Sunday, June 19, 2011


Today, June 20th 2011 is Father’s Day here in the United States. I say here because the day is celebrated on different dates around the globe.  While in some countries it is a proper holiday with meaning pertinent to that country’s history, in other countries it is not even recognized.

How this holiday got started has several different sources. One source claims that it was originally a pagan holiday honoring the father-in-the-sky that thanked him for giving us, the children-on-earth the gifts of sun and rain. Animal sacrifices were made with colorful ribbons around their necks and over time transitioned (through the intervention of the church) to a gift of garlands given from sons to fathers. This could explain the tradition we have here of giving a father a tie on Father’s Day. 

However for many years Father’s Day was not even known here.  In 1908 Dr. Robert Webb and Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton organized a service to celebrate the lives of 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monogah Mining Disaster on December 6th 1907. This was a one-time celebration and the state of West Virginia did not even register the holiday at the time. Today Fairmont West Virginia is officially known as the home of the first Father’s Day service.

Independently Sonora Dodd in Spokane Washington created her own celebration of Father’s Day. Influenced by the recent enactment of Mother’s Day Ms. Dodd wanted to do something to honor her father who had single-handedly raised his six children after his wife died in childbirth.

The first bill to try and give Father’s Day recognition was introduced in Congress in 1913. It failed. In 1916 President Wilson was in Spokane and he wanted to make it official. Fearing commercialization Congress refused. (OMG – You mean for once – and maybe the only time – Congress was right?)

In 1924 President Coolidge recommended it be observed but would not issue a national proclamation and a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City to explore the idea.  It would be another  48 years before the holiday became official.

In 1957 Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine presented a proposal that accused Congress of ignoring fathers while honoring mothers and this led to President Lyndon Johnson issuing the first national proclamation of Father’s Day in 1966. Six years later in 1972 President Richard Nixon signed a bill making Father’s Day a national holiday.

So to all those fathers and father figures out there – Happy Father’s Day!

Monday, June 13, 2011


So first I want to apologize for the lack of a Foodie Friday last week. On Thursday night around 20:10 hours (8:10 pm) the electricity went out in our area due to a rather severe storm. Many towns lost their power. We were lucky in that it was restored after 23 hours. However at that time our internet, cable television and landline phone were still out due to downed trees and tumbled line poles for another day. Even today as I write this (Sunday) there are still crews cleaning up the debris and every hour or so a truck goes by loaded with logs from the storm. 

Please note that the two photos below were taken the afternoon following the storm and are on a main road that got cleared first. However this type of trees moved to the side of the road scene can be seen all over the place. 
Tumbled Tree As A Result Of Storm

More Tumbled Tree 

The biggest problem I had with this storm was that I suffer from fairly severe sleep apnea and being without my bi-pap machine for even a single night can wreck havoc with my sleeping and well-being especially when the air is as humid and thick as it was during the storms.  Ironically there is a positive lesson to be learned from the experience and I now have an inverter for my car that I will leave in it.

In addition whenever there is a storm warning going forward I will make sure the car is filled to the top with gasoline so that if there is a re-occurrence and the weather is that bad I can go to the car and set up my bi-pap. Perhaps not the most environmentally friendly thing to do but as a diabetic I have to take care of myself and I simply cannot deal with another night like the one I just had. I am still finding that my thinking is a bit foggy and I feel very out of it 3 days after the fact. Besides – if I’m not in good shape then I cannot take proper care of Mom.

Yesterday I did attend a day-long conference held by Taking Control of Your Diabetes in Albany NY. This is one of several conferences they are holding around the United States this year. While some of the presentations were a basic refresher of things I already knew, there was some new stuff as well. As for the refresher information it is always good to have a review of things like that as one gets a bit sloppy when they’ve been doing something for a long time. As a diabetic this type of refresher is probably a very smart thing to do (as for anyone with some sort of chronic condition or disease.) So if you have diabetes or even just know someone with diabetes you might want to check out their website and consider going to one of their conferences.

Today I got Mom out of the house for a few hours. I took her to brunch and then to get her hair done.

Tomorrow I’ll be going down to New York City for a few days. Wednesday and Thursday is the 140 Characters Conference which is put together by my good friend Jeff Pulver. This conference is a wonderful opportunity for people to exchange ideas and network with each other as well as learn about the multitude of different ways that people can use social media these days. To learn a bit more about this event as envisioned by Jeff watch this video by another friend of mine, Geo Geller.

(Geo is quite the personality and has several websites worth visiting. I'll probably do a blog post on him at one point if he agrees to be a subject.)

You can learn more about the event and get your tickets at  

I hope to see/meet some of you there if you can attend. If you cannot attend because you are too far away you will be able to view it here on Ustream. Having had the opportunity to experience several of the 140 Conferences live as well as via Ustream I can only say that while it is great to watch the speakers via Ustream there is a very special feeling about being there in person for the conference. So if you can go to one you should. 

For those of you in education, there will be a special 140 Conference - Education focusing in New York City on August 2nd and 3rd. By the way – these 140 Conferences and their associated meet-ups as well as 140Local have happened all over the world. So there are plenty of opportunities to get to one.

Through the 140 Conference experience I have made many new friends. By now I have met some of them in real life while others I have only spoken to via Skype or by tweets.  However the shared experience has created a special bond that goes beyond Facebook or Twitter.

My Mom will be coming down to NY with me. While she probably won’t be attending the 140 Conference, she is looking forward to seeing some friends and family while we are there.  I am also hoping to see some friends that I haven’t seen in well over 30 years.

We are also planning on visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Mom has not been back in New York City in over 10 years so she is really getting a bit excited. 

While the trip will probably exhaust her quite a bit, this time it will be a good exhaustion and she will be happy when we return home.

OK – I am a bit tired and tomorrow (actually later today at this point) is going to be a long day. So I’ll say good night. I don’t know how often or even if I’ll be blogging while down in New York as I will be rather busy in my so-called free time getting together with friends but we’ll see. (By the way - if any of you reading this are in the NYC area - drop me a line with contact information and maybe we can also meet for a cuppa.)

Hey – ever wonder why it is called “free” time if one is so busy doing stuff? Just saying!

Friday, June 3, 2011


The first Friday in June is National Doughnut Day here in the United States. Many doughnut shops will be offering a free doughnut to customers either with the purchase of a beverage (after all – they are in business to make money) or with a donation to a charity. The charity that usually benefits from National Doughnut Day is the Salvation Army which started the tradition as a Chicago Salvation Army fundraiser back in 1938.

A cup of coffee or a glass of milk for the younger set combined with that deep-fried sweetened round piece of dough filled with cream or jelly, perhaps topped with glaze, nuts, sprinkles or frosting and oh-so-heavenly smelling as it comes out of the bakery is an invitation to overindulgence. Its ubiquitous presence in workplace break rooms, on coffee carts, in cafeteria lines, etc. make them as hard to avoid as a mosquito on a sweaty summer evening. I have personally seen people down 6 doughnuts at one sitting. Fortunately my tooth is not that sweet. My record is two – an acceptable if slightly overindulgent amount for an overweight diabetic.

These calorie-laden drugs in food form (for they could be viewed as being that because they are so addictive) originally gained popularity during World War 1 when the Salvation Army sent small teams overseas to set up small areas where service personnel could get a cup of coffee, something to eat, stamps and supplies to write letters home, etc. The teams consisted of 2 men and 4 women. The women provided a female touch of mothering to the boys in uniform. Very quickly everyone realized that getting consistent fresh food – especially at the front lines wasn’t going to happen. So pastries rapidly became the food offered. Freshly made at many locations it turned out that doughnuts were the easiest to make and lasted the longest as opposed to pies and cakes.

So – raise your free doughnuts in thanks to our servicemen and women today and enjoy.  

In 2007 the United States Federal Government declared that the first week in June be declared "National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Awareness Week".  The average response time for first responders can be up to 15 minutes if you are in a rural enough area. This is important to know – along knowing CPR and how to use an AED if one is available.

Why? Because after four minutes without any oxygen a brain begins to die while after eight minutes it passes the point of no return and irreversible brain death commences.  So you can see where learning CPR and how to use an AED can make a huge difference in a person having a positive outcome when an incident occurs.

Many places offer CPR and AED training. To find one in your area contact a local hospital, high school or college to see if they offer them as extension classes as well as your local Y, Red Cross or Heart Association affiliate. In more rural areas you may want to contact your local fire department or police station. Remember that you should take a refresher course every year or two as well to be sure you still have the skills.

After the course you might even want to find out about becoming a volunteer first responder in your community.

So – you have this interesting combination in June of doughnuts and CPR.

Is it coincidence or just clever marketing? You have to decide that.

Either way you have to admit that the doughnut (along with all the other greasy fatty food that is out there) is a great reason to go and learn CPR as well as how to use an AED if they are available in public places in your state. The life you save may well be that of a loved one.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


As my Wednesday starts I want to share with you some commercials that I find very inspirational. If more people followed the lessons shown here the world would be a much better place! (Note - I'm using links instead of embedding them due to copyright restrictions.)

First - my newest favorite: The Concert
This one is definitely a keeper. Think about how often we tell someone "You can't do that." Then watch this. Later on today - keep it in mind!

Although I'm not the world's greatest sports fan the message in this commercial is another one that I've always tried to live by: The Umpire

Compassion is something I've always had - some people would say to a fault. I disagree. Compassion can never by had to a fault: The Taxi

Whenever I travel and stay in a hotel I usually bring my own soap/shampoo. But, since the hotel will usually throw out the soaps and shampoos once I leave I also take them home and, when I have a bag full of them take them to the local women and children's shelter. This commerical is based on the same idea. Are you doing anything to help those less fortunate? Generosity  

Having many friends who are teachers and a brother who just retired from teaching I can tell you that fortunately for us there are a lot of everyday heroes like them - be they teachers, volunteer firefighters, emts, ambulance drivers and more . Have you thanked one of your everyday heroes today? Everyday Heroes

And, of course, there is nothing more valuable in life than friends - regardless of their background and your political differences: Old Friends

Hope you all get out of these commercials as much as I did. Please share them with your friends.