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Here’s a list of life lessons. Have you learned all, or any, of them?

I recently read this list of 30 life lessons that the author wishes she had learned in school.

It’s a great list and as I reflected on some of the items it helped me to think about areas of my life that need improvement.

The idea of these things being taught in school brings me to my only criticism: if you’re talking about high school, most kids wouldn’t care. Not all, but most.

Some of these things should be taught at home, if your parents knew them. If not, extended family could help.

But most of these, in my opinion, are things that you pick up as you go along, refine as you use them and make them yours.

I hope you enjoy reading it and that you learn something, even if it’s that you need to learn more.

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K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, sweetheart)

“Innovation is about solving people’s problems in a way that’s meaningful to them in the context of their lives. “

I like the way this guy thinks. Innovation is not always the new discovery; sometimes it is simply rearranging what you already have to better suit your needs.

Some folks seem bent on devising new products and techniques just because they can with hardly any real grasp of how it might actually benefit someone in their everyday life.

After reading this, I believe most folks would feel encouraged to become innovators, making simple things that simply make our lives easier.

The sky is falling! Why yes, Chicken Little, it is!

What’s 45 feet long, 115 feet wide, weighs five tons and can fly for 36 hours, unless it crashes into a swamp in Maryland?

If you guessed a U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk drone, you are right.

Monday, June 11, 2012, an unmanned drone did indeed crash in a marsh near Salisbury, Maryland.

Evidently, it was a routine training flight from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River. I’ve got a different definition of routine, myself.

Lots of questions arise, but I’ll let you read the articles first hand and think up your own.

One big one I’ve got is when will these drones be used to observe us, if they’re not already?

Here’s the CNN story.

Here’s some info about the aircraft in general.

Cured, by bacon.

This wonderful 10 minute video profiles the owner of Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams, Allan Benton. Based in Madisonville, Tennessee, Benton’s is a world-renowned producer of country hams and bacon.

Be warned: Do not watch this video if you are hungry or are considering converting to a vegetarian lifestyle.

 

Bon appetit.

Here’s the video.

Here’s Benton’s website.

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Keeping it simple with this one. If you want to learn to write, read and heed.

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and can cost up to $940 million when it comes to knocking off a whole town.

For years, cheap imitation products from China have plagued purveyors of the original goods.

This imitation has been received with open arms by the residents of the original.

Yes, residents. 

Hallstatt in Upper Austria is one of the nation’s precious jewels. Nestled deep in the beautiful Northern Limestone Alps…
Chinese metals and mining company China Minmetals Corporation spent $940 million to build a replica of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed village that recently opened its doors to tourism.

Here’s the story.

Jesus encourages His followers to have faith. I feel like I come up short. Evidently, I’m in good company.

A couple months ago I was introduced to a blog called “300wordsaday.com

The posts have always been meaningful. Today’s especially so.

Without further ado, go here to be encouraged.

The Muppets’ violent past. It’s good to see reform can actually work.

Before Jim Henson’s puppets  became famous through Sesame Street and various movies, his Muppet characters had a dark, seedy past. Between 1957 and 1961 Henson made a series of 10 second commercial spots for Wilkins, a coffee supplier with regional distribution in the Baltimore – D.C. area.

Drink our coffee, or else, was the basic message. These fairly violent short videos are delightful. I hope you enjoy them.

Or else…

I toured the White House. I didn’t see a glass ceiling.

Not that the present administration has a patent on hypocrisy, but they’re doing what they can to maintain the status quo (which, according to my uncle, is French for “the mess we’re in”).

Female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues, records show.
According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).”

It’s sad to see such hypocrisy, but get ready to hear all manner of reports during this campaign season.

Here’s the story.

Bow to a Saudi prince; give assault rifles to drug lords in Mexico. Confusing foreign relations moves.

“The Mexican ambassador to the United States on Thursday said a botched gun-tracking operation by America “poisoned” public opinion of the United States for the citizens of its southern neighbor.”

Ya think?

Our  ATF (or somebody’s ATF) deals weapons to Mexican bad guys, our law enforcement and civilians are gunned down by these same weapons and we have an attorney general who developed early-onset Alzheimer’s about the whole affair.

This would make great reading- if only it was fiction and not news headlines.

Here’s another chapter in the story.

How much loyalty does $200 million buy? Not much

The other day I was talking to my grandson about loyalty. He said he didn’t understand what that was about.

Evidently, neither does Fisker Automotive, recipient of a taxpayer funded loan.

Fisker received federal funds in part to help purchase a shuttered General Motors plant in Delaware, where it predicted it would one day employ 2,000 auto workers …”

Well, now they’re hinting that they want to find someplace cheaper to build their (our) electric car.

Looks like the question isn’t how far can their electric car go, but where will it go?

Swedish for “weasel” ?

Here’s the story.

Art is where you find it. Maybe she was just expressing herself.

“No jail time for rubbing buttocks on $30M painting” was the headline. What?

“Carmen Tisch, 37, pleaded guilty earlier this month to felony criminal mischief for striking at and leaning against the oil-on-canvas painting “1957-J No. 2″ at the Clyfford Still Museum last year, the Denver District Attorney’s Office said.”

Evidently, this woman punched this painting, then scratched it, then pulled her pants down and then rubbed her butt on it. And then relieved herself on the floor.

Hmmm… maybe she needs to take an art appreciation course at the community college.

Then again, maybe she was just creating her own “2012-T No.1”.

Go here to read the rest of the story.

Beyond a shadow of doubt…

Remember making fanciful hand shadow creatures at night for entertainment. Was it last night?

It doesn’t matter. Look what happens when you expand the idea: it becomes art.

“I sculpt shadow with light or sometimes light with shadow, but both function in essentially the same manner. I take objects and carve and place them in relation to a single light source. The complete artwork is therefore comprised of both the material (the solid objects) and the immaterial (the light or shadow).”

The artist is Kumi Yamashita.

Go here to see a gallery of her work on the Demilked website.

Or here to her website.

Barack Obama is looking more like the Imelda Marcos President

This story from Germany, where they know a thing or two about tough economies.

Evidently, Obama flies his personal barber to D.C. from Chicago every time he needs a haircut.

Al Gore, what kind of carbon footprint is that equal to?

Probably more than the electric for your house.

In these tough times when Americans by the score are struggling with high unemployment, tight budgets, tattered finances and deep worries about the future, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the President to get a barber from DC? Surely there’s got to be somebody in town who can cut his hair.”

It’s hard to argue with elitist politicians; after all, they DO know what’s best for you

New York city plans to ban extra large fountain drinks. Only ones with sugar. Not diet drinks. Or juice (even though that has a ton of sugar). But you can still buy two if you want that much soda (at least for a while).

By the time you get drowsy  reading all the stipulations, you’ll need a sugar rush just to get you going again.

 

It’s hard to have the courage of your convictions at times…nevertheless

“Former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis is switching sides, abandoning his former ally President Obama to become a Republican — lamenting that the country has “gone backward” since Obama took office.”

In a day and age where most politicians just go along, as long as they can maintain the status quo and stay in office, this man said ENOUGH.

Refreshing. I wouldn’t get on any airplanes anytime soon if I were him, though. Just kidding…

Go here to read the article.

What do you do about this stuff? 9-11 memorial program money collected by California gets diverted.

“Back in the fall of 2001, the legislature of California saw their opportunity, and they took it. They passed a law that let California residents buy special license plates honoring the people who perished in 9-11. It was called the California Memorial Scholarship Program. ”

Well, how many people would participate in this program.

A bunch. Good. Well, if the money had gone where it was supposed to have gone.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Go here to read more.

No dear, there aren’t any monsters under your bed; they’re in the toilet!

A bit of whimsy for the home bathroom.  These vinyl stickers may be that touch you’ve been looking for…or not.

A true legend, Doc Watson, dies at age 89

If you have never listened to the music of Doc Watson, do yourself a favor. Whatever mood you’re in, you’ll appreciate his smooth, commanding baritone, his masterful touch on the guitar and his ever present wit.

From a Seattle Times article: “Overall, Doc will be remembered as one of America’s greatest folk musicians. I would say he’s one of America’s greatest musicians,” said David Holt, a longtime friend and collaborator who compared Watson to Lead Belly, Bill Monroe, Muddy Waters and Earl Scruggs.”

The music world did lose a legendary talent.

Here’s the story about his passing.

Here’s a wiki article about him.

A lesson from England on economics: smaller government is better government.

A study from Britain shows what conservative thinkers have known all along; bigger government (more taxes) limits growth.

 

From the article: “in developed countries from 1965 to 2010, a higher tax-to-GDP ratio has “a statistically significant, negative effect on growth.” The same is true of spending: The higher it goes, the worse growth gets.”

Here’s a short video that relates the findings by way of infograph.

Here’s the story.

 

The Newest Import from Japan- Radioactive Fish & More

“scientists did not expect the nuclear fallout to linger in huge fish that sail the world because such fish can metabolize and shed radioactive substances.”

Interesting story following the catastrophe in Japan. Earlier in the year, something a little different washed up in Canada: a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

There’s a joke in there somewhere about an iconic American motorcycle imported from Japan…

New York’s bluff called by 3.4 million residents

I always wondered what happened if you kept messing with people that had an alternative- now I know: they take it.

“Between 2009 and 2010 alone, 40,195 New York residents moved to Florida, taking $1.3 billion in income.”

With congress wanting to chase ex-patriates, or rather their money, and bring it back home, I wonder if states will try

something similar when they start losing residents, and their incomes

Go here for the story.

 

 

J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations available for download-free

“First published in 1741, J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations is often considered the most ambitious composition ever written for harpsichord. ”

Here’s the story. This material was released under the Creative Commons Zero License which puts them in the public domain. How nice.

Beautiful music. Written for harpsicord and performed, in this instance, on piano.

You can stream it here or download it here.

Bonus: Read through the first link to find where to download all of Bach’s organ music.

Wrongly attributed letter is still poignant reminder of truth

Earlier this year a letter supposedly penned by renown economist Thomas Sowell made the email and Facebook rounds. The letter was submitted to and printed by The Knoxville News-Sentinel. It was actually written by Jack A. Furnari, a regular contributor to the paper.

Be that as it may, the letter deserves attention. Here’s an excerpt:

The current Occupy Wall Street movement is the best illustration to date of what President Barack Obama’s America looks like. It is an America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent rule. It is an America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage and destroy the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly.”

As the letter made the rounds, a Sowell quote was tacked on:

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it

Go here to read the article at Snopes as well as the info concerning the wrong attribution.

I have a decent vocabulary but sometimes I forget what the words mean.

It’s always fun to see if a word I use means what I think it does.

Sad to say, I got this one right:

poignant- adjective: Evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret: “a poignant reminder”.

A different, no, make that, a better view of heaven

“Our picture of “Heaven” is wrong because we’re looking in the wrong place. Rather than gazing up in the clouds trying to picture what heaven will be like, look down at your feet. Take your shoes off and dig your toes into the damp soil.”

A 5 minute read comparing a typical view of heaven with one that takes into account the Creator’s character.

Along with a better attitude toward what awaits Christian believers, I gained a better appreciation for my present home on earth.

Go here to see what the dung beetles know that you might not.

Hindsight is always 20/20- reminder to back up important files

It’s easy to get complacent about all things virtual: bank transactions, downloads, internet security.

Just a word to the wise to prepare for trouble before it comes. 

Backup important stuff. Store treasured photos a couple different places online and/or  on another hard drive.

A short article about an Amazon.con Trojan Horse virus and a free safety scanner download from Microsoft.

Go here for the article.

Go here for the Microsoft download.

For those with an artistic bent, encouragement.

A great commencement speech at the University of the Arts 2012, Philadelphia.

Advice from a writer who’s been doing what he does for a while.

Interestingly enough, he never acquired a degree.

Sheriff Joe Better Watch Out- That Arkansas Flu Might Reach to Arizona

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona has his posse checking into what he feels are discrepancies concerning whether or not the present occupant of the White House was born in the US.

The latest information from Hawaii, the alleged place of birth for the POTUS, doesn’t satisfy Sheriff Joe.

Considering  the trail of bodies the Arkansas Flu left, and more recently the  mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the coroner who may have worked on the Andrew Breitbart case, I hope Sheriff Joe’s posse is looking out for him.

Great Photos of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Goodwill Trip to India and Pakistan

In 1962 President Kennedy sent First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on a goodwill trip to India and Pakistan. 

Evidently she “was the rarest of political creatures: ordinary enough to be non-threatening but elevated enough to inspire admiration” and so she became an ambassador of sorts.

Reading the article makes me wonder about our political world; how a visit from an, basically, apolitical woman could bring about such positive results. But then again, perhaps her audience was sensible to begin with; something that is lacking in meetings and negotiations with groups in the middle east now.

Go here for photos of the trip.

Go here for a short article about the trip.

Is your job killing you? Maybe.

The Atlantic recently reported about an Australian study that concluded that:

“people who sat more than 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying in the next three years than people who sat less than four hours a day. ”

Sounds serious, and unless Australians are significantly different than folks in the states, we should probably pay attention. The good news is that, according to the study,  exercise can help.

Here’s a link to a designer that’s taking this news very seriously and has come up with his own remedy. He’s not going to take it sitting down, you might say.

This is possibly America’s Best BBQ

One of the James Beard “America’s Classics” awards this year went to a tiny BBQ joint in Marianna, Arkansas.

The owner opens at 6 am and closes when he runs out.

Pulled pork topped with cole slaw served on Wonder bread: $3.00

Pulled pork by the pound: $6.00.

That’s the menu.

Can anybody say road trip?

Click here and watch a 4 minute video of this wonderful place. Just wish it was closer.

The difference between Clinton and Obama? Clinton never inhaled and Obama never exhaled.

There’s not much to say here, except that ol’ brother Barry (now Barack Hussein Obama) was living it up in the land of ganga.

Go here to read of his high misadventures.

The User’s Guide, and I do mean user, is here.

Maybe all that pot smoking did cause some memory loss.

While bouncing around our wonderful country, touting the need for taxpayers to pay for birth control, abortions and other such things, the POTUS mentioned his children often. But even with the ever present teleprompters, he managed to talk about his boys not once, but twice.

For those who don’t know, he has two girls.

But thinking about his recent flip-flop on same sex marriage, maybe his view of his children’s gender is beginning to evolve as well.

Could this be the early stages of reefer madness?

Perhaps, but coming from someone who has campaigned politically in 57 states, I’m sure he’ll have no problem reconciling these blunders with all the rest.

Look here for the full story.

(You’ll notice this photo is on the far left).

Do all to the glory of God

As a Christian I know I’m being transformed into the image of Christ.

I also know I’m on the slow boat compared to most Christians, but I know that God isn’t finished with me and that He’ll do a wonderful job of it, despite my efforts to thwart His progress.

With summertime picnics and reunions upon us, here are some ideas to honor God in one of the most basic rituals we practice.

Click here to read these 9 thoughtful tips.

Remember when what you couldn’t see wouldn’t hurt you?

I love our beautiful world; all the wonders of creation around me.

I like the things in space that I can’t see but I know are there through photography.

But what about the things we can’t see that are all around us?

bacteria

I suppose everything is here for a reason. Just like some people I know, though, I have trouble coming up with a reason for some of these things to exist.

Click here to read about 10 things that bacteria like to eat.

Helpful tip to battle summertime bugs

Baseball, picnics, the beach. All those wonderful things we enjoy when the weather warms up. It’s easy to forget about the other things that tag along: mosquitoes, flies and scorpions?

Well, maybe not scorpions around here, but if you have a pesky pest around your house, here’s a tip to help you reel it in.

Don’t you love it when you find another use for something you already have around the house?

Goings on in our favorite pirates nest

Speaking of the US, Will Rogers once said that it was a good thing we don’t get all the government we pay for.

I wonder what his take would be on the Somalian government, whose annual budget is half of Derek Jeter’s 2010 salary?

Go here to find out what it takes to run a fairly dysfunctional east African country.

What hath God wrought?

As I grow older, I become more enthralled by God’s creation every day; the things I can see as well as the ones I have to rely on others expertise to see.Mira A, an older red giant star with a tail

The Hubbell telescope has brought us amazing vistas in space that can scarcely be described. There are also other high flying probes that have been launched into outer space  to poke, prod and spy in the heavens above us. Here are 10 recent discoveries to ponder.

Whoa, Big Boy! Maybe you should take 10

Do you find yourself grasping at every little snippet of time, trying to do more? Are you gittery when there’s nothing to do right now?

That’s definitely not me, but if those descriptions fit you, go here to find  1o Reasons to Slow Down.

The author says better decision making, efficiency and increased productivity await those who find virtue in s-l-o-w-i-n-g d-o-w-n.

What a mess!

Gibson Guitars was raided by federal agents and many assets were seized. Why? Because Gibson may have violated a law in India. India says no they didn’t.

Representatives in Tennessee, where Gibson is based, have introduced legislation to loosen the regulations that ensnared the guitar maker, but the new regs have been met with opposition, even from major music personalities.

Read about the newest wrinkle here.

Gibson is not without support, though. Here’s a link to an organization rallying around the instrument maker. You’ll find links to stories that will relate the history of this debacle.

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