Whorled View

January 2, 2009

New Years Resolution tickler.

Filed under: Communications,Health,Lifestyles,Miscellaneous,Sociology,Technology — lullabyman @ 10:40 pm

How do you keep a goal forefront in your mind so you’re always motivated to work on it?  I’ve tried all kinds of things in the past … as I’m sure most people have.  Quotes and reminders seem great, but they eventually seem to become lost in the noise and get ignored.  I also don’t like parading my goals around for everyone to see – goals are personal.  The idea should rather be to keep goals where they’re most visible to the goal-setter and not to everyone else … and to make it move, shake, or shimmy around and continually remind the goal-setter of the vision that motivates them.

So this last year I came up with something that does that.  It’s a little program that scrolls through a list of text and images that motivate me to achieve my goals.  It automatically boots up and sits on top of all other programs in the top of my computer where the title-bar usually goes (it can also be dragged around my desktop).  It also flashes at various times of the day to remind me to work on certain things.  It also gauges how much time I  have left in the day (starts out green, turns peach).  Below is a screenshot.

tickler
If anyone else is interested let me know.  I’ve been thinking about making a version where the content can be added on the fly (currently I have to recompile it with each change).

December 1, 2008

The Dalai Lama: At odds with marriage & family

I read somethings today that the Dalai Lama said that really highlighted what a clueless mindset comes from living like a hermit-king.  I’m not quite sure why the Dalai Lama is regarded as a great sage of wisdom but I wonder if another reason the media worships him (while disparaging the original pacifist, Jesus Christ) is because of his anti-marriage and anti-family message.

The only people I know who honestly think [celibacy] is “better” than marriage because marriage involves sex, are embittered losers who have a purely self-gratifying interpretation of human sexuality.

Similarly, only self-absorbed people who are clueless about human intimacy would think that “[attachment] towards your children, towards your partner,” is “one of the obstacle or hindrance of peace of mind”.

The Dalai Lama said both of these things though … and nonetheless it seems he gets more respect and reverence today than any other religious leader dead or alive.

Now, I’ll admit when you have kids that seem to be doing everything you’ve taught them not to do, including screaming and crying over practically nothing while in your face is anything but peaceful, but “peaceful surroundings” is entirely different than “peace of mind”.

For example, the times I had the least peace of mind were times when I was most detached from commitments and relationships around me like when I was nearly 30, still single, and trying to figure out where I fit in the world.  What’s more, I’ve never felt more peace of mind than when in a committed interdependent relationship with whom I could share everything, despite the fact that I was overwhelmed with far more commitments than I’d ever had.  Peaceful surroundings is not peace of mind.

At first glance, this wouldn’t seem like an issue worth tackling: the fact that the Dalai Lama says marriages and family attachments prevent peace of mind, as I’m happy to leave people to believe anything so long as it leads them to do good (Matt 7:16), but I’m convinced this idea forwarded by the Dalai Lama is one of the most destructive ideas ever.

The mere idea that the family unit is bad, or at least the idea that it has some harmful effects for society, especially with regard to peace is ludicrous and should be loudly repudiated.

What’s even more disturbing to me is that this idea seems to be one of the fastest growing doctrines of men today.  It’s growing quickly and becoming wildly popular to deride the traditional family unit and family oriented policies.

Calling family commitments the enemy to peace of mind and contributing elements to murder and suicide (both assertions of the Dalai Lama) is remarkably clueless.  It’s akin to calling religion the root of all the atrocities of mankind.

You’ve heard that, we all have, that religion is bad because terrorists kill in the name of God, or that the “Holy Wars” were done in the name of Christianity.  The argument is so absurd as to mock reason, and yet seemingly intelligent people make it, completely disregarding the fact that murder and violence is almost unanimously condemned in all mainstream religions, and that hypocrisy is a reflection on the soul of the hypocrite, not the religion which is corrupted in the process, and that people will justify the same atrocities by any vehicle they can find be it a tradition, political philosophy, or just plain old prejudice.

Now we see those same kinds of irrational arguments being promoted by the media to disparage traditional families and traditional marriage, with the Dalai Lama as thier prophet.

November 8, 2008

Christians owe Obama a Debt of Gratitude?

At least in this one thing … the jury’s still out for what he may do in the future.

Thanks for my awesome cousin for nailing this one on the head … I just had to agree with her:  There were far more powerful forces at work in defending traditional marriage in California than the simple 2% of the population comprised by Mormons.  It seems we should be thanking the 70% of African Americans who voted this time for Prop 8 , 40% more than voted in 2004.

If you believe in the sanctity of marriage … that it’s far more than a social tool, but a sacred institution … and that it’s the only sacred institution that is and should continue to be promoted by the government of our nation, then you owe Obama a debt of gratitude.

Ironically, you can thank Slate (liberal rag) for originally pointing this out.

While violent same-sex proponents target LDS people and LDS buildings for hate speech and vandalism, LDS people only make up 2% of California, while 70% of all African Americans voted for the proposition.  Slate does a bad job of showing just how much a difference Obama made so let me make it more clear:  The black community swung the Prop 8 vote by 7% (10% of the vote was African American * 70% voted yes), 40% of that swing came from additional black voters over 2004 numbers as they were energized by Obama.  That means Obama personally swung the vote by at least 2.8% (7% * 40%), or by 5.6 points (2.8% *2).

In other words, if Obama had not run for president and if he had not stood against same-sex marriage conservative estimates are that Prop 8 would have lost by a 1.6 point margin (4-5.6=1.6) if not more.  Why do I say “if not more”?  Because we don’t know how many of the other 60% of black voters were influenced by Barrack making a stand against same-sex marriage.  The above number assumes that his position had no effect on the African Americans who voted in 2004, but it’s likely that it did.  Say if only 30% were influenced by his anti-same-sex position that would have swung the vote by at least another 2 points (0.3*5.6/0.4).

And yet gay activists disparage and vandalize the property of LDS people and the LDS church who only make up 2% of the entirely California population.  What’s more, there were quite a few LDS people against Prop 8 (our home-teacher, who used to be a bishop and is still a prominent authority in the church is one of them).  In otherwords, all the LDS who voted for it would not have sufficiently swung the election.

I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that the Gay community seems to focus more on liberal arts than in math and science, but it seems these criminals can’t do math when they decide whom they’ll attack to show their disatisfaction with democracy.

November 4, 2008

I’d Celebrate More, Were It Not For Mob-Rule

Along with McCain I think our Founding Fathers also would agree that Obama is a good man and a good father, and as another human being we need not fear the man (even though I’m less than thrilled with much of his platform and his voting record – that’s beside the point).  Having an African American as president is an hallmark for equality that should be celebrated … and I’d have a much easier time doing that were it not for some elements of what Thomas Jefferson called mob-rule.

Before I go much further, I want to say that I believe it’s entirely possible that Obama would have been elected without the following elements in play and I fully support him like any president as if he would have been.  My point is, that these elements were in play, and that’s a shame.

If our founding fathers were raised in the same cultural climate as all of us they’d be thrilled with an African American winning the election, assuming democracy worked like it was supposed to.  That said, I think they’d be rolling in their graves if they saw the 3 powerful dynamics that have adversely affected the vote this year:

1) Two phrases I find disturbing are: “they [insert special interest group here] deserve it”, and “it’s about time”.

I can only hope for the sake of democracy that these phrases only are uttered in appreciation for the man that Obama is, not the office that he now holds as if he was entitled to it by virtue of his race.  I hope that every vote cast for Obama was done with complete disregard to the body he was born into.  Entitlement and preferential treatment based on someone’s color or sex in the election process seem at odds with the kind of democracy that our founding fathers envisioned.

In modern times most people seem unfazed, and even embrace entitlement as a viable reason to vote for someone based on whether they be female, a racial minority, ethnic minority, religious minority, physically handicapped, sexually-different or from any other historically disadvantaged group of people.  It almost seems that if you do not embrace entitlement as a viable reason to vote for someone then you might be called a bigot.

It wasn’t always that way.  Were our founding fathers bigots because they did not think that the body someone was born into entitled them to hold public office?  They were trying to get away from just such a thing after dealing with the British monarchy.

2) I just can not envision our founding fathers targeting transient individuals who are usually just too lazy and/or too disinterested to get registered and go to vote.  Tt seems our Founding Fathers were far more pragmatic and republican in nature than they were idealist and democratic.  The government they formed was not a pure democracy but a constitutional republic with democratically elected representatives. Thomas Jefferson himself, along with most others of his day, called democracy “mob-rule” because he understood common man has neither the time, patience, or desire to really understand the dynamics of facilitating a free and thriving society.  They understood that the nature of politics was very complex and thereby formed a government run entirely by representation of those who have the time, patience and diligence to study and understand the issues.  I’m sure they’d expect voters to do the same and would never wholesale promote uneducated voting.

Tell me, when you vote and there are two names up there for school district administrator and you have no clue … do you guess?  Or do you leave it blank?  The more democratic thing to do is to leave it blank, yes?  Then why would you encourage someone to vote who hasn’t studied nor has any intention to study about the characters and platforms of any of the candidates but simply wants to go with the flow?  You might as well guess on those items and politicians you know nothing about … it’s the same thing.

3) Complete unmitigated and unabashed bias throughout the so-called “free” press.  If you don’t have extended cable (basic cable only gives you the major networks), you are only served by the big 3: ABC, NBC, and CBS.  According to the Center for Media and Public Affairs 10 times more people (composed equally of republicans and democrats) feel those networks have been biased toward Obama than those who feel it’s been biased toward McCain.  In addition late night pundit and comedian jokes have been favoring Obama’s ticket by a factor of 7:1.

Item #3 would not be such a big issue were it not combined with item #2.  It seems Thomas Jefferson was right … and those who’ve historically pretended to champion the causes of Thomas Jefferson may have been the very same who’ve fulfilled his prediction: that all democracy at one point or another will turn into mob-rule.

Having an African American for a president is cause for celebration for the hallmark of equality it represents, but I only wish it would have happened without these dynamics.  I think it sure would have been possible, but then we’ll never know now will we?

November 3, 2008

Go ahead & insult me: Tell me to vote.

Do you go around telling your friend to take a leak or they might wet their pants?  Do you go around telling people to remember to breathe in case they might accidentally suffocate?

You don’t?  Well then please don’t tell me to vote.

Just because you auctioned off your grey matter doesn’t give them the right to sequester your vote.

As for me, and those of us who don’t have to be told to vote … we’ll make an educated decision.

I know it’s well intended, and honestly, I’ve been told to vote by some of the most wonderful, intelligent, and savvy people I know. In fact I know of no stupid people who are reminding me to vote. I also know I should take their encouragement as a compliment … obviously they think I’m going to make a wise choice or they would not want me to vote.

But I just can’t help but think that if you need to be told to vote then you don’t have a clue enough to make a wise decision who should run your government.  It’s just simple math.  Person needs convincing = can’t think for themselves = bad votes = bad results.

We might as well choose our officials with a random number generator.  That’s not democracy.  In fact, letting the most impressionable intellectual-push-overs determine election outcomes results in a huge bias toward the opinions of popular media.

So here’s my advice: stay home if you sup entirely from the boob tube and decided to vote because an actor or actress will insult you if you don’t.  If that’s the kool-aid that you drink then chances are I know who you’re voting for, and believe me … you don’t want to throw your vote away on someone of whom you really know very little.  If you’re letting someone do the thinking for you stay home.  Just because you auctioned off your grey matter doesn’t give them the right to sequester your vote.  Give them what they deserve: nothing.  Stay home.

As for me, and those of us who don’t have to be told to vote … we’ll make an educated decision.

Or, you can stop drinking the Koolaid and make an intelligent choice, but if you have to be told to vote I’m guessing there’s not enough time for you to do that.  It’s not too late though.  Start here: http://www.google.com/search?q=msm+kool+aid

October 30, 2008

Proposition 8 … LGBT forced the hand.

I was nearly 30 when I first married, and it was not for lack of trying or lack of desire.  I had in fact been engaged previously to someone else 7 years earlier but I’m convinced now that the earlier endeavor would have resulted in a difficult marriage.   I had forced the engagement thinking that marriage would make me happy, make her happy, make us happy, and generally make everything peachy-keen.  But I would have been wrong.  Getting married that time would have been a needy response to  a long distance relationship that was generally a bad idea from the start.

Marriage never fixes anything on it’s own.  If you’re not already happy being together even when times are tough and when your differences (everyone has differences) are painfully obvious then getting married isn’t going to help at all.  In fact it may make things worse.

Marriage is, above all, a sacrament, introduced by God and ordained of God, no matter what your religion is, or regardless of who you call God … It is in so many ways the most symbolic representation of our relationship with our Creator.

So fortunately I spent another 7 years finding the right kind of person and to have done it at the right time of my life.  I now see in retrospect that it had to be that way, and I’m grateful that I met Melissa when I did … no earlier, no later.

One other thing had to happen too though … I had to know that God wanted it.  At the time I didn’t know how important that was, and neither was I seeking for “His” approval but in retrospect it was necessary in my case.

Seven years later, the second time I was engaged … this time, the right time … things were completely different.  I felt different.  I was different.  The girl was different.  The relationship was dramatically different.  Instead of a needy dependency for nurturing there was a calm assurance of deep respect and mutual appreciation.

as Americans … we believe in marriage … precisely because it is a religious institution.

In fact, it will probably surprise you that despite getting engaged on our 3rd encounter it was not love at first sight … nor was there great passion right away, neither did we even deeply love each other when we got engaged on our second date.  What’s more, I’d venture to say that both of us had preexisting relationships that were still at the time very heartfelt, but very quickly we learned something that made all that moot which I suspect few people probably learn when they make that choice:

God wanted it.

Thomas Jefferson’s “separation of Church and State” was never intended to mean a separation for God and State. Historically you’ll find that our founders believed our country had everything to do with “Divine Providence”.

Far be it from me to tell you what the spirit feels like.  I think that, like most people, throughout my life I’ve largely been guided by instincts, wisdom, and my heart (love, peace, joy, charity, hope, faith, etc).  Those things are wonderful and essential to a happy fulfilling life but for me feeling the spirit itself is an entirely different experience than all those things, and I can no more describe to you my spiritual experiences than describe the taste of salt to someone who’s never had anything salty.  Only a few times have I deeply felt it, and then only briefly for only a moment or two.  One experience stands out though.  The day after our 2nd encounter … it lasted for nearly 8 hours non-stop.  I remember going home for lunch that day wondering how much longer I could take it as it was so intense and constant.

While the experience was sweet … like honey is sweet (if you could taste the spirit it would be sweet exactly like honey), I was simultaneously overjoyed and a little upset and anxious.  I was upset and anxious because I knew what God was telling me and yet I had no idea whether Melissa was having any kind of the same experience.  What was I to say to her … “I know you don’t know me … and being nearly 30 I probably sound desperate enough to come up with something crazy like this … but God told me we’re supposed to get married.”

That would have gone over like a lead balloon, or so I’d supposed.  I was wrong, and we were engaged on our next date.

Truth be told, I did not say that … but I didn’t have to either.  We were married 3 months later and have been insanely happy with each other with a love that can only grow so quickly and immensely when two people are … well, to get real sappy … meant for each other.

the LGBT community is intent on removing all sacredness and turning it into a social tool to command respect in a way that would trample religious ideals.

Now this sounds like a really long winded way to get around to what this post was intended to discuss: Proposition 8, and why the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transexual) community forced the hand that put that proposition into motion, but everything I mentioned has everything to do with that topic.

Marriage is, above all, a sacrament, introduced by God and ordained of God, no matter what your religion is, or regardless of who you call God.  It is in so many ways the most symbolic representation of our relationship with our Creator.  There are sacraments in marriage, throughout marriage, and throughout each day in one’s marriage, that are all symbolic of our relationship with God.

Admittedly, I don’t think everyone should expect to have the courtship Melissa and I did, nor do I think it makes us or our marriage any “better”, but I do think there’s a synergy that exists when marriage is intertwined with the divine and I’m grateful ours started out that way.  Similarly marriage has demanded a greater reliance on God from me, and it seems obvious to me that my spiritual growth is and will continue to be accelerated through close association with my wife (even if I sometimes fail to take advantage of doing so).

[Government sanctioned traditional marriage] IS proof that we do not have a Godless state

Overwhelmingly we, the Americans, are a God-fearing people.  Unusually so, and surprisingly so since we are just a melting pot, an amalgamation of the refugees from all the other countries.  But with good reason are we so God-fearing.  Our country was largely founded by those who were deeply religious, and even today many of the refugees who come here do so so they can practice their beliefs in a free country.

In short, believing in God is part of our identity as Americans.  We believe in marriage, not because it’s a social institution, but precisely because it is a religious institution.

Similarly, nowhere in the constitution or any of the amending articles, is God excluded, and certainly not with respect to marriage either.  While respecting no particular religion, our leaders have always been God fearing people.

Cry foul if you want, Bill Maher, but those are the historical facts, and they are as true today as they were then.  You don’t like it, then move to Russia or China where the mention of God is still taboo.

Each member of [the LGBT] community needs to be loved and appreciated the same way [as are] straight people

Nowhere is the respect and reverence for God more evident in our federal documents and laws where the right to marry not only exists but is encouraged.  The reverence for God has nothing to do with “Church” lest others complain I’m promoting a theocracy or the favoring of one religion over another.  Thomas Jefferson’s “separation of Church and State” was never intended to mean a separation for God and State.  Historically you’ll find that our founders believed our country had everything to do with “Divine Providence”.  Our constitution was founded upon the idea that our inalienable rights exist only because God gave them to us.

We are only created equal because God is no respecter of persons (not because we can marry whomever we find cute or sexually stimulating).

Now the LGBT community wants to take that sacrament: marriage, and turn it into a self-serving political tool to forward their agenda.  Marriage is NOT a tool.  It IS a sacrament.  It IS proof that we do not have a Godless state like Russia, or China, or the Scandinavian countries who’ve seemed happy to rid themselves of the “outdated” institution of marriage.

[Proposition 8] does NOT mean people in the LGBT are any less equal, nor does it mean we think any less of them

Marriage will never be a purely social or political tool, although it’s often used for social and/or political reasons.  I’ve read many treatments on this topic and they’re all wrong, incorrectly stating that historically it was designed to be a tool to be used for social reasons so we should use it now to include the LGBT community.  It was not created for that purpose.  Rather marriage has historically been a religious institution first, often manipulated for social or political purposes.

That said, I want to be clear in my opinion that people in the LGBT community are no different than straight people with regards to their value to society – you may disagree with me, and that’s okay.  I think gays and lesbians have been poorly treated although it seems that they do tend to play the martyr (even now they’d claim I’m being condescending when I’m really sincere).  Each member of that community needs to be loved and appreciated the same way that straight people are, but unfortunately no amount of love will prevent their community from operating with a selfish mob-mentality insistent on destroying the sacred nature of marriage.

marriage must be government sanctioned, and must be the only sacrament sanctioned by a government

That is why Proposition 8 is necessary.  It does NOT mean people in the LGBT are any less equal, nor does it mean we think any less of them.  It’s only because marriage is the most universally sacred institution throughout all the world … it is the great common sacrament among all civilizations and religions … and the LGBT community is intent on removing all sacredness and turning it into a social tool to command respect and trample religious ideals.  Marriage is intrinsically a sacrament in nearly every sense of the word, and it is and always must be the only sacrament sanctioned by a government that was originally founded on Godly principles entirely by God-fearing men who never wanted our government to become an atheist entity.

September 29, 2008

Identifying racism or sexism … A Test

“… I won’t necessarily think you’re racist or sexist, but … some of your other recipients might not be as forgiving as me.”

My last entry was critical of Obama.  I’ve been just as critical of McCain (see “McCain debates Hillary, lovingly“).  Honestly, I would be equally critical of both more often if I found an excuse to do so, but I feel compelled to help even the playing field, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you have to admit that the MSM has been one sided.  If, for example, Palin had said that FDR did the fireside chats by TV then NBC, CBS, and ABC would have had a field day about it, but when Biden said that exact thing last week the only place you heard about it was on Fox news – a news outlet that liberals spitefully despise because they feel it tramples on their rights to deceive distort and dissuade the public on an otherwise monopolized news market.

But I’m getting off topic.

Sexism and Racism still exists in the media … and especially in non-professional media, such as grassroots email campaigns.  There are guilty people on all sides of the fence, and I think it’s pretty despicable whenever I see it regardless of who does it.  By the same token there’s a lot of posturing by calling certain comments or positions racist or sexist, as was recently done by McCain’s Fiorina when she freaked out about the “lipstick on a pig” comment- that she acted so offended was also despicable in my opinion.  Then there’s even posturing by accusing whole parties of posturing when it was only one person, as was done by nearly all liberal leaders accusing the republican party of posturing when it was only Fiorina who was freaking out.  That, in my opinion is equally despicable.  Now I’m just waiting for someone posturing by accusing me of posturing by accusing liberals posturing about Fiorina posturing about Obama’s benign “lipstick on a pig” comment.  If you’re not thoroughly confused now … let me just say this: there’s been way too much posturing on the issue of sexism or racism if you ask me.

“If you don’t really care whether people think your racist or sexist then you might not care to do this test. Maybe you’re confident that none of the recipients would ever consider you racist or sexist. Don’t be so sure.”

The bottom line is that there needs to be some kind of simple method whereby one can easily detect and determine the level of racism or sexism in a given comment.  I think I’ve come up with such a method:  You must imagine the comment in a completely sex / race neutral setting then ask yourself “is it just as funny or does it make just as much sense as before?”  If it is just as funny and makes just as much sense then it’s neither racist nor sexist.  If however, if it seems to loose some of it’s edge then perhaps it has some sexist or racist overtones.

For example: You get an email where a photograph shows Obama and Palin photoshop’ed in, and the photo is supposed to be funny.  Now imagine that Hillary had been nominated and so she was in that picture instead of Obama.  Does the picture still make sense? Is that photoshop’ed photo just as funny, or did it totally loose it’s edge?  If it’s just as funny then congratulations … what you have there is a genuinely funny article, otherwise it’s probably just racist or sexist (or both) and if you spread it around you will offend a lot of people – don’t kid yourself.

“… let me just say this: there’s been way too much posturing on the issue of sexism or racism if you ask me.”

So what?  Well, this method could be useful if you forward a lot of political opinions or content to friends and family.  Before you forward on that cartoon see if it passes the above test.  If you don’t really care whether people think you’re racist or sexist then you might not care to do this test.  Maybe you’re confident that none of the recipients would ever consider you racist or sexist.  Don’t be so sure. Most people live by the motto “actions speak louder than words” and many think that forwarding someone else’s words makes them your words.

I won’t necessarily think you’re racist or sexist, and in fact I’m more likely to conclude that you simply didn’t think twice before sending on that email with little regard to how it might offend others.  We all do thoughtless things, and it doesn’t make you a bad person to do so, myself being the prime example as I do thoughtless things all the time … but like I said, some of your other recipients might not be as forgiving as me.

June 24, 2008

Apology to those who were offended

I removed my post about my criticism of Carlin from yesterday because I’ve since come to realize many people saw him as family and are in pain or feel a sense of loss with his death. I was wrong to reason that there’s been and will be so many platitudes and pandering this week and next that my little pip-squeak contrarian view was okay to voice at this time.  I was wrong and I’m sorry.

May 29, 2008

Reconnecting with kids after divorce

As a family we’ve been reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective Families“, and lately we’ve been reading about the unique challenges divorced parents have.  No matter who you are or what you’ve done, my heart goes out to you if you are having a difficult time reconnecting with your children.  As mentioned in the book we’re reading that’s perhaps the most difficult challenges you’ve had to face.

In my family I know that’s been the case.  I’m not divorced, but like everyone I have many friends and family members who have been.  We’ve made some real effort as children, all of us have, since my parents divorced a dozen years ago, to get over feelings of resentment and betrayal.  Our parents have made some real efforts to try and reconnect with us kids to mend those ties as well.

Although you may be divorced I must point out that there is a good chance that this entry doesn’t apply to your situation.

With that in mind, let me also say that I know that regardless of the circumstances divorce is devastating and few people deserve the pain of a divorce, and yet almost half of all Americans will experience that pain.  Besides, many of you if not most (at least most feel this way) endured a terrible relationship for the longest time before you were divorced.

Also, many of you, after many years of the divorce are still beating yourself up over it.  Stop doing that.  I’m certainly not doing that with this blog entry.  You need to forgive yourself if you think you need forgiving, and you need to forgive your ex because if you have spite it is just gnawing at your soul and rotting in your gut in a way that just hurts you in the long run.

My main intent is in this entry is to help those of you who are challenged by the idea that even after many years some children still haven’t forgiven you.  Many of you feel that they have no right to be angry because of the divorce.  If you feel this way then you are probably already doing all the wrong things to reconnect with your kids, even though you think you’re doing the right things.  I strongly suggest that you can start the path to reconnecting with your kids if you read the book “7 Habits for Highly Effective Families“.  If you want your kids to “get over it”, then this book will help you help them get on that path.

It will make you feel better, largely because it will help you understand and get you on that path to reconciliation.  It’s also just an amazing book for anyone and everyone – and, no, it isn’t for perfect families … quite the opposite.  It’s written for you, and for me, and for everybody regardless whether they’re married or have kids or not.  Everyone is after-all a family member no matter what, and although each family is vastly different we all deal with the same kinds of issues even if they are at different levels.

If you’ve made some real efforts to reconnect with your children then that’s wonderful and I applaud such efforts, and as a child of divorced parents I hope you continue doing that (but make sure you’re doing the right things).  Especially if it doesn’t seem to be working, find out what might work, and keep working at it.  Sometimes it may feel like it isn’t working, but in truth you’re making deposits into an emotional bank account that was probably far more withdrawn than you may have ever thought, but in time you will find those deposits were worth it if you don’t give up.

As a family today we read something from that book that was profound and especially applicable to this topic: “I’ve come to give a simple four-word answer; ‘Make, and keep promises’ … I’m convinced you would be hard-pressed to come up with a deposit that has more impact in the family than making and keeping promises … the promises we make in the family are the most vital and often the most tender promises of all … Even when promises have been broken in the past, you can still [say]: ‘Will you please give me one more opportunity? Not only will I come through, I will come through in gangbuster style.’ … Dealing with a difficult problem, and a mistake in an honorable way, [makes] a massive deposit in [thier] emotional bank account.”

I know that works with me.  “Make, and keep promises”, is one of the best formulas for success in life, and especially for mending ties that were damaged by broken promises. But you have to both “Make” and “keep” a promise that they’d appreciate.  That may even mean they may want you to promise to leave them alone for a time – now you must promise to honor that wish, and you have to keep it, no matter how much it hurts you.  Don’t promise something they don’t want, and don’t break the promise whatever it is.  Lastly, you also have to expect nothing in return (that’s discussed later in the book) or it will only eat you up inside, in which case it may do the same to them.

Hey, nobody said it would be easy, but these efforts are worth it.

May 1, 2008

Free Enterprise Gone Badly Awry

Filed under: finance,Lifestyles,Miscellaneous,Sociology,Technology — lullabyman @ 7:53 pm
Tags:

What in the name of all that is holy …

Why is that baby (is it human?) in a cage in the middle of the bed? And what happened to that baby’s legs and why does it’s face appear violently smashed flat by a steam roller? Notice how the caged baby is strategically placed between both parents so they can take both nuzzle up to the cold hard steel bars encasing their baby while simultaneously keeping the other parent at bay. And what’s with the evil smirk on the father’s face, I mean … is he facing the other direction as to not reveal to his blissfully clueless wife that this clever scheme was just a sick way to dupe her for some previous mishap? Then you have the mother … lovingly caressing the cage that’s pinning down their poor psychologically doomed infant. My friends, this is free enterprise gone badly awry.

Actually on paper this contraption must have sounded good … good enough that the artist-inventor (I can’t imagine anyone other than the inventor drew the picture … unless it was their 7 yr old) paid THOUSANDS of dollars to get it patented. The intent of the invention (let’s call it “the baby cage”) was to reduce the risk of SIDS. At least that’s what I gathered from it’s description at www.totallyabsurd.com … a website that mocks absurd patents like this one. It was probably invented by a traumatized parent who’s child died of SIDS, who now unfortunately thinks the answer is to put you baby in some cage on your bed, instead of a well designed crib. Never mind that all the doctors say that your mattress and padding is too soft and will increase the risk SIDS. Never mind that all research indicates the children raised in impersonal environments (read: cage) have an increased risk of SIDS. Never mind that your child’s first memories will be of being pinned down with steel bars, preparing them for a life of looking from behind similar looking bars.

While I hope I’d have the sense to never invent something like the above, I am ever increasingly aware how non-representative I am of the general public (which by the way fills me with a great sense of pride). Unfortunately I must also accept that being breathtakingly more intelligent than just about anyone else also qualifies me to come up with wonderful ideas that nobody else would get – and so my inventions simply wouldn’t sell as they’d likely be well “before their time”.

That’s why you do market analysis, people, no matter how intelligent or creative you are. All the baby-cage inventor would have needed to do is ask a dozen people at random what they thought, and they would have saved themselves a lot of money. Unfortunately I’m sure this person only asked his friends who responded with comments like: “Interesting” or “Wow. That’s creative.” or “You think of the most amazing things.” … all comments which the inventor surely took to be compliments and evidence that they’d be a complete idiot to not patent this infant-death-trap.

So I’ve compiled a list of what people fail to do before making it into the innovative hall of shame:

Rule #1) When you ask people about your idea, ask lots of complete strangers for their opinion, instead of asking your freinds. If I hate the idea I’ll lie to you. At least if you’re my friend that’s what I’ll do. Sorry. Yes, I’m a wus. It’s just that once I made the mistake of honestly answering my boss once when he asked about his design for a million-dollar machine. Two things happened: 1) He went ahead and used his design despite my criticism, which cost 10X more than expected, never worked, and eventually drove the company into bankruptcy, and 2) he never asked my opinion about anything else. Ever. That’s a true story.

Rule #2) Don’t be so paranoid. There are two kinds of inventors: 1) those with 1000’s of ideas, and they’ll share them freely while pursuing them … like Ben Franklin did, or like Thomas Edison did, and 2) those with maybe three ideas total in their little self-absorbed mind, and they guard these ideas with their lives. Sorry to break this to you, but if you’re of the second group your inventions suck. That’s just how it works out … less than 1/10th of 1% of inventions have any hope, and out of the other 99.9% there are many awesome ideas that didn’t sell for one of a million different reasons. If you aren’t producing 100’s of good ideas all the time, it’s doubtful that you’ll ever produce a winner.

Besides, if your idea was so great and unknown chances are it needs tons of development before it gets patented and nobody is willing to do that work except for you. Usually. Yes, there are stories, and they’re true, of multinational conglomerates stealing inventors ideas … but creative independent people will almost never steal another persons novel idea because they are so invested in their own ideas. And uncreative people are too stupid to know what to do with a great idea. So loosen up … and share your idea. Preferably you would share it with a potential partner who is interested in forming profitable and long-term relationships with unusually creative practical and intelligent people. I suggest http://www.evergreenip.com/. No, I’m not associated with them, but my Uncle, a lifelong inventor, works with them and they’re doing a number of his inventions.

Rule #3) Chill out. By this I mean write it down and forget about it. Go to a nice park. Walk around the park. Get involved in life. Again, forget about the idea. Then come back and look at the idea with fresh eyes. I’m sure had the infant-death-trap inventor had done this they’d have privately cringed in shame instead of publicly doing so. You know … once it’s in the patent database it’s there forever. You can’t remove it. It’s out there for all posterity to see and respond, “Gee what was that guy smoking?!” (which is a tad bit less encouraging than “Wow, you have quite an imagination”). Unfortunately inventors tend to think that great ideas grow on trees enough that if they don’t do something immediately someone will beat them to the punch. That’s not true. Take the iPod. There were MP3 players, many which were nearly as good, years before the iPod. Being first isn’t necessarily best. It’s being best that’s best.

Rule #4) Find out if a patent is the right thing. According to Newsweek “patents are usually worth less than the paper they are printed on”. This is because they’re either unnecessary, invalid, or just very weak.

Rule #5) Be prepared to spend a TON of money to do it right. DON’T DO IT YOURSELF, AND BE CAREFUL WHO YOU HAVE DO IT. Most patents are worthless because they were written poorly and are either too non-specific to have any valid claims or are so specific that they can easily be rendered useless.

Rule #6) Remember that protecting patents are 100X more expensive than acquiring them. Be prepared to pay this price, or at least give the patent the professional appearance that you are able to pay this price. THERE ARE NO PATENT POLICE. You are your own Patent police. Companies do the math … and if you look like some joe-nobody inventor they’ll calculate it’s worth walking all over you. This is one of the reasons you don’t want to do it yourself – to scare away unscrupulous corporations. Be prepared to fight multi-national corporations with bottomless pockets even if your patent is unbelievably well written. Often it’s worth it to them to drag it out as long as possible until you have less than nothing left.

Rule #7) Do a thorough search before spending too much time on it. I’ve made this mistake to find out someone already had a very thorough patent on an idea of mine. It was a CD case storage that doubled as a universal remote-controller for any mega-CD-player, so when you pressed on the CD case the CD would play. I’d spent hours making mockups and putting the idea online. It was already patented, and the patent holder was just sitting on it. I could have spent that time walking in the park and getting involved in life instead of wasting it on something that was already patented.

Gee … now don’t you have some warm feelings about just what a free enterprise we live in? Don’t get bummed. Keep thinking … and eventually one of those 1000 ideas of yours will be a home run.

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.