• The Horrors of War Leads to a Better Mousetrap Published 2007-09-23 under

    I grew up mocking my father every time he would go into one of his "war stories". It was not that he did that often, but my brother and I would love to put on our best documentary narrator's voice and mimic "Back in WW2, when men were really men ...". You see, my father was a 'weather man' gathering information about wind speed, barometric pressure, and air temperature at different altitudes. He was not part of D-Day nor did he land on Iwo Jima. His job was to provide the information that would help make these campaigns and others successful. But unless you were driving a tank, throwing a grenade or piloting a fighter, I was not interested.

    The build up to tonight's release of The War on PBS has directed focus back to WWII. There have been tons of shows interviewing veterans of the war and it occurred to me that I really did not know any of my father's stories. So, I set out to learn.

    I had several conversations with my Dad and even asked him to find photos and old war memorabilia (e.g. ribbons, discharge papers, medals, etc). The result was a better appreciation of my father's participation and a better understanding of the war in general. The time was informative but more a bonding experience. I really enjoyed the time talking about the past uncovering stories that even my Dad had forgotten. My favorite story involves an enemy that can only be described as vermin.

    I mentioned that my Dad did not land on Iwo Jima. That is not entirely true. He did land on the island but well after the initial invasion and after the island was secured. I was fascinated by his tales of going into the famous tunnels but, as my Dad described it, the real enemy on the island were mice. They were everywhere and into every thing. You leave your toothpaste out and it would be gone. My Dad devised a trap for the mice out of a five gallon can, water and cheese. On the first night, the trap was so successful that they almost filled the can with mice. Soon the whole camp wanted to borrow the mousetrap and my Dad and his tent mates were renting it out for cans of beer.

    With all of the bad that war brings, it is nice to hear stories like these that describe the more humorous side of tragedy.

    You can hear the story as my Dad told it to me during lunch one afternoon. download mp3 - 2.9MB

  • The Blogging Scholarship Published 2007-09-13 under

    If you or someone you know is a college student that blogs, check out The Blogging Scholarship. At $10,000, this scholarship is worth a look.

    The criteria for submission (from the collagescholarship.org website) is as follows:

    • Your blog must contain unique and interesting information about you and/or things you are passionate about. (No spam bloggers)
    • U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
    • Currently attending full-time in post-secondary education in the United States
    • If you win, you must be willing to allow us to list your name and blog on this page. We want to be able to say we knew you before you became a well educated, rich, and famous blogging legend.

    Besides the substantial reward being offered to a lucky college blogger, I really like the rational behind this program:

    We believe passion is important. As the world gets more competitive, those who are passionate about what they do, and work close to their passions, will be able to become and stay successful even as technology and automation eat away at many business models. Those who are willing to share their experiences with the world help make the world a better place, even if most bloggers only consider blogging a hobby.

    We believe those who freely express themselves are far more likely to find their true passions and connect with people to bring on large scale social change.


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  • Don't Regulate Resess Published 2007-09-06 under

    A Colorado Springs elementary school is banning the game of tag on its playground -- after some children complained that they'd been chased or harassed against their will.

    Assistant Principal Cindy Fesgen of the Discovery Canyon Campus school said running games will be allowed, as long as students don't chase each other.


    Well as long as running in itself is not outlawed... Come on! There were around 39,000 fatal car crashes in 2005 Dept. of Trans., but you don't see a ban on driving. Instead we have laws that punish dangerous behavior. So why take the drastic measure of banning all games where kids chase each other when working with those students who are harassing other students will solve the problem (and be more constructive)?

    I remember being attacked in a kickball game during recess in 5th grade. I also remember getting into a fight during recess in the 2nd grade - again I think it was a kickball game that was the setting. Should kickball be banned? I would argue that such incidences are part of an education. I would never want my daughter or any child to get into a fight, but there are lessons to be learned. I not only remember these fights after 35 years, but also remember the emotions running through me at the time. Specifically, I remember the efforts by adults to work out the underlying reasons the fights broke out. In one case, the boy that attacked me was having difficulty at home and in the other case I was jealous that my friend did not pick me for his team. As a result of these discussions, I ended up with more compassion for and understanding of my fellow classmates.

    It seems like we as a society are often taking the easy way out by regulating activities in lieu of the more time consuming task of educating and forming appropriate behaviors.

    That said, I do remember the terror that consumed me during recess in kindergarten when the girls attached the boys in a game of kissing tag. Now that kind of tag needs to be outlawed!