It was a special moment when my wife had a special dance at his wedding yesterday. I was impressed and touched. The whole day was very special. I'm one proud and blessed dad. I love my family.
I feel good, actually great, the day after my son's wedding to a great young woman who seems God-picked for him. I will be sharing more in the next couple of days after we've had a chance to decompress. This is a little Flip video of their exit from their outdoor wedding reception.
I read this story from yesterday's Flint Journal about the city being named the murder capital of the country? As a person who grew up in Bay City just up the road from Flint, I'm sad to see such a great city reach the point where it appears to be ungovernable and incredibly dangerous.
The story about the annual report from last year's FBI Uniform Crime Reports states:
For 2010, Flint recorded more than 2,400 violent crimes, the most per capita of any city more than 100,000.
According to the FBI, Flint had 53 murders, 92 rapes, 670 robberies and 1,597 aggrevated assaults.
The 53 murders is a different figure than the city has — 65 homicides.
I'm chastened by the news of yesterday's tornado and great destruction in Joplin, Missouri. If you're looking for more about how the town and its people were affected, check this link to the local newspaper, the Joplin Globe.
There's nothing like the coverage of an event like this than a functional local newspaper. A reporter for the paper said on NPR that many of his colleagues were personally affected and who were still looking for family or who had lost their homes.
My grandson has started what I bet is a lifelong love affair with balls of all types. Now it's a light toy ball, but how long before it's a basketball, soccer ball, baseball, golfball. He can heave it.
Are you a baby-boomer? How are your knees? Hips?
Check out these stats from an Associated Press story about how boomers have skyrocketed the number of knee and hip replacements in this country.
I liked reading this story about Dr. Jihad Mustapha of Grand Rapids for a couple of reasons. I really enjoy reading old-fashioned newspaper profiles where there's an attempt to show a full picture of the "who, what, when, where, how, why and so what" of a person. I really enjoy learning about people and what makes them tick.
In this Grand Rapids Press story, the story of Dr. Mustapha is told. He lived through the Lebanese civil war and gradually made this way to Dearborn, to medical school and then to Grand Rapids.
Then there's a piece about how he got involved in helping people save their legs which had been destined for amputation. He developed innovative procedures resulting in many successes. His work has attracted worldwide attention.
A second reason I liked reading this story is that as I get older and my various body parts wear out, I know there are doctors out there doing work that I or others might need.
Michigan farmers are dangerously behind in planting their crops this years, according to this article in the Detroit News. Many may reach the point of no-return in waiting for their fields to dry and just take a pass on this year.
What does this mean for consumers? Higher prices in spades. Corn will continue to skyrocket as will other crops.
An answer: Put farmers and their fields on your daily prayer lists. They and we need it.
While you're sipping your morning coffee, here are some unsettling facts from a Reuters story about the national debt as our country gets closer to maxing out on what it can borrow.
President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government's debt would be about 67 miles high.
That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall.
Will we ever reach a consensus in this country about what to cut and how much? What happens when we can't borrow anymore?
Read this column by the Lansing State Journal's John Schneider who writes about his wife overcoming a major challenge in her life, stuttering. Tens of thousands got an appreciation from the move The King's Speech for how this can affect one's life and how it makes communication a real slog.
His wife, Sharon Emery, spoke at the local TEDx conference for more than 15 minutes. Check how in her life she has grabbed the stuttering monster and pinned it to the ground.
She shows that obstacles can be overcome.
Is her TEDx talk online?
My son Justin lives in Washington D.C. where coffee-drinking has reached new levels with close attention paid to nuances of beans, where they come from and how they are roasted, as well as, how the coffee is made. In his blog post this morning, he writes about it and asks for opinions.
Here is Michigan, it seems like coffee-drinking is still pretty pedestrian with high-flying among coffee-drinkers here being flavored coffees and drinks. What do you think? Read Justin's post and leave a comment too.
As the city of Lansing, Michigan's State Capital, struggles with its future as a desirable place to live, more than half of the City Hall employees, including police and fire have chosen to live outside the city, according to today's story in the Lansing State Journal.
What does this mean? They get their paychecks from a city where they don't want to live.
Mayor Virg Bernero keeps telling residents that they live in a "world class city." Do his employees at city hall know that? Do they believe it? Why?
Watching our local city council on television can be painful. My stomach hurts after watching what appears to be massive disrespect between the council members and the council members and members of the public in the audience.
The perception is that nobody's working together and that listening and civil response is a foreign concept.
How about where you live? What about your city council? Local school board?
I found these steps to civil relationships on Family.com. They're aimed at in-law relationships. But, they would apply to city councils and other political relationships where civility seems to be lacking and counterproductive. The steps:
Adapted from Pier Forni, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct.
- Smile. People respond better to those who are positive.
- Be considerate. Ask yourself, "Is what I am about to say going to encourage and build up the other person, or tear him or her down?"
- Practice restraint and don't yell or raise your voice.
- Have the courage to admit it when you are wrong. Avoid ridicule and don't humiliate or demean the other person. You can express your anger without attacking the other person.
- Accept kindness from others and let others be nice to you.
Living in the Great Lakes state right now is not for the faint-hearted. The future for living here seems hazy at best. Success requires keeping your nose to the grindstone not unlike the Woodpecker who taps away thousands of times a day with a tiny beak to reach a bug or other food.
It might be time to change the state bird. Michigan, the Woodpecker state. Ready to sign on to a movement to switch bird alliances?
Check this blog post from our East Lansing Wild Birds Unlimited where the resident bird expert, Sarah, points to the different kinds of woodpeckers in the state. By the way, this is a great blog and the store is a great place to find things that birds like to eat. Evidence of that is our backyard, an inner-city bird sanctuary.
Check out this story from the Grand Rapids Press about more than 500 area parents who crammed a meeting with state lawmakers about drastic cuts in state aid to their local public schools. Both Republican and Democratic state lawmakers participated with the GOP members of the Michigan Legislature trying to justify cuts that could send some local school districts into bankruptcy.
The lawmakers are trying to defend the cuts proposed by Gov. Rick Synder to pay for a massive tax cut to our state's main business tax. Republicans seemed to be telling parents at the meeting that less school aid will actually end up being more.
Read the story and then ask yourself if parents are buying the Republican arguments for making massive cuts to local schools.
How is your local school district being affected? What will the consequences of the cuts for your local school district? Good or bad?
My son Justin gets married next weekend and I'm really happy for him and his fiance Lauren Morris. I feel that he is opening the first pages on the most important chapter of his life. Finding the right person and living life together is a gift from God.
And my soon-to-be daughter in-law seems to be handmade for my son. They are a fit and I'm excited to be part of their life and to watch them face the vagaries of life together.
But today I'm working on my piece of the upcoming ceremony where I'll be Justin's "best man." Yeah, it's a real honor to have my son ask me to be the groomsman standing right next to him as he ties the knot. We've had a special relationship where in addition to being his dad, we are close friends. The list of things we've done together is long and expansive. We've drank countless cups of coffee made into everything from mochas to cappucino. We talked about everything from computers to politics to all the variables of life.
We've been to 10 Promise Keepers rallies around the country, gone door-to-door for countless politicians around the state, applied to be contestants on Amazing Race, been to a state prison together as volunteers and shared our passion for the whole area of communication.
So I'm working on my best man speech. YouTube includes countless examples some good and many less good. I've thought about stories that illustrate his character and what his soon-to-be wife can expect. These run the gamut from falling off the couch when he was a toddler and breaking his collar bone and the issue of whether he got a nudge from his sister to tricking his mom and my wife about him coming home to celebrate a family occasion. And, there might be a Ninja Turtle involved too.
This will be in my personal Hall of Fame for memories, right along with walking my daughter Krista down the aisle and the birth of our grandson.
Justin, you have always been a winner and you continue to be one. I am one proud dad, best man and friend.
I've cut your umbilical cord and now I'm ready to sign your marriage license.
Jackson Citizen Patriot has story about plan from the Friend of the Court to put a boot on the wheels of cars owned by deadbeat dads. Are there deadbeat moms? This is for those who don't pay mandated support or who don't show in court.
Will this motivate these parents cross-wise with the law to meet their obligations? Is this being tried in other places?
What about this week's Time cover story? It asks: What makes powerful men act like pigs?
Is it a character defect in this small group of leaders or do they reflect the changing and more libertine attitudes of their constituents?
This behavior crosses political parties and national borders and it seems like people might raise their eyebrows, but they accept it. Why?