Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Burn Baby Burn

[ from LifeHacker ]

Free CD and DVD burner ImgBurn emerged victorious in LH's recent Hive Five Best CD and DVD Burning Tools, followed closely in tow by commercial burner Nero 9.

Freeware app CDBurnerXP rounded came in a distant third.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Have You Seen, Florence Nightingale?

[ from Science News ]

Florence Nightingale: The Passionate Statistician... Nightingale created many novel graphics to present statistics that would persuade Queen Victoria of the need to improve sanitary conditions in military hospitals.
When Florence Nightingale arrived at a British hospital in Turkey during the Crimean War, she found a nightmare of misery and chaos. Men lay crowded next to each other in endless corridors. The air reeked from the cesspool that lay just beneath the hospital floor. There was little food and fewer basic supplies. By the time Nightingale left Turkey after the war ended in July 1856, the hospitals were well-run and efficient, with mortality rates no greater than civilian hospitals in England, and Nightingale had earned a reputation as an icon of Victorian women. Her later and less well-known work, however, saved far more lives. She brought about fundamental change in the British military medical system, preventing any such future calamities. To do it, she pioneered a brand-new method for bringing about social change: applied statistics.

Monday, December 29, 2008

FoodScapes: Amazing Photo Art You Can Eat

London based photographer Carl Warner was apparently never scolded to stop playing with his food - or perhaps he was and this is the result. Using food as the medium, he constructs landscape photos that generate the double-take effect followed by the obligatory "How did he do that?"

Consider this fishscape which features rocks made of oyster shells and crab claws, boats made of marrows and asparagus, and a shining, silvery, slippery sea of fish.Carl admits that there is some wasted food in the process, but most goes to feeding the crew, family and friends.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Women At Risk

Women At Risk International is an organization whose aim is fighting "gendercide".

UNVEILING THE HIDDEN GENDERCIDE is our goal. Every 2-4 years the world looks away from a victim count on the scale of Hitler’s Holocaust. Women face nothing short of a “Hidden Gendercide”…114 to 200 million women are “demographically missing” from dowry deaths, infanticide, domestic violence and all manner of risk. (UN Secretary General).

OUR PASSION is to give voice to the silenced cries of women of the world who flow through our projects, creating circles of protection and hope. We offer a safe place to turn crisis into a story of hope by wrapping arms of love and whispering the message of worth.

Check out the W.A.R. Chest online shop.


Friday, December 26, 2008

It Was a Good Week After All

I read recently where one non-chemical way to doze off gracefully is to lay in bed thinking of all that you have been blessed with.

There is a group on Flickr called "52 Blessings" who encourage their members to upload a photo once a week for a year for what they have been blessed by in their lives that week. If you're intentional about looking for it, you'll have a better chance of finding it.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

First Ever "Green" Cookie

Long Island-based Nutritious Creations has introduced the Hybrid Cookie(TM) comprising a line of new chip-like cookies taking the healthy snacker by complete delicious surprise.

The Hybrid Cookie, which utilizes the irresistible crispy taste that comes with baking a snack and the health benefits of puffing, won't leave the snacker feeling guilty. Low in fat and reduced calories, the Hybrid Cookies are kosher and dairy under the certification of the OU label. The cookie-chips come in four delicious flavors Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Oatmeal, Chocolate Fudge and Rocky Road.

Despite being an all-natural, multi-grain snack that is a good source of fiber (4g), the cookie-chips have been described as satisfying and sweet snacks for children and adults alike as well as those on a health-conscience diet.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Greatest Guitar Songs - Ever

I'm not sure which is more entertaining - the list of "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time" as presented by Rolling Stone, or the comments by disgruntled fans who are beside themselves because of glaring omissions and misplaced rankings. ( I for one believe that "Black Magic Woman" deserves higher than a 39...)

Here are the Top Ten on the list:

1. "Johnny B. Goode," Chuck Berry (1958)
2. "Purple Haze," The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)
3. "Crossroads" Cream (1968)
4. "You Really Got Me" The Kinks (1964)
5. "Brown Sugar" The Rolling Stones (1971)
6. "Eruption" Van Halen (1978)
7. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" The Beatles (1968)
8. "Stairway to Heaven" Led Zepplin (1971)
9. "Statesboro Blues" The Allman Brothers Band (1971)
10. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Nirvana (1991)


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Free Guitar for Flying

Well, okay, not exactly free. But, this guitar will pay for itself and let you keep up your chops on the road by traveling in the overhead compartment as opposed to being checked as baggage (which now can carry up to a $25 fee.)

Weighing in at less than 3lbs it also includes a pickup so you could plug into your headphone amp for some layover practice in the VIP lounge.

Checkout the Traveler Ultra-Light Acoustic at Guitar Center.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Help me, Obama-Wan Kenobi

Leave it to the best political team on television to bring us the first live remote broadcast of a hologram reporter. Wolf is in New York talking to Jessica in Chicago and I guess it would be more exciting if it were, well - more exciting.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Let's Do The Time Warp...

No, not the dance from The Rocky Horror Show, I mean the new show Time Warp on Discovery.

Jeff and crew use high speed cameras and super slow motion to analyze what really happens during everyday events. Like being in a car accident, blending fruit in a blender or shooting all kinds of stuff and watching it explode.

Check out a sample of raw footage here...(I'm fond of the egg and the propeller)


Sunday, October 26, 2008


Everyone knows about YouTube (Broadcast yourself!) now comes the first ever webchannel about shoes, shoetube. Dedicated to women who love shoes and apparently love to watch videos about shoes.

Another candidate for "too much time on their hands" and/or "is this really what the world needs now?"

Checkout "The Daily Shoe":


Saturday, October 18, 2008

If I had more time...

Okay so time does speed up as you age - everyone knows that. But what they don't teach you in school is how to account for this phenomenon. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits fame provides a list of "20 Ways to Find More Free Time."

The one I have found most effective and yet most elusive?
No. 12 - Do your Biggest Rock first. Of the three Most Important Tasks you choose for the day, pick the biggest one, or the one you’re dreading most, and do that first. Otherwise you’ll put that off as much as possible and fill your day with less important things. Don’t allow yourself to check email until that Big Rock is taken care of. It starts your day with a sense of major accomplishment, and leaves you with a lot of free time the rest of the day, because the most important thing is already done.

It's right up there with eat better, move more. Common sense but hard to practice.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's Only A Model...

...but it looks cool, is fun to make and it's free. let's you download, print out, cut out and assemble your favorite guitars.

Right now the most popular is this Gretsch 7594 White Falcon.

Gives new meaning to paper, scissors, ROCK!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This is your Brain on Light

We used to do this in the driveway on Independence Day with sparklers or when out camping with our cheesy flashlights. Of course when produced by German artists Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke who actually have some talent and imagination, the results are stunningly beautiful.
They call it Lightmark.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'll sleep well tonight...

...knowing that the scientist in this clip "doesn't think" there's any risk of the self-assembling robot technology getting out of control and harming us. Right...

Makes me think of Transformers meet Willard.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Psst - wanna buy some Uranium?

Seriously, when was the last time you heard that. Check out United Nuclear, a kind of homegrown Edmund Scientific that offers everything a maker could ever want to purchase for that special project.

Or for when you accidently knock over your trusty radiometer.

Oh and another thing, they're actually one company that's relocating to Michigan.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Do you Hulu?

I've been decreasing my consumption of television viewing over the past dozen or so years to the point of rarely watching anything broadcast - except for the occasional Mythbusters or Dirty Jobs.

I never got into the Tivo DVR thing either but I have spent some time recently checking out free online viewing site Hulu.

Hulu brings together a large selection of videos from more than 100 content providers, including FOX, NBC Universal, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. and more. Users can choose from more than 900 current primetime TV hits such as The Simpsons, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Office the morning after they air, classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The A Team, Airwolf and Married...with Children, movies like Men in Black, Ghostbusters, and The Karate Kid, and clips from Saturday Night Live, Friends and other popular TV shows and movies.

It's also rated as one of the 5 best streaming TV sites according to this Lifehacker readers' poll.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Latest Mashup: Simpsons & Legos

So take the opening credits from an iconic animated series depicted by a classic building toy filmed in stop action and of course you will get...

"The Simpsons Legos Style"

Cheers, Homer...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Irish Snake Shop

Okay, that would be a lame business venture since as we all know, there are no snakes on the Emerald Isle. Legend and lore would have us to believe that it is due to the charming St. Patrick who lead them all into the sea. Facts and data unfortunately point to several coverings of glaciers and an island surrounded by icy cold seas. I tell you this not because there are only 170 days left until March 17, 2009, but because it came up today at lunch.

We were relating a story about an encounter with a very large snake this summer whilst on holiday on Mackinac Island. When a 4-foot serpent pops out of a stone wall at you, the first question that pops into your head is "How did that snake get on the island?" (Actually, the first question is more like "How much like a little girl did I just scream?")

This particular snake was put down (with a bow and arrow) by the owner of the cottage we had rented following the snake's aggressive attack on an elderly woman's cane as she was walking past his lair. It's snakes like that what give them all a bad reputation.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Words as Art

A lot of blogs lately are including "tag clouds" which are used to show prominent tags on postings in the blog. But what if you just want to take an essay that you've written, or a letter to Auntie Grizelda, and create a "word cloud" based on your text.

Well, now you can and you can do it with Wordle. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.

You can also create a "word cloud" for any url, as shown here with today's homepage from CNN:


Sunday, September 14, 2008

69 Marathons for Pauline

A British woman has just completed her 69th marathon - on her 69th birthday.

Pauline Newsholme of Devon began long distance running in 1982, to raise money for a children's charity after her young daughter, Clare, was paralyzed following complications from measles. Clare recovered and Pauline continued to run for charity.

Her latest marathon was in Edinburgh, and she has raised about £20,000 so far. "I may be at the age when most grannies are taking it easy, but not me," she said. "I'm not ready to hang up my running shoes just yet."

Go, granny, go.


Friday, September 05, 2008

It's Gotta Be The Shirt...

Call them t-shirts or tees, there are a lot of cool shirts out there to be had. In my day, we had to flip through pages of the novelty catalog or hang out at the half-clothing half-tobacco pipe shop to get unconventional tees. Or spend two week's minimum wage on a concert tee.

One of the coolest synergy stories I've read in a while was an article in Inc. about a couple guys who started Threadless. Basically, people submit their own custom designs, everyone votes on the most popular, and then that one is sold in limited quantity and then retired. Genius.

Some of the other offerings on the net include Funny T-Shirts from BustedTees and Snorg Tees.

My favorite from Snorg: "My Butt Hurts"

A couple of emerging ideas (which means I can't go there yet) are from these guys. Maybe I tripped on the Swedish avatar dress-up thing. It sounds naughty.

A new partnership between Swedish avatar dress-up site Stardoll and German t-shirt commerce site Spreadshirt allows users to take virtual clothes they create or see online and get them made into the real thing. Users will be able to take logos or graphics from popular labels in the Stardoll world and get them emblazoned on real-life t-shirts, hats and other items.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Blue Man Group is Green

They never say a word, do some pretty strange things on stage to make music and get you to ask "How'd they do that?" All in all, they come across as relatively harmless and it turns out, they respect the planet. [read more]


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Top 10 Office Snacks

Courtesy of New York Dietician, Marissa Lippert.

Here’s her list:

Top 10 all-around picks, in no specific order, to stash at your desk or in your office fridge

1. Raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, pecans)
2. Kashi TLC granola bars, Gnu Flavor & Fiber bars, Lara bars (or check out and create your own)
3. Low-Fat Laughing Cow Cheese, Coach Farm Goat Cheese or organic part-skim string cheese
4. Fage 0% Greek Yogurt or Stoneyfield Farms Low-Fat Organic Yogurt
5. Wasa, Finn Crisp, Kavli or Dr. Kracker wholegrain crackers
6. Organic peanut, almond or cashew butter (any organic/natural brand will do, or get the freshly ground stuff at your local Whole Foods Market or health food store or through
7. McCann’s Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal or Arrowhead Mills Organic Original Instant Oatmeal
8. Kashi GoLean or Heart to Heart Cereal; Uncle Sam’s Cereal; Bear Naked Granola (watch portions!)
9. Sweet Riot Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs (for the occasional afternoon chocolate craving)
10. Good Health Half-Naked Popcorn or Glenny’s Soy Crisps (1.3oz – small bag)


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hello, I love you, let me pick out your name...

And when I do, I want to know how popular it is now or may have been in the past. In order to aid me in my quest, I shall employ The Baby Name Voyager. This app lets me view letter by letter, how common or unique, fresh or old-school the name I have chosen may be. For example, names beginning with the letter "F" are in steep decline; while those beginning with "I" dropped off from their peak in the 1890's to a low in the 1960's. A quick ramp up in the 1970's and 1980's and then a huge spike in the 1990's. If you want to see a name that should be on the the endangered given names list, checkout Lester.

Something else revealing is if you were born when your name was most popular. Makes you wonder how creative your parents were or if they followed the herd :)


Friday, August 22, 2008

If you could read my mind...

...while I was playing chess, it might look like this:

Actually, this is what it looks like to read the artificial mind of Thinking Machine 4 while it plays chess.

The artwork is an artificial intelligence program, ready to play chess with the viewer. If the viewer confronts the program, the computer's thought process is sketched on screen as it plays. A map is created from the traces of literally thousands of possible futures as the program tries to decide its best move. Those traces become a key to the invisible lines of force in the game as well as a window into the spirit of a thinking machine.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rocco Come Home!

Five years after running away from his home in Queens, N.Y., a beagle named Rocco was reunited with his owners after he turned up 850 miles away. Thanks to a microchip embedded in his skin, the Liberty County Animal Control in Hinesville, Ga. revealed that he belonged to the Villacis family.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Citrus Synchronicity

So we were over at some friends recently and it was a hot and muggy Sunday. They offered us a refreshing beverage of our choice and we both chose ice tea. When my friend was handing my wife her glass, the TV was a playing a promo for the 1960 movie, “The Apartment”, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. At the exact moment when Jack Lemmon’s name popped on the screen, my friend (with his back to the TV) asked my wife if she wanted a lemon in her tea. True story.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Islands of Consciousness

While doing some light research on Flickr mashups, I came upon an interesting merger of random sights and sounds from two artists. The site is Islands of Consciousness. Truly inexplicable and surreal. Like a train wreck that you can’t stop looking at.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Digital music from the Sun

Roberts has just introduced the world’s first solar-powered digital audio broadcasting (DAB) radio. It’s called the solarDAB and it retails for a mere £79.99. With its integrated top-mounted solar panel, the solarDAB’s battery pack is charged whenever exposed to the sun’s powerful rays. (You can also charge by hardwire if it’s dark out.) Once fully charged, it can play for 27 hours.

Available in white, black, pink, red or green.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cleaning up in Beijing

The quality of the air in Beijing isn’t the only thing that the image-conscious government of China is improving. More appealing English translations of traditional dishes have been provided to restaurants in preparation for the upcoming Olympic visitors. “Husband and wife’s lung slice” will now be rendered as “beef and ox tripe in chili sauce,” while “bean curd made by pockmarked woman” becomes “mapo tofu”.

(No, I’m not making this up.)


Saturday, July 05, 2008

10 Questions for...

Time magazine has a cool feature where they choose 10 questions from ordinary people to ask extraordinary people. In addition, they have podcast versions and visual retrospectives of the people being highlighted.

Here's one from January and Woody Allen.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Treasures from the Past

I've only found a few things in the used books that I collect for my library of classic fiction. So far, only 3 that I can think of.

1) Five $20 bills tucked into my $40 copy of Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"

2) A New Rochelle to New York train schedule from 1974 used as a bookmark in a copy of Philip Roth's "Portnoy's Complaint". On the back is an ad for a realtor in Pelham, New York. (Which for synchronicity points made me think of a great Matthau movie, "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" which was also from 1974.)

3) Last weekend, I was in a small town bookstore and picked up a 1954 copy of "The Scotswoman" by Inglis Fletcher. Tucked away in the middle of the book for hiding (like the money) rather than marking one's place was a letter. It had been mailed a long time ago because it was stamped in red, "Postage & Fees paid U.S. Department of Justice". The return address was a PO Box in Leavenworth, Kansas. It was in fact a letter from prison from an uncle to his niece.

Sun March 31st

Hi Kate -

Just a few lines to let you know I've arrived at my final destination. What a drag. Thank God I have only a short time to be here - am scheduled for the camp program - after spending 15 - 30 days inside these walls for orientation. Have already started to exercise and can feel the weight leaving me - Thank God - had to remove my beard which distressed me to no end - but it'll grow again. By the way, no matter what happens to Bill (if anything) while I'm away just tell Lucille you have no idea where I am - that you think I'm living in Calgary, Canada - that's way up in the wilds and I'd rather Blondie didn't know where I am. If anything should happen to Bill my presence certainly wouldn't bring him back to earth. Besides, he's pretty tough and I think he'll be here for a few more years yet. Hope you got all my things put away OK - try to keep my records (my classics) in their covers and ask the children to help. I'm sure they'll be glad to - Ha Ha! All of my addresses were sent home by mistake so I had to guess at your address - Hope George is able to do something with that Tobacco Road trailer. Have several more letters to write so will cut this short. Will write again after I'm out at camp. Say hello to all your family. Hope you got that silver shaker back from John got by mistake. Write if & when you get time - my address for the duration is on the envelope.

Love always from Uncle Bob

Goodnight Bob, Goodnight Kate, Goodnight Mrs. Fletcher and Goodnight Walter.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Komatsu...where are you?

I dusted off another childhood memory this week by attempting to track down a Japanese short film from when I was very young. I remembered it from the CBS Children's Film Festival back in the 60's. We watched the show hosted by Kukla, Fran & Ollie every Sunday afternoon and this particular film, "Skinny and Fatty" conveyed a strong message about how to treat others. There are comments left at various sites by people like me who have a vivid recollection of this film. At the end, the chubby boy is trying to find his friend and keeps calling out, "Komatsu...where are you?" I am always reminded of it whenever we drive to Chicago - we pass a heavy equipment dealer that has several Komatsu backhoes on display.

Read more about the film from others and even where you can buy a copy of it on VHS.


UPDATE: Found a short clip on YouTube...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Frampton Comes Alive!

Tonight I've decided, after listening to it for the 3rd time this week, that Peter Frampton's all-time best-selling live album is on my top 10 list of albums or at least 1 of my desert island discs.

Peter's Place
(It also gains minor synchronicity points for being released on my birthday...)

I just wanted to let you know.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil

Over half of the world's 100 uncontacted tribes live in either Brazil or Peru. These pictures were taken to help prove that these tribes do in fact exist and to help efforts to protect their land.

BBC NEWS Americas Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil


Sunday, May 25, 2008

First Ever England Football Team Picture

By Nick Britten
Last updated: 6:38 AM BST 08/05/2008

The earliest known photograph of the England football team has been unearthed, 132 years after it was taken. Taken before England’s fifth international match on March 4 1876, it shows a line-up, featuring the early superstars of the game. The Football Association said the photo, showing 10 England players and the “umpire” - the early term for a refere - was of “major historical importance” and an “extraordinary find”. Officials, who have a team sheet from the match, are now trying to put faces to names to identify all those in the picture.

The FA’s official historian, David Barber, said: “Until now the earliest England team picture I have seen is from 1893 so to come up with one taken 17 years earlier is extraordinary.
”The photograph seems genuine and certainly people here are very excited.”
The picture was unearthed by Peter Seddon, a football fan researching the Derby County player Steve Bloomer. Mr Seddon, from Littleover, Derby, was scanning newspaper microfiches at his local library when he came across the photo which had been printed in the Derbyshire Football Express in 1926.

It emerged that it had been sent to the paper by the England defender Edgar Field, who lived in Derby and featured in the photo. He lined up with his colleagues before a match against Scotland at Glasgow’s West of Scotland Cricket Ground, the home team winning 3-0 in front of 15,000 spectators. Nine of the England players were making their debuts. However, the FA have always been unaware of its existence until now.

Included in the team that day were Hubert Heron, a striker and captain, and his brother Charles, who both played for the Wanderers team, Mr Field, a defender with Clapham Rovers, and Arthur Savage, the Old Crystal Palace goalkeeper. The team on the day was made up of players from Crystal Palace, Wanderers, 1st Surrey rifles, Clapham Rovers, Swifts, Cambridge University and Notts County. At the time - 12 years before the football league was invented - Wanderers and Clapham were the country’s two best sides. Wanderers were given their name because they did not have a home ground, although many of their matches were played at Kennington Oval. Goalposts were two thin poles with no nets and supporters were allowed, even in their thousands, to stand around the touchlines.

The FA’s Cris Freddi (cor), who is trying to identify the players, said: “I haven’t ever seen pictures of most of these players so all I’ve got to go on is the caption. It really is fascinating stuff.” Mr Seddon said: “This is something of huge national significance because of course it was the English who invented the game of football. ”At the time I was trawling through articles in the local studies library, looking through pictures to do with Steve Bloomer, and just happened to stop at the picture of the 1876 team. I thought 'hang on, this could be quite big’.”


Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Seven Responsibilities of Leadership

In his fascinating book,

VICTORY! Applying the Principles of Military Strategy to Achieve Greater Success in Your Business and Personal Life (AMACOM 2002), Brian Tracy discusses the importance of decisive leadership: "The key to success in business or warfare is singleness of vision, complete clarity with one set of instructions and one person in charge making the strategic decisions. A confusion of visions leads to misunderstanding, ineffectiveness and defeat in warfare and in business." Tracy, a motivational speaker and best-selling author, believes that although business success is due to the efforts of many, it is essential that there be one person who is in charge of each goal and at each point of responsibility. He cites Jack Welch, Lou Gerstner and General Norman Schwarzkopf as examples of business and military figures who have achieved success due to their clarity of purpose and decisive course of action. In VICTORY! Tracy outlines seven "responsibilities of leadership," defined as "areas where you must perform consistently well to become an excellent executive and fulfill your responsibilities to yourself and your organization." Following is a brief outline of these principles.

1. Set and achieve business goals.

In warfare, a military commander is given the responsibility of achieving victory against the enemy. In business, each executive at every level is given the responsibility to achieve specific, measurable business victories or goals. The inability to get the required results, and to achieve the goals in a timely fashion, is the primary reason for failure, frustration and firing at every level, in every company, large or small.

2. Innovate and market.

Apply the "CANEI Strategy" to your sales and marketing efforts. CANEI stands for "Continuous and Never-Ending Improvement." Never be satisfied. Look for new, better, faster and cheaper ways to market and sell your products, every day, every hour of the day.

3. Solve problems and make decisions.

Whatever title appears on your business card can be crossed out and replaced with the words, "Problem-Solver." This is your real job. In solving problems, think and talk exclusively in terms of solutions. Focus all your attention on the specific actions you can take to solve the problem. Forget about the past and who is to blame. Focus on the future and what actions you can take now.

4. Set priorities and work on key tasks.

One of your key responsibilities is to be working on your most vital task all the time and to assure that everyone who reports to you is also working on their key tasks. Always ask yourself, "What are my highest value activities?" If you could only do one thing all day long, what one task would that be?

5. Concentrate single-mindedly on the one activity that can make the greatest difference.

Write down everything you have to do before you begin. Set priorities using an "ABCDE" system. An "A" task is something very important. An "E" task can be eliminated altogether. You can only get your time and life under control to the degree to which you stop doing certain things. Practice "creative abandonment" with tasks that no longer contribute to accomplishing your most important goals.

6. Perform and get results.

Your ability to get results determines your pay, your promotion, your success and the respect and esteem in which you are held by the people around you. Ask yourself continually, "What results are expected of me?" Whatever your answer, work on these specific results single-mindedly. They are the major determinants of your success.

7. Be a role model for others.

This is perhaps the most important responsibility of leadership. One of the marks of superior executives is that they conduct themselves as though everyone were watching them even when no one is watching.Top people set higher standards for themselves than others would set for them. Perhaps nothing contributes more to unity of command than for subordinates to work under someone they greatly respect and admire. Your commitment to becoming a great person, and to demonstrating your values in your every act, is perhaps the most important quality of leadership.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Google Health

Google launched an ambitious initiative Monday, May 19th, that aims to give people a central place online to store their health records and then share them with health-care providers.

The public can now go to and create profiles that include basic medical information such as existing medical conditions, allergies and any medicines being taken, Google officials said.

People who sign up at Google Health may also import medical records from U.S. pharmacies and medical facilities that have signed on as partners, which so far include Longs Drug Stores, Walgreens Pharmacy, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and several others.

"Google Health is all about pulling together documents from your doctor's office, labs and pharmacies to provide a holistic picture of your health," said Google Vice President Marissa Mayer, who was joined by health industry professionals to launch the project at a press conference at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

So I'm sure it won't be long until we won't have to fill out that basic information form every time we visit the same doctor.


Monday, May 19, 2008

101 Twenty-Minute Snacks

Okay, so I'm digging through some archived stuff from last December and came across these, which don't need to wait until next December to enjoy. In fact, I'll probably whip up some of these for the Indy 500 this weekend and no one - no one - will ask, "Hey, aren't these Christmas snacks?"

NY Times Article & Slideshow


Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Safest Place In The World!

Well, okay, maybe not the safest place, but certainly in the top ten, has to be shower room "A" in the Travelers' Lounge at the Hong Kong International Airport. I was using this shower during a recent 8 hour layover and I noticed that there were two showerheads in the stall - one in the wall and one in the ceiling. Then I realized that the one in the ceiling wasn't a showerhead but a sprinklerhead as in fire protection sprinklerhead. I guess they're prepared in case someone spontaneously combusts while lathering or in case you've shut off the water to the shower and a fire spreads into the wet, tiled room? And I thought the U.S. had strict building codes.

Fire Safety


Monday, April 28, 2008

Where's my Starbucks?

If you've ever asked that question when you're scared, tired and cold, grab your mobile phone and text your present zipcode to MYSBUX (697289)*, and they’ll send you three store matches in the neighborhood with links to maps.

*your carrier's text plan applies

Or...if you want to be able to find any business nearby, you have to try 1-800-GOOG411.

Check out the demo.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Beatles Day!

Book your travel plans to Liverpool now to prepare for the city's first ever "Beatles Day" to be celebrated on July 10. What's the occasion? Why, the 44th anniversary of the Fab Four's homecoming after conquering America in 1964 of course.

And how does one celebrate "Beatles Day"? According to this article, here are some suggestions:

  • Shave your head for charity and cover it up until it grows back with a mop-top wig.
  • Cook a “Beatle meal”. How about onion Ringos followed by Sgt Peppered steak and Strawberry fool?
  • All You Need is Love - propose to your other half dressed as the Beatle of your choice.
  • Keep fit. You and three friends do a Band on the Run from the Beatles Story at the Albert Dock to the Cavern Club.
  • Spring clean your house using your wig as a duster.
I wish I was making this up - sadly, it's true.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Everyday Synchronicity

It's not everyday that I stumble across a word I've never seen before. Today, however, I stumbled on the word "quotidian", a word I swear I've never seen or heard, twice in totally unrelated readings. I know some will say, "After you read it once, you were sensitive to recognizing it the next time, like when you buy an orange car and then all you see on the road are orange cars." Others will just say, "Cool."

I like this definition from Wikipedia best:


The term "quotidian" derives from the Latin word for "daily" and refers to repetitive daily actions, events or routines - yet in typical usage carries a vaguely negative overtone. "Quotidian" is generally used to convey a sense of the mundane; that is, there is an implication of the 'commonplace' — often in the disparaging sense, and at the very least to indicate that there is nothing unexpected or surprising to be found in things quotidian.
In art criticism, "quotidian" refers to art works which reference mundane aspects of everyday life. When used in a negative sense, however, the word denotes art or any creative work that, while reflecting or incorporating everyday life, references something that is a very temporary phenomenon that will date the work. For example, the Train song "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)" incorporates a classic rock sound, but references Tae Bo, an exercise trend that was only popular for a short period in the late 1990s.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


So I was part of a discussion the other night where the idea of applying Systems Theory to church was presented. I couldn't help but think of one of my favorite PC games, SimCity. Most people are familiar with the hit series The Sims which it spawned or maybe some of the other simulations like SimEarth, SimAnt, SimCoaster, etc., but I was considering the prospect of a version of a SimChurch.

Here's how I imagined it:

You start off with choosing the basics; Deity, Religion, Size, Location.

From there, you start customizing your church with options such as:

o Red wine and bread
o Red juice and crackers
o Grape soda and tortilla chips

o Infant sprinkling
o Adult immersion
o Running through the sprinkler in t-shirt and gym shorts

Musical Instruments:
o Organ
o Piano
o Guitar -Electric -Acoustic
o Drums
o Bells
o Zither

Musical Style:
o Traditional Hymns
o Contemporary Music
o Gospel Choir
o Ska Band
o Jazz Fusion

Number of Services:
o 1 Sunday, 1 mid-week
o 2 Sunday, 1 mid-week
o 3 Sunday, 1 mid-week, 1 Saturday night
o 2 Sunday in winter, 1 in summer

Welcoming of:
o Everyone that God created
o Most everyone (with obvious exceptions)
o Everyone who looks and/or acts just like us

Once you start the simulation and people start showing up, you can introduce "scenarios" like:

o Nursery volunteers give toddlers cases of Twinkies and Red Bull
o Pancakes and Porn breakfast runs out of pancakes
o Motorcyle club takes over the chapel for their hangout
o Senior pastor gives sermon entirely in Gaelic gibberish
o Deacons strike oil on the property digging up dead bushes

I really didn't think this was an original idea of mine and I found a few examples on the net where people have had some fun with this concept:

Amazon sells MegaChurch PC Game

SimChurch Beta

Fantasy Church


Monday, March 31, 2008

Spend 18 Minutes with TED

TED, (Technology, Entertainment, Design) began in 1984 as a way to spread new ideas. They are devoted to giving millions of knowledge-seekers around the globe direct access to the world's greatest thinkers and teachers. They now have a time limit of 18 minutes for each of the talks, which are free to distribute under the Creative Commons License and sponsored by BMW.

Here's a recent talk by Neuroscientist Christopher deCharms who is helping to develop a new kind of MRI that allows doctor and patient to look inside the brain in real time -- to see visual representations of brain processes as they happen. With his company Omneuron, deCharms has developed technology they call rtfMRI, for "real-time functional MRI" -- which is exactly what it sounds like. You move your arm, your brain lights up. You feel pain, your brain lights up.


Other past talks:

In the "What Makes Us Happy" theme, Rick Warren: On Purpose

In the "TED Prize Wish" theme, Bono: Join my call to action on Africa


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Waking from my R.E.M. slumber

Back in the late 80's, early 90's, before things like iPods and filesharing and streaming and all of the ways we enjoy music these days, I had a stack of R.E.M. CD's (compact discs for anyone born in the 90's) on top of my living room player and one or two in the car at all times. For whatever reason, I lost interest after 1992's "Automatic for the People."

The R.E.M. song that plays in my head at random times is "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville"

Michael and the boys are back with "Accelerate", being released next week, but you can stream the entire album for free here.

And be sure to watch them perform on the plaza outside The Today Show studio Tuesday morning, April 1.


Monday, March 24, 2008

iPop Art

When an ad campaign becomes an integral part of our culture, someone will inevitably find a way to profit from it, besides the original promoter. puts you into the ultra-hip iPod adverts that you can order as posters, t-shirts, greeting cards and more.



Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Night in the Boiler Room

Our house church had the opportunity to learn more about a neighborhood ministry known as the stockbridge boiler room, which was featured in a local newspaper article yesterday. One of the three interns and a friend came over to talk with us about his life's journey and how he ended up where he's at now. Then we walked to the house for a quick tour and an hour of prayer and worship. We met some awesome people doing some great things - I guess you had to be there.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Cool but Creepy

This is called a motion potrait - crazy graphics of a woman's face set in motion.


Then you move your mouse.


Reminds me of the paintings on the wall in Scooby-Doo or Harry Potter.


May I Recommend...?

It's certainly convenient if you have a great group of friends who love reading books and putting you on to the next great read. However, if you don't hang out with book types, here's a referral site that gives you recommendations based on other's reviews (instead of the Amazon cyborg suggester).

And if you're really not into making your own choices, they have an affiliate site that lets you take a quiz to see if you should really vote the way you think you should. (They actually ask if you think the candidate should be a Mormon...)


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

High Fives Decision Making

For anyone who has ever had to lead a group writing a mission or vision statement, or planning an event, a lot of time can be spent checking to see how everyone is feeling about how things are going. This "High Fives" method can cut that time dramatically, especially as the group expands beyond 5 or 6 individuals. Here's how it works:

The facilitator clearly states the question or idea and provides the scale below (it is helpful to post the scale on a flip chart before the meeting begins):

5. I can give an unqualified yes to the decision. I'm excited or enthusiastic about it.
4. I can live with the decision. It's OK with me.
3. I am concerned about this decision but will not block the group.
2. I think there is a major problem with the decision and choose to block the group's action.
1. Too soon to make any decision; work needs to be done before the question can be asked.

Each person in the group responds to the question by indicating with a show of fingers his or her level of endorsement of the proposal. When the group responds with “fours” and “fives”, the decision goes ahead. “Threes” indicate a need to discuss the question further, as do “ones” or “twos.”


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rescue Deja Vu

A Chinese man is being hailed as a hero for diving into a pond to save a drowning 7-year-old boy - 20 years after he jumped into the same pond to save the boy's father. Wang Weiqing, 58, sprang into action when he saw the child struggling in the water as he walked past. Only when the boy's grandfather arrived did the two men recall their previous encounter two decades earlier.


Friday, January 11, 2008

The Lamb Lies Down on Malaysia

So we're sitting down at our table in the Menara revolving restaurant atop the KL Telecomm tower and I look over the shoulder of the person across from me and see this roasted carcass. We're all pointing at it trying to figure out exactly what kind of animal it started out being. I thought it was a kangaroo but the tail wasn't long enough and besides roo meat tends to be a bit chewy when roasted.

We finally broke down and asked the waiter "Apa itu?"
(which means, "What in the wide wide world of sports is that thing?")
He simply replied "lamb".

Reminded me of another special barnyard foodchain friend I met a long time ago in China.