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Blog Posts for June 2008

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Ever Wish Your Brain Were Bigger?

 

Someone asked me recently to fill in the blank:

"Problems are..."
My answer was "Problems are fun!" I like a good puzzle, it's true.

Woking on 247 today, I'm up agaist a doozy. The solution I employ will affect every aspect of this.

Nothing like a bit of pressure...

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 6/1/2008 10:42:25 AM
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The Greatest Human Attribute

 

What's the best characteristic a human being can exhibit?

You can offer "compassion" as an answer. That's a good one, to be sure.

You might suggest "loving." It hints compassion, and a host of other good behaviors.

Me, I'll go with "commitment." Because it embodies persistence, which speaks to accomplishment, and signals that a choice was made, which shows freedom. A committed person will achieve things. A committed person is loyal. If you're committed, you're in for the long haul. Unwavering. Determined.

My second nomination would be "passionate." You can be committed, but if you don't have fire in the belly, the going can be slow and painful to keep up the nerve to do what you've chosen to do.

Passionate commitment? That's someone to be reckoned with.

Where do you consistently exhibit your passionate commitment?

 

3 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/5/2008 1:50:41 AM
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Democrat? No, American...

 

I just talked with my mother, a lifelong and very staunch Democrat. I knew that she was a Hillary supporter. Imagine my surprise when I heard this today:

I'm voting for John McCain this year.
I won't tell you the reasons why, but suffice it to say that Obama lost her big time. And other people she knows as well will be pulling for McCain this fall.

It's gonna be an interesting election.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/6/2008 7:08:26 PM
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Intervention

 

In the comments of my suggestion that "commitment is the greatest human attribute" and that "passionate commitment" will produce "someone to be reckoned with," Pale Rider says this:

I would say these have the potential to be the greatest human attribute(s), but also have the potential to be the worst. On the opposite side you could end up with a Nazi regime, 19 asshat's flying planes into the world trade centers, suicide bombers, etc.

Maybe commitment is the most powerful attribute?

Since he said that, I've wondered what makes the difference between the person committed to be constructive and the person committed to be destructive.

I think it's thankfulness.

People who tend to experience [thankfulness] more frequently than do others also tend to be happier, more helpful and forgiving, and less depressed than their less grateful counterparts (Kashdan, Uswatte, & Julian, 2006; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002; Watkins, Woodward, Stone, & Kolts, 2003)
Hard to be a terrorist or a murderer when you're brimming with thankfulness.

What's more, thankfulness tends to spawn reciprocity.

Gratitude may also serve to reinforce future prosocial behavior in benefactors. For example, Carey and colleagues (Carey, Clicque, Leighton, & Milton, 1976) found that customers of a jewelry store who were called and thanked showed a subsequent 70% increase in purchases. In comparison, customers who were thanked and told about a sale showed only a 30% increase in purchases, and customers who were not called at all did not show an increase. Rind and Bordia (1995) found that restaurant patrons gave bigger tips when their servers wrote "Thank you" on their checks.
Thankfulness becomes a catalyst for "pay it forward," gently urging others into acts of kindness. Want a better world? Be thankful. Practice thankfulness.

Thankfulness is a choice, and it starts with what we choose to see. That may seem like a phrasing of the age-old question of whether the glass is half-full or half-empty, but it's not. The thankful person who sees the entirely empty glass would become thankful for and see the beauty in the glass itself. Thankfulness is a way of seeing life. It finds joy in the little things.

Thankfulness is not self-centered, but rather appreciates what it finds outside the self. So here's my definition for thankfulness: "The choice to see the beauty in life and to unabashedly express it."

The opposite of thankfulness is likely bitterness (resentment).

Resentment will often manifest itself in the following ways.
  • The harboring of animosity against a person or group of people whom the person feels has mistreated them.
  • Unresolved anger over a negative event which occurred in the past.
  • Seething, aching emotional turmoil felt whenever a certain person or event is discussed.
  • The lack of forgiving, the unwillingness to let go and forget.
  • A root of distrust and suspicion have when dealing with people or events that brought pain in the past.
  • Unresolved grief experienced when finding it difficult to accept a loss.
  • A grudge held against a person or group of people whom the person feels has kept them from achieving anything.
Victimhood, plain and simple. It's the mindset of "I've been hurt and I'm pissed as hell." It's not an outward focus, like thankfulness, but an inward focus. Bitterness doesn't see what's right, but rather what's wrong.

What's more, where thankfulness leads to satisfaction, bitterness leads to a thirst for restitution. It believes that there is a debt to be paid, and the more deeply felt, the more it acts that out. Which can only spawn more bitterness for the victims it leaves in its wake.

Bitterness is also a choice. It's what we choose to see, if we are bitter.

If we become who we hang around, who would you rather have as the company you keep: the thankful person, or the bitter person? Who's likely to be the better leader? Who will be more productive? Who will be the stronger friend?

Like happiness, thankfulness is a choice.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/7/2008 7:34:23 AM
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In a Nutshell

 

George Will defined ideologies the other day on Stephen Colbert's show:

Conservatives tend to favor freedom and are willing to accept inequalities of outcome from a free market.

Liberals tend to favor equality of outcome and are willing to sacrifice and circumscribe freedom in order to get it.

Yep. That's the most cogent, well-considered definition I think I've ever heard. I even think that liberals would agree with that conservative's summation.

I think I'll buy his new book.

 

16 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/7/2008 8:22:55 AM
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Mobilization

 

With all of Obama's gaffes and empty-suit rhetoric, some Republicans believe that McCain will clean Obama's clock come November.

I don't believe that at all.

Senator Barack Obama's general election plan calls for broadening the electoral map by challenging Senator John McCain in typically Republican states - from North Carolina to Missouri to Montana - as Mr. Obama seeks to take advantage of voter turnout operations built in nearly 50 states in the long Democratic nomination battle, aides said.
Back during the Iowa caucus in January, I wrote how I saw that "Obama supporters were out in droves this morning, standing on frigid corners, shivering with their signs held passionately up... No other candidate has that going for them."

It's all about organization, and I don't see the GOP doing well at organizing. Not on the scale that Obama has.

McCain believes that his substance will beat Obama's style. That kind of smugness is not going to help him when all that really matters is numbers in November.

ETC: Saw this on HotAir today... George Will seeing this as I've discussed here.

And this:

The problem with McCain is that he's middle-of-the-road, which inspires no one to get excited about him.

In my opinion, the only thing that will lose Obama his mojo is people telling the truth and others listening about his associations and policies and sheer ignorance of the way the world works. At this point, I doubt that wil happen, but then, Kerry was torpedoed by the Swift Boat Vets. Bush at least gave me some reasons to vote for him (ownership society, Iraq). I do agree with McCain on limiting the government, but how does he propose to do that while wanting illegals to be legal? He's like a trojan horse.

McCain could also break early by nominating the very common sense oriented Sarah Palin, in my opinion. I hope she's our first female president.

 

4 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/8/2008 10:22:51 AM
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Cheering for Expensive Gasoline

 

Via Instapundit, I found this article on Democrats blocking domestic oil production. From the article:

The issue with the Democrats now is they want to cut off any source of carbon. And there are those in the Senate who believe the more expensive you make gasoline, the less driving people do and you force conservation by making driving so expensive people can't afford it.
And the end of that becomes a poorer economy, more people out of work, and the harder it is to make a living for those who do work.

At some point, people will start figuring out that part of the reason for their economic difficulties is government getting in the way. If you don't like the hike in cost of living these days, vote the clowns responsible for this out of office.

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 6/9/2008 10:35:30 AM
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Discovered

 

This little guy was alone on the south side of our house. Here he is nestled into the tuck of Tamara's palm.

 

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/12/2008 11:05:00 PM
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The Good of Iowa

 

Tamara and I spent the afternoon sandbagging. I didn't have my camera with me because it's in South Carolina with my step-son, Tyler, as he skateboards madly with his buddies before they all go to college. But it was interesting to be reminded how hardship brings people together. This is where I believe Iowa to be a magical place. We're a trusting, helpful people. Neighbors were getting reintroduced to one another and learning that they have a common goal where they live. There was no selfishness. It was a team effort.

Not every resident of Des Moines came to help. And that's okay, and as it should be. Charity is best right when it's delivered willingly. Ashley, Scott, Sue, and David (a few of our fellow 300 sandbaggers who were nearest us) were there with smiles on their faces and believing in what they were doing.

After about 5 or 6 hours of working, Tamara and I went home. The Des Moines Register took Tamara's picture and interviewed her briefly at one location. The local Fox News affiliate did the same later, with video. (I've also seen her in a movie last fall, where she gave an impassioned and impromptu speech about the definition of a hero, and those in the audience watching the film gave her a standing ovation.)

Today, in her talk to the Fox News reporter, she talked of the good of Iowa. She, a Georgia native, calls this state home. It feels right to her. I suspect that if you were to have to go through trouble, Iowa is about as good a place as any to endure it.

 

6 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/12/2008 11:35:00 PM
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Goals

 

What would we, the American people, define as goals for our country?

I think the answer might be different than much discussed "issues."

For example, I think the overwhelming majority would want the nation to continue. That's a goal, not an issue.

I think the overwhelming majority would want the country and its people to prosper. Again, I think that's a goal, and not an issue. A goal is not wrapped up in the "how," but instead paints in broad stokes. "Issues" are more of the "how."

An "issue" would be illegal immigration. An "issue" would be taxation. An "issue" would be universal health care. These are more the "how." Is allowing illegal immigration in line with our nation continuing? With prospering? How does taxation square with our goals? Universal health care? Other issues?

It seems to me that we get far more wrapped up in divisive issues and we forget the goals. If we remain focused on the goals, some of the issues can clear up quickly. Prayer in school, for example. Flag burning. Do they matter to the goals that we as a nation set? If not, perhaps these issues are not national, but more localized and cultural.

Is it a goal for our nation that no one ever die? Be it in war, in sickness, etc.

Is it a goal for our nation that every adult work, regardless of wealth?

Is it a goal for our nation that all our citizens be educated through college?

Or are we okay with death, retirement, and some depth of blue-collar work force?

Here's a question: do we, as citizens, have an obligation to think through the goals we might desire for our country? And then consider the best ways to get there?

In some manner, I think we all do that. But... I think that it's not hard to be distracted by the pitch of some "issues" from the "goals" we have.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/14/2008 10:32:25 AM
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Movies

 

Recently, my kids and Tamara and I went to see Kung Fu Panda. Loved it. My younger two now run around saying, "Skadoosh."

Today, we saw The Incredible Hulk. Like Iron Man's Robert Downey Jr., Ed Norton was Bruce Banner and nailed the part. I don't know who is running the show with these Marvel films, but they're exactly what movies should be. And the ending of this one made my clan oh so excited about the next two years in Marvel filmmaking. The boys all stood up from their theater seats, grinning from ear to ear.

"Skadoosh!"

ETC: Tamara and I rented P.S. I Love You.

Yep. Like that. My worst day with her is better than my best day without her. Good flick, but definitely bring the tissues.

 

3 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/14/2008 3:12:40 PM
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Father's Day

 

I chose to spend my Father's Day with each of my kids who are home right now, individually. An hour for each, I played tennis with Tate, played tennis with Austin, rode bikes with Nick, went exploring in the creek behind our house (mosquitos!) and played Taboo with Jacob, and something yet to be determined with Aaron. And my daughter, Bari, will be coming over after work. Tyler called me this morning from Virginia Beach where he is skateboarding and wished me the best. Each of them gave me a great card and thoughtful gifts, though it's the gift of them that I truly treasure.

I love being a dad. My family is everything to me and I really can't fathom how some men abandon their kids and their families. In reading through the news, I found that Obama gave a speech, and the sections I read I heartily applaud.

We need fathers to recognize that responsibility doesn't just end at conception. That doesn't make you a father. What makes you a man is not the ability to have a child - any fool can have a child. That's doesn’t make you father. It's the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.

I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle, that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my children; that if I could give them anything, I would give them that rock, that foundation, on which to build their lives.

I connect with that pretty well, as I grew up with an alcoholic step-father, who demonstrated more how not to be a man than how to be one. Good for Obama in calling fathers to action.

The reward for me is that I have the most amazing children. In our 8-kid blended family, everyone gets along great. No one gets into trouble. All of them want to be responsible, respectful people and they show that. That's humbling to me. It's a privilege to be their dad.

Today, like just about every day, I am extraordinarily thankful.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/15/2008 6:59:13 PM
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Gladys Kravitz

 

It recently came to my attention that more people than I knew read my little web site here. I'll call them Gladys Kravitz. And for a few reasons, I'll be making some changes to beatcanvas.com.

What's the purpose for this web site? I don't write and post and create here to drive traffic. Not my goal. I'm smart enough to know how to do that if I chose, but my purpose is more personal. Some day, my kids and my grandkids and all of their kids will wonder more deeply who I was and what drove me. A few of them will be interested to have this time capsule of my thoughts and activities and read through it. I hope to give them the value of my insights. Principles, considerations, provocations... what I wrote and all of the comments bundled up for them to peruse when I die.

Personally, my greatest joy about the web site is with those who comment. PR, Bella, Kelly, Annette, Rich, Jeff, IC... I love the conversation. And so, at some point in the next few months, the blog portion of beatcanvas.com will disappear behind a privacy wall. I'll let each of you who want to be a part of the conversation not only comment, but post here as well. The purpose will be to dig deep and really get into it. Conversation. Exploration. Creativity.

For those who want to join, I'll give a request form on the site and if I choose, you'll be allowed in. I'll give a custom RSS link if you choose to view and interact via RSS, but I'll be monitoring that to ensure that it's not a shared link.

My goal is not traffic or to boost my street cred. My goal is to pass along to my subsequent and inevitable generations a lot of well-considered and passionate thoughts. To spur them. I want them to know how I love Tamara and how greatly I cherish family. To learn what I find successful in life. I want them to know PR's thoughts, Bella's optimism, Kelly's wit, Annette's bravery, and so on. And others who wish to join in for honorable and honest reasons.

More than a simple diary, I want this to bring forth my life to them as much as I can. A portfolio, if you will.

What I don't want is to catalyze a reason for me to not be me.

And at the appropriate time, I'll surface a new and public blog for a different purpose. It's not time now... but even after that, the discussion and sharing at beatcanvas.com will continue.

 

2 Comments
Tags: my life
by Brett Rogers, 6/20/2008 8:16:46 AM
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Highs and Lows

 

Throughout my life, I've had a on-and-off relationship with processed sugar. White sugar. The stuff is addictive. Several times in my life, I've been able to go cold turkey and give it up.

When I do, I lose weight - without trying to lose weight. Maybe it's the choice of foods, but no sugar = less of me.

Over 3 years ago, I gave up sugar. I lost 60 pounds. And then I did what I always do - I tell myself that I have achieved some sort of resistance and it's okay to eat [apple pie/cake/ice cream]. You know, treat myself. When I do, that's it. I then start to gain weight again because I keep eating that stuff.

And so two years ago, I started eating sugar again. I gained back 40 of the 60 pounds I'd lost. Stupid...

Four weeks ago, I gave it up again. I'm exercising more. I'm sure the weight will come off. I'll do a few things different this time.

  • I will never eat processed sugar again. Period. I can't be trusted with it.
  • I won't weigh myself. It's not about the number - it's about the health and it's about how I feel.
  • I'll try to change myself from being a late night eater to avoiding food late at night.
I gotta tell ya... as I age, it's starting to hit me that I need to be careful. For example, I recently switched to reading glasses. Friends of mine tell me that it was in their mid-40's that they too had to get reading glasses. I just started finding it harder and harder to focus on things close up. For some reason, this adjustment and constant limitation of my body is hitting me harder than it probably should. I guess we all pick our "good lord, I'm getting older" moments. This is one of mine. Health, as a result, has become pretty darn important to me now. It's the Brett-preservation program, to the joy of my wife, who tells me that it took her long enough to find me... I'd better stick around or she'll kick my butt.

No processed sugar. Exercise. Better eating habits. Whole foods.

It's always the right time to focus on one's health.

 

5 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/21/2008 12:13:11 PM
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One Page

 

I'm working on 247, and I have one critical page to complete that, when completed, will prove out the concept of this revision. It's going well, and if I can complete it this weekend, I'll have what I need in place to start beating up on it with sample data. Testing with LocalsGive should begin this week. Yayy!

ETC: The work is intricate...

MORE ETC: More thought and scenario work has me tweaking the data model to arrive at a more elegant and robust solution. 247 started out as a flexible, user-friendly search engine capable of handling any number of attributes. It's become a potent decision engine that I will make available to SME's for free. It will likely be a late night.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/21/2008 10:03:03 PM
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Reinventing the Wheel

 

Occasionally, I hear the phrase, "We don't want to reinvent the wheel here." It's always used in reference to some pending effort where a project team must work to achieve a result, and someone senior wants the team to leverage an existing, but partial, solution. It's perceived to be a leg up, a jump start. The senior exec posits, "Why should we waste time and money when we don't need to?" It's a means toward getting it done faster, using "proven" methods and "best" practices.

I'm here to tell you that the wheel should be reinvented. A lot.

The one thing that always, without fail, bites a project in the ass and sets it behind schedule is the assumption. Somebody somewhere along the line made an inadequately informed assumption.

Assumption: the methodology before us will allow us to meet the project's goals. Therefore, we should use that and build on top of it.

But you know, unless you deeply understand the previous methodology (rare) and unless it's completely open to you to manipulate and change as required by the solution (also rare), there is no way that the methodology can give you a leg up. In fact, if anything, it gets in the way and requires workarounds.

In other words, only in rare cases, in my experience, do you not need to reinvent the wheel.

(Keep in mind that the "wheel," in my reference here, is not a tool or materials.)

Innovation happens when we change it up. We mix, we adjust, we play. We do the unconventional. Innovation doesn't happen by doing it the way others did it. Innovation is reconsideration. It is new methods, new practices, new processes.

Innovation happens when you reinvent the wheel.

Look at some market examples:

The iPod didn't borrow from previous MP3 players.
Google didn't try to do it like Yahoo.
Dell didn't make computers like others.
The Tesla doesn't run like other cars do.

Yes, these are big, well-noted, game-changing products. "But our project is not trying to change the world." Fair enough. But shouldn't any idea worth implementing deserve the consideration of its own application without driving down the narrow straits of previous implementations? What if this needs to be different? Look different? Behave differently? Wouldn't that require, then, a different approach?

Maybe the vehicle doesn't need wheels. Reinvent the wheel? Forget the wheel.

Fly.
Swim.
Burrow.

No wheels required. Might that be your project? Maybe. Have you stopped to consider that?

In painting and in writing, I've learned that the best way to a great result is to wipe the slate clean and start over. The secret to great writing is rewriting. Re-painting forces you to re-learn the subject and leave your assumptions behind. It forces you to see things anew.

Magic happens when you reinvent the wheel.

ETC: This post was mistakenly titled "Rebuild the Wheel" and Rich, who I think knew what I meant to say, comments about the difference between rebuilding and reinventing. He makes a great point... he says:

It seems most of the success stories follow this model - Bill Gates did not invent the computer; Henry Ford did not invent the Car... I think your post might point out the difference between innovation and invention....
Invention certainly takes innovation, but I don't think innovation always leads to invention. I think invention is the successful outcome of innovation, and not all innovation succeeds. And perhaps that's what senior execs try to avoid by using previous "best practice" methodlogy: time-wasting, money-wasting failure.

What Henry Ford did invent, like Dell, was a new and improved process. Henry didn't invent the car. Michael didn't invent the computer. But their processes were innovative.

(Bill Gates, in my opinion, is personally lousy at invention. Tim Paterson wrote DOS. Paul Allen finished hand-writing the BASIC interpretter that got him and Bill started while on the plane to Texas. He didn't write Windows. Visual Basic, the macro language that powered a generation of programmers and helped so many Windows apps, was fathered by Alan Cooper, a genius of design. What Bill did do very, very well was employ his aggressive opportunism, be it in fostering productive work environments or cementing deals with big companies.)

Rich asks, "Should you be on the bleeding edge or just a fast follower?" I'm not sure innovation that leads to invention requires bleeding edge. Bleeding edge, in my experience, usually happens when a company tries to make use of a new methodology developed by someone else, and it's not quite a fit. Hence the blood loss...

What I'm trying to advocate, and perhaps I didn't do it so clearly, is a hesitation to simply adopt what others have done before in the sometimes false assumption that it will work here too. By taking a bit of time to reconsider the problem and what would work best, reinvention might be the best route and deliver the most efficient result. (I've seen Rich himself do this successfully before, and I appreciate his illumination of my use of the wrong word.) What this approach requires is a deep trust in the design skills of the assembled team to get it right.

Right innovation involves excellent design skills and a lot of attention paid to the end-user/audience. Once that's done, then the implementation can begin. The right design leads to obvious and successful implementation.

 

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/22/2008 4:31:17 PM
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Internet Hopping

 

Sometime on Thursday evening, my Qwest DSL modem was unable to connect to the Internet, and when the tech came out on Friday, they informed me that it would cost me $300 to fix it. No thanks. Not worth it. That's 6 months of Internet at my house. I should mention that I've been very happy with Qwest, up until now.

I called Mediacom and they're going to set me up with connectivity (something called Online Max, which is supposed to be up to 15mbps), but I have to wait until next Thursday morning. In the meantime, I'm frequenting Panera, which works fine.

Crazily, when I called Qwest to cancel my account with them, they wanted to give me the $300 service for free. Why not offer that up front? Why offer me that when I'm ready to leave? Kinda silly.

 

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/22/2008 4:44:02 PM
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Jim Goodman

 

I just got the news that a friend and business colleague of mine, a man I respected a great deal, passed away while running the Hy-Vee Triathlon due to a heart attack. Jim Goodman was a really good guy. This really sucks.

Best wishes to his family, his friends, and business associates.

ETC: I feel a need to go a bit deeper. I was with Emerging Growth Group when Jim came on. My old company, Newsletter Ease, was floundering around and Jim came in and breathed some fresh air into the whole effort. We were throwing around names one day when he said said he was all about customers, and so Customer Ease was born.

One of the guys there said that Jim was "the hardest working man in show business." Jim was a high energy, uncommon sense enterpreneur. He always saw through the clutter and drove to what would make money and be fun to do. A quick wit, he was always in a good mood and smiled easily.

I saw Jim last week during a meeting and he looked great. My last words to him were that he really made a difference in the things he did. Emerging Growth Group was better for him. The people around him were better for his influence.

Jim lived - in every sense of the word - every day.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/23/2008 9:39:24 AM
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Back Up

 

My Internet connection is back up, though I am now buried in a bunch of things that need doing that I couldn't do while down. So I'll move through one of those items now: a post. Some observations:

George Bush saw some very critical success this week. South Korea dismantles its nuclear weapons program. Two down, one to go? Iraq, of course, being one of the items gone, and frankly the success is going so well these days that news of it has all but disappeared from the headlines.

The Supreme Court voted to uphold the Second Amendment's proclamation that every American citizen has a right to keep and bear arms, and not just for the purposes of militia. The vote was 5-4, and were it not for the constructionist justices put forward by Bush, that decision might have gone the other way. (As evidenced by the braindead decision to not allow the death penalty for the morally corrupt who rape a child. That too went 5-4, but the wrong way. More reasons to support McCain, who pledges constructionist justices...)

Speaking of McCain, good for him to suggest a $300 million prize for technology that helps us gain energy independence. Smart, looking to boost the private sector and not a permanent government solution.

I received George Will's new book in the mail, and in the introduction, he says this: "For all the fascination with new media, I believe that books remain the most important carriers of ideas, and ideas are always the most important news. Hence books themselves are often news." I love that... "ideas are always the most important news." Yes, absolutely. Of course.

And for that reason, I'm watching the McCain campaign with a measure of admiration, because McCain is beginning to promote workable ideas, such as drilling. You know... supply and demand and all that. At least he gets the concept, and doesn't want to punish the companies that produce what we need more of.

Finally, on a personal note: my son, Nick, leaves for college tomorrow. I'm going to miss him. He's grown into a good man, who treats his girlfriend with respect and love, who works hard to be responsible for himself and carry his own weight, and who has a pretty easy way with people. He'll be successful in what he does. You know that when you meet him. It's a privilege to be his dad, and a week from now I'll drive north to Minneapolis to bring a few more of his things to him. We'll have lunch together that day. I'll look at his new pad. He'll be on his own.

In a similar vein, my daughter, Bari, called me last night to tell me that she received her first insurance card through her work. It was hers, and she was proud of it. She's been living on her own for a couple of years, and this was kind of a big moment for her.

One of the treasures of being a dad is being ringside for the greatest show on earth: watching your kids move through life and make their own decisions and enjoy successes and rise up from stumbles and engage people and send their ripples across this big pond of life. I don't know what the future holds for them, but I love to watch them steer toward it.

 

0 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 6/27/2008 8:42:17 AM
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WALL·E

 

Saw the movie and I have to say that the already exceptional Pixar is getting even better graphically. The first 20 minutes of the movie, if you didn't know any better, it'd be tough to know if you're watching something real or something created.

The movie opens with a Pixar short that had Austin, Jacob, and I laughing - a lot. Just great physical comedy. Tamara, who enjoys a good slapstick routine, would love this and so when Tess gets here, I'll go see it again with them.

I won't give away the plot of the movie, but I will say that the theme into which it evolves is getting a bit tiresome. Once I suspended my disbelief, I went back to enjoying the movie, which was wonderfully done. We all liked it and heartily recommend it.

While the younger boys and I were in one theater, Tamara, Tate, Aaron, and Bari were in an adjacent theater watching Wanted. Very vulgar, I hear, but fun with fabulous effects.

It's been a good movie summer thus far. Up next for me: Batman and Hellboy II. Not really interested in seeing Hancock. I normally like Will Smith, and it seems like a decent movie, but something about it has me questioning. I'll wait to hear from others. Tamara wants to see The Mummy, so I'll be watching that when it comes out.

We saw the trailer for Bolt, a Thanksgiving cartoon from Disney about a dog, and the trailer had us laughing. We'll watch that.

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 6/28/2008 7:06:02 PM
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Customized

 

Bought some things to make my own magnetic bumper stickers (the 12" x 4" magnets, legal-sized labels, and laminate).

I was thinking about making storyboard panels and making a 4-panel cartoon, using 4 magnets. I dunno. But this way, if I feel political one day, I can put that up and change it around, depending on my mood and thinking at the time.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/28/2008 7:11:56 PM
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Killing the Horse

 

Damn straight.

So what if a President Barack Obama were to impose 50% or 60% tax rates on these CEOs and other big earners? Mr. Gramm pounces: "When you help a company raise capital, to put its idea to work, and you create jobs, those jobs are the best housing program, education program, nutrition program, health program ever created. Look, if a man in one lifetime is responsible for creating 100 real jobs, permanent jobs, then he's done more than most do-gooders have ever achieved."
Gramm's right, and I'm glad McCain has this guy whispering in his ear on economics. Obama's approach is like killing the horse on your farm because it eats from the oats it helps you harvest.

Question: What if everyone had the personal goal of creating at least 2 permanent and productive jobs in their lifetime?

Sound tough? How about 100 jobs?

Some people have the ambition of creating jobs. How does that even make sense to penalize such people by taking over half of what they earn? No, we ought to instead penalize those people who lack the ambition to do anything productive at all. I expect that there are far more people who want to do as little as possible than there are those who have the ambition of creating 100 jobs. Which group makes more sense to penalize?

Obama has no clue about life. For all his flip-flops, I don't think he understands it well. Too busy hoping instead of doing, I guess.

(Via Instapundit...)

ETC: Just when I'm warming up to McCain, I see this. Good lord, but common sense fights for air among those who seek the Oval Office this year.

Illegal immigration is an economic issue as well as a homeland security issue. Illegal immigrants are woven into our economic fabric. They're necessary to ratchet up the demand for the oversupply of homes right now. They work for our nation's employers. 12 million, we're told.

Amnesty didn't work before, despite the assurances for funding stronger border security. Does anyone think this Congress is more willing for stronger borders now than that in 1986?

I agree with McCain that it's an issue. But it's not the top issue, and while I would like to believe that those are just the words of another politician, ol' Mac really believes that stuff and authored the most recent legislation.

Agh... would that we had someone who could talk sense about this stuff.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/28/2008 7:48:51 PM
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Unreal

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/28/2008 11:08:36 PM
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PUMA

 

While I'm coding a bunch tonight, I'm browsing around during a break and I find this Nobama web site put up by some Hillary supporters. They've coined the phrase, PUMA, which stands for "Party Unity My Ass."

My gosh, if you think I'm political and a little rough with some of my views, these folks are pulling no punches.

Now evidently, there's been a problem because these folks had their blogs reported as spam to Google, and so they were shut down and unable to post. They're not spam at all, but if there were bad feelings before, it's worse now after having their freedom to publish their own opinion stripped of them. (Shame on Google for acting without validating the charges first.)

So now there is a new web site for them on Wordpress. And they're prolific! And pissed! And they believe that the media is utterly complicit in this charade of "hope and change."

 

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by Brett Rogers, 6/29/2008 12:27:33 AM
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The Burden on Children

 

The best explanation yet of what our kids will face when they grow up.

This is an audio and visual presentation, so be ready to listen well.

Bottom line: "The problem is that the projection is based upon an assumption that has no historical basis. Using the historical rate of increase, Medicare and Medicaid alone would consume all tax collections by 2044 if the tax rate remained at the 2007 level of GDP."

Medicare and Medicaid alone... that doesn't include:

  • Social Security
  • Mandatory spending on other entitlements
  • Defense
  • Non-defense, discretionary spending
  • Interest payments on the debt our country owes
In 2007, Medicare and Medicaid only amounted to 20% of all government spending. So to be in line with the historical trend, in 2044, without raising taxes enormously on your kids to make up for the money needed for 80% of the budget (!!!), the government will only raise enough revenue through current tax rates to pay for Medicare and Medicaid alone.

I came away from this totally ticked at Bush and our Congress of the last eight years. It was on their watch that these problems have grown to the scale that they have.

Electing politicians that seek to increase mandatory spending will only exaccerbate the problem.

What future do you want for our kids?

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 6/29/2008 12:12:34 PM
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