Something I re-learned today.

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

– Matthew 18: 1-5 (NIV, ©2011)

Are you fit to enter the kingdom?

Whoever humbles himself like this child . . . What is childlike humility? It’s not the lack of intelligence, but the lack of guile. The lack of an agenda. It’s that precious, fleeting time before we have accumulated enough pride or position to care what other people might think. The same un-self-conscious honesty that enables a three-year-old to splash joyfully in a rain puddle, or tumble laughing in the grass with a puppy, or point out loudly that you have a booger hanging out of your nose, is what is required to enter heaven. It is the opposite of ignorance—it is intellectual honesty: to be willing to accept reality and to call things what they are even when it is hard.
– Burpo, Todd (2010). Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (pp. 74-75). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

The Dark Side of Miyagi

Mr. Miyagi in full Effect

Mr. Miyagi: He will kick your ass. | Eat Lard.

Today we investigate the life of government strongman Mr. Miyagi. Mr. Miyagi is known to have killed at least 94 bad guys in his life and also has won a medal for being an alcoholic. Other achievements of Mr. Miyagi include inventing karate and Japan.

Mr. Miyagi will chop off your face.Mr. Miyagi can solve all problems. Even problems which involve nuclear attacks and the mafia are nothing for Mr. Miyagi.

Who Knew?

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on the word transliterate

transliterate Trans*lit”er*ate, v. t. [Pref. trans- + L. litera, littera letter.] To express or represent in the characters of another alphabet; as, to transliterate Sanskrit words by means of English letters.–A. J. Ellis.

Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary

Every IT worker should know this word, it describes what they do on a daily basis. We must express or represent the characters of the common man’s language in the alphabet of technology. The transliteration is crucial, without it any translation is meaningless.


Just recently, there has been much discussion about email etiquette and whether it is good or bad form to send an email message that has been written in all capital letters. Since there has been so much discussion, I figured I would throw in my two cents on the matter of the “battle of the cases” and the history that lies behind the traditions of lower case email.

A long, long time ago in a place far, far away there was something called a mainframe computer–it had been created by some government people and some university professors. This odd beast took up an entire 30′ x 30′ room and made loud beeps and whirring noises while small guys in white lab coats gawked at it and tried to get it to do something useful. The geeks discovered that the mainframe was very good at adding and subtracting numbers, thousands of times faster than any human being ever could… but this grew boring after just a few minutes. So these eggheads got together and taught the mainframes how to interpret letters as well as numbers, and they were very pleased….

The engineer-types came up with all kinds of uses for the mainframe, it could calculate, it could accept typing, it could even run programs that involved complex instructions and then print out reports. But there was a problem, the mainframe (and the guys who babysat it) grew lonely. So the geniuses who created the first mainframe made another, and another and another so that the first mainframe would have friends to play with and would never be lonely again (this also gained the geeks some friends too).

In order to get the mainframes to talk to each other, they connected them with cables and taught them to speak a special language over the wires. When the mainframes finally were able to chat with each other freely, the first network (called DARPANET) was born and again the taped-up-eyeglasses type guys were well-pleased. But things continued to get better and better for the socially inept programmers… they taught the mainframes to send messages back and forth FOR PEOPLE. Now there was great rejoicing as a new form of communication was born, and it was called Email.

In the heady, early days of email, there was only the ability to send text messages composed of letters, numbers and the symbols available to a typewriter. There was no such thing as boldface or italics or underlining in email. This quickly caused a dilemma in the world of email evangelists. Almost all of the people who could use email were engineers, and it is well-known that engineers are not the swiftest at verbal or written communication, and sometimes the meaning or emphasis of their messages would get lost in the clutter of their mangled grammar and poor word choices.

In order to solve their problems some geeks got together an established some informal standards about email that still stand today…. In their primitive tongue, they reserved the use of ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for things that were VERY IMPORTANT or EXCLAMATORY. In the world of early computing, this was seen viewed as revolutionary. Eventually some super-smart type drew the parallel between email and spoken communication: small letters were equivalent to a soft voice and BIG LETTERS were equal to a BIG SHOUTING VOICE.

And so it went… people gradually accepted this standard and even to this day messages in all capital letters signify things of great importance, the equivalent of shouting your message to the last row of the balcony.

And that Virginia, is why most times is best to send messages in lower case.


While the story above takes a Creationist approach towards this issue, there is also an Evolutionist school of thought on the elimination of mixed letter cases in email messages.

In brief, the Evolutionists believe that lower case email evolved out of the need for poor typists to be able to communicate just as fast as good typists. The slow typists could not keep up with good typists because they always had to look down to find the shift key to make capital letters. As a result they could not survive in the silicon jungle… faster typists always caught the best food and grew strong. But the weak typists learned over time that they too could catch the big game if they played towards their strong suit… lower case letters! These pioneering slackers made a break from the norm and dispensed with the evil of capital letters and found that they now had an edge. By eliminating the extra hassle with the shift key, the small and weak were able to type at the same speed as the big and strong.

Today there are still two classes of typists, but the numbers have greatly changed, the lower cases are in the majority while the mixed cases are on the decline. During the long years of struggle, the true lower cases vowed to never use the shift key, especially not to send an entire message of capital letter… that would be like giving into “the man”, knuckling under, abandoning the ship in a high sea. As a result, even today, a majority of people regard all upper-case emails to be in bad form.

on pregnancy

When my wife was pregnant I learned one thing, everything they say about pregnancy is true.

Medical texts, old wives tales, baby name books, advice from strangers in the grocery store all carry the same weight… because being pregnant is what you make of it. It can be the biggest and greatest thing in your life or it can be an apocolyptic event–the choice is up to you.

on miscarriage

First reaction: I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

There’s not much you can say to make this better. Sure, millions of other people have gone through the same thing, but that is them… not me.

My wife and I hadn’t expected baby in the first place. In fact, we were actively using the pill and somehow it didn’t make a difference. At first I was pleasantly surprised when my wife gave me the news, and then in the following weeks I went through a rapid series of emotions (shock, fear, anguish, awe, worry) that culminated in a fundamental shift in mindset. After two weeks, I was ready for us to have a baby. Prepped with a new short term financial plan and new long range goals for myself and our family I was going to take the world–and win. We told everybody that we were pregnant (including family, friends, co-workers, and strangers and we started looking for ways to save money so that we could move into a house. We spent more time together than ever before and were both very diligent about diet and exercise–our baby was going to have all of the advantages even in womb.

At 7:00pm on a Saturday, I was at work finishing up some web pages and got the worst call of my life to date… “I’m bleeding (sniffle) from…… there”.

I still don’t remember getting up from my desk and running home, but I was in a full sweat by the time I got to the front door of the house. We called the doctor and got some reassurance, waited, call again, waited and finally went to the E.R. at 10:30pm. Somewhere around 1:30am Sunday morning, a foreign exchange resident told us, “Things just aren’t right in there, it’s weird, have you had a miscarriage like this before?”

T h e    W o r l d   S t o p p e d

I didn’t really even understand what she meant until my wife started crying and the resident left the room. Because it was a weekend, it took three days and several tests to confirm that what had been our greatest hope was dead.

Several months later, the aftermath is not over. I told so many people that I couldn’t possibly tell them all about the miscarriage–it would be too awkward. I told very few people at the time it happened, and as a result, people that haven’t seen me in a while ask how things are going with the baby. It’s tough to see them struggle when I say there won’t be a baby, but what else can I do?

The best help I got was in a personal note from one of the Partners at my company, he had gone through similar trials of his own and his advice was something to the effect of “you won’t forget this ever, but you won’t hurt forever either.” And he was right.

I’m not all healed on this by a long shot, but I am on my way and the feelings of guilt are starting to fade. I don’t get choked up when I see an infant on TV anymore and I’m not so jealous of people with strollers. I know now that my first reaction–throwing myself back into normal life–was a bad one and that I should have taken more time to mourn properly. I also know that I didn’t do such a great job in supporting my wife…. since I wanted to push everyone away I assumed that is what she would want too. I was wrong, and I’ll be there for her the next time tragedy strikes home.

We never did go to the support group our doctor suggested, but that’s just for ‘them’… or so I thought.

on taking a personal stake in your company

this essay is unfinished, last updated aug.10.1999

Right or wrong, most people define their lives by the work that they do. If you believe the mos recent surveys, you are going to spend more time at the office during your life than you will with your family. While this may be a sad commentary on the state of modern American society, it hammers home the point that if you are unhappy at work you are unhappy with your life. It doesn’t take a Mensa-level IQ to figure out that you need to take as active of a role in your company as you do in your personal life.

why stake a claim?


how to stake a claim



no one has a right to your claim
there is enough to go around

on ghosts

My wife and I recently went to see the movie Sixth Sense, the basic premise is that ghosts do really exist and that the general reason ghosts exist is because they left something undone/unsaid before their death.

We had an interesting discussion during the trip home about whether ghosts really exist.

My take on the whole thing is this:
If even part of what I was taught at Sunday school is true, then the existence of ghosts isn’t too far of a stretch–so ghosts probably do exist. If you believe in: God, Creation, saints, miracles, stigmata, or the Apocalypse, then it logically follows that you believe in the human soul. If the soul of a human is such a powerful thing that it can give meaning and purpose to a pile of organic chemicals, then that same soul could easily hang around for a while independently of the body it once animated.

If you believe the teachings of the Bible, the existence of ghosts is a forgone conclusion… just take a look at Lazarus and several others stories that describe the animation of the dead or visits from the deceased.

As to the why ghosts exist, whether or not they have a purpose that they are trying to fulfill….

I’ll just have to leave that as an open question until I meet a ghost and ask it.