Thursday, October 31, 2013

Texting Fingers

I was watching Jenna the other day as she was voraciously texting someone.  It made me wonder if there is a measure of speed of texting (e.g. texting words per minute) like the old days of typing. 

A quick search of Wikipedia shows the world record by Sonja Kristiansen of Norway who keyed in the official text message, as established by Guinness, in 37.28 seconds. The message is, "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality, they seldom attack a human."

The problem with statistics about texting is determining what a word is.  For instance is "U" a word for "you"?  Regardless, I can say my texting is as slow as a dinosaur (an appropriate word for my ability to use this technology). 

Maybe like the contest between John Henry and the steam engine (or Paul Bunyan and the chain saw), we should set up a contest between Jenna (on texting) and me (on the keyboard).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Need to Read

I just happened upon a blogger's post - "Finding Time to Read" by Shane Parish and quickly cut and pasted it to send to Susan, Jenna, and Ellen.  I encourage you to click on the title and read it yourself.

Reading is a gift I received from Mom - and it's evidence in my life is plastered all over this blog:

Book Arrivals
Great Books
Book Redos
Parenting - Serious Stuff
Failing Vocabulary
Lyrics and Painting
Exponential Browsing
Fearing Not Enough
Heavenly Books
Books and Movies

Add to that the tag - "Books" with 162 entries/references and the Shelfari bookself with 161 Books (oops that doesn't match) and approximately 5,444 pages (only a statistician would like that). 

"I feel the need ...... the need to READ .... yeaoh!"      Top Gun :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mechanic Mania

Just got my car back from the service department and struggled with the ugly bill - the 100K mileage service maintenance (I now have 95,462 miles on the 2006 DTS), new brakes, new battery, and misc repairs (Engine Strut Mount and Front Sway Bar Links).  The total cost was bad enough but what "steamed" my radiator was the fine print of the 15% discount coupon that I assumed applied to this service.

I am always cautious about reading the fine print of coupons and this one was full of caveats (present at time of service, applies only to parts and then an obscure reference to previously discounted maintenance menu items.  Hmmmmmm what' that mean?

Yes - you guessed it - that "catch all phrase" applied to everything except $150 of parts with a total discount of $23 on a maintenance bill of over $2K!  Needless to say, I was ready to drive the car through the showroom window.  It took a discussion with the Service Manager, and a 10 minute wait to calm me down.  In the end the dealership did the right thing and came closer to my expectations and discounted the bill about $200 (10%).

It is these interactions that create mistrust in the automotive mechanics industry (a close derivative to the feeling of interacting with a Used Car Salesman).   I will say this dealer neutralized a customer service situation and I would continue to consider both sales and service at this dealership in the future. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Laugh Often with Others

It was a wonderful weekend visiting J.P. and D.P. at their place in Florida.  One of the highlights was dinner at Campiello Ristorante & Empori Viale Terza.  The motto "Eat Well, Laugh Often and Live Long" fits with 20 plus years of friendship.  The evening entertainment added to the excellent Italian cuisine.  Campiello was started in Cincinnati (or so our waiter said) but is no longer there as they moved to Minneapolis (1987) and have 12 locations there. 

I particularly like the "Laugh Often" portion of the motto.  As we were sitting on the deck, D.P. pointed out that children laugh about 400 times a day and then asked "How many times do you think adults laugh?".  My answer was 40 - and D.P. revealed it was 17 - YES only seventeen!  So how do you solve this adult void?  One way is to find the people who make you laugh.  In fact studies have shown the health benefits of laughter are more powerful when laughing with others than alone.

"Laugh it up Fuzzball" :)


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tarnished Trust

I could kick myself for missing the Jack R. Andersen Distinguished Lecture Series at Miami University on Oct. 9, 2013.  I attended the series back in 2009 (see Lead to Read) when David McCullough spoke.  The speakers this year were Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles and it is well worth the hour viewing! 

Alan Simpson pulls no punches when he talks about the generations. Sandwiched between the "Greatest Generation" and the "Greediest Generation", he claims responsibility for the financial place the United States has found itself in, yet he directly confronts the "wimps" without veracity and courage to correct the problem.

When asked about the current divisive atmosphere among our leaders in Government he poignantly described the issue:  "Trust WAS the coin of the realm ....  and it's gone.  It's a severely tarnished coin"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Healthcare Tsunami

Today I received my Anthem H.S.A. policy increase - a mere 24.8% increase (and a three year average of 21.3%.  Co-incidentally Susan sent me an article from the Heritage analyzing the data for the new Government Exchanges (see Find Your State: See How Much Obamacare Coverage Will Cost).  For once Ohio looks good (obviously it doesn't apply to me) but look carefully at the column for the 27 year old - the differences are astounding - double or triple!

Healthcare costs and coverage will be the defining issue of intergenerational wealth transfer of our time.  The challenge is the balance of compassion and individual responsibility.  We all make health care and lifestyle choices - taking risks (i.e. smoking, diet, exercise, physical risk etc.) that affect our health.  Some of our health is genetic and some random (i.e. like an accident).  So the challenge is whether we should try to eliminate this risk (some taken, some given) and provide everyone equal care (Affordable -yet Mandated - Care for Everyone).  If the answer to this is yes - then the next challenge is how (and who) should pay for this risk equalization.

Should the healthy pay for the sick?  Should the lucky pay for the unlucky?  Should one generation be forced to take care of another generation?  What amount of money should be spent during the last months of one's journey?

Here is a chart of my Healthcare Insurance Premiums since 1990 and the scary change that occurred in 2010 with projections from 2015-2019.  I can guarantee that I had no clue about this in 1990 (or for that matter in 1977 when I started work).  I hope the younger generation is ready for this Healthcare Tsunami!

Note:  In 2003 I tried to contain this cost by enrolling in a High Deductible H.S.A. plan which is why the big drop.

Wisner Household Insurance History & Forecast

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Steering a Parked Car

Rev. Stover had a great sermon this morning about Prayer.  First he referenced Matt Batterson's  (the Church is studying his book Circles) point that failure is not about a prayer being unanswered, failure is the prayer not made.    And add to that the issue that asking is only part one of the prayer, acting is part two.  Rev. Stover then mentioned the quote he forever he would remember from Seminary - "Steering a parked car does no good".

Taking that first step in a risky area is always the hardest.  Being a self starter is challenging. How to motivate oneself into action.  One of my techniques (the ultimate procrastinator) was to get an action (any action) on a future date in my calendar.  Just the simple action of scheduling the task (even if it was on a future date) would get me started.

Find the technique you need to start your engine. That make steering much easier.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Musical Matches

I completed (well as much as I wanted to do) the Musical Oldies Personality Project for the Vistage 1107 group.  Each member was instructed (naturally there were some renegade non participants) to pick their favorite song for each year from 1962 to 1982.  I promised that I would analyze the data and analyze their personality based on the selections.

The research ("The Do Re Mi;s of Everyday Life: The Structure and Personality Correlates of Music Preferences" by Rentfrow and Gosling - University of Texas at Austin) was a gold mine of information.  Rentfrow and Gosling mentioned work by Mehl and Pennebacker (2003) that found individuals listened to music during approximately 14% of their waking lives.  So music is important to people!

It wasn't hard to see musical personality preferences (even without their stories and explanation of picks) among the 10 Vistage members who participated.  I'm sure I had some advantage in nine years of hearing personal stories from four of my Vistage buds. But even for our newer members, I could easily see some personality traits within their selections. 

Even more fun was coming up with the common matches among the network nine responses:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Triumphs and Trophies

Just finished my eighth presentation to my Vistage Buddies - titled Triumphs and Trophies.   An inspiration came when A.S. said that I was in the spotlight this month.  It all came together after a recent viewing of Lewis and Clark's PBS special, breakfast speech by Joe Gibbs, the recent read of "Triumphs of Experience", watching the Emmys, and the comeback win of the America's Cup Team (down 1-8) victory,  I began to think about the Trophies we get in life.

Answer this question:

Dad (or Mom), As you reflect back over your lifetime........   What is your greatest accomplishment?

This lead me on a journey of thinking of my accomplishments, and the fourth Life Strategy Principle that Kerry and Chris Shook suggest in their book "One Month to Live" ---   "LEAVE BOLDLY - creating a legacy that will impact generations".

But are they really your accomplishments - is it really all your trophy?  Think about your acceptance speech - who is (and was) a part of your trophy network?

Now - think about how many acceptance speeches YOU are mentioned in ( YOUR HIDDEN TROPHIES!).  Maybe just a smile of acceptance, a word of encouragement - something you may never know had an impact.

"Your Hidden Trophies are your bold legacy of eternity"   

Blogging Opens Today

Since the Government reopens today, my blogging will start back up.  Yet 16 days without an entry (well I did one on Oct 4th).  A.M. said the other day, "I don't know who to blame - Congress (GOP or Democrats), the President, or the People".  We both concluded you get what you ask for - and we have a complete set of children that reflect our own childish behaviors.  Clearly if this was a business (and it is a big business) that we were running, the shareholders would be fleeing!

P.H. sent me the best email titled "Washington Redskins" .....

The owner of the Washington Redskins conceded today that, in this era, their team name is insulting. 

From now on, they will just be called The Redskins.

P.S.   Hot Air blogging is open again :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Safety First

"Safety First" was Mom's constant reminder to my girls (and to me growing up).  Her rules were consistent with this reminder (e.g. no backyard tackle football).  I've been working on a Visage Spotlight (my eighth time in the hopper) and part of the presentation is on risk.  More importantly how do you measure your individual risk?

"Risk issues are emotional.  They are contentious. Disagreement is often deep and fierce. This is not surprising, given how we perceive and respond to risk is, at its core, about nothing less than survival"  (Risk- A practical guide for deciding what's really safe and what's really dangerous in the World around you, by David Ropeik and George Gray). 

So how YOU perceive risk and decisions are in the context of your own life.  Even with probabilities across events and populations with various consequences and outcome (costs and benefits), the risk statistics  can't answer the question  - YOUR risk is specific to YOU.

Judgments about risk are based both on the facts and on how we feel about those facts using the head, heart, cortex  and gut. "We are Affective"  (How Risky is It, Really by David Ropeik). 

My preliminary conclusion"

If you are not risking something .......

                                                              you are not living.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hot Air Shutdown

Hmmmm - no blog since Sept. 21. almost 10 days.  The Government shutdown today.

And the combined impact?  

Global cooling -  no hot air :)