Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Use of Censorware

There is an interesting article in The Christian Science Monitor that caught my attention. Mr. Ben Arnoldy shows how American products are being used by many governments, such as Burma's dictatorship, to censor the Internet. It appears the sell of "censorware" to these oppressive regimes is legal -- but is it ethical? Should the US Government intervene on behalf of oppressed citizens elsewhere? What about censorship in place here in the USA? If we ask the US policymakers to address censorship abroad, would we not be rightful to demand the same for US citizens? Or should we turn a hyprocritical blind eye to what goes on at home while we raise the flag or moral indignity to foreign events? Sadly, I bet we will do the latter. It seems it is too hard for us to look at our own house and admit that there is as much dirty laundry here as there is elsewhere.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

One More on Perspectives

And since I am on a roll on perspectives, let me do yet one more. This time I will comment on recent news that we will have the opportunity (sometime around 2050) to have RoboPartners, artificial intelligence creations that will fulfill that most basic of human needs: companionship. I can really see this happening -- sadly, I must add. For many, the "single" life is just unacceptable, but the dating process is daunting and unpleasant. For example, it took me a very long time to find the love of my life; I was 37 then [already considered mildly old to still be single (unless you are a rich socialite)]. Just ten years later I lost her to breast cancer. For me, the prospect of dating again is simply unthinkable at this point. Between family and professional responsibilities there is hardly enough time (much less energy) for dating. So what would be wrong with a RoboPartner? Perhaps nothing … perhaps everything. If I had chosen such at 37, I would probably not have the infinite pleasures of being a husband and a parent, nor the immense pain of being a widower. But isn't that what a human experience is all about, having all types of events? Or will we have a new generation of people that may not want to parent and prefer a fairly even ride without the ups and downs that come when living with another person? I certainly can see it happening -- sad as it maybe seem today.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More on Perspectives

Last week I wrote about perspectives. And here is another perspective worthy of our consideration. How can it be possible that kids are killing themselves because their computer games are taken away? I could hardly believe it when I read the report of a 10-year old that jumped out of a 19th floor apartment because his parents banned him from playing computer games. What a tragedy! It is certainly worthy of our attention. Are your kids that hooked on video games? Can we unhook kids from video games by spending more time with them doing things like sports, hobbies, puzzles, etc.? I think we can and we should!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I would like to comment on the subject of perspectives. There is a huge amount of press coverage about Marion Jones' alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs (known as doping). In comparison, there has been much less about the massacre of thousands in Burma. Put in perspective, who cares about Jones' mistakes when we should be focusing on the agony of those that live and have died in Burma? Marion Jones is the victim of a corrupted sports system that encourages improved performance because it generates increased profits. The corrupt IOC has prostituted the Olympic games well beyond any possible redemption. They are guilty -- not the athletes. Let us keep things in perspective -- Marion Jones' is not a story worthy of our attention, the Burma massacres are! Why are we spending millions on dollars on investigating Jones' drug use instead of spending that money on helping those in Burma?

And speaking of perspective and money, how can we possibly justify spending billions on a police action/war when we are denying health coverage to citizens, including children, and we are allowing curable diseases to go on killing people? How can we continue to bankrupt our country with intervention abroad while people that lost homes during hurricane Katrina are not yet back where they belong? Yet another example of the corrupted ways of our representatives in Washington. Put into perspective, it is also a good example of what happens when a country gets too comfortable with the Status Quo and too intimidated to raise its collective voice to protest.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Ten Valuable Lessons for Kids

How many of us have struggled with money matters as adults? It would have been great if we could have learned how to manage money so that we could not make serious mistakes. Here is a great article for all of us parents that should help us guide our kids into financial success.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Drum Roll Please

Scene as we are driving home from the kids school:

MacKenzie: ... and then, guess what happened?

Me: What happened?

MacKenzie: Drum roll please.

Me: What?

MacKenzie: Drum roll please.

Noah: (Does the drum roll sound)

MacKenzie: (... tells rest of story).

Me: (laughing like crazy while trying to keep control of the car)

MacKenzie: ... and then, guess what?

Me: What?

MacKenzie: Drum roll please.

Me: Drum roll?

MacKenzie: Yes, drum roll please.

Noah & MacK: (Do the drum roll sound)

MacKenzie: (... tells rest of story)

Me: (still laughing like crazy while trying not to crash)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Online Videos

For the longest time I just could not get the big deal of online videos such as those served by YouTube. I confess, however, that I am hooked on them now. I have discovered a world of valuable information in these videos. Of course, there is a lot of crap out there too. But you can really find some seriously useful material. For example, I came across many Yoga lessons on YouTube -- pretty cool!

There are also many exercise tips and suggestions to help anyone be in better shape -- what a jewel!

You can find some very deeply inspirational videos. Probably one of the most inspirational videos I have seen is the "Last Lecture" by Professor Randy Pausch. It is worth every minute of it!

I will mention other powerful videos in future commentaries.

A friend of mine shared this link with me. For those of you that know me, it may surprise you that I have included that link. After all, I am not a church-going, religious person. There is a valuable message in the video and it made an impact on me. You see, I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Among the crap out there, unfortunately, is a rapidly spreading "joke" called "Fire in the hole". The idea has been disseminated through video evidence and has exploded into the biggest rage amongst teenagers. It is sad that the Internet can be misused in so many ways. But neither this example nor the many that preceded it will ever justify censorship. Justice will prevail and karma will handle things in due time.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Thousand Islands

I came across this fantastic website.

The pictures shown brought a flood of memories back and I almost broke down crying. Tracey and I held our second date near that beautiful river, not all that far from Thousand Islands. I love that area. It seems every time I hear Ontario, Canada, or come across those words in the media, I am flooded with memories of Tracey and our courtship. She missed Ontario's beauty and would have loved to visit Canada at least one more time before passing.

Image is copyrighted by Ian Coristine/

Is it hard being a Daddy?

This morning MacKenzie came into my room and looked at me from across the room and asked: "Is it hard being a Daddy?" My answer was: "Sometimes … but it is easy when you have kids like you." And I meant it. Noah and MacKenzie are awesome kids!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Matthew C.

MacKenzie has this "boyfriend" by the name of Mathew C. It is so cute seeing her excited about a boy. Saturday she wanted to call him on the telephone, so she got my permission and called. The first time there was no answer, but the second time she actually got to talk with him. It was adorable listening to her have a conversation over the phone. My little girl is growing up!


Days and weeks have gone by. On the way to lunch one day I realized how little I have been able to grieve the passing of Tracey. I guess being so busy (and exhausted) has not helped with this process. I am, however, very grateful for friends and family that have helped us through these difficult times.