Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sadam Hussein has finally paid the price for crimes against humanity

I just heard that phrase on the news (I heard about his hanging last night, but that phrase caught my ear).

Actually, I think he's just beginning to pay the price. The hanging was the beginning. He will continue to pay the price forever.

I think there's something significant that he was hanged in the same week that Gerald Ford died. It's that "compare and contrast" thing you hated so much in high school. Gerald Ford, who pardoned Nixon, did something that was extremely un-popular, but now most historians feel it was the right thing to do. It closed the book on one of the ugliest periods in American history. Somehow, Saddam's death now closes the book (or maybe starts the closing) on another ugly period (the Iraq war).

My sincere belief is that Saddam needed to be removed from office. I'm not sure if this was the right way, but I'm also not sure if there was another way. I'm not sure his death will help bring the war to a close, but I hope it turns the page, ends the chapter and all that's left is the epilogue.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford dies

When Gerald Ford became president, I was 14 years old. I was still in high school when he left the presidency. I wasn't involved in (or even caring about) politics at the time. I wasn't allowed to vote for or against him. So I really don't recall much about him.

I do recall the Mayaguez incident, a ship that supposedly was not a spy ship (wink, wink) that was taken be a group. I recalled that during Ford's presidency he sent troops in to rescue hostages. I recall it being successful. Recently, I had to research this incident for some other reasons (can't even recall why) and it looks like my memories weren't as good as I thought they were. The incident seems to have been not as much of a success as I thought. I may have to do more research.

Ford is most remembered for pardoning Richard Nixon. Contrary to his own admissions, Nixon was a crook. He was paranoid. Whether he was involved in the original Watergate break in or not, he was involved in the cover-up. He also was a phony. Having church services in the White House, then having an attitude that showed no reverence for the religion he used. Had congress been allowed to continue investigating him, it would have tied up the country for months. Maybe pardoning Nixon wasn't the best option, but it quickly put the issue to rest. I agree with Ford that the pardon was a quick solution. I don't believe America could have handled more months of post-Watergate investigation.

But it cost Ford his re-election. Surely Ford knew this was likely. Surely he knew the cost BEFORE he issued the pardon. He made a concious decision to do what he thought was best for the country, despite what it meant for him personally. For that, I respect him.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Somehow things never work the way we intended. We hope for something that doesn't come. We plan and plan and work to make sure everyone is happy. But somehow, something just falls through the cracks.

This seems to happen most often at Christmas. We plan all year for this one holiday and somehow, it doesn't live up to our expectations.

Several years ago, I realized that I fell into this trap. I've since realized that maybe it's better to just "go with the flow". Some folks will get stressed and lose their cool. Others will be disappointed. I can't change what they feel. I can only change how I feel. And I choose not to be stressed....

Merry Christmas to all...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Writing a blog

Typically, I don't quote things here, except to use as a jumping point for my own text. On my home page I have a "quote of the day". Today's seemed more important than anything I could say myself.

"Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it." - David Sedaris

Thursday, December 21, 2006

As long as the message stays the same

Regarding churches that try to be "seeker sensitive". Some folks don't like it. Does that mean they want to be seeker insensitive? Others say it's ok as long as the message stays the same.

Here's the theory. A lot of 20-somethings and 30-somethings (and even some 40-somethings) are seeking answers, but don't want to go to a traditional church. For whatever reason, they were burned out on church at some point in the past. They don't want pews and stale music. Instead they want worship and praise. Sermons that don't accuse (remind) them of sin. Walk in wearing whatever is comfortable, greet everyone with a smile, drink a cup of coffee or even cappachino. Sing a few songs, here a message that's easy on the ears and walk out with a smile on the face. Ready to take on the world.

As long as the message stays the same.

I choose to disagree. Maybe we need to change the message. Maybe the reason these folks are seeking is that they are seeking the Truth. We spend too much time focusing on sin and listing them out (thou shalt not drink, thou shalt not have sex, thou shalt not have fun) and too little time focusing on the sinner. As Conservative Christians (I count myself in that group), we focus on the other person's sin. Maybe we should be reminded that when Paul pointed out that homosexuals and prostitutes wouldn't inherit the kingdom of heaven, he also pointed out that we were no better than that. Our past is just as dirty.

How many of us remember that? How often do we think of that? Didn't Jesus warn us against praying with words like "I'm glad I'm not like that guy over there"?

We aren't better than those other guys. Maybe we DO need to change our message.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Coffee pots and ironing boards

Sitting in my hotel room, drinking a cup of freshly made coffee. I wonder, who was the first person to suggest selling coffee pots to hotels? This place has probably about 300 rooms. Salesman walks in the door and asks for the manager. "Boy have I got an idea for you!!" Right. He probably got thrown out of more hotels than a $25 prostitute.

This pot is made by Mr. Coffee. It's relatively cheapley made. I'm guessing it would sell (in large numbers) for about $5. When they first came out, they were more expensive, competition drove the price down. So say $10 originally. That means the hotel would spend $3,000. Not a lot of money, but hotel margins aren't that high and why would they do it?

"Well, Mr. Manager, I was just visiting the hotel across the street and they are going to buy them. Do you want to be the only hotel in town without coffee pots?"

No, I'm not really a sales-person. But then, in a way we all are sales people. Some of us a little less direct.

One of my favorite stories growing up was The Man Who Sold the Moon, by Robert Heinlein. This guy arranges for companies to sponsor him in building a space ship. Sci-Fi sales. Very cool.

I think I'll go iron my shirt before my presentation....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I flew to Jacksonville Florida today. First flight was just under an hour. A real sweet young lady sat beside me. We chatted, turns out she knows my cousin. We talked about her company, my company, things to do in San Diego (she's headed there), etc. Very pleasant.

Next leg of the trip was very late taking off. They loaded 7 or 8 people on by wheel chair. We were probably 30 minutes late leaving. Finally boarded and sat next to a young man from Sweden. He had very good English (probably better than mine) and was very literate. He's a student, studying geography. Now that to me doesn't sound like a major, more like a single course. But he figures he will teach geography at the college.

He was traveling with his family (5 of them). Very nice young man. We talked about different countries he's visited. Maybe I should go see Europe....

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas

Why? All of the fighting. Well, not really fighting, but fussing. One wants to have Christmas in the morning. One wants it in the afternoon. Well, more people can be there in the morning. But I've been planning for this all year. On and on.

Having 4 adult children with their own lives, it's difficult to get them all together. We've known for a long time this was coming. This year, I decided to sit out all the negotiations over when to do these things. Instead, I give them my calendar and tell them the reuirements and let them decide. I delegate the responsibility. Sometimes, they need some insight on ways to solve the problem (maybe we can share presents on a different day). Sometimes they need some encouragement (CALL YOUR SISTER!).

Christmas will likely be different this year. But it's already sounding like Christmas day.

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

This weekend I had the opportunity to meet with family for our Christmas get together. I think this is the first time we have ever gotten together BEFORE Christmas, typically it's afterwards. As one of 6 kids, it's hard to get us all together.

My mom has 9 grandchildren. Five of the grandchildren were there, with spouses. All 3 of her great-grandchildren were there.

Afterwards, I went to see my daughter and her husband sing in their church christmas musical. It was very light, but included a chance for us all to sing along. I feel for the ladies that sat in front of me, I hope I didn't overpower the choir in their ears. I really enjoyed the singing and of couse, I could easily pick out my little girl's voice among the 140 or so people that were backing her up. In all honesty, I think she was the ONLY one that did not have a music book, she had memorize all of the music. She really showed joy in her face. It made me proud.

It was a good family time.

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Blog, blog, blog

I found out earlier this week that you can use google search blogs. Gonna give blogging another try...