Monday, January 13, 2014

Paying It Forward at Sunday Breakfast

My wife attends church on Saturday evening most weekends but occasionally she goes with me on Sunday morning. On more rare occasions I go with her on Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning. But one habit we have adopted after Sue retired is to go out after church on Sunday morning at either of our two favorite hangouts for Sunday breakfast. I enjoy the opportunity to eat out but it can become expensive so I try to keep the urge under control. But there is something about going out to Sunday breakfast with my wife that I enjoy and really look forward to so much each Sunday morning.

One Sunday during December 2013 we were enjoying our breakfast when our server came to our table and picked up our tab and said that the cost of our breakfast had been taken care of by another customer. We had heard of the practice of Paying It Forward but this is the first time that I had ever been a beneficiary. Now what? Well, you pay it forward, of course.

We were back to the same restaurant for breakfast on the Sunday before Christmas. Sue and I were looking around for the ideal customers to treat to a free breakfast. Eventually Sue suggested two elderly ladies over in a booth by a window. I looked around over my shoulder and agreed that they looked like good candidates. (Given my age I try to be careful about my use of the word "elderly" because I'm not sure if I am younger than they or not.)

As we got up to leave and pay our tab, I timed it so that I could approach their server without gaining attention but that didn't work out exactly. She has been our server during prior visits so when I asked if she was their server and she said she was, I told her that we wanted to buy their breakfasts because someone bought ours before. She grabbed me and gave me a hug and exclaimed how she just loves when someone does that and that those two ladies are such sweethearts! Another server laughed and joked how this was coming from her "Mrs. Grinch" co-worker. Another customer was eating his breakfast nearby and I noted him observing and listening to the entire conversation with a big smile on his face. She gave us the tab and Sue gave her a tip as I proceeded to the counter to pay for both ours and their breakfasts.

Sue and I left the restaurant with such a good feeling in our hearts. I had been overwhelmed with the unanticipated reaction of the server. I had expected nothing like that. It was a very heart-warming experience that left us feeling really, really good as we drove home from breakfast that Sunday morning before Christmas.

We shall do that again. How about you?

Friday, November 29, 2013

We Bought a Nook HD

I had been contemplating the purchase of a tablet for several months as I watched new tablets come into the marketplace and I read reviews of tablets that might be of interest to me.

Since I am pretty much a resident of the Google realm the Google Nexus tablet has been at the top of my wishlist. That became even more true with the release of their new model this year.

But I didn't want to spend that much money on a tablet since I was uncertain how much we would use it. And I certainly recognize that for us a tablet is a luxury and not a necessity in any sense of the word.

Initially I had no interest in a Nook from  Barnes & Noble because I didn't want to be restricted to the B&N environment. I have exactly the same reservation about the tablets from Amazon.

But B&N had to admit the obvious earlier this year. Despite having hardware that garnered many positive reviews, they couldn't compete any longer in tablets against Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Google, and others so they opened their tablets up to Google Play so the Nook pretty much becomes another Android tablet in many respects.

The Nook HD is a 7-inch tablet with 8 or 16 GB of internal storage. I focused on the 16 GB model and began watching how B&N priced the Nook to clear their inventory.

I don't know the original price for the Nook HD 16GB, but I believe it was more than $200.00. In late Spring 2013 the price was reduced to $179.00. In the Fall it was reduced further to $149.00. Then for a brief span during October it was reduced to just $119.00 so we bought it then at that price. The 8 GB model was $109.00 at that time so we got the extra memory for just $10.00.

So far I am very pleased with our Nook. It is so convenient for checking email, Twitter, Facebook, news and weather, and so on. Our grandson watches movies and plays games on it. And surprisingly to me, I have found out how much I have enjoyed using it as an eReader borrowing books online from the Allen County Public Library loaded to my Kindle application.

I fully expect that it will continue to get a lot of use around our house. And I haven't modified our Nook yet but I'm quite certain that I will eventually root it to make it a pure Android tablet. But for now we are going to keep using it and keep learning how to get more and more value out of it.

And here is a final note about Nook HD pricing. I always anticipated we might wait and get our Nook for less money but there was always the chance they might sell out before we bought one.

Today on Black Friday I note that the Nook HD is unavailable at B&N online but I saw a report that the Nook HD is available today in B&N stores for just $79.00. I assume that is the 8GB model

And by the way, I did create this blog post on our Nook.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Goals Are a Means to an End | Franklin Covey GO Quote of the Week

“Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it’s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.”

- Anthony Robbins

Goals Are a Means to an End

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This Veterans Day: Many a Man is Free | The Art of Manliness

If you didn't see this blog on Veterans Day or didn't have the time to read it yet, please read it. I hope it makes each of us think of just how lucky we are in the United States and how much responsibility we bear to live free and to pass it on.

"What does your freedom look like?

Hold that image in mind, and let’s examine freedom in greater detail, because right now — at this exact moment — many a man is free throughout the world.

What is he free to do?
  • to express his opinions
  • to pursue the career he wants
  • to gather a group of people in public to peacefully make his cause seen and heard
  • to worship whatever form of God he wants, and to go to any church without fear of being attacked
  • to travel where he wants
  • to buy property, build a house, and call it his own
  • to tell his government he agrees or disagrees with its decisions
But it’s not like that everywhere around the world. Right now — in late 2013 — some 2.4 billion people globally live without these basic freedoms. When these people push for freedom, they are censored, hurt, put in prison, or killed.So, why today is many a man free?

Sometimes freedom is negotiated for and received as a result — and wouldn’t it be commendable if this was always the case?

But often, unfortunately, freedom must be fought for and won. Hostilities exist throughout the world today in much the same manner as they did seventy years ago. Many a man is free today only because, in the words of a phrase often attributed to George Orwell, “rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do him harm.”

Like it or not, many a man’s freedom is paid for with blood.

Because of that, we free men have a responsibility."

You can find read the entire blog entry here.

This Veterans Day: Many a Man is Free

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The $19.95 Per Month Phone Plan

I have been reading the blog of jlcollinsnh (James Collins) for some time now and it was there that I first heard about Republic Wireless. It certainly is an intriguing cell plan that will have a much broader appeal when they begin offering the Moto X in November.

I have had an dumb cell phone provided by my employer now for several years but transitioning to BYOD is currently under discussion. If that happens I will opt out of the employer subsidy and get my own cell phone and plan so Republic Wireless is a very, very strong contender if and when that time comes.

Republic Wireless and my $19.95 per month phone plan

And if you take the Republic Wireless link in his blog, he will get a commission.

The case against Gmail | ZDNet

ZDNet contributor Ed Bott explains why he is giving up on Gmail. Here is the article's summary.

"Summary: Gmail was a breath of fresh air when it debuted. But this onetime alternative is showing signs that it's past its prime, especially if you want to use the service with a third-party client. That's the way Google wants it, which is why I've given up on Gmail after almost a decade."

I have been a dedicated Gmail user for nearly 7 years and I have no reason to change at this time. I am comfortable with Gmail and it just works for me the way I need now. If that changes, I can change easily and quickly since my primary email address is really a email forwarding address maintained by the Purdue Alumni Association. At any time I can change my account setting to forward my email to any other provider instead of Gmail.

I found Ed Bott's case interesting and very convincing for any Gmail user for whom the same issues are important.

If you are Gmail user, do you have any thoughts of moving to another email service especially after reading his article?

The case against Gmail

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The LaBov Report - Daily insight from Barry LaBov, CEO of LABOV: Little things, big things

I subscribe to Barry LaBov's blog for the many short, simple, yet instructive thoughts like this one titled "Little things, big things."

"It's not the big victories that really make the difference. It's all the small victories that add up and lead to progress that do.

A big victory is great, but they are few and far between. Give me a lot of small triumphs every day."

The LaBov Report - Daily insight from Barry LaBov, CEO of LABOV: Little things, big things:

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotations.

You've got to think about big things while you're doing small things so that all the small things go in the right direction. - Alvin Toffler

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Signs Will Be Costly, But Pretty, Addition | The Journal Gazette

The City of Fort Wayne has millions and millions of dollars available in the Legacy Fund created from the settlement of the City Light lease with American Electric Power. There have been a lot of meetings and a lot of discussion on how to best spend the money.

Frank Gray takes a look at the plan to spend in the neighborhood of $300,000 on 54 Wayfinder signs around Fort Wayne. The plan might be laudable but Frank Gray is right. Isn't that a lot of money to spend on 54 signs? $5,500 each?

Well they aren't going to be your regular, ordinary signs.

"They’ve got to be anchored in strong foundations so the next time a derecho comes blowing through (a derecho is the type of storm that snapped off trees and power poles all over the city in the summer of 2012) the sign will stand its ground and not go flying into traffic."

Are they really necessary? Or will they even be that much of a help?

"I could question whether they’re really necessary. People have GPS units in their cars and iPhones that provide directions."

I guess more than anything else it confirms that if we have the money to spend, we will spend it. And honestly I am beginning to become more concerned about how much bigger chunks of the Legacy Fund might be squandered as time goes on.

Signs will be costly, but pretty, addition | The Journal Gazette

How to Stop Millions of Accidents: Use Turn Signals -

I have been a licensed driver for about four and a half decades and I believe now that one of my biggest pet peeves has been vindicated finally.

Whether driving slowly down a residential street or cruising the interstate highways, I have always been a consistent user of my turn signals. Why wouldn't I?

Using turn signals is not only courteous to other drivers, it's the law! But my number one concern is the personal safety of me and my passengers. I use my turn signals so drivers around me know what the heck I am going to do before I do it.

What could be easier and more safe? Use your turn signals!

How to Stop Millions of Accidents: Use Turn Signals -

I have to credit the Journal-Gazette for this article which appeared in their Sunday edition this morning but I couldn't find their link to this column so I found this link above.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Re-education at George Mason

Walter Williams has been for years and remains today one of my favorite columnists. This column demonstrates why. I can only imagine how much he drives the liberals at George Mason University crazy.

"This week begins my 34th year serving on George Mason University's distinguished economics faculty. You might imagine my surprise when I received a letter from its Office of Equity and Diversity Services notifying me that I was required to 'complete the in-person Equal Opportunity and Prevention of Sexual Harassment Policies and Procedures training.' This is a leftist agenda for indoctrination, thought control and free speech suppression to which I shall refuse to submit. Let's look at it.

Ideas such as equity and equal opportunity, while having high emotional value, are vacuous analytical concepts. For example, I've asked students whether they plan to give every employer an equal opportunity to hire them when they graduate. To a person, they always answer no. If they aren't going to give every employer an equal opportunity to hire them, what's fair about forcing employers to give them an equal opportunity to be hired?

I'm guilty of gross violation of equality of opportunity, racism and possibly sexism. Back in 1960, when interviewing people to establish a marital contract, every woman wasn't given an equal opportunity. I discriminated against not only white, Indian, Asian, Mexican and handicapped women but men of any race. My choices were confined to good-looking black women. You say, 'Williams, that kind of discrimination doesn't harm anyone!' Nonsense! When I married Mrs. Williams, other women were harmed by having a reduced opportunity set."

After discussing those issues and others like the racial disparity on the George Mason basketball team, Walter goes on to some issues a lot more serious like the moral relativism and multiculturalism that claim every society and culture deserves to be treated with the same admiration and respect as our own. I disagree for reasons like this.

"Allied with the purveyors of equity, diversity and inclusion are the multiculturalists, who call for the celebration of cultures. For them, all cultures are morally equivalent and to deem otherwise is Eurocentrism. That's unbridled nonsense. Ask your multiculturalist: Is forcible female genital mutilation, as practiced in nearly 30 sub-Saharan Africa and Middle Eastern countries, a morally equivalent cultural value? Slavery is practiced in Sudan and Niger; is that a cultural equivalent? In most of the Middle East, there are numerous limits on women — such as prohibitions on driving, employment, voting and education. Under Islamic law, in some countries, female adulterers face death by stoning, and thieves face the punishment of having their hand severed. Are these cultural values morally equivalent, superior or inferior to those of the West?

Western values are superior to all others. Why? The greatest achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights. The Western transition from barbarism to civility didn't happen overnight. It emerged feebly — mainly in England, starting with the Magna Carta of 1215 — and took centuries to get where it is today."

Western values that enshrine the rights of the individual are superior We are so blessed and fortunate to have inherited them in our society. And to the extent that the political emphasis on rights by group identity takes away from the value of the individual enshrined in our Declaration of Independence our individual rights and liberties are placed at risk.

Re-education at George Mason