Saturday, March 31, 2007

Does This Picture Make You Sad?

It makes me sad. I am not depressed or maudlin. I am sad because this young lady is someone's daughter. She has friends. She may be someone's sister or mother. Very likely someone flattered her by telling her that she could be a model. As such things often go, she would be hired for a photo shoot and would sign away her rights to how the photos were used. Days, months, or even years later, an editor creating ads for this sleazy dating service decided that her alluring appearance would be likely to draw in more benighted fools that are willing to suspend belief long enough to pay some money to meet a girl that they hope will live up to the fantasies that the photo tempts them to entertain. Some number of those fools are adroitly separated from their hard earned cash. The girl receives no further renumeration besides the dubious distinction of being recognized by friends or family who happen to see the add. Perhaps those same friends and family might encourage her and tell her how great she looks posed, painted, and accompanied by salacious subtitles. I purposely chose one of the less sexually suggestive ads. Nonetheless, the intent of the add is clear. It is all about stirring up passions in hopes of pulling in one more sucker to be fleeced. It amounts to a deception. It is an open and obvious ploy. It must succeed quite well with thousands and thousands of fools who supply the cash to keep lots and lots of these ads running on Myspace and perhaps other web locations. Enough cash is generated to run the adds with plenty left over to line the pockets of the hard hearted people who prey on the weak and who are willing to use the beauty of one of God's children to do so. If that does not grieve you, I ask you to pray to God for eyes to see and for a softer heart.

Daniel on Sleeping and Smiling

Friday, March 30, 2007


Hey. I just studied up a bit on Schweitzer. Lots of great quotes. But when it comes down to who I really trust, I will stick with what Jesus said:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Statements like that are what have made him a stumbling block for two millenia to those who do not trust in him as lord and savior.

Oh I Like This Quote

Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now - always. Albert Schweitzer

Google mail threw it at me. I would say "eternal" rather than "always", but Albert did good, real good. I hope the context in which he said it is suitably edifying.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Moving On

I once thought that 18 years was an incredibly long time to go to school. I was right. However, 33 years of working at HP does tend to make the 18 years seem less significant. The 51 year total shocks me. What a very long time to do anything. At first school was generic. Read, write, math, and so on. By the time I was 11 I knew I wanted to work in a scientific field. At 13 my hero was Jacque Cousteau. He was my hero because he invented the scuba regualtor. He developed other undersea gear, and he used what he invented. I determined to study engineering by the time I was in Junior High School. More than four decades have passed since I made the decision to study and practice engineering. It has only been one part of a very full life, but it was a large part that consumed much of my time and energy. Now I am making the decision to move on to other things.

As an engineer I would typically list alternatives and rate them according to a set of criteria I devised. This form of structured decision making would help organize my thoughts and mitigate against biases I might have, even those not obvious to me. But as I said, I am moving on.
I have no clear list of alternatives. I cannot organize my thoughts around objective criteria. I am exploring new mental territory.

Another factor had typically been the need to support myself and provide for my family. God has enabled me to build a modest fortune that presently frees me from the need to be concerned about working for income. As with all I have and all I hope to have, that modest fortune belongs to God and I hope to use it to his glory. He can augment or decimate it as he sees fit. I do not put my trust in the wealth. I put my trust in the giver of all good things.

My health is imperfect. I lack the stamina I had as a younger man. One leg is so damaged that I will soon have the natural knee replaced with a steel and plastic contraption that I hope will free me from chronic pain. However, as disabilities go, it is a mere trifle. I thank God for steady emotions, clear thinking, and a physical apparatus suitable for serving friends and family and for enjoying many of the pleasures God has given to us all. I enjoy sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and the feel of the soft down on my grandson's crown. I can give a warm embrace and enjoy one in return. When the time is right according to God's perfect plan, I will be given a completely new body and a vastly superior comprehension of his love and goodness.

Meanwhile, I am moving on to seek God's will for me in this new chapter of my life on this earth. In the year ahead, I plan to purposefully seek his will. I hope to develop ideas and make decisions that are hidden from me now. I am excited in a very pleasant and positive way. I see the coming years as filled with possibilities. All things are possible in Christ who strengthens me. I can rest in the assurance that God will use the gifts he has given me to fulfill the plan he has had from before the beginning of time. The results will bear witness to his greatness for all of eternity. Oh Lord, free me from the snares and distractions that would hinder me from serving you or from knowing the joy of surrendering my all to you.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


My knee did not respond well to arthroscopic surgery about two weeks ago.

It bled internally causing swelling, bruising, and a surprising amount of pain. I have had to stay in an easy chair for two weeks with my leg propped up on pillows.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Finding the Real World

As I read a young fella's blog ( ), I realized that his proclivity for all things web was matched by a propensity to travel. My first thought was, oh good, he visits the real world as well as the virtual. Yet I see an error in my thinking. My time at the office reviewing purchase requisitions is real, I suppose, but hardly more meaningful than visiting my daughter's blog or text messaging my son. It's wonderful when we are close enough to press flesh and monitor facial expressions minutely. But is blogging less real than standing next to a stranger on a city bus?

I recently discovered Second Life, a sort of massively parallel multiplayer role playing game without a score. I am not knocking it, but I'm sure you detect skepticism in my word choice. At first I was appalled. All those hours building an avatar, embellishing one's virtual accomplishments, accumulating virtual items. I checked myself and asked, what is present or missing in Second Life that would cause me to consider it real or unreal. Meaningful relationships was my first thought. If I hurt someone's feelings or make them glad, it is getting very real very fast. If all my actions are without real consequence as relates to anothers well being or even my own, how satisfying will it ever be. I loved watching YouTube videos of Matt Harding. On the outtake version at he dances a little jig in a multitude of exotic settings. In most he is alone. In Rawanda he is joined by a growing, grinning crowd of young kids doing their best to imitate him.
They are delighted (as was he, I hope). Matt changed those kids world that day. They got to be video taped. A few of their elders gathered to watch and laugh. Quite a contrast with some other happenings in Rawanda. If even one person reads my blog and is meaningfully impacted, I will trade that for an awful lot of standing next to strangers on a bus. Of course, an alternative might be to meet a new friend on a bus.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Can't Do Attitude

Every person has a number of things they can't do. Some may be subject to change. I can't play the guitar, but if I put the hours into it that my son, Sam, is doing, then I probably could play. Others aren't. I will not set the world record in high jump. Maybe I had a shot at it 40 years ago, but no amount of mental fortitude and hard training will put me over a 7 foot high bar without major mechanical assistance.

Up until a few years ago, I pretty much took it for granted that I could walk and probably always would until I was a genuine little old man in a nursing home. Now that is not a for sure. Minor knee surgery has caused my knee to complain to me in a major way, using pain as the primary means of communication. Major knee surgery is scheduled for June 11. Well, it is not so much knee surgery as knee removal. My leg will be sliced open and my knee joint will be sawn out with some very expensive bone working equipment by a highly paid carpenter. A state of the art steel and plastic knee will be pounded and glued into the empty spot. If all goes well, I will walk pain free (more or less) once again. Given the trouble I am having after relatively minor arthroscopic surgery (two weeks at home and counting), perhaps you will forgive me if I remind myself that one or two times out of a hundred, knee replacement surgery fails one way or another.

Were I to suffer that fate, I would have to develop a can't do attitude. There are certain things I just wouldn't be able to do, just as I can't go for a walk in the park right now while I convalesce in a opioid haze from the minor surgery.

The admonition to adopt a "can do" attitude is fine with me as long as it is not a form of foolish denial. What I can do is find alternatives to jumping 7 feet in the air or benchpressing 700 lbs. I can find ways to love and serve others in some new way, each time I lose access to one of the established ways.

I remember when my best friend taught my youngest son to ride a bike. Perhaps a diet, some intense training and therapy, and a ready supply of Advil would have enabled me to make it through one more bike training session. Running on a gimpy knee. Aching back bent over an ample belly.
Or maybe Sam would have had to wait on the bike thing until he could teach himself. I thank God for the people who can do what I can't do. I hope he will enable me to see the many ways that I can do things for others.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Democracy in the Workplace

I had an experience today that led me to question some very fundamental assumptions I have had about how workplaces, especially "for profit" companies, are run. The reigning assumption seems to be that they are most certainly not democracies. What if that assumption someday seems just as ludicrous as the once unquestioned belief that nations must be organized as aristocracies? This opened a small crack in my case hardened thinking about work. Just now I found the following site:

Not only does worldblu presume that companies might someday be run democratically, they have even discovered a surprising list of companies that are already democratic according to a set of ten criteria that worldblu has established.

I am not aware that most companies have any sort of "constitution" that proclaims them to be a hierarchy similar to medieval fiefdoms. Nonetheless, as I examined my own thinking, I realized that I have acted as if there were such a document.

Will future generations be aghast at the lack of free speech, the disparities of wealth, and the abitrary decision making that we now endure in our places of employment?

This is an area that deserves a good deal more thought than I have given it in more than three decades.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thank You Friends and Family

Many thanks to all of you who prayed for us, encouraged us, and loved us during the difficult time where my first grandchild, Daniel, almost exited the womb far in advance of his due date. For an epilogue on how things went, see Julia and Viggo's blog:

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Daniel, my first grandchild, exited the womb six days ago. I want to change my profile picture to this one that includes him. I want to put a video clip of him in a post. But I can't figure out how. Guess you will have to go to MySpace: It may be tacky, but it is easier to use!