Hard Corps: a great read

January 16, 2008

Now this was a good read. I really enjoyed the fast paced ride from gangbanger to being awarded the Navy Cross. What a success story! Language was rough but there was a warning in front of the book.

I have never really understood the hazing and rough treatment in boot camp and being a boot but now I have a better idea of the importance. Several times I was almost brought to tears just reading the book. Especially the time where he describes older Vets correcting his flag raising skills and his treatment when he comes back to America and the reception the Marines receive.

Marco Martinez will go far in life. He is a hero in the truest sense of the word.

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I’m reading No More Christian Nice Guy by Paul Coughlin. Only about 1/4 the way thru and I find it interesting but I am hesitant about some of his ideas. Kinda like when I read Waking the Dead by John Eldridge.

I’m looking for input from someone who has read the book, and maybe someone make comments or criticisms of the book.

Hardcore History Review

July 14, 2007

I listen to a lot of Podcasts (around 22-27) some are daily some are only weekly. James MacDonald’s Walk in the Work is very good, especially this week.

But back to my review. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is the best history podcast I have found. He’s a radio personality (not sure I like his politics) but his history is good listening. He highlights interesting things and tells WHY events and cultures make a difference in history. The first of his podcasts I listened to was Bubonic Nukes, I know about the Bubonic Plague and how it changed history. But, he really nails the hows and whys of the times. He can almost put you in the times, so you can understand the mind sets and cultures. What is amazing is actually listen to the podcasts several times and take notes so I can do my own reading and research. My younger son (almost 15) loves it to! After listening to the one about Bubonic Nukes he said he knew the facts but Dan made it come alive and made him think. OK when you can make a 15 year old like history that’s something serious.

So what I’m gonna do for the next few posts is do reviews on my podcast I listen to. Next time I will make a list of all with links. I will also review a few I gave up and tell why. Podcasting is a medium that I love and have been listening to since almost the beginning when you had to do everything by hand to download them (before iTunes killed a few great aggergators).

So take a listen to Dan you won’t be sorry. He even tackled the Cold War and was quite fair to the issues.

And listen to James MacDonald for that way he just busts you in the chops (I love his podcast, it’s the most challenging and rewarding one I listen to. Though sometimes I need to build up the courage and honesty to listen to him DAILY.)

I am revisited a few of my favorite reads from my youth. Fred Saberhagen, Beserkers: The Beginning, wow what a read. My boys are thrilled. I moved up several notches in their eyes, suggest such good books. I read 100’s of books to suggest to them. Ringworld,
Starship Troopers, and some other classics. I would like them to read The Foundation Trilogy, but I don’t know if they can suffer through the dry spells. And of course how could I forget the Martian Chronicles  and the John Carter series.  Such good books, boyhood adventures to be sure.

I really like this web 2.0 app. It’s free (for a month) and to keep it it’s only 4 dollars and change for the premium service. It seems to be a social type of app where others you invite could add to your mind maps. When you work with someone else brainstorming you can even use Skype to talk. And they claim you can upload maps from MindManager and FreeMind as well as download (I believe).

I have been using MindMeister for several days and I am going to have my kids move their goals to the MindMeister site so they can put dates and details to them. I have planned out the Mother’s Day trip to Dawes Arboretum with a cool mind map. Needless to say I’ll be cutting out a few stops to Starbuck’s to pay for the four and change.

Don’t forget check out Jamie Nast’s book Idea Mapping along with her blog.

One of my favorite podcasts has a new site. It’s great. I sure would like to be able to build a site like that one.

Great Old Movies

March 18, 2007

Where to start? A short list Roman Holiday (my favorite), Paris- When It Sizzles, Charade (my favorite- I can have two right?), Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 12 Angry Men, Ben HurRear Window (best intro of a character EVER-Grace  Kelly as Lisa  Carol Fremont),  Rope (watch it closely and the extras after the movie to see if you get the undercurrents of this very dark thriller) OK there are more I’ll add later. This is a good start for your Netflix Q.

You almost cannot go wrong watching any Marilyn Monroe movie. Believe it or not she was a good actress. Start with Niagara my favorite Marilyn movie, dark but good plus some great Ohio (Cleveland) characters.

Westerns next, yes there are great westerns! Even one Marilyn Monroe!

My Favorite Cheap Pen

March 14, 2007

I suppose a cheap pen is defined as a writing instrument of less than 5 dollars. I have two I enjoy, one is a long time favorite and the other is a newbie (which I have not used long enough to have a firm opinion of yet). The Uniball Signo Micro 207 is a fabulous pen worth at least 4 times its cost of less than two dollars and fifty cents. It’s comfortable, has a great click action, it comes in .5 and 1.0 widths, at least eight colors and the clip holds up for at least 3-4 refills (and I’ve often been able to repair a bent clip). Then I seem to “lose” the pen after that, having a wife and children may contribute to that problem.

One great thing about the Signo is the ink, it’s a water fast type of ink. Once it dries it’s mostly permanent on paper as well as your clothes. I’ve ruined several dress shirts because if the pen is open it will leach out onto the fabric and without dry cleaning or a special ink removal fluid the shirt is ruined. This does not endear my wife to this line of pens. She comments that they are good for her but not safe enough for me. The Signo pens are not as bad as the Zebra SARASA type, they love to leach out onto clothes, although they make good utility pens.

I work in a pop factory and I write on paper which has all type of chemicals, pop and water on the paper and the Signo pen still works. The ball does not hold up well to being dropped directly on the tip but most pens won’t. The ball tip doesn’t seem to be damaged by writing on a very hard surface with a heavy pressure like most Cross refills that I often ruin. My Cross pens (cheap or expensive) never seem to take the abuse of writing on a desktop surface with only one sheet of paper as padding. You know the problem, a line appears within the path of ink on the paper then shortly the pen will skip and quit working altogether.

The Signo pen is by far my all time favorite cheap pen and has thwarted my attempts to find a better expensive pen. It raises the standards for that elusive “expensive” pen. I do love the Retro51 line of pens especially the Tornando both mini and full sized but they are heavy and don’t carry well in my pants pocket (where I carry it because of uniform requirements) or even a shirt pocket because of the weight. I’ve also flirted with buying a pocket fountain pen but have not been able to justify the price or risk of carrying one (for mostly church and social occasions).

If you have any suggestions on good cheap pens or expensive pens I would love to here about them.

My Starbucks

March 9, 2007

Trail Talk has a good post on Starbucks. I really love my Starbucks, they know me and I feel comfortable in the store. In fact, when I study my Sunday School lesson I get more accomplished than at home. The difference is probably the difference between a guest and a father who’s directing the home school and giving attention to everyone. So maybe that is not a fair comparison.

I have read several books on Starbucks and have also worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years. In fact, I worked for Shoney’s Inc for 17-18 years all the way from dishwasher to District Manager. The first 10 years I worked for Shoney’s it was run like a family business, then it took on a more corporate look and feel. That’s when I think we lost customer appeal. It was no longer a place to go to meet friends; both in the store and the frequent customers. When the company no longer had the loyalty to its employees, employees for sure were not going to return it (for no reason).

My first 10 years it was rare to go out and eat at a competitive restaurant. I just felt like I was being dishonest or disloyal. When I did eat at a “enemy” restuarant I told the manager if myexperience was good or bad. And I thought about how to make “our” store better. You think this cannot be true but imagine this; more often than not when I visited with employees’ families who we eating in the restaurant their children were proud that their parents worked at the store. Sometimes the kids would even say that when they grow up they would like to work for Shoney’s.

Maybe Starbucks has found the formula that small and large restaurants abandoned for faster table turnovers and greater profits. Only to find that they are without a loyal customer base. Just a thought.

Blogging Church

March 8, 2007

I finished the Blogging Churchtoday! Finished it off with a Cafe Americano at my favorite Starbucks. I really did learn a lot. On my pre-review I thought I would just have a general refresher of what I knew. Well, I did learn how to tell if I’m addicted to my blog and how to measure it’s real importance. There are also included great links to other fantastic Church blogs. (I must link 43Folders, Merlin Mann wrote a page or so for the book and mentioned it on his blog.)

One of the good thinks about the book is the way it is written for the beginner and for someone who wants to gather more info to to persuade; not only positively, but a bit caution to the under-informed church members.  I at first only saw the upside, but now I can see some potential problems. Especially in the matter of whether or not to allow comments. And I can also see how it could be a distraction by sucking up hours of church staff time. Time some may not not have to spend.

I on the other hand being a Sunday School teacher can see the advantages for me. I can communicate with my class during the week, share prayer requests, give encouragement and list praises. Now the real challenge is to educate some of my classmates how to use the blog and Google Group. I’ve put our class goals on the Sunday School blog along with plans for our special fellowships. (I must say I’m learning right along with my class.)

Do I recommend the book? Wholeheartedly! The author Brian Bailey makes a passioned argument but still presents the downside with honesty. So buy the book, read it and then give it to you Pastor or church leaders. That’s what I’m going to do.