Thursday, December 20, 2012

I wrote a CV a while ago that quoted Rousseu and tried to capture the reality that I'm not that smart the way many people think of smart.  I'm not dumb either in the same way.  Like this blog's subtitle describes: People are Polynomials.

So I ran across this great video by Neil deGrasse Tyson that explains how each person is unique, has a mix of talents and should celebrate that.  He says: the world would be a better place if people focused on their talents and not try to fit the mold or fulfill the job descriptions imposed on them by others.

This is also the message of 'The Element," a wonderful book by Sir Ken Robinson that takes up the same subject.  Finding, and being 'in,' your element is the most important mission you have in life.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Another Indianapolis Rotary Club Invocation, delivered 10/16/2012

My son was married about a week ago.  As a matter of some coincidence, they chose to be married at the Speakeasy - a place connected to our speaker's businessincubator.  I hope it works as well for young couples as it does for young businesses.

The occasion of their marriage offered me time to reflect on love.  Of all the emotions it is the most difficult to explain.  The Apostle Paul wrote: "For there are these three things that endure: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love."

I've set many goals in my life and achieved some success, but the achievement of which I am most proud is being married for 37 years.  A life of love shared with my wife.

Our love has changed through the years - the Greeks were the first to determined there were four types of love.  And I believe you can find all of them on display here today at Rotary:

Affection: We meet every week, sharing greetings, genuinely interested in listening to each other and doing business on the square.  You may not think this is love but of the four kinds it is the most natural and widely experienced.  An affection for nature, a cause, and a curiosity is love.  What soul could thrive apart from that?

Friendship: The old saying: "Make new friends, cherish the old.  One is silver the other gold" isn't an old saying here.  It's a part of our four way test; a pledge we make not to Rotary . . . but to each other.  Friendship is Chicken Soup for your soul. When you greet each other today consider it an opportunity to create a friendship that could last a lifetime.

Romance: Part nature but to this engineer's mind mostly mystery.  Easier to witness than explain; in full view at my son's wedding and - at my wedding and at your wedding.  Romance allows you to fall in love but land on clouds.  Romance is rewarded with caring, acceptance and fulfillment - so why don't we have more of it?

Charity: We gather today under a banner of service above self.  Unselfish love focused on bettering the world - but at the same time - ourselves.  Anne Frank said: “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

So be more in love today...practice all the different kinds: Affection, Friendship, Romance and Charity.  There probably isn't enough love in the world so commit yourself to making more of it today.
From Frank Zappa via Gregg Keesling:
Do what you wanna
Do what you will
Just don’t mess up your neighbor’s thrill
And as you pay the bill
Kindly leave a little tip
And help the next poor sucker on his one way trip

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why [great] newspapers must survive

It struck me today why newspapers must survive and it was a bit surprising.  (Isn't it wonderful when you can be surprised by your own ideas?  As if they came from another person!)

Browsing the pages of the NY Times it occurred to me the exposure to information in a newspaper is nearly random.  I know the Times has a liberal bias.  I know the 'Book Review' section is about books.  So the exposure may not be truly random.  But the discoveries on each page are somewhat unpredictable and the field so wide that I find myself stumbling into new matter every time.  It is almost like a voyage of discovery into uncharted territories.  Like Darwin trolling the inlets of the Gal├ípagos Islands.

Perhaps this simply discloses my sheltered, naive and uninformed existence.  But the Internet has made search so effective and efficient that it is hard to stumble across information unintentionally today.  Every key word your look for is in the results.  But what if other ideas, tangentially related or unrelated, in the general area or far flung, are interesting too?  How do you expose yourself to that?

Whether intentionally or not, newspapers are the way to do that.  Maybe they shouldn't be called newspapers anymore.  News is something the Internet can deliver faster and cheaper.  Maybe they should be called Random Information Delivery Vehicles or Curated Collections of Loosely Aggregated Facts and Opinions.  Those monikers don't exactly flow from the tongue ;)

In any regard, Newspapers should spoil us with surprises and keep us curious about random facts and figures, stories and insights and delicious details that aren't immediately useful for a long time.

Thursday, November 08, 2012


As reported on the IN Secretary of State's website, my candidacy for IN House District #53 resulted in 23% of the electorate voting for me!  That's a real bite out of the total votes cast 22778.  

My opponent would have otherwise run unopposed.  He is a good man and does a good job for our district.  BUT: the monogamy of ideas presented in a one party system is unhealthy for Indiana.  Nature loves experiments and diversity.  So should out political system.

I was impressed by the impotence of big budget political campaigns at the national level.  Billions of dollars could have been so much more productively spent.

Stay tuned to these pages for my plans concerning upcoming elections . . . THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My new favorite author: Steven Strogatz.  He joins a select few who have written books that I want to be buried with. (In case you are curious: Taleb, Kahneman, Mlodinow . . . maybe a few more.) What an amazing title:

The Calculus of Friendship:
What a Teacher and a Student Learned about Life while Corresponding about Math

Life is over when the plates stop spinning.  Until then, my advice is to keep as many as you can from breaking!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm running again!

I'm happy to announce my candidacy for Indiana House of Representatives.  However, there's a twist!

Indiana redrew the House districts last fall and changed the borders for what had previously been District 53.  I now live in District 88!  But that detail was apparently overlooked by everyone involved in the acceptance and review of my application to run.  Oops!

Curiously, I learned about the change from an astute reporter for the Greenfield Reporter: Maribeth Vaugh.

In an e-mail exchange with one of the Co-Directors of the Indiana Election Commission I learned that if I won my race - now against Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma - the House would need to vote on what to do with me.

I am running to give Indiana voters a choice.  My business experience, leadership experience in several civic organizations, engineering education at Purdue and Libertarian philosophy qualify me to ask for your vote.  In an election year marred by unprecedented political acrimony, a third party candidate will be more than a vote for 'None of the Above.'  Hoosiers are tired of politicians who cling to anachronistic party positions and eschew collaboration.

We live in a time of unprecedented complexity and change.  Politicians that exploit the electorate's fear and confusion and promise a return to yesterday's bromides aren't just out of touch - they are insulting our intelligence.  More importantly: they are wasting our time.

You may not agree with my positions - you may not believe a third party candidate can win.  But think for yourself this Fall.  Consider the title of one of my favorite author's books as it applies to your choice: 'What Got You Here Won't Get You There.'

Feel free to contact me with your questions.

For the curious, I have posted several Press Releases and my Curriculum Vitae here.

Press Release - August 26, 2012
Press Release - August 15, 2012
Press Release - July 20, 2012
Press Release - July 19, 2012
Response to IN Right To Life Questionnaire

Monday, July 30, 2012

As if we needed further evidence that the Internet is making us stupid and anti-social . . . here comes Newsweek blogger Tony Dokoupil to remind us just how far we have fallen from interactive human beings to bots craving bandwidth in his article: Is the Internet Driving Us Mad?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The future of education

I've had the pleasure of meeting other people who are passionate about education.  But there is a persistent planning paradox that envelops the education community.  It is so hard to do anything and reform takes so long.  That is why I think this man is the future of education.  He didn't need a budget, a committee, a degree or pedagogy.  He just started.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Another Rotary Invocation

I always try to deliver a non-religious invocation but which is none-the-less spiritual.  This time I spoke about keeping a gratitude journal.  I first learned about keeping a gratitude journal from a great book I found in the U.K. named: Help! by Oliver Burkeman, the author of The Guardian's "This Column Will Change Your Life" column.

My research dug up lots more about gratitude journals...among then a few gems from a University of Miami professor, an article from Oprah's website and an article from Wikipedia including a quote from a 14th century Dominican priest I used to wrap it up.

Here is the invocation:
I’m not a psychiatrist, but I believe that at the core of many (if not all people) is a nervous, selfish, worried little child who is afraid he or she will lose their stuff or that some other kid will have more stuff or that some act of fate will take their stuff away and they will be left with less stuff or worse: no stuff at all. These fears turn us into greedy, envious, anxious adults with less capacity for hope or love or charity.

So I’ve discovered a happy trick you can play on that child. Record your blessings in a gratitude journal – write them down like in a diary. Charles Dickens wrote: “Every day reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. Recording five a day keeps depression away.

So my advice it to keep a gratitude journal. Keep foremost in your thoughts that which you are thankful for, grateful for and in love with. Tell the little kid inside you to scram.

A 14th Century Dominican priest once said: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would be enough.” 
You can Google “Gratitude Journal” for more.