Archive for the ‘Question for the Day’ Category

That Extra Hour

November 1, 2008

Do you remember losing a hour back in March?  You are about to get it back.  Daylight Saving Time ends Saturday/Sunday.  Technically, DST ends Sunday morning at 2 AM.  So no more saving daylight.

I don’t much care for switching time and clocks back and forth.  My preference would be to stay on a DST schedule year around.  I can drive to work in the dark just fine.  I do it most of the year.  What I like is having more light at the end of my day when I can do something with it.

To commemorate the end of DST, I took a hike on my way home from work on Wednesday.  To read an account of my adventure, complete with a yucca wound, click here.  It was the last chance to go hiking after work for a while.  It will get dark too soon.

WebExhibits has an interesting site on Daylight Saving Time.  It’s here.

Now the big question.  What are you going to do with that extra 60 minutes on Sunday?

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2007 . . . . 2008

December 31, 2007

I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve. I consider a successful New Year’s Eve one when I’m asleep way before the new year arrives.

Traditionally, New Year’s is a time some make New Year’s resolutions. I’m not a big fan of those either. The way I think, if you need to resolve something, do it right away–don’t wait until January 1st.

However, in light of the common practice of resolutions, I suppose it’s appropriate to think about changes. Do you have a new leaf to turn over this year? Is there something special that you want to achieve? What changes are you ready to make in the new year?

Whatever changes you are planning, I wish you success.

Flashlight Day, Kind of

December 21, 2007

Joshua Lionel Cowen, the creator of Lionel Trains, invented the flashlight. In 1898, Cowen attached small canisters containing batteries and light bulbs to a flower pot for the purpose of illuminating the plant. The invention was a flop and Cowen gave the invention to Conrad Hubert. Hubert got rid of the flower pot, kept the lights, and called it the Eveready Flashlight. It made Hubert a multi-millionaire. Eveready is now Energizer.

Do we have ideas that we might consider to be flops that only need a little bit of reworking to lead to success?

Do we have parts of our lives that with only a little simplification will illuminate us, bring clarity to what we should do and who we can become?

Goodbye, Journeyman

December 20, 2007

Last night, NBC aired the last episode of Journeyman, a series about a man (Dan) who travels back in time to help change people’s lives for the better. Dan has no control over when or where he goes or when he returns to his life in the present. When he journeys back in time, he needs to figure out what he needs to do. Typically, he journeys into several times of the person’s life, fine-tuning the changes.

This has been an excellent, thought-provoking show. Each episode was well done and always left me wanting to come back for more. It’s too bad that NBC wasn’t more patient with this series.

I wrote earlier about how small, seemingly insignificant decisions might have large consequences in our lives. Journeyman used this idea and showed the impact of changing one or two small things would change the future.

We don’t have the ability to journey through time to change things for the better.  That is the realm of fiction.  However, perhaps we need to more closely consider our present actions and how they will effect the future.  Will what we do today lead to what we want tomorrow?  Are we living our lives only like actors or are we actively writing the script for our futures?  We can’t change the past, but we will change the future by what we do today.

Does Anyone Really Care?

November 28, 2007

O. J. Simpson will be back in court today to learn when he will stand trial for kidnapping and a bunch of other charges. The radio station I was listening to on the way to work said that they will carried the court proceeding live. My question: “Why?!” Why does anyone care anything about O. J. Simpson? He was a good football player, a so-what actor, and someone who got away with 2 brutal murders. And the news media treat him as someone who matters.

I really had to think if I wanted to put the photo of a murderer on this blog or even if I should even mention this. I don’t want to give Simpson any undeserved attention. However, I think it is an important issue. Why does anyone care anything about the string of celebrity felons anyway? Drunk driving arrests happen everyday. Why should anyone care if it happens to someone whose claim to fame is that they are famous?

Dennis Prager has asked high school kids, “Would you like to be famous, good, or smart?” A very large number answered “Famous.” It doesn’t matter why they would be famous, they just want to be famous. What a skewed set of values.

If I possibly can, I will filter any mention of O. J. Simpson and his latest criminal adventure out of my consciousness. He just isn’t worth any of my attention.

Small Decisions, Large Consequences

November 6, 2007

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost, 1915

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Have you wondered what would have happen if you had taken a different path?

Our lives are made of many decisions every day, most of which have little or no consequence to our lives. They are just the choices we make in everyday living–what to wear, what to eat for lunch, what to for recreation. But what happens when a seemingly minor decision becomes a major turning point in our lives?

Thirty-six years ago today, I made one of those decisions. I was a freshman at Brigham Young University, living in the Deseret Towers dorms. Our hall had a tug-of-war scheduled for the afternoon. My roommate and I didn’t plan on going to it. I ran a few errands with him instead. We got done earlier than we had planned and decided to stop by the tug-of-war. The contest was held across the irrigation canal that ran through Heritage Halls. The floor that won the tug of war won a party with one of the halls in Heritage Halls. Our floor won the contest and won the party. At the party, I met Wendy, who became my wife 4 years later. Had I not gone to the tug-of-war, I probably would have never met Wendy. A small decision with a large consequence.

How many “inconsequential” decisions in our lives have really been life changing choices? We will never know because we don’t know how these little choices in our past have altered our future. One thing that I do know is that an “inconsequential” decision to attend a silly tug-of-war ultimately lead to the single greatest blessing in my life. Happy Anniversary, Wendy.

What on Earth Have I Done?

October 26, 2007

I started reading Robert Fulghum’s latest book, What’s on Earth Have I Done. So far, I’m enjoying it. He uses several thought-provoking questions that he calls Mother Questions because he heard them from his mother so often–“What on earth have you done?”, “What in the name of God are you doing?”, “What will you think of next?” and the final question, “Who do you think you are?”

While these questions are usually made as statements, not questions, Fulghum writes that when we ask these questions of ourselves, they are the ultimate questions of accountability. We need to make an assessment of what we have done with our stewardship on earth, how we have behaved in the spiritual/moral realm, and we must be aware of the need to keep learning. When we answer the first three questions, we will be able to answer the last question–we will know who we are.

Do You Lock Your Doors?

October 11, 2007

If you lock the doors to your car or to your home, it is probably to keep people you don’t know or trust out and to keep your property, and perhaps your safety, intact.

The why not lock our country? Why not keep people we don’t know or trust from just walking in and making themselves at home? Why is this border fence such a big deal? It just seems so logical to me. How many of the opponents of the border fence would be upset if an unknown family just moved into their living room and made themselves at home? I’m sure they would immediately call 911 and report that their home had been invaded. So why not the same logic for our country?

It’s our country. As a nation, we have been very generous with opening our doors and welcoming the world. One of the things that makes our nation great is that we are an nation of immigrants–everyone originally came from somewhere else. But the immigration needs to be by invitation. We should welcome the world, not just have the world move in without permission. Just as our homes have fences, walls and doors with locks, why not the same for our country.

What is Success?

October 10, 2007

Yesterday’s post questioned the wisdom of pursuing a path that leads away from the ultimate goal. So that brings up the question–what is success?

Where are you going? Will you know when you get there? Will that be where you really want to be? Will today’s actions lead to where you want to be?

This is how Emerson defined success.

What Is Success?
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one’s self;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived —-
This is to have succeeded.

How do you define success?

Civic Literacy in America

September 28, 2007

I just read an interested essay on civic literary in America by Joseph M. Knippenberg. Click here for the essay.

The essay discusses the results of an exam administered by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s American Civic Literacy Program to 14,000 college freshmen and seniors. The range of freshmen mean scores was between 29.75% to 68.94%. Harvard’s seniors earned the highest average mark for any institution: 69.6%. Not very impressive.

Want to give it a try? The exam can be found here. Just click on the “Take the Quiz” button. You might not be smarter than a 5th grader, but are you smarter than a Harvard senior?