November 28, 2008

Am I the only one…

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbj @ 8:14 pm

Am I the only one who does not think that the attacks india were that complicated or intricate as to require a major player to have masterminded them, and months of preparation?  I understand that the particular weapons (specifically RDX) are not easy to come across, however they are not impossible either.

Coming up with the idea to book a few room at the hotel does not seem like rocket science either… rather obvious, actually.  I’m not at all convinced that me and a few good friends could not put together just as effective an attack, if not a more effective one with a weekend of planning.

I’m not saying that is it *not* a large operation behind it, and I’m certainly not trying to downplay what happend there, it was a tragedy.  However, I do have to ask if we are filtering our search too much, and as such perhaps overlooking potential suspects.

It just does not seem to me that this attack was all that sophisticated or brilliantly conceived.  Is it just me?????

November 26, 2008

What a turkey…

Filed under: A life worth living,Observations — sbj @ 11:21 pm

I have long held the belief that celebrating something that is fundamentally bad, even in a good way, is objectionable. As such, Thanksgiving has never been high on my list of holidays. I recognize that the long standing tradition of a day of thanks pre-dates settler interaction with Native Americans, however, in this country that is what is has come to represent.

In this country we “celebrate” one culture teaching another how to live off lands they were not familiar with. We also ignore the fact that the latter culture subsequently brought about the near extermination of the first through disease, violence and relocation (many times to inhospitable land).

To this day nearly half of the Native American population lives on a reservation. The initial purpose of the reservations was to indoctrinate them in Christianity so that they could be given citizenship in the new nation. We are the Borg, my friends, and resistance is, indeed, futile.

The audacity of a group of people coming into someone else’s country, taking it by force, interning them for the purpose of religious indoctrination, and, when they didn’t convert, leaving them on those reservations is remarkable. The unbridled temerity of a society touting freedom and justice for all, and simultaneously celebrating a day of thanks in the wake of this reality I find to be far beyond distasteful.

And yet, every year, I exchange Happy Thanksgiving salutations with co-workers, family and friends. I then go off to some isolated location and wrestle with my own apparent hypocrisy. Why? I don’t have any problem telling people how I feel about racial or gender related issues, etc., so it’s certainly not fear of reprisal or admonishment. So, why?

I think the bottom line is this. No matter how much I loathe the general idea, when I boil the history out of it, I really like the spirit of the holiday. Not the feasting, that is wasteful and frankly a bit off-putting to me. Not the mandatory family get-togethers, I spend plenty of time with family all year; I do not need holidays to do so.

No, it is the idea of people appreciating each other freely that I like. I think I also fantasize that somehow it will become a habit (here is a little anecdote on my thoughts about the habit of doing good things http://puntiglio.com/blog/?p=85). I dare to dream that people will give thanks to, and for, each other on December 13th, and February 4th, and August 3rd, and every day in between.

I imagine a world where people value what they have over what they want. I know that makes me a bad capitalist (teaser, there is at least one if not many logs coming up on capitalism soon, they are festering in the back of my mind as I write this), but, bottom line… I don’t want or need “more”, I just want and need “enough”, and part of my “enough” is knowing that everyone else has “enough”.

Of course, now I have let my little dark secret out of the bag. Now you know that I do not really like Thanksgiving because of what it means historically, and what it says about a country I really want to align myself with. Now you know that I sit in hypocrisy when I savor my pumpkin pie, because while I am busy bemoaning a tyrannical past I am also reminiscing about a future that does not yet exist.

But it can…

What are you doing on December 13th?

November 25, 2008

Do something nice… without a holiday!

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbj @ 6:38 pm

Today I’d like to encourage you to pay a little attention to someone else.  Someone specific, that is, the soldiers stationed overseas, many of who are in harms way.  Not because it is Memorial or Veterans day, but because it is Tuesday, and despite no national holiday to get excited about, they are still over there being shot at, being yelled at, and being away from their families and loved ones.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best and this is one of those times.  http://www.letssaythanks.com has created a site where you can invest less then two minutes and with that investment make an armed service person’s day better.

In short (and long), you choose a card, select a greeting and click sent, that’s it.  The site takes it from there, printing the card and mailing it to a random member of the armed services overseas.

It is no mystery to those who read my blog that I do not support our current wars, however, I do support the soldiers over there fighting them, and feel we need to, first and foremost, bring them home, and, at the same time, provide the best possible landing for them when they do.  Part of that is not letting the mental rigors of war take too big a toll on them, and with this we can help.

I have sent a couple, as have members of my family… won’t you join us?

ps, special thanks to devyl for bringing this to my attention :)

pps It should be noted that this entire effort, in place since 2006 was spearheaded and funded by Xerox.  Needless to say, there has to be a decent expense that has gone into this.  You might keep this in mind when you hear their name… I think it is a rather nice association :)

November 24, 2008

Will v. Will final!!

Filed under: celeb tournaments — sbj @ 5:14 pm

Well the guys and dolls at seedin central seem to have gotten this one right.  The Will v. Will final match up if between the number 1 and 2 seeds.

#1 seed Hancock Will

v. #2 seed I am legend

Honestly, I could live with either result. My son, however, will be crushed if Hancock does not win… he has thins thing where being indestructible is supposed to mean you can’t lose… or something.

Anyway, neither he, nor I are the judges here… you are so go for it… get yer vote on. And… since its the holiday season… free gift with purchase (“purchase” in this case meaning “comment” details here)!!!

November 23, 2008

Competition for a cause…

Filed under: Contests — sbj @ 7:55 pm

I have been dragged kicking and screaming (except for the screaming, kicking and dragging parts) into a blog contest.  The contest runs from today until Wednesday, and should produce some interesting material.  As a reader this is a win win, because all of these bloggers are worth reading.  Enjoy :)

The Dirt:

  • The contest runs today through Wednesday.
  • Comment on posts for the day.
  • If you blog and would like to post about the contest, you will get 5 extra entries.
  • There will be two winners.
  • Each winner will give a mini bio of their family … ages, genders, wants, needs, likes, etc.
  • Prizes will be purchased accordingly, wrapped for under the tree, and sent without delay.
  • Comments and posts from Sunday, November 23 through Wednesday, November 26 will be taken as entries.
  • The winners will be announced on Black Friday!

The following blogs are participating:

November 22, 2008

There’s someone for everyone… unfortunatly.

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 9:56 pm

This is not a new story today (http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/11/21/webcam.suicide/index.html?iref=newssearch). If you are reading this, I’m sure many of you already are aware (since you are an internet junkie like myself). However, in case you don’t know, Friday, a teenage boy in Florida took his life on camera (webcam). He overdosed on drugs, went to sleep and, over a period of hours, he passed away.

During this time several people watched the broadcast from his room. He was encouraged as well as chided for being a “boy who cried wolf” because of a previous failed suicide attempt. Someone from India eventually called the police, but it was far too late at that time. Further, the police reportedly did not take the call seriously, passing responsibility to the caller from India to place another international call to the Sherriff (http://www.keithandthegirl.com/forums/f6/guy-bb-com-commits-suicide-cam-11807/).

Obviously, this whole situation is horrible. But what I found equally (if not more) troubling was the responses online. In this post (http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=111785651) he outlines his intentions. The first three replies are “In”, “Cool”, and “I’m down”… indicating the responder’s support him, or even worse, are ready to join him . There are even more who are “in” throughout the thread.

I guess it makes a certain amount of sense that there would be a suicide sub-culture on the net. I’m not suggesting that bodybuilding.com is a mecca for such, in fact I’m sure it is not, however it would appear it might be a usable gateway to find one.

Arguably, what the Internet does best is make the world smaller, filtering away the disparate masses and allowing one to create groups of like minded people from around the world. In the same way that I have, in a few short months, managed to cull hundreds of people interested in a certain specific brand of politics and an even larger group of non-wealthy “do-gooders” that I am able to relate with, I’m sure a person contemplating suicide would not have to look long or hard to find others with the same predilection.

Obviously, consorting with a group of like minded people on the topic of suicide could be a rather destructive endeavor. Being ignored when you are contemplating suicide is bad, having someone encourage you to do so is worse, but having a group of “friends” ready to jump into the fire with you has got to be the worst (meaning most effective) type of encouragement. It becomes bigger than it was, as you are part of something. There could be dependencies, people the suicidal individual feels a responsibility not to let down. It is team building at its absolute worst.

The family, despite probably knowing that the boy was on anti-depressants was surprised:

The father said he had no reason to believe his son was having problems.

“He was a good son,” he said. “I’m sorry that no one could help him when I was not around to help him myself.”

This whole affair has left me scratching my head and wondering what should be done. Clearly, there is a crisis of conscience in this sub-set of the internet/world that would allow them to sit by and watch this, joke about it, encourage him or even suggest joining him.

Part of this can be written off, of course, to the fact that some thought it was a hoax. However, does that not send up a bit of a red flag in and of itself? How healthy is a society where the assumption is that if someone states they are going to kill themselves, they must be joking or, to quote one respondent, simply be an “attention whore?”

Partially, I blame video games, television and even movies. Not in the common sense, that they promote or create a general malaise about violence (they might, in fact probably do, but that is not my particular concern here). Rather, my concern is the amount of time those things serve as a surrogate for family interaction. Every hour of video game, television etc. is an hour that is not being spent conversing with your children, molding them into the kind of people we want to send out into the world. The kind of people who might have seen in a forum or chat room that a teen in Florida was killing himself on line and tried to do something about it.

My kids play video games, they also watch TV etc. and I’m not suggesting that these devices will be thrown away. However, you can also bet that I will be having a conversation with my boys about this incident. A very direct conversation with my teen, and a more theoretical conversation with the 8 year old. We’ll be discussing the importance of being a good samaritan, and getting involved if someone might be in trouble or in need of help.

It is not possible for me to directly help, or even be aware of, all of the CandyJunie’s (the boy who took his own life’s online nickname) of the world; however, I can encourage my boys not to be Zachry114’s, Briisk’s, or Criollo’s (the first three responders referenced above) et. al. and who knows, maybe that will make the difference someday… I can hope so, anyway.

November 21, 2008

Will v. Will 2.2

Filed under: celeb tournaments — sbj @ 10:27 pm

Here is the final semi-final matchup, featuring

Hancock Will

v. MIB Will

Voting for both semi-final rounds will be open through the weekend and final on Monday morning.  Monday the final will open assuring us to have the ultimate Will to be thankful for by Thursday :)

Ready set vote!

Will v. Will 2.1

Filed under: celeb tournaments — sbj @ 5:06 pm

And the second round begins, with…

I am legend Will

v. Independence Day Will

The winner of this one will meet the winner of Hancock v. MIB in the Will v. Will championship of the world… so choose your champion wisely :)

November 20, 2008

Will v.Will 1.4

Filed under: celeb tournaments — sbj @ 6:02 pm

The fourth and final first round match up features:

#1 seed Hancock will

v. #8 Wild Wild West Will

While this may not seem like the closest of battles on the surface… remember WWW will pulled Salma Hayek!  Thats gotta be worth something!  This is a classic battle of street v. style… what’s it gonna be?

A 14% approval rating never looked so good…

Filed under: Observations,obama — sbj @ 7:07 am

Recently President-elect Obama did an interview with 60 minutes. I thought it was a good interview, in general. I felt he the covered the issues that needed to be covered. There wasn’t really anything new here (unless you count the clearly well thought out position on the college football championship ;) ), however all points were, as usual, well constructed.

We also got a look at the family dynamic in a way that I had not seen before. The Obama’s are a real family. When he tells a story differently then she remembers she corrects him (if he tells it wrong on national tv… well, lots of people get to see that correction). The playful interaction was not new to me, but the contradictions and corrections were. To me Barack and Michelle did more for me in the area of making me feel they are able to relate to every day Americans with their “normal” interactions than an entire campaign of “you betcha’s” and hockey mom stories ever could.

However, there was one particular portion that caught my full and rapt attention. When asked if dependence on foreign oil was less of a priority now due to the cost reductions related to the falling price of a barrel of oil, Obama responded “it is more important.”

He went on to point out (this is my paraphrase, not his actual words) that:

Americans tend to go through a cycle with issues such as these that involves awareness, panic, and when the “emergency” subsides, lethargy. Once the urgency of the situation abates we tend to go back to our lives, casting off our worries until the problem appears to be critical again. We did it with the very same issue in the ‘70’s with oil, and if we are not careful we will be doing it again in a few more years… again with oil.

If you have read Coveys 7 habits of highly effective people you are familiar with the 4 quadrants (if you haven’t, might I suggest you pick up a copy ASAP).

Obama correctly identifies this character flaw as dangerous and in need of attention. And I really hope that he maintains the focus he has suggested he will. Oil has moved from Quadrant 1 into Quadrant 2. This is actually good, and how things are supposed to work. However, instead of the focusing we should be doing on items in Quadrant 2, far too often we tend to avoid them (the action we are supposed to be taking on Quadrants 3 and 4). As a nation, we tend to be attentive to, and take action based on, urgency rather than importance, which is a critical mistake.  If the United States has a visible tragic flaw right now, this could very well be it.

Individually, I think each of us should constantly evaluate how often we enter into this same cycle. I know I find myself avoiding things in Q2 in favor of tasks in Quadrant’s 1 and 3 far too often. The Q1 issues are understandable, the Q3 ones are not,and putting Q2 things off for Q4 is inexcusable (and yet, it happens).

I applaud President-elect Obama for staying focused on the important Q2 tasks at hand, and hope he keeps up the good work. As for me… it’s time to hang the chart back up at my desk and get my todo’s sorted properly into it.

Once I do, I’ll be one seventh of the way to being a highly effective person!!

More Farfar…

Filed under: A life worth living,Conversations,Farfar,Just life — sbj @ 6:16 am

Most of my interactions with Farfar were centered on either having fun or being productive. The bulk of what I learned from him was practical. How to drive a nail, how to shingle a roof, how to field dress a deer, and things of that nature were the domain of Farfar.

Council was not his strong suit. Actually that’s not fair to say, I’m not sure if it was or not, it simply was not a big part of our interactions. However, based on one afternoon’s experience while hunting, it has occurred to me that in not having more deep and meaningful conversations with Farfar, I may have missed out on more than I realize.

I had returned early from the morning hunt and Farfar and I were working on setting up camp while my father stomped around in the woods. Dad was frequently out longer than I was… probably a big part of the reason he was the (much) more prolific hunter. I enjoyed hunting, but I also enjoyed getting back to camp and spending time with Farfar (and, let’s be honest, enjoying the fruits of his labor over the camp fire!).

One afternoon we were sitting in front of the fire and out of the blue he asked me who I was dating. I told him no one at the moment, but there was someone I had my eye on. He asked what I was waiting for, and I (honestly/foolishly?) responded that I didn’t think she would respond positively to my overture.

His reply, like so many of the things he said to me over the years, was short and to the point (I’m paraphrasing here, but it is very close)…

Remember this: rejection only hurts for a day or two, regret… is not so forgiving.

That single sentence changed my life from that day forward. Not as enabling, reckless and all encompassing as “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission”, it created a wonderful synergy between the “strike while the iron is hot” confidence of youth, and the “t’is better to have loved and lost…” knowledge that can only be gained from experience.

I became a better, more confident man on the mountain that day… although, I’m sure there are a decent number of women (if you have known me long enough, you can insert a “suit” joke here) who wish I had stayed out in the woods with my dad and missed that conversation altogether!! ;)

When I think of all the things I mightn’t have done over the years, without this one morsel of experience, I find myself once again overwhelmed with appreciation for a man who so simply and efficiently conducted the business of his life.

Thank you Farfar, I love you, and miss you terribly already…

November 19, 2008

Will v. Will 1.3

Filed under: celeb tournaments — sbj @ 4:16 pm

The third match of the first round features:

#2 I am legend Will

v #7 seed Bad Boys Will

I’d tell you what I thought… but I’m 0-2 against your votes, so either you’re all just voting against me… or Ihave no “Will-sense.”  Either way, I’m staying out of this one… but you shouldn’t… tell what you think and get to vote’n! :)

November 18, 2008

Soren Bech Jacobsen (AKA Farfar) 1919-2008 RIP

Filed under: Farfar,Uncategorized — sbj @ 11:43 pm

Soren Bech Jacobsen passed away on November 12, 2008 in Caldwell Idaho. He was 89. A family memorial will be held in California in December.

Soren was born In Copenhagen, Denmark March 30, 1919, and immigrated to the United States in 1947. His work led him around the United States and the world, planting roots in such places as Florida, California, Hawaii, and the Philippines.

Soren earned his civil engineering degree at The Copenhagen Technical School in Denmark. Always full of energy, he participated in track and gymnastics while in school.

After having spent much of his adult life in the San Francisco bay area; it was a common family activity to seek out buildings of which Soren had been the overseer. Indeed, the skylines of many a bay area city would be considerably different without the contributions of Mr. Jacobsen.

Soren had his own construction business while in Sparta, New Jersey. Primarily building Lutheran churches, five of them over roughly 5 years. While in Hawaii, he was the superintendent of construction for the Colony Surf Hotel, which included the world famous Restaurant, Michel’s. He then moved to the Philippines where he was the superintendent for the construction of the Dole Pineapple plant. In California, he oversaw the construction of landmark sites such as the University of San Francisco Life Science building and the San Francisco Japanese Cultural Center. The latter years of his career were focused primarily on building banks.

He was lifetime NRA member, loved to sail, fish, hunt, bowl, play tennis, and wood carve. In fact, he was a card-carrying member of the California Carvers Guild.

Large industrial buildings and smaller, more intimate, woodcarvings were not all that Soren constructed however, and certainly, those things were less important to him than the family he built.

He married his beloved Inge September 26 1942 in Holte, Denmark and together they produced four children Hank (Cathy), Kris (Peter), John (Bonnie), and Merete. He was the proud patriarch of a family that includes 21 grand children and 15 great grandchildren. He was loved, and is survived by all of them.

Those of us who played sports “endured” the cries of “HEY HEY HEY HEY!!!” whenever we did anything at all on the field. It was the same HEY (just a few more of them) that we all remember him yelling every time he walked into a sushi restaurant.

Soren Bech Jacobsen was as loud as he was proud, and a prouder man you could never have met, not arrogant, not pompous, but simply proud. The type of pride that comes from something you has done, not from something you imagine yourself capable of doing. The type of pride that is as quiet, understated, and unassuming as he was outspoken, loud, and obnoxious. He was justifiably proud, because he has created and cultured a family of caring, devoted, and conscientious individuals.

“I build things” would be a perfect epitaph for a man who publicly and privately constructed and personified a testament on how a good life can be led.

In the words of his great-grandson “If I know Farfar, he’s up in heaven building us all a great big house right now.”

The family would like to thank Sun Health and Caldwell Care Center for the outstanding care and affection Soren received during his final months.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Stanford Children’s Hospital (http://www.lpch.org/)

Minding my own P’s and Q’s

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 8:17 pm

30 years ago today some 900 people died in Jonestown. Some, like US Rep Leo Ryan, were shot, other lives came to an end in what has been called a mass suicide (I prefer to think of it as a large carefully orchestrated mass homicide, but that judgment is up to each individual to make on their own). In either case, it was a tragic loss of life that should not be forgotten.

There were survivors, and to them I owe and extend a heartfelt and public apology. More than once during the recent Presidential election, and at other times I have used and condoned (by not objecting to) the use of the term “drinking the Kool-aid” or some derivative or it. To those of you who survived the ordeal in Jonestown, and those of you with family that did not, I apologize. It was wrong of me to co-opt your tragedy into my political arguments.

Today, I remember those who lost their lives (regardless of the instrument of their passing) on November 18, 1978, and I pledge to give them the respect they deserve in the future.

note: for a little more in depth look at the events of that day, from the perspective of a survivor you can take a look at this article in my local paper the Idaho Statesman.

Will v.Will 1.2

Filed under: celeb tournaments — sbj @ 6:04 pm

The second first round match features

#3 seed Ali Will

v. #6 Seed Independence Day Will

This one has the signs of a mismatch… but don’t forget the beat down that Independence Day will put on the alien one on one.  The alien was not George Forman or Sonny Liston, but it did have some aweful breath ;)

Cast your vote and let us know who you favor…

November 17, 2008

Will v.Will round 1.1

Filed under: celeb tournaments — sbj @ 7:57 pm

Now that we have determined that Fight Club Brad Pitt is the greatest Pitt of the all, its time to figure out who is the ultimate Will Smith.  Todays first opening round match features:

#4 Men In Black Will

v.  #5 I, Robot Will

To me, the flashey thingy and noisey cricket are game breaking technology, but I’m not the judge (and, there is also the shaftesque jacket to consider), you are!

So vote away and let the world know who you think is the best Will Smith!

November 16, 2008

Good for the goose, good for the gander???

Filed under: Just life,Observations — sbj @ 8:22 pm

Frequently I am asked to dispense advice. I’m not sure why, to be honest, I am certainly not much smarter (if at all) then the average guy. Although, I suspect part of it might be the amount of time I spend listening and relating back what I have heard before I make any suggestions. I think people like to feel understood more than they actually like to get advice.

In any event, recently I was asked for advice for the following situation. I’m not going to share (right now) what the advice was, but rather the situation, because, I’m curious what other would say. I will share the advice I gave in a couple of days in the form of a comment… so come back then if you are interested. You will not only get my response, but (theoretically) those of a few other caring souls as well. Without further ado… the situation:

A guy I know started using Twitter a few months ago (partially, I must admit because of my reveling in the service). Recently his wife has asked him for his nick so she can follow his conversations, meet his new online friends and, in a nut shell, become part of a rapidly growing facet of his life.

He is resisting this. He feels to some degree that it is his private space and that should be respected. To a much larger degree, he feels that her presence will simply change the dynamic of his experience, and effect others on his friends list as well. As an analogy, he uses a few of her activities.

She has a group of moms that she meets up with for lunch three days a week. He has asked about dropping by for one of their lunches, just to get to know her friends, but has been rebuffed each time because “it would make everyone feel awkward, it’s a moms lunch… for moms.”

Similarly she has a book club that meets weekly and a girls night once a month that are also off limits to him. Again, it is a girls thing, and a guy would make everyone uneasy, less likely to speak freely and change the entire nature of the experience. If he came, other husbands would want to do the same and pretty soon it would just become a couples night instead of a girls night.

He has trouble understanding why she can have these enclaves and he cannot.

She pointed out that he has people in his life, at the office, for example, that he has regular interaction with whereas she has to create a social network through her various “girl groups.” Further, her groups are all girls, which is why there is an environment that would be destabilized with the introduction of a man. Twitter is co-ed, public, and supposedly without any kind of environmental bias.

To which he responds that he does not and would not choose to associate on a friendly basis with his co-workers and he should not be denied the ability to associate with people he wants to interact with because he already has a set with which he has not choice about interacting with. He goes on to assert that while Twitter may be co-ed etc. that does not mean there is not a culture that would require some change if people knew they were interacting with him in front of his wife.

Obviously (I think it’s obvious, anyway), they both have legitimate points and feelings on the matter. So… what advice would you give him?

Note – this should not matter because it is not relevant and implies mistrust which is not an issue here, and in fact is not information you should have available to you anyway, however since I know I will relate this. I am very familiar with his Twitter timeline and can attest that there is nothing inappropriate going on (at least in public… DM’s I of course don’t know about… but neither would she… so they are moot too).

November 15, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — sbj @ 8:35 pm

Step #1 – Link to the person who tagged you – I was double teamed by http://devylgyrl.com/ and http://tworoadsinawood.wordpress.com/

Step #2 – Write Five Fun/Interesting Facts about yourself. This gives fellow bloggers (and your readership) a chance to actually get to know you better.

  1. I have a jacket fetish… I simply cannot have enough… I am the Imelda Marcos of coats.
  2. In school I wrote a column that was completely made up of lies made to look and be belieavable (an example of the type of things I wrote is here http://puntiglio.com/blog/?p=249).
  3. I have a picture in my living room that freaks everyone in the house out… we all think someone is going to walk down the hallway in the picture and crawl out of it like the ring… yet… we leave it in place.
  4. I once fell into the opening of a luggage carousel at the airport, then rode a luggage bin back up the ramp to a standing ovation.
  5. I once finished second in a Western Swing contest at the county fair. I have never taken a swing dance lesson and did not have a clue what I was doing… I just threw her around as much as I could and the crowd (who did the voting up until the final round) loved it.

Step #3 - Tag Six Other People and link to their blogs. Then let them know you’ve tagged them by twittering them or leaving a comment on their blog. (this may be tough, because I think everyone I know that blogs has already done this… checking now…)

Okay… here’s one – Allison http://300sixtyfive.blogspot.com/ very cool blog project about appreciating folks that positively impact your life J

Here is another – http://crimsonmuse.tumblr.com/ fun and you never know what you’ll see J

That’s all I found that have not already been tagged (and, heck they might have and I missed it). I did my best…

November 14, 2008

Energy Schmenergy…

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 6:56 pm

Wednesday I spoke about energy as a vital resource that we need to manage properly. I would now like to contradict myself and state that energy is an important luxury that we should manage properly. However, it is not a necessity. We do not need lights at night, we do not need trans-Atlantic flights and we do not need hot showers. Centuries of pre-electric civilization stands as evidence of this. We want them, they make our world significantly better (or at least nicer) but we do not need them.

Today, I’d like to focus some “energy” and attention on things we do actually need. In order to survive, we do need water. In order to survive, we do need food. In order to survive, we need to focus on these things.

“Food” for thought

• Roughly 13% of the children in the United states go to bed hungry every night.
• Globally, almost 16,000 children (and additional 9,000 adults) die from hunger daily, roughly one child every five or six seconds. If you read at around the same pace that I do, that means 6 or 7 children have died since you started reading.
• A lack of Vitamin A alone reportedly kills a million infants a year (make that 7 children).
• Nearly 450 million people in 29 countries currently face severe water shortages.
• 20 percent more water than is now available will be needed by 2025.
• 70-90% of usable water is used for irrigation (i.e. to generate food)

The last static is the most staggering to me because when you think about it, two of our most critical resources are competing against each other (we’re now up to 11 children, 17 people if you want to count adults as well). We must take water out of the agricultural “pool” in order to have enough to drink; however, we must, at the same time, take water out of the drinking “pool” in order to create enough food. We have two critical situations that demand the same base resource for their respective solutions.

Water and food, these are actual crisis’s. These are resources that people, quite literally, cannot live without. In the time it takes to say “it cost me over $40 to fill up my gas tank yesterday, and that’s at the cheapest station in town” another child has died from a cause related to hunger. I urge you to ask yourself, did you really pay a “high price” for your gas? (filling up a gas tank takes about 2 minutes, to you it’s $40; to the world it’s 20 lives, 13 of which are children)

I’m not suggesting we ignore oil and energy situations. The conveniences they bring are valuable. In fact, one of the most significant contributions of oil, in my opinion, is the ability it gives us to distribute some of the abundance of our nation to those in other regions of the world who are in need. However, I do think we need to get out priorities straight.

It is literally a matter of life and death… 19 children, 30 people… and counting…

November 13, 2008

Homeward Bound…

Filed under: Farfar,Just life — sbj @ 6:51 am

I have never suffered for a male role model. My entire life, I lived in the shadow of a great man. He did not invent anything, or entertain thousands, or even make himself wealthy over the course of his life. However, he did what was right, and what was best for those he cared about.

We played cards, while hunting, while sitting around the house, any old time really. I always marveled at how the same person, who would tell me instantly if he had seen my hand so that he did not have an unfair advantage, would just as quickly steal my nobs if I missed them! But, Farfar was a man of principle, stealing points is part of the game, just like good sportsmanship is, and he did both. In the end, when you thought about it, Farfar’s actions always made sense.

Farfar and I could not have been further apart politically. He furiously supported Bush… ‘nuff said. However, while I did question his political decision’s, and by question, what I really mean is debate vigorously for hours until he told me I was not allowed to talk politics with him any longer (a moratorium that usually lasted about 45-47 seconds, by the way), what I always respected were his convictions. Unlike many today, Farfar had a belief in a system , a system based on right, wrong, and opportunity. This system shaped his politics and his views on life and he never wavered upon it (even when it came to a certain someone’s strategery of misunderestimating). I am just as stubborn in defending and debating my own positions to this day.

Not all of his “lessons,” took, however. Take his eating habits, for example. Liver and onions… no; eating the turkey neck and other “treasures” that come in the little bag… please; that awful cheese you could smell in another county… goodness no! and don’t even get me started on what he would do with lard…

We had a discussion some years ago, as I looked at the blueprints to an addition he was building for one of his children. I don’t remember which child or which house, but I do remember the cool SBJ initials he had on each page. It was almost like a brand. When I asked him about it he told me about taking pride in my name (all of my name, my middle name was a critical a part as my first and last). He told me not to lend my name to anything I was not proud of, but to always leave my mark on my work. To this day I am far more likely to sign something sbj than anything else, I use my middle name on everything, and I swell with pride each and every time I do.

Together, we built a second floor on my childhood home in Reno. I remember one day he was doing some electrical work in the laundry room and accidentally cut a live wire. As far as I know, my father still has the wire cutters that he was using, and they still have the nearly perfect circle blown out of the steel from when he hit the current. I remember how terrified I was that day, when I thought he could have died. Ironically, in the weeks leading up to his passing, I did not have the same fear, rather, I had gratitude for having had the opportunity to witness such a full and meaningful life taking place before my eyes and for the effect experiencing it had upon me.

Through all the games of cards, all the construction projects and all the political battles; however, what I remember most about Farfar was the single sentence that punctuated almost every visit. I would ask him to stay longer he would invariable say “I have to get home to Farmor” (based on his snoring habits, I’m not 100% certain she always shared his enthusiasm… but to him it was always paramount).

Farfar began his final journey back home to Farmor shortly after 5:00pm on November 12th, 2008, and I’m fully confident that right now he is enjoying the trip, stealing someone’s nobs, and eating the stinkiest cheese ever created…

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