Saturday, December 31, 2005

Too Late for Vices

Last year I was going to try and take up a bunch of bad habits just prior to New Year so I had something to resolve not to do in the new year. Too late for me this year.

Maybe Rob Reiner's New Year's resolution to gain a lot of weight would be a good goal.

Sort of a reverse psychology of resolutions.

Wolf Attack

There's a story today from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that a wolf may have killed a man in northern Saskatchewan.

Wolf attacks on human's are exceedingly rare and it appears this wolf may have been eating from a mining camp dump, which brought it in close contact with people and resulted in loss of fear of humans.

I found it interestingly absurd that the article mentions the dangers of allowing wolves to become habituated to humans and goes on to point out we shouldn't feed black bears, grizzlies, raccoons, deer or other wildlife.

Humor as a Form of Enlightenment

Humor, to be light, light-hearted, lightening up - to be able to see humor in what we do or sometimes have done to us, must be one of the most effective healing/coping/growing mechanisms available. It's also a key to successful interpersonal relationships (okay most interpersonal relationships...there are probably some folks who couldn't laugh or smile at themselves or others if their life depended on it...we'll spend a moment of compassionate silence for those poor blighters).

It must be very odd to be in that no-humor state of mind. I've met some really "smart" (not really intelligent if you consider the various forms of intelligence) people who couldn't understand humor. For some people there are probably organic causes for their Spock-like approach to life. People with some degree of Aspergers disorder, for example.

I don't know how people can survive without humor.

I have a great deal of admiration and respect for people who can make other people laugh. It's a great skill. If you think about the number of books that come out each year and consider how often we end up with an Erma Bombeck it illustrates the difficulty in writing humor. Ditto for great comedians in any genre. The really good ones are very rare.


You may have heard Loretta LaRoche talk about humor on PBS or via corporate learning networks. I wouldn't consider her a great comedian or comedic writer, but she has managed to combine a level of comedy with some practical application. Whatever she's done, it sells.

She is the author of Life Is Short, Wear Your Party Pants

From the "Balance" magazine article on Loretta LaRoche -

She refers to her personal history as Brooklyn with a Hollywoodesque backdrop. “We weren’t wealthy, it was more like the movie “Moonstruck.” We were one big Italian family, looking for love in all the wrong places and hooked on great Sunday feasts. The major problem was my mother. She was more like Joan Crawford’s twin sister than a homemaker and I really suffered. My attitude came out of a necessity to survive. “Humor, Victor Frankel said, is the Soul’s preservation.”

“So let’s face it, now’s the time to step back and look at your own life. Do you have one — or are you pursuing it? I can promise you, when you leave this planet no one will say you did it all — so stop trying and lighten up!”

Loretta’s Eight Steps to “Enlightenment”

1. Lighten Up! Find humor in everyday situations, especially in yourself.

2. Light the Way! Smile at yourself and others. Be fully present.

3. Step Lightly! Twirl, stand on one leg, walk backwards.

4. Delight Yourself! Pleasure yourself through food, nature, art and music.

5. Lighten Your Load! Give up doing Everything.

6. Discover Your Inner Light! Meditate, pray, count your blessings. Find the Bless in the Mess!

7. Speak Lightly! Go beyond Okay, Fine and Not Bad. Yell Whoopee, Whee and TADAH!

8. Become a Beacon of Light! Be a compassionate witness to your behavior and to others. Lead your life with grace, glory, merriment and mirth.

Balance Magazine - Personal Growth For Women


I ran across this quote on humor from Cy Eberhart -

“Humor prevents one from becoming a tragic figure even though he / she is involved in tragic events.”

and wondered who he is. Turns out he's a theologion/minister/Will Roger's actor. He's written some interesting things about humor, including Hoping and Coping on how people in stressful situations use humor, and the not always subtle difference between what can be a mean sort of coping humor vs. hoping humor.

Coping humor in his example is a birthday card that says, "Don't feel old. We have a friend your age...and on good days he can still feed himself."

An example of hoping humor is a card that says, "Happy birthday - Isn't it reassuring to know that, as you grow older, worn out cells are being cast off and replaced by new, fresh cells...Think of it as a giant garage sale going an all over your body."

He has some other interesting pieces on humor on his website.


I was going to title this post - "Humor as a Form of Detachment", then decided to change it to Enlightenment to make a different point. Humor can be a destructive tool if used as a way to avoid life. I used to love to make cutting comments about people in what I thought was a clever way to be humourous. I came to realize this was really a way to distance myself from people. Not always a bad thing, but not really appropriate, if done in a mean-spirited way. Don't get me wrong I'm not above making fun of myself or someone else, I just hope it's in a good-hearted way.

(hmmmmmmmm...I might be lying, can you really make fun of someone else in a good-hearted way? and if you did would it be funny? Maybe it's okay if they are acting like a pompous ass (myself included sometimes). I think Stephen Colbert's premise of a satire based on "what's his name's show" on the Fox New's Network can be hilarious.)

I guess I'll leave it at not saying or writing things about someone, however funny you might think they are, that you would be ashamed to have them find out about. That's being true to yourself and practicing integrity.


"The secret source of humor is not joy, but sorrow." - Mark Twain

"Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." - William James

"If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide." from What Made Gandhi Laugh

"Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it." - E. B. White

Seven Steps - Twelve? A Hundred?

Over the years I've been a fan of self-help programs, books, and seminars. From I'm OK-You're OK in the 70's to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in the 90's....and a whole slew of other works before, during and after that time.

Books about how to be better.

My latest dip into the world of self-improvement is a class and book on how to think like Leonardo DaVinci (I have to add a small caveat - the books and class are free).

Lately I've been wondering a bit about the constant striving to be "better".

Is there a point where we are good enough? A point where we realize we are who we are and that really is okay?

I wouldn't want to promote the idea that stagnation and subsequently the decay of mental, physical, emotional capabilities would be okay. But at what point do we stop looking outside for the answers?

In some cases the answer would be never, if we look at the never ending stream of diet, exercise, psychological, personal and business; self-help / here's THE answer books and tools.

At some point theory has to become practice. At some point real interior work either at an individual or organizational level has to take place to effect change. Sometimes the books, videos, seminars and retreats take the place of real work and real change.

You see this at an individual level and at an organizational level.

A business takes on the "flavor of the month" from consultants - rolls it out - flows it down - grows it from the bottom up - embraces the new paradigm...for about a month or a couple of months, a year maybe, and then the new paradigm quietly fades into the background allowing a return to business as usual.

A person can do the same thing. I read a book on listening. It was all great. I went into the world and listened for about 5 minutes then went back to business as usual (interupting, furthering my agenda, listening to respond, auto-biographical listening, etc.).

So what's a person to do?

  • Realize real change requires real work - really doing - experiential learning as they say - learning by doing. Not by reading, partcipating in seminars, retreats, putting up bulletin boards, preparing PowerPoint presentations, telling stories etc.

  • Realize people/organizations by nature are lazy. We like to be comfortable and for the most part fear change. Change is hard, sad, inevitable; but we would prefer to not deal with change unless forced to. For an organization true change can come about if it becomes a do or die situation, assuming the organization has time left to change before the market kills it. The same if true for individuals, unless we have to change...we probably won't, which explains why some programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, are successful.

  • Bottom, your organization, probably aren't going to change, assuming you are not in a "change or die" situation. Whatever icing you put on that cake isn't really going to change what's underneath.

Yikes..That sounds really depressing. If you gave up on "change" ala self-help books, diet plans, New Year's resolutions, seminars, retreats...looking outside for answers, what would happen?

You'd be left with your self.

That's all there is. You. All alone. Nobody can change can't change anyone else. One caveat on this - I'm talking about positive substantial changes. Constant immersion in a culture of violence or consumption changes us. Occasionally dipping into a self-help book, video, talk, seminar isn't going to reverse that.

There's hope though - you can change yourself if you want to.

You have to consume differently - surround yourself with books, people, music, TV, video, webs that further what you want to be. You see this happen all the time - people become what they consume. It can be violent, tragic, mean-spirited, conspiritorial, degrading, hateful, hate-filled...or just the opposite peaceful, hopeful, spirit-filled, open/trusting, loving.

It's your choice, but first you have to be mindful enough to know what it is that you consume and eventually what will consume you.


I remember reading about a tragic murder in our area years ago and wondering - "how can things come to this." It was a case of a high school student, who seemed like a pretty good kid. He hadn't been in trouble, was a good student, a pitcher on the baseball team and had friends. He lived with his dad. He was having a party at his dad's house and some other kids came by and started a fight. The son fired a rifle into the car as the kid's drove off killing several people.

I wondered what led to that event? I couldn't have been that the kids were having a party, everything was fine, and then the thought that shooting someone driving off in a car would be the right thing to do - came out of the blue. It had to be a progression of events, learning, consuming violence that led to this tragic event. It was a case of pre-meditation in the legal sense, since the son and father had gotten word that the kids who wanted to fight were going to show up and proceeded to set loaded weapons in strategic places. How could this thought process occur? If you had word that someone was going to come over to your house with the intention of fighting why not act as a peace-maker (if possible), talk with your son, the other kids, maybe even fight if that was all that you could do to protect yourself or your family. Why not call the police?

It turned out the dad was involved in using and selling drugs and apparently was stuck in some place that made him want to be a contemporary of his son and his son's friends. Not a good example, just one of the boys - and unfortunately a violent man.

The point being you wouldn't just wake up one day and decide to have a party, and oh by the way let's stash some loaded weapons around the house in case the kid's who want to fight show up.

If you ponder this for awhile you can see that's true for any type of aberrant, or abhorrent, behaviour. People don't wake up and decide to be pedophiles, murderers, rapists; there is some progression of events, life experiences, learning that leads them to where they are.

You have to feel compassion (I think) for those people who have no control over what shaped their lives.

Lucky for us we have lots of control over who we will be. We can choose who we will learn from, what we will watch, listen to and read.


From Paul's letter to the Philippians, Chapter 4 -

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (NIV)


The main point is that easy (or hard) self-help; books, programs, seminars, or videos, offer little in the way of real change, except possibly in cases where change is necessary to survive and even then these serve as window dressing to real change and learning - which comes from experience, careful consumption, immersion and doing.

A case could be made that endless seeking for self or organizational improvement is better than giving up to entropy and a gradual loss of skills and growth, or conversly from a negative standpoint, that seeking improvement replaces doing - leading to an endless cycle of "learning" that becomes meaningless outside of a practical real-world application.

No matter where you go, there you are. When you show up at work, to the class, for the meeting, to see the patient, friend, co-worker, client, teacher, student - you will be there (not the book, the video, the seminar). Just you.

At some point you have to trust that you is all that's needed.

Just be you.


No matter what you do, you'll be better off if you can do it with some humor and light-heartedness.

People will appreciate you and you'll enjoy life if you can laugh. Nothing in this life is so serious that you can't see the lighter side somewhere. Not saying you should wear wax lips to a state funeral...but you deserve to laugh. It's one of the few things that separates humans from animals - take advantage of it.

Walking Meditation

From the book "Calming the Fearful Mind - A Zen Response to Terrorism", by Thich Nhat Hanh -

"Walking Meditation

The mind can go in a thousand directions
But on this beautiful path, I walk in peace
With each step, a gentle wind blows
With each step, a flower blooms

While walking, practice conscious breathing by counting steps. Notice each breath and the number of steps you take as you breathe in and as you breathe out. If you take three steps during an in-breath, say silently, "One, two, three," or "In, In, In," one word with each step. As you breathe out, if you take three steps, say, "Out, Out, Out," with each step.

Don't try to control your breathing. Allow your lungs as much time as they need, and simply notice how many steps you take as your lungs fill up and how many you take as they empty, mindful of both your breath and your steps. The key is mindfulness.

You can also practice walking meditation using the lines of a poem. In Zen Buddhism, poetry and practice always go together.

I have arrived.
I am home
in the here,
in the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate
I dwell.

As you walk, be fully aware of your foot, the ground, and the connection between them, which is your conscious breathing.

Walking meditation is really to enjoy the walking - walking not in order to arrive, just for walking, to be in the present moment, and to enjoy each step...Anyone can do it. It takes only a little time, a little mindfulness, and the wish to be happy."


Beliefnet articles on religion, spirituality, prayer, God, angels, politics, meditation...

Parallax Press publisher of Books by Thich Nhat Hanh, on Mindfulness, and Engaged Buddhism.

The Mindfulness Bell an inspiration and teaching resource for those practicing mindfulness in daily life. Each issue features a recent teaching by teacher, Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. This website also includes locations of Sangha centers in the U.S.A. and around the world.

Plum Village meditation center and home of Thich Nhat Hanh, 85 Km east of Bordeaux France.

Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, California.

Dharma Memphis website is a good resource for learning more about Buddhism, meditation and mindful living. Intitial work is being done to create a retreat center at Magnolia Village, a 120 acre property south of Memphis Tennessee that was donated to Plum Village.

Green Mountain Dharma Center and Maple Forest Monastery, in Hartland-Four-Corners and Woodstock, Vermont.

Friday, December 30, 2005

City Lights Books

City Lights Books is probably the coolest bookstore ever.

Being a fan of the The Beat Generation of poets and authors , City Lights, is a touchstone.

Purely serendipitiously I happened to find the book "Peace is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hanh in that bookstore years ago. If there was ever one book that changed me and helped me calm down it was that small text. It's paradoxical since I loved the descriptions of the "wild" drugging, drinking, driving from the beat writers, mainly Jack Kerouac and "On the Road". I was in City Light's thinking about how cool those guys were...and then took home a book by a peace-filled Vietnamese monk.

Part of it is growing up I suppose. Jack Kerouac was interested in Zen Buddhism, tragically he didn't figure it out well enough before he killed himself, with drugs and alcohol.

Thank God for giving me a chance to work on growing up.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Zen Response to Terrorism

From the book "Calming the Fearful Mind - A Zen Response to Terrorism"
by Thich Nhat Hanh -

"How can you uproot terrorism with military force? The military doesn't know where terrorism is. They cannot locate terrorism - it is in the heart. The more military force you use the more terrorists you create, in your own country and other countries as well."


"Eighty percent of the corn and ninety five percent of the oats in the United States are fed to animals raised for humans to eat.....The world's cattle alone consume a quantity of food equivalent to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people, more than the entire human population of Earth.....UNICEF reports that every day 40,000 children die of malnutrition."


"If we do not know how to take care of ourselves and to love ourselves, we cannot take care of the people we love. Loving oneself is the foundation for loving another person. If we love someone, the greatest gift we can make to him or to her is our true presence."


"I have confidence in the capacity of all beings to attain great understanding, peace and love."


"First of all we need to allow ourselves to calm down. Without tranquility and serenity, our emotions, anger, and despair will not go away, and we will not be able to look and see the nature of reality. Calming down, becoming serene is the first step of meditation. The second step is to look deeply to understand. Out of understanding comes compassion."

Thich Nhat Hanh has a fairly simple goal, to teach small groups of people to live mindfully and then send those people into the world to build small communities that will grow over time.

He provides 5 Mindfulness Trainings for his students -

"Aware of the suffering caused by destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals."

"Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, I am committed to cultivating loving kindness and learning ways to work for the well-being of all people, animals, plants and minerals."

"Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society."

"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and to relieve others of their suffering."

"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming."


It all starts with the simple act of becoming more aware, more mindful of the world around you. Every so often shutting off the noise and reflecting, relaxing, and getting in touch with the humanity you share with every other being on this Earth.

Consuming thoughts, food, books, movies, T.V. wisely, so that you are able to calm down and see we are all in this together. Our survival and happiness is dependent on our ability to listen and speak from heart's filled with compassion. This isn't just an abstract thought but a change of heart leading to a change of life. It's very easy to get started.

Just breathe.


Being Fully Present

"Coming home to our bodies can bring us relief within just a few minutes. After that, we come home to our feelings and emotions.

Breathing in, I am aware of my feelings. Breathing out, I calm and release the tension in my feelings.

This kind of practice can be done anytime, anywhere, on a train, on an airplane, at work, or at home."

From the book - "Calming the Fearful Mind - A Zen Response to Terrorism" by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Yurt, Kayak Point, Pie and Us

Just a few photos I took during this holiday season. I spent a couple of days at the Kayak Point Yurt camp. It was very quiet. The yurts are sort of in between camping and staying in a motel. They have an electric - heater, outlet and light. They would sleep about five. Water is available. There is a shower and bathroom shared by all the yurters. It's a cool place to hang out (literally and figuratively), but I was glad to get back (don't want to be too much of a hermit during the holidays).

I carried our dried out Christmas tree in my pickup, cut it into little pieces and burned it at the park. Sort of a it burned like crazy with the dried out needles and all the sap on it.

I went to midnight Mass at St. James Cathederal in Seattle on Christmas eve, something I've wanted to do for awhile. It was very nice. I got a standing room-only spot on the side of the altar in an open doorway. Perfect view of a candle and the crucifix, plus I could move around and breathe/feel the cool air. Sort of an odd reason to go to Mass but I really wanted to smell the incense (mission accomplished).

The final pictures are me, Rachel, Becca and Betsy and some pictures of an apple and cherry pie I made for a pre-Christmas party and to celebrate R&B coming home from college.


Inside the yurt

Looking up at the ceiling of the yurt

Yurt camp

These yurts are really nice structures. Wooden floors, waterproof, electric light and heat.

Between the rains the sky was very blue

Christmas tree fire

The forest is very wet so making big campfires is okay

There's a fairly steep trail to the beach from the yurts

Poplars grow fast, they like water and make pretty good windbreaks

End of the pier

600 Pound Octopuses Live in Puget Sound

Nobody on the pier today to read the rules

An easier way is to know someone who likes to clean fish

I like this one

This is a mussel shell

Beginning of a fort

Small castle

Glad Rachel and Becca are home

An apple and a cherry pie

I used Fuji's and Granny Smith's in the pie

Lots of cherries

Me & B


Monday, December 26, 2005

How Public Should Public Knowledge Be?

I've been thinking, reading and looking at search engines for a couple of days. Like most people I'm tied in pretty close to Google when it comes to search. I might use Yahoo! once in awhile and every so often try the MSN search tool to see if it works any better than the last time (nope).

The context based search idea behind Y!Q search sounded good, but in my limited testing I didn't get any better results than I did by using Google. I was searching for "concern about the loss of personal privacy inherent with online search tools".

Amazon's A9 search tool is interesting to me in that it keeps a record of your searches (same as Google) and I imagine most search engines. The thing that was interesting to me was that I hadn't used it for months, and only a few times at that - and when I brought it up it had the search I did 6 months ago.

I'm not really concerned so much with the collection of information I provide search engines or websites. I don't feel a need to remain anonymous and have faith that as a generally law abiding citizen I have no reason to fear some sort of Kafkesque scenario where my search habits cause me to be unfairly accused, tried and convicted.

There are certainly insiduous ways that online search and archival of information can be unsettling and possibly creatively chilling if you have to think that anything you search for, write or view on the web is stored somewhere forever.

I don't think this storing of my search habits or webpages I look at, is really all that big a deal given the anononymity of the crowd. The fact that I searched for hot sexy babes, breeding farm animals for fun and profit or how to make a cruise missile is probably not going to go, as they used to say in high school, "on my permanent record".

So what's my major concern?

Let me tell you a little story (it's short so bear with me please).

A few months ago I found a story on the The Smoking Gun, well not actually a was a link to a police report about a young woman who had alledgely stolen a steak off her neighbor's BBQ and took it to her apartment. The neighbor did what anyone would do - CALLED THE COPS. I've had similar problems with crows...but I digress.

The police captured the miscreant with some great detective work that included following a trail of "meat juice" that led them to the culprit's apartment and ultimately to her bathroom where the half-eaten steak was found hidden in a kleenex box.

I thought that story was bizarre and funny and was going to post a link to it.

Then I started to think...

That young woman is not a public figure who may have volunteered to give up her privacy by accepting the role of star, politician or sports figure (not sure if it's correct that those people give up all rights to privacy either...but that' not the point of this little piece).

This young woman was unknown, just a person who made a mistake and got arrested for it. Hmmmmm sound familiar? I'd be really bummed out if anyone had instant access to every faux paux / illegal act I'd ever been involved in. I'm not a criminal but I was not the smartest or tamest person in my younger years, and some of that "public" information would be embarassing to me taken out of context (or in context for that matter). I like to think I've matured out of some behavior at 51 that involved me at 15 or 22 or 44...48..49. I've grown up a lot in the last year :-)

Public records - say of a divorce, child custody, court room proceedings, police reports are public, but because of the anonymity of the crowd - not really. Someone would have to go into the courthouse files to find stuff and unless they knew what or why they were looking it would be pretty futile to find something funny, sad or interesting enough to publish.

I wasn't even sure I should link to the Smoking Gun website since they trade on personal pain/mistakes in the name of traffic. On the other hand there is stuff in there that's interesting and doesn't bother me because it's either truly public ie. widely disseminated or should be. The FBI report of their interview with Monica Lewinski for's a bit sad, somewhat touching and tawdry but interesting - not nearly interesting enough to spend a year or so of national hand wringing and news coverage on...but that's another story too.


ACLU AdCritic Interactive

Three High Quality Blogs Plus One

One of the best things about reading blogs is when you find some high quality work that equals or sometimes surpasses what you would find in print media. These three blogs, plus one that is related to the third, combine intelligence and wit to come up with some really nice work. :: home of fine hypertext products is full of interesting thoughts and links.

Idle Words is both well written and witty.

Things My Girlfriend And I Have Argued About is funny. I particularly like the related piece, Things My Girlfriend And I Have Had Stolen By The Mail On Sunday which is the story of a London newspaper using the author's work without permission.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Luke Tells The Story

Luke 2:8-20 (KJV)

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them,

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


Those are nice words Luke wrote. I particularly like the way Linus reads them in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" - childlike, heartfelt and simple.

I think Christianity gets a bad rap in some people's minds because it's trivialized or distorted, either by what they think they know, by what they see on television, a superficial look, bad experience from a particular church or minister, by what someone taught them, or by their observation of people professing to be "Christian" who are anything but "Christ-like".

The basic tenets of Christian thought - forgiveness, love and compassion - for others and oneself are universal and inclusive.

True (assuming I have any idea what that is) Christianity is radically different than a lot of mainstream church teachings or television evangelists preaching. The difficulty in talking about Christianity is that the word has no meaning outside of a specific context and individual worldview. If I say Christianity you might think asshole, bigot, hypocrite, holier than thou jerk...and you could be right on. So for this little sermon we will constrain Christianity to Father Thomas Keating's teaching (specifically the hour long talk linked to below).

Christianity, in the form of the New Testament, and as taught by compassionate and intelligent people is not a divisive tool to promote hate or violence. If you read and listen to the right people you will begin to find that Christianity is closely aligned with the infinite compassion of Buddha as taught by the Dali Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh and the non-violent beliefs and life of Gandhi.

If you are going to do only one religious thing this holiday season (and haven't decided what that might be) I'd recommend listening to Father Thomas Keating's hour long talk at Creighton University. Depending on where you are coming from you may find Christianity (in his case Catholic Contemplative Christianity) is much different than you may currently believe. It's much deeper, kinder, easier, harder, human - than may be obvious to the casual observer. He says it much much better than anyone I've ever heard.

It's a big file, if you don't have Apple Quicktime you can download the mp3 file and listen to the audio using another player.


May you find peace this Christmas that grows within you throughout the year, allowing you to forgive and love yourself and then others.

God bless you.

Friday, December 23, 2005

We're All Getting Smarter

I'm just finishing up the book "Everything Bad Is Good For You - How Today's Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter" by Steven Johnson. The points he makes about greater complexity in technology leading us all to be smarter sound really cool.

The popular belief that computer games, the internet, blogging, television all lead to a dumbing down of society (that popular culture caters to the lowest common denominator) is pretty thoroughly debunked in his book.

He makes the point that the IQ of the average person has increased by 13.8 points over the last 48 years. You can read about it in the book or online by googling for the Flynn Effect, named after James Flynn the philosopher and civil rights activist who made this discovery in the 1980's.

Steven Johnson makes the point that our brains are designed to solve complex problems, which flies in the face of the idea that what we really want is stupid games, TV and blogs that don't challenge our minds at all.

It's fairly obvious if you consider the complexity of popular games, that most people are not drawn to simple - easy to solve and finish games. People naturally are drawn to complexity (of course things that are generally true are never specifically true when it comes to people...there are probably some people who love playing Pong or PacMan, out there).

He makes a good case for how culture has been influenced by technology in good ways (ways that make us smarter, more creative, more adaptable, better problem solvers, able to recognize patterns and sift through data to find meaning). He shows how TV plotlines have grown increasing complex in order to satisfy viewers and qualify the show for syndication (where the money is). Video recorders, TIVO and internet fan sites all play a role in this transition.

He gives an example from the gaming world of a fan named Aaron Baker who wrote a 50,000 plus word (164 page) guide to the game "Grand Theft Auto III", then compares this to a single page it would take to walk a player through PacMan.

The one downside to what Marshal McCluhan referred to as the electric speed of technology, according to Steven Johnson, is the potential to lose the ability to focus on long narratives (ie. books). That would be a shame of course and he cautions the need to balance our activities.

Some time spent with fast moving technology which provides us data in short pieces...sometimes information...sometimes noise...(the ability to filter the information from the noise is a form of intelligence in itself) as well as devoting time to focus and concentrate on a narrative thread found in a book.

It's a very interesting book, easy to read and quick going.


Movable Type - Nice Features

Being a newbie to Movable Type I've only recently discovered a couple of nice features, the ability to categorize posts to give the reader an idea of what's inside a blog and extended posts which allow a "teaser" line or two on the main page of a blog.

I'm curious to learn what the "trackback" feature of MT is for sometime.

It's really fun to play with this stuff. There's a lot of easy use functionality, which allowed the blog explosion, but still enough complexity even for a simple end user like me to keep it interesting. I really appreciate the work the people inside the software do to make it that way. Very nice tools that allow for some amazing content and interaction that would have been unimaginable five years ago or so.

I actually thought the days of the personal website were going to die out in the late 90's. Too much repetition, focus on form rather than function or content. I think what was because putting up a personal website (other than a pre-built ad-filled free site) took a certain amount of technological skill...and certainly time if you wanted to keep it current.

Now anyone with a computer can post away using Blogger, WordPress, Yahoo! Movable Type or other tools. Combine that with great search, the ability to easily upload and store graphical data and it's like....Wow! who would have ever imagined this.

Seattle Windshield Ding Epidemic of 1954

Interesting and somewhat comical HistoryLink essay by Alan J. Stein, describing the sudden discovery of pits and residue on windshields of thousands of cars, in the Seattle area, during March and April of 1954.

People began to notice tiny holes in their windshields in Bellingham in March of 1954. A combination of police "detective work" as well as newspaper reporting began to blow this discovery way out of proportion, contributing to fears that the "great windshield pitting" epidemic was coming south to Seattle. North of Seattle, police set up roadblocks to check cars and their occupants.

In April of 1954 the mayor of Seattle considered the threat so serious he wired the Governor and the President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower asking for state and federal help.

There were lots of wild theories about what caused the dings/pitting/holes - Cosmic radiation, a large Navy radio transmitter, nuclear bomb testing, sand flea eggs that had been laid in the windshield glass and then hatched.

There was a secondary panic involving finding of particulate matter on windshields as well. Given this was during the time of nuclear bomb testing any unexplained particulates in the air were of course a bit scarey.

In 1953 a large thermonuclear device was detonated in the Nevada desert that carried a lot of radioactive material into the atmosphere which eventually came down on the unlucky down-winders. In March of 1954 another device had been detonated over the Bikini Atoll. So people were a bit antsy about weird stuff coming out of the sky.

The most likely scenario for the windshield pitting epidemic was that people began to look at their windshields after the intial police/newspaper reports and lo and behold saw -

Dings and particulate matter.

Which had always been there but they hadn't really paid attention.

The dings were due to rocks and gravel and the particulate matter due to coal dust in the air from incomplete combustion of bituminous coal.

From the essay -

"The Seattle pitting incident contains many key factors that play a part in collective delusion. These include ambiguity, the spread of rumors and false but plausible beliefs, mass media influence, recent geo-political events, and the reinforcement of false beliefs by authority figures (in this case, the police, military, and political figures).

This combination of factors, added to the simple fact that for the first time people actually looked "at" their windshields instead of "through" them, caused the hubbub. No vandals. No atomic fallout. No sand-fleas. No cosmic rays. No electronic oscillations. Just a bunch of window dings that were there from the start.

You probably have them on your car right now. Please don’t alert the media or your local police."

The Gift of Quiet The Gift of Time


"OUR HEARTS -- our spirits -- wait for the coming of the Christ child.

We have worked hard during this Advent season to listen to God's voice, to turn over our fears and worries, to make a place in all the chaos to be able to welcome God into our lives and hearts. During these last days of Advent, we continue to wait.

May these final days include times of quiet.

Open wide the door to our hearts.

Let there be spaces, silences, and open places.

Let us give ourselves the gift of time."

-- Beth A. Richardson "CHILD OF THE LIGHT"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Text to Speech Software

Opera, a web browser, offers text reading and speech recognition capability.

The idea of having your browser read some email, an article or book to you - while you did something else, or just to rest your eyes, or if you had a hard time seeing, sounds attractive.

My experience with text to speech software is (a) the voice is annoyingly mechanical (okay for a diversion but not something I could listen to very long) and (b) the interface is clumsy e.g. I have to highlight text or otherwise do something special each time I want to convert text to speech.

There are commercial applications that have a wide selection of voices, allow saving as mp3 files for later listening on a portable device, and that have a more sophisticated user interfaces than the highlighting technique. I've only tried the free versions of some, but nothing grabbed me making me want to purchase the software.

This technology has been around for quite a while, but never seems to really take off, at least for casual users. It may be the equivalent to "books on tape", in that it is useful/desirable to a relatively small segment of people but not the majority of users.

Reading the written word, in a way that is appealing to humans, seems to be a uniquely human characteristic. Maybe someday a computer voice will be able to catch the inflections and feeling, but for now I'd rather have a human read to me than Microsoft Sam.

Blogger v. Yahoo! Movable Type

I've spent a few hours fiddling around with my new Yahoo! + Movable Type Blog

So far I'd give Blogger a 10 and Yahoo! Movable Type about a 2.5 for ease of use and intuitive interface.

I've spent hundreds of hours playing with Blogger over the last few years, making it a little hard to recall the initial learning curve, but it didn't seem anywhere near as flakey as Yahoo! MT.

I deleted a long ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz boring description of my initial difficulties with Yahoo! MT.

I don't want to tick off any MT users or creators so I will offer some pre-apologies.

The Yahoo! MT combination is a Beta version.

I have no experience with MT as a standalone product.

I've only used the beta version on Yahoo! for a very short time.

Even though I had some issues with slightly more advanced (and some pretty basic stuff) with MT (that I've learned to do in Blogger)....Yahoo! MT is fine for a beginner if you just want to post text and links. I haven't had time (and I'm not really sure if I want to devote much time) to the intricacies of what MT might be able to do...because Blogger works really well for me.

Right now for my money (zero dollars) Blogger is hands down the tool of choice for people who like to write, while also offering the flexibility to change the look and feel of a blog to suit their individual creative desire.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Miscellaneous Uses of Maps

You can learn a lot from maps.


I see UFO activity has been fairly light in Washington state, just a couple of sightings; a black orb leaving the earth near Lynnwood (probably couldn't stand the crowds at Alderwood Mall) and a light blue small circular object headed towards the earth in the Tacoma area (possible frisbee sighting).

Montana, the Dakotas, Idaho and New Mexico, have had zero UFO's sightings lately. Surprisingly - Nevada, home of area 51, has had only one UFO flying around Las Vegas recently.

Note - The Poly9 map hadn't caught up to the UFO sightings contained in National UFO Reporting Center listings for November's Washington state sightings.

Not a map, but in my surfing I ran across an Alien Abduction Report Form which at first made me laugh to think of the potential for pranks and then a bit sad to think of someone having to fill out a form on the internet to share their alien abduction. Maybe with the number of cell phones with cameras, and video cameras in them, we will get some good pics or even a video of an abduction. Until then I remain a skeptic.


According to MSNBC News not much is happening in the world (outside the USA). However I did find an interesting story out of Germany about ‘Bad Santas’ wreaking havoc worldwide.


Google-Yahoo Traffic-Weather Maps might come in handy for some trip planning. I checked the traffic for Two Dot, Montana and things look clear...according to the map anyway.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


I found out about the site ResearchBuzz, written and edited by Tara Calishain, from the book "The Search : How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture", by John Battelle.

The About ResearchBuzz section says,

"ResearchBuzz is designed to cover the world of Internet research. To that end this site provides almost daily updates on search engines, new data managing software, browser technology, large compendiums of information, Web directories -- whatever. If in doubt, the final question is, "Would a reference librarian find it useful?" If the answer's yes, in it goes!"

Sounds good to me.

Tara Calashain also has a blog called Tech Talk. This Tech Talk link points to Merriam-Webster's top ten words of the year based on search popularity.

Interesting to see what people were thinking about. This year's top word was integrity, last year it was blog. This year the words levee and inept rounded out the top ten at number nine and ten.

Café Jack - The Netherlands

I see there's a non-virtual Café Jack's in the Netherlands.

Their sign says, "Eet, drink & spellencafé".

My interpretation, being linguistically challenged, is that this is a cafe where people eat, drink and spell. Instead of Karoke contests they have spelling bee's. You get a free drink if you can spell certain words. If two people get into a drunken argument instead of challenging each other to fight they challenge each other to spell.

I think they play darts and possibly games involving dice and a roulette wheel as well.

Postscript April 2008 - Thanks to Sylvie, now I know "spellen" in Dutch means "play" - it's a cafe where you can eat, drink and play.

Sounds good...


The Official Holland Site - Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC)

My Yahoo! + Movable Type Blog

If you have a web hosting service through Yahoo, you can now create web pages using the Movable Type blogging software. I'm really looking forward to playing with it and seeing how it compares to Blogger.

I haven't done anything yet other than log on and change a few words around, play with the templates and stylesheets, and try editing the index file using an HTML editor.

I'm going to see if I can keep the nice clean look I see on some Movable Type pages. It will be hard with my love of all things small, bright and beautiful.

So far all I have is the first entry of My Yahoo! + Movable Type Blog

Blah blah blah blah

Blah blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah blah.

That's how I feel about this blog. Nothing very interesting, new or useful, at least lately - mostly just a rehash of tidbits from the web.

I, being especially interested in all things me, found the initial blog writing interesting because I was writing about things I knew about (how to make soup for example), things I was doing or had done, with some fictional or semi-fictional writing thrown in. I still do some of that but a lot of this seems almost filler-like to me now.

I think we have to be careful that the web doesn't get filled with this sort of mind numbing repetition, regurgitation of things written by others - we need original content, creative thought, individual effort, talent.

I can immediately think of two reasons why this blog is less than good, one simple which could be remedied simply and one complex that may never be remedied.

The simple reason has to do with the colorful, distracting, short-attention span nature of the web and why it is not a good "place" for writing. When I open up my browser I inevitably find things that catch my eye, that are not conducive to reflecting on what to write or how to write it. The simple remedy for that would be to write from a word processor (you can blog from Word) thus avoiding the distraction of a million and one things you could be looking at or reading about on the web.

There is something to be said for fewer options in helping us to accomplish a goal. A theory of constraints of sorts. If you set boundaries for a task, then you can begin to work, rather than spending an inordinate amount of time deciding what option is best. A couple of examples -

If you were setting out to draw a picture you could constrain yourself to using a pencil and a piece of paper, which would allow you to begin the task of choosing something to draw, working on the composition and actual drawing rather than spending time thinking, should I use watercolors, oil, charcoal, colored pencils, chalk, crayons, acrylics on a canvas, drawing paper, wood?

It sounds paradoxical but there is something very freeing about limited options.

Another example to illustrate the point that there is value to boundaries, constraints and limited options can be found in a work environment. Imagine you don't know what your job is. Depending on your place of employment this could be a real problem e.g. a hospital or a not so real but still difficult problem e.g. a technology related design firm.

If you are working at a hospital and your job is in the kitchen and you show up in the operating room - that's a real problem.

If you are working with a team of people designing/testing/building a piece of equipment it's not unusual for job roles to overlap, or at least for workers performing these tasks to need to interact. If your role is testing but you decide you would rather design, that can be a problem depending on how it's handled - specifically if your jaunts into the design work cause the person responsible for the design to waste time or lose focus, or you cause rework and repetition (because you are doing something the designer is tasked with, that he or she will have to do over) and last but not least - if floating from task to task causes you to overlook or neglect your assigned task (testing).

By constraining your options you can be freed to do some thing well, in lieu of a lot of things poorly.

Jack of all trades master of none, as they say.

The second reason this blog is blah blah blah blah has to do with remuneration and the reward system we provide for content providers. Let's define content to be the written word in this context.

Where do we go to find high value content?

My first choice would be books, followed by magazines and then newspapers. Let's say I wanted to write a blog about the current state of the labor movement in America. I could do that by using content from the web - in which case I become a re-packager. Not too valuable. Maybe I have some experience in that area which would help me write some things of value. Maybe I'm independently wealthy and can finance a study and then write about it as a hobby. Not too likely but possible.

Now assume I'm a writer with a track record and therefore hopefully have some financial resources available to support my writing. If I am writing a book on the labor movement in America it's not inconceivable that I could spend a year, or longer, visiting union halls, standing on picket lines, talking to union members, union and corporate leaders, studying reference materials in libraries. Working for a magazine or newspaper I could do the same thing on a limited timescale and budget.

So that's the tough one for getting rid of the blah blah blah factor – and why blogs for the most part (not to say there aren’t exceptions) will never reach the level of value of a good magazine or newspaper or certainly a book (not to mention movies or television) when it comes to learning or entertainment. It’s a capitalist model – you get what you pay for. Blogs are free.

I like to think of my blog as a very small town newspaper that would cost you about a dime (I don’t want to think it’s free because then it might have too many ads). You might find something interesting, something boring, something funny. The editor, writer, printer, delivery boy (me) has another job and just does this for fun.

Maybe you end up with hobby blogs being the equivalent in the writing world to what folk art is to the art world. It might not be high falutin, critically acclaimed but sometimes - something about a piece might just strike your fancy as pretty good or really good.

I hope so.

Has George W. Bush's Voice Changed?

Is it just me or has George Bush's voice changed? The few times I've heard him speak lately he seemed to have a whiney sort of "whipped" tone of voice. Can't say I blame him, he's been, in my not so humble opinion, an almost unmitigated failure as a leader of this country.

Whatever his "vision" was it has not been clearly articulated, and if it had to do with bettering our society as a whole, certainly not implemented.

I think back to FDR and his Brain Trust creating the New Deal, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson and their vision of "The Great Society", and Jimmy Carter with his quiet, humble, intelligence.

FDR was smart enough to set up the Brain Trust to get input from people with a variety of ideologies. George Bush on the other hand, has surrounded himself (or allowed himself to be surrounded) by undifferentiated power brokers. He has eliminated consultation with his own father's National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft. You can read about the split in this article from the The New Yorker. Although Scowcroft favored sending American troops to Iraq, after Saddam Hussain's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, he reportedly told George H. Bush that, "An American occupation of Iraq would be politically and militarily untenable" which probably makes him a less than popular dinner guest at the Bush White House.

Compare part of a speech LBJ gave in 1964 to any "vision" you've heard from George Bush or his administration -

"The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time. But that is just the beginning.

The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents. It is a place where leisure is a welcome chance to build and reflect, not a feared cause of boredom and restlessness. It is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community.

It is a place where man can renew contact with nature. It is a place which honors creation for its own sake and for what it adds to the understanding of the race. It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods."

Jimmy Carter, a deeply religious man, who once answered yes, when asked if he was a "Born Again Christian" (he admits that was a mistake now), is concerned with the erosion of the wall separating Church and State that has occurred in our country in the last five years.

The idea that the government is charged with defining and enforcing personal morals, the elimination of the ban on assault weapons in 2004, the infringement on civil liberty and personal privacy in the name of the Patriot Act, are all distasteful to this honorable man, and it would seem safe to say, the majority of Americans.

You can listen to Jimmy Carter talk about these things in this interview with Terry Gross on NPR A Former President Warns of 'Endangered Values'.

FDR was a well educated attorney before he entered politics and worked his way up the political ladder as a New York Senator, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Democratic nominee for Vice President, Governor of New York and finally president. Looking at what George Bush has before him seems quite tame compared to the circumstances FDR had facing him, both personally - suffering from polio, unable to walk, and as our national leader - dealing with the Great Depression with 13,000,000 people unemployed early in his first term, then World War II and Pearl Harbor.

LBJ graduated from high school, didn't think he wanted to attend college and worked as a laborer for awhile, returned to college and worked as a teacher (the high school debate team he taught won the state championship), before entering politics and working his way up the political chain (some say the ultimate politician in that he knew how to get things done). He used his political skills to accomplish things that helped the country in the areas of education, the environment and civil rights.

Jimmy Carter graduated from Annapolis, was the commander of a U.S. Navy Nuclear submarine, a farmer, a governor and willing to propose unpopular, but necessary priorities, like - conserving energy. President Carter coordinated a law to raise minimum automobile fuel efficiency from 12 to 27.5 mpg. That policy was terminated by Ronald Reagan. George Bush is unwilling to bring up any discussion of required raises to minimum fuel efficiency for automobiles.

George W. Bush's main claim to fame is that he is the son of George Herbert Walker Bush, defended Texas and Alabama during the Vietnam War, managed a baseball team, became governor of Texas and then president of the U.S.A.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised with where we are.

I try to stay out of political discussions for the most part nowadays, but I hope we can find a leader the next time around that understands something about history, can stand up for what is right for the powerless even if it means offending the powerful, and has the intellectual capability to articulate a clear policy for his adminstration to ensure we have a "government of the people, by the people and for the people".


The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MSN Virtual Earth - Windows Live Local Now Available

This video introduction to "Windows Live Local" is pretty cute.

You can play with the map at Windows Live Local.

Read at bit more about this new tool at say's MSN Virtual Earth To Take On Google Earth.

Oh my...a war of the virtual worlds.

No Smiling Allowed

"In 1940 John Gallo was sacked because he was "caught in the act of smiling" after having committed an earlier breach of "laughing with other fellows" and "slowing down the line maybe half a minute". This tight managerial discipline reflected the overall philosophy of Henry Ford, who stated that "When we are at work we ought to be at work. When we are at play we ought to be at play. There is no use trying to mix the two."

From the Book - A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

Thinking Like Leonardo - In a Yurt

Snohomish County Parks and Recreation has a great Yurt rental program. The Yurts are at Kayak Point Park on beautiful Puget Sound. They have electricity, a heater, light and best of all are 30 bucks a night during the off-season Oct 1 to April 1.

I'm going to reserve one for a day or two and go through a book and workbook for a class I'm taking next year called "How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci". I think for me the class could be called "How to Think", since the mad cow / CRS is making any type of cognitive activity a challenge.

If a Yurt isn't your prefered abode you can rent a "Kayak Cottage" that has all the usual housing amentities and accomodates 7 people for $110 off-season and $147 peak-season.


How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci - Seven Steps to Genius Every Day

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci - Workbook

Discover More Content

Discover More Content for your personalized Google homepage.

Yahoo! 360° - Yahoo! Answers

Yahoo! Answers is in Beta testing. The basic idea is that people post questions and provide their answer to other people's questions. The best answer is chose by voting.

For example, What does sic mean?


What is the relationship between free will and Free Willy?

People are awarded points for the quality of their questions and answers, which allows them to move up in rank from level 1 (white) questioner/answerer eventually to the highest level 7 (black).

A level 7 guru can ask and answer an unlimited amount of questions.

Yahoo! 360° - Yahoo! Answers Team Blog

Monday, December 12, 2005

Flare From Fred

fredflare is a shopping site with kitschy items that some of us find appealing.

For example this cozy little plush bed for your cellphone. The slippers are mini screen cleaners.


After your cell phone wakes up you could put it in the Cell Phone Pouch, which attaches easily to your purse or bag.

Personally I've been dreaming of the Chocolate Fondue Fountain.

It's a Beautiful Life

Yesterday I got to go to the new Future of Flight Center. Tonight and tomorrow night I get to go to the pre-schooler's Christmas pageant.

Letting Go

I wrote this today while thinking about Boddhisatvas and Buddhas.

What Does Your Faith Bring You?

Part of my hospice volunteer training was learning how to respond when a patient asks about your faith, religion or spirituality. Hospice is based on the rule that everything that can be done, is done for the patient's comfort. One of the roles of a volunteer is to be a compassionate empathetic listener. In other words it's all about them not you.

We learn, if we don't already know, to listen actively and non-judgementally. Our role is not to provide religious advice, or judgement, based on our belief system.

When asked about our faith, religion or spirituality we are to respond, "It brings me peace and joy. Tell me about what brings you peace and joy."


Galatians 5:22-26 (NRSV)

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.


Jesus said, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
- John 15:4 (NIV)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Future of Flight - Photo Links

I posted some of the pictures I took today at the Future of Flight and Boeing Tour Center on a new blog. You can click on the photos to expand them.

I've also placed thumbnails linking to the full resolution pictures on this webserver.

Future of Flight - Aviation Center

I'm excited that I get to visit the new Future of Flight Aviation Center this afternoon.

The Future of Flight Aviation Center is a public-private venture of the Snohomish County Public Facilities District, Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field), The Boeing Company and the Future of Flight Foundation.

The center will include an Aviation Gallery with interactive exhibits and displays, rooftop observation deck overlooking Paine Field Airport, new tour center for the nearby manufacturing plant in which Boeing currently assembles the 747, 767, and 777 airplanes, and will assemble the new 787 DreamLiner and 747-8.

First flight of the 787 airplane will occur in 2007 and deliveries to customers begin in 2008. Boeing is also working on a freighter version of the 777 airplane which will deliver to customers in 2008 as well. The new 747-8 is slated for delivery to customers in 2009. If you are lucky you might get to visit the center and go on the Boeing tour on a day when the unique Large Cargo Freighter is unloading large parts for the new 787 Dreamliner.

The Future of Flight Center also includes, conference and special event spaces, a 240-seat theater, café, Future of Flight Store and Boeing Store.

It is anticipated to draw more than 200,000 visitors per year — compared to the approximately 100,000 annual visitors who now visit the current Boeing Boeing Tour Center and generate an additional $3.5 million annually of tourism spending in Snohomish County.

The $23 million Future of Flight will contain interactive exhibits and displays designed to provide visitors with an understanding and appreciation of technology as applied to the science of flight. For example, visitors can design their own jet and then pick up a print of it in the Future of Flight Store to take home. They can try out the next generation of in-flight entertainment systems, touch the high-tech "skin" of the new Boeing 787 and learn how technology and aviation can serve as change agents to connect people and cultures across the globe.

The new Hilton Garden Inn, a 102-room hotel, is adjacent to the Future of Flight. Designed for both business travelers and families, it will feature suites with high-speed Internet access and secure remote printing, 4,000 square-feet of flexible, high-tech meeting space, 24-hour business center, work-out facility, indoor swimming pool and whirlpool, on-site guest laundry and full-service restaurant with catering capability for the Aviation Center.

The lead architectural firm for the Future of Flight and Boeing Tour is Freiheit & Ho of Bellevue and the design architect is Krei Architecture of Seattle.

The Future of Flight is located in the northwest corner of Paine Field at the intersection of 84th St SW and Paine Field Boulevard, Mukilteo, Washington.

From Interstate 5 North or South, take Exit 189 to State Highway 526 West. Drive for about 3 and 1/2 miles and then follow the signs to the Future of Flight Aviation Center. You can't miss it. You'll see the largest building by volume on your right where the 747/767/777/787 airplanes are built and as you head up the hill Paine Field and the Future of Flight Aviation Center will be on your left.


This would make a great jumping off point for a vacation. The city of Mukilteo, with beautiful beaches, a Washington State Ferry Terminal and good restaurants, is a few miles away. You can head north to the San Juan Islands, South to Seattle or just explore the City of Everett and surrounding areas of Snohomish County.

I'm Reading

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Two Pictures From Today

The first one is a church I was walking by on my way to the library. The second was a picture of a knife I spotted laying beside the Elk's club. I didn't like the way the picture looked and kept fiddling with it until I ended up with something else.

church on a sunny day