What not to do in northern Michigan towns

Last summer a friend and I walked into a bar in Gaylord, Michigan. We wanted to get some lunch, and because it was raining and we were walking, we weren’t took picky. Besides, there was a menu in the window that showed burgers, fries, fish, and some pasta, I think.

We had not been to the place before, and while I hoped it might be better than your average bar


Writing, distraction, writing

So, I’m in the midst of trying to crank out a proposal that is to be in the mail today.

I’m making progress, but too slowly. So, Chey told me to turn on some techno music and write to this blog for 5 minutes. So, I am.

Any other bloggers out there getting comments that are suspciciously similar to spam? Like a comment that has little do to with the post, and has a link to a web site about some kind of HGH drug or worse?

I just deleted about three of them from this site. How irritating. I wonder if someone has written a script that is allowing spammers to use these blogs to direct links to their sites. Or, if someone is actually doing it by hand.


Thoughts on understanding and wisdom

The Taguchi Method, as outlined in the linked article, offers an intriquing method of developing products. This method involves looking at an array of variables involved in a product, identifying dependencies amongst them, and testing them all to assess effectiveness.

Taguchi’s objective is robust design, which means building a product, system, or process that works well even in the presence of degrading influences. That means products that deliver value without breaking and services that are enduring while being as simple as possible.
— Robert X. Cringely from i, cringely Sep 25, 2003

It is an admirable objective. I aspire for web sites I build to work well, even in the presence of degrading influences.

That said, I just got off the phone with a friend who cautioned me about this concept of making business decisions based on statistical analysis.

The point is, be God-led, not statistical-analysis led. Refer to the verse that identifies the wisdom of man as foolishness in God’s eyes. Certainly, the Taguchi Method is example of the wisdom of man. As far as I know, the method was devised entirely by man (Mr. Taguchi, actually). To solely use this method to make decisions seems foolish, according to scripture. No offense, Mr. Taguchi.

That said, there are many verses that tells us to seek knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. One of many examples is Proverbs 24:3-4 (ASV). “Through wisdom is a house builded; And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge are the chambers filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”

The Taguchi Method hopefully provides knowledge about what parts of a product are successful and not. Understanding that knowledge comes from studying it and perhaps discussing it with counselors. Wisdom would be knowing what to do with what you’ve learned, if anything


Dry mouths

We forgot to turn on the humidifier in our bedroom last night, and the heat kept coming on. I awoke dry


What’s the difference between enculturation and socialization?

I was talking this morning with a friend, Scott Schopieray, and we were discussing how you can think about online education as a process of socialization or enculturation. My question is what is the difference between the two?

Scott put forth the idea that enculturation might fit within socialization. That seems to make sense, but we parted ways intending to keep thinking about it and maybe share some links.

Society is different than culture, right? Are there many cultures within a society? For instance, in our American society, there are many cultures. While, as a society, we share many of the same expectations and experiences, our cultural groups create ones that differentiate us from others within the society.

Here are two examples of cultures that exist within our American society: One, a group of Finnish-Americans in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Two, the Arab-American community around Detroit, Michigan. These two groups seem like they are both in the same society, yet are separated by cultural differences.

Just thoughts.


Happy Birthday Lila!

It is Lila’s Birthday today! She is three years old.

We had a party for her at Chuck E. Cheese’s this past Monday. I’ll post some pics soon.


Pics from Binder Park Zoo

These photos were all taken a month or so ago at Binder Park Zoo near Battle Creek, Michigan. It is a very cool zoo!


Giraffe close-up

Close up of a giraffe

Earlier this summer we went to the zoo down near Battle Creek. Here is one picture from the trip. I’ll get some more up soon.


A memory, meditation, and a story of ice

Years ago, when I was a teenager, I was sitting at a small pier called Portage Entry on Lake Superior. Midnight was nearing; Christmas was weeks away. It was cold, and the water in the canal and lake was thick with ice and snow.

My ears stung a little from the cold. They ached when the hood of my coat brushed them.

A red light was blinking on a bouy. Its pulse reflected off the frozen water.

A fishing boat was moored just feet away from me. I could see where the ice had been broken around it, and where the new ice had locked it in.

There was nothing else around. It was quiet.

I was meditating on the rhythm of the wind and the feel of the world around me. My mind wandered and it returned. It too has a rhythm.

Then the lake spoke. Not to me; I was just there to hear it.

It was first a hiss that started far out in the lake, past the bouy. I heard a distant pop, and then the hiss raced from out in the darkness to my right, down into the canal and past me, off to my left. It was quiet, and as it neared me, louder. And softer as it slithered deeper into the canal.

I listened for more, my heart picked up a little. My eyes scanned the surface of the ice, but it was dark. I could make out few details.

Then a deeper sound followed the path of the hiss. It was a sound that I find hard to describe, because of its dynamic, bassy sound. It was a series of very low pops, some groans, and a deep rending sound. It traveled from my right to my left as well, a string of small explosions.

It passed and the lake became quiet again.

I was standing up now, closer to the edge of the pier, examing the ice. For what, I do not know, but I wanted to see something that would testify to me that I had, in fact, heard what I think I heard.

The ice was moving. I knew that from the sound, though I had never heard it before. I thought of plate tectonics, of huge pieces of the earth’s crust moving and colliding. This was ice.

In a moment, the fishing boat, moored so close, began to groan. It lurched and began to twist. The ropes pulled taut. I heard it grind against the cement of the pier.

I stood there in awe for a while, listening to the ice move more freely now. Everything seemed to move in slow motion. I soon remembered that I was freezing; the boat was still fighting for its position when I got in my car and drove away.


Sauna stuff

Check out this article on the “business sauna.” (Thanks to Paul Tiseo for sending me the link.)

One other thought. Sauna has been horridly mispronounced in standard American English. Most Americans pronounce the word “sauna” like saw-na. This hurts my ears.

Pronounce it like you’re talking about a pig, a “sow”. Sauna is sow-na.

Or, think of the two ways you’ve heard “Saudi Arabia” pronounced. Saw-dee doesn’t sound right, does it? In the same way, the “sau” of sauna should be pronounced like the “Sau” of Saudi.