Monday, March 31, 2008

Gangsta Rabbi

When you have a few minutes to kill, go over to and take a listen to the MP3 previews of Steve Lieberman's album Jewish Pirate. I guarantee a fantastic listening experience, or at least one that will make you chuckle and roll your eyes.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Grand Central Prank-tion

This is an incredible group prank/way to get attention that was recently done in New York City. Check it out, the people who did it are very, very talented.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Top 25

Smash posted her iTunes top 25 songs yesterday, so I thought I would do the same. Fortunately, I don't have anything to be ashamed of. Perhaps Eliot Yamin... I am surprised at the utter lack of U2 in it however. One interesting thing to note is how many songs from Gwen Stefani's The Great Escape are there. That leads me to declare that half of that album is the best album released in a couple of years. The other half is one of the worst to be released. The dichotomy between fantastic and drivel on it is incredible to behold.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Propagating the Species

I know there are a lot of Malthus adherents out there who think the last thing the world needs is another human on the planet. While Malthus' theories haven't been validated yet, there's a lot of years and people left for that to happen. At any rate, I have to say that despite his theories, I love having kids.
When I say having kids, I don't mean actually birthing them (although I am glad I'm not a woman and that I don't have to go through that whole process even with my prior assertion about childbirth/pregnancy vs. back pain), I mean actually being a parent. While our little daughter has only 2 volume settings (0 and 11) and our son doesn't understand the whole "sleep is a wonderful thing for people at night" concept, having kids is glorious. There is nothing funner than having someone run down the stairs as fast as they can and give your legs a big hug while saying "DADDY!!!" or having them look up at you without being able to say a word and try to figure out the world. Sure, kids can be frustrating and obnoxious and a lot of other things, but the good outweighs the bad by a significant margin.
Things are so much funner with kids. I love Christmas and all the other holidays, but at this age they've just become part of the landscape. It's nice leading up to them, but it's just there a lot of the time. With kids, they go mental over the smallest thing. They love looking for the eggs or stuffing 45 pieces of candy in their mouth at the same time, and isn't that what the holidays are all about (other than things like religion, family, and helping people)? I could go on repeating myself, but I'll just leave it at that. Kids are great and if you've got the right arrangement and circumstances, go ahead and have a couple. You'll never regret it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Meeting The Candidates

Over the past little bit I have been able to meet with both David Leavitt and Chris Cannon, two of the three candidates for Utah's Third Congressional District seat. I will say that I came away from Leavitt's meeting far more impressed than I was going in. I looked at him as another in a long line of protest candidates (among whom are Matt Throckmorton, ever-present political opportunist Merrill Cook, and John Jacobs) who ultimately had one difference between them and Cannon - they were against illegal immigrants, in the sense that they wanted to kick out 12 million people as soon as possible, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Other than that, they agreed with everything Cannon did. Leavitt has a bit of a different tact: he has what I consider a middle of the road position - send them back to Mexico to pick up a guest worker permit at the border. They then can shoot back up to their current jobs. While I am not a big fan of this, I certainly can live with the position. He also believes that Cannon hasn't been influential enough in Congress and that he will work to be more influential. He bases this off of Congressional Power Rankings as designed by a group that ranks them for lobbyists. (See the rankings here.) In it, Rep. Cannon is 318. That's not anything different for Utah - Rob Bishop is 354, and on the Senate side Orrin Hatch is 39 and Robert Bennett is 76. That makes me wonder about the rankings somewhat because Hatch has a lot of seniority and for a time he was the top man on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Meanwhile Bennett is in with Sen. Mitch McConnell (#7 and Minority Leader) and has had a lot of influence in the past. I know that they're including earmarks in the rankings, which can penalize people who actually know how to spend taxpayer money responsibly.
With that in mind, I don't know how accurate those rankings are, but I think that his idea is right - he wants to be more influential and he has a slight immigration disagreement. The one thing he definitely did is get me to take a closer look at him. My meeting with Chris Cannon went the same as usual. I really like him as a person and a candidate. The key thing that Leavitt did when he met with me is get me to give him a consideration. Therefore, I've not yet made up my mind. I'll have to listen to the candidates more and research them more before I decide. The other candidate, Jason Chaffetz, is still an unknown. I'll give him a shot, but he seems more like an opportunist based on his past (and let's face it, anybody from Jon Huntsman's inner circle is likely as big of an opportunist as the Governor is) in both his state capacity and in his shying away from "controversial" positions. Hating illegal immigration isn't controversial - supporting it is. From what I've seen of his so far, he falls on the kick them out immediately side of the debate, and he's going to have to work hard to overcome that in my opinion.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Beat My Countrytude

I got this from Smash and thought I'd say how I did and challenge you to beat me (and I know you will).


I came up with a decent strategy (follow the continents instead of jumping around) and my second time got this score:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bonehead Beat: The Cause of All Your Computer Problems

So one of my IT people came to me today with a story so incredible and an explanation so unbelievable that it could only have come from the one employee so technologically ignorant to give it. You don't even have to say her name and you immediately know who it is. Part of the problem is that she takes it upon herself to be the IT guru in our other office. This despite the inconvenient fact that she knows absolutely nothing about IT. When I say nothing, I don't mean something as confusing as "how do you install a program." I'm talking "how do you turn on a computer" levels of stupidity. At any rate, a little set up that may ruin the punchline, but I hope not. We've been doing a little work on our other office to upgrade it a bit, including some generalized cleanup, painting, and reorganizing. He gets a call from this person who says "none of our computers are working." He does a little digging and asking and "none of our computers" is actually "my computer can't print to a certain printer" and "the copy machine isn't working." Her hypothesis? Maybe it's the new paint's fault! She actually said that. Instead of "perhaps it's not plugged in" or "maybe a circuit breaker has been tripped" it's definitely the fault of the new coat of paint we have put on the walls.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Book Review: Downfall

Author:Richard B Frank
484 pages
I have a lot of books to review as it's been quite some time since I last posted some reviews and was thinking that I'd just do a mega, mega review, but that's never going to happen as it's just too much writing at once. I'm going to start the reviews with one of Downfall. I think that this should be required reading for anybody who is willing to start up the argument for or against using atomic weapons on Japan. It's been thoroughly researched and showed the impact of each successive US plan on Japan on both the population of the country and on the leaders. It was abundantly clear that it wasn't the Soviets that caused Japan to capitulate - they were ready to take Ketsu-go to the US forces and they would have absolutely crushed resolve in the States to move forward. While the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and drawn us into World War II to begin with, Germany was seen as the main attraction. If the insistence on unconditional surrender started costing too many US casualties, there would have been enormous pressure on Truman to give in to Japanese demands, which were essentially "give us the Treaty of Versailles." Such a surrender wouldn't have produced the amazing results that unconditional surrender did. On top of that, US forces would have been overwhelmed by the firepower and ferocity of the Japanese counterattack. They were preparing all their forces and civilians to fight to the last in order to protect the view of the people that the Emperor could do no wrong. The only thing that weakened this resolve was the bomb, and regardless of how many people it killed, Frank makes it abundantly clear that it was worth every casualty. If you are a student of World War II, you absolutely have to read this book.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Hope the New Star Trek Is Better Than This

For those who have a heightened case of nostalgia, this is why Star Trek was canceled in the first place:

My Hate/Not Hate As Much Relationship with Microsoft

The image to the left pretty much sums it up. I had a dreaded Blue Screen of Death on my work computer last Friday, but I restarted and did everything I was supposed to to fix the problem and come this morning when I came into work, most of my Control Panel was missing, along with my ability to use Microsoft Office.
Now I've backed my computer up in a number of different places (external hard drive and the internet) for just such an occasion, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to beat them down. Granted, I think this is an issue with the hard drive, as it appears some critical sectors have gone down for the count, but I'm still going to blame Microsoft.
The task of setting up a computer just how you like it is so annoying that I will do almost anything to avoid it. One of my former colleagues liked to do a fresh format on his computer every 6 months to a year because of how often they bog down under the weight of being a computer. I think he wasted his time. I would rather get a root canal instead of transfer my files to a backup hard drive, then restore those files to a new computer, reinstall the drivers, and so on. I'll even tolerate a startup time that takes just a shade less than an hour (okay, that's a bit much - but if I restarted my computer, I'd have to wait about 15 minutes to start using it again after all the stuff that started on install finished loading. After several BSODs and attempts to prevent the utter destruction of my install, I finally caved when faced with the prospect of not being able to do anything. Even then, I tried to repair the clearly severely damaged XP using somewhat drastic measures. At the end of the day nothing worked and here I am using my laptop while I perform brain transplant surgery on my desktop. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, as my other one always seemed to be a little less than advertised) I had another 400 GB Seagate Barricuda hard drive lying around that I put in there and now my new install is proceeding as usual. There are a few changes I will make - putting Spyware Doctor on my desktop was a major mistake, as it seemed to slow it down far more than it benefitted me. Also, I've installed and uninstalled enough programs that it will be nice to start with what I've got now - Office 2007, Adobe CS3, Nero 7, and all the other stuff that I put on there - instead of suffer through bits and pieces of old programs clogging up my startup procedure. Nevertheless, it's just awful. Even though it could have been any number of people's faults - mine, Dell's, Seagate's, or even some random guy half a world away, I tend to blame it on Microsoft. Do they deserve all that? Probably not. At the same time, have I had this kind of problem with a Mac? Well, kind of. Not this bad, but old Steve Jobs designs his computers to never be opened. I've pretty much stripped out everything except for the motherboard on my current computer (that includes the processor, hard drive, power supply, graphics card, sound card, RAM, and DVD drive - so yeah, that's everything but the motherboard over the past year and a half - and I'd replace that if I wasn't planning on upgrading to a Nehalem system in 6-12 months). Therefore I guess I could blame myself, but since it's so fashionable to blame Microsoft, who will stop me?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Where In The World Will Be Sorro Sandiego?

One of the things that I absolutely love doing is traveling. For the first 19 years of my life, travel consisted of going to one of a select few places:
Southern California
Las Vegas
St George, UT
Central Utah
Sure, I had been to Yellowstone, Idaho, and the Uinta Basin along with one trip to that most exotic vacation destination, Tijuana; but actually seeing new and exciting places was something that I had never been able to do. Fortunately due to the changing financial fortunes of my family and then of me (not to mention business travel), I've been able to go places I'd never thought I'd get to see - London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Tokyo, Kyoto, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Hawaii, and more. Because I've been so spoiled with these opportunities, I've started compiling a list of places I want to go. Here are the top 10 in desirability order (listed in potential trip form), with comments (also, one trip - to Greece - isn't on here because it's already happening, so I'm not counting it):
1. Japan - Even though when I lived there the Cheeth famously labeled me The Most American Guy In Japan, I love it. I could go back there every couple of years because it just has that pull on me.
2. The Netherlands/Belgium/France/Switzerland - We got within about 50 kilometers of Switzerland on our Austria/Germany trip and were actually trying to fly out of Zurich or Geneva instead of Frankfurt, but award seats weren't available. I still would love to go back and see it, because everything I've seen from there is incredible. This itinerary, while long, would also let us see Benelux, go to Normandy (which for my money is the single best part of France - there are few sights more incredible than the cemetary overlooking Omaha Beach), swing through Paris and go down into Southern France to Switzerland.
3. Berlin/Czech Republic/Poland/Hungary - Except for the Berlin add-on, this is a trip that my parents took a few years ago. Prague is supposed to be incredible, Budapest looks awesome, and I would love to see Auschwitz. Dachau was sobering, but it wasn't the death factory that Auschwitz was. It would be an incredibly interesting experience.
4. Egypt/Israel/Turkey - I would love to add Lebanon to this trip, but I don't trust it right now (I don't know if I ever will - just when it seems like it's getting back to a "not killing each other" norm, they go right back at it. Who's going to be the first to say it's a conspiracy of building companies so they can perpetually rebuild Beirut?). Nevertheless, to see one of the great cradles of civilization would be an experience not to be missed.
5. Denmark/Sweden/Norway/Iceland - The Iceland add-on might not happen, but this is another Amazing Race inspired tour because they all look quite awesome.
6. British Isles - I've seen the London area, but I would love to go up to Scotland and see Ireland. I know this is a trip my wife wants to take too.
7. Austria/Germany - Maybe not an exact repeat of the trip we just took (I've heard Innsbruck is incredible, and I'd love to actually shoot down to Florence somehow on this one), but something pretty close.
7. Singapore/Thailand/Malaysia/Cambodia - Now that Cambodia's settled down, I'd love to see Angkor Wat. The other areas would be interesting too, although if I had to drop a country from it, it'd be Thailand.
8. Australia/New Zealand - My parents just got back from Australia and said it was great. I'd add on New Zealand and skip Perth if it was my trip though.
9. Spain/Portugal - There are some things I'd love to see (the 100+ years in the making church in Barcelona, some parts of Madrid, Porto, and some parts of Lisbon), but at the same time, it gets kicked down because I don't know nearly as much about this area as others.
10. Russia - There's some things in Russia that I would love to see (St Petersburg, the Kremlin), but at the same time, it's just not terribly high on my list. I wouldn't consider this a firm position by any means.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Forro and Sorro Fisk Doug Warren

Utah Valley Magazine recently listed its "Fab 50" people in Utah Valley honoring those with "talent, character, and a sense of community." While the writer did an excellent job with each individual's excerpt, Sorro and I were left questioning at least one of the Utah Valley's "Fab 50".

Douglas Warren, No. 37 in the mag, is an infamous name 'round our office. A few years ago we had the "pleasure" of Doug’s “consulting knowledge". Hours of incomprehensible blather and countless dubious claims left Sorro and I of the opinion that a few minutes with Doug Warren is congruent to 15 years in Hell. (For a refresher course on what he taught us during his time at our company, see this post right here - and I wish I was exaggerating)

In any case the Utah Valley article brought Doug Warren back up on radar prompting a visit to his website The website brought Sorro and I to tears of laughter and the realization that the "about us" section simply begged to be "fisked". Following is the "about us" section in its entirety and our accompanying comments.

In September 1951, I decided to go to war. My brother and a number of friends had enlisted and were already in the Korean War. They were fifteen or sixteen and had lied about their ages to join the 14 th Division that had been called up at the beginning of the Korean War. Aviation had been of interest to me, so I chose the Air Force and in September 1952, I arrived at Kaitue , Korea where I became the crew chief of a fighter-bomber for the commanding officer of our squadron. I had just turned eighteen.

Sorro: All crew chiefs are crew chiefs for the C.O. of a squadron. Also, I couldn't find any mention of Kaitue in Korea. Perhaps it's spelled wrong?

I came from a long line of business people who provided me the experiences of apprenticing with CEOs from the age of twelve. In this way they were encouraging me to pursue a career in business. However, while in the war I felt that politics was the way to make the greatest contribution. I decided that politics was what got us into wars and that it was also the way to get us out of them.

Forro: That is quite possibly the greatest summation of U.S. Foreign Policy that I have ever read...I believe President Clinton had a similar saying that went something like "politics is what gets me in and out."

This thinking led to taking correspondence courses in political science while still in Korea and upon my return, I secured a degree in political science and history and then pursued graduate work in law. It also led to involvement in political research and campaigning. In 1955 upon being released form the service I immediately joined Richard Nixon in his efforts to become Vice President under Eisenhower.

Forro: I'm sure Nixon appreciated the help considering he was elected into office with Eisenhower in 1952.

Sorro: I love this. I'm not sure what he did for Nixon, but I think he's talking about working on some level or another on the Eisenhower re-election campaign. Nixon was Veep at the time, so I think Nixon would be working on it too, as opposed to working on his VP campaign, as he wasn't being challenged by anyone.

My goal was to secure political appointments that would eventually lead to President of the Word Bank.

Forro: Ah yes, the all powerful "Word Bank". I think I read about that institution in The Phantom Tollbooth.

At that time I thought this position provided the greatest opportunity to help developing nations like Korea .

Forro: Supplying those nations with much needed words.

Sorro: I love that comment.

After finishing my college education and having held many positions in the Republican,

Forro: See, I told you it begged to be blogged.

I became very involved in Nixon's campaign for president. As part of this involvement I ran for the U.S. House of Representatives. During this period a very remarkable man became my research assistant. He spoke eleven languages and could read over twenty-one and was very accomplished researcher and historian. At that time he was a translator for the Pentagon. Upon telling him my concerns with world problems and my plan of action, he decided to help me. Nixon won the Republican primary nomination, as did I, and we were well involved in the general elections.

Forro: I've looked everywhere on the internet for any mention of Douglas Warren in politics, and I can't find anything...he does claim to be in the "who's who in politics" however.

Sorro: The question I have is what level he was involved on. Was it local, state, or national? I guess I could say that I worked on George W Bush's campaign, after all I slapped a bumper sticker on my car. As far as linking his Congressional run to Nixon, I tend to think that's not really the case. He ran because he was running, not because Tricky Dick said, "Doug, we need you here on the front lines in Congress."

As the campaign continued so did the research. It wasn't long before we found out what most people realize today. The special interest groups dominate the functions of government, causing our political system to function without conscience. The way we decided to prevent this from continuing was for congressman (who controlled the budget) to submit all major approbation bills to their constituents for a vote. This led to producing a campaign button, based on this idea, which simply stated, "I count". Powerful special interest groups forged an effort to defeat me. That along with the fact that there were 2 to1 registered Democrats in my District brought about my defeat. Nevertheless, Nixon won and I was well on my way to accepting the political appointments I had sought. Our research on solving world problems continued. My research assistant and I formed a pact. He would continue to do research on how to help cure world problems and I would try to implement whatever we discovered. By the time I was to receive the political appointment I was seeking, and the press conference was called where I was to announce my future plans much was discovered. As I prepared for the conference I looked at the world more objectively than I had ever done before. I could not help but see that the thing that doing good was simply teaching how to improve quality. What Japan was accomplishing in solving their economic problems by installing Total Quality Management (TQM) was dwarfing everything else and bringing about positive changes. Nobody was doing more good than those Americans who were installing TQM in Japanese companies.

Forro: "Installing TQM" sounds like some type of software or subtitle of a bad 80's porn flick.

Sorro: I like how he blames his defeat on Special Interests instead of on the fact that he ran as a Republican in a very Democratic district. It's like blaming Poland for starting World War II. If they didn't resist, Germany wouldn't have kept going, despite the millions of Germans ready to roll over Europe. Mentioning Nixon's win here leads me to believe that we've skipped the 1960s here and are now in 1968...what happened during that time since we're getting an unabridged biography?

They were turning a nation that had very little natural resources, most of their male population killed off, atomic bombs dropped on two of their major industrial cities, despised by the western world, and being known for their poor quality into one of the leading economic powers and political forces in the world. Even more startling was the sociological benefits that were occurring. They were producing the foremost educational system, the lowest divorce rate along with the lowest drug abuse and crime rate. All due in large part some determined and highly committed quality consultants.

Sorro: I would actually credit the Japanese with these successes, not the consultants. The revitalization of Japan after World War II is one of the great successes of the modern world, but it certainly wasn't brought about by consultants. Give some credit to Douglas MacArthur and SCAMP for what they did, some credit to the Japanese, and then after those two groups did the heavy lifting, Demming came in and helped Toyota and the rest. Also, I might mention that the reason the Japanese education system, divorce rate, and drug abuse/crime rates are as they are is because of the culture of Japan. The saying I heard more often than anything else there was "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down." That is a conformist society and it shows in all those statistics.

It was 1969 When I entered the lobby of the hotel where my press conference was being held I was directed to a seating area where I met J.C. Penny. He was also awaiting a press conference. There I asked for his advice as to how to best improve the world and he told me that the best way to improve the world was to improve business. So I took his advice and instead of accepting a position, I told those attending that my course of action was to pursue a career as a Quality Consultant. I have been pursuing that career ever since. I first joined a quality development firm that installed improvement programs. Then I formed my own firm that provided business development consulting and developmental research and expanded my operations to other major cities. That was followed by a decision to move near a major university where I could concentrate my time on discovering how the human mind works to produce improvements. I rightly thought if this could be discovered we could greatly accelerate our improvements. Much time has past since I began this pursuit, and it cost me much of my resources. Yet, I began this endeavor with the understanding that this could be the case and tried to prepare for it by putting together a real estate development, which I then sold to support my family of five children. However, right in the middle of my research, documentation, and writing, the party I sold my real estate interest to had a misfortune and went bankrupt forcing them to return my interest. Because they had placed a substantial mortgage on the property a great deal of reorganization followed where I was not able to free my interest to sell it. So, my wife and I were forced to suffer through it while I finished my research. Fortunately, I was able to compile enough information to finally discover how the mind basically works to produce improvements.

Sorro: Where's Steven Pinker when you need him? We have to get these two together.

At that point I was in deep financial sleights. I had to mortgage my home twice to keep going through the process of conducting case studies, getting my findings published in the form of a textbook, creating a streamlined TQM system for conveying my discoveries to people through organizations, and establishing a quality
institute to instruct, certify, and support leadership coaches in the implementation of this brand new quality initiative. The institute was incorporated as MOT-TQM, which stands for Mind Over Time-Total Quality Management. But, shortly after recruiting our first coaching candidates one of them pointed out that it was too long of an acronym and so we change it to simply MTI. MTI has the vision of establishing 1,500 Certified MTI Coaches throughout the United States and several thousand throughout the world. This position we feel is one that provides the most opportunity for bring about highly significant improvements and gaining great appreciation and recognition while providing a substantial income, personal and professional freedom, as well as growth. I am now turning sixty-nine years old. This has been a long and sometimes very difficult journey. Yet, it has been a good one, a successful one. Because I have discovered I have accomplished more in the past five years in every aspect of my life than I did in the previous sixty-three years.

Forro: 5+63, Leaving only one year not accounted for...

Sorro: This organization also provides the most opportunity for bring about changes in the English language with regard to that annoying suffix "-ing."

I expect to accomplish more in the next year than I did in the last five years. Those of you who become involved in MOT-TQM can look forward to that same achievement if not greater. Coaching MOT-TQM involves teaching highly important principles that not only produce greater productivity and quality but a higher sense of morality. They also teach principles that provide happiness.

Forro: Apparently he opted to switch back from MTI to the MOT-TQM acronym.

Sorro: Forro pointed out to me that he's pretty sure that our own A-Rod is the man who came up with the MTI acronym, as he was using MOT-TQM when we had to listen to his alternate history.

After thirty-six years of pursuing this career I have now written a number of related books and programs. It was only upon gaining the understanding that resulted from this research actually existed that I was able to write coherently about many important subjects.

Forro: I started to read his Mind Over Time book, and found it to be as about as coherent and grammatically correct as his web site. I made it a record 2 chapters in, beating Sorro who gave up around page 5. In later years I will probably regret the brain cells I killed trying to muscle through the book.

This led to writing a number of books. I feel three have significant importance. One on how the human mind works to produce quality, provide happiness, and fulfill our five hopes of being respected, joyful, loved, wise, and free. I titled it Mind Over Time and consider it of the highest importance, even imperative reading for everyone.

Forro: He writes about Mind Over Time as though it should be considered for canonization. Personally I found it about as important and imperative as reading the Mary Worth cartoon, although in fairness I only read a couple chapters.

Sorro: Is this the way that The Bible was presented to people after the Nicene Council? Constantine himself wouldn't praise it any more effusely than Warren is praising MOT.

It contains information that will greatly improve all aspects of our lives and will further peace throughout the world with every reader. I also wrote a history of why we need to be free and how we gained the freedom we enjoy. It is titled The Roots of the Constitution . The reading of this book can give the reader a wonderful perspective of what freedom is all about and the price we have paid for it and what we each can do to increase it. The third book is a historical romance novel. It presents many wonderful ideas and principles; in the context of what I believe is a truly beautiful story. It also provides a comparative history of the culture of northern Europe and native America .

Forro: Wait, I think I saw this Disney movie, Pocahontos, which sucked by the way.

Sorro: This is the first time I have ever seen a historical romance novel be considered on the same level as a Peter Drucker book or one of the great histories of the nation.

It uplifts our visions of what is possible. This novel takes place in the years around 1790's right after the signing of the Constitution of the United States of American.

Forro: Ok, I guess I was thinking something different. Pocahontos lived long prior to the forming of our great nation of "American".

Sorro: I love living in North American. God Bless the United States of American!

It presents an overall image of our great capabilities and moves us toward becoming our best selves. I have also written the lyrics and music of songs that go with the novel, which is titled Winds of Freedom . The sheet music for these songs, along with a CD, will be available through this website in the future. I believe these songs bring to it a great dimension. They give to the reader and listener a perspective and feeling that cannot be conveyed without relevant lyrics and music. A musical stage production of the novel is also underway as is a screenplay.

Forro: I would have thought that the "about us", which is a misnomer in itself, would have focused on persuading prospective clients rather than lengthy self-aggrandizing prose.

My professional life today is mostly focused on presenting. I am also continuing my research that is now greatly aided by MTI and its Coaches and their clients who provide a great deal of knowledge, experience, and in-depth information. My major topic is, of course, how the mind works to produce improvements, gain happiness, fulfill our primary hopes, build faith and remove fear so our ability to increase our awareness continues to grow. Beyond my speaking engagements and research, I am also involved in establishing national and local quality initiatives that apply MOT-TQM to entire communities and nations. And, I am writing a book on that subject and working on the two other history books one going back to 449 AD which was the beginning of England and the other going back to about 50 AD which was the time the people of northern Europe became known as Enges. If you have read this background, you may be about to read one of my books. My wish is that whichever one it is that it will open your mind to greater conceptions.

Sorro: I'm assuming these immaculate conceptions my mind will be opened to are the same tripe that he gave us when he "consulted" with us. Suffice it to say that Enges is a province in Switzerland, England as is currently known started in 1066 with William the Conqueror, and you will find neither of these books in any book store.

As it does I encourage you to commit to their realization regardless of whether you believe they are possible. Be assured that the tremendous capacities you have for improvement will be immediately go to work for you to make those visions real. As this takes place let each such improvement receive your gratitude. Thereby you will ever increase your happiness. Then let the hopes that this happiness nourishes give you the faith that will overcome all obstacles on your path to realizing all of your finest thoughts. By doing this you will be consistently motivate to better yourself and make the contributions you are capable of making in your quest to improve all that you will. One thing I know. We are all far more capable than we think. Even our finest visions of our capability fall short of just how much we can do to make our own lives and the lives of others more productive and happier . I believe as well that we can fully employ our present capability, even that we can add to it. Such greater dimensions are seen by many as impossible. Nevertheless, greater things than we have yet imagined are in the realm of reality for all of us. In Winds of Freedom , a novel I wrote I examine just a few of these. There is one thing that you can always count on, and that is that there always remains knew levels of awareness with respect to all things. If that were not so we would run out of improvements eliminating the possibility of happiness Upon forming the Mind Over time Institute I wrote the following mission statement, vision, and creed to clarify my commitments to its success. My commitment to you is that I will remain committed to these and support those that help in this effort in any way I can.

Forro: Doug, come on mate, you've got to pull your stuff together...

Sorro: Where is this mission statement? It just kind of trailed off here...

Third and Last of Today - Eliot Spitzer

I would be remiss if I didn't spend just a minute talking about the Eliot Spitzer scandal. First of all, I'm about as happy as Wall Street about it. He made his bones by being a bully and then dredging up people's personal lives when they wouldn't acquiesce to his demands and now in the richest of ironies, the exact same thing happened to him, derailing his political career (probably) permanently. All this because he not only couldn't keep Eliot Jr in his pants, but he felt like he had to pay money to let him wander around a bit. First of all, the hooker that he was involved with is the woman pictured here. Farbeit for me to critique his tastes, but she's not even a $4000 date in the looks department (which is also to say she's not a "toss away a family and promising political/legal career" date either).
This doesn't have a ton of impact nationally. Spitzer had the potential to be a national player and maybe a Clinton administration would have tapped him as Attorney General, but that's not going to be the case now. Instead, the relatively unknown Lieutenant Governor is going to be the new Governor, helping the Republicans marginally. It's more just a case of schadenfreude brought on by his being an incredible wanker to everybody he could in his climb to the top, combined with the irony that his high-handed morality crusade against Wall Street pay rates led to the banking laws that led to his account being flagged that led to his downfall.

Am I Just Wrong?

I'm helping some people out with selling some products and they are trying to sell them to retail chains. It's a first attempt at that, prior to doing so they operated with just a web store. The head honcho is wanting to discount the CDs by 50% off retail price (giving the retailer a 100% markup margin) for them. I think he's an idiot. Instead we should be giving the retailer a 25-35% discount so they can then have a 50-60% markup margin in order to maintain pricing power. Who is right?

Inhumane for Who?

CNN has a very interesting article here about a radical treatment option the parents of a girl with cerebral palsy took. Instead of the traditional route of "let her grow up and we'll continue to take care of her" they decided to stop her growth. As a result, she's forever about 4.5 feet and will never sexually mature. The question is if this is something they should have done.
On one hand, you have the slippery slope argument, where if the parents of one mentally challenged girl do this and it's legal, what's to stop people from doing it to every mentally challenged child? What about other children? Isn't that what Hitler did? I can see that argument and agree with it somewhat, but at the same time I say that it's a big leap from stopping the growth of a child with the brain of a 6 month old and the Nazi application of natural selection.
On the other hand, you have parents who definitely care about this girl trying to make it possible for them to care about her. She'll never get too big (well, too tall) for them to care for and they won't have to worry about someone raping her and getting her pregnant. I think the immediate reaction is "who are they to play God?" but the more that you look at it, the reaction should be "what is society to play God?" The parents clearly care about her - they're not sending her to a foster home or a hospice or long-term care facility, in fact they did it so they wouldn't have to do that. In the end, if parents are caring for their child and doing what is necessary to not pawn them off onto society but rather care for them, isn't that what's most important? The parents love this girl and are doing what they feel is best for her as she can't make the decision herself. As far as I'm concerned, that's their right as parents and society should butt out if it thinks they're wrong.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Know Your Historical Events

Education in the United States has one constant: everybody is always declaring that we're terrible at it. Whether it's falling behind the Japanese (a completely random sidebar here - that whole "the Japanese go to school 220 days a year and we only do 180, so we must be doing worse" argument that I heard nankaimo [sorry, I just had to use that there because I just couldn't think of the English term for a minute {that term is over and over again}] during my time in high school is absolutely irrelevant. The Japanese do go to school that many days a year, but Saturdays are not a full day of education in the classical US sense. On top of that, while their education system may help in things like math, where exactness is paramount, it suppresses values like individuality. But I digress...) or worrying about whether our education is enough for the future, we tend to be worrywarts. I came across a test that has been given to students in college by a group who are trying to show that we're not great at history, and according to the test results, they're right. You can access the test right here (60 questions, if you're curious about how long it will take) and it's a pretty good overview of historical basics. I got 86.67% and would have done better if I had paid attention to a couple of the questions. Some were definite misses, but I would put my history knowledge as tested by this group right around an A-. The interesting thing is that even at vaunted Harvard, the school average is a D+ (69%), and this is a group of students who are paying nearly $25000/year. Take the quiz and see if you're smarter than the average Harvard attendee.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Family Matters

I just have to say that I love this mailer that I got. It's actually a good product and something that I think a lot of elderly people would use, but the Steve Urkel tagline is what makes it a gem to me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Is This So Wrong?

Today I got a call from Derek Jeter saying that A-Rod wouldn't be in today due to a family emergency. My initial reaction (which I didn't say - that particular reaction was "okay") was "sweet! Now we're going to have a quick, effective meeting and I won't have to worry about him messing anything up." Is that a terrible attitude, or just realistic? In related news, my immediate supervisor (and the actual CFO/COO of the company) works on our finances as though he's using a ...For Dummies book. His sole measure of our success is the number of clients we have. He doesn't care if we get their copays/coinsurance/deductables or not, as long as they get on. For some reason, he thinks we're playing a zero-sum game where it's (for example) 80% of revenue or nothing. If we could get 100% by collecting that 20% coinsurance payment, wouldn't that be better? Shouldn't we be looking for clients who will pay 100% rather than trying to get in a fleet of 80%ers? This is one business where I completely agree with the Best Buy school of thought - some customers need to be fired because they are sucking up all our resources but not giving us enough revenue to go off of. Should I start campaigning for his position and having him move to another department (, because his school of thought is completely congruent with how they work.

In other, completely unrelated news, whenever I drive down University Parkway in Orem I think that I've moved to Beirut. There are potholes in the road from the Geneva Road intersection to the 400 West intersection that are certainly bigger than those caused by car bombs. Meanwhile, you have enough gravel from the road being chewed up that's collected on the side that if you accidentally get over a little too far, you'll strip off all your paint and make the car behind you undrivable due to the shrapnel you'd spit out. I don't know if the Utah Department of Transportation is scheduling some repair work, but I know that their salt trucks have been jointly responsible (along with the weather), and I would love to have a somewhat pristine road to drive on, as I use it all the time.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Jazz-kel and Hyde

It's time for my every-so-often Utah Jazz post. They're such a strange team most of the time. I know that the Jazz have been like this before (it was a HUGE deal back in the late 80s and pre-Jeff Hornacek 90s) where they are absolutely unbeatable at home but couldn't beat 5 guys from the Lowe's customer service staff on the road. Ultimately, that kind of play won't allow us to break our losing streak in San Antonio (the last time we won there was when Sherman was marching through Georgia on his way to the ocean). It also will make life extraordinarily difficult in the playoffs. It's definitely going to be hard, because in the 2008 Western Conference, a 50 win team will likely get a lottery pick. That means that going .500 the rest of the way just won't cut it. They might get in as the 4 seed based on Denver's continuing tradition of historic near misses in the Carmelo Anthony era, but barring them stepping it up on the road, they'll have to settle for a repeat of last year, starting as the 4 on the road and trying to fight up through the playoffs. Fortunately some of those road games are against weak teams...which brings me to my next point.
The Jazz are also all over the map on how they play. If they are going up against an elite team like the Celtics, Pistons, Suns, or Mavericks, they play hard and are very good against them. On the other hand, they'll turn it around and lay an egg against the Timberwolves (a team that has somehow been forever labeled the Pesky Timberwolves here, based primarily on Hot Rod Hundley's play-by-play from a decade ago) on their home court. There is no other team in the NBA that has less of a disparity in their win-loss vs teams over .500: their win-loss vs teams under .500. They've picked this trait up over the past few years, and I don't know if it's because they somehow think they can coast against weak teams despite Jerry Sloan's insistence that they can't, or perhaps it's in spite of it. Nevertheless, it bodes well for them, especially during the final 6 games of the season, when they play playoff teams exclusively.
I would love to see them really mature on the road and see Deron Williams get the Eye of the Tiger all the time. When he gets in f-u mode, the other team better watch out. When he's just playing a good game, they are good, but not great. Williams is truly the leader of the team and he sets the tone. While he doesn't ever coast, he needs to get that steel in every game and do what the best players ever have done (MJ, LBJ, Kobe) and take the team on his shoulders and say that there is no way they will be losing that game. They'll still lose, but if he had that attitude all the time, with the fantastic supporting cast he has, they would be the best team in the NBA. I love Boozer, AK, Brewer, Memo, and the rest, but there is only one player who can influence the team like that, and it's Williams. Stockton did the same thing back in his day (although it looked very, very different), but I think that in this sense Williams has the potential to be better than Stock.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The 12:00 Rule

One rule here at my office that I keep forgetting about, to my detriment, is what I like to call the 12:00 rule. It states that if you are still in the office at noon (i.e. you haven't left for lunch), you're not likely to leave for lunch. I was out sick yesterday and had a lot to get done today. As a result, I wasn't quite done (it was around 12:10) with everything, but was within about 2 minutes. Before I could get finished with what I was doing, I was off helping with some tech support, getting our new tracking system displays set up, and working on a couple of HR issues while Forro is out on vacation. I got back in my office to finish up that project around 1:30 and got it done pretty quickly. Unfortunately, as I was clearing my desk for lunch, I got a call. I knew I shouldn't have taken it, because it was from Robinson Cano's office and Derek Jeter and A-Rod had been in there last time I walked by. I had to get it though, so I did. Fast forward to 4 pm and here I am without having a lunch. I did have the foresight to get myself a quick 150 calories of fibery goodness with a Fiber One bar, but I should have just left at noon.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Snake Oil - The Experiment

I had a conversation with my Mom on Thursday about this whole Kangen water thing - she was telling someone that if you drink a can of pop (pH of approximately 3-4), you have to drink 32 oz of 8.5 basic water to negate the effects (and the lady who sold it said you might as well not drink it at all - which is the same stance that people have when you say that you can help heart disease by taking drugs, but don't do it because it won't completely fix it). I mentioned that it was the same with orange juice (pH of approximately 3-4). She immediately got defensive about it and said how that wasn't the case. I said it was simple chemistry. If you have an acid and you want to negate it, you put in enough base to counteract it. It doesn't matter what the actual composition of the acid is, if acid A is the same strength as acid B, it will take an equal amount of alkaline C to return the pH to 7. "No, pop is different." No, it's not. "Yes, it is. Just ask the lady who sold it to me." There's no point in asking her, it's not worth the argument. "It's true, this was brought here to the States by the inventor of the colonoscopy." It was at this point in time that I decided it wasn't worth talking about any more. After all, when you pull out the inventor of the rectal exam, you know that the conversation is over because you're in two different worlds. Instead I decided to conduct an experiment using impartial litmus paper. They have pH testing supplies with the water machine, but I honestly don't believe them. It's better to get the old standby testing materials that I've used and that have worked for ages. I'd like to thank my assistant/sister Troy for helping me with the experiment.
Here's the range of water being tested: the machine goes from 2.5-9.5 in pH with a standard cup of water (pH of approximately 7) in the middle.
Here's the pH image sheet for reference. We will be going back to it in each test.
First we tested the 9.5 water.
As you can see, the litmus paper pegged this "9.5" water at somewhere between 6-7, the pH of standard tap water.
Next we tested water that was supposed to have a pH of 9.
Again, you can see that there is no difference in the pH. It's still right between 6-7.
I was going to post my results for 8.5, 7, and 5.5, but suffice it to say that they all turned out water with a pH of around 7. I am including the results of the strongly acidic 2.5 water however.
As you can see, if anything it's a little more basic than the other water. I would chalk this up to slight variations in the pH of the water in Utah instead of it actually doing anything.
Because the water was a complete strikeout, I decided to include some control elements as well. First up is Diet Coke. This should definitely be acidic.
As you can see, it falls within the standard acidic range for a soda, right around 4 on the pH scale.
Here is where I really took it up a notch. I decided to get a strong acid and a strong base (vinegar and ammonia, respectively) to see what the water should look like if it actually worked.
First up was the vinegar.
This is clearly a strong acid, with a pH of about 2. That is right where it's supposed to be.
Next up was ammonia.
Again, this was right on the money, with a pH of right around 11. As a result of this rigorous scientific testing, I think it's fair to say that the water machine was a waste of $4000.