December 30, 2009

helps the medicine go down…

If you have read my blog for a while, you are aware of my friend Alison and her project 365 blog. If you are not familiar, in short, she has dedicated her blog to being publicly thankful to the people in her life (no matter how ancillary they might or might not be).

Yesterday, she wrote a piece (http://300sixtyfive.blogspot.com/2009/12/day-290-non-rushing-one.html) that exemplifies why I so enjoy reading her work.  Alison recognizes little things that often go under-appreciated, ignored or just missed altogether.

I have been the driver of that minivan and, I am ashamed to say, have also been upset when they don’t acknowledge the gesture. Every time I have done that I have subsequently felt small and petty.  I didn’t let them in to get thanks, so why do I get upset when I don’t get it?

The simple reality, though, is that people who do good things (no matter how large or small) should be recognized for it and should be encouraged to continue.  In my opinion, that encouragement is as good for the accolader as it is for the accoladee, as the positive aspects of the act are reinforced for both.

I guess what I want to say is, thanks Alison!  It makes my life more pleasant knowing there are people out there like you, paying attention to and acknowledging the real greatness in this world… like a couple unhurried seconds in the life of an anonymous woman in a red minivan.

On a good day it reinforces my world view… and on a bad day… it is… well… a spoonful of sugar :)

September 14, 2009


Filed under: Cool stuff,Music,Observations — sbj @ 3:18 pm

Right off the bat I want to be clear.  I am not writing a post about Kanye West, and his input in the first video.  You can make up you rown mind on his actions and do not need my thoughts to do so.  However, I am providing the video as background for what comes next.

What came next, in case you missed the VMA awards was a fantastic (in my opinion) show of class by a woman who I (usually) do not give a lot of credit too. Beyonce is not my favorite artist (she is not my least favorite or anything, she just doesn’t do for me what an India Arie does, for example). However, I cannot say enough about how she handled the fall out from the clip above. In fact, I’m not going to try to say anything about it… I’m just going to roll the tape…

That is roll model material… props, Beyonce… eom.

May 20, 2009


Filed under: Cool stuff,Just life,Observations — sbj @ 5:24 pm

Phil Mickelson is not my favorite golfer (not even close really). However, he has done a few things in his lifetime that put him on my list of pretty damn cool people. Today, he did it again.

At the top of his game and peak of his career, he has suspended it indefinitely to be with his wife while she begins – and hopefully successfully ends – her bout with breast cancer. Mickelson has always put his family first, including wearing a pager on the final round of a major tournament and having plans in place to leave, even if he was in contention, if his wife went into labor.

Todays news is not surprising in the least, which is probably the best part of it. It is exactly what I would expect of Phil Mickelson, and I can’t think of a better way to compliment him than to say exactly that.

You have set a good standard sir, keep up the good work.

As for Amy, my prayers and best wishes go out to you…

May 2, 2008

What sports should be about…

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff,Observations — sbj @ 3:19 pm

*This* is why sports can be a good thing, and it is the way we should all live our lives.

There really is not much to say about this, its just cool… go watch the vid.

April 25, 2008

This is a teaser…

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff,Observations — sbj @ 5:03 pm

About something completely new. Come back here or follow me on Twitter for more details.

Many people think of gratitude as something that comes at the end of a process. Sort of an “end of the day” emotion. Certainly there are elements in our societal training that condition us to believe that we need something to be grateful for, in order to be grateful. What we would like to suggest to you is that gratitude is the fertile soil from which accomplishment blooms. Gratitude is, in fact, the “beginning of the day”.

April 20, 2008

What would you fight for?

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff,Observations — sbj @ 3:20 am

About eight years ago my family and I were hanging out at my parents house playing a game. I do not remember the name of the game, and it does not really matter because we were not playing it correctly. Our method involved reading the questions from the game and then taking turns answering them out loud to the group. Eventually the following question was posed:

If you were in the middle of an ugly contentious divorce, what one thing would you fight for until the bitter end.

I wish I could write something to improve on this story, something to add some depth or meaning. However, the truth be known, my grandfather told it best, with his simple two word answer, the first time around… “My wife”.

April 18, 2008

A Walk in the Park…

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff,Observations — sbj @ 7:32 pm

Today at lunch, I went for a short walk.

This walk took me, diagonally, through the little park in front of Idaho’s Capitol building. The park is about 1/4 of a block by 1/4 of a block. Here is what happened to me on that short constitutional.

As I entered the park, to my left was a young woman with three elementary school aged girls:

Girl: … She was just mean.

Woman: Well, you girls will just have to be the bigger people and not react to or behave like that.

Immediately past them, and to my right was a young couple (her clearly breaking from an office job, he clearly having brought the children down to meet her for lunch) enjoying a picnic lunch on a quilt (yeah, a real quilt… who has those handy anymore!).

Further into the park was a group of school children playing, laughing and playing games I have long since forgotten the names of, but I still believe, in my head, that I could compete! Put me in coach, I’m ready to play (after a few warm up stretches, a brief jog and a large dose of electrolytes)!!!

Beyond them are two women, probably mid-thirties early forties (but who can really tell ages anymore). They are dressed entirely in business attire, except for the baseball mitts on their hands and the softball darting back and forth between them.

As I prepare to leave the park, I run into an ex boyfriend of and ex best friend, neither of which I have seen in at least 15 years. We talk for about 20 minutes, catching up on many many years.

I guess you could say… I took a long walk, through a small park…

April 3, 2008

GPD08 #4 @Devyl

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff,GPD08,Just life — sbj @ 10:44 pm

Frequently I use selfless and good interchangeably (when I do, it’s a good day for “good”, its getting an upgrade :) .  I think it is one of the primary qualities of a good person and probably the fastest way to get on that list.

Which brings me to @devyl.  Now, I don’t know *that much* about her, but I do know she has driven across the state of florida (I believe it was like 5 hours each way… but I could be wrong) to provide rides to people who needed it.  Thats pretty cool to me.  I told her how cool I thought it was, now I’m telling everyone else (who was not paying attention when I mentioned it on Twitter.

She is also one of the nicest and most open people I have met online, again, assuming a friendship out of the gate.  Have a mentioned how much I like the Twitter community.

Oh yeah… and she throws a mean hot tub party!!!

Dear rest of the world, you would do well to emulate Twitter!  Respectfully, Soren

GPD08 #4 = @devyl, good work sweety!

GPD08 #3 @DarkGracie

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff,GPD08,Observations — sbj @ 4:55 pm

Conventional wisdom probably argues against someone with this avitar getting a vote for Good Person Day 08. That’s why I hate conventional wisdom, it is short sighted and wears blinders too boot!

It was just random luck that caused me to stumble upon @DarkGracie on Twitter. It was my first day on the system and I was just watching the public time line and clicking on users that popped up repeatedly. She did, so I did. when I took a closer look at her avitar (not the one above) it was a side view of a woman with my favorite poem superimposed on her side. That was good enough for me and she became the first person I followed on Twitter.

One of my first posts to the public time line was “I am jacks deflated labido” to which she responded (to me) “i am Jill’s massive ego! *GRIN*”. A simple thing, but that was my introduction to what a special place Twitter was. A place with presumed friendships, rather then friendship pre-qualifications.

This is not a post about a welcoming committee, or Twitter, however. @DarkGracie has great appeal and a ton of friends. She has “powers’ of persuasion, and is influential within this sphere. What I admire about her is that whenever I see her flexing her might, she is using her powers for good. Helping a friend get started on a cross country trek, for example.

She is positive, upbeat, racy, funny as hell and is almost certain to make you day better if you pay attention.

You would be wise to follow her, even if you have no idea what that optional slot could possibly be used for ;)

GPD08 #2 @GeekMommy

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff,GPD08,Observations — sbj @ 2:53 pm

There are very few things I admire in life more than a person of conviction and integrity. Provided, of course, that conviction comes from a good place. This is especially true if that persons particular stand is unpopular.

Yesterday, when the whole good people day started @GeekMommy voiced her position, which was to remain out of the process. Her reasons were solid, and founded in a genuine desire to prevent people from inadvertently getting hurt. A noble position, indeed.

As a result of this position, she was… how to say… questioned on her position, and in fact lost followers. Unfortunate. I think, sometimes people miss the Forrest for the trees. It would be one thing to say “I’m not doing this, I hate everyone” but this was done with purity of heart and intent.

It is not the path I have chosen, and, come to think of it, I may be disrespecting that choice a little by writing about her now (if so, I’m sorry, I do not mean to offend) but it is nevertheless noble.

It was, in short, as act of goodness.

Thanks, @GeekMommy you are, in my opinion, a good person and a role model. When I talk to my 13 year old son about what transpires today through this “movement”, yours will be one of the stories I hopes he learns from.

Good People Day – April 3rd, 2008

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff,GPD08,Observations — sbj @ 2:27 am

April 3rd 2008 has been unofficially dubbed “good people day” (more information here: http://garyvaynerchuk.com/2008/04/02/april-3rd-2008-is-good-people-day-pass-it-on/). I have to report some mixed emotions about this. I think I’m down to join the fray, for a variety of reasons, however some very legitimate concerns, I believe, have been given.

One was the simple fact that people should try to recognize good people everyday, not “limit their efforts”, sort of the like the Christmas and Thanksgiving effects some people talk of. This is valid, in my mind.

Another was the fact that there is the potential for hurt feelings as people who are good get forgotten. Unspoken was the idea that some of these people might actually be negatively motivated to not be as good as they once were due to lack of recognition. This is valid, in my mind as well.

But here, I think , is what it boils down to for me. If people get in the habit of doing good things (which includes recognizing other people who are doing good things) then, I think, they are more likely to do them more often.

I do try to recognize the people who make a difference in my life regularly, and I’m not the least bit worried about that being commodified (by me) by the introduction of a day to celebrate that habit. Additionally, because of that effort, I am less worried about anyone I might miss on this “special” day. I know, as do they, that I probably already have them covered and most likely will be telling them how much they mean to me again, and soon.

The following actually happened the other day, I was there when it was going down (the person involved does not want recognition, so I’m leaving his name out), but this is his story:

A person I know online… not a friend, just someone I know. They had the following day…

- Woke up late
- Discovered she had a medical condition
- Got crack in her windshield
- Got flat tire
- Then car got keyed

She mentioned (via twitter) that in addition to all of this, she had not eaten, and, of course, was busy changing a tire now so that was not happening soon.

So I found a sandwich shop a couple of blocks from where she was (behold the mighty power of Google Street View), ordered her a sandwich and had it delivered. Now… I have no idea what she likes to eat, so may have been a total waste, food wise… but at least she knows the whole world is not conspiring against her today! I didn’t tell her I sent it… and told them not to tell her, just to write on it

“Dear Xxxx,

My bad.


Might have been the best $12 I have spent in years :)

I (this is me again, in case it was not clear) subsequently found out that the sandwich never made it, the tire changing prowess of this particular woman was too great. I imagine someone at the sandwich shop got a free lunch, which the person who bought the sandwich was just fine with.

But the disposition of the sandwich is far from the point. This is a person doing a good thing and if other people knew of it, and emulated it… it could become common rather than a noteworthy event. This strikes me as a good thing.

So, tomorrow I’m going to write a few blogs about people I have bumped into that do good things. Some will be people I know well, some will be people I barely know at all. But they will all serve, for at least one day, as role models.

April 3rd, 2008 is good people day… count me in.

April 2, 2008

Something completely different…

Filed under: Cool stuff,Observations — sbj @ 2:51 pm

As I have written more and become more involved in the blogging community (of which I am still a very fledgling member, I assure you) I have come to realize exactly how much of a community it really is. Problogger (@problogger on twitter) is a (big surprise) professional blogger, out of Austrailia. Over the past couple of weeks he has had a couple of “contests”, I will not bore you with my synopsis of them, he describes them very well below. At any rate, what it did was provide lots of interesting reading, on a very wide range or topics. This week, I’m going to pass the body of his post on to my readers… perhaps you will find some new and interesting reading out there!

After the success of last week’s Re-Tweet project where I asked my Twitter followers to submit posts around a theme I thought I’d give it another go this week.

This week I asked followers to submit their best post title (and URL) from the last month on their blogs.

My hope in this (like last week) was to give the rest of us a little inspiration in the writing of our own posts – particularly the titles. You see the title of a post is such an important thing – it can mean the difference between your post being read or not.

So here are the 116 submissions (where people submitted more than one I’ve only included the first) that I received from my Twitter followers. Surf them – link up to those you connect with and if you’re on Twitter follow as many of this great bunch of bloggers as you can!

  1. Twit from PHP with cURL by @tosoAplos
  2. Phase One: In which we rickroll a desk – by @CleverUserName
  3. Stu Talk #1 – Practical Community Identity by @theunguru
  4. Being (Online) Social by @radix33
  5. Dude Broke His Foot by @dwendland
  6. Vintage Slug Advertising by @neonbubble
  7. A Salty Chocolate Bar by @wildhoney
  8. Save the Developers! Upgrade Your Browser by @idesignstudios
  9. Creating Stop Signs for Site Traffic – by @jasonboom
  10. Terms of Use – Are they Pointless by @aflusche
  11. 4 Ways to Kick Your Blog in the Butt by @GrantGriffiths
  12. Meeting God at Wells by @pastorshawna
  13. Are you ready to take off or to land? Be the pilot of your business plane! by @terencechang
  14. The Importance of a Day Off by @10kthings
  15. St. Palm Patrick’s Sunday by @coffeesister
  16. Change the Rules, Then Cross the Street by @jacobm
  17. 10 diet friendly snacks that satisfy your need for sweet by @afexion
  18. How Do You Facebook? by@davidgiesberg
  19. If You Do Not Comment On This Post You Fail At Life by @UniKid
  20. Getting people to read your blog i.e. Linkbait by @nickclarson
  21. Real commitment or lipstick on a pig? by @trib
  22. Do You Have Secret Business Syndrome? by @bigbrightbulb
  23. Hate Destroys the Hater by @jnbammer
  24. 17 Habits of Highly Popular Bloggers by @skinner
  25. Terrorism – Why aren’t you afraid yet? by @koreyk
  26. Winos have smaller brainos by @deege
  27. Colorful Cardamom Roasted Cauliflower by @Sundaydinner
  28. And oh, BY THE WAY… by @ericablonde
  29. Start Spreading the News, I’m Leaving in May by @rhyswynne
  30. You are not where you think you are! by @gCaptain
  31. Taking Criticism: Are You A Dinosaur by @SHurleyHall
  32. Oops, I did it again: bubbles, balls and burn-out by @jonathanfields
  33. Fuel Cell Cars :: ride into the future by @cdhinton
  34. Go Go Gadget Ads by Doubleohd
  35. Right Off! by @GoonSquadSarah
  36. Beyond Blogs: The Conversation Has Moved Into The Flow by @stoweboyd
  37. How We Got A $1608 Cash Back Rebate Check by @bargainr
  38. Adobe Photoshop Express & The Mindless Photo Rights Grab by @jimgoldstein
  39. Stallion Battalion by @splitbrain
  40. Last Meal In Singapore by @texasag90
  41. #176 Nahin Saab, Kuch Nahin Bachta… by @dybydx
  42. No Hype But Some People Should Probably Read This by @AndyBeard
  43. Wallet Mouth? How You Spend Speaks To How You Want To Be Seen by @SCartierLiebel
  44. adopt/adapt/apply by @dydimustk
  45. Holding Hands is CHILD ABUSE! by @thepsychoexwife
  46. Hard Lessons for Entrepreneurs by @sbpalding
  47. Take great photos with a point and shoot! by @sduffyphotos
  48. 13 Ways to Move Big Files on the Web by @charpolanosky
  49. Why Not Be A Tiny Cocktail Sausage? by @anneplamore
  50. Don’t Drive Angry: Stepping Back from a Failed Internet Marketing Campaign by @portentint
  51. Jamaican Me Crazy! by @theblanchard
  52. Wardrobe Essentials For College Girls by @collegefashion
  53. Online Storage – MediaMax’s High Tech Extortion by @MadLid
  54. Apple Is a Mean, Hot, Devil-Woman by @MattJMcD
  55. London breaks with theatre show and hotel by @aroberts
  56. 60% of Photoshop Users are PIRATES! by @auer1816
  57. The 007 Twister by @OldManMusings
  58. Ahhh… Umbria by @soultravelers3
  59. Why New Tech Doesn’t Need SEO by @brianlburns
  60. 1 marshmallow or 2? A study on the benefits of delayed gratification by @glbguy
  61. He was the best of candidates, he was the worst of candidates… by @sorenj
  62. First Draft Mantra: Make It Crappy by @QRW
  63. Holy Cow! Beatle Bob Is In Blender! by @patrikd88
  64. Get Your Sleep Or You Will Be Fat & Sick by @myrnaweinreich
  65. 7 Mountain Biking Confidence Killers by @UltraRob
  66. When The Rich Wage War, It’s The Poor Who Die by @TwisterMC
  67. 40 Things to Do with Your Old Socks by @DebNG
  68. Me and My Cash Flow Problem by @MMarquit
  69. Seven Wonders of the Fashion World by @jaybol
  70. Hit Me! SolidWorks and “21″ The Movie by @solidsmack
  71. Jason Calacanis – Just the Opinion of a Simple Kansas Girl by @hawksdomain
  72. UK Circuit RIder 4.0 Round up by @LittleLaura
  73. Police 2.0 – To Protect and to Twitter! by @carterfsmith
  74. Weight Loss Success: Core Commitment and Support Podcast by @queenofkaos
  75. Understanding The Visitor’s Psychology: Becoming One With The Reader by @tibipuiu
  76. Audrina Patridge Explains Why She Accidentally Took Naked Pics by @SheaJ12
  77. My Funniest Frugal Fix by @Lynnae
  78. Ten CD/Book Release Party Don’ts by @deegospel
  79. Tweet me on TWITTER, Tweety! by @RhodesTer
  80. Never Underestimate Commenting by @whojaybe
  81. Registration walls and user exodus water falls (or, how do you get people to comment on your stuff?) by @ebrage
  82. Conscious Breathing-More Than A Health Benefit by @myrnaweinreich
  83. Sony DIME Press Event – Foam City, Miami by @hawridger
  84. You Can Always Monetize Web Traffic by @FeedbackSecrets
  85. How To Install DOMtabs on WordPress by @problogdesign
  86. The Joys of Scaremongering by @OwenC
  87. When Good Friday is just okay by @jakebouma
  88. Broadband Speed Test: How To Estimate Your Real ADSL Speed by @ikaronet
  89. TheJetsBlog.com & SportsNet New York Agree to Partnership by @thejetsblog
  90. Enemies Are Important: Branding Your Website With the Right Villains by @doshdosh
  91. Gangsta Rapper = Future Good Husband? by @AGoodHusband
  92. I should stop reading and start doing! by @infektia
  93. Hard times in Al-Andalus by @azizhp
  94. There Is No Future In This Architecture by @schmutzie
  95. 6 Tips For Better About Pages by @jamieharrop
  96. You Gotta Have Friends by @Teeg
  97. Don’t Tell Your Friends You Make Money, but Tell Your Friends by @ianternet
  98. Where Karl Does His First Video Post Naked by @karlerikson
  99. 50 Uses for Plastic Easter Eggs by @Raesmom
  100. Is Your Ann Arbor home Stinkey? by @missycaulk
  101. Apple, La La, and Goat by @stshores24
  102. Happy St. Patricks Day! by @Sorka
  103. Please Don’t SPAM My RSS Reader by @chrisblackwell
  104. Accredited Home Lenders – the kid that touched the stove again by @morganb
  105. The Great Manic Depressive: The Markets by @RhodyTrader
  106. Engadget leads World Top 100 Blogs by @digitalfilipino
  107. 30 Fonts that all designers must own by @justcreative
  108. Classic Mod Daylight for Sale by @Remiss63
  109. Cancer Fatigue: It Feels Like Death by @susanreynolds
  110. How Twitter Helped Me Meet My Deadline by @amypalko
  111. How To Recruit a Small Army by @chrisguillebeau
  112. Instant Head Relief by @lordlikely
  113. 5 Keyword Research Tips to Finding the Questions Your Readers Want Answered by @MartyJ
  114. What The Heck Are Emoodicons? by @johntunger
  115. Lessons learned from a stand up comedian by @JoshAnstey
  116. Beer And Milk = Bilk by @Neil_Duckett

As always – if you want to participate with these projects in future – follow me on Twitter and keep your eyes peeled for the next invitation to play.

March 20, 2008

Quickie… and kinda cool…

Filed under: Cool stuff,Just life — sbj @ 12:03 am

Check this out. Something I wish I had done when I was young… now you (yes, you) can help someone else do it.


February 29, 2008

Open Source Ecology

Filed under: Cool stuff,Observations — sbj @ 5:14 pm

There is an interesting “Village” under construction (on the internet via a wiki, of course) with some pretty lofty (and cool) goals. From their Introduction:

Imagine a village with buildings of dirt (CEB) with year-round greenhouses (sawmill, CEB, bioplastics from local trees), with all facility energy produced by a solar turbine, where people drive hybrid cars with car bodies (bioplastics) made from local weeds, with critical motors and metal structures (aluminum) extracted from on-site clay, which are fueled by alcohol produced on-site, on a wireless network linked to the greater world. That’s just a sampling of the technology base. Food, energy, housing sufficiency. There are no poor among us – because we are all evolving human beings and farmer scientists.

The web page can be found here.

I find the idea very attractive, at least in concept.  I do have to wonder about sustainability, and their basic premise that:

… humans are capable of transcending struggle for survival and resource conflicts, where this preoccupation is replaced by higher pursuits of personal and societal evolution.

Mind you, I love that concept, I just know so few people capable of reaching that level of “enlightenment”.  I do not question that they exist (I even “pretend” that I’m one of them), however I do wonder if we have evolved enough as a species to have the requisite critical mass of like minded people to create such a village (let alone numerous villages).  My hope right now, is that I live in a sleepy backwater town, and in reality the world is teeming with folks ready willing and able to make the kind of materialistic sacrifices that are required to live this sort of life.

I was listening to an interview with William F. Buckley (yes, I know… ultra-conservative… not my usual “goto” source of information and quotes, however, I take quotes when they are meaningful, regardless of idealogical concurrence) last night and one sentence jumped out at me.  He said that “we get 90% of our knowledge from reading”.  I was left wondering what percentage of our population, in this multi-media society, can lay claim to that much knowledge garnered from a print medium.   I was struck and saddened to think that not only was the number probably quite small, but my own children were not on the list.  While they do read far more than the average children of their age, they still get a great deal of their knowledge from shows like Myth Busters (or worse).

Those of Mr Buckley’s stock, who have garnered most of their knowledge from books, and more significantly, from the relentless pursuit of continuing education, would thrive in the Open Source Ecology world.  Those who get comfy on the couch and wait for knowledge (or in many cases, simply entertainment devoid of intellectual substance) to come to them… not so much so.

I am forced to ask my self which of these demographics do I belong to?  How about my children?  The whole thing is inspiring some serious thoughts of domestic reorganization…

February 26, 2008

Posted for a friend…

Filed under: Cool stuff — sbj @ 8:09 pm

Langston Hughes (if you don’t know, you better ask somebody!!)


Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay–
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again!

February 25, 2008

This is just cool – piclens, image browsing

Filed under: Cool stuff — sbj @ 7:17 pm

Late last week I found a little treat of a program. I was rebuilding my desktop and was installing one of the very few Firefox plugins I use (cooliris) when I discovered the piclens by the same company.

I’m not sure how well I can describe what piclens does, but I’ll give it a try. Before I do, however, here is how they describe it:

Our new interactive “3D Wall” lets you effortlessly drag, click, and zoom your way around a wall of pictures for an extraordinary, full-screen viewing experience. Why mundanely flip through online photo galleries or squint at thumbnails from Google Image Search when you can fly through an immersive, full-screen experience instead?

It’s actually a little cooler than it sounds. You do get the wall of pictures, as advertised. You can zoom from picture to picture, getting high quality renderings in an instant, as advertised. What may not be clear is that the full screen experience they speak of, is actually the image. This is by far the largest and clearest rendering of many of the images I sifted through in my searches that can be obtained.

The plugin does not work just everywhere, it is for media sites like MySpace, Flickr, Google images etc. However, if for no other purpose than scanning through google images with rocket speed this application is worth the download and play time.

Check it out, you will not regret it!

By the way, if you have not checked out Cooliris and you use Firefox, you need to check it out as well.   It is the only plugin I hve ever loaded, for any application, that I consider “essential”.  I simply would not have or use a Firefox installation without it.   Do yourself a favor and check it out while you are at it.

February 11, 2008

Six Word Memoir… here we go!

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff — sbj @ 10:09 pm

This is, in my opinion, cool. Each entry must be six words. I found the story on NPR. Actually, it was emailed to me. You should leave your version here. Leave it in my comments section.

Here’s mine, I hope you like:

“Leave it better, than it was”

Have a nice day, my friends…

February 5, 2008

Go here, do this… do it now, cause its cool

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff — sbj @ 9:06 am

Recently I began playing around with Twitter. For a semi-detailed explanation of what Twitter is, see the last paragraph of this entry, for the purposes of this article, it can be considered an online community of people who communicate in very short bursts, in essence one sentence at a time. My foray into Twitter started as a research project for work, specifically investigating the practicality of using twitter as part of constituent communications, especially during the election season.

When you see a posting from someone on Twitter, you see their avatar (their profile image) and the text of their post, this is an example of a couple typical posts on twitter.

You can see from this that there is some importance to the avatar. What I learned after some time studying the “Public Timeline”, however, was that there is more to an avatar than first meets the eye. People often change their avatars to indicate mood, activity, or to affiliate themselves with certain causes. Some of this avatar switching is a social or group activity.

I have no idea how many “inside avatars” (like an inside joke, but an avatar) there are out there, but I did run across an interesting confluence that I think is well worth mentioning.

The first one of these “clubs” was just for fun. It was a small group of friends that decided to lighten things up on Fridays by displaying a little more skin than usual (full history here). Nothing verging on porn or anything, just a little playful fun. This little club, as you might imagine, caught on and over time became what is known as “stripper Friday”, although, again, it is not nearly as risque as the name might imply.

The other “club” is more substantive. Susan Reynolds found out that she had breast cancer the only way one can come by that type of information, the hard way. Her description (from her blog “Boobs on ice”) of the experience follows:

When I discovered a very thick area in my breast I called the doctor. The next day I was in her office. A half hour after that I was in the diagnostic radiologist’s.

A full afternoon and multiple stab wounds later we had a variety of samples of malignant tentacles of tissue that were on their way to the lab.

I was in a little pain – it would increase as the local anesthetic wore off – but left his office with a soft cold pack in my bra.
To keep bleeding down & relieve pain I’d need to keep things cool. Traditional ice packs are hard and heavy. As much as I try to be a good sport I’m not into having a brick sitting on my chest.

Enter a bag of frozen peas.

From this experience was born the “peavatar” as well as the Frozen Pea Fund (where you should go, and make a donation… like now, go ahead, I’ll wait… you back, cool, here we go again…). The peavatar is an avatar garnished with a helping of peas. If you go to the frozen pea fund web site you can see several of these avatars blown up in a constantly changing box off to the right (while you are checking it out, if you did not donate above… do so now!).

Where this little journey really gets fun is the intersection between stripper Friday and peavatar’s. The two groups have mingled in a few cases resulting in avatars like this one…

Behold, the power of the internet. Activists, strippers, and peas, oh my!!

P.S. if you have not already done so… please go donate a couple of bags of peas… its for a good cause and its cute and kitschy as well!


What is Twitter, anyway: Twitter is a micro-bloging technology that limits users “blog” entries to 140 characters while simultaneously breaking them free of the shackles of internet dependance. Simply put, Twitter bloggers are able to submit their entries from any location with or without a computer by simply sending a text message to the service (micro-blogs can also be submitter via the Twitter web page or a variety of third party applications). Users can also follow other peoples blogs (ala RSS feeds) via their cell phones by receiving text message notifications whenever a friend updates. In practice, Twitter is more conversational, sort of like mini-email. So, in a nut shell, what you have is two of the major workhorses of web 2.0, Blogging and RSS, combined with the two primary communications stalwarts of the “old” internet, chat and email, available on both your computer and your cell phone, adding new definition to the term “cross platform” (at least thats how I spun it at work, to justify all the time I have spent playing around with it). Twitter is not the only service in this space, but that is not the point of this blog entry, perhaps another day…

December 20, 2007

Pay it forward (literally)…

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff,Observations — sbj @ 10:34 pm

State Bank and Trust, in Fargo N.D. is taking the concept to heart. Every full time employee is being given $1,000 and every part time employee is being given $500 to use on people in need. they cannot use it for themselves, friends, or family. The initiative will total $502,000 in donation from the bank via the employees.

Employees can handle the donation on their own, pool resources with other employees, or even other organizations. Again, the only restriction is that the money be put toward people in need. Employees are also being asked to capture their good deed on video if possible.

Just how cool would the world be if more companies (or people) handled themselves this way?

This goes way beyond donating the money. It gets people involved in the process of giving that would not be otherwise. It makes them personally interested in the results of their donations, thus making them more likely to do it again later after feeling the positive personal results of giving. In general, it helps makes people better.

Here’s to you Michael Solberg (COO at the bank) and the rest of the banks board… collectively, you get it!!

December 17, 2007

Fun and games – for a cause!

Filed under: A life worth living,Cool stuff — sbj @ 7:03 pm

Here is a cool way to have some fun, improve your vocabulary, and help out others… all for free (well, for a little bit of your time)


This site features a multiple choice quiz where you are presented with a vocabulary word and given 4 options as to what it means.  Select the correct answer and you get another (okay, if you get the wrong answer you get another one as well).  In either case, advertisers make a donation of rice to needy people in the world, so everyone wins (you win, because if you do not know what the word means, they tell you after you make your guess).

I have only played once, for about 5 minutes, so I do not even know if my score of 39 is good or not.  But it was fun and I will do it once or twice a day!

Newer Posts »

Powered by WordPress