Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No Concealed Carry signs

Our state recently got on board with a concealed carry law.  It has been a long time coming and it took just the right combination of governor and legislative body.  I was glad to see it enacted as people should be able to defend themselves.

What surprises and dismays me are all these No Concealed Carry signs.  People certainly have the right to post such signs on their own property.  However, I don't think they understand what they are doing.  Around here people like to think that they are law-abiding citizens.  If it is the law, they will do it.  If a sign is posted, they will obey it.  That is, as long as it is convenient for them.  Yet the criminal mind does not consider the law or posted signs.  Someone who is under the influence of some drug or blinded by rage will not stop to read a sign and turn around.  They will keep doing what their evil heart has planned and the sign will have had no positive benefit.  Those who are law abiding will see the sign and leave their weapons at home.  As a result, responsible, trained, law-abiding people will be taken out of the picture.  Then, who will be around to do something when that drugged, enraged criminal charges in?

We need a citizenry that is clear minded, who respects life, and who will take action when the moment calls for it.  Those people are the ones who should be supported.  I hope people can see that a policeman, an FBI agent, or a marine are nothing more than trained citizens.  We are really no different than they because of a title and a uniform.

As time goes forward, I hope people tire of these signs and remove them.  We will all be better for it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Less Sweets

I am committing to eating less sweets.  No more buying of gum, or soda pop, and or ice cream.  Why?  The first reason is these take a steady amount of money and it does add up.  I would rather use those few dollars for better things.  The second reason is health.  Sugar give a high but it also lead to a crash in energy and I don't need that.

Sweets permeate our society.  Every label seems to have some sort of sweetener listed.  It could be sugar, or corn syrup, or fructose.  Whatever name they attach to it, it is the same thing.  Empty calories.  No nutritional value.

I would like to get some control in this area of my life.  Sweet things do impact my body.  In the long run, they lower my energy level.  My thinking is also not as clear when I load up on sugars.  My skin also is negatively affected by excessive sweets.

It is not just saying "no" to sweets.  It is saying "yes" to the right things.  I need to know what the right things are and deliberately purchase those foods and be happy with them.  Fruit, veggies, and nuts all are good for the body but they also leave me feeling full and satisfied.  That is important to me.

Sometimes I am sure I will have a bowl of ice cream or chew some gum.  My idea is that I will not exchange money for it myself.  It will not be on my permanent shopping list.  I don't want to become so against sugar that I make the issue more than what it is really suppose to be.

Could you use less sugar in your diet?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Comments Please

To my readers and friends.  Please leave a comment in the comments section.  I would like to hear from you.  Almost every blog post that I make has a question.  You could answer the question or give me your take on the subject I most recently wrote about.  You don't have to agree with me to post.  Just write something in response.  It is important to me to know who my audience is.

I am interested in hearing from you.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Low ticket dog

Shortly after we purchased our dog from a pet adoption organization, we took her to training school.  The instructor let us know every animal is different emotionally and their discipline level can vary.  Some dogs are high ticket dogs and some are low ticket dogs.  Some need a strong hand and gruff talk.  Others just need a scolding.  As it turns out, our dog is the low ticket variety.  I don't like to hit her and usually just speak roughly to her when she needs it.  

I see myself as a low ticket dog.  ; )  It doesn't take much pain, yelling, or tickets to get me to correct my behavior.  I don't like to be called out or placed in the spot light or under go public criticism.  Being on a stage like that is not where I like to be.

Are you a low ticket or high ticket dog?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


One habit I have started just last year was short distance running.  I am now jogging as much as three times per week at a couple of miles, maybe three, each time.  It has been good exercise, building my body as well as my confidence.  The time taken for a run is usually 30 minutes which doesn't eat up too much of my day.

One thing about running that I find appealing is that it is so simple and so pure.  Most anyone can run.  We were designed to do it.  The cost to run is probably nil as most people have the needed supplies already.  Shorts, t-shirt, socks, shoes.  Running also connects us with our basic instincts.  Our ancestors ran to case down something they wanted.  They also ran to escape something that could do them harm.

Running can also be a time to reflect, pray, and think of new ideas.  Being out on the road or trail can connect us to the earth and our natural surroundings.  I choose to run without music.  So my ears are listening to my neighbors pulling out of their driveways, the bark of a dog, and the chirp of a bird.  Running this way seems more basic, less complex, and keeps me aware.

This is a habit that I hope to continue no matter what the future might bring.

Is running something you could start doing?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On-line newspaper goes to a subscription model

Our local newspaper has a very good website that I have been using and enjoying for years.  This month they decided to go with a subscription model.  I don't even want to know what they are charging as I have decided to move on.  There are several television channels in our area that have the same news and I can access their web content for free.  I think this was not a good decision.  News is almost a community service that keeps people informed of day-to-day events for awareness and sometimes even for safety.  Sure, I'll allow for a few ads but I will not be paying for the news.  It isn't that valuable to me.  I wish them well, but I predict that they will reverse their decision in the next year.

Are you willing to pay a subscription fee for your news?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Not a sports fan

Recently, I saw someone I admire with the slogan "Not a sports fan" on his t-shirt.  This man is a TV host for the television show "Motion".  He hikes, kayaks, and scuba dives all over the United States for his program on exploring the outdoors on the road less traveled.  Him wearing this shirt made perfect sense.  He likes to be active and see new places but those places are usually off the beaten path with few people.  A sports fan has to conform to the group, put up with a lot of people, see a lot of advertising, all the while being squished together with a rowdy throng.  I just can't see him liking that.  Neither do I.

I have noticed that I too like to be active and go places with few people.  I am also finding my sports interest waining.  Football is coming up in the fall and I usually watch a whole Packer game in the afternoon.  Yet, that is my level of devotion to sport.  I've tried watching basketball and it doesn't catch my full interest.  The same can be said for baseball and hockey.  The olympics can be interesting and those are coming up this summer so I will see if I have the heart to watch.  I will sometimes tune into the last 15 minutes of a golf tournament as it is nice to see someone win a million dollars.

Yet, I am not a major sports fan.  Sports can be too competitive.  Sports can also consume peoples lives to the point where it is an unhealthy time sink.  I like to be active, do things, and broaden my horizons.  But sports just doesn't turn my crank.

What do you think?  Are you a sports fan?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Listening to speakers at a music festival

I was recently at a big music festival that is held each year in our area and an interesting thing happened.  I was not all that interested in hearing the musicians sing or play.  Rather, I wanted to listen to them talk.  Without question, music is important to me.  But I think I like to hear of experiences and how-to's directly when I have the chance.  It is inspiring and helpful to hear the inside scoop.  When I hear music live, I am not always impressed.  I would rather hear the studio recording.  I think this is because the song is at its best and done right in that setting.  When it is sung live, the subtleties are missing, the pace is off, and musicians interrupt their own song to share something.  That doesn't always do something for me.  In fact, it makes the song feel incomplete or broken.  So, I like to hear talk more than music.  I have already written about how I like to listen to podcasts, so this is no surprise.

What do you prefer?  Music or talk or a mix of both?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Apple's Podcast app

Apple recently release an app called Podcast.  As you can imagine, it is an app that plays podcasts of all kinds.  I am a big podcast fan but I am not a fan of Podcast.  This app is not even usable at this point.  When I first downloaded it to my iPod Touch and started to use it, the programs would play but it has become more and more slow and now it won't even open.  I like the idea of separating podcasts from iTunes and into an app of their own.  In fact, I have deleted almost all of my favorite podcasts from iTunes and not having iTunes run in the background of my computer is certainly helping my it run better and faster.  But if I can't get them on Podcast, I will have to go back to iTunes or find some other way of hearing them.  I have found Stitcher to be very good for downloading and listening to programs but not all of my favorites are available there.  

I hope Apple releases an update soon.  In fact, the lack of quality of their app is very puzzling as the company usually is known for quality, simplicity and elegance.  It is almost as if they are driving people to other sources like Instacast.

How do you listen to podcasts?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Daytime TV

When I am at the gym doing my exercising, they have there three televisions.  Most of the time they are on and with other people in the room, I don't feel the freedom to change the channels, so I live with what is playing.  Usually, the morning shows are full of bad news, terror, and natural disasters.  What a terrible way to begin a day!  Seriously, why would you want the first things you think about to be all gloom and doom?  What an unhealthily mental diet.  Besides these times at the gym, I do not turn on the television in the mornings.  Our TV is tucked away downstairs where it is out of sight and out of mind.  That is done purposefully as I don't want to give it prominence in my home.  It has never been my habit and I never anticipate it ever being my habit to turn on the TV to watch morning shows.  Mornings are for preparing for the day and taking action on my goals. 

Do you watch TV in the mornings?  Is that a habit you want to reconsider?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Three financial fails observed recently

I was at the grocery store customer service counter a few weeks ago when a man in front of me asked to buy lottery tickets.  It amazed me to actually see a grown man who should have known better buying the things.  I have heard of how the lotto preys on the poor but to see it right in front of my eyes was sad and astounding all at the same time.  He left the counter with a silly grin on his face, obviously dreaming of getting rich quick.

Not too long ago, I heard a most ignorant comment.  A man said that the government could not be spending all this money like it does if the money was not there.  The implication was that we weren't in trouble financially in this country and we could just merrily keep on spending.  I never heard such an argument in the past and it left me stunned.  This man was so oblivious to reality it left me with no comment.  He has no idea how far in debt this country is in nor how much each of us owes.

At a town meeting I attended, a woman spoke up to suggest that the town borrow the money needed to pay for road repair.  Why wait?  Fortunately, the chairman calmly spoke some sense and told her that for the town to borrow for todays consumption was like putting the money on a credit card.  That silenced her fortunately and put an end to the matter.  

I am so amazed at the incredible lack of understanding displayed by the citizens around me.  These people I have described evidently take no time to read or listen to any credible source of information.  People, listen.  Lotteries are not a way to get rich, the government does not have an endless supply of money, and borrowing is a sure way of going broke.

What displays of financial ignorance have you seen lately?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Disappointed that iGoogle is being discontinued

Google announced recently that they will discontinue iGoogle next year.  iGoogle has been my home page for many, many years now and the start to my internet use.  It has been a launch pad for what I want to get done.  With iGoogle I can quickly glance at my email, check the weather, and jot a note to myself.  iGoogle is sort of a catch all.  

Maybe this change is good.  Shaking up the routine and learning new ways of doing the same things isn't all bad.  But I also don't see what Google gains by pushing away loyal fans.  I know Steve Jobs rebuked Google for being too many things to too many people.  He suggested that they cut many of their services and decide what they really want to become.  Maybe cutting out iGoogle is the companies way of taking his advice.

Are you disappointed that iGoogle will be discontinued?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Do the work when at the gym

I am getting over to the city pool twice a week right now.  It has become a good habit and one I hope to continue no matter what the future may hold.  

Before swimming a few laps, I go to the weight room and use the equipment to get some exercise.  What surprises me is how lackadaisical people are about their work out.  I have seen people come into the gym and just sit on machines, look at the TV, peddle a few times, and quit.  Others have come in with a friend and they just sit and watch.  I want to tell these people that you actually have to do something in order to get an results.

Next time you are at the gym or working out, push yourself, and do the work.  I believe you will feel better for it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My dying words

Someone asked this week, "what would you like your dying words to be?"  That is easy.  They are already printed and written in Luke 23:46.  Jesus, the Son of God, said "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”  Also, in another verse, Acts 7:59, a man named Stephan says something similar.  "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  I hope my last words are words like these.

What would you like your dying words to be?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Getting rid of old journals, cards, and pictures

We are trying to clear the basement of unused and unneeded items.  My job for last week was to go through a box full of journals, cards, and pictures.  The journals were from way back.  Some from high school.  The cards were from Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries.  The pictures were mostly from the days before digital.

It was sort of sad to read some of the things that I wrote in my journals so long ago.  Somethings I remember very clearly while other things were reminders of what I must have been going through.  I had hung onto these writings thinking they might be of reference someday.  But after removing so much junk from my father-in-laws old farm recently, I know people are not interested in someones old writings that have no relevance for their own lives.  I look at those writings as practice in expressing myself.  Hopefully I have become better at it these days.  Many of the cards I read through.  Some from my wife I saved.  It was interesting to see how we use to write to each other more often, early in our marriage.  But many cards and Christmas letters I put out in the recycling.  The written word is difficult to get rid of.  For some reason, we have been trained to never part with it.  The pictures reminded me of people who use to be in my life, hair that I use to have, and experiences that I had.  I saved several of these but many I tossed either because the picture didn't have enough meaning or I had a digital file saved.

How do you manage your old journals, cards, and pictures from pre-digital days?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Born to Run" initial thoughts

I am reading the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.  Though I am not even half way through the book, I wanted to share my initial thoughts.

Firstly, the author writes with a lot of detail.  I hope he is giving it to us straight as there seems to be some embellishment.  Sometimes, it feels like I am reading an article out of Rolling Stone magazine.  I have checked a few things on what he has written and they did seem accurate enough.

Secondly, his book is about endurance running and the secret to it.  The secrets so far seem to be that one should run for happiness, not to lose weight, or win a prize.  It should be done for pure joy.  The other thing that I think he will reveal is that running with expensive shoes is actually more harmful than good.  He hasn't come out to say that yet, but I think at some point he will.

It has been motivating to read McDougall's account of ultrarunners.  I get out a few times per week and run a few miles.  I am starting to believe that I can do more than what I am doing.  I hope to continue to run for many years to come and maybe I can even stretch the distances that I run.

Have you read "Born to Run"?  What are your thoughts on it?

Monday, July 9, 2012


It has been really hot lately.  We have had day after day of 90 + degree heat.  There has even been some days in the low 100's.  The humidity is high and rain has been scarce.  Fortunately a few days ago we had over 1.5 inches of rain but that was isolated just a few areas and not state-wide.  After the rain, the temps went down for a few hours, which was a relief, but then went back up again.  People are advised to stay indoors, drink plenty of water, and avoid excessive exertion.  

When I am on vacation south of here, this sort of heat isn't so bad, in fact, it is rather expected.  But being this far north, I don't enjoy it on a regular basis.  I know it can be hot in July and August but that is usually for only a few days.  Our air conditioning unit has been running often and we have set up some fans to cool the air.  It will be a relief when we get back into the 70's.  This weather is exactly why people around here welcome fall and winter.

How do you deal with the heat?

Friday, July 6, 2012

My iOS dock

Recently, Google released Chrome for the Apple mobile environment.  I really like it.  It is smooth and my bookmarks from the desktop browser have synced seamlessly.  Open tabs also come straight over.  As a result, my interest in Safari has almost gone away and I have removed the Safari app out of my iOS dock and replaced it with Chrome.  I also added Stitcher to the dock.  Stitcher is an app where you can find a lot of podcasts to listen to.  I am finding that I use it quite often and thought it needed a more accessible place.  What I choose to remove was the App Store app.  Honestly, I think App developers release updates all too often and I don't want to constantly be reminded to download minor updates that really don't matter.

The other two apps in my dock are the Music app and Weather Bug.  Both of which I use often enough to have in a prominent place.

It has been a long time since I have made any changes to my dock on my iPod Touch.  But I am happy with the new arrangement.  It seems refreshed and more honest.

What do you have in your dock?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Podcasts for career help

48 Days Podcast  Dan Miller author of "48 Days to the Work You Love" brings a podcast each week where he answers listener questions on work, career, and business.

No More Mondays  A spin-off of what Dan Miller does, Justin Lukasavige and Andy Traub bring a weekly podcast that centers around new media, entrepreneurship, and living a lifestyle where you enjoy what you do.

Salary Talk  From the folks at Salary.com, Aaron Gouveia and Wendy Ryan give helpful and insightful advice on how to maximize ones earnings.  They give both sides of the story.  Management and employee.  Not the most polished show, with some silly laughing, nevertheless it can be helpful to further ones career.

This is your Life  Michael Hyatt's podcast is a new one for me.  He is pushing his listeners to have their own platform and brand which is a good thing to learn about.

Entreleadership  From America's most trusted financial advisor Dave Ramsey.  Dave and guest speakers give insights on how to run a successful business.  This show can be helpful even if you are in a traditional job and work as an employee.

What podcast(s) have you found to be helpful with your career?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Treat me like a human being

Places that want to use me take all the fun out of work.  I do not like to be regarded like yesterday's newspaper or some piece of trash.  Please quit trying to control me and value me instead.  I have one life and it is precious to me.  I also have a life outside of work and it is one that I am anxious to get back to.  I regard my family and my finances as high priorities.  I also highly value my spiritual and physical side.  Expecting me to devote my entire life to a company and working all hours in my weaknesses is highly improbable and is in fact ridiculous.  Treat me like a human being.  You will get the best out of me when you do.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Slow down

I met a man recently who has a ministry at a retirement living home.  He plays music for the church service each Sunday while another man brings the message.  Many in the audience are in their eighties and come from various church backgrounds.  He said that not a few times have people come up to him after the service to say that they had never heard a particular truth before.  They say that they never knew the Bible said what it said.  I find it very sad that these people's denomination never encouraged them to open their own Bibles and read.  I find it sad that these truths have taken so long to get to these senior people and now they only have a few years to live out those truths.  But it is most sad that people in general are so busy, so caught up in the moment, that they plow past the most important things in life.  God had to wait for these people to slow down enough before He could tell them something important. 

People today are living imbalanced lives.  They think work is so important that they let their physical selves go.  They think the company will not survive without them so they sacrifice time with their families.  They are so consumed with working and shopping that their souls dry up.  Isn't it time we reflect on what is really important and strive to live more balanced lives?

Do you need to slow down?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Being president for the day

If I was president for one day, I would focus on cleaning up this country.  This country once was pristine and almost untouched.  Think of all the changes that have taking place in the landscape over the last few centuries.  Think of all the junk and trash and discarded items that are sitting out there. Think of all the cars and appliances sitting in peoples yards.  We need to make a concerted effort to clean up and beautify our outdoors.  There are large things that need to be done.  Like removing whole neighborhoods of rundown houses, broken cement, and derelict buildings.  But there are also small things that need to be done like removing trash from the side of roads and planting trees.  

If I was president, I would use the bully pulpit to proclaim these heartfelt thoughts.  I would make a three to five minute speech in the morning.  Then I would take my media entourage and actually go out to sites that were taking down worthless buildings.  I would take the media to roadsides where volunteers are picking up garbage from careless passing motorist.  I would take them to places where trees where being planted and cared for.

At the end of the day, I would be satisfied.  Good work can do that.  The travel, the lifting, the moving.  Speaking from my heart, I would make another three to five minute speech again pushing my fellow citizens to clean up and take it easy on the natural world.  It is our responsibility.  Future generations depend on it.  I would remain focused on this one issue and I would have fulfilled my purpose.