Thursday, May 28, 2009

What about Google Wave?

I've finished reading a blog about Google Wave by Lars Rasmussen, who, with his brother, Jens, developed this astonishing new software that links all of the communications we (some more than others) use: IM, text, Twit, email, etc. all onto one gigantic "wave", to which you can continue to add connections. Lars notes that after two years of development, the product is not quite ready for public release and he's inviting developers to a "sneak peek".

The thing sounds really cool and Lars wonders whether this new Wave is the "be all end all" (my words) in communications. I seriously doubt it, and not because it's not great, but because of our need to do it better than the last guy. That's what's great about science and technology, music, literature and art.
Why do we keep at it? Because we can and it makes us happy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Plastic Wine Bottles May Be "green"

Whether or not you are a recycler (if you're not, you need to admit it to yourself and get started), you may find this interesting. It seems there is a PET material being used for wine bottles and you may see these new bottles on the shelves at your favorite wine merchant soon. For more details go to

and find the article "One Green Bottle" by Ben Canaider. Wine in plastic bottles certainly makes sense for frat houses and the boating community, as mentioned in the article, but does it make sense environmentally? Maybe. And will wine connoisseurs everywhere be willing to drink wine from a plastic bottle with a screw-on cap? Hmmmm.

I don't believe there is an ultimate correct answer for all of our trash and carbon footprint issues, but we certainly should think about doing things better. If there is a better way, we should consider it. All of these recycling concerns require trial and error; any improvements will be made using baby steps.

As an avowed wine ignoramus (opposite of connoisseur), I would be happy to drink wine from a plastic bottle. Please don't hold it against me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Want to Thank You, Sun

Thank you, sun, for shining! It feels like spring is really here - what are we doing indoors?
Everyone, let's go outside and stroll, have an ice cream and just catch up on what's going on in the neighborhood. That is one of the best features of spring in the suburbs: all the neighbors you haven't seen since you exchanged Christmas cards (if you're one for that) have reemerged from their winter garb, mowing and raking and mulching and planting. We barely recognize each other - time to get reaquainted.

Meet me at the back fence at 5:30. I'll bring the beer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Breathe Easy

I saw a tee shirt on Umphrey's McGee's website the other day. The message was:
breathe easy.
think slowly.
dream focused.

Great message - it's posted beside my computer now, as a reminder for me to unhunch my shoulders, unclench my teeth, lean back and BREATHE! Can you share what works for you?

I recommend Umphrey's new album "Mantis" to reengergize. Turn it up to 11.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Accentuate the Positive!

Try this . . . put a smile on your face (even if it feels phony), stand tall and go do whatever your day requires. Whether it is a meeting, or errands, jury duty or just your everyday job. You will find that if you smile, look people in the eye and say hello, or thank you, or please - whichever is appropriate, most people will respond positively to you. Go out on a limb and hold a door open for someone - it works! Even if your errand is potentially unpleasant (like expressing your discontent with with a co-worker's behavior, for instance), if you do it with a smile and acknowledge that the other person is a human being, you will find life generally easier and more satisfying. As JFK said, "A rising tide lifts all boats".

I have tried this experiment many times. It works! And you should always assume ahead of time that you will be received in a positive fashion.

Because facial expressions generally mirror emotion, they are mostly involuntary. This can be altered even if you are not feeling happy - smile and you'll start to believe it!

Let a smile be your companion for a day, and see the difference. Here's a little silliness to help you smile: Jim Gaffigan loves Hot Pockets!

Monday, May 4, 2009

RoHS Affects Household Appliances

I've been discussing this with relatives, colleagues, friends. Since Lead-Free is now the rule for any items being imported into Europe (with some exceptions, including products for military use), we are now being told that the washing machine we just paid $1700 for will last 5 - 10 years, rather than the 15 - 20 years for older generation large appliances. Isn't that counterproductive? It seems we aim to fill up landfills with washers, dryers, TVs, fridges, etc., more quickly.

Even if these items can be recycled, the lead-free solder used takes more labor and energy to separate. Again, isn't that counter to our new environmentally friendly objectives?

It is my understanding that lead materials from landfills do NOT get into our drinking water throught the ground water, because lead is too heavy, and just remains where it lands. Food for thought indeed - we should always be aware that taking the easiest route is not always the best, whether it's homework, or housecleaning, feeding the neediest, or the "greening" of our consumption.

Friday, May 1, 2009

JFK Peace Strategy - Lessons for Today

The season of commencement is here and while we may feel sad because it is the end of something, it really is the beginning of a time that can be exciting and meaningful if we strive to be our best selves. Not just the graduates, but all of us who are paying attention.

I attended Brown University's Baccalaureate address last year, my eldest son in cap and gown, proudly receiving his hard-earned undergrad degree in music. Listening to (and sometimes laughing with) author, publisher, philanthropist and teacher-at-large Dave Eggars speak about our connections and responsibilities to our community and to the world was energizing! I wanted to find him and go work for him, immediately!

President Kennedy earned an honorary degree on the day he offered his strategy of peace to the 1963 American University undergrads - I imagine his audience felt how essential each one of them was to the peace process. Here is an excerpt:

"I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children - not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women - not merely peace in our time but peace for all time."

In this speech, JFK was talking about the buildup of nuclear arms and the relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union; many of his points can be applied to our current world situation. As always, President Kennedy used the poetry and prose of others in his illustrations of how we, as American and citizens of the world, can be better; we owe it to the world to be our best.

Mike Lowe brings the words of JFK to life for audiences in Boston, New England and beyond - more at JFK Experience with Mike Lowe.