacrifices military families make. We all can conceptualize the months of separations and the dangers of deployment, but I doubt that we really get it. I'm quite sure I don't. A couple of 2 day business trips do me and my wife in - I swear my kids all change in those couple of days. I've heard stuff about 18 month deployments for some troops. And the extent of the danger I face at work is a paper cut or the distant possibility of slipping on a restroom floor after the janitor recently mopped it. I get bugged when I get a bad parking spot. Anyway, I just wanna make the point that we should keep in mind the military wives & kids at home while we watch reports on the news. I guess we should also cherish just being together a bit more than we sometimes do.

We're expecting baby #4 in September, and I'll be lucky enough to be there. Thanks in no small part to military guys roughly my same age, with families a lot like mine, all over the world, making that possible. Empty as the gesture may seem (this is only a rarely read blog), . . . I say thank you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Hugo Chavez and life on Mars

So a few weeks ago I blogged a bit about Venezuela. My friend Christy recently sent me the following quote from Hugo Chavez that I thought was really worth sharing:

Turning away from the Middle East to the Americas we cannot help but report the
following statements by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez... the Americas'
closest thing to N. Korea's Kim Jung-Il. Speaking on television recently, Chavez

"Capitalism makes democracy impossible. Capitalism makes social justice
impossible. If we don't change this system, the world is going to end. The
eternal existence of our planet is not guaranteed. Look at other planets. In
Mars there was water. It's possible they will soon find remains of living
beings. Who knows how many years ago there was life on Mars? Mars is very
similar to Earth. It rotates around the sun almost the same as Earth. It's very
likely that there was life on Mars. It's possible that the Martians couldn't
keep life going on their planet.

"Old Karl Marx was right. Capitalism, monopolies, the exploitation of man by
man, Karl Marx's theory was correct. We have to break this model of domination.

I have a lot of friends in Venezuela and I really feel for them. This guy is turning back the clock in a world that has impirically proven over and over that he's dead wrong and that his people's suffering is probably just beginning. No idea where the whole Mars business came from, but wow, that was a tangent if I've ever seen one . . .
Sad business. On a very selfish note - we get tons of oil from Venezuela and he'll probably be turning that off pretty soon, just out of spite for our "capitalist" society. Anyway, I just found this interesting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Really important safety warning

So last weekend we took the kids to St Louis. Had a great time. While we were driving back we stopped at a Taco Bell. I took my 5 year old into the bathroom. When we went to use the air-hand-dryer machine I saw something that cracked me up. It's one of those automatic ones where you just put your hands under it and it blows hot air so the drying can commence. Well, there was a big safety warning on it that said, and I'm not making this up:

Do not operate this dryer with wet hands as this may cause an electrocution hazard

Ok . . .

Had I not seen this warning, my life could've obviously been in jeopardy. Luckily after I wash my hands I completely dried them by blowing on them and waving them wildly before I attempted to use this dangerous piece of equipment. Thank goodness for thoughtful warning labels!

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Bermuda Triangle of Toilet Plungers

So I left early for some church meetings yesterday (Sunday) and at about noon or so when I got back to my car I checked my cell phone’s voicemail – I had a message from my wife frantically asking me where the toilet plunger was, because there was a, um . . . need. At some point recently we had two toilet plungers, but I believe our 18-month-old daughter has seen fit to cunningly hide these along with several other items in a secret location known only to her and her ever-present sippy cup. As if to show her absolute power, this morning my car keys were also mysteriously missing. I have some ideas of what other items I might find if I knew the top secret location where these things are hidden from the world:

  • - The Kansas City Chief’s Defense
  • - Bill Clinton’s moral compass & Bill O’Reiley’s humility
  • - The US-European Alliance
  • - BYU Football Pride
  • - 5.25” Floppy Discs
  • - Bipartisanship
  • - My hairbrush
  • - Bobby Knight’s softer/rational side
  • - Defense in the NBA
  • - “Car Phones”
  • - Media Objectivity
  • - Michael Jackson’s real face

Of course, these are items that may never be heard from again . . .

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Politically correct answers in real life

(the main idea here is from a Bryan Regan comedy show, I’ll only take partial credit)

So like most of you I was pretty happy when the election finally ended in the fall. (And I was pleased with the outcome, which shouldn’t surprise any of you, but is not the subject of this post) So I’ve always loved watching how politicians handle questions. SNL does some great skits on this. They get to say stuff like, “I’m not taking questions right now” or “let me answer that by first asking you a question” or “before I answer I’d like to thank you and the university for hosting this great debate which I’m sure will benefit the public for generations to come . . .” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all handle our real-life questions the same way politicians do . . .

Wife: Are you ever gonna clean the bathroom like I asked you to last week?!

Husband: Let me answer that by asking you a question . . . do you want to get a babysitter and go out Friday night?

Wife: Ok, that’s fine, but you avoided the question about the bathroom.

Husband: I have no comment at this time.

Wife: Oh, ok, cool.

Policeman: Sir, are you aware of how fast you were going? Will you show me your license and registration?

Guy Driving: Sorry, I’m not taking questions right now, but I should be back in town in a couple of weeks.

Policeman: Fair enough, I’ll look forward to it.

Boss: That report was due yesterday, where is it?!!!!

Cube Dweller: Before I answer I’d like to thank you and the company for providing the warm, loving environment for we employees to learn and grow in . . .

Boss: Huh? (walks away utterly confused but having forgotten about the report)

We should all give these little approaches a try. Some of the most powerful men and women in the world handle questions this way, there must be something to it . . .

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Just how bad are you?

My friend Brandon just sent this quote over. It's from CS Lewis in his book "Mere Christianity." Yeah, you'll read things in my blog about religion too because it's such a big part of my life, but I think this is a great quote:

"No man can know how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find the strength of the German army by figting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never know the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation really means - the only complete realist."

Monday, March 07, 2005

Name calling should help

A friend just pointed out to me that Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Minority Leader had recently called Alan Greenspan a “Political Hack.” Nice. This was in response to Greenspan’s recent testimony supporting Social Security reforms. (see my post about News in the News) Reid failed to note that Greenspan has been pretty apolitical in his statements, he’s railed on the administration for the deficits in the past and he supported many of Clinton’s fiscal policies. Reid’s statement is just silly. Doesn’t he have better things to do than name calling on the Fed Chair?! There are a lot real politicians that deserve insults, on both sides of the aisle, he should probably target those folks with his bully pulpit. Right or wrong, Mr. Greenspan is quite a bit more powerful than a Senator from Nevada, and I’d guess he’s been called worse things. I wonder what name Reid would’ve called him if he’d come out against Social Security reforms. Perhaps he’d suddenly be labeled a “Sage voice of reason in Washington . . .” Who’s the real politician here?

The Tornado Takes on the SUV . . . and loses?!

Geek Alert! - some posts might be funny, others serious, well, this is a Geek Post, so be warned.

(Hat tip to my good friend Jeff who pointed this out to me during lunch today, I just did the little research)

I live in the great state of Kansas. When I’m outside the state and talk to people I hear a lot about Toto, Dorothy, and all the tornados. I guess there’s a rash of tornados that I haven’t noticed. To be fair, I’d say about once a year we spend about a half hour or so in our basement with the sirens going, but I can’t say it’s too scary anymore. It’s more on the exhilarating side. “I hope I get to see one,” is what’s flowing through my mind. But people absolutely freak out about the things. Don’t get me wrong, they are big and scary, but maybe we should be more frightened about getting plowed over by a coffee-drinking, cell-phone-yapping distracted driver in the SUV on the way to work. Our chances of dying in an auto accident are 1 in 6,515. The odds of biting it via a tornado are 1 in 6,059,318. That means we’re about 930 times more likely to die in an auto accident. So why do people refuse to own a home here without a basement, yet they pay little attention to the safety features when they’re buying a new car? Just a little thought – one that I hadn’t had until Jeff pointed it out. This is just an interesting question, not a rant or anything.

(You’ll likely here more of my anti-SUV stuff in the future)

(Ok, so the stats are nationwide, but you get the point. The vehicle death rate in KS is actually higher (19.9 vs 15.4) than the national average, so that makes up for my slight distortion a little. The premise is the same.)

Friday, March 04, 2005

She back . . . everyone hide!!!

So Marth Stewart was released today . . . frightening.

News People Omitting the News from the Newscast

I don't often get to watch the network nightly newscasts, but I was passing by the TV last night and Peter Jennings (ABC) was on and he started talking about Alan Greenspan opening his mouth. I’m a geeky economics guy, so that stopped me for a moment. I had read reports on the internet, but I wanted to hear Peter repeat the news I’d heard. The big headline was that Alan said we gotta fix social security right now and the private accounts are a decent way to do it. He also talked about the nasty deficit, which is one area where I think our government (President, Congress, everybody) has failed us. But the big headline in most news sources was Social Security. But not with our friend Peter Jennings, all he could talk about was the Bush deficits and how huge they are and how they will destroy our country . . . something to that effect. Did he mention the major news about Greenspan publicly commenting on Social Security and Private Accounts? Nope. Nothin’. That really bugged me. You don’t have to say you agree, but Greenspan is kinda important and when he talks about stuff like this it is NEWS, so report it.

What Chavez is doing to Venezuela

Many of you know that I spent 2 years in Venezuela as a missionary. I'm really saddened to see what President Hugo Chavez is doing to the country. He’s rolling the clock back big time and things there are looking and sounding a big too much like Cuba in the 1950s. This article in TCS talks about the growing Socialist government and the land grabs that the government is making, and not just figuratively. The man really believes he’s the dictator and has be consolidating power for years in spite of massive protests. The people are losing any say in the government and quickly losing a voice in major parts of their lives. As Venezuela is an oil producing nation, this is particularly troubling for the US. (I sure wish that wasn’t a factor, but it most certainly is) Hugo thinks Bush has put a “hit” out on him and that CIA assassins are roaming the streets of Caracas. He’s openly embracing Castro and thumbing his nose at the US – in a different way than the Europeans. All the while inflation is rampant and the people of that country, who I learned to love, are suffering more and more. Score one for the bad guys. I have a lot more to say about this, and I will, but for now I'll just say this: let’s pay attention to what’s happening down there.

The whole blog thing

A little chunk of most of my days is spent reading blogs. Most of them are popular (political) blogs and newsfeeds. As you've noted, it's been like 2+ months since I posted anything. I had a little flurry of activity at the first of the year and then . . . nada. Let me tell you why - I struggle with putting stuff up here, which is easy but takes some effort, when I am really guessing that literally nobody will ever read it. I know that's not the whole purpose, but it certainly matters. I see that there are millions and millions of blogs out there, and I don't care much that many folks read mine. My kinda audience that I think about is just my friends and family - you know who you are. That’s about it. I’m gonna start putting stuff up here again, so let me know if you’re reading this at all. I’m assuming no one is, and that’s alright. But maybe that’ll change if I put stuff up here worth reading.

Monday, January 03, 2005

That's great, but please don't crowd

So over lunch I went to our campus fitness center (gym) at work here. I typically do this about 2 or 3 times a week have have done it for about a year. But I was floored by the number of people I saw there today. I'd guess there was triple the normal number of fitness-freaks there today. Intuitively I'll associate this with the new year and new resolutions to exercise/lose weight. I will say it was positive because of the energy in the place, but let's just say that crowded locker rooms are less-than-pleasant. I'll be interested to see how the numbers taper off over the next few weeks. I'm no shining example myself, but I'll keep trying. I guess it's just fun to see resolutions at work. Don't get me wrong, it's a great thing. I've got my own, and wish everyone all the best. But we all fail to some degree to achieve what we set out to do with so much energy. It's too bad, but for today, I've seen resolute exercisers in all their sweatiness and I hope we continue to workout regularly, but please, don't crowd me in the locker-room, that's just wrong.
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