Monday, October 31, 2005

Blogger Helps - 10 Big Mistakes

Blogging for Dummies. Idiots Guide to Blogging. Both in one. And Free. I don't usually use this site for blogging advice. If you would like to see some of that advice, you want to go to my specialty advertising blog and check the archives for various postings on blogging and search engine optimization.

But while strolling through Mike Williams blog (a must read for anyone who likes this blog), one of the comments led me to Norma Bruce's Blog which I now highly recommend. She had a post that led to Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox

It was here that I found the Top Ten Design Mistakes that Bloggers Make. If you are serious or even semi-serious about your blogging, make absolultely certain that you spend 5 minutes on this site. You will see changes in this blog over the next week and you'll know just where they came from.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sneak Peak at the New Book Cover



The book will be published in late January. I need help from my friends. I need a few folks who are now, have been, or someday hope to be in business for themselves, who also have decent writing skills. If you are that person and would like a free copy to review, I can get that done. Then I would request that you put this review on your website or blog. I will link to it from at least 5 websites. I would also appreciate reviews at Amazon, Barnes, etc.

Send me an email at Randy@Kirks4Jesus.com if you are interested.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Christmas Gift Ideas

Less than 60 days until Christmas. That means millions of men like me will be heading to the department stores on Christmas Eve to buy something for our wives. It is much more fun for me. The love of my life and I were married two days after Christmas, and her birthday is in January. Not to mention Valentine's day in mid February.

So, as a public service I am asking you readers to help us men come up with UNIQUE ideas for our wives. Forget clothes. Pam even returns what she buys. Nothing with a plug, thank you. And, you won't believe it, but Pam thinks that electronic toys that I buy for her might really be for me.

OK. No more limits. This is not just for me. You might do wonders for a marriage someplace by making some guy look really good this Christmas. Hit the comment button and leave your ideas. Or e-mail me at Randy@Kirks4Jesus. Either way I'll do some future posts with the best ideas.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Some Things Have Always Been the Same - Crying Wolf Department

It must be the end times. Look at all these storms, earthquakes, bad calls in playoff games, and sinful behavior.

President Bush will certainly bring our nation to some horrible end, most likely returning our nation to slavery, or at least horrible injustices towards folks of color, the female persuasion, and the poor. Along the way we will become the 4th Reich, send all jobs except oil tycoons to India and China, and destroy our school system by underfunding No Child Left Behind.

We are running out of oil, the earth is becoming warmer, and our cities can't handle any more people than they have now. In fact the earth is pretty much on its last legs, because if Ice Ages or global warming don't get us, surely the bird flu, or an asteroid will.

The media, both traditional and even us blogs, love the fact that humans get some kind of perverse pleasure out of being in danger. Seems to me it was ever thus.

Some Things Have Always Been the Same - Sexual Immorality Department

From Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor, quoting Jonathan Edwards appx 1723:

The land is vastly corrupted as to this sin within this few years. Young people take more and more of a licentious liberty in their keeping company . . . And there is not that discountenance of such things as there formerly used to be. It is not now such a discredit; tis not accounted such a blot and disgrace to a person. . . I believe there is not a country in the Christian world, however debauched and vicious, where parents indulge their children in such liberties in company-keeping as the do in this country.


It seemed to Edwards that things were going downhill during his time. It certainly seems to me that things have gone downhill in sexual purity during my time. However, like so much of life, these things seem to go from extreme to extreme, swinging like a pendulum.

We can turn back to man's earliest writings in the Bible and see that the people sinned, then they repented, then they walked away from God, then they came back to Him. I think we can plan on the truth that it will ever be thus.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Jesus is My Comfort

Many aspects of our Christian walk are mere words. Example - We may know the names of God, and even what they stand for. Most mature Christians are well versed in the many ways that we can count on God in our daily walk. But, we constantly fail to have that kind of faith.

The last couple of months have been pretty difficult for our family. Not compared to so many others who are undergoing immense suffering and hardship, but enough to create some anguish, tears, frustration, pain.

During those kinds of days we may start trying to be introspective and see what God is trying to teach us. We might look at others around us and wonder what they should be learning from God so that they could stop bugging us or start helping us more. We mightjust go into a funk and drop out for a while. We might hide, seek distractions, take some kind of pain reliever, or jump into sin for a while. We might do all of the aove and then on the worst days, blame God.

Sometimes that blame is just yelling at Him like David did, and which I believe is ok. Sometimes it is just crying out to Him, which He clearly wants us to do. But sometimes it looks more like rebellion. "If, after all I've done, this is my reward, then I might as well stop being so righteous and do what I wanted to do instead."

I had some of those thoughts during this time. I've had them at other times. I've talked to others or read about others who have had some of the ones I haven't experienced.

But, as I drove down the Century Freeway the other day, I was just struck by the idea that as I would want to comfort my child or my wife or my Mom or my friend if they were feeling or dealing with stuff, how much more so Jesus. And His peace settled over me. I repented, and at least for this season, I am changed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hershey Does It Again - EXTRA DARK


Regular readers know I'm high on dark chocolate for its health benefits and because it tastes good. Hershey has been at the forefront of developing and even extracting the antioxident properties of chocolate.

Now they have introduced potentially the best combination of delicious and healthy ever known to man. So far I've only seen it on the shelf at a 7/11 store. It is called Hershey's Extra Dark. It is better for you than Hershey's Special Dark and tastes better than Trader Joe's Pound Plus. Pound Plus is still a better deal economically, but I suspect Extra Dark will find its way to the "sale" table like Special Dark has. We try to buy 10 or 20 large bars when they are on sale for $1.

I am not paid to say this. But if Hershey should read this and want to pay me, they are welcome to send a check. (Or a few dozen Extra bars.)

Impact - Undocumented Workers

You won't read this anywhere else. You won't hear it on TV, not even on Fox. You won't hear it on Rush or Hewitt or any other conservative talk show. The pool of low wage labor is drying up even with the influx of illegal migrant workers.

One of my managers needed a low wage worker for a day or two. He headed over to Home Depot, hoping to find one or two. He offered minimum wage and was laughed off the parking lot. He tried two other Home Depots with the same result. They wanted $10 an hour or more.

This manager oversees 20 employees and up to 30 temporary employees. He tells me that the pool of male temps is almost completely dry. Those in the pool are bottom of the barrel, not willing to work hard, and difficult to hold on to. To many other opportunities out there.

We used to get at least 2 or 3 low skilled, no habla Ingl├ęs, workers per week coming to our office reception area. Now we get NONE.

If anyone thinks that turning off the Northern Migration is going to benefit the current booming economy, they are incorrect. I do not support illegal immigration, but the President is correct when he says we need a guest worker program.

A few weeks ago, I suggested in this space that we need to seal the border and start a guest worker program. That might be backwards. We made need the guest worker program now, while we work to secure the border.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Feelers and Thinkers - Part IV

I feel real tension in my life regarding this issue, and I think this will be the last post on it for a while. One of the worst feelings that we can have is anomie, and that is me right now. I'm way too old to make major changes in my ways of doing things. Or maybe I'm not, but it feels that way. It takes so long to see the benefits or negative consequences of serious change, and that fact works against grandpa's willingness to take risks.

The Bible would seem to say that our actions should not be dependent on feelings. We are to love one another and God whether we feel like it or not. We are to be submissive to authority and to or mates whether we feel like it or not. We are even to give our bodies to our mates irrespective of how we feel. That is pretty heavy. We are to honor our parents, refrain from gossip, lying, envy, lust, and even worry about food, shelter, and clothing regardless of feelings. We are commanded to do these things. We are told to choose the narrow path.

Choices are about thinking, but being passionate enough in our love of Christ to be willing to choose what commonly appears to be a difficult path requires feeling. And the choice we make to follow Christ, certainly that requires both feelings and thinking.

Maybe you have this all worked out in your life, or maybe you just don't consider these kinds of things at all. Today, this question seems really important to me.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Feelers and Thinkers - Part III

Talked this whole thing over with my daughter the other day. She agrees with the first two posts for the most part, but suggested that various Biblical characters certainly were seen expressing their feelings. David comes to mind. Jesus wept, lashed out, and grew frustrated. Peter was almost a slave to his feelings.

But the question becomes, are these actions in the Bible to provide a witness for how we are to act? In Jesus' case, of course. His actions were appropriate in every case, even when they seemed to be rooted in feelings. But David's dancing naked, or Peter's telling Jesus what he would or would not do don't seem to be something we should embrace.

So, if a person is a feeler, how do they moderate and control those feelings and still be true to who they are? If a person is a thinker, how do they get in touch with and express their feelings without stepping across lines like cutting off the ears of our enemies? And, moreover, do thinkers need to "feel" more to be authentic?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Great Site - Junk Science

Here is a new spot that deserves your bookmark. Junk Science is the home of scientific skepticism. However, like this blogger, they don't dislike or distrust science. Rather, the love of scientific inquiry is at the heart of their site. They just want to hold the scientific community to a set of standards. They are concerned, like I am, that many in that community are driven by political correctness, peer pressure, grant requirements, corporate funding, and personal agenda.

Today, the subject is global warming in the Arctic. Their contention is that there has been no warming in modern times. Check out their sources and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

STOP ILLEGLE ALIEN TRAFFIC the EASY WAY

Once a month, World Net Daily comes up with a gem. This month they have come up with such a simple solution to the border issue that it boggles the mind that we haven't already done it.

The idea, they say, is to erect a structure similar to barrier walls built along highways to reduce sound. They are sturdy, tall, not easily scaled and, most attractively, affordable....

That's about $1.27 billion for 2,000 miles of border fence, similar to the government's figures.


What are we waiting for. We are speding that much every three days in New Orleans. Surely, the POTUS could write that check out of a slush fund somewhere. The first person to push this idea through to completion gets my vote for President in '08. (Now I just have to pray that Hillary doesn't take me up on it.)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Purpose Driven or Just Driven

Yes! I'm one of the millions who have read the Purpose Driven Life and participated in various small groups at my church. I have even gone to Saddleback Church for a weekend conference with Rick Warren and other staffers providing instruction in how to become more effective as Christian leaders using the Purpose Driven approach. The weekend was very memorable and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get closer to Jesus and take a hard look at their personal investment in the work God intends us to do.

Then why am I still not doing all that I think I should do to further the kingdom? And I'm not alone. I look around me and see countless others who are doing little else than attending a Sunday morning service and possibly a small group. Sure, there are those who do some greeting at the front door, work as leaders of kids classes, or add their vocal or musical talent to the worship team.

I do know a few folks who are helping to feed the poor, visit the prisoners, take care of widows, and such, but they are the exception. I want to be like them, but something is holding me back.

I think for the most part the greatest roadablocks are other responsibilities like work, household chores, the needs of wife, kids, grandkids, and friends. Sure, there are hobbies like reading, writing, and a bit of tv.

I know some folks are looking for leadership or something to get passionate about. But I tend to be someone who starts things and I'm passionate about many things. Or at least I am while I'm reading about a need.

Anyone else feel like this? What is your thinking?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Do You Trust Feelers or Thinkers?

My first inclination is to say Thinkers more than Feelers. In general, it would seem that feelers try to make their reality fit their feelings. Or, in some cases, don't even bother. They just assume that the way they feel is reality.

Example. My friend says something that causes me to take offense. My feelings are hurt, and I begin to dwell on what was said. I blow it way out of proportion to the point that I am feeling angry, resentful, even bitter. I decide to end the relationship.

The facts may be that the statement was not intended to be offensive. In fact, it might not have even been seen as offensive to others who heard it. The Feeler has ignored the history of the relationship, other cues to the intent of the comment, and the possibility of reconciliation through loving confrontation. If I am the friend, I would be concerned about restarting a relationship, because the Feeler is trusting his feelings over a thoughtful evaluation.

I gather from speaking to feelers and reading about them, that they have a hard time trusting Thinkers because Thinkers commonly fail to validate the Feeler's feelings. In other words, even if the feelings are not logical or valid, they are still real to the Feeler. The Thinker says: "Why should I validate something that is not true?" The Feeler says because you diminish me when you dismiss my feelings."

C'mon you Thinkers and Feelers out there. Help me out in this process. Fill in the comment section.

Katrina $$$$$$$$$$$? No. Maybe $$$$

I'm still waiting for somebody like Hugh Hewitt or Fox News to give me a call. The reports continue to come in supporting all of my estimates of Sept 1. Haley Barbour, now Governor of Mississippi, says that the $200B - $300B numbers are excessive.

(Barbour)estimated the total federal costs for relief, recovery and rebuilding in his state would be under $50 billion and might not be much more than $30 billion.


Also, from the Congressional budget office

The final tab is likely to be less than $150 billion, instead of an estimated $200 billion or more that was tossed about immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin said Thursday.

"There's nothing that we've seen so far that adds up to even approach $200 billion," Holtz-Eakin told The Associated Press, amplifying on testimony to the House Budget Committee. "Everything we've seen is in the vicinity of $150 billion or below."


He went on to report

As for hurricane damage, the CBO's Holtz-Eakin told the House Budget Committee that his office now estimates damage to homes, government buildings, oil refineries and businesses will cost between $70 billion and $130 billion. But at least $40 billion is covered by private insurance, he said.


Now these numbers from the Congressional Budget Office are still far higher than my estimates, which are more in line with the Mississippi Governor.

My concern is that if you give people three times what things cost, they will spend it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Feelers and Thinkers

It is so funny how things come together some times. The last few weeks I have really been dealing with why I don't "feel" things more deeply. I am the eternal optimist and do very well with feeling happy and passionate about positive things. However, I know very little about feelings like depression, anger, angst, etc. This, of course, diminishes my ability to empathize with those who are depressed, angry and the like. It also keep me, I think, from reaching my potential as a musician, public speaker, or even writer. No "soul."

While contemplating whether this is a fault, or something to be corrected, or just a part of who I am, I read blogster HolyCoast's post of a few days ago. It would appear he shares my affliction. I have stolen his headline "Feelers and Thinkers." He seems concerned that feelers have a real problem with being logical in arguments, and revert to personal attacks when cornered. I share his concern, and generally lump liberals and most women into this camp (I know I'm in trouble now. Move over Bill Bennett.)

Since I've destroyed any chance of a future Supreme Court appointment, let me continue my line of reasoning. The very next thing I did after reading the HolyCoast blog was read an e-mail from a friend. He had written four poems/songs about my Mother-in-law who passed away a year ago. They were beautiful and touching. My wife was crying and just amazed by what our friend had written. I told her, "I could never have written anything like that." By the way, he isn't a liberal.

Several men who I have discussed the "feeling" thing with over these last weeks are quick to give the macho response: "What? Me feel?" And I don't doubt their sincerity. I'd love to hear some discussion on this one.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Pubescent Sex - Where are We Headed

We've been hearing mostly upbeat news on the subject of teen sexuality. Most reports seem to suggest that more and more teens are choosing to remain chaste for a longer time. If this article is correct, those teens who are sexually active are starting their sex life earlier.

Potentially the most disturbing aspect of this article is the confirmation of other research which suggests that the Clinton Position (oral sex) has become about as run-of-the-mill as kissing. I find this disturbing because it is in many ways more intimate than intercourse, and likely to create memories that will interfere with future relationships. We can be very certain that Planned Parenthood's school sex ed programs and others like them are not dealing with the real consequences of teen sex.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Parents are Better than Child Care Providers - Yes or No?

Here is another example of "scientists" going to a huge amount of trouble to try and prove what is totally obvious to any lay person. Is it better for kids to be raised by their biological parents or by someone else? PLEASE!?!? The only reason to try and prove that it is ok for professionals to raise kids is to provide cover to secular humanists who want the government to start brainwashing our kids at 2 instead of 5.

Anyway, this report says parents are better.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Encouragement

The last two weeks have not been great weeks. Personally, professionally, businesswise, there was not a lot to shout about.

However, in the midst of some dark days, a couple of strangers and a couple of friends offered words of encouragement totally unrelated to my circumstances. In other words, none of them knew of my trials, or of how these few words lifted my spirits.

There are many ways to charge folks up, give them a lift, or just propel them down the road to greatness. Some bosses, family members, or friends think criticism gets that job done. In all fairness, I have had someone criticize my work, suggest that I could do much better, and it has resulted (after a short pity party) in a better final product.

However, I can so clearly remember when I had the first chapter or so of one of my books in rough form. I took it to my partner. He read it and told me it was excellent, and that I should absolutely continue. That short bit of encouragement propelled me through the next year of writing, editing, and slogging that resulted in a published work.

Have you encouraged anyone today?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Truth About Katrina - Cost

Here again, your sage had it first. Why isn't the national media calling and asking how I knew first. But the San Francisco Chronical figured it out the other day. And the writer had the time to do the research. If your interested at all, this is a great article on how the $200 BILLION number was birthed, and how the number is probably very close to the $35 Billion suggested in the blog a month ago.


Here are the news media predictions followed by my predictions on Sept 1:

City closed for 9 months. I say more than 50% will be back at home 30 days from now
30 days to drain all the water. That is the low estimate. I say it will be no more than 30 days and probably a lot less.
Potaable water and power in 3 months. I say at least 50% in 30 days. 100% in less than 3 months.
Dead 10,000 or more. I say less than 1000. Maybe way less.
Cost $100,000,000,000. I say $35 BILLION.


I really am beginning to think we have total fools running the MSM and the congress actually has voted $75 billion to fix Katrina when total uninsured losses at this time are being estimated at maybe $20 Billion for both storms. Is anybody listening?

Politics as Uusual at AARP

I don't belong to the AARP though I have achieved the appropriate age to do so. I just can't give them dollar one to use against conservative interests. Take the prescription drug plan (please) that President Bush brought to the nation in his first term.

Even though the program was a liberal's dream come true, and even though it was going to provide billions in free or discounted scrips for seniors, the AARP ran ads and held rallies claiming that the Republicans hated seniors, and this bill was all about the pharms.

Buried inside the LA Times business section on page C3, today Saturday Oct 1, the director of health strategies for the AARP, Cheryl Matheis says this:

There is a lot of good in this for the seniors. It is turning out to be more generous coverage than people anticipated.


Shouldn't that be a headline with a personal apology to "W?" These people have absolutely no shame.