Friday, May 29, 2009

Extreme Shepherding

This is what happens when you are a farmer and have too much time on your hands. I dedicate this to my favorite sheepherders - my parents!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Book Review: Shake Hands With The Devil

Book Review: Shake Hands With The Devil by Romeo Dallaire

"This book is nothing more nor less than the account of a few humans who were entrusted with the role of helping others taste the fruits of peace. Instead, we watched as the devil took control of paradise on earth and fed on the blood of the people we were supposed to protect." - Romeo Dallaire

Beware. A friend of mine told me he read this book and immediately it put him into a three month depression. Although I did not have the same reaction, I too was moved and felt despair as I considered the heart wrenching story of one of the worst genocides of this past century as it took place in the country of Rwanda. How bad was it? Eight hundred thousand people were killed in 100 days. Most of them were hacked to death with machetes. Worse of all, it could have been avoided.

The book is written by General Romeo Dallaire, UN force commander of the 1993 UN intervention in Rwanda. Dallaire takes you behind the scenes at the UN, Canadian forces, and the peace initiative in Rwanda. He shares deeply from his thoughts and feelings about how things happened and how we tried to make things better but outside forces conspired against him. What transpires in the book is an emotional chronicle of the heroic efforts and sacrifices of many good people to try to save a country. At almost 600 pages it's not a slender book, yet I found it difficult to put down.

I've read the book twice and each time I'm struck anew with the evilness of human nature. The book practically drips with it and that's what makes it so overwhelming emotionally. One simply is not ready to hear the stories of barbarism that man is capable of. Yet page after page describes it - not only the direct barbarism of racists seeking to exterminate an entire group of people but also the discouraging nonchalance of bureaucrats and nations who by their indifference sustained the slaughter. Many times I found myself just feeling sad and shaking my head.

If you are into human rights, like war theory/history, or simply enjoy matter-of-fact style written biographies you will probably like this book. There is a message of hope at the end but it takes you over 550 pages to get there. This is an important book, perhaps the most important book written by a Canadian in the past 20 years. Rwanda must never happen again. 4.2 ninja stars out of 5.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Twilight Riding

Twilight: the time of day immediately following sunset; "he loved the twilight"; "they finished before the fall of night"

For the past two nights, about 20 minutes after sunset (while there is still just enough light to see your way) I have gone for a bike ride. Throwing on my old BCBC sweater and my helmet I grab my '94 Specialized Hard Rock and go for a ride around my neighborhood. There is enough light to still see where you are going but enough darkness that things feel magical and special. I have always enjoyed this time. You feel like you can ride forever. The first time I went I took a little river trail a few blocks away and it was pure bliss. Tight, twisting singletrack coaxed me to pedal faster and faster. I dutifully obeyed. Beautiful.

Last night it was a bit too wet for the river so I stuck to the roads and sidewalks. Again I pedaled hard, an old and worshipful tune from Mortal reverbrating through my head and I pedaled for all I was worth. In that moment I felt alive, at peace, and close to God. It was a time of pure joy.

I love my bike. I love it's heavy old school steel frame that seems so indestructible yet has enough give to soak up the bumps. It feels "lively," if steel can be that way. It was my first bike that I bought with my own money and it has outlasted its modern successor that I bought several years later. They don't make many steel framed bikes anymore and it's a shame.

It's time to buy a new bike but I already know that I'm not giving up my old one. I have too many memories and I'm way too emotionally attached. The only other thing I have been this attached to was my old Suzuki Sidekick, but even that is not in the same league. I can't say I ever felt close to God driving my Sidekick (the opposite actually!), but I have felt that many times on my old red bike. It makes me smile everytime I get on it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Temptation To Fake It

“The worst crime is faking it.” -Kurt Cobain

I was at a wedding this past weekend (which was really fun - seeing my past students getting married is always encouraging) and as I was watching people milling around the thought occurred to me "How many of these people are faking it?" By "it" I mean the positive and happy spirit that is punctuated by a "Great!" when asked how they are doing.

The reality is that being less then forthright about how we are doing at a public function is not necessarily terrible but it says something about our character. When someone asks us a direct question like "How are you?" you have 3 basic choices:

1. Be really honest. Ex/ "My spiritual life is in the toilet and we are $30k in debt - how do you think?"
2. Don't lie but don't share all (be vague). Ex/ "Could be worse," "Alright," "Not too bad."
3. Fake it. Ex/"Great! Couldn't be better! Can't complain about anything!"

Eventually faking it always gets us in trouble. It is deception and deception is wrong. In the above example the effects are minimal - we usually just feel deceptive which makes us feel worse about ourselves and more alone. But faking it in ministry is very bad. Faking it as a worship leader, faking it as a pastor, faking it as a (cough, cough) counselor - eventually it catches up with you. Living deceitfully always takes it's toll. Sometimes it results in moral failure, frequently it is burnout, depression, or losing one's faith.

Personally, I am tempted to fake it because it gets immediate results. We like not being real: we get to keep our job/ministry, people still think well of us, we avoid the awkwardness. But such rewards sacrifice long term health for short term gain.

I'm not saying we should be vulnerable and true with everyone but everyone should be vulnerable and real with someone. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness - instead it's a sign of strength and courage. Vulnerability is a form of self-love and love for others. We need to realize that when we are in community fakeness affects everyone. When someone is fake it encourages others to be fake - when someone is real it encourages others to be real. One should also not use vulnerability as a way to get attention or to manipulate others - I have seen that happen and that is not good either. But fakeness eventually hurts everyone - you, me, our community, and eventually the body of Christ. Is there an area where your fakeness is hurting you/others? What can you do to change things?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Power Of A Kiss . . .

If you want to be happy, healthy, successful, and live longer, give your spouse a kiss before you go to work each day. That's the conclusion of a study conducted by a group of German physicians and psychologists, in cooperation with insurance companies. According to Dr. Arthur Sazbo, the study found that those who kiss their spouse each morning miss less work because of illness than those who do not. They also have fewer auto accidents on the way to work. They earn 20 to 30 percent more monthly and they live about five years more than those who don't even give each other a peck on the cheek. The reason for this, says Dr. Sazbo, is that the kissers begin the day with a positive attitude. A kiss signifies a sort of “seal of approval” in the eyes of Dr. Sazbo and his colleagues and, they believe, those who don't experience it, for whatever reason, go out the door feeling not quite right about themselves.

Whether you give this study any credence or not, an "au revoir" kiss every morning can do you no harm! If you’re not a frequent kisser, why not try it every day for a month and see what happens? Acts of affection at the beginning of the day not only impress the receiver but transform the giver as well.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

3 Wolf Shirt Goes Viral

You probably have already hear about this, but just in case you haven't:

Someone left a funny comment on an interesting T-shirt offered for sale on Amazon. Soon, people started responding to it and eventually it became it's own phenomenon. Read the story here, and read the actual reviews here. You won't be disappointed!

It's fascinating to see how things can go viral on the internet so fast. In a sad comment on some people's sense of humor, the company who actually makes the T-shirts (and is hugely profiting) is not so amused . . .

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Christian Secular Culture Disclaimers (CSCD)

Last night my small group (bless their hearts) met and as usual had a great time. Our group is unstructured and mostly we just hang out, talking about our lives. We ended up spending a fair amount of last night discussing this humorous post from the blog "Stuff Christians Like" entitled:

#543. Throwing out disclaimers before you recommend something secular.

Basically the author writes about all the ways we try to justify the kind of things we as Christians entertain ourselves with. I thought it was honest, very funny, and packs a punch at the end. If you are looking for something to talk about in a small group or Sunday School class, I recommend it as an easy (translation: almost no prep - my favorite kind!) and thought provoking discussion starter. Like me, you may even feel challenged by it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Protecting The (Dysfunctional) Church System

Here is a story I have heard way too often:

A pastor is doing well at his church. The ministry is thriving, the people like him, and real fruit is being shown in his ministry. As good as things are though, they are not perfect and some of his ideas are not being received well by someone in the church leadership team. Maybe the annoyed party is another pastor (if it's a large church) or someone on the board/elders team. Perhaps they feel threatened or perhaps they disagree with the pastor's approach or theology. For whatever reason instead of the annoyed person talking directly to the pastor in open dialogue, they instead bully the rest of the leadership team (or the pastor directly) to quit. A covert campaign is established (gossip, manipulation, and outright deception) and eventually the pastor can't take it any more and is forced out.

As bad, as evil as that is, what really bothers me is what often happens next. The church leadership team - heavily influenced by the church bully - tells the pastor that, "for the good of the church," to leave quietly. In some cases financial considerations (compensation) are attached to the pastor leaving quietly without "raising a stink" about what happened to them. The pastor believes the lie that if he would let the people in the church know about the underhanded and terrible way that he was treated that this would "wrong." He worries that it could divide the church, that he would be doing it out of bad motives, and that it would just be too much trouble and bring up the bad feelings that he is trying to bury. So he agrees not to say anything. The people are confused on why the pastor is leaving (except those in the know) and he exits the church defeated, angry, bitter, and disillusioned. The average churchgoer has no idea of the dysfunctional element in their leadership and the cycle begins again with the new pastor.

Depressing, isn't it?

What bothers me the most is not that church bullies hurt good pastors (although the tolerance of church bullies is a whole other rant which I will share another time) but the fact that the dysfunction within the church is not brought up to the light. Pastors justify their lack of sharing the truth with the congregation by believing the idea that they are saving the church from further strife and division, but really they are just prolonging the dysfunction. And the members of the leadership team, even if they don't agree with what happened, become part of the code of silence to "protect the church." Someone needs to tell the church the truth if there is to be any hope to fixing things! Someone needs to have the courage to stand up and say "Yes, I know this will be disturbing to you, but this is what happened to me and it was not right." Instead the pastors feel the noble thing to do is fall on their sword. They are encouraged in this by the dysfunctional leadership team and their misplaced concern for the well being of the church. Yet Paul was not afraid to publicly call Peter and the church of Jerusalem on their sinful actions, and neither should we. Could bringing to light what is happening in the church result in terrible things for you, your family, and your ministry? Absolutely, and it is a decision that must be weighed carefully. But to choose not to expose sinful actions in the church is nothing short then collusion with evil.

It is like being abused by your father and not telling your family because you don't want it to "create strife" or "damage your mother." But if you choose not to tell about the abuse, someone else in your family has a good chance of being abused as well . . . and I don't think they would be happy knowing that you knew and didn't warn them. Essentially this is what too often happens in churches - I know several that have dysfunctional leadership teams who have burned through several pastors, damaging them while the congregation was completely unaware. And these congregations would be outraged to know how these pastors were really treated, but they don't know if know one tells them, right?

Standing up and telling the congregation the specific things done to them that were sinful is not an easy thing to do. You may get great results or you may not. But at least you tried, and yes, you did the right thing. Whether you are a pastor or just a member of your congregation, we need to stand up for what is right. We need to call it as it is, no matter the consequences. The church, the system, depends on it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Accepting Grace

I find it fascinating how difficult it is for most of us to accept something that we feel we don't deserve. This quirky little experiment (below) shows that full well. To accept a great gift that we haven't earned can be scary or even humiliating. Yet accepting something we don't deserve is one of the most important pieces of what it is to be Christian. Grace, freely offered must also be freely received . . .

Friday, May 15, 2009

Those Irritating People!

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."
Carl Jung

Band of Brothers

I treasure my remark to my grandson who asked, "Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?" Grandpa said, "No... but I served in a company of heroes. "
-Mike Ranney, Veteran Paratrooper

Jobina and I have been watching the HBO series "Band of Brothers" this past week on DVD. The series follows the story of Easy Company, paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division. It chronicles them as they begin training, engage the enemy in Europe, and eventually see the end of WWII. It is gritty, intense, violent, graphic, and coarse - yet I found it reflective and inspiring. What makes it special is that before each of the 10 episodes (the series took three years and over 110 million dollars to film) you get small snippets of interviews with some of the very veterans who are portrayed in the film. At the last episode you get to finally find out which veterans are who as they are finally named. The fact that the people portrayed were real people and that you get to see who they are adds a realism seldom seen in such movies. Very compelling.

Today as I was dropping Riker off at the bus stop before school, I was standing with a grandpa who was doing the same thing I was doing. He reminded me of these older veterans and for perhaps the first time ever I thought of myself as an old man and liked the image. At the end of Band of Brothers there are extended interviews and documentaries with the veterans and you can see the comradery and brotherhood that they still share - decades later. They were bonded for life, the kind of bond that is forged in combat and the shared experience of something both traumatic and heroic - and I was jealous of them. I too want that. I too want to be part of a band of brothers. Watching and reflecting on the stories cemented and explained a heart's desire that I always knew I had within me. I've always been excited about the idea of "team" but now I can finally articulate it.

And it doesn't have to be band of literal warriors. In Bill Hybels' book, Courageous Leadership, he talks about how Billy Graham's team went all over the world for many years on their mission to share the good news about Christ. These men were so bonded together from their ministry adventures that they too became like brothers. When it came time for them to retire they loved each other so much that they all built houses in the same rural area so that even in retirement they would be close to each other.

What makes that powerful bonding so enduring? I believe two thing: the shared experiences must be intense and they must have a noble purpose or mission. I've talked to many men who after watching Lord of The Rings desire to be part of a fellowship on a great mission - a mission that is crucial and at great personal risk. They too want to be part of a band of brothers. I found myself praying last night that God would bless me with the opportunity to create or be part of such a group. Although the veterans from Easy Company were severely traumatized by their war experiences they also were given a great gift - the gift of true brotherhood. And that is no small blessing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


“But for every man there exists a bait which he cannot resist swallowing.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Natives in Africa capture monkeys by setting up cages and placing bait inside. The bait can be anything a monkey would want, such as food or an unusual object. The monkeys are lured to the cages but are too smart to actually go inside. Instead, they reach through the bars, grab the bait, and try to pull it out. Because the object is too large to go through the bars, the only way the monkey can get away is to drop the bait. But monkeys refuse to let go. They kick and squeal but keep holding on. They stay trapped in bondage because they refuse to let go of the bait.

I'm convinced that there are a lot of marriages that are in bondage (and severe conflict) because one of the problem of baiting. One or both spouses "baits" the other one. I define baiting as a conscious or preconscious attempt to draw an emotional reaction out of someone. The bait is usually words, but it can also be an action (or lack of one).

Baiting is a problem in marriage when the baited spouse consistently takes the bait and a repeatable cycle is formed in their relationship, one that repeats again and again until both people feel powerless to stop it. An example: a wife continually makes accusations about her husband's lack of trustworthiness. She knows it will make him extremely angry and a fight breaks out. Why does she do it? It could be lots of reasons; emotional pain seeking an outlet, a desire for attention (negative attention), a way to stop boredom, revenge, etc. I watch my kids bait Jobina all the time. Trinity will say certain things in a way that almost always will guarantee and emotional response from Jobina and tension ensues. As a waiter I was continually baited by angry customer - ones who would try to get a reaction out of me either for sport or to try to scam free food. I was usually pretty imprevious to it, but I remember one tipsy guest (tipsy before he came in I would add) who baited me and in spite of myself I took it, hook, line and sinker. It only took a few seconds but before I knew it I was engaging in a fruitless "discussion" about the quality of his food and I found myself argueing that what he said couldn't possibly be true. He totally got me and I felt like an idiot.

Sometimes, lets face it, we try to start arguments with people. We bait them and then seem shocked when they reciprocate. "Calm down," we say, "what's gotten into you?" The thing about a good fight is that you need both a baiter and someone to rise to the occasion take the bait offered. The solution: stop baiting or stop reacting to it, do one of these and the cycle is broken. When working with couples in a session I will often draw attention to baiting comments (increasing awareness) and then point out every time the other spouse takes or refuses it. I've seen some expert baiters in my time!

Think about a person who really bugs you lately; are they baiting you and you are jumping up and taking it? You can control your reaction to people. Even if they know the best ways to push your "triggers" and offer you the choicest bait, you have the choice and ability to stop it. People who bait aren't looking for solutions, they are looking for reaction and conflict. Don't give it to them. Refuse to take the bait and you'll feel way better about yourself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


A deep question for my fellow Christ followers out there: Was there boredom before the fall? If not, does that mean boredom is tied directly to sin . . . and how do see it theologically? This came up (kind of out of the blue) at our small group last night . . .

Monday, May 11, 2009

Book Review: Three Weeks With My Brother

Book Review: Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks

I picked this up in the library a few weeks ago. I read quite widely but this one was a bit of a stretch. I'd never heard of the author, never read anything by him, and yet I was drawn to it. Weird. Anyway, I picked the book up and realized it was about 2 men who were going on an around the world trip in three weeks. It was a story about intimate brotherhood, adventure, and seeing the world. I took a gamble and signed it out. I'm very glad I did.

Nicholas Sparks was actually more known to me then I knew. He wrote the books "A Walk To Remember" and "The Notebook", both of which I have seen as movies. I will say this, Sparks has a almost a perfect writing style for me. He uses humor well, crafts his characters in a way that causes you to empathize with them almost immediately, and strikes a near perfect balance between eloquence and simplicity in the way he uses language. I was engaged almost immediately. As I read it over the past week I kept telling Jobina "This is a really good book." I read a lot of books and so I think that got her attention.

Without giving too much away, the story is really an autobiography written in the guise of a travelogue. As the two brothers go away on their adventure trip of a lifetime, Sparks starts at the beginning and tells his story beginning at birth and by the time the trip is done brings the reader right up to the present in his life. His life is truly an amazing story; equal parts joy and sorrow. In many ways it is the "every" book; it is a story, a motivation speech, a travel journal, a treatise on family, a book about faith, a reflection on suffering, etc, etc. I was very moved by reading it, one night I couldn't sleep for several hours after putting the book down, so emotionally engaged was I.

This book may not be for everyone. I told Jobina that I wasn't sure if a woman would like it or not but if you like biographies I don't think you will be disappointed. There are so many good parts about this book that it is difficult to choose which one meant the most to me. I give Three Weeks With My Brother 4.7 ninja stars out of 5. Highly recommended.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Important Then Me

In a relationship with an important person, we are always telling them things. Sometimes we even say it to them with words! Mostly though it is in our actions. We are constantly watching the other person, noting and interpreting the things they do. For instance, if I get my wife flowers, she might interpret it in one of the following ways:

1. "He loves me!"
2. "He cares about me!"
3. "He's apologizing to me!"
4. "He's hiding something from me!"
5. "He wants something!"

Sometimes our interpretations are positive: A handsome man walking down the street smiles at a young lady as he passes by. He thinks to himself "I just passed gas" or "Wow, she's dressed funny." She interprets it "He likes me" or "he thinks I'm hot."

It's comical really, because we are continually interpreting those we are close to all day long but we commonly get it wrong. Often our interpretations are negative. For instance, a man works long hours at the office thinking the message he's giving his wife is "I'm a good provider" or "I sacrifice for the family." The wife may however interpret it as "he doesn't want to spend time with me" or "working is more attractive then being home with me." We learn how to interpret as children.

Often the unintentional message we hear is some form of this; "_______ is more important then me." What can" ______" be that is more important then me? How about:

-your job
-your friends
-your computer
-your hobby
-your car
-your ex
-your children
-your pet
-your video games
-your church (or ministry)
-your TV shows

etc, etc.

Ever experienced any of these (or been "accused" of them)? The worst thing you can do if someone tells you they feel this way is try to convince them why it is not true (especially if it is your spouse)! Count is as blessing that they have had the courage to share it with you, even if they don't do it in the most courteous way and even if you don't agree with it. Something is wrong and needs to be dealt with. You now have before you a great opportunity to grow your relationship. What are you going to do with it?

My advice is to learn to be careful about the messages our actions have on others and let others know about the interpretations we are making about their actions. "Actions speak louder then words" is so true. I like it when my wife tells me how she's interpreting my actions, it helps us get stuff out in the open and avoid later conflict. Often in counselling I'll ask someone "What's the message you are getting from your spouse?" and the other person is shocked when they hear it. What message are you getting that you need to share with someone?

Thursday, May 7, 2009


fail owned pwned pictures

fail-owned pwned pictures

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To Trust and Obey

"One act of obedience is better than one hundred sermons." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I was reading in "The Purpose Driven Life" this morning about obedience and surrender. Warren notes that both of these words often leave bad tastes in our mouths (similar to words like "submit"). Obedience is a word we usually reserve for dogs . . . and occasionally children. It's definitely not in style.

Yet obedience, to God and man is such a high virtue. The Desert Fathers were a monastic community of radical believers during the fourth century in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine. Their communities were experiments in holiness and humility and their collected wisdom reflect this. Many of their sayings are recorded in story form. Like this one:

They said that abba Sylvanus had a disciple in Scetis, named Mark, who possessed in great measure the virtue of obedience. He had eleven other disciples who were aggrieved that he loved Mark more than them.

When the old men nearby heard that he loved Mark above the others, they took it ill. One day they visited him and abba Sylvanus took them with him, and going out of his cell, began to knock on the door of each of his disciples, saying, "Brother, come out, I have work for you." And not one of them appeared immediately.

Then he came to Mark's cell and knocked, saying, "Mark." And as soon as Mark heard the voice of the old man he came outside and the old man sent him away on some errand.

So abba Sylvanus said to the old men, "Where are the other brothers?" and he went into Mark's cell and found the book in which he had been writing and he was making the letter O; and when he heard the old man's voice, he had not finished the lines of the O. And the old men said, "Truly, abba, we also love the one whom you love; for God loves him too."

This story always touches something in me. Perhaps its partially because the obedient disciple shares my name, but I marvel at the beauty of his wholehearted surrender. I know the story is not perfect and that favoritism is not a good thing but still I find it compelling. Jesus said that we love him if we obey him. Obedience is the true test of love. My goal in life is to possess the virtue of obedience (like Mark did in the story) to Christ and his commands. You have to trust someone alot to be that obedient. God, build up my trust in you! Amen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Much Money Is A Pet's Life Worth To You?

On the way back from a board meeting tonight I was listening to CJOB which is a local news/talk radio station here in Manitoba. Even though it probably makes me old and boring, I really like news and talk radio. There, I'm coming out of the closet. Don't judge me! Don't judge me.

Anyway, there was an interview with a guy from the Humane Society. The host admitted to him taking his dog to the vet a few days ago and confessed that after he got his bill for over $400 he fleetingly wondered "How much would have cost just to put the dog down?" This lead into a big discussion on how much a person would be willing to put into saving their animal before they'd say "enough." Never being really attached to my pet, I thought $400 was a crazy amount. But soon someone called in and said they had paid over $1000. I was shocked. But then someone said they had paid over $3000 - (twice) on their dog's health! That's over $6000 on an animal. Many of these callers said that money was no object. Once you get attached to an animal you will anything within your power to save them.

This made me think, how much would I be willing to spend to save a dog? And is there an ethical problem if you are not willing to spend money giving life giving donations to starving children but you are willing to pay thousands to replace your dog's hip or repair its torn ACL? I suppose the reason someone can do this is because they are emotionally attached to the dog and not emotionally attached to the starving children. Intellectually we know that millions of children starving is more important then one dog, but because we get bonded to an animal that is in front of us, it's no contest - the dog will win every time. I'm not saying we shouldn't do all we can to save animals (I think animals deserve care and compassion) but I wonder where we ought to draw the line? And what does God think of it all? Is he impressed by our compassion for animals even as we ignore the human needs around us?

Monday, May 4, 2009


Today I biked to and from work. It took me about 45 minutes this morning and just less then an hour when I got home late this evening. The reason for the time difference? I bonked.

Bonking, according to the dictionary of mountain bike slang is as follows:

bonk v. to run out of energy or grow exhausted on a ride. "I bonked so early it was embarrassing."

Basically bonking is "hitting the wall." I didn't have supper and so about half way through my ride later in the evening I simply ran out of fuel. Suddenly it took all my effort just to keep pedaling at any speed (which ended up being slow). The final couple of blocks I was barely moving. Bonking is a rookie mistake but I guess I haven't done any real biking in quite a while.

The idea of bonking appeals to me because the truth of it is transferable to so many things. If you are not careful, you can run out of fuel

1. In your marriage.
2. In your spiritual life.
3. In your ministry.
4. For your job.

and many more.

It's foolish to think of trying to drive a car without gas, yet when it comes to other things we think we can go forever! Oh how we deceive ourselves. Rest, food, time away, training, etc are all things we need to keep fueled up for the important stuff, yet most of us try to see how low we can get the tank before refueling. Why do we do it? Bravado, a death wish, pride, temporary insanity? For me it's usually pride . . . mixed with equal parts laziness and delusions of "I'm better then that." Beware! This kind of stupidity is contagious - you can catch it from others and it can also infect even a large organization. Keep your tank full this week!

Friday, May 1, 2009

On Hysteria and Swine

hysteria: behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess

Neatorama had a link today to this article which was interesting:

Scientists: Swine Flu Milder Than Run-Of-The-Mill Winter Flu

Some highlights:

The swine virus does appear able to spread easily among humans, which persuaded the WHO to boost its influenza pandemic alert level to phase 5, indicating that a worldwide outbreak of infection is very likely. And the CDC reported on its website that "a pattern of more severe illness associated with the virus may be emerging in the United States." [...]

But certainly nothing that would dwarf a typical flu season. In the U.S., between 5% and 20% of the population becomes ill and 36,000 people die — a mortality rate of between 0.24% and 0.96%.

Dirk Brockmann, a professor of engineering and applied mathematics at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., used a computer model of human travel patterns to predict how this swine flu virus would spread in the worst-case scenario, in which nothing is done to contain the disease.

After four weeks, almost 1,700 people in the U.S. would have symptoms, including 198 in Los Angeles, according to his model. That’s just a fraction of the county’s thousands of yearly flu victims.

Apparently the hysteria and worry is actually mostly unfounded. Sure, it might mutate, but the same could be said of any virus. It seems almost comical that people are deathly afraid of getting swine flu but aren't too worried about the winter flu that kills thousands of people every year. It's all about perspective folks.