What Do You Want, More or Less Freedom?

When we debate taxation, there are questions I never hear asked… and today I will ask them.

Warren Buffet points out an injustice in our tax law that allows him to pay as much as 22% less in federal income taxes than the middle class. He pays 17.7% while some of his employees pay 39.7%.

Obviously unfair, right? It should be fixed, right? So what is the solution?

Warren Buffet wants taxes raised on the rich and a Senate committee agrees.

So here are my questions:

  • Why not reduce the middle class tax rate instead?
  • Why does every proposal to create fairness and equality require that we crack down on those that have most freedom?
  • Why doesn’t Warren propose that the middle class only pay 17.7%?
  • How do you benefit if someone else has less and the government has more?
  • Why give the government more money? Do you think they are responsible with the trillions they already have?

It reminds me of a child tattletale saying, “How come Joey gets to do that?” and the teacher says, “Oh I didn’t notice, we’ll have to make a rule against that. Joey stop it.”

The tattletale feels smug, Joey lost his freedom, and neither is better off. They are now equally miserable. Not my kind of fairness… I like solutions that result in more freedom, not less.

The Best of the Internet 6-24-07

Nickel and diming yourself out of financial trouble rarely works. You need to invest the resources you have into the right things. I’ve worked for companies that nickel and dimed themselves out of greatness when they should have focused on their strengths and cut their weaknesses. Don’t drown because you refuse to let go of the cinder block.

John Wesley tells us how to Write Home Run Blog Posts as a guest blogger at problogger.net.

Can you create the next great web 2.0 business with an empty head? Tony D. Clark tells a great story.

Jonathan gives great advice on developing a sense of the big picture. I feel this is one of the biggest strengths a person can have. One of the key elements to successful living is thinking ahead and understanding the interconnectedness of things.

Andrew tells us what he wishes he knew before he started blogging. – I’ll tell you what I wish I knew… I wish I knew how much fun it is. Like anything, it is up and down, but I love writing for you more than most things I’ve ever done.

The story of how a six-month-old startup was purchased by Google. These stories are the exception, but the REAL get rich quick stories fascinate me.

The Art of Giving Up – I relate to everything said in this beautifully written story.

What My Video Game Obsessed Child Taught Me

In February I wrote post about how my 4-year-old son was becoming obsessed with video games, asking the question – Are Video Games Bad for Kids?

After 4 months of observation, let me give the positive and negative aspects of allowing him to play video games with few limits:

Positive:

  • Improved eye hand coordination – It also appeared to have a positive affect in other areas like riding a bike and a scooter.
  • Increased interest in math – He began to understand complex math (for a 4-year-old) multi-figure addition, subtraction, and multiplication.
  • Organized planning – He learned how to plan ahead to complete goals and solve problems.
  • Mental exercise/Map reading – I am astounded by the ease with which he was able to memorize dozens of complex worlds, maps, sequences, and characters. He now draws multi-level maps of abstract worlds on our driveway using sidewalk chalk.
  • Improved reading – he can read faster and more precisely, in part, because the game forced him to – in order to survive.
  • Research skills – He learned how to Google a problem and solve it using a tips and walkthroughs. But now he thinks we can solve any problem this way. I’m afraid he’s is going to grow up believing Google has all the answers.

Negative:

  • Frustration intolerance – He still has little tolerance for frustration. If it isn’t easy, he has emotional breakdowns and when I refuse to help, he explodes.
  • Obsession – Everything he said or did was an extension of the video game. He didn’t think about or do anything that wasn’t related to the game. I hoped his obsession would fade, but after 4 months it didn’t.
  • Addiction – No amount of gaming satisfied him. No matter how long we allowed him to play, he threw tantrums when asked to stop. He kept playing even when it made him miserable.
  • Moodiness – How well he played affected his mood. If he struggled, his mood was negative; if he succeeded, his mood was upbeat.

The addictive nature of the game, with its quick, consistent, short term rewards, was unnerving and his inability to happily put down the controller and go to the park, was unnatural. So Christine and I decided the negatives outweighed the positives, and 4 days ago, I put the PS1 in the closet. Although he initially broke down, his mood improved within hours and has stayed positive since. His interests diversified overnight, and when we asked if he knew why we took his video game away – without prompting he said, “because you wanted me to think about something else.”

I love video games, and I’ll bring them back, with limits. But for now, I know removing them was the right choice.

The Best of the Internet Fathers Day 2007

Michael Haislip debunks 5 blogging myths. I’m not sure I agree with everything he says, but I love his strong voice and he makes some valid points.

Scott Adams gives powerful simple advice at the Dilbert Blog – The Day you Became a Better Writer.

This is the best article on children losing the freedom to explore and be independent that I have read. The map gives it visual meaning like never before. This issue has been bothering me for years. Now I have a 2 and 4 year old. What will I do? I’m afraid like the rest of them, but I know we need to give them independence. No one else does. So let’s say I allow my sons to ride their bikes miles from home when no other children are allowed to, doesn’t that make them the only targets available? I’m stuck. Maybe I’ll take them to the middle of North Dakota and let them roam. But them they might get run over by a heard of Buffalo. What’s a dad to do?

One of the best new parenting blogs around… husbandhood.

J.D at get rich slowly tells us the power of saying yes. This is the kind of post that changes the world.

John Wesley – who’s writing and posting just keeps getting better – just posted 11 multiple positives. What’s a multiple positive? You can read about them here.

Trevor gives us ideas on becoming a writer. If you write you are writer. What do you desire, to write, or to be read? Are they the same?

I just found the Brave New Traveler Blog today, and am I glad I did. Read this powerful, well written, inspiring post.

Steven gives us 5 ways to appreciate your children. On Father’s Day it is good to remember why we are fathers – to raise children. And to raise them well, we must remember to appreciate them.

I have the same problem as Michael. It’s stupid, but it keeps coming back. Listen… Listen…

Self-Delusion or Reality?

Reading The Total Perspective Vortex by Christopher S. Putnam at Damn Interesting produced some insights into life and the personal development industry as a whole.

The basic premise of the article is that people who are “Mentally Disordered” may actually be more grounded than those that are “Normal.”

Psychologists Shelly Taylor and Jonathon Brown state that the average “Normal” person is quite self-deluded in three areas.

a) viewing themselves in unrealistically positive terms; b) believing they have more control over their environment than they actually do; and c) holding views about the future that are more positive than the evidence can justify

As many of you know, I’ve been working a self improvement/personal development program for several years.

So as I look back at life, I see three distinct mindsets which produced negative consequences, and they are the polar opposites of psychologists Shelly Taylor and Jonathon Brown’s “Normal” delusions.

  1. Negative self-image: A basic belief that you are bad, unquilified, and incompetent.
  2. Belief that life happens to you, instead of believing you actively influence it: This is a basic victim mindset, which says, since you have no control over your environment, you are a victim of fate. I believed most wealthy people became wealthy by luck or exploitation. This negative belief is directly countered in personal-development circles by teaching the Law of Attraction.
  3. Pessimism: I was raised in a highly restrictive religion – Seventh Day Adventism, which based it’s teachings on the end times. Just to give you a clue – the Branch Davidians were an offshoot. As a child during the cold war, I believed the world would end in a nuclear holocaust. I also spent half my adult life believing the economy would collapse and we’d enter second great deperession. You get the picture, right?

So imagine, you are a young man going through life believing you are a worthless incompetent, have no control over your life, and everything’s going to collapse anyway. Don’t misunderstand; these mindsets aren’t conscious but subconscious, so you aren’t aware of them.

Can you see why you might have a problem with the “normal” people who view themselves in positive terms, believe they have control over their environment, and are optimistic about the future? Optimistic people used to really piss me off. I thought they were completely unrealistic.

Experience tells me that many people in the personal development niche went through some degree of what I just described. Many of the gurus were homeless, drug addicted, criminal, or destitute.

So let’s say psychologists Shelly Taylor and Jonathon Brown are right – that high self-image, in control, optimists are self-deluded.

So the personal development work I’ve done is delusional? What about my net worth, my career, my health, my relationships, and my weight. Are they delusions as well? Unless I’m dreaming, my delusions are creating positive results in reality.

Someone once told my brother, “They’re just brainwashing you with all that self-help crap.” To which he replied, “Maybe I needed to be brainwashed.”

I pray “Normal” society never becomes grounded in Shelly Taylor and Jonathon Brown’s reality. I’ve been there and it sucks. I’ll take self-deluded any day.

Fighting Poverty

Paul Tough wrote a phenomenal article for the New York Times magazine in which he tells the story of Ruby Payne who harnessed the Law of Attraction to start a multi-million dollar business, change her life, and fight poverty.

By accident, over thirty years ago, she discovered vast differences in the way poor, middle class, and rich people think and appropriately named it ‘Class- Consciousness.’

Ruby’s story resonates with me.

Change is possible

It is critical that you change the way you think if you wish to change anything about your circumstances. And the best way to change the way you think is to examine the people that have escaped poverty and the entrapments of working class servitude, and model how they think. Instead of hating and envying the successful, learn from them!

The Giant Sucking Vortex of Poverty

If you come from a poor or working class background, and you wish to change your thoughts and actions, the biggest obstacle is the notion of selling out. The pressure to stay in the circle of damaging thoughts and beliefs is tremendous, and it comes from within the class structure like a giant sucking vortex.

Anecdotes

I can relate to Ruby’s anecdotes. I’ve seen grown men with families take home $1,000 on Thursday and ask for an advance on Friday because they blew the entire check on booze, cocaine, and pull-tabs. Not only did they think this was normal, they blamed other people for their actions! Meanwhile their wives and children suffer.

Schools of Thought

It appears there are two schools of thought about reducing poverty.

  1. Poverty is mostly due to a cyclical pattern of thoughts and actions that adults can change if they choose to implement certain options available to them. Outsiders can help, but it is a at best an 80/20 proposition.
  2. Poverty is structural and the poor cannot help themselves. Expecting them to help themselves “blames the victim”, is counter productive, and will only lead to more poverty. Alleviating poverty requires the power elite to lift the poor from poverty.

#1 says – you can do it and I’d love to help you – you are more powerful than you imagine.

#2 says – you are a helpless victim of a massive conspiracy. Don’t even try to change. You couldn’t if you wanted to; it’ll only make you depressed and angry, so please hold tight until we get enough funding to help you.

I used to believe in #2 and it led nowhere. Waiting around for someone else to fix your life is a dead end. You’ll die waiting.

UPDATE: Thanks to some thoughtful readers who have sent me links, I understand a little more about Ruby Payne. She seems to have made enemies in some high places. That can be a good, because it means she’s shaking things up and making people think. Her critics seem to have two strong points with which I agree:

  1. She is enriching herself by taking money from the government schools. It’s a fair criticism. Sucking on the teat of the government sow, doesn’t create wealth.
  2. She is a proponent of GWBs No Child Left Behind. I can’t understand how so called conservatives got hoodwinked into centralized education. Washington should have no… and I mean no say over what happens locally. The best way to ensure this is by complete deregulation and privatization of education.

Resources:

Visit Ruby’s Blog

A couple of Ruby’s most popular books:

A Framework for Understanding Poverty

Hidden Rules of Class at Work

The book that inspired Ruby to create her company:

Creating Money

What Can We Learn from the Paris Hilton Fiasco?

As the mainstream media fuels class envy and schadenfreude in the proletariat over Miss Hilton’s hysterics, I have yet to hear anyone point out what a foolish waste jail sentences are for petty crime. They do little to ‘correct’ people, do little to protect the public safety, are expensive, inefficient, and unnecessary due to technological advances.

Can’t judges be creative? Wouldn’t it make more sense to make Paris shovel shit at the police horse stables? Maybe she could do something useful like give old men sponge baths at a local nursing home. Serving 45 days in an overcrowded LA county jail for driving without a license clearly limits space needed for dangerous criminals.

How wasteful to fill our jails with petty criminals, when we can easily put them on house arrest using an ankle bracelet GPS.

The reverend Al Sharpton, who made it a racial issue, asks that Miss Hilton be treated the same way poor minorities are treated when they are sentenced for petty crimes. But, instead shouldn’t he be asking that poor minorities be treated like Miss Hilton? Instead of asking the authorities to bring the hammer down on her, shouldn’t he be asking our leaders to quit hammering poor young people for petty offenses? How does a Billionaire’s presence in the LA County pokey benefit the millions of poor people rotting in jail cells across our nation?

If this situation causes us to question why we keep throwing young people into these hellholes for minor rebellion, then it does serve a purpose, but if few ask that question, it serves no purpose other than to strengthen the police state.

Demanding fairness in sentencing rarely results in improvements for the poor. Such demands have resulted in mandatory minimums, sending our prison population to record levels.

In a 1990 landmark case in Minnesota, Judge Pamela Alexander (Word File) found that mandatory sentences for possession of crack cocaine were three times as harsh for 1/3 as much powdered cocaine. Since 90% of defendants for crack cocaine possession were black and 90% of defendants for powder cocaine possession were white, she found the sentencing guideline racist. I agree with Judge Pamela Alexander. But, how did the legislature remedy this injustice? Did they reduce the sentence for crack cocaine? No, they increased the sentence for powdered cocaine sending our prison population soaring. Did the poor benefit? No. Her victory did nothing to reduce the numbers of minority offenders sentenced to prison.

So what is my point?

Instead of taking glee in Paris Hilton’s misery, shouldn’t we use this as an example of why we should end this stupidity for everyone – rich and poor… and why we should ask for reduced sentences for all non-violent crimes – for all people – regardless of race or economic class. This – “Ha, good, the rich tramp deserves it. Lock her up” – thinking is how we got to this point – a point where we have millions of people behind bars.

Not only is the war on drugs and the war on terror erasing our civil liberties, there is also a war on young people, and Paris Hilton is simply the latest casualty. The propaganda machine just couldn’t resist.

The Best of the Internet 6-10-07

Psychology Today has the best article of the year. Robert Epstein is interviewed about how adolescence is an artificial creation of the industrial age, and that human beings reach adulthood shortly after puberty. I agree with him, and I will take it one step further… our society creates troubled youngsters and then blames them for society’s problems, which has resulted in a war on young people – something I plan to expand upon in the next couple of days.

Excellent tips on finding the right words – by Chris Garret at Copyblogger.

Tips on writing a home run blog post by Jane May on johnchow.com.

Tom… the home page is dead. Landing pages are the future… unless Google changes everything… which they will.

Digg brought down emomsathome.com. I wonder how this will turn out. I’ve had similar experiences – Digg has brought me down twice, and other days I made the front page of Digg and four other social media sites with no problems. I think it has something to do with how the ISPs balance traffic. It looks like Wendy is going to dig into it and let us know what she finds.

This series of photos is very thought provoking. Thanks for posting them ilker.

The great lists of lists at How to be an Original.

Christopher Warden asks – What’s more important, knowledge or self-motivation? I’d say motivation… but being motivated and getting things done results in knowledge acquisition…so maybe it’s a trick question. See what Christopher Thinks

90 Things to be Grateful for

In his 10,000 Fists to Freedom post Aaron Potts challenges us all to make a 90 day commitment to achieving a goal. Not some ‘mamby pamby crap’, but something difficult, like losing 30-40 lbs. or gaining financial freedom.

His post got me thinking about what I have and what I want. And I discovered I have all the material things I want, my health and weight are good, my career is where I want it to be, my relationships are solid. So what goal should I set?

A couple of years ago, I was driving along and thinking about some depressing/negative crap when I looked up and saw a plain black billboard with yellow letters that said, “Be Grateful!” Reality will slap you in the face if you let it.

So yesterday as I remembered this event, I decided I needed to create a new habit… the habit of being grateful for what I have right now… being grateful every single day for life and it’s gifts.

I have a habit of allowing my thinking to slip back into negative patterns, so commitment to this goal will not be easy… not for me.

So here is how it works. Every day for the next 90 days, I am going to add one item to this post, for which I am grateful.

  1. Hot hazy summer mornings, when you can smell the energy of life in the air… in the air so thick the birds seem to swim.
  2. You… the reader, the visitor, and your time.
  3. Aaron Potts at Today is the Day – an inspiring man.
  4. My brother Paul Olson, a life long bricklayer, who decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship after reading Joe Vitale’s Life’s Missing Instruction Manual and the Attractor Factor – and invented a set of masonry tools that will increase the productivity of an experienced brick layer by 50% and dramaticaly increase the quality of a novice mason or bricklayer. His site went live this weekend. Good luck Paul! I wish you the best.
  5. John Wesley at Pickthebrain.com. He is doing a fantastic job with his blog. I learn so much from it.
  6. The Little Lemonade Tycoons in my yard today.

    They were there when I pulled up after work, and I rolled down the window and said, “I hope you’re givin’ me a cut.” Of course, I was kidding. But business was good – it was 92 degrees today, which is damn hot for Minnesota.
  7. Ozzy Osbourne. I know that may strike some of you as strange, but for me Ozzy is the epitome of ‘making a go of it’ against all odds. He grew up in a working class industrial slum in Birmingham UK. Ozzy says his childhood consisted of one pair of shoes, one pair of socks, no underwear, one pair of pants and one jacket. There would be a bucket at the end of the bed to urinate in, which sat there for months. Their beds never had clean sheets, and sometimes they used overcoats as bed sheets. Dirt floors, no running water.He was diagnosed with bi-polar in 1979, divorced, kicked out of Black Sabbath, depressed, addicted to drugs, and suicidal.Ozzy was a major inspiration in the darkest days of my youth, and without his words, I wonder if I could have made it.Lines I love: How many times
    Can they fill me with lies
    And I listen again
    Twisting the truth
    And they’re playin’ around with my head, O.K.
    The things they will do and the things they will say
    But they don’t really understand
    Tears fill my eyes when I hear all the cries
    For the reason today
    Won’t ever change, may think it’s strange
    I’m born to rock & roll, I’m here to stay,
    But the best line he ever wrote was…Maybe its not to late
    To learn how to love
    And forget how to hate
    Some time in my late twenties I realized… all the adults, like Tipper Gore, that thought Ozzy Osbourne’s music was driving the youth crazy, were wrong. We weren’t crazy because we listened to Ozzy, we listened to Ozzy because we were already crazy, and their institutions drove us crazy. He was our medicine.Whenever I see a bumper sticker that says “What Would Ozzy Do” my heart smiles.Read Ozzy’s own words at MSNBC. He’s absolutely real and I love him.
  8. The Internet. All my memories from before the internet are like black and white photos. My only sources of information were the public library, television, and newspapers – if it wasn’t covered, you didn’t know about it. Today, it is hard for me to imagine not having access to instant information and communication. If you look back and read the books written about Gen X coming of age in the early 90s, just before the internet, you will see a sense malaise and pessimism – the first American generation to have it worse than their parents, we were told. The Internet changed everything. In my neighborhood today, 70% of the adult’s careers are directly dependent on the internet. In 1996, I bought a 100mhz Pentium, for 800 bucks, and connected to AOL. Within six months my wife was making money on the internet. Within two years, we owned our own dot com corporation, and our reality was forever changed. If you came of age after the privatization of the internet, you have no idea how much it changed the world. But that’s okay, I understand, I took the telephone and automobile for granted.
  9. Thunderstorms
  10. My Neighbor. She had major surgery this spring (near her brain). I don’t want to be too specific, because I respect her privacy. But today, as she sat in the sun and enjoyed a beer while watching the children play, I thought – I am so happy for her and her family – she looks healthy and strong and on her way to full recovery. My neighbors are wonderful.
  11. My Father. Just a few things… Thanks for bringing me to the university as a child. To the astronomy room and thanks for enrolling me in university computer classes before most people had ever seen a computer. Thanks for letting me play in the oily dirt at the motocross track when I was 4 (without complaint), and thanks for stripping me down and hosing me off afterward – I love that memory. Dad, thanks for everything.
  12. Joe T Garcia’s Restaurant in Fort Worth Texas. I ate there on Monday night and it was one the best dining experiences of my life. So the next time you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, eat at Joe T Garcia’s, and remember to sit outside, and experience an ambiance like nothing you have ever experienced before.
  13. My iPod. It makes flying much more enjoyable.
  14. Steve Pavlina. He’s made a huge impact on the blogosphere. I just wish he’d link to some of the bloggers he inspired.
  15. The 1980 American Olympic Hockey Team. Beating the USSR was analagoius to the Burnsville High School beating the Dallas Cowboys. One of my fondest memories.
  16. John Taylor Gatto – who’s writings have helped me understand the most confusing time of my life – school. It never seemed right, and it wasn’t, it was wrong. Thanks John.
  17. Reddit.com – the best social news site to date. Beats digg.com hands down in form and function.
  18. Hot summer nights in the park, waiting for the fireworks to begin, while the children run barefoot through the grass catching fireflies.
  19. Campfires.
  20. Charles W. Lindberg – He’s not the great aviator, he isn’t even related. Charles W. Lindberg is the last survivor of the six U.S. Marines who raised the first American flag over Iwo Jima during World War II, he died at 86. We are losing 1000 men a day who served in WW2. This great generation is passing and I am grateful for them. They fought tyranny.
  21. Typefaster Open Source Typing Tutorial Software. A wonderful piece of software, which has helped me increase my typing speed.
  22. Leo at Zen Habits. He’s created a phenomenal blog. He’s now guest blogging at copyblogger. Way to go Leo!
  23. Building cedar deck railings with my neighbor.
  24. Back when I was in school and we sang The Battle Hymn of the Children… No one was expelled and no one made federal case about it.
  25. Picnics on the bluffs of the Mississippi River watching the eagles soar and chasing dragonflies.
  26. Driving my neighbors Porsche 911. He was asking me to take corners faster and drop the clutch harder. I have a hard time beating on fine piece of machinery like that, even when the owner asks me to.
  27. America – and the freedom and liberty to originally stood for
  28. The flu- it reminded me how good it feels to be well
  29. Recovering from the flu.
  30. My oldest son turning 5 this week
  31. Giant Mazes at the University of Minnesota
  32. My youngest son pooped in the toilet today
  33. The birds singing outside my window this morning
  34. My son crawling in bed with us this morning
  35. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles – you can get the free eBook here at Creating a Better Life
  36. Lifehacker.com linking to me today
  37. The Port of Excelsior on Lake Minnetonka – where I spent my Sunday morning with my family. Some say Mick Jagger was so inspired by a visit to this city he wrote, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
  38. Peter F. Drucker (RIP) – one of my favorite business writers. He coined the term “Knowledge Worker” and has written extensively on Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
  39. A friend of mine at work has a brother (who is also a husband and father) who has been unemployed for ten months. He found a job he loves recently. A job that is far better for him than his previous one. I am grateful it worked out so well. Sometimes things like layoffs or other apparent setbacks are blessings in disguise.
  40. My youngest son wore underwear for the first time tonight.
  41. Drawing mazes with my five year old son
  42. The opportunity to build a better tomorrow… today
  43. To work with such intelligent creative people
  44. During my morning commute I listened to Where Eagles Dare by Iron Maiden at about 150 decibels. What an inspiring way to start the day! Man! I feel like I could change the whole world! I know a lot of people don’t like that style of music and sometimes I wonder… Do they hear the same sounds I hear? I can’t understand how anybody could fail to be inspired by a song like that. I’ll condense the lyrics for you…No one should fly where eagles dare… no one should fly where eagles dare… They chose to fly where eagles dare.
  45. This blog is getting more traffic. It is finally starting to move forward again
  46. The Montessori School my sons will be attending
  47. The ability to control my thoughts
  48. The down comforters on my pillow top bed
  49. The Minnesota Loon. This weekend, I had three of them swimming ten feet away from my boat.
  50. Largemouth Bass. I caught a huge one on Beden Lake in Northern Minnesota this weekend.
  51. My two and five year olds both caught their first fish (Sunnies) last weekend.
  52. Dusk at the lake in Northern Minnesota when the surface of the water reflects the faint stars struggling shine in fading sun.
  53. My two year old was dry this morning. Potty training has been so easy with him.
  54. WHMH 101.7 in St. Cloud Minnesota. The greatest radio station in the world.
  55. My Five-year-old understands the importance of social skills. He gets it! I swear!
  56. The quiet ride home from the lakes. The ride up was insane loud and it gave dad a headache. The boys learned to quiet down on the way home.
  57. The Ice Cream Confectionery in Park Rapids MN.
  58. The Lupus foundation is coming to take a bunch of our stuff that did not sell in the garage sale.
  59. 90 degree days at the beach.
  60. Knowing that most of the things I am grateful for, cannot be purchased. They are experienced.
  61. A new Network of Bloggers – Lifemix. Looks like a great group.
  62. County fairs.
  63. Ice Cream.
  64. Playing video games with my five year old son. He gets so excited when I have a few minutes to play his favorite games with him.
  65. Hunter S. Thompson. What an exquisite writer.
  66. Wil Wheaton – I love his blog and his books.
  67. Pizza
  68. Mowing the lawn
  69. That my brother from Texas and his children are visiting us.
  70. My latest car repair was under 200 bucks. I haven’t had car payments in seven years and I want to keep it that way.
  71. Larson Auto Repair in Eagan Minnesota. They are honest mechanics. Now the city of Eagan is trying to run the out with eminent domain law and give their land to a condo developer. Larson is fighting them until the end. Go Jerry!
  72. Tiger Woods. I love to watch him play golf. He is an inspiration to our generation.
  73. Friends to pick me up from the car repair shop.
  74. Our Linux engineer who saved my butt this weekend.
  75. Our administrative assistant who notarized a personal document without charging me a cent.
  76. Codine cough syrup. It is the only stuff that works.
  77. Jim and Beth’s summer party. My family had a wonderful time.
  78. The rainfall that ended our drought. Everything is green again.
  79. My boss, my DBA, and my Linux administrator are coming back from China today. Man did I miss them.
  80. Wispy pink clouds slowly turning gray in the fading light of the day.
  81. They last hot days of a Minnesota summer
  82. My sons wonderful private Montessori school. He started last week. They own a farm he will help restore, they travel to the theater and play hockey. He has 45 minutes for Lunch, 45 Minutes of recess, and gym class everyday. I am so grateful we found that school for him.
  83. This present moment, right now.
  84. My bosses new swimming pool. He had our family over for a party and the kids had a ball in the pool.
  85. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. Another pop culture icon who is absolutely real. I am grateful he is still alive and has a decent mind.
  86. Broccoli. I hated the stuff as a kid. But I love it now and so do my boys.
  87. Beer. I couldn’t have survived high school without it.
  88. The little fuzzy woodchuck who lives in our woods.
  89. Christine’s new Nightshade free diet appears to helping her arthritis.
  90. This list is finished!

When is Procrastination Positive?

People write frequently about how to stop procrastinating. But when is procrastination positive?

Two rationalizations I hear people utter frequently:

  1. We’ve gone without doing (x) for (specified time), what’s wrong with waiting another (specified time)
  2. If we don’t (do x) now, we’ll never do it.

#1 is a rationalization for procrastinating and #2 is a rationalization against procrastinating. Both can be equally wise or equally foolish depending on how you fill in the blanks.

Examples of #1:
We’ve gone without attacking a small defenseless country for the last 200 years, why not wait another 200 years?

We’ve gone without eating healthy meals for the last six months, what’s wrong with waiting another six months?

Example of #2:
Let’s say you just inherited $200,000.
You could say either of these things:

If we don’t start saving money now, we’ll never do it.

If we don’t buy the Ferrari now, we’ll never do it.

Procrastination is neither positive nor negative; it’s simple decision making. If you choose to procrastinate, you are deciding to spend your time and/or money doing something else.

John Perry wrote a fabulous Essay on the topic of Structured Procrastination.

I wonder how he got around to it? Maybe he told himself – if I don’t write this essay now, I’ll never write this essay.