Saturday, October 3, 2015

Controlling the Country

Wind and rain are two of our most powerful elements. Based on past hurricane seasons, we’re familiar with the destruction they cause. Scientists discover and invent so many incredible things, why can’t they control the weather? Maybe they can. See:

For a fee, one company offers weather–modifications, claiming to give you clear weather. Cloud-seeding enables them to cause rain the day before your special outdoor event, leaving you with sunny skies the next day for a wedding ceremony or company golf outing. We’re closer to manipulating the weather than ever, and we’re making progress in other areas, too. Take a look:  


Fascinating, huh? Oh sure, those experimental findings seem beneficial—until scientists use their powers for evil. Some of our greatest books describe what happens when others control what we think, believe, and how we behave. If you had mind-controlling powers, what thought would you implant in everybody’s mind?              

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Time for Class

I glanced in our backyard and discovered a deer staring toward the street, and I could tell by the expression on its face it was calculating the odds of making it to the other side. Before I could stop it, the deer sped off toward danger. I ran to the front window to see if it would survive.

It probably sensed my concern because instead of crossing the street, it headed down the block. Frightened by cars whizzing by, the deer panicked, dashed across the street and lunged into the bushes. Seconds later, it leaped from the shrubs with a branch lodged between its antlers, turned, and galloped into thicker woods.

Too bad deer can’t take street-crossing classes. If that sounds absurd, take a look at some of the incredible classes our schools offer: 


It’s good marketing when teachers use popular class titles to attract students, but it’s a waste of money when the classes lack any real value. In your opinion, what type of class should everyone take?        

Friday, September 18, 2015

Words Have Power

After pulling into a pay-for-parking lot, the attendant asked for my license plate number. I recited the first three letter/numbers and couldn’t remember the rest, so I quickly added, “something, something, something.” I guess the attendant wanted more details because he decided to read my plate for himself. I bet most people can’t recall what’s on their license plate—or am I the only one? 

Of course, personalized plates are easy to remember. Think about the strange descriptions you’ve seen on vanity license plates. People use the space to describe themselves, their pets, their hobbies, and other surprising activities. Many times, no one—except the owner—can read the seven-character message. Try to guess what these people had in mind: 


Maybe people don’t care whether other drivers understand their vanity plates. Still, it seems like a great spot to broadcast your views. If you could create a free vanity license plate, what public statement would you make?        

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Where Are You Now?

Relationships float through different stages. Last week, I overheard an interesting exchange between a parent and a couple of kids. The parent kept making funny faces and singing popular songs written long before the kids were born. Judging by the kids’ expressions, they wanted no part of the performance. Undeterred by their eye-rolls, the parent added to the torture by singing off-key.

After several minutes, one of the kids pulled a question from the childhood memory files. Questions always make good diversions. The kid said to the parent, “Do you want to play a game?” The second kid followed up with, “Yeah, let’s play the quiet game.” How many times had the kids had fallen for the “quiet game” tactic? Eventually kids will borrow their parents’ tricks and criticize parenting logic. Watch this:


As kids grow up, they’ll offer their parents advice on everything from fashions and hairstyles to insurance and investments. Through the usual ups and downs of life, parent-child relationships deepen and evolve. What’s your most important relationship and how has it developed?              

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Chain Saw Reaction

Would you play an extra in a scary movie? Early one morning while driving through the city, I spotted a tall, muscular man walking down the street. Judging by his stride, he intended to arrive at work on time. Based on his tool belt and work boots, I assumed he worked in the construction industry. Here’s the interesting part: he carried a chain saw. It looked like the scene from a scary movie, but there were no movie cameras in sight.  

I didn’t call the police. Maybe the man borrowed the chain saw from work to repair a project at home. Maybe his job required him to bring in his own tools. He should have hidden that tool in a bag. You can be the best construction worker in the world, but when you walk down the street with a chainsaw, it’s not a good first impression. Check out these impressions:


One expert said first impressions are formed in seven seconds. They say perception is reality, and once established, “reality” can be difficult to change. Is the first impression you give consistent with how you want people to see you?        

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What’s Scoop with Poop?

A local museum’s ad reminded me of a family vacation we took years ago. I told our kids that, during the trip, we visited a museum that focused on wildlife and conservation. On an outdoor exhibit walk around the building, we saw animals living in the grasses, bushes, and in the river. Signs along the elevated walkway displayed pictures of the animals’ “output.”

One of our kids wondered why our local museum advertised an exhibit on “output.” I explained that you can identify an animal by it, and added that the museum thought the topic would attract kids who giggled at that sort of thing. I thought the conversation was over until one of our kids asked, “Are we kids or barbarians?” Barbarians—like the ones from the Roman Empire?  Someone paid attention in history class. Maybe this helps explain the museum’s topic choice:


The scoop on poop: Is it entertainment or education? Who knew output deserved so much scientific attention? It can be helpful to discuss the scoop on poop, or any other topic. How we say things and why we’re mentioning them will show whether we’re speaking like decent people or barbarians.

Political correctness shouldn’t force us to bury controversial topics, but it should encourage us to speak on them without using pie-in-the-face words. What national conversation do you want to defend without it turning into a big stink?          

Friday, August 21, 2015

If You're Captivating

Help! I’m stuck on You Tube and I can’t get off. Yeah, it happened. I tried to send an S.O.S. text to the kids to come get me, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen long enough to type it. Who doesn’t get trapped on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and the many other captivating social media sites?  

I got online to look for a music video, migrated to (Name a Country’s) Got Talent, and ended with my favorite—flash mobs! It was that kind of evening. Here’s one of the time-stealing videos I watched: 

Hilarious! The judges’ expressions seemed to say, “You’re singing what?” How does a huge voice like that come from such a small mouth? The little singer seemed matter-of-fact, but she had an extraordinary gift to share.
There was no English translation on the initial video I saw. This one packed more power because it explained how she found her song. I want to know how she found that voice. Her video collected over fourteen million hits. That’s huge! If you could make a video guaranteed to attract millions of viewers, what would you share with the world?  
P.S. I typed the last word in this post, glanced up, and saw this face flash across the TV screen:  What a gift!