nothing to see here

Saturday 28 July 2007

Hey — just letting you know I’m taking the week off and heading to the great Camp Mowana to volunteer as a Discovery leader.  I’ll be back early August!

eric


cat predicts deaths (and other news of the week)

Thursday 26 July 2007

Yes, it’s true (apparently). It was an interesting article I came across. If there was a way to know a few hours before your terminally ill family member was going to die, wouldn’t you want to know? What I’m wondering is if people would be willing to pay (a little bit?) more to put their family members in such a nursing and rehabilitation center. And if so, should money drive even these sorts of things?

Other interesting web finds this week:

Apparently the Chinese think they can control the weather during 2008 Olympic games. But apparently making rain is easier than destroying rain clouds. Who knew?

Some sad news in baseball, where a minor league coach was killed by line drive while coaching Sunday. It’s sad to think about, but one really can never know when death will come, so live life to the fullest!

I was thinking about mentioning Lindsey Lohan’s most recent troubles with the law, but you already probably have too much celebrity worship in other areas of your life, so I won’t link to any more here. And if you’re interested in that kind of thing, I’m sure you’ve read about it already or at least know where to find out more.

NBA officiating problems… What can I say here, really?  Bill Simmons does a good job of telling you what’s up.  But when you have an official with (alleged) mob ties altering games to make the spread or the over/under (total number of points scored), how can you find any kind of credibility in your sport?  This year was the first I started to show an interest in the NBA, as I jumped on the Cavs bandwagon with the help of a few Cavs fans, and it was fun, I must say (no Cubs baseball, but I don’t think anything will reach that level).  And now?  Well, sometimes ignorance is bliss, I suppose.  And you’re paying for entertainment, right, so why care too much?  Let’s just get rid of rules that ban blood transfusions (Tour de France) and steroids (baseball), and then we’ll all just know people do them and they won’t be cheating, so what will the big deal be, right?

Public nudity.  I had no idea it was legal in Vermont!  But apparently it is.  Unless you push the limits and your town bans it.  Maybe I’ll head to Vermont next summer, because there’s obviously not enough other options to see nude people. (I’ll refrain from links to playboy online and exotic dance club websites to keep this blog semi-family oriented and because, again, if your interested,  you can find them on your own.)

And have you heard of Get Fuzzy? This Sunday strip is an instant classic.


an internet pit stop

Monday 23 July 2007

Wow. In the past 24 hours, since I posted about Tammy Faye’s death, my website has gotten more traffic than it ever has. According to the stats I get on my page, over 700 pages have been viewed. Most of those were reading about the recent Tammy Faye death news on my front page, but over 20 clicked to the old Tammy Faye post and almost 10 to the Samaritan post. And 10 people, all likely first-time visitors, wanted to learn about me.

Over 500 people (which likely account for almost all of the 700 page views) came from a blog and news website called sphere.com. As I was thinking about this yesterday (after the first 300 or so people had arrived), I likened it to being a small town on the side of an interstate. You’re likely to get a good amount of people stopping by to buy gas (the main draw) and maybe have a meal at a local restaurant (why not?), but they probably won’t be back. Maybe they liked the restaurant enough that they will come back again soon, eating at the same place again or trying another place to get a better flavor for the town. And maybe it had such a grand impression on them, they’ll even want to move!

But I find it unlikely that my website will suddenly become a widely read blog. More than likely most of the people who came to my site will never be back: they were just passing through. But seeing that a few people who I have never met (and probably never will) came and read some of my other stuff, something I have always hoped for but never really thought might accomplish, has made me happy. 2 1/2 months into blogging, I received my first hint of the “power of the Internet,” and while the numbers have never mattered to me — I simply enjoy the fact that maybe 10 or 20 of my family and friends might read what I have to offer — it’s always nice when you can get your point across to more people and reach those you’ve never me.

This, though, has taught me a few things about blogging, though:
Lesson One: Writing about current events/big news as it’s happening will bring people.
Tammy Faye’s death only happened Saturday, and my writing about it Sunday, soon after it occurring, when people were still searching the web and blogs for info, was a large reason people “showed up” to my blog.

Lesson Two: Linking is good.
The fact that people came and were able to then click on to other news sources or places for information was no doubt helpful and appreciated.

Lesson Three: Linking to oneself is a good blogging practice.
Since I had linked to the past Tammy Faye blog posting, nearly 20 people clicked on it and (likely) read it. That’s 20 new readers that I may not have had if I hadn’t linked myself.

Lesson Four: Keep writing.
It may sometimes feel like no one is reading when no comments are posted or the hits on a certain day are only a handful, but if one keeps on writing, one day the people will show up.


tammy faye passes

Sunday 22 July 2007

In light of one of my posts last month, I thought I’d make a little mention of the passing of Tammy Faye Messner (she married Roe Messner in 1993). After my earlier post, my mom had told me Tammy Faye she was battling cancer, and that she’s passed, I thought I’d share with you a news article or two (and her appearance on Larry King days before her death).

As I said before, and I’ll just reiterate again, Tammy always felt that “it’s the people that count,” and even in the end, she was said to be “a little bit” scared, but mainly for her family.

Tammy’s website


the good samaritan

Thursday 19 July 2007

It’s a familiar Bible story, and it was the gospel lesson for many churches this past Sunday. When I realized that, after seeing a certain movie on Friday (read my mini-review), I said to myself, “If I were preaching a sermon this week, I know what the topic would be.”

The certain movie was Sicko, and the topic is a nationalized health care plan. While the movie has a few flaws, in my opinion, there could not be a much better argument made for the creation of a health care system where all people received free (supported by taxes) health care based on their needs. A system where we “pay based on our means, receive based on our needs” screams loudly of socialism, which tends to frighten people, but not me. In fact, the government supplying police and firemen (as the movie notes) is really a form of everyone paying for something that is used more or less by some people based on needs.

I think the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is quite an apt one to connect with the call for a free nation health care plan. Christians (and many others familiar with this story) condemn the two men who pass by the man beat by robbers and rally around the one who takes the man, bandages his wounds, and takes him to find health. But we sit here (in the U.S.) in a system controlled mainly by large corporations (HMOs and hospitals) that are out there to seek money instead of help people. And as we, as citizens, allow this system to continue (like all the systems of our country that discriminate) and act like the men who leave the man on the side of the road to die.

In addition to the 50 million people (1 out of every 6) in the U.S. with no health care, there are tens of millions more who are covered by some kind of health care plan that is inadequate and will not allow for all the needed coverage a person might need, or the fees and charges my be so high that a person might need to choose what medicines, tests, and services one can afford to go through.

Sicko contains many great sound bites (including a few by one of my new heroes, I think, Tony Benn, a former member of British parliament), not the least of which is (paraphrased), “You pay by your means, you receive based on your needs.” Can we not apply this to our country when it comes to human life?

See this movie, and then get up and do something about it!


link me up!

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Hey — So after a few days off, I decided to get back on the horse and give another post for you to enjoy. However, it’s more just a spattering of links that I’ve found in the past week that I’ve enjoyed reading/viewing and wanted to share, so I hope you enjoy!

Last week I ran across these two clips of alternate ways (other than the basic “up and down” method you probably used growing up) to multiple large numbers. They’re pretty sweet to see, though I prefer (like most of us, I suppose) what I know.

Ever think of taking a year off to travel? I have — and still might. Here are some good, though not very detailed, tips one person found important.

Where to live? A recurring question in my life. I came across a place of the 10 Best Places to Live (based not on what I need in such a place) and then a nice 2006 ranking (2007 soon to come, it seems) of good places for singles to live (Chicago not even in the top 20, but Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, Columbus, Balt/DC, and Seattle did make the cut). Check it out if you’re single and thinking about where to live any time soon…  (And what I think is a more current listing of Best Cities for Young Professionals by Forbes.)

And if you’re looking for something a little more in depth, check out this article about a Late Night Shots, “a very exclusive, invite-only social-networking Web site” began in DC and now in a few other cities, too. It’s quite to ride (the article, and the club, it seems), and has even sparked a blog about the group. Needless to say, I won’t be joining up when I hit DC next month :)

And an interesting news blurb about how teenage girls talking excessively about their problems can actually lead to long term anxiety (without a similar result for boys).

Do you have any more links/articles of interest? I’m always looking for interesting things to read


a coin toss (and counting)

Thursday 12 July 2007

So apparently flipping a coin isn’t as “random” as we thought it was. Or so it might seem. This old NPR story talks about how flipping a coin the same way every time leads to the same result. But wouldn’t that make sense if you’re using the same coin that it would do the same thing each time? I randomness, as the story says, comes in the “human element,” and still isn’t perfectly 50/50 when you flip it and catch it in your hand. I guess this would be a good example of theoretical versus statistical probability, eh?

Also, I wanted to share this wonderful site I found yesterday via The 9 I sometimes watch on Yahoo!  Believe it or not, this guy is counting to One Million (that’s 1,000,000 if you need the visual).  He’s thus far been counting for 25 days and has reached 300,000 last night before turning in.  You can donate money to Push America, an organization that works to improve the lives of people with disabilities.  Check this guy out — what a feat!