Monday, January 24, 2011

Malcolm Gladwell

I've read "Blink", "The Tipping Point" and "Outliers", I have his latest book "What The Dog Saw" but haven't read it yet (sorry, Malcolm).

I have to tell you, if you've not read his books, you're really missing out on a completely different world and a different way of understanding your own. I read Outliers first and it blew me away.

I saw this on and thought I'd share.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hero of Wall Street

I heard about this book, and this interview, last night while shopping at Barnes and Noble. I'll have to be sure to give a big thank you to the sales clerk.

Here's the link: Nightline

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Buffy

I had no idea there was a comic book serial about her, I just remember, with fondness, a certain niece who followed it for quite a while. :-)

Happy Birthday Buffy

Friday, January 14, 2011


I've never thought of going to Babylon, as it's excesses and downfall in the Bible are historic and it's name is synonymous with sin. From an anthropological standpoint, though, it would be interesting to see how it was laid out and what the daily lives were like of it's people.

Babylon Tourism In Iraq

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Census Records Can Teach Us

I've learned a lot of things about my family from Census records, so I was really appreciative to see this on today:

What Census Records Can Teach Us

For starters, I learned with whom and where one of my Father's Sisters was raised in the 1930's, and the name of my paternal grandmother.

I learned one of my ancestors was boarding with a family in the 1880 Census.

What have you learned about your ancestors from Census records?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Where's Jules Verne?

Image Courtesy CNN

Where's Jules Verne when you need him? Someone has come up with a habitat that is green, can float in water, and can reduce the effects of our human footprint.

Very interesting!

Here's the article: Green Ark

My Thoughts

It’s taken me a few days to process all of the information from the assassination attempt on one of our members of the U.S. Congress in Tucson over the weekend. This has been for a few reasons, one of which was I was in a workshop class that Saturday from 8:45 – 4:00. Which means while the rest of the world was dealing with what happened, I was in a classroom that had no internet access.

My thoughts on this, however may surprise you.

I’m still processing the shock over what happened, based upon the pictures, video and written reports. I’m also still processing, however the finger-pointing that has begun in light of all of this.

The police are correct in saying the vitriolic words and images, both on television and on the internet, have led to polarizing the United States regarding political leaders and the issues we face as a nation.

However this tragedy could have been prevented.


Let me start off with a true story. This past Friday a father of one of our students had a dead battery. He had been waiting with his son in his car, and once the son was safely inside the school, he couldn’t get the car started. He raised the hood, after numerous tries, and brought out the jumper cables.

Parent after parent drove by, some women, but many of them men, and none stopped. The father had to call family to come to the school and help him jump start his car so he could go home. The moral of this story? Just how well are we doing as a nation to provide assistance to someone in genuine need?

So, back to Saturday’s shooting. According to what I’m hearing, the shooter was mentally unstable. They believe he did not act alone. They don’t know if he was part of any kind of fringe extremist group, however his views were in the extreme. They said he was reading books posing extreme viewpoints and posting his views on the web in a way that indicated he was mentally unstable.

Some things the media are not telling us:

Was this man a part of the mentally ill population who are homeless because of budget cuts?

Was this man communicating with other mentally ill people as a result of being homeless?

Were his actions not being monitored because of the budget cuts, that he was able to get a gun and ammunition?

As I said earlier, the finger pointing has begun, but the biggest culprits as to responsibility? Congress.

If they don’t want mentally ill people buying guns and shooting members of Congress, then perhaps they should re-think their budget policies toward the mentally ill. It’s blatantly obvious the lobbyists for funding aid for the mentally ill don’t provide the level of “perks” to members of Congress as the Pentagon.

Don't get me wrong, what happened that day was wrong. It should not have happened. My prayers have and continue to go out to those involved and the families of the victims.

But let’s not stop there. How well are we as a society doing at helping not just the mentally ill who are homeless, but the homeless population in general?

How well are we at helping others out in non-threatening situations? We’re great at helping out our friends, but how many people who are not in our circle of friends get left out in the cold?

Which brings me to this morning at the school. Another cold morning, another incident of the same father needing his car jumped.

While I pointed to the man as people drove by to try to get him help, the parents still ignored it and drove past the man. Finally, one of the last mothers to bring her daughter to school, parked her car in front of his and realized his need. Once her daughter was safely in the school, she came out and gave the man’s car the jump start he needed and they were both safely on their way home.

I just pray the daughter learns a few things about service from her mother. We could use a few more people like that.

Update: It appears the gunman was living at his parent's home. Which makes me wonder why he was still not being monitored? Were Mom and Dad not able to afford medical treatment for this man? When this man was getting kicked out of college for mental illness issues, where was the intervention? Well, the intervention that should have occurred probably got cut with the budget for the Health & Welfare facilities in Tucson.

Hopefully others will get the help this man obviously needed before anyone else gets hurt.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year, Old Book

Okay, it's not an old book. It's timeless.

I was at a crossroads. Which book should I read next? I have a lot of new ones I would love to read, both fiction and non-fiction.

I decided, instead, to go back to a book I read in college. The Millionaire Next Door was the book that changed how I looked at money.

When I was growing up, one of the favorite shows we would watch as a family was Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous with Robin Leach.

The problem with this kind of thing, is it fuels people to try to live those lifestyles when they don't have the money.

The Millionaire Next Door shatters the Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous look with a look at how millionaires really live.

Interested? Would you like to know more?

The New York Times, with the permission of the authors, have the first chapter available online:

You'll find out that people who live the television dream may make a lot of money, but many are cash poor. Their biggest equity is their showcase home. The real millionaires live a more dull - normal life in a lower middle class to middle class neighborhood. They just don't see the need to flaunt their money with a lot of bling. This book changed my life. Literally. I realized I no longer needed to chase those caviar dreams to be wealthy, I could do it by saving my money.

Why am I re-reading this? Well, when Decker and I got engaged, I made him read it before I would marry him. No kidding, I told him that. Because of this, and the conversations that came from this book, we never quarreled about money. If one of us spent too much, we would simply tell the other "remember the book".

In the years since his death, I lost my way with regards to money. With the stock market crash, Decker's life insurance money was pretty much lost as well. So I'm finding myself back at square one, trying to get my financial life back in order again. It's been neglected quite a bit the last few years as I've been so busy with work and distracted with hobbies. I'm looking forward to getting things back on track this year, starting with re-reading this book.

One of the gifts I got for Christmas was a gift card for iTunes. I used it to invest in the audiobook of Stop Acting Rich, which is the update to the Millionaire Next Door to include current economic issues.

The author, Thomas J. Stanley, also has a web site with a blog on it giving additional comments on current events:

Comeback America

Last year I spent the better part of a year trying to get a book read. It wasn't that it was boring, because it actually was very interesting. I just kept getting assignments to read other books for my writing class, so this book had to be repeatedly set aside. I am happy to tell you, though, that earlier this evening I finally finished it.

This is a really good, and well planned book. It's non-fiction, written by David Walker, who used to be the U.S. Comptroller General. That means he was our nation's accountant. And he's talking about the fiscal mess our country is in right now, and what really needs to happen to fix it.

It's not sugar coated, and it's not "politically correct" towards the two major parties. He's an independent who wants to see this country become the beacon to the rest of the world that it used to be, but has since lost it's way.

For more information on this book, go to

You can read an excerpt from the book on the Random House website.

This is definitely a must read book, particularly if you happen to agree with the Tea Party movement.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Everybody All Around The World

Isn't that an ELO song?

It's nice to see the celebrations worldwide.

The Dream - A Story

It was already a difficult day for Sarah, and she felt sad, on an emotional tightrope wondering if she could hang on. She sat in the back of the Relief Society room, looking around as the other sisters visited with each other. These were wives and mothers sharing the latest news in their families while Sarah had neither husband nor children.

She felt she didn’t belong, single in a world of families. She also didn’t dress with the latest clothing nor had the fashionable hair styles the other women adorned themselves with. Her small paycheck just couldn’t provide those kind of luxuries.

Sacrament Meeting had covered the importance of teaching children the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while Sunday School covered the importance of marriage in the covenant.

Once the opening hymn and prayer had been given in the Relief Society meeting, a young, newly married woman rose to give an announcement. She was dressed in a black skirt, a pink sweater, with brunette hair in pretty ringlets down her back. She had a bright smile and bounced as she spoke. “For our Enrichment Meeting this Tuesday evening, we will be learning some ballroom dancing from the Millers who are accomplished ballroom dancers! It’s couples only, but we’ll be having our Young Women provide the babysitting.” She sat down as quickly as she stood up.

Those sitting beside Sarah looked over at her and Sarah gave a shrug, but she looked over at the two sisters she had noticed before the meeting had begun. They both had grins of absolute delight as they looked at Sarah before turning toward each other, whispering. Tears began falling down Sarah’s cheeks, one ran down to her lips and she could taste the warm saltiness as her eyes stung, matching the pain in her heart.

What could Sarah do? The meeting moved on with the lesson, and while Sarah had the book in front of her, opened to the correct page, she could not focus on the lesson regarding the gifts of the Spirit. She thought about getting up and leaving, but that would be rude. She didn’t want to injure anyone’s feelings, or give those women the satisfaction of driving her out. She did the only thing she could think of, she prayed. She plead for peace to come. She gave it a few minutes, and her heart felt light and her tears subsided.

Once home from Church, the dam broke open and Sarah went to her bed and wept with wailing. It had been a while since she had cried like that, and she was not prone to public displays. She was thankful for the help she needed to hold back until she could be alone.

She pulled the box of tissues closer as she used bunches to blow her nose and dry her eyes. Pretty soon, the tears subsided and Sarah found herself tired and needing sleep.

“Be still, my child. Weep no more.” The deep voice spoke to her in darkness, but she was comforted by it. She knew this voice, it was the voice of the Shepherd of the lost, the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Peace filled her entire body, as she was enveloped in a warm blanket of love and acceptance. She relaxed and sank deeper, longing to be held and comforted.

Then she saw the Relief Society room again, only this time the Savior was sitting where she was. He was stooped over, weeping tears of anguish as the two women jeered with a wicked grin and derided Him. Sarah wanted to reach out and comfort Him, but she knew she was only there to observe. She could not influence the outcome of this scene.

At that moment all went black and she found herself on a hill standing at the base of three crosses. The bloodied body of the Savior was thrown to the ground. Sarah’s heart ached to help him. He was in agony. She saw Him being spat upon, and she looked to find it was the same two women who were spitting upon the Savior. Sarah felt pain and tears come again as she witnessed how Jesus was being treated.

Blackness came upon her again. The pain was lifted and her tears stopped. “Let it go, Sarah. Forgive them. They have done it unto Me.”

Sarah remembered no more until she awoke four hours later. The pain was gone, replaced with the peace that can only come from unconditional love, wrapping her like a warm blanket, sheltering her from the cold outside.

Epilogue To The Dream

The story you've read is fiction.

Sarah could have been hurt from gossip at work, at school, her neighborhood, even within her extended family. Should that matter?

Gossip hurts. It not only hurts those who are the object of the gossip, it hurts Jesus Christ as well. He atoned for everyone's sins, and takes upon himself the pain from those who hurt us. Particularly when the pain is intentional.

This is one of my own new year's resolutions, to not allow myself to get caught up amongst friends that I would injure another.

Who wants to join with me?

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I had a great time at a dance this evening, followed by a nice breakfast included with the dance. I met a lot of really nice people this evening as well and made some new friends. Fun times!