Sunday, August 31, 2008

Forgiveness Trumps All Dysfunction & Ignorance!

Within the past 24 hours, I have returned home from the funeral of an American hero that had served 3 tours within the Vietnam War.  His obituary was heavily weighed of his military experience and ability to return home supposedly in one piece.  But through direct and indirect conversations and observations without judgment of anyone individual, there were battles, wars, decisions, and indecisions on multiple levels that focused on the wrong enemy altogether.

The family of the immediate household as well as the extended family of the deceased soldier consistently believed that the wife and children were mistreated harshly.  It was not until a minister who had himself served in a military capacity within a different war spoke that it began to dawn on me that the US government had placed soldiers in harm's way while not providing the resources for the soldiers' safe return to civilian life.  The number of divorces, broken homes, alcoholism, drug use, and even horrific, antisocial crimes can be attributed to wars being collectively and individually fought at the wrong time, place, and upon the wrong target.  The real tragedy is that the same logic and methods of operating have continued the downward trend versus changing course when it comes to American veterans.

There are veterans that have indeed returned to productive lifestyles, and positions of leadership, influence, and honor nationwide but for the military might that was so visibly recorded, documented, and put on display to wage war and deter other wars and conflicts from taking place, the amount of acceptable, domestic collateral damage has been far too high.  The lack of post war support simply indicates that like the victims of Hurricane Katrina, there was no governmental sense of urgency to mount a rescue for American citizens unconditionally when the moment of truth had arrived.

In spite of the lack of efforts to provide substantial support, it is going to be even more important for all veterans and their families and friends to be able to practice forgiveness at a level than ever before imaginable.  Although this can be misinterpreted as blaming the victim, the reality is that all of us within the United States and worldwide have in our possession some form of post tramatic stress syndrome to some degree or another.  Our ability or inability to forgive is the critical key to our exchanging being a victim to one of victory.

Historically within the progression of the United States' march to global and cultural sophistication, earlier generations down to the grandparents of Generation X have found it easier to pass forward their understanding of parenthood versus challenging the status quo.  The parents of Generation X appear to be first generation that may have had the sense of awareness to actually question whether they themselves were raised with love and nurturing concern to address the child's individual needs versus assuming that raising all children in the same manner was fair, equitable, and the right course of action for each specific child.

But many Baby Boomers have uniquely taken a path of parenthood that has aggressively weakened their children and future descendants in a manner that essentially is impossible for Generation X and later generations to duplicate.  These parents have swung to the extreme, opposite end of the parental spectrum to provide no restraint and degree of discipline in lavishly showering their children with almost every material possession imagined and placed on the open market for consumer consumption.

As a result, members of the Millennial Generation and children of such parents are themselves found in two extremes.  One extreme is where the child has an unlimited amount of confidence that will lead to the production of constructive changes within American society unimaginable worldwide.  Within the remaining extreme, the proverbial wings have been savagely clipped and dysfunction is spread and poured unmercilessly.  What is the recurring thread and solution within the generations mentioned and those to come?  The answer is found within the biblical concept of forgiveness.

Upon the cross, Christ Jesus is quoted within Luke 23:34 as saying "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do".  In John 8:7, Christ is quoted as saying, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."  The ability to forgive is the ability to avoid and heal cancer both literally and figuratively.  The capacity of forgiveness is found within the power of letting go.  We have to let go of our past and present in order to only take the good into our future.

There are situations where the good of the past can become the shackles and handcuffs of the present and future just as much as being a prisoner of someone else's war can bind one to the depths and despair without any logic and reason.  Therefore, we have to extract only the good and the essential lessons that are found within any situation and apply the necessary amount of overwhelming forgiveness and love to move forward to a positive future.

As I write this, I earlier today had to release multiple items within my wardrobe since my current weight has determined that there were idle, unworn clothes too large for me to currently wear and especially feel comfortable wearing.  Believe me, there were some items that represented a battle within my own mind in that they should have been forgiven for wearing down and out as well as possibly providing an upgrade for someone to fashionably wear.  The clothes will be donated to the nearest Goodwill store and there are items that are not able to positively represent my current weight, mindset, and belief system.  My wife will assuredly go on to say that some of these items have been out of style for decades possibly and the glory days in which they were worn shall never return:)

The point of this downsizing of wardrobe items is that we must actively, aggressively, and repeatedly release the past in order to experience a more glorious and desirable future.  Otherwise, we can only reproduce the past through intentional and unintentional means.

We know how to fight the wrong wars by continually passing on to future generations the sickness, disease, and dysfunction that serve no one comfortably although some have said directly and indirectly through their actions and inactions that they love dysfunction more than function.  The greater tragedy of these wrong wars is the compounded, dysfunctional belief or myth that these wars can and should be actually won without further detriment and endangerment of everyone involved.

Still forgiveness is the key to moving forward to a productive and satisfying future.  Forgiveness is the ability to exchange evil for good, captivity and slavery for freedom, hunger and thirst for an appetite quenched and satisfied, and loss and defeat for victory.  It takes forgiveness as well as the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to realize that the people that have produced the environments, situations, and crises of negativity and lack within our lives were simply doing THE BEST THAT THEY COULD DO.  It takes God living and moving within our lives for us to believe, see, do, and have the right things in the right way at the right time and for the right reasons.  Otherwise, we are doomed to repeat the past for failing to learn from it.

Just as the Lord's prayer petitions God for our daily bread, we must release, relieve, and remove the molded bread of the past and only use the penicillin that is present to heal and distribute health today and in our futures.

Not at any point am I indicating that forgiveness will be easy.  But through the Holy Spirit, we shall have the awareness and empowerment that only forgiveness has the capability of overcoming the decay and death that people unknowingly throw in our direction.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My New Conspiracy Theory on McCain’s VP Pick

Karl RoveImage via Wikipedia Everyone in the world has been stupefied today with John McCain's selection of the State of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential nominee.

Amazingly enough, there are more than a few members of the GOP that have consumed pints, gallons, and liters of Republican Kool-Aid to proudly and unashamedly justify McCain's wolfish ways in putting Palin on his ticket.

After stepping away from my computer long enough with more than enough laughs, guffaws, and tear-jerking jokes to last for the rest of the campaign season, it has dawned on me within the last hour that McCain's pick is perhaps the most shrewdest, racist, and most male chauvinist move seen in the world.

What makes this selection just as shrewd, racist, and chauvinistic as possible is that by choosing Palin, McCain has continued to seek the mass disenfranchisement of as many voters as possible.

Just as what was seen in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, McCain has taken the liberties to put a new Karl Rovian twist on his selection.

A few McCain supporters have already claimed that McCain's announcement took the oxygen out of Obama's speech that was as enlightened as any given by any American throughout our nation's history. To this attempt to remove oxygen from the final night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, I now see his announcement was clearly to do as you have stated and I see the cards up your sleeve.

Here it is in a nutshell. McCain and his GOP strategists know that the number of people being registered to vote in this year's presidential primaries and fall election have the highest counts ever. They know that the passion for Senator Obama's campaign has exceeded what they have had even with their elitist and exclusionary politics in their best years. They also know that based on the new participants within the election process that they clearly do not stand a chance of winning. But since the voter identification laws to prevent and disenfranchise many from voting may have been passed too early to have an effect, the best way to win this year's election is get those who would have voted for Obama NOT TO VOTE AT ALL.

How has McCain done this? By selecting someone that would make someone think "No one in their right mind would vote for the McCain/Palin ticket. I will let someone else vote for Obama and I will stay home or find something else to do on Election Day".

As a result, McCain's pick is supremely racist since it focuses on aiming squarely at stereotypes of African-Americans that have been classified as lazy since Republican President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

McCain assumes that there will be enough black voters who will not show up to vote at all assuming that someone else will make the difference instead.

McCain also assumes that there are more than enough supporters of Senator Hilary Clinton that will take their feminism to political extremes and vote for a woman on the ballot versus along party lines with or without any sound logic behind their decision for the long term. This is the most chauvinistic, Pied Piper-playing move that he could muster. Anyone should recognize this because nothing within McCain's selection of Palin has a long term focus and benefit for the United States of America. It is just as short-term focused as the selection of Cheney in providing the experienced oversight to a weak prince that W could still only reach for in his dreams at peak performance.

So by essentially using the divide and conquer strategy as an offensive weapon, selecting Palin is the move behind the move versus an in your face type of aggressive, political move. The move may actually qualify as a grand chess master move in being several steps beyond the actual pieces in play.

The only antidote for McCain's selection is that everyone who believes that Obama will make a better President of the United States HAS TO ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTE AND SHOW UP TO VOTE!!!!!

You cannot assume that someone else will cast the deciding vote for you! You cannot assume that Palin will replace Senator Clinton in your heart's desire to see a woman occupying a political level never seen before simply because of her gender. Palin's own track record on the neighboring side of Russia has proven that she is not one of the girls.

Every attempt at placing a logical debate before the American voters has been struck down by McCain's VP selection of Palin. But just as before and as fine tuned as Karl Rove could imagine, the strategy plays into human nature on a subliminal, cellular level.

See the strategy for what it is: a move to encourage you not to vote!

The selection is like the weakened bait to attract and induce grogginess like turkey on Thanksgiving Day! Your political inactivity will make the difference if you do not vote because we already know what decision the Supreme Court will make if there are any discrepancies that cause the final decision to be placed in their hands!

As much as I can now admire McCain's shrewdness, it makes me even more passionate about Obama's campaign. I will have to donate to his campaign as well as volunteer in some manner.

I will also have to tell everyone that I meet to apply a distinct strategy if you are unable to donate yourself to Obama's campaign: TAKE THE DAY OFF TO VOTE!

If you have seen that contributing to Obama's campaign has not yet moved you to make a donation, donate through your vote and consider the actual amount of unpaid time spent in placing your vote as an implied donation at a bare minimum!

You will vote and contribute to one campaign or the other one way or another by default! There is no way around it this year or any other year!

You will vote for Obama by selecting him on the ballot or vote for McCain by staying away from the polls. You will contribute to Obama actively by sending a donation or contribute to McCain's campaign by doing nothing.

Bottom line, McCain wants your DO NOTHING VOTE!

Even by chance my conspiracy theory is way off in left field and grasping at straws, the logic behind political inactivity passes any decision tree and flow chart in the end results.

Not only is the call for all hands to be on deck, there is no excuse accepted, tolerated or to be given for the failure to vote by qualified people this coming Election Day.


Go Obama!


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Easier To Tear Down A Real House Than A Digital Website!

Good morning!

Over the past weekend, I received an e-mail from our hosting vendor and the news was that 3 pages or files were creating a strain on their servers.

At first glance, I encountered technical problems accessing the files and could not see the usual folder directory to tell what was going on.

After a couple of back and forth rounds, I tried another method (WS-FTP and old school technology still works in many cases) and have gained access to everything.

The quick and dirty moral of the story is "Don't think because you are not creating content on a regular basis for different sites that no one is noticing because the spammers have already noticed and are filling those web houses like rats!"

Spammers worldwide were in and through one site like cockroaches and rats:(

I already had the files on an external hard drive for easy, offline editing before loading the files online, but none of this would indicate otherwise how deep and wide the problem really was on THE ACTUAL SERVER!

The real entry point were the various forms that were used to receive information from the online visitors!

The forms that leave content trails like the old school guest book forms will open a hole to your site that will be flooded by crazy advertisements if you are not consistently watching for it.

Right now, I am going through the server folder directory to delete and remove any files that have a size outside of the norm.

But I have already seen that it is easier to tear a three-dimensional building because when you have the visitors' responses that could be flipped into spam, there are a whole lot more files and folders that contain the same information in multiple places and ways.

I'm burning down the house and watching the rats and cockroaches run for cover!

Believe me, this job is just as ugly as it sounds right now:(

But I hope to save someone else from doing the digital, dirty work that I am having to do this morning.  I thank God for the appropriate tools too!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Now I Know What They Mean!

I Have Seen The Future of Shopping and Its Name Is Ikea

By now you already know that I am an early adopter of technology especially as it relates to the internet. I will share things that many will hoard as precious family secrets or heirlooms as a result.

But this morning my wife Wyteria and I experienced a low tech introduction to a store that is immediately being placed within my top 5 places to go for a great retail experience.

My interest in visiting an Ikea store was recently spiked with an excessive amount of fuel when I learned within the past week that Ikea serves food in addition to the various products designed for the home, office, or any living quarters:)

My trip was originally going to be planned for tomorrow (a Saturday), but the idea was too good to keep to myself. My wife mentioned going when her schedule would permit and nothing else was as critical as making our way to Ikea as we did this morning.

Here in Atlanta, we knew that it was going to important not to get trapped in the daily traffic and fortunately the hours of the Ikea store is a fit hand in glove.

They serve breakfast before the store fully opens I believe and the restaurant is fairly close to the store entrance. But let me back up just a little.

The building that hosts an Ikea is much larger than one would imagine. There were at least 2 parking levels and the spaces immediately outside the doors were filled.

We parked as close to the entrance on the parking level that we entered and as the hour was quickly approaching 10 a.m. (the opening hour), there were at least 30 to 50 vehicles already there.

I had discovered via the Wikipedia entry for Ikea that the store layout is like that of a guided museum design where one is expected to follow a certain order while there are short cuts to quickly move from one area to another throughout the store.

There are maps with a checklist provided at the entrance and throughout the store for one to navigate your way through the store with ease. Other than missing a moving sidewalk, you will soon begin to recognize people around you by face since your collective commute through the store is in a series of stages.

Big yellow bags were available on the area we entered and later we saw shopping carts that even moved sideways which was very impressive. I am not sure that any other store known to most people will allow you to parallel park the cart sideways:)

We also saw huge, blue bags that were oversized to a degree that one would think that you will be forced to buy something in a Costco quantity to justify the size.

After taking one short cut within the store to get out of the snake-like progression that most shoppers were on, we found ourselves in a children's section.

My wife Wyteria quickly skipped through the baby section as if an immaculate conception was possible through product radiation:D I enjoyed the subliminal compliment but I moved just as fast to not experience a planting season myself:)

Then the delicious aroma of food was on the horizon. Now again, this was my most significant motivation for wanting to visit an Ikea location and it was on!

Wyteria ordered her breakfast in a rapid fire manner like a drill sargeant and she said that the Asian server grabbed the plate from the young sister that was going to serve us. Then I asked if the heavier lunch and dinner items were available only to find out that they are served no earlier than 11 a.m.

When I stumbled through the menu and items like someone who has never been to a McDonald's before, the same Asian lady gave my plate back to the young sister like she was thinking "In my Asian culture, we have no time for indecision. Either have or have not". This was a nonverbal lesson learned and funny at the same time.

The food was cheaper in price and had a higher quality than most well known restaurants that serve breakfast and more accessible.

The seating area was more colorful and exciting than many places as well. I will not hesitate to go back just for the food alone since the items were capable of sticking to one's ribs while being tasty at the same time.

One thought that was confirmed during our trip is that the Swedish culture must be very driven to minimize their possessions while maximizing their living quarters. There was no fat or excess on anything throughout the store. Everything is designed with an efficiency and function unlike most items seen within Wal-Mart and heavily trafficked stores founded or based within the United States.

The store is very unlike any furniture store that I have ever been to or without the hype that Home Depot, Lowe's, and even Target are known for.

I saw the products offered very straight to the point like Olympic record breakers Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. There was no drag or dead weight seen anywhere.

We ended up putting several items into our hands and later a shopping cart and realized that the Ikea commercial where the female shopper shouts "Start the car, start the car!" was as accurate as one will feel and think within an Ikea store:)

Neither one of us could believe that several items were as inexpensive as they were and the quality was highly discernible.

We did not get a shopping cart upon entering the store out of not wanting to lug around anything that might not be used. But there will be something or several items that one will easily find an usage for as well as to replace something that has lived past its usefulness.

I am a man's man while having enough metrosexual traits to not irritate beyond reason my wife and daughters. But I simply have not found a furniture store of any nature that captured and held my attention as long as Ikea did. Even the technology stores that have office furniture never held the magnetism that I experienced today.

I already had scoped out an office chair online and when we finally saw it, my expectations were not disappointed. Although we did not buy it as this initial trip was more of a scouting expedition, I will feel totally comfortable ordering it online if the shipping and handling are within reason as well as throwing in the same order some lightweight items that will balance out the overall cost in our eyes.

Bottom line, I highly recommend that you immediately visit the Ikea website, request a catalog, and whenever the opportunity is available for you to experience a store firsthand, then take full advantage of it.

I received the best advice on Twitter from only1cassie who suggested that at least 2 hours are set aside to fully experience the store.

If you visit my history of microblogging about Ikea, you will see that the presence of food pushed me over the edge from mere curiousity to action:)

Go for the food or just go to see that there is a place where men can still be men and not get bored out of our minds!

I saw men of all ages and there was only one guy who was asleep or napping within the store and this was probably just as much due to the degree of comfort he experienced on the nice chair he was sitting on:)

I am not sure whether there is a stock on the US financial markets for Ikea or not or whether one has to invest within a foreign financial market, but Ikea is one company that will have to go a long way to throwing their business strategy in a trash can to copy the excesses many other CEOs and board of directors have foolishly done.

Ikea has taught me a lot about the Swedish culture indirectly and what is indeed possible without going overboard.

Before I forget, my wife and I watched the movie "The Bucket List" last night and mention of the Swedish fruit ligonberries was confirmation that our trip was due. Although I did not have any for breakfast, I did manage to get my wife to painfully indulge me to take a picture of me in the restaurant and later tolerate a jar of ligonberry preserves being put into our shopping cart:)

I will probably need to blog about the taste of ligonberries later as well as the ligonberry juice I will need to experience on a future trip without spousal overnight or intervention:) But Ikea was all good!

Finally, I want to thank everyone online that shared something about Ik with me. Your thoughts and experienced were very much appreciated and led to my wife and I having a great morning on our visit.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Extremely Powerful Example of Good Will: Google Document Templates

Good afternoon!

If you have never seen them before or not, the Google Document templates make a great starting point for any project.

There are templates for:

MS Word (documents), MS PowerPoint (presentations), and MS Excel (spreadsheets) styled documents just to give you an idea of where you can go from there.

I have seen some templates this afternoon that gave me a creative boost when I least expected.  Christmas in August is cool:)

High quality and free makes a great tag team!

Please pass this information on because one would not know unless you are already a heavy user:)


Friday, August 08, 2008

8-8-08 Expectations Are Sky High Worldwide Today!

Going homeImage by Pix Elate via FlickrToday is August 8, 2008 and is being referred to as 8-8-08.

The number 8 means new beginnings and within the Chinese culture today is believed to be a very lucky day.

Many people are getting married today in China and around the rest of the world believing that their marriages will be blessed as a result of getting married today.

But the date cannot be carried forward and only the expectations can.

As much as today is a blessed day, every day is a blessed day when you have faith to believe that everything will be fine and from the rising of the sun until the going down of the same, the Lord is to be praised.

God is indeed a good God and His mercy endures to all generations.

I cannot and will not lower my expectations on yesterday nor tomorrow and I find it a great relief and joy to know that my God is God over 8-8-08 and still will hold the future in His forevermore.

So we are blessed every day!

In my household, we celebrate this day as the birthday of Sandra P. Graham. Happy Birthday Sandra and may God bless you with many more!


Zemanta Pixie

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Visit to Camp Creek Barnes & Noble in SW Atlanta

Good morning!!!

I am at the Barnes & Noble on Camp Creek Parkway after making a visit to the Vitamin Shoppe nearby.

Although I have been here many times before, it is too easy to forget several things that may make this location one of my favorite go to places especially among bookstores from now on.

This B&N represents what many African-Americans have moved to Atlanta for.  The energy in the air of economic empowerment and entrepreneurial opportunities, cultural awareness, and social encounters among people of like minds can be found here instantly.  Already I have witnessed an exchange of business cards, a direct request for a business card by someone who just overheard the conversation, an interview of some unknown type, several sisters that could not have coincidently ran into each other here, and I even ran into a fraternity brother myself.

The range of magazines is far above and beyond any other B&N that I have seen and they include several magazines geared toward African-Americans that I have not even seen elsewhere. 

I am beginning to pick up that some magazines worldwide do not get beyond their first issue.  The range of topics in some cases appear to have been covered in the first and single issue (i.e., Digital Media aka The Future of Home Entertainment).  If they cover more than new models of the same technology beyond 6 issues, I will be amazed.  I do not even see an edition or month information on this magazine from the UK.

The depth of magazines also stacks up very well with Borders surprisingly.  There are niche magazines here by the tons.

Throw in the Starbucks and free wi-fi for AT&T customers like myself and many productive hours can be spent here very easily.

Just thought you should know!