Beyond the shadow of a doubt is a standard of proof that is almost impossible to reach. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard needed in most litigation. Shadow of A Doubt is also a 1943 movie by director Alfred Hitchcock. Sadly, shadow of doubt is the cloud that now covers every action of the Enterprise City School Board.
When the news of the called board meeting for Monday at 3:00 PM was posted or learned last weekend, the first thought that I had and the first comment I heard from many who mentioned the meeting was, “I wonder why they scheduled it for that time?” Then there was either a snicker or a ‘wink wink’ because everyone knew what they were thinking. Some expressed the thought verbally, or in writing on social networks, “so the crowd at the meeting would be smaller since many people working would not be able to attend.”
I am not alleging that is the reason for the time of the meeting. There could be very valid reasons for scheduling the meeting at 3:00 in the afternoon and not at the normal evening time of 6:00 when the regular monthly board meeting is held. That is not the point I am trying to communicate.
The fact that that so many had a question or doubt or suspicion about the motive behind the timing of the meeting is the point.
Scrutiny is different than suspicion
Both scrutiny and suspicion start with an ‘s’ but that is where the similarities end. Scrutiny is defined as a searching study, inquiry, or inspection, a searching look, a close watch. Suspicion is defined as the act or an instance of suspecting something wrong without proof or on slight evidence – mistrust, a state of mental uneasiness and uncertainty – doubt.
We, as citizens and parents, should scrutinize the decisions of any school board through the lens of – is this decision, whatever it is, in the best interest of the students first, then the school system. If decisions are made with those criteria as guidelines then they will also be what are good for the city.
In case anyone is unaware, the school system is what draws many to the city of Enterprise which, in turn, adds to the city’s sales tax and property tax revenues.
However, we should not need to be suspicious of any decision the board makes because there is a reasonable level of doubt, whether we can prove the suspicion or not, that every decision was not made with these criteria as the filter.
Logic behind my perspective
I don’t pretend to speak for anyone but myself but do believe that my perspective on this situation is not uncommon. My opinion is derived from what I have read, seen, and heard regarding this situation over the past few weeks. Every decision this board makes is now looked on with suspicion as to the motives behind the decision because there is a definite lack of trust between many of the parents and citizens of Enterprise and the school board.
When I do not have first-hand knowledge about any issue I look to those who do have knowledge and “skin in the game” so to speak. Regarding the school board issue, I tend to agree more with those that have worked in the school system for many years that helped to make the Enterprise City School System one of the best in the state and have spoken out on these issues.
They have been directly involved with the school system and issues in question now and have more first-hand knowledge of the people involved and the situation than me. Their history and records validate their desire for only what is in the best interest of the students and school system going forward. They really have nothing to gain by speaking out except to try to ensure the school system they love keeps moving in the right direction – forward. That seems logical to me.
We all have skin in the game
However, just for clarification, every current student, former student, teacher, administrator, support staff, parent, and anyone who cares enough to show up at these board meetings has “skin in the game” too. My hope is that we all keep showing up to show our support for our school system.
Honest disagreements with common goals and motives are good
We can and will have honest disagreements with how to achieve a goal but if our motives and goals are the same, those disagreements and discussion will be constructive and lead to the best decision instead of just a good decision. It doesn’t appear the motives and goals are in sync now between the board and the citizens so these type discussions cannot even occur.
This meeting was no more than going through the motions, literally and figuratively. There was no information shared with the public regarding how the interim superintendent and attorney were selected or about the process the board plans to follow to find a new superintendent. It seems to me that would have been reasonable information to share unless there is some reason not to share it. The school board chose not to share.
Sharing information “could” help
Information like this shared freely with the public “could” have an impact on the rumors that continue to surround the board and could, over time, build trust where none exists now. The best way to squelch rumors is to provide factual information that refutes or negates the rumors. If those facts “hurt someone’s feelings” then so be it.
Failure to share is a choice this board continues to make. Failure to share more information about these appointments, the search for a new superintendent, as well as the events that led to the need to appoint an interim superintendent and attorney just continues to perpetuate the rumors and distrust. The school board has chosen not to share.
As long as the school board continues to make the choice not to share they will continue to serve under a shadow of doubt. It puzzles me as to why they would want to serve under this cloud and choose not to be more forthcoming with information. They do have choices.
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 7/12/2013
You may or may not have heard that quote. If you are a Disney fan as I am I suspect you have. I happen to be wearing a shirt with that quote as I write this. Walt Disney did say that and it is true but is it really the whole truth?
It all depends on what you use as the starting point in time. Mickey Mouse is the character that allowed Walt and Roy Disney to jump start the Walt Disney Company in 1928 and is still one of the most recognizable corporate icons in existence today. Practically everyone has heard of Mickey Mouse and that speaks to the impact that Walt Disney has made in our culture and our world today.
There is no doubt about that. However, if you backtrack just a little from that point in time, there is another story that many may not know. To borrow a phrase from Paul Harvey, here is “the rest of the story.”
The Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio was a partnership started by Roy and Walt Disney in 1923. They created cartoons but to get those cartoons distributed to an audience where they could be seen, and produce income, they had to work with other companies, such as Universal Studios. Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was a character created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks and several Oswald cartoons were produced in 1927 and 1928. Oswald was the first character that also generated merchandising income for the company with an Oswald candy bar, stencil set, and pinback button.
They were producing the cartoons ahead of schedule, one every 16 days when the contract only required one every three weeks. As he was always striving to produce a better product the cost of the Oswald cartoons was increasing and his current contract to produce the cartoons would be ending soon Walt and his wife, Lillian, traveled to New York to talk with Disney’s distributor at Universal, Charles Mintz, about the new contract.
Negotiations did not go well
During these meetings he learned that Mintz was in the process of hiring his animators, was offering a reduction in the price currently being paid for the cartoons and ultimately wanted to take over the Disney company and have Walt and Roy work for him. He had believed that Walt, since he was not actually doing the animation any more, was expendable. Walt tried to negotiate a new contract with another distributor but learned since he did not own the rights to Oswald he could not take him to a new distributor. So, as he and Lillian left New York for the long train ride back to California, he had no character to draw when his current contract ended, only a few employees left, who had not deserted him for Universal, and a very uncertain future.
As he left New York in March 1928 Walt Disney had made a vow to himself to never work for anyone again and in the future he would have complete control over his work, which, in his line of work was his characters. His problem was he had no character he could call his own. He was 23 years old, recently married, July 13, 1925, and without a job for the most part, and had been deserted by what he had thought were loyal employees.
What happened next changed the world(s) as we know it.
There are different versions of the story of how Mickey Mouse came to be Mickey Mouse. The most common is that during the cross country train ride west, Walt, trying to create a new character, began drawing a mouse. When Lillian saw the sketches she asked him what he was going to name it and he said Mortimer. While working in Kansas City he had caught several mice in the animation studio there and had one that would even run around on his drawing table that he fed and had given the name Mortimer. She did not like that name and suggested Mickey.
Ub Iwerks was one of the animators that stuck with the Disneys and would become the animator for Mickey Mouse. He drew more than 700 drawing per day working on the first Mickey Mouse cartoon. This also had to be done in secret since the animators leaving were still there finishing their contracts for the Oswald cartoons.
Mickey Mouse made his debut in Plane Crazy on May 15, 1928, less than two months after the meeting in New York and the defection of his animators.
The rest, as they say, is history. Walt Disney had learned from his experience with Oswald and Universal and would not make those mistakes again. He did control all rights to Mickey Mouse and he parlayed that into a merchandising success that was as innovative as it was successful and still is today. We have in the past and still do enjoy in that success. See Disney…Is It Worth The Cost if you want to know more about that.
What would you do?
What do you do when you face a failure or roadblock in your life or career? Do you throw your hands up in despair and hold your own pity party? Walt Disney was able to take this major setback and, at the ripe young age of 23, employ his vision and perseverance to create what is arguably the most recognizable character and franchise in the world. Most of us will not duplicate that feat but we can learn from his experience and apply it in our own lives. His ‘never give up’ spirit propelled him to the next leg of his journey in his career and that did literally change the world and is still changing people’s lives today. This was just one hurdle he faced in building the company many of us love today.
Walt Disney express his thoughts on failures and setbacks seem applicable here to me.
“It is good to have a failure while you’re young because it teaches you so much. For one thing it makes you aware that such a thing can happen to anybody, and once you’ve lived through the worst, you’re never quite as vulnerable afterward.”
“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
I believe we do learn best from our own mistakes and failures but if we can also learn from someone else’s experiences that can help us move down the path toward our goals too. It might help us to avoid a few hurdles and might also save a tooth or two.
Oswald is back home now
As a postscript to the Oswald dilemma, although he did not live to see it, the Walt Disney Company did acquire the licensing rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 2006 in a deal with NBC that included a trade for Al Michaels to be able to do sports broadcasting on NBC. That seems fitting to me and just to show my support I bought my first Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cap this week.
I hope you enjoyed the Disney history and the life lesson we all need from time to time to never give up, regardless of the circumstances.
Until next time…as Mickey would say, “See ya real soon! heh heh”
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 7/7/2013
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I have heard that quoted at least twice in the last two weeks the Enterprise City School Board meeting on June 25, 2013 and again at the Enterprise City Council meeting on July 2, 2013 regarding the divided house that is now Enterprise, Alabama, a city divided.
That is a reference to a scripture verse and a quote from a speech by Abraham Lincoln. In Mark 3:25 in the English Standard Version Jesus says, “And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” The speech by Abraham Lincoln was given on June 16, 1858 at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, IL upon acceptance of the Republican nomination for that state’s U.S. Senator when he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Begging is not productive
I have also heard the mayor of Enterprise begging at both meetings for the citizens of Enterprise to come together and, for some reason I am yet to understand, magically start to trust members of the school board whom many believe have not dealt honestly, fairly, or even legally with the former Superintendent of Enterprise City Schools as well as the people of Enterprise.
Many accusations and rumors have circulated around Enterprise regarding this situation. I know people involved on both sides of the issue, went to school with some of them, go to church with some of them. Some were my teachers or administrators when I was in school here many years ago. Those rumors and accusations will continue to circulate and grow I suspect until these issues are addressed and resolved. It would do me or anyone else no good to repeat those here so I will refrain from doing so. When I do add my comments within this section they will look like this.
I believe the facts do bring up some interesting and pretty obvious questions. Until these questions are answered satisfactorily for the citizens of Enterprise in some of these meetings, or, if need be, in a court of law, the city will remain divided. When there is as much distrust between one group of people and those that are charged with making decisions in their best interest as there is here now a change has to occur to start down the road of rebuilding the trust that has been lost.
What I would like to provide first are the facts that are undisputed and then what I believe needs to be done for the city of Enterprise to have any chance at coming together and moving forward. You can see the minutes of these meetings at the Board of Education’s web site and videos at Southeast Sun’s YouTube channel.
May 28, 2013 School Board Meeting
In the May 28, 2013 school board meeting the results of a an evaluation by Dr. James Wright with Professional Services, LLC on the performance of Dr. Milner, the now former Superintendent of Enterprise City Schools. Dr. Wright said this was one of the strongest evaluation results he had seen. He said these strong results were an indication of Dr. Milner’s ability and efforts to work with the board.
June 18, 2013
Dr. Milner resigned as Superintendent of Enterprise City Schools and gave a 30 day notice in an email to the school board.
June 19, 2013 Special Called Board Meeting
School Board Vice President Joe Paul Stewart and School Board attorney J. P. Sawyer resigned. Ross Cotter was elected President of the School Board and Gloria Jones vice president by acclamation as no second to the nominations were given.
June 25, 2013 School Board Meeting
I attended this meeting along with several hundred other local citizens and news media. What I learned at this meeting from at least two of the existing board members if we, the citizens, had been at prior meetings then we would not have the situation we have now.
What this says to me is they believe they need to be watched and monitored so they do not make unwise or even illegal decisions. I can remember a time when the people chosen to serve in the capacity of school board member were expected to be of good character and to make wise decisions whether anyone was there to watch them or not.
Several former school teachers, administrators and citizens spoke at the meeting and members Cotter, Jones and Brown were asked to resign, which did receive much applause unlike when the mayor spoke and there was silence.
What I also noticed at this meeting is the board members were asked specific and direct questions and chose to not answer many of them. This would have been an opportunity for them to respond and try to set the record straight from their perspective but choosing not to do so says something altogether different.
I also attended this meeting, which was standing room only, but the room is much smaller than the one used for the school board meetings. Local news media was in attendance at this meeting as well. The mayor covered the agreement made between the city and the school board that is one of the areas of concern for the citizens and school system. The agreement was made and approved by both the city council and school board so it does exist. The disposition of that agreement and what will happen when the $550,000 payments are supposed to start in 2016 does appear to be in the hands of the city. They do claim they will review the agreement and economic condition of the city and the school system at that time and determine if the payments will be required or not.
There were also statements made by the city attorney, Rainer Cotter, who is the son of the current President of the School Board, Ross Cotter, Joe Paul Stewart, former School Board Vice-President, Perry Vickers, former principal of Dauphin Junior High, and Dr. Jim Reese, former Superintendent of Schools.
The summary above is just that, a summary, and is not intended to be all-inclusive. I do believe there is enough information provided for anyone to be read-in on the situation and able to form their own opinions on these events. Here are some questions that seem rather obvious to me and remain unanswered.
1) What happened to cause the Superintendent of Schools, who was well respected in Enterprise and just rated one of the best in the state of Alabama, the School Board Vice President and the School Board attorney to all resign within 16 hours? Did they all just decide it was time for a change coincidentally at the same time or was something else going on to cause these mass resignations?
2) Since it is the belief of many in Enterprise the three members of the school board asked to resign in the June 25th meeting were planning to vote to fire the superintendent and not accept his resignation, how can this same group of people be expected to select a qualified candidate as the new superintendent? How can anyone they select not be seen as just a figurehead? I don’t believe they can. Why would anyone want to be hired into this situation?
3) Could there be a conflict of interest in any discussions between the school board and city council regarding the disposition of $32,000,000 since the school board members are appointed by the city council?
4) Would it be better for all concerned if the school board members were elected?
My suggestion as to what has to be done for any healing, coming together or moving forward to occur in Enterprise is for Mr. Cotter to resign his position as school board member. It would be better if we started with a clean slate of board members and members Brown and Jones were to resign as well. If they do really want to do what is best for the Enterprise City School System and the city of Enterprise that is what they would do.
As I mentioned earlier, the begging for us to come together and move forward and repeating the “house divided” quote without any changes is not working and will not work. There need to be changes made to show the citizens of Enterprise there is a reason for us to believe we can come together and move forward. There is no trust to build on now between the citizens of Enterprise and the School Board.
This would allow new members to be appointed (still not the best way to do this in my opinion – see question 4 above) to join the two members recently added and then some level of trust can be restored and the city can begin to heal, come together and move forward. If they choose not to do this and believe they can serve with any support from the citizens of Enterprise I believe this is a gross miscalculation on their part and just shows their resolve to hold on to their position or power and will confirm the accusations many have made. They would not have to admit they have done anything wrong, which they may not have, and just state they are doing this for the good of the school system and the city of Enterprise. This, however, would be doing something right.
With the current system of school board members being appointed by the City Council there does need to be some way the citizens can have input as to who these appointees are. If not, we could be back in the same situation again.
What are your thoughts? Please click the ‘Leave a reply’ link under the title of the post above.
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 7/05/2013
Have you ever bought anything and then had “buyer’s remorse”, wishing you hadn’t bought it or that you had waited to make your buying decision? I know I have. However, I have learned over the years as I get older and hopefully wiser, at least in some areas, that if you wait for some period of time, whether that is a day, a week, a month or longer, you often find that item you were about to exchange your hard-earned dollars for is not something you really have to have. Often, your “I have to have that” mindset changes to “I might get that later” or “I will wait until it goes on sale” or “I really don’t want to spend my money on that” to “I found something else I want more.”
Items differ, desires are more common
We all have desires or wants for things we do not have at times. We could see an ad on TV or on the internet for the latest cell phone, newest iPad, golf club, pocket hose, latest diet fad, or bass-o-matic blender. We are the most marketed to generation that has ever existed on planet earth and these marketers are good at what they do.
Disney is one of the best in the world
The Walt Disney Company is one of the best marketing organizations in the world. They are very good at determining what their customers or guests want and then providing that product or service in a manner that is second to none. Walt Disney World, in my opinion, is the crown jewel of the Disney Empire. If you have ever visited Walt Disney World then you know that a pass to enter any of the parks there is not inexpensive, especially if you are taking a family of 6, which is what we often did. You do pay a premium price for a premium entertainment experience.
We have visited Walt Disney World too many times to count. We did live in Florida for nine years and had Florida Resident annual passes which allowed us to go multiple times a year. Our oldest daughter went before she was born, when my wife was pregnant with her. We got her a Mickey Mouse plush doll she still has today. She turns 26 next month.
27 years and no buyer’s remorse
In all the trips we have made to The Magic Kingdom over the past 27 years, I have never once had a feeling of not getting our money’s worth. There are not many places I know of which that statement could be applied to and be true. We have spent a lot of money there, too much of that to count as well. You cannot put a price on the first time your children see Mickey and Minnie, Chip and Dale, Cinderella in her castle or Goofy, although he was kind of scary at first because of his size.
Magical Place, Where Dreams Do Come True
It really is a magical place and not just for the kids. That was part of Walt Disney’s goal – to make entertainment enjoyable for kids and for the kid in all of us adults too.
Regarding Disneyland, Walt Disney said, “I felt there should be something built where the parents and the children could have fun together.” He succeeded in building that place and his dream of Walt Disney World was honored and completed with Roy’s leadership, who died just two months after it was opened.
It is a magical place for me too. I have always been amazed, first at the art of animation that started with Roy and Walt Disney when they started the company in 1923, to the magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World and the feeling I get when I step inside the gates. I really am transported to a different world. I can leave the “real world” behind for a few hours and enjoy time with my family and the magic created there. That is priceless and hard for anyone who hasn’t been there, and even some who have, to understand.
I guess some of that magic has rubbed off on our children as they still love to go whenever possible and our oldest daughter, mentioned above, is now a cast member. My family surprised me with a trip they had planned for us to celebrate my 50th birthday in 2011. It was the best gift ever.
In retrospect, I do wish I would have been wiser in how we paid for many of those trips and not resorted to the “American way” of putting it on a credit card and paying for it later but I still would not take back or undo any of those trips because they are such a big part of our lives and memories…good memories.
What I am trying to say is I have never left Walt Disney World with any regrets or buyer’s remorse for the dollars we have spent. My only regret when we leave is that we are leaving. We are often trying to plan our next trip on the way home.
This is not meant to be an advertisement for Walt Disney World but it is an endorsement. If you have never been then I do recommend you go if at all possible. Some people actually do not like it. I really cannot understand that but it is true. My purpose in writing this is just to try to give you a sense of my love for the place, respect for the men who created it, and fascination for the history of how it all came to be.
As for the history, I have read several biographies of Walt Disney and have one on Roy Disney on my bookshelf now to read as well. I am actually in the midst of reading Walt Disney by Neal Gabler now. Since this is one of my interests, some would say obsession, I expect you will see more blogs about Walt, Roy, the history of Disney, lessons I have learned from studying their lives, and some of the new developments there too.
The reason I hold these men and this place in such high esteem is what they have meant to our family. I also believe there are many lessons to learn by studying more about successful people and how they became successful and I obviously believe there are many lessons we can learn from the Disneys.
Imagination, Perseverance, Innovation, Attention to Detail, Pursuit of Excellence, Love of Country
I am fascinated and amazed by the imagination, perseverance, innovation, attention to detail, and constant pursuit of excellence exhibited by the Disney brothers. Those are qualities that will serve anyone well in whatever they do. We all benefit from their successes and failures today. They changed their generation and continue to impact our culture today, 40+ years since they both died.
Since it almost July 4th I am also reminded that Walt Disney had a great love of country that is on display throughout his life and career that continues to be displayed by The Disney Company today. “And actually, if you could see close in my eyes,” Walt Disney said, “the American flag is waving in both of them, and up my spine is growing this red, white, and blue stripe.”
Regarding The Disney Company Walt Disney is quoted as saying “It was all started by a mouse.” Regarding movies, he said, “I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be six or sixty.” As I am much closer to 60 now than 6 I hope that my ‘inner child’ does not disappear when I do reach sixty.
Regarding Disneyland, from which Walt Disney World and the other Disney Parks around the world originated, he said, “It all started from a daddy with two daughters wondering where he could take them where he could have a little fun with them, too.”
As for this daddy, with three daughters and a son, and now a son-in-law too, I am thankful that we can enjoy the realization of “One Man’s Dream”. We are forever in Walt and Roy Disney’s debt because the fun and memories we have made and now share are priceless to us so, yes, it has been well worth the cost for us.
Whenever I see Mickey Mouse or Walt Disney or the entrance to Walt Disney World or Cinderella’s Castle or the train station something is triggered in my brain that causes me to smile and think of the many good times shared there with my family. For that I am very thankful.
Here is one last picture, for now anyway, of Walt watching over the Magic Kingdom.
Have a magical day!
Until next time…
Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 6/30/2013
Does this sound familiar to you?
If you are anything like me, and believe words mean things, then you are thinking to yourself, well ok, then I get to choose so you start naming options and, just to see if it does really matter and if anyone does really care you say, “How about McDonald’s?”
(McDonald’s is never our first choice but when on the road you make choices of convenience sometimes and it is often used to make a point as in this situation.)
From somewhere in the back of the care you hear, “No. I don’t like McDonald’s.” or “Anywhere but McDonald’s.”
I know for our family McDonald’s will not be in the mix for sometime since two of us got food poisoning from a McDonald’s on the way to our vacation beach destination a couple of years ago allowing us to “enjoy” an ambulance ride and spend some quality time in the Savannah Memorial Hospital, and the rest of our vacation in bed, but that is another story for another day.
Back to the subject
So, naturally, my response is “So you do really care and it does matter.” Has that ever happened in your family?
It is not a big deal, just curious to know if it is just me and our family or if this is a common occurrence that happens around the world.
I have been guilty of the “I don’t care” answer myself when I know I really do. Why do we do that and not really say what we mean? Is it a family version of political correctness or just the family members being considerate of other family members and allowing someone else to make the choice or decision?
I don’t know.
What do you think?
Until next time…
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I am an adult too
I have been an adult for many years myself and I choose to not use what is now commonly categorized as adult language. Does that mean I no longer qualify to be an adult? Am I being childish?
Since I have chosen to publish this blog I guess I am wondering if there is anyone else out there who feels the same way I do or am I just really peculiar or weird or the exception to the rule. I don’t mind being an exception and actually make an effort in this direction most of the time but things like this that just become “normal” and accepted because everyone is doing it often cause me to think…and sometimes write.
Offensive to me
I find it offensive. I am not talking about the language that is now supposedly “adult” but the implication by that label that all or most adults speak that way so it must now be called “adult language.” I do not accept that premise and believe it is rather childish and shows a lack of vocabulary or a choice to not use their vocabulary by the speaker.
I do understand that being offended is my choice as it is for anyone and is based on their beliefs and understanding. Like most things in life there are exceptions to this when someone is making a conscious effort to offend someone but that is not what I am talking about here.
I have no problem with the people who choose to use this “adult language” other than just my general dislike of the language. Until the freedom of speech is taken away from us, we all do still have free speech in this country. Everyone has the right to use the language they choose to use. That doesn’t mean I have to like the language anyone else uses or they have to like the words I choose to use. As long as we are not harming, threatening harm, or impeding on any of our other God-given rights we are still free to choose.
On a side note, this freedom, along with many of our other freedoms, are being eroded every day but that is another subject for another day.
The type of language anyone uses is still a choice that any individual can and does make every day.
Repetition does not make it so…or does it?
I find it offensive that language that was once vulgar and uncommon as everyday language has now become categorized and accepted as “adult”. I am an adult and that label offends me as it should any other adult who shares my perspective. According to Merriam-Webster adult means “fully developed and mature”. It does go on to say “dealing with explicitly sexual material” and uses adult book stores and adult movies as examples. I do understand that words in use do become colloquialized and evolve to have new meanings. Google was once just a noun, a name of a search engine, and now it is a verb too. Google it if you don’t believe me.
I guess I am just old-fashioned but I believe that many adult movies and adult books do not contain explicitly sexual material so is categorizing them as adult, in the same group as those that do contain explicitly sexual material really the best description or the best use of the language?
I was registering for a bulletin board site just yesterday and part of the rules for this board stated, “By agreeing to these rules, you warrant that you will not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-oriented, hateful, threatening, or otherwise violative of any laws.”
Why didn’t they just say, “Do not use ‘adult’ language.”? I am confused.
I don’t propose to have any or all “the” answers but I do have a lot of questions and this is just one of many. This is nothing new for me. I get these questions in my head all the time. I am just writing some of them down now. My hope is that some of these questions might make you, the reader, think or look at a subject from a different perspective too. Another hope is that I can learn something new too as there is always more to learn.
If you have a thought on the subject I would love to hear it. Let me know in the comments. Please do use adult language in your comments and do not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-oriented, hateful, or threatening. While freedom of speech is still allowed in our country it is up to the blogger as to what is allowed on his or her site and if you have read this far you know what that means for this blog.
Until next time…
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That word is often used to describe everything from your most recent meal to the creator of the universe. That covers a lot of ground.
I have had issues with using that word for some time ever since hearing the song “Awesome God” written and released first by Rich Mullins and then covered or released by every other contemporary Christian artist on the planet, or at least it seemed that way.
Here is the issue as I viewed it. Continue reading Awesome!
Recent news from Yahoo and Best Buy about either banning or limiting telecommuting, the technical label for working from home, caught my attention. I have read some of the reasons behind these changes and they seem valid to me.
Yahoo Banned All Telecommuting
Yahoo’s CEO checked the VPN logs, which shows how often employees log in from home, and found they were not logging in enough so, based on that, and I suspect their productivity for the jobs they were responsible for doing, determined it would be best for them, at this time, to ban all telecommuting and, I assume, either bring all of the telecommuters back into an office in Sunnyvale, California or let some of them go. Bringing them back into any office will be an enormous expense to the company as office space, furniture, and equipment will have to be acquired unless they have an enormous unused space now. I am sure they considered this before the decision was made and announced.
My personal opinion is this seems drastic to me but I do not have all the facts and know sometimes drastic changes are necessary in order to bring about the change a company needs so I do believe the CEO made the decision she thinks is needed for Yahoo at this time. I do wish her well and hope they do bring the results she is looking for.
Best Buy Requires Telecommuters to Have Manager’s Approval
Best Buy will allow some if it’s 4000 telecommuters to work from home if they discuss it with their manager and get their approval, which, apparently has not been a requirement to date. That seem perfectly logical to me, a “duh” moment, as I would have expected this to have been happening all along. It doesn’t make any sense to me why it wasn’t.
Why would I care?
You might ask yourself why these stories would interest me or why would I care. It’s simple really. I have been a telecommuter for the last 10 years so if these type decisions do become a trend it could affect me. I cannot speak with any first-hand knowledge about Yahoo or Best Buy’s telecommuters but I can speak about my experience. I don’t really think many, if any, other companies will make this type of change just because others have but this may prompt them to look at their own telecommuter productivity and monitor that, as they should, to see if any adjustment are warranted.
Advantages of Telecommuting
Advantages of telecommuting are many. Some of these include less cost for the physical office, less sick time for the employees, more hours worked for employees who are not spending time commuting to an office, more productivity from the employee, and the employee theoretically, at least, can have a better life outside of work whether that be with family, friends, hobbies, or whatever interests they enjoy. For employees there is also less expense for clothes, fuel, food, and auto maintenance. In recent years with the cost of gasoline this advantage is huge for telecommuters. Some would consider a side benefit of this as being good for the environment as well.
Disadvantages of Telecommuting
Some jobs are best done with people meeting face to face in an office setting and some people need this interaction in order to reach their peak productivity level. If you are trying to climb the corporate ladder then you will probably need to be working in a physical office in order to get very far toward this goal. For some people, telecommuting does not fit their personality. They need the physical interaction with co-workers and that is hard to get over the phone.
For me, I can probably count on one hand the number of sick days I have taken over the past 10 years. There have been many days when I would not have gone into the office that I have been able to work from home. When I last drove to the office I had a one hour commute one way so two hours a day I was in the car not working and not spending time with my family. I had a co-worker in California who had a two hour commute one way on a good day so she regularly spent four hours in the car not working and not spending time with her family. If the company just got half of this commuting time back in hours worked it should mean a significant increase in productivity.
I have always tried to work more than I typically would have in the office just to eliminate any appearance that I was not carrying my weight and getting my job done working at home. I often go much too far overboard with this and it is hard to determine when work ends and when time off begins, one of the primary disadvantages of working from home.
I do not take this privilege for granted. I am thankful for my job as a Project Manager and developer and the challenges and rewards it provides. Based on my performance appraisals over these years my managers do believe I am doing a good job. If that changes I suspect my status as a telecommuter would be up for review as well.
However, these past two weeks I have seen my family much less than most traditional office workers likely would have as the project I am currently working on has required significant time above and beyond what would be considered as a normal work day. I don’t call this overtime because it is just what is required to get the job done from time to time and usually comes and goes in cycles.
My family is very understanding (they often go overboard with their understanding) but it does begin to wear on all of us when it continues for extended periods of time as this current project has. I do know this is time I will never get back and that is the hardest reality for me.
I have had this topic as one I would like to write about for some time but these past two weeks have prompted me to write this today. This is also the reason I did not get another blog post out this week, which is really insignificant in the grand scheme of things to say the least.
No Single Answer for All
Any news regarding telecommuting is always on my radar. Telecommuting is not for everyone but for those who can be productive and do not need the physical interaction with others in an office it is a very productive arrangement for both the employer and employee. It has been a very good arrangement for me so far. However, it is not as easy as some might think. It should be an agreement first from the company to allow workers to work from home and then a discussion and agreement between the manager and employee. That is the only way I see it working.
That is my perspective, peculiar or maybe not, and will not change even though I know I could be working in an office at some point in the future if my situation changes.
I would love to hear your thoughts so please do leave a comment if you would like to share them.
Until next time…
Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/30/2013
Need to be reminded
Many of you may already know this or maybe not. I guess that is one of the reasons I write. Those that have knowledge on a particular subject, including me, often need to be reminded. Those that don’t might just learn something new or get a new perspective on what they already know. Come to think of it, that is one of the reasons I read too. I like to learn new things and often need to be reminded.
Today’s post is about a topic I have known to be true for many years. I remember hearing a sermon on this subject when we lived in Birmingham in the late 1980’s and have heard it many times since then in other sermons, bible studies, and in conversations with others, which is who I normally have my conversations with.
God, Not Listening?
Many people claim they have been praying for something for years and God is not listening to them or must not care about them because He hasn’t answered their prayers. You might be wondering to yourself,
“I wonder what Garth Brooks has to say about this?”
Well, he did have a song several years ago on the subject of thanking God for unanswered prayer. I couldn’t help it because of my peculiar mind but every time I heard this song I either said to myself or to anyone who might be with me at the time, “there is no such thing as unanswered prayer” as that is what I believe.
Could our interpretation be wrong?
The prayers of God’s children, those who have accepted His gift of salvation and eternal life, are always heard by our Heavenly Father and always answered. However, we are often not perceptive enough or wise enough to understand the answer.
Often, we will get a no answer and believe it can’t be true because we “know” God wouldn’t do that to us so we ignore the answer and continue following our own plan.
Sometimes we get a yes answer and have a similar reaction. “God couldn’t really want me to do that” so, again, we ignore the answer we didn’t want to hear and forge our own path. That is called free will, which we all have, but along with that we have to accept the consequences of those free will choices we all make.
Probably the hardest answer to accept is the not now answer. This is because we all live in the “gotta have it and gotta have it now” world. This could be God trying to teach us patience, which is often a hard and painful lesson to learn or He could just be saying we are not ready yet or He has something better in mind.
How do I know what God is saying?
The way I understand this is our prayers are us talking to God and God’s Word, the Bible, is Him talking to us. Yes, He still speaks to us today every day through His Word. Of course the catch there is you have to be spending time in His Word to be able to hear and discern what He is saying to you. One of the benefits of my new Early to Rise challenge is helping me be much more consistent spending time in God’s Word reading my Bible every day.
Don’t be anxious
It Philippians 4:6-7 we are told,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ESV
The peace that is mentioned here is one way I believe prayers are answered. You will not get an audible yes or no from God but He will give you a peace about a decision you are struggling with or praying about. I have trouble with the not being anxious part from time to time but when the peace comes it is obvious.
I have received all three answers to different prayers in my journey through life so far. What you might see too is sometimes when you are praying and hoping for a yes from God He will give you a not now and you keep praying and the not now will become a no. At that moment it is often hard to understand but when we get past this experience and look back on it we can see how God has directed us to the best path for us – not just a good path – and it might not look anything like our original plan.
Sometimes our prayers change
You might also see that request you were asking for change to a different request as you pray and listen (read His word). This happened for me when my mother was battling cancer, which she did valiantly for 17 years. My prayers went from removing the cancer and healing her, which He did for a time, to removing the pain and cancer permanently by taking her home to be with Him, which He did as well.
Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.
Don’t take my word for whether this is true or not. My words will not always be accurate, not because I am intentionally trying to say anything not true, but just because I am human.
His Word, on the other hand, IS The Gospel Truth. Take His Word for it.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV
Until next time…
Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/25/2013