Archives for the month of: January, 2011

Happy Friday!

My friends know that I’ve been waiting with bated breath for the iPhone to finally come to Verizon. I refuse to put up with AT&T’s network problems.

Up to now, I have been happy with my Motorola Droid (I am a big-time Google guy) but in hindsight I have to admit it was always a stopgap while I waited for the iPhone.

Well, now the iPhone is coming, and Verizon has finally dropped the first commercial for it. So, here’s a little diversion to whet your appetite:

You might be surprised to know the the Super Bowl is one of the largest events to spur demand for the sexual exploitation of children every year. According to change.org:

Texas Attorney General Abbott is taking a stand and has prepared a task force to identify and respond to traffickers who plan to sell children at the Super Bowl.  However, it is not enough to expect law enforcement and victim advocates to bear the entire burden of responding to this issue, which is expected to include many victims.  In support of the efforts of the task force, we are requesting the Super Bowl Host Committee embrace a proactive approach with community members by endorsing the “I’m Not buying It” campaign, which would raise awareness and deter the buying of children during the Super Bowl.

You can help by signing the change.org petition, or directly supporting the Traffick911 “I’m Not Buying It” campaign.

Watch this video to learn more:

Natalie Grant and Tenth Avenue North PSA for Traffick 911 from Nate Bernard on Vimeo.

[UPDATE: I initially, erroneously, said the Super Bowl was “the single largest event.” Thank you to my frien Tim Burgess for pointing out my error.]

As many of my readers know (as well as friends who aren’t readers), I have been working independently since 2003. Since it is primarily just me, I have not found a need to rent separate office space. Our house is large enough that there’s a room I use as my office.

Thing is, it is also the room I use to hold much of my fitness equipment. It’s also the room I use for recording and mixing music. And . . . it’s the room I get dressed in. (Like many couples, only one of us gets to use the in-bedroom closet.)

So, over the years, with so many different functions that this one room has been performing, you can imagine how much stuff has accumulated. Finally, as the new year dawned, I decided I could take it no more. I went corner by corner, throwing out (literally) anything I had not touched for the last 12 months I was ruthless. It was glorious.

You are probably wondering what my space looks like now. Well, here you go:

My main office headquarters:

Click for full size

And here is my “studio,” where I work on music and mix recordings:

Click for full size

Now I just have to do the same to the rest of the house!

My friend Cindy Cotte Griffiths wrote a piece as the year began that holds an excellent lesson. She tells a story of a project her young son was working on. Instead of trying to add a whole bunch of elements, he wanted to see how few elements it would take te get his task done.

He was disappointed that he couldn’t get it done with just one piece, he needed at least two. Here’s how Cindy tells it:

“Recently my son told me “You can’t do it with one.” I was remembering a visit to the American History Museum more than six months earlier. He was talking about his attempt to attach magnetic objects on a ramp in order to direct a ball into a hole in the hands-on science exhibit.

I was delighted he remembered because at the time I stood there marveling at his minimalist approach.

For over an hour, every other kid immediately proceeded to add as many gadgets as possible to the ramp. More and more and more, without even checking if their system worked.

When my son walked up, he was the only one to remove all the pieces and try with one. Only one. No matter what he did, it didn’t work so he tried two.”

What a great thing to remember.

I am in the midst of developing an agenda for a meeting, and I know that my own advice to myself is usually just to keep agendas as short as possible. But, when you’ve got a whole day to fill, you get worried, and you start to add in this and that until your agenda looks good on paper. You want others to know you put effort into it, so you add more.

It’s a discipline to keep to about one subject for every 90 minutes. But I am going to do it.

I’ll see if I can use the bare minimum, starting with just one thing, and build from there only if necessary.

As people wring their hands over the “toxic” rhetoric swirling throughout public life, a proposal from Colorado Senator Mark Udall has been gaining traction and winning approving nods from The Concerned Elite. The idea? At the upcoming State Of The Union address on January 25, don’t seat Members of Congress by party but mix them up.

This idea, originally proposed by Third Way one week ago, seeks to end the spectacle of one side of the audience standing and applauding while the other sits in stony silence. The intended result is harmony, or at least a scaling back of partisan tension.

I know that many people I respect are in favor of this. However, I think it’s just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic — a futile endeavor that distracts from the real problem.

In the first place, it will actually benefit Democrats by making it appear that the whole room is standing in applause at certain points rather than just half. In the second place, it seems foolish to think that making Members switch desks as if they are wayward elementary school children will make the class run any smoother.

The Real Problem

A more important flaw, though, is that the problem is not that we disagree — it is that we express our disagreements in ways that are disagreeable. Everything in public life feels as if it is a game of one-upsmanship and advantage-seeking.

One key way that this plays out is in the annual game of applause lines in State Of The Union addresses. At least since the Johnson administration, it has been a tradition to clap for the things that your party likes, and remain stonily silent at the things your party doesn’t. (So Johnson got notable stony silence at his mention of the Civil Rights Act.)

Now it has become tradition to interrupt the speech repeatedly, and part of the journalistic coverage involves counting these interruptions and timing them, as if the energy with which the party faithful express support for their own positions reflects something other than the energy of self-interest.

All this clapping, and the focus wasted upon it, seems to me to diminish the importance and value of the State Of The Union. A better initiative, I would propose, is for all Members to agree not to clap. Let the President give the annual update uninterrupted. Let the American people hear it in full, without the necessity of knowing how much the two sides wish to express their agreement or disagreement (save that for the spin room afterwards).

(Photo credit: Flickr user ‘dvs’.)