Thomas Sowell has another "Random Thoughts" column so I figure I would go with a "Rumblings" of my own.

This past weekend I turned 30 years old. Three decades - not bad. It is weird to think that some of my family members have known me for thirty years. And they still talk to me!

I have decided to forego the traditional wallet and use a money clip that holds credit cards (Special thanks to Steve Schmidt for the groomsman gift.) It has been much easier sitting down whether at my desk or while driving. With the added space I have been carrying other items in my back pocket: keys, pens, cell phone, etc. Letters and envelopes are particularly bad to carry in the back pocket. Somehow they just work themselves way out. I almost lost a couple. Must be the swivel hips.

What is it with women and their fear of running out of toilet paper? Since I got married I never had so much tp. Everytime I open a closet more falls out. I have a toilet paper storage bin next to the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom. Each week at the grocery store I hear the line, "We need toilet paper." I just roll with it.

For some reason I find it more interesting to flip through a magazine backwards. I actually read more articles this way. I think it is because I can never find the damn table of contents.

With all the emails, text messaging and online bill paying do you think the post office will ever go out of business?

If I buy fair trade coffee at Wal-mart am I just cancelling myself out? Is it like a carbon credit? Where's Al Gore when you need him.

We recently moved into an apartment with tile floors. I never broke so many glasses. Forgive me if I offer you a drink in a plastic cup. We are all out of glass.


It Takes a Village...

So I picked up Hillary Clinton's book, "It Takes a Village" from my local library. Unfortuately I couldn't get through it. I read about half of it actually finding myself agreeing with the ideas and beliefs of our former First Lady and my current State Senator. Why couldn't I get through it? My problem is that I don't believe her.

Perhaps my personal politics have clouded my objectivity and that adds to a predisposed bias to the woman who claimed to be named after the man who first climbed Mt. Everest - Sir Edmund Hillary? But I don't think that is the case. There is a list of eyebrow raising events that would cause me to not trust Senator Clinton. Bill doesn't help matters either. However I will try to keep an open mind ;)

The point of the book is a good one - it takes a village. A child needs a safe environment to grow up in, people looking after his or her best interests, people on their side, encouraging and clearing a path to maturity and self discovery. The problem is the village has not necessarily owned up to this responisbility and has even shirked it.

I think about how a teacher friend of mine was told by her assistant principal that "it is not our job to teach responsibility" when she wanted to give her student a zero for not turning in an assignment. The policy at this public school is that there is no deadlines. You can turn your homework in anytime. The sad part was that the student whose homework was late was actually the child of the principal!

Or I think about my father-in-law who teaches Spanish to public high school students in New Jersey. During one of his final exams the proctor caught a student smearing chapstick on the computer graded "scan-tron" answer sheet. This supposedly makes the machine unable to read the answers and marks the answers as correct. When the incident was brought before the assistant prinicipal (the one in charge of discipline) his answer to my father-in-law was to grade the test by hand because it wasn't their job to determine the student's intent. Can you believe that?

The village's hands are tied my friends. And in some cases it is glorifies the very behavior that we are trying to avoid. The latest example of this comes from the campus of Virginia Tech, my alma mater. I believe that the evil and violence that has destroyed the lives of so many will end up saving hundreds more. Our eyes have been opened, our souls torn open, and our hearts bruised. But there has been so much love, hope and strength flowing in around and out of the campus. I truly believe the goal of this evil will prove counter productive.

Hopefully there will be changes to the Virginia Tech village. An interesting article by James Lewis at the American Thinker illustrates the need. Now this is just one side of the story. A side I'm sure we won't hear. I would enjoy reading a response.

And hopefully Hollywood will wake up too. On the very night of the murders, during a commerical on American Idol, we saw a movie trailer for Disturbia - subtitled "every killer lives next to someone. The disturbing part of the trailer was hearing the words, "You made me do this". The same words I was hearing all day on the news about the killer from the campus of Virginia Tech.

The village needs leadership. It needs people of faith to step in (to be allowed, encouraged, welcomed) to step in and aid in the maturity and self discovery of our young people. I know I am not doing enough. I work too much. Not because I want to accumulate toys but because that's what my job asks of me, it's what I need to do to pay the cost of living in our Long Island, NY. The price is too high on too many fronts. How will the village respond? I am hopeful.

Psalm 46:10


Health Care...

"I am much more interested in long-term living than in long-term care." -- Newt Gingrich

Polling has indicated that Newt Gingrich is one of the most favorable of possible candidates for the 2008 Presidential election. However, those who find him favorable do not think he can win. (I heard this on a Saturday radio show.)

After reading his book and hearing him do interviews I am inclined to favor him as well.

Chapter 8 of Gingrich's book, "Winning the Future" is titled A 21st Century Health System. Interesting how he does not use the word "care." I think he does this because the issue affects us all and is so much bigger than just being cared for as we have become accustomed. Gingrich emphasizes personal responsibility and involvement in taking care of our health and medical needs. This requires us to be informed and involved in matters regarding our health.

Gingrich does not want to reform the current health system because he considers it profoundly wrong in three specific areas.

The truth is that the current health system cannot be reformed because its approach is profoundly wrong in three specific areas. First, it emphasizes acute care rather than wellness, early detection, and prevention. Second, it focuses on third-party payments, an area in which the individual has little responsibility, little knowledge, and no control. And third, it relies on paper (i.e. paper medical records and paper prescriptions) rather than information technology.

Newt is attractive to a lot of people because he brings real ideas to the table. He doesn't talk about having a plan and he isn't making any promises. His book is titled "Winning the Future". There is something exciting about moving forward and making changes where necessary.

Gingrich will build the 21st Century Intelligent Health System around three big changes: 1. Move knowledge from the doctor's office and scientific laboratory to the individual as rapidly as possible; 2. Help the health care system adopt top quality information technology systems to increase productivity, accuracy, and cut costs. 3. Center the process of health on the informed individual so he or she can have the knowledge, desire, responsibility, and opportunity to live the longest life, with the best health, at the lowest cost.

Currently I am reading Hilary Clinton's book "It Takes a Village". I just finished a chapter in which she talks about health care. I hope to post her views in do time. Until now soak up what Newt says, visit his website, or buy the book.



Thomas Sowell will go through "Random Thoughts" every now and then in his column. I love it when he does this. He is very insightful.

I don't presume to compare with him, but there are what I will call, "Rumblings":

Does it make me lame that I have a “tape player” in my car? What if I still have tapes?

Even on an empty tank, yellow light flashing I will forgo a full service only gas station in search of a self-serve. I just want to do it myself.

Do you find it mildly satisfying to make it through a yellow light or one that just turns red as you are passing through the intersection? Well that feeling is squashed here in Long Beach, NY cause if you make it through one, there is a red light waiting for you 100 yards ahead at the next intersection. The man keeps you down.

Somewhere between 25 and thirty the body (at least mine) confuses growing hair on the head with growing it on the back. How does one deal with a receeding hairline?

Henry Petroski says that past success is no guarentee against future failure.

Even though I know little about her Mother Teresa is one of my favorite people. She says, "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin."


LOL ingenious writing...

if you can get past the source, you just might enjoy Ann's latest column.

i laughed out loud a couple of times!!!



My hope for our country and world is not is some politcal candidate or party. I do hope Newt Gingrich will run for president in 2008. He hasn't declared anything. He is just out there giving speeches and debating ideas. He may be the only person with ideas.

I read his book Winning the Future and found it to be quite inspiring. Here is the dedication:

To my grandchildren Maggie and Robert and all the other grandchildren who deserve to inherit an America that is as free, safe, healthy and prosperous as the America we inherited.


To the millions of Americans (including first generation immigrants who want to become American) who will have to work, argue, struggle and at times fight to preserve our freedom, our safet, our health and our prosperity.

I will post more on Newt as I learn more about him. Maybe my mind will change as i dive deeper into what this man believes and how he will go about accomplishing his plans for America. I am open to that. We live in the "information age" so there is no excuse to be uninformed and swept away by rhetoric.

Economics...and Smoking...

My high school cheated me out of an economics class. I had a teacher named Mr., you know what, I don't remember his name. But he gave us a stupid project where we pick stocks and see how we much fake money we made. We learned supply and demand and that's about it. So my surrogate teachers in economics are Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. These two men should be weekly reading for everyone.


Ing Direct...

Several years ago I was introduced to ING Direct. It is an online bank. I opened a savings account with them because they have the best rates around plus the convenience of the internet.

Along with mortgages and cd's ING just started an electronic checking account. It is completely paperless so you don't write checks. Everything is wired through the internet. The also offer a 4% APY for the account. That is unbelievable for a checking account.

I just found out about it so I figured I would pass on the info. When I signed up for an ING savings account I got 25 bucks free and the person who refered me got $10. The same deal applies if you put in at least $250. If you want to take advantage let me know and I will refer you.

Duckets are duckets.


Michael Crichton...

"The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda."

This post is inspired by Al Gore's presence at the Oscar's.

For interesting thoughts on enviromentalism, climate change and global warming check out www.michaelchrichton.com and click on speeches.

Crichton is speaking at the Asia Room in NYC next month. It is sold out and I am unable to get a ticket. If anyone out there has connections and can hook me up let me know!


Married to a cover girl...

She's the one on the right.




Balance - our goal for 2007...

Laura and I just moved from Holbrook, NY to Long Beach, NY fulfilling one of our life goals of living at the beach. In a perfect world that beach would have been in a warmer climate - but we are making the best of it!

This move has cut my commute to work from 4 hours total, door to door, morning and night to a little over 2 hours total. So I have about 2 hours of my life back. I get to walk to the train station- partially fulfilling another goal of being able to walk to work- so I get a little exercise thus adding to the "balance".

I am trying to work an 8 hour day. It is almost impossible, but if I keep it at the front of my mind the more I achieve it. Can you be successful only working 40 hours a week? I guess it's all how you define success.

Keeping in touch with people has been very difficult and I do not help matters. We have been so blessed with great friends in each of the places we have lived. And it seems like no matter how much time pasts between the time we talk or see each other, it is never hard to pick right up where we left off. Hopefully I will be more balanced in this area.

I haven't been a regular blogger but I want to be.

Here's to being balanced


Our Lady of Vilnius

Everywhere I turned there were eyes watching me: Jesus, Saint Paul, Mary and many other figures of church history. It was was eerie. I did not like it.

The engineering company I work for was retained to perform a structural review of Our Lady of Vilnius Church in Manhattan. So I spent four hours avoiding contact with statues and stained glass as I did my job.

The church is in danger of being sold if it is beyond repair. The people associated with the church very much want us to be able to fix it. Joy, the care-taker, asked that I would put her request that the church be repaired into my report.

The very place that I could not wait to get out of was of immense importance people. I viewed all the eyes in the room as looking at me. Others must see the faces as watching over them.