Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Friday, December 30, 2016

Resolving for 2018

I have not been too big into New Years resolutions. I don't see the point of making a point of improving yourself based on a date in time defined semi randomly by a calendar created by Romans many centuries ago. I think we should all make a point to resolve to improve any day of the year when we see something in ourselves that we should improve.

But this year I think I will put things in motion via New Year resolution. If I make this resolution into a series of goals, and stick to plans that will accomplish these goals on a defined timeline, I should have an tremendous 2018. That will change my life.

I am really getting serious about the idea of attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. The more I read on it, the more inspired I am getting. But if I'm going to dedicate toughly six months of my life to do that, I need to get quite a bit accomplished first. It's going to require a great deal of planning, prepping, and saving. Not only for the hike itself, but life afterward.

Even if everything goes great and I persevere all the way across roughly 2,200 miles of hiking trails without submitting due to injury, lack of endurance or money. I will still return home unemployed.

Right now if I get after it with intensity, a thru-hike attempt by me in 2018 is possible. We'll have to see how well I stick to achieving my goals in 2017.

But to sum up, my 2017 New Years resolution is to attempt an AT thru-hike in 2018.

This must be what a midlife crisis feel like...... 

Russia is giving us a lesson in class

I have to admit it. Russia is really schooling us on international diplomacy right now.

While our government plays the blame game with a side of sabre rattling, Russia remains calm and shows some class. The typical reaction of one country sending diplomats packing is to do the same as quickly as possible, and maybe upping the ante by closing some cultural exchange problem, canceling some trade agreement, or something else along those lines.

But not this time. This time Russia acts like the calm cool kid on the playground who laughs and walks away when the bully shoves him, instead of shoving back.

Well, played Russia, well played. You are showing the world leadership and pose. Things the United States used to be respected for.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

It's almost time to set ourselves up to fail

It's almost time to set ourselves up to fail. That time of year when we make New Years resolutions that we half know we won't keep as we make them. I've read more than enough self help and business books to know that New Years resolutions are usually nothing more than seasonal hopefilled dreams.

Turn some of those dreams into actual goals and you may have some better luck in making the work.

Goals need to me S.M.A.R.T


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Run Away?

I've started to wonder if I'm not too old to run away. While researching hiking and camping gear online, I've made a side track onto reading articles and watching YouTube videos on hiking the Appalachian Trail.

In the last four days I've read one and a half books by people who have thru-hike the trail. By Coincidence, both authors were also engineers who reached a boiling point at quit their jobs to head out on the nearly half year long adventure.

I'm starting to convince myself this may be an adventure I should take.

Family is Why I Love Christmas Time

Why I love the Christmas season so much is mainly because the of the amazing family I have been blessed with. I could not ask for more from my immediate family, or the extended families on both my dad's and mom's side.

The entirety a my Christmas day was spent at my sister and brother in law's. I went out there a little after 9:00am for a late breakfast with my sister's family and my parents.

After we ate, we exchanged presents. Then spent the rest of the morning with coffee & small talk, and playing with the nieces while A Christmas Story played in the background on the TV.

Then around noon, one carload at a time of cousins, in-laws and aunts & uncles started to arrive.

Then there was some more presents to open and a lot more food & drink to indulge in. The rest of the day was spent with hugs and laughter. Recalling fun family stories, getting caught up with everyone's adventures since the last time we all met, and so on.

One thing I couldn't help but notice is that all the conversations were positive. Nobody was complaining about their work or school, no gossip about others, No bitching, just fun.

Kind of like the way a family gathering should be. I am truly blessed.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Well this funny hit a little close to home

Well this funny meme hit a little close to home. Is it still a meme if its only text and no picture? Anyways, after I laughed, I sighed with the realization that this is pretty much me.

I don't even come close to using my smartphone to call or text enough to justify the "unlimited" plan I have, But I do catch myself scrolling through my Facebook feed way too much.

I am getting better at it. I know that Facebook is a huge drain on my productivity. Far as the calling or texting, I really don't no if I'll ever increase that enough to ever truly justify the unlimited data.

It's kind of like a paradox. I could simplify my life by getting rid of the unlimited data plan or even the smart phone all together. I will increase productivity and stretch my budget at the same time, making life simple. But having the everything included, don't have to worry about minutes or data makes life simple too.

I said "it's kind of like a paradox" because it really is not. The part about an unlimtied data plane making things simple is just an excuse I (we) tell ourselves to please our inner child who want the gadget with all the bells and whistles.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Shortly after I recorded the above vlog I finished up my Christmas shopping. The Christmas Truce only lasted about six hours.

It seems either I'm far from the only one tired of the "happy holidays" PC way to great people this year, or maybe because Christmas is almost here. Because while I was in the checkout line, almost everybody was saying "Merry Christmas" to one another.

The young woman at the register was saying Merry Christmas, people walking by each other were saying Merry Christmas, pretty much the whole place was in the Christmas spirit.

Except the one lady behind me that had the stereotypical appearance of a far, far left liberal middle aged white woman. She literally winced every time some one said "Merry Christmas" around her.

While kind of humorous to watch, it was a pretty sad sight to see. I watched two simple words put a smile on the faces of dozens while one got more and more angry. I honestly thing that the other people's happiness made her angry because they were proving her wrong that no one is truly offended by the expression.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Flashback Friday: It must be true, I saw it on Facebook. The Adrian Peterson Addition.

Since I decided to blog daily for at least the rest of this year, I thought doing a "Flashback Friday" might be a fun way to give me a "day off" from blogging. For Fridays I will scroll through my old posts and re-post either a personal favorite, one that just catches my eye, or one I would like to share again to a (hopefully) growing audience.

As you can see from the below post from October 13th, 2013, I was tired of the "fake news" trend before it was trendy to scream "fake news." Of course, I don't just scream "fake news" as whatever I see shared that I simply don't agree with.....

It must be true, I saw it on Facebook. The Adrian Peterson Addition.

This week the two year old son of Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was beaten to death by the mother’s boyfriend. This is an unbelievably sad deal. No matter who is involved, a two year being killed in such a way is heartbreaking.

The past few days I've seen many friends on Facebook re-post pictures and change their profile pictures. Some Packer fans changed their profile pic to the Green Bay logo, but in Vikings colors. I thought that one was pretty cool.

Then there is this picture.

At first, like many, I was touched by it. Then I started reading the news stories and found out that is not the child that was killed. In fact, Adrian Peterson has been pleading for people to stop posting the photo.

But of course, the masses are too stupid to do that. They see something posted on Facebook and take it as undeniable fact without checking the source or confirming anything about it. It must be true, it’s all over Facebook.

I've even seen posts were stupid people photo shops little angel wings on the kid in the above photo and asked people to share it and change their profile image to that picture. Sadly, idiots have done this.

This is just another example of the decline of mankind. We are too lazy to find out actual facts. We see a graphic or meme on Facebook that is funny or agreeable to our views on something, and we accept it as fact without question. For every social or political view or cause there are countless examples of this floating on Facebook that are complete BS, but people take it as fact.

Unless of course, if they disagree with it. Then and only then is it internet BS. But if they like, it must be true. It’s on Facebook after all.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Book Worth Checking Out: All Hell Broke Loose by William H. Hull

A few days ago, I mentioned the above book, "All Hell Broke Loose," on a rant about people posting images of their thermometers on Facebook.

I wish someone on Facebook would post a picture of their thermometer. How else would I know how cold it is?

It is a book I have recommended others to check out many times.

"All Hell Broke Loose" is a collection of first hand accounts of the 1940 Armistice Day storm. You may find it to be a real eye opener to how much harder life was around here not that long ago. Not to mention how dependent on technology and others conveniences we've all become. I honestly think many, many of us wouldn't be able to survive living in rural Wisconsin or Minnesota in 1940, let alone during a natural disaster as a major blizzard in September.

One common theme in all the stories is of how the individuals remained calm and acted with purpose during their personal struggles against the storm. It is a quality that seems to be increasingly rare these days. They also had once common skills and supplies, like the ability to start a fire or have a reasonable supply of food on hand.

Having those once common skills and supplies will get you mocked for being a "paranoid prepper" by many people. Many people who would not know how to function if they lost cell phone service or electricity for a day or two.

Reading this book may make you marvel at how different life was three quarters of a century ago, admire how tough people of that time were, and notice how weak we've become.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

We often forget just how important our suppliers really are.

Last week I was thrown into an embarrassing business situation. Well, it was embarrassing for me anyway. For many this type of thing is so common, no one gives is a second thought.

I was just getting up from my desk to go check on something, when I caught the eye of my boss as he was walking hastily from his office. He told me to follow him. As we walked through the building, heading to the direction of the front office door, he told me that a supplier was coming for a visit. He want me to get a conference room ready and get an audience together to meet with the vendor to discuss their product. I told him I could do that without a problem.

It couldn't have been timed better if I planned it out. As we rounded the corner to get to the front desk and lobby, I asked when is our supplier going to be here. My boss replied "he's already here. I'll introduce you to him on my way out."

So just like that I was shaking the hand of a supplier who was ready to give my company a well planned out presentation on his products and services. And the only person at my company who had any idea he was coming was walking out of the building.

In a recent blog post,  Biblical Leadership Advice,  I said "you want Supplier Loyalty, be loyal to your suppliers." What was taking place was the 180° of that. What we showed our supplier was that we thought so little of them, that we made an appointment for them to meet with us and we didn't give that a second thought until the very moment the meeting was planned to start.

One may think "so what? It's just another sales call." And it just might be another sales call, but it's another chance to make a personal connection. Many in business focus on impressing and keeping on the good side of their Customers. For a good relationship with your customers is very rewarding. But we forget how rewarding a good relationship with our suppliers and vendors.

When a project goes south and you have a good relationship with a Customer, they may be more forgiving if a delivery date slips. But if you have a good relationship with a Vendor, they may be able to expedite things on their end without your Customer even knowing the delivery date was in jeopardy in first place.

We often forget just how important our Suppliers are. They need to be treat as good, if not better than our Customers for our business relationship with them is just as important if not more.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Why I'm reluctant to donate to the local food shelf.

I'm reluctant to donate to the local food shelf. It's because I leave near a small town. A small town of around 1,300 people, and five bars. A small town where almost everybody know almost everyone else.

I used to bar tend at one of those bars on weekends to make a little extra money. Many times I'd watch the regulars from behind the other side of the bar and I would wonder. I would wonder how some could afford to be in a bar all night.Not all the regulars, but some of them.

Smoking, buying rounds, ordering bar pizzas, playing the same song over and over on the jukebox, night after night. I knew some of them didn't have the best jobs, or even a job at all. Yet they could drop more money at the bar than I could with a decent full time job and working part time as a bartender for them.

When I'd see some of the regulars of the bar leave the food shelf with bags of donated food, a light bulb cam on. Saddest thing is, with it being such a small town where everyone knows everyone, the volunteers at the food shelf knew they were being taken advantage of. But as the volunteers said "what can you do, there will always be people like that who'll take advantage of the system."

I know what I can do. Not donate to a charity that isn't going to do something to make sure it's resources go to those who truly need it.

That is pretty cold hearted of me, I do fully admit that. But it's not as cold hearted as spending all your money having fun while taken donations from others to feed yourself and family.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Some times my good neighbors are too good

We recently had the first snow fall that required shoveling. So yesterday I shoveled the driveway. I'm one of the weird ones who actually enjoys shoveling snow by hand. I have a hand me down snow blower that I've only used once or twice. For a desk jockey like myself, it's a good excuse to get outside and some exercise.

Although I don't always get to shovel my driveway. My neighbors across the street have ATVs. They plow their driveway with their bigger ATV that they attached a plow to every winter. I have to admit it looks like a much more fun way to plow snow. It is in fact a fun way, because my neighbor will plow mine for the fun of it, if he beats me to it.

The first time I shovel the driveway, I have to do a little bit of planning. I need to make sure I shovel a little more space than I need. I do this because if we get a lot of snow, eventually the banks on the side of my driveway will get too high to shovel over easily, and the drive way will end up getting narrower.

I want to not only keep it wide enough for my vehicles, but wide enough for the propane truck, UPS truck, and hopefully never needed but just in case fire trucks. But this year I had an additional strategy to work in.

The garbage collection service I have is by far the cheapest option I have. They are pretty good over all, but the driver on my route is well, not their best. Since my neighbors and I are the last stops on our road for him, he used to turn around in my neighbors yard, instead for driving a few minutes  to the next intersection and turning around there. I get it. The extra minutes add up on a route.

The problem was he started to tear up their driveway, so the politely complained. After that, he started turning around in my driveway. For whatever reason, my requests for him to stop have gone unanswered.

So I figured this winter I could break his habit for him. The guy isn't the best at backing up, so I angled the banks at the end of the drive to make it a little more challenging to back the garbage truck into. But I still made it so a firetruck or delivery truck would be able to drive forward into without much trouble.

Some times my good neighbors are too good. He opened up my driveway a little more for me with his ATV.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I wish someone on Facebook would post a picture of their thermometer. How else would I know how cold it is?

Its the first cold snap of the year, here in northwest Wisconsin. I know this because for some reason, everybody feels the need to post a picture of their thermometer on Facebook.


Yes, it's cold. It's the middle of December in Wisconsin. Now if it was -25°F in August, that would be something to get excited about. But it's the middle of December. In Wisconsin. This is nothing new folks.

The funny thing is, some people seem to be bragging about it. It's normal seasonal weather that you, by chance, happen to live in. You didn't do anything! It's not an accomplishment. 

I've worked with people in the past, and present who can't wait to ask others "how cold was it at your place this morning?" just to miraculously be two or three degrees colder. I finally got one to quit asking me when I replied "three degrees colder than what you had." That must of took the fun away from him, for he quit asking me that question every winter morning.

A Wisconsin winter is also not a testimony to your endurance for living here in the winter. You live in a very well insulated building with a modern heating system, electricity and running water. You drive a modern (most likely ) all wheel drive vehicle with an enclosed heated cab. Some of your vehicles even have heated seats and steering wheels! Not to mention our modern clothing options with the Thinsulate, Gortex, etc, 

Our Native and pioneering ancestors from centuries past would laugh at your "accomplishment" of endurance of turning up the thermostat, plugging in a space heater and putting on that micro fleece hoodie. 

If you'd like to read a book on real winter survival in this area, check out the link to the book below.

"All Hell Broke Loose" is a collection of first hand accounts of the 1940 Armistice Day storm. You may find it to be a real eye opener to how much harder life was around here not that long ago. Not to mention how dependent on technology and others conveniences we've all become. I honestly think many, many of us wouldn't be able to survive living in rural Wisconsin or Minnesota in 1940, let alone during a natural disaster as a major blizzard in September.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Truce?

Just got a text from my mom asking me not to get her or Dad anything for Christmas. They don't want me spending money on them, when they have everything they need. I feel the same way about receiving Christmas presents from my family. I too have all I need and I don't want my family spending money on me.

But of course we know what will happen if I don't get my parents anything. They'll buy me something really nice and I'll feel like a scrooge not getting them something.

So I decided to make Mom's request into a challenge. I told fine, I won't get them anything and they shouldn't get me anything either. I decided to step it up a little and requested that my parent, sister, brother in law, and myself should not buy anything for each other for Christmas and just but presents for my nieces.

I hope this family Christmas truce works out. I truly don't want anyone in my family buying me anything this year. I like the idea of spoiling my nieces and not get anything in return.

I also don't want to be the only adult who didn't get the other adults a Christmas present......

I guess we will see how this works out.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Flashback Friday: Is Islam really a violent religion, or is it simply the dominant religion of a violent part of the world?

Since I decided to blog daily for at least the rest of this year, I thought doing a "Flashback Friday" might be a fun way to give me a "day off" from blogging. For Fridays I will scroll through my old posts and re-post either a personal favorite, one that just catches my eye, or one I would like to share again to a (hopefully) growing audience.

(Originally posted 09/10/2014)

Is Islam really a violent religion, or is it simply the dominant religion of a violent part of the world?

With the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks fast approaching, there is the annual talk about possible upcoming attacks on that date. Which I always think is a bunch of hype over nothing. I think terror attacks would work best when the victims are not expecting it, so attacking on an anniversary date doesn't seem like the best time. But since I'm not a terrorist planner, what do I know.

Anyway, right now there is a bunch of talk about ISIS launching an attack on US soil. And with it, comes the what's become to be expected comments about how Islam is a violent religion.

I woke up this morning with a thought. Well, more of a rhetorical question. Is Islam really a violent religion, or is it simply the dominant religion of a violent part of the world?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

B.C./A.D. or C.E./B.C.E.? A perfect solution!

A while back a discovered the Lindybeige  YouTube channel and I can't get enough of it.
Most of his videos of his videos deal with ancient and medieval weapons & warfare, and history, but he has an occasional rant on random subjects mixed in. He has a knack for rambling slightly off topic and has a pretty witty sense of humor. Throw in his British accent and its like getting a history lesson from Monty Python.

The video above is a rant and possible solution to solving the ever pressing dilemma of using B.C./A.D. or C.E./B.C.E. Funny thing (for me) is, I've never even heard of C.E./B.C.E. until I saw this video. About 10 minutes before I started drafting this post.

It made me smile. Not only because of how funny Lloyd is, but how much I agree with him on policitcal correctness and the people who champion it.

The guy in the video's name is Llyod, not Lindybeige in case I confused you when I mentioned Lloyd.

Facebook: helping me discover people I should have already have known about

A few months ago I received a friend request of Facebook from a woman who had the same last name of me, but whom I did not know. At first I just ignored the request. Since my last name is not all that common, I pretty much know all my relatives with the surname. Plus the lady was from Germany. I figured she just might have been bored, searched her last name and then sent friend requests to strangers with the same name.

Then a few days later, out of the blue, I thought to myself "wait a minute, one of my Great Uncles used to live in Germany and he had a son that was German". So I went on Facebook and sure enough I discovered I was related to this woman. She is my Great Uncle's daughter. I never knew she existed. I was pretty excited.

We became friends on Facebook and started messaging each other back and forth somewhat regularly. The next time I was over at my parents, I told my family about my recent Facebook discovery. I broke the news about our long lost relative by excitedly saying "I found out that Uncle Bud has a daughter!" To which the reply was "yeah.... we know."

Turns out I was the only one who didn't know this. Wonder what other interesting information about my family only I don't know yet? I'm going to sign off to go search my last name on Facebook.......

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Why I Don't Think Perry Should Be Secretary of Energy

I don't think Gov. Perry should be Secretary of Energy. One could argue that a successful former Government of Texas would make a pretty good choice. With Texas being a major producer of oil and natural gas, not to mention having some major wind farms and other renewable energy industry; the leader of that state's Execute Branch should be well versed in energy policy, industry, regulations, and technologies. And on the surface, I would have to agree that using that logic, Perry would certainly be a person to consider for Secretary of Energy.

But to be completely honest, I don't think Gov. Perry should be Secretary of Energy. In fact, I don't thinks anybody should be Secretary of Energy. We should not have a Department of Energy in the first place. It is not needed. Nor are several other Cabinet level departments of out Federal Government.

Per Wikipedia:
"The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a Cabinet-level department of the United States Government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material. Its responsibilities include the nation's nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy, energy conservation, energy-related research, radioactive waste disposal, and domestic energy production. It also directs research in genomics; the Human Genome Project originated in a DOE initiative.[3] DOE sponsors more research in the physical sciences than any other U.S. federal agency, the majority of which is conducted through its system of National Laboratories."
Let's look at each of the Department's responsibilities:

  • The nation's nuclear weapons program - Department of Defense should handle this.
  • Nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy - Again, Department of Defense.
  • Energy conservation - Why a concern of the Federal Government? Isn't that something all aspects of both the public and private sectors would pursue on their own?
  • Energy-related research - Again, why a concern of the Federal Government? If anything at the Federal level a Department of Education undertaking.
  • Radioactive waste disposal - Department of the Interior, or maybe the Commerce and Labor Department (I'd merge those two departments back together, maybe absorb the Agriculture Department into it as well).
  • Domestic energy production - The restructured Commerce and Labor Department.
Speaking of restructuring, the Veterans Affairs Department and Homeland Security would be absorbed by the Department of Defense. And when I say absorbed, the redundancies would be removed entirely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Other Side of the Story of the Kangaroo Punch

I know this story is already old news, but I have to add to it. They say there is three sides to every story; his side, their side, and the truth. Since no one else has done it so far, I decided to reach out and hear the other side of the story.

After a fair amount of searching, I was able to track down the kangaroo and interview him via telephone. Below is what he told me.

To be read in an Australian ascent for full effect:
“Alright, Mate, so here’s what happen. It was just another day in the Bush for yours truly. Just hoping around, minding my business, doing kangaroo things you know. Mainly staying out of the Miss’s way you know? She’s been a bit cranky of late, but I digress on that particular matter.

“So as I was saying, Mate. I was on a bit of a walk about, or hop about if you will. When all of a sudden, I saw this dog on a dead bolt after some wild hogs. ‘That’s not right’ I thought to myself. Those wild hogs are viscous buggars. They’d tear that poor pooch to shreds without a second thought about it, ya know? So out of the kindness of my heart, I decided to put a stop to it, before things went south for the pooch.

“That’s when I cut the hound off at the pass and put my arm around him. Like any good mate would do when a pal was ‘bout to get into a mess at the pub or something. I put my arm around him a said “whoa, mate! You don’t want to scrap with those lads! They ain’t ones to mess with, ya know?”

“Bout the time I talked some sense into that hound, this mate who was all fired up came running up to us. He was all in a rage over something and I wanted none of that. So I calmly stood up to say ‘g’day mate, me and this pooch were just having a friendly chat’ when the bloke got into a boxing stance. Like he thought he was the Aussie Mike Tyson or something.

“I then put my hands up to defuse this misunderstanding. Show that there were no worries. Then POW!! The bloody bloke jacks me right in the mush!

“Well I just stood there for a bit, thinking ‘REALLY?” I had the mind to teach that bloke a thing or two, ya know? But I’m a lover, not a fighter. Remember how I said I was avoiding the misses ‘cause she was in one of her moods? Well me getting in a good scrap wouldn’t help me much, now would it now? So I said to myself ‘forget this noise’ and went on my merry way.

”I thought that was that, but no! When I hopped on home, the misses was all fired up. Seems that internet is a blaze now with a video of that tussle. Bazillions of shares, memes, articles and what not! Phone won’t stop ringing. All my mates poking a bit of fun at me for just taking that blow. Just nonsense I tell you.

"In hindsight, I should of just laid that bloke out simply for wearing his hat all backwards like a sissy big city boy."

Monday, December 12, 2016

Biblical Leadership Advice

During my morning Bible study, I read a story from the Old Testament that spoke volumes on being a servant leadership. Yes, I’m one of those who read the Bible daily. While not an overly religious person, there is a lot of good stuff in that book. Good stuff that even non-believers would appreciate and find useful in their lives. Such as the lesson from 1 Kings 12. I’ll sum it up for you.

Rehoboam had just inherited the throne to become King of Israel. His people came to him and told him that the last King was a bit of a strict and demanding leader and they basically asked him to be a little kinder to them.

Wanting some council on this request, Rehoboam consulted the advisers of the old King. The old men recommended to the new King that he “lighten the yoke on his people” and serve them. They recommended that being a servient leader would earn his people’s loyalty.

The idea of being a servant to his people didn’t sound very appealing to Rehoboam, so he consulted with advisers of his age. They told him he should be much tougher and forceful on his people. They told him he should demand his people’s loyalty with an iron fist. This sounded like a better option to Rehoboam, so that’s what he did.

The result? The people revolted and his Kingdom crumbled.

This happens in business all the time, and in people’s personal lives too for that matter. If you are in a management role, being a Servant Leader builds true loyalty with your team. A Leader whose team members know that their leader has their back will get more done than a Manager to rules by orders, and ultimatums.

Now employees don’t revolt against a bad manager. But they do leave. Remember the saying: professionals don’t quit a job, they quit the management.

This concept is not just for a boss employee relationship in business. It applies equally in all business relationships. You want Customer Loyalty? Be loyal to your customers. You want Supplier Loyalty, be loyal to your suppliers. You want Employee Retention (Employee Loyalty)? You’ve guessed it, be loyal to your staff. The only true way to build loyalty is to serve.

This concept is nothing new. There are libraries of business books and countless other resources on this topic. This concept is so old, there are examples of it in our ancient world from thousands of years ago. Such as 1 Kings 12.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

There Was Once a Time in This Country

People also used to:
Live on a written budget
Typically had one television in the entire house (not hooked up to $50+ per month cable)
Own one vehicle that the family shared
Owned no video games, massive DVD, CD, or digital movie and music collections
Had no cell phones, with expensive unlimited data plans for each member of the household
Owned one set of dress clothes, and maybe 2 or 3 pairs of shoes
Brought their lunch to work, rarely ate out, cooked from scratch
Didn't own snowmobiles, ATVs, campers, boats, and other expensive toys
Few had college degrees in unmarketable fields, many were educated in a trade
Siblings shared bedrooms in much smaller houses

Above is just names a few other differences from today to generations past. A big reason why we are broke is because we also have a bunch of nice stuff. Nice stuff we really can't afford, but largely thanks to easy credit, we think we can and actually deserve. Then once we have these luxury items, we fall under the illusion that we can't live without them, like cable and cell phones for an example.

Of course our over consumption of things we don't need and can't afford is just one of differences between us and the generations of the past. Our ever expanding governments, and their over consumption of things they don't need or can afford, has increased our tax burden. Healthcare costs have sky rocketed. Of course, that is an extremely complex issue on it's own.

There is no argument that heath care costs have increased tremendously. Also the advances in health care have increased tremendously too. For example, what once required open heart surgery, days maybe weeks in the hospital and months to full recovery can now be done with an out patient procedure to place a stint in your body and days or weeks to full recovery.

Also, one needs to factory our lifestyle of fast food, over processed food, lack of excessive, little sleep and lots of stress into the health care cost equation. Many preventable conditions of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, etc. are brought on entirely, or at least, greatly increased by our modern lifestyle.

We we are broke today can not be simplified to a Facebook meme or a blog post. We spend too much, have inefficient governments that spend too much, We live unhealthy lives and have a broken healthcare system that is collapsing in part of it. We don't question the out of control costs of education or products and services. 

As Dave Ramsey often says "we buy things we can't afford with money we don't have to impress people we don't even like." As Mike Rowe said we also "...are lending money we don't have to kids who can't pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist. That's nuts."

We can post, share, and comment on memes like the above, and say the cliche things like "the rich get richer while the poor get poorer", or blame the evil 1%ers or the governement, or what ever. But the only one we can blame is ourselves.

We are the ones spending too much. We are the ones not keeping our government and service providers in check and accountable. We are the ones living a lazy lifestyle. We are the ones who drifted away from what made previous generations better than us.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Just when I was hitting my stride, technology happened

Just when I was hitting my stride with this daily blog challenge I gave myself, technology happened. Or more accurately, didn't happen. For roughly a 24 hour stretch I had lost my internet access.

Thursday evening I was getting ready to make my daily post and....... no internet. I didn't worry too much. The internet goes out every once in a while, then it restores. It's not a game stopper for most of us. We can still live a few hours at a time without being online. Well, as long as we still have a cell phone signal of course.

I live out in the woods and in this remote area we pretty much have no options for internet providers. My options are the rural telephone company, a satellite provider, or a small local wireless service provider.

Since  don't have satellite TV anymore and have no interest in having it ever again, not bundling services makes the satellite option way too expensive. I really like the idea of working with the small local wireless provider. Even if they're a little more expensive, I'd like to see them succeed. But looking at the coverage map on their website, I'm not sure how good the speeds would actually be. I may have to have them out for a demo sometime for fully vet out that option.

Like most around here, by default the rural telephone company is the only viable option. While priced a little high for what you get, what you get it is a fairly reliable connection and pretty good consumer service.

But it is pretty comical when people do have problems. It truly is Midwest small town humor at it's best. Since us (mostly) Scandinavian linage Midwesterner country folks don't want to make a fuss, when we can't get online at home we follow these steps:

1) Wait for about five minutes to see if the connection fixes itself
2) Reboot the computer
3) Reboot the computer again and swear a little under your breathe
4) Reboot the modem and wireless router
5) Reboot the modem and wireless router again and swear a little under your breathe
6) Turn everything off for ten minutes and turn it all back on, then swear out loud
7) Run the diagnostic tool of your computer (optional beyond the skill sets of many)
8) Call or text a neighbor and ask if they have problems
9) Post on Facebook if anyone else is having problems
10) Give up and call tech support

Step 9 is where the small town humor kicks into high gear. Since I live where pretty much everyone knows everyone, when someone posts to Facebook asking if anyone else it having problem; roughly half the time an employee of the local phone company will comment that everything is fine on their end.

It's a running joke around here that whenever someone has a connection problem all they have to post about the connection problem on Facebook. Then within a half hour someone from the phone company will comment that everything it working and presto! The connection will miraculously be restored. Of course the timing of that is purely a coincidence, but it has sparked a humorous tongue-in-cheek local conspiracy theory.

Now the whole point of this (hopefully) funny small town first world problems story about internet service is not to complain about my service options. Nor is it to make an excuse for the break in my daily blogs. The point of this post is to highlight an area of self improvement for myself that this break in internet service brought to my attention.

Going with a "just in time delivery" model for a daily blog is not realistic. At least not for me. Besides the occasional outage of internet service (which I've found out is kind of important to posting a daily blog on the internet), life throws a  few curve balls and change ups at me. Much like everyone else, my day to day often strays from the plan. And I need to plan for my plans falling apart.

One feature the blog template I use has, along with all of them I'm sure, is the option to schedule when a post is published. There is absolutely no reason for me not have several posts written ahead of schedule, just waiting in queue to be posted automatically.

Planning ahead and using all, or at least more, of the tools at your disposal will help you be more successful at your goals. whatever they are. Plan your work, work your plan, and plan ahead for reworking you plan.

So, as I'm waiting for the sun to raise this Saturday morning, I'm writing a few posts and outlining a few other ideas so I can stay ahead of the game and be more productive and efficient with this blog.

I'm also doing my laundry while I write. Multitasking, baby, multitasking.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Two Americas - Target Christmas Shirt Edition

There can no longer be any denying it anymore. We live in two very distinct Americas now. Those who now go out of their way to be offended, or an opportunity for attention getting self pity. And those who live once was considered a normal life, but are now considered offensive (at the least) by the other America. 

The above meme shows what I'm talking about. A stereotypical self absorbed millennial seeking attention for her, in all likelihood self diagnosed, "condition." Pointing out how hurtful Target is for selling such an inappropriate, insensitive shirt.

And yes the irony of me giving my blog post from just yesterday the title EDC OCD is not lost on me. I still think it's a funny catchy title.

Then there is the guy on the right side of the meme. A guy with a dark sense of humor, despite having a real injury, being funny. The kind of person I wouldn't mind seeing more of.

One last thing. Note the offended one's name. This backs my "Boy Named Sue" theory. I named my theory after the Johnny Cash song. Basically it is: give a kid a messed up name and the kid will grow up being a messed up adult.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Two Great Attributes of Life

Have you ever re-read a favorite book and a line from it seems to pop out and grab you? That just happened to me. I'm reading Atlas Shrugged again. The classic written by Ayn Rand. If you've never read it before, it is will worth your time reading it. There is a link to where you can find it on Amazon below.

Funny thing is, the line was nothing that ever caught my attention before but it floored me when I read it tonight. I've just a little ways into the 2nd part of the book and tonight I read this line:

"A train has the two great attributes of life, she thought, motion and purpose...."

How brilliant is that?! Think about it. A train with motion and without a purpose, such as a train with empty cars, is just a waste. Burning fuel while moving nothing along the tracks, just being in the way of anything useful coming down the tracks. Then a train with a purpose and without motion, such as a train with loaded cars but a broken engine is also a waste. Full of useful items unable to get where they are needed.

Motion and purpose are really the two great attributes of life. Your personal life, your professional life, just life in general. Many of us are nothing more than "empty trains" running down the track at full speed. Also many of us are "loaded trains" full of potential, yet not getting anywhere.

This newly discovered passage in a favorite book seems to have hit me at the right time. As I'm a few days into my personal challenge to blog daily to find some motivation to get a few things moving in a better direction; I see I'm a "loaded train" lacking motion.

Starting to think it's time to switch tracks.


The above items remained on the top of my dresser all day yesterday. Yesterday was a long day. I have EDC OCD.

EDC is a buzzword of late. Well words. EDC stands for Every Day Carry. There are Facebook groups, blogs, websites, newsletters and even a niche industry devoted to crap one carries in their pockets or on their bodies everyday. Fancy pocket knives, sleek wallets, tiny high power flashlights. Solar powered smartphone chargers the size of a credit card. The coolest stuff has to be made from titanium or carbon fiber composites. Aircraft grade aluminum isn't cool enough anymore.

The EDC embraces many lifestyles and demographics. Business men, techies, prepper type mall ninjas, hipsters, and even normal people. Not to sound like a hipster, but I've been doing this long before it was cool. In all fairness, I still don't do it as cool as the hipsters, techies and the mall ninjas do. I just carry stuff in my pants that I find handy enough to carry them all the time.

Wallet, pocket knife, sharpie marker, multi tool, lighter, flashlight and chapstick. I use all pretty much daily. Many of the above items since I was a little kid. A trait I picked up from my dad. I can remember from my youth that at night on a the kitchen counter, in a neat pile he'd have the items that were always on him when he left the house. Almost the same items as I have zhown above.

And I left most of those items on my dresser yesterday.....

This is where my OCD kicked in. I didn't realize I left the above items behind until I got to work yesterday, an hour from home. I was tempted to turn around and go back home to retrieve the items, wasting two hours of my life doing so.

I survived the day without the above items. But thanks to my OCD I reached into my pockets just to check to see if items magically appeared during the day. It was a lot of times. If I didn't leave my Sharpie pen at home, I would have kept a tally.

Monday, December 5, 2016

I can't wait to see what's wrong with Dr. Ben Carson

I woke up this morning to see that Trump is going to nominate Dr. Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. While HUD is a Department of our Federal government I'd prefer see eliminated all together (along with Dept. of Homeland Security, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Energy and many others), I think Dr. Carson will be a good pick for that position.

Overall I like Dr. Carson and I think he should have done better in the Republican Presidential debates. A very smart man who's biggest weakness seemed to be being too soft spoken for the circus that the elections have become.

Dr. Benson started his path to being a neurosurgeon from humble beginnings in Detroit, MI. I'm sure his experiences with living in the inner city will be useful to help improve things.

I can't wait to see what's wrong with Dr. Ben Carson in the eyes of those who refuse to work to together getting out Nation on the right path. The excuses should be pretty entertaining.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

What gets my attention when I'm late for a wedding

This afternoon I attended a wedding at a small very old country church. Got there a little on the late side and ended up sitting in the very back of the church behind a soundboard.

The soundboard of discussion is not the one pictured here. This one is just an image I pulled from the internet. I thought it might be a little awkward standing up to take a picture of a church's soundboard in the middle of a wedding when I started thinking about it.

Why I started to think about it was because it looked so out of place. Inside a little century plus old country church was a cluster of sound equipment that looked like it came from a recording studio. A big soundboard. Several wireless receivers. Three computer monitors that were off the whole time. Plus a bunch of other equipment all constantly being adjusted and fiddled with by a guy wearing very big headphones.

I imagine the service sounded outstanding to the guy wearing the headphones. But to me, it sounded like a service in a little century plus old country church. Maybe the church needs enough headphones for everyone.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Procrastinators Having Problems Finishing Too

Does this picture look familiar? Does you laundry room or bedroom look like this? A basket of laundry, all clean and ready to be put away; but has been sitting like this for a few days? How about a dishwasher half loaded with clean dishes?

It's another type of procrastination.
Procrastinators like me have two main problems. One, we struggle getting started on a project. Two, we also struggle finishing a project, and don't mean we can't stop and just keep on working. I mean we stop with out finishing up the small things at the end.

Good example? A basket of washed, dried, and folded laundry sitting in a basket next to a dresser that's been there for three or four days. Got it all washed. Got it all dried. Got is all folded up nice. Just didn't quite get it into it's final place in the dresser.

If you're like this too, let's work on this together. Look around your house and/or office. See something almost done that's just sitting there. Finish it. Note it. Watch out for it in the future. But don't go over board running around the place looking for things to finish, for there is a good chance you'll get overwhelm with the amount of almost done projects and start pacing around in a mild panic and not get anything done. Speaking from experience here, and my Fitbit watch has the data to back me up.

Pick one, two, or maybe three items and work on them. Put your laundry away. When you get into the habit into doing that every time, move on to unloading the dishwasher. Then find the next thing.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Alarm Snooze Button Conspiracy Theory

I have a conspiracy theory, and its a good one if I don't say so myself. I call it the Alarm Snooze Button Conspiracy Theory.

Ever notice that on every alarm clock, or phone or watch with an alarm, that the snooze button is the largest button? Just look at the screen shot I took this morning of my phone. The snooze button is big and right smack dab in the middle of the phone's screen, while the stop button is barely noticeable at the bottom edge. Most table table alarms have the snooze button taking up about half the top of the dang things. This is done by design.

Some might argue that it is simply because it is easier for a half awake person who needs 10 more minutes of rest to blindly smack at the source of noise that awoke them too early. But I think it is a plot to make us all lazy. And it's working. Since the snooze button as become common place, few people get up on the first sounding of the alarm. I didn't take the time to research any actual data on this, but in this day and age no one fact checks anyways. So I feel it's safe to say only about 139 people in our once great punctual nation actually still wake up on time.

It's obviously a master plan of some elitist, globalist movement secret society who is hell bent on reducing America's world leading productively.  And they are doing it one 10 minute snooze at a time.

Whoever this shadow power is, they have every clock, phone and watch company in their pocket like a... like a....  in their pocket like a... drawing a blank. Dang it. Wish I could think of something that a watch maker made that would fit in a pocket. That would have been an epic way to end this blog post with.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Secretary of Defense Mattis has a nice ring to it

While I am not not a fan for Trump; his pick for Secretary of Defense is certainly a step in the right direction to win me over. General James Mattis is a true leader I've admired for a long time. He is a Marine's Marine. No nonsense, tell it like it is kind of guy who has integrity along with intensity.

 A strong proven leader who truly cares about our troops is exactly what we should be looking for in a Secretary of Defense.

It strikes me funny how some of my liberal friends are already up in arms over Trump's nomination pick for Secretary of Defense. One was ranting that the Department of Defense should be ran by a life long civilian, so there is no conflict of interest or "personal bias based on career background" as one friend put it. The same friend, who by the way, was up in arms over Trump's pick of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education for NOT having a stronger background with the public school system.

Safe to say my friend will come up with a reason why every pick Trumps make is a bad one.....

Some who are up in arms over General Mattis do have one valid point. There is a requirement that a Secretary of Defense must be retired from the military for at least seven years and General Mattis has not been retired from the Marine Corps that long yet. But that can be overcame. That condition was waived for General Marshall in 1950 to be our nations 3rd Secretary of Defense.

Two Side Notes:
1) General Marshall was one of our nations five start generals during World War II. That rank was created due to the size our Army and Navy grew to for the war effort. That rank was going to be given the name Marshall, but General George Marshall raised a fuss about being call Marshall Marshall, So the legend goes anyway.
2) One of the early stages of our path down the horrible road of political correctness is after Word War II when the War Department was reorganized into the Defense Department. 

Like with Marshall, I think it will be safe to say Mattis will be approved by Senate to become our next Secretary of Defense. The man is a great fit for the position. Secretary of Defense Mattis has a nice ring to it.