Previous month:
July 2005
Next month:
September 2005

23 posts from August 2005

Amazon needs to start collecting Katrina donations

Remember last year's Tsunami?  Amazon was right there in quarterbacking the collection of donations for victims.

Now it's happened right here in our backyard and I see nothing on Amazon's site.  What's the deal?  These people need help.  What has happened to Amazon's social conscience?

I agree with Confessions of an Undercover Geek that it's time for Jeff Bezos to get something up on his website.


Pastors and podcasts need to start mixing

During my life of going to church, there would be a sermon every so-often where you wish that you had an audio copy.  Usually, volunteers would have to make a cassette tape and you would have to wait a while for those to be made.

That's changed with podcasting.  Confessions of an Undercover Geek has a link to a New York Times story about how pastors are leveraging this new technology to get the Word out.  There's also mentioned stories of how users are reacting to it.


I should have read Ben Stein's new book

When we were in Barnes and Noble at the Lansing Mall in Lansing, MI, I saw a new book by Ben Stein: Yes, You Can Still Retire Comfortably!: The Baby-Boom Retirement Crisis And How to Beat ItIt looked like very easy-to-understand advice for baby-boomers contemplating retirement.  Stein seems to have an unvarnished edge.  I might still get it and see if I can play a little catch-up


Flint-Beecher tornado in 1953, I remember it

When I was six-years-old and living with my mom on the west side of Bay City, I remember the night to the big tornado in Flint, MI in 1953 where more than 100 people were killed.  It was my first memory of catastrophic weather.  I remember the sky that night and how ominous it looked.  It made an indelible impression on me. 

We lived in a very-old wood frame house on the banks of the Saginaw River on the westside of Bay City, MI.  The movie Twister made by blood pressure rise.  It brought back the intensity of that childhood moment. 

I can really feel for the people in the path of Katrina, especially the kids.


Live streaming webcam of Katrinia in New Orleans

Resources to stay up with Hurricane Katrina as it moves up the Gulf of Mexico:


BE AWARE: Companies starting to charge for sending bill

From the Detroit News this morning is this story about some companies starting to charge for the privilege of sending you a bill.  They want you to convert to computer billing.  This is their way to give you the big nudge.  What if you don't have a computer?


Me and Ma using our Apple I-Books on a Saturday a.m.

Img_0016We are an Apple family.  It's laptops for each of us, three I-Books and one Power-Book.  Saturday morning at our house is like a low-budget Apple commercial.

We started our computer journey with one of the first Macs, had a couple of later models, went to a Dell Inspiron 8200 and then back to the Mac with the I-Book.  We all love them.  And we are wireless at home. 

I take my comuter to appointments with clients and hook into their wireless networks with no problem, unless they are encrypted.

Apple has a big edge on everybody else, no doubt about it.


Pat Robertson's remarks are hurtful witness for Jesus

Pat Robertson screwed up.  Church Marketing Sucks talks about the implications of his remarks for the Christian church.  How is he being like Jesus Christ.  He isn't.  I'm a believer and Robertson doesn't speak for me.  Where does the Bible or where does Jesus sanction murder?  It isn't there.  He's wrong.  He needs to repent.  He needs to do more than offer some spineless apology.


Cindy Sheehan doesn't speak for me either

I understand the grief and bitterness of losing a son in a war.  And I understand passionately-held political views, but I can say with equal passion that Iraq war mom Cindy Sheehan doesn't speak for me either.  Through My Eyes, in the third bulleted point, expresses the same thought.

I want one of his blog banners saying clearly that Mrs. Sheehan doesn't speak for me.  It's time for the blogosphere to speak up.


Time to mobilize citizen journalism in Lansing, MI

I've been sitting on the fence too long about getting involved in promoting a Citizen Journalism effort in Lansing, MI.  It was my fantasy that the local paper, the Lansing State Journal, would step up to its responsiblity and report more than the soft news and the sensational stories.

The mainstream media, like newspapers, have marginalized their importance.  In Lansing, the State Journal spends hundreds of column inches giving depth coverage to Michigan State University's football team.  They report position-by-position on the team and they comment about it.  I'm a Spartan.  I graduated from there.

But, there has to be priorities.   Coverage of local government is cursory on its best day.  It's hard to get even a surface impression of what's happening on the city level, the county or the township.  At least, they can get state government news from the wire services.

What about local bloggers stepping into the breach.  Is it time for this in mid-Michigan?  There are lots of journalism graduates from MSU working in the area.  They know good reporting practices.  At least, they should.

There's a whole lot of stuff in our area that needs attention.  Crime and local government response to it is one big one.  Roads is another.  Profiles and activities of our governmental officials are another.  How many people know their city council member, their county commissioner, their township trustee and what makes them tick and how they represent us?

What's the next step? 

I might have some ideas.


My son heard the police outside his bedroom window

My son heard the police outside his upstairs bedroom window last night.  They were telling somebody to "freeze" and "get down on the ground."  He couldn't see any police cars or lights, so he rolled over and went back to sleep.

This really concerns me. 

We live in a very nice area of the southwest side of Lansing, Michigan's capital city.  The mayor lives in our neighborhood and one of our United States Senators, Debbie Stabenow, did until a couple of years ago.

A week or two ago while walking our dog, a neighbor down the blocked stopped me and asked if I had heard about the home invasions in our neighborhood.  He said there had been breakins in the middle of the night while people were sleeping.  I tried to . . .

Continue reading "My son heard the police outside his bedroom window" »


Meeting with God this morning

This morning I met with God.  It happened on my Lazy Boy couch where the seats on each end recline. 

It was my daily quiet time where I try to "be still" , read the Word of God, listen and pray.  As a guide for this, I usually use Our Daily Bread, the devotional booklet from Radio Bible Class in Grand Rapids, MI.  While thumbing through the August edition, I found the devotion for Aug. 8.

Based on Psalm 92, it started about an elderly man experiencing the first stages of dementia.  He confesses that he often forgets about God.  A friend reassured him that even if he forgot, God would not forget him.  The verse was Psalm 92:13-14. 

But, the verse I meditated on was Psalm 92:1-2 about how it is good to give thanks to God and to sing praises to him and to remember his loving kindness and his faithfulness.  I've been thinking about it all morning, during my shower, when I walked our dog Snoopy, while working on various blogs and as I get ready to prepare a quick lunch.


Home buying advice for my daughter

Dave Porter of Pacesetter Mortgage, a local company, has a mortgage practice and he likes to share his knowledge with others to save them money.  He values relationships with clients and looks out for their best interests. 

In a recent post, he dealt with our local housing market where sellers are faced with a glut of homes on the market.  Buyers seem to be in control and are getting sellers to lower their prices significantly.  But, there's a way to make this transaction win-win for the seller and the buyer.

This is great advice for somebody trying to either buy or sell a house.  My daughter who lives in another state is looking for her first home and I'm going to share this with her as she begins the process.  Getting the seller to lower the price is not always the best deal for the buyer.  I would love to her how the math on this works. 


Reading our blogging pastors

My wife and I are sitting on our Lazy Boy couch with the center top cushion turned down into a little coffee table.  We both are using are Apple I-Books with Wi-fi and reading various blogs along with our e-mail.  Our two pastors from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Lansing, MI are bloggers and we have both read their latest posts.

For me and the way I process information, it's too easy to read a writing from a pastor and to nod my head and say "Amen" and go onto the next thing.  I usually  respond best when I can see how what's being written fits into my daily life.  Sometimes pastors think on a higher level and I miss their point.

Let me sort this out:

Pastor David Maier writes in his latest post about Jesus' habit of sharing meals with all sorts of people.  Okay, I knew this.  So what?  And this is was Pastor Maier talks about.  By eating with all sorts of folks from all levels of the culture, he was showing his love towards them.  PM pointed out that in the culture of the times, sharing a meal was a statement of a special bond that you had with those people. 

I'm motivated to go back through the New Testament and find those stories where Jesus ate a whole lot of meals with a whole lot of people.  Can you list all those times in the Bible?  I can take comfort in knowing that Jesus wants to do the same with me and he will tomorrow with the Lord's Supper.

Then there's the blog post written by Pastor Roy Olsen, a recent graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and a former Lutheran school teacher and principal.  He writes about the sound of silence.  There again, it might be too easy for me to nod my head and blow right on by this.

Continue reading "Reading our blogging pastors" »


Coming out of the closet, really need to do it

A friend of mine that I spent a lot of time in prison with sent me an e-mail this morning.  After I got to know him, I learned that he and a chum held up a convenience story and, in the process, put a number of rounds in the clerk, who subsequently lived.

I first saw his work when he and another guy engaged in some recreational fireworks inside their high school.  Their homemade concoction made a big bang and got them in big trouble.

Fast forward about thirty years and that brings us to today's e-mail.  He asked me what I read in my quient time.  For those not familiar with the term, it's where you sit down with the Bible and read a small portion and let God speak to you.

Continue reading "Coming out of the closet, really need to do it" »


Working in the auto plants was always an option

My kids will never no the go-to-college and getting-a-job mindset that was prevalent when I was growing up in Bay City, MI in the sixties.  When I was going to T.L. Handy High School on the westside of the Saginaw River, I knew that if I didn't make it in college that I could always go to the area auto plants and get a good job.

There was never any question that option was a golden parachute for anybody growing up during that time.

I was reminded of that in today's Port Huron Times Herald.  There's a good feature story about the high number of people in the St. Clair County area who work in the auto industry in some way, shape or form.  Many of them have been there since leaving high shcool.

Continue reading "Working in the auto plants was always an option" »


New York Times report on being a medical patient today

What should you expect as a medical patient with a serious condition or maybe one that is not serious?

My background and history as one who is days away from being 59 years-old is that you had a family doctor who would quarterback your care even if you had something that required care from a specialist.  He or she was always there and always cared.  I know that's changed.  But, the change has always been something that I had a sense for and never saw it outlined in black and white.

In today's New York Times, there's a story about how today's patients are in charge of their own care.  Patients are presented with options and not guided to all the pro's and con's and are responsible for taking initiative for their care and treatment.

I will be reading this story again and then rereading it and then I will try to meld it into my own health situation.  I recommend it.  You need to know that to access the story, you need to go through a short registration process, but, it's nothing onerous.