Sunday, November 30, 2008

Without TV +1 = Terrorism and Gratitude

It's day one without television and I was going to write about all the withdrawl symptoms I'm experiencing and how I found an unending source of entertainment dealers and pushers who offer free t.v. and movies over the Internet providing countless hours of electronic feeds to the hungry monkey on my back. But instead, I once again was reminded today of just how good I have it, as do many others in the developed USA and that the luxury of t.v. is just that, a luxury and a not all an important one to boot.

I broke down this morning and wept while reading The New York Times reporter, Nicholas D. Kristof's article Terrorism That's Personal over the acid attacks on women in Pakistan and others areas of Asia. Want to put things in perspective? Read the article. Want to know how insane and fearful we really are? Read about the senseless trampling of and subsequent death of the temporary Wal-Mart worker on Long Island on Friday. And of course, the large scale systematic Mumbai murders this past week will have you scratching your head in amazement.

"Fearful" You say? Yes, it's all fear based. Why would anyone take to the horrific act of intentionally disfiguring his wife by pouring acid on her face after the couple divorced? Why would a group of male, motorcycling marauders dowse teenage girls with the same acid on their way to school just because they wanted to get an education? Fear. I imagine the thinking goes something like this: 'if women get educated then they'll be empowered and if they get empowered than us men will be less than the women and that can't happen because then the women will be in charge and before you know it they'll want us to stay at home and cook and clean and do whatever else they tell us to do.'

Fear drives all anger and acts of hate. From the
insidious rumor mongering about a co-worker to the extreme and abhorrent operations in Mumbai. The anger that many of my business clients relay to me about being passed-over at promotion or bonus time comes from fear and it goes like this: 'That bastard got the promotion and I didn't. (Subtext: 'I'm less-than, no good, not smart enough, or appreciated enough. Soon, they'll fire me and I'll be without a job and then I'll lose my home and end up living on the street and then I'll die of tuberculosis or meet some other unthinkable fate.')

Fear is disguised in many forms and I myself am not immune to it. Let's all just stop and take a breath when frustration starts to boil over to anger. Frustration is inevitable but anger is avoidable. Just be aware. "Why am I angry? Is it because I am afraid that if "they" get more than their fair share I'll be left with less?" Take pause good people, at home, at work, at the mall and especially at the Post Office. Ask yourself, "Is it that important to be right?" Yours and my anger will not fix nor correct any problems, it will only exacerbate them. It not only poisonous to your nervous system, it also takes years off of your life and of the those around you.

This evening instead of watching endless t.v. shows all about nothing, I will be huddled on the sofa, with a roof over my head, reading a book with the knowing that I truly have it so good and prayers and hopes for a calmer less angry world. If you're experiencing unspent anger consider channeling it to the Progressive Women’s Association who helps the "acid" victims and advocates for women's rights violations. Another progressive organization that "addresses the unique needs of women in conflict and post-conflict environments" is one that my wife and I are actively involved, Women For Women International.

One thing is for sure, I'm glad that I am a Happiest.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We Quit TV

We threw out our TV set today. More specifically, I threw out our TV today. No more TV. We quit and so far it feels really good.

After watching endless hours of mindless TV yesterday I got up, unplugged the set and gave it to a neighbor. It's best to just rip off the adhesive bandage quickly so it doesn't smart as much. Most of what we watch can be viewed on the Internet and the other shows we'll have to do with out. I admit that I'll miss watching Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer every Friday and Saturday night in the reruns of As Time Goes By. And I'll miss having another "instrument of avoidance" as I call them, a tool to which one uses to avoid doing something productive. The Internet, drinking coffee and sleeping are other
instruments of avoidance and are readily accessible. Of course, I was looking forward to watching Penn State play in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day but I'll have to settle for Internet video highlights.

There are a lot of books on my shelves that will finally get read and I will complete more writing of my own. Still, I know that there are challenges ahead. As Homer Simpson keenly put it when he and his brood were sitting on the family sofa in front of a blank screen, "Quick! Turn something on, I'm starting to think!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Power Pie

The most incredible, protein and carbohydrate meal I've ever had! And it was completely meat free! For a veggie-veganish runner, this recipe from the The Angelica Home Kitchen: Recipes and Rabble Rousings from an Organic Vegan Restaurant is the real deal and hours after eating it my stomach is still full.

If you want to try your hand at making this delicious dish you can find the recipe at Google Books or you can purchase the book via the link above. Happy eating.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The 20 Mile Lesson

I ran 20 miles today. I've run 20 miles before and today's was just as challenging as all the others. People ask me what I think about when I'm running 3 - 4 hours continuously. The answer is a lot of different things but the one consistent thought is how I can apply the lessons of running to my own mental and spiritual growth and the growth and development of others. So here's what I learned (again) today:
          • My mind will always quit before my body
          • I am exactly where my feet are and no where else
          • My mind will always quit before my body (worth repeating)
          • Planning is important, implementing those plans is more important
          • It usually hurts somewhere in my body when I push myself to become stronger
          • Improvement comes slowly and gradually
          • I need to treat myself as my own best customer
          • Contentment is in the small details
          • My body can get my mind (ego) up that steep hill
          • I can't finish unless I start
          • When I move a muscle, I change a thought
          • I'm very blessed to be able to run and see where I'm running
          • I love running up hills more than running down hills
          • I can eat whatever I want when I run 70 miles per week
          • Keep saying, "I know I can, I know I can
          • Running is applicable to mental work (writing, work projects, data entry, finances) not just physical exercise
          • I have nothing to complain about when I think of the miles Tim Borland has run: 63 marathons in 63 consecutive days
There you have it. I'm sure there are a lot more lessons to learn and when I learn them I'll let you know. Until then, I'll keep running until the January 11th Disney Marathon in Orlando, Florida where myself and others are running to raise awareness and funds for the A-T Children's Foundation. I bet if I asked these kids who are afflicted with this killer disease, if they would trade their A-T bodies with the pain inflicted by running a marathon they would gladly make the exchange in a heart beat.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Last Vehicle

The last General Motors car rolled down a vacant highway today powered by the last drop of fossil fuel. This is what GM would have you believe would happen if the Feds refused to bailout the antiquated auto maker out of financial ruin. Using yours and my tax dollars General Motors would get to keep on doing what it has been doing without change for close to 100 years - whatever it wants.

The only way I would approve the use of my money to bailout GM would be the following:


          1. Re-tool the entire operation within 5 years to accommodate the building of non-fossil fuel vehicles
          2. Retain and retrain its workforce
          3. The guarantee that you and I own a piece of GM

Bailing out GM will not solve their problems nor the larger problem of Global warming being caused in large part to the use of petroleum based products. Don't forget when GM was forced to, it stopped making cars during WWII and built tanks and aircraft instead. Funny, they knew how to re-tool 65 years ago when it meant making money from the War effort. Bailing out GM is a short-term band-aide that will only provide short-term protection.

I for one am so opposed to bailing out large corporation when there are thousands upon thousands of us who would like nothing more than to be bailed-out of our own financial crisises. When will it end? If I rename my business and call it Katlin's Bank then and only then would the Fed step forward and say, 'here, take as much money as you need, we'll make more. Oh, and by the way, we'll let you monitor yourself to make sure that you don't take advantage of our generosity and spend $53b anyway you like. Wink, wink.'

What ever happened to the meaning of "risk"? When you take a risk you better be sure that you're prepared to lose everything. I say, GM change or get out of the car making business.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reel Matters

Your vote will determine the quality of our country's movie entertainment.

Don't allow mediocre short films to poison yours and those you love movie taste buds. Vote for something that reely matters.
Rick Mowat's short film Marty Learns to Drive is a finalist for the PBS REEL13 FILM FESTIVAL.

Marty Learns to Drive is a touching and funny short film adroitly directly about one grown man's struggle to get his first-ever driver's license. Seems simple? Not so for Marty. A seemingly easy and obtainable task for most becomes a life-time challenge for the film's underdog. (Yes, this is a true story.)

So, please, vote for this heart warming and very funny short film so that it will be selected to be shown this Saturday night (Nov. 15th) on PBS's Channel 13. You can watch this short film, laugh, shake your head in amazement and then vote. It's that simple. Your entertainment taste buds will thank you.
Even if you don't live in New York or the USA your vote still counts!

Thank you in advance for advancing things that reely matter.