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Archive for September, 2007

The Naruto Craze

For some odd reason, kids are all over this Naruto cartoon. The Cartoon Network has paid for the Naruto series, which airs every Saturday night. Life isn’t the same if my son doesn’t get his fix of Naruto.

The funny thing is that in the actual cartoon, the dialog is all voiced in this annoying screaming kid octave. I guess there’s a point or moral to each episode, but I haven’t figured one out just yet.

In the tribute video clip below, one of the characters, Itachi, has his story immortalized to an Evanescence song. Go figure. Pop culture converges yet again.

!

Naruto. This generation’s Bugs Bunny.

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It’s mid-September in Minnesota and summer begins its gentle slide into autumn – right on cue.(Photo (c) 2007 Gerald Brimacombe)

 Five tell-tale signs that fall is upon us…

1)      Leaves find their way to the ground…mysteriously and usually only at night.

2)      Windows left open at night mean that toweling off after an early morning shower will result in goose bumps.

3)      From my deck I can hear the cheers and see the Friday night lights of the high school football stadium (which also glimmer on Wednesdays and Thursdays due to JV games)

4)      Thoughts of making two-bean chili become incessant.

5)      Nearby apple orchard signs sport a coat of fresh paint.

Innovation

A recent work assignment involved researching the topic of “innovation” for an executive speech that my VP is beginning to write.  The audience is a group of about 1,000 scientists, researchers and engineers responsible for coming up with new technologies that will ultimately grow the company and help people live life more fully.

During the research phase, it became clear to me that their task, while daunting, is incredibly exciting. Things like nanotechnology and drug-device combinations are on the cusp of emergence. Soon, we may all swallow a tiny drug-coated device that not only treats a condition but then monitors whether we get better or not from the inside and transmits that data to our physician.

Creativity. Collaboration. Innovation. As the average age expectancy of people in the U.S. continues to rise (we’re now, on average, living to the age of 78) these intelligent scientists are cracking the code to ensure we not only live to a ripe old age, but that we live well and capable lives so our latter years are enjoyed not in diapers wheeling around in a nursing home, but in our own homes with our own families, cooking our meals and contributing to society.

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A very soulful song from one incredible voice, Alison Sudol.

Lyrics:

your fingertips across my skin,
the palm trees swaying in the wind,
images
you sang me spanish lullabies,
the sweetest sadness in your eyes
clever trick

well, I’d never want to see you unhappy
I thought you’d want the same for me

goodbye my almost lover
goodbye my hopeless dream
I’m trying not to think about you
can’t you just let me be
so long my luckless romance
my back is turned on you
should have known you’d bring me heartache
almost lovers always do

we walked along a crowded street,
you took my hand and danced with me,
images
and when you left you kissed my lips,
you said you’d never, never forget these images

well, I’d never want to see you unhappy
I thought you’d want the same for me

goodbye my almost lover
goodbye my hopeless dream
I’m trying not to think about you
can’t you just let me be
so long my luckless romance
my back is turned on you
should have known you’d bring me heartache
almost lovers always do

I cannot go to the ocean
cannot drive the streets at night
cannot wake up in the morning
without you on my mind
so you’re gone and I’m haunted
I’ll bet you are just fine
did I make it that easy to walk
right in and out of my life?

goodbye my almost lover
goodbye my hopeless dream
I’m trying not to think about you
can’t you just let me be
so long my luckless romance
my back is turned on you
should have known you’d bring me heartache
almost lovers always do

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Just for You

churchsign.jpgchurchsign.jpg

Make your own church sign here.

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Making It Stick

“I just want someone to love me.”

Seven simple words. No simple answers.

How many times have we all stared at a black ceiling while lying in bed, either next to someone or completely alone, searching for the answer to this request?  A request that has confounded human kind for centuries.

When we’re in love, truly and really in love, we dance. Maybe not as an art form, but we dance with our language, our thoughts, and our souls. Body parts dance with glee from our eyes to the toes we tap in anticipation. We are filled with a sense of belonging and being and happiness that can only be compared to a cannoli prepared in the best Italian restaurant. Stuffed. Oozing. Deliciously good.

In every love relationship the ups and downs dictate how we dance. Often times it’s the slow dance of love we most appreciate. Frequently we hold our breath – afraid the music will stop entirely. Sometimes it does. The DJ packs up and goes home. The speaker wires get kinked. We tire out from dancing and we have to sit out – or go home completely.

KeysOldsters who have lived long and happily married lives will tell you their keys to their successful marriage – candidly. But it seems it boils down to a couple of significant notions that make sense to me.

A) Communicate, communicate, communicate. Sounds simple. It’s not. We turn off, become introverted or communicate to the wrong person what we’re feeling instead of telling our significant other what’s happening inside. If there’s ever a time to talk about what’s in your head, it’s when you’re in love. Don’t assume he or she who’s sleeping next to you will, through osmosis or telepathy, read your mind.

B) Share an activity with passion. Golf and tennis. Cycling and cooking. Reading and travel. Share a passion beyond raising the kids, updating the home or balancing the budget. Because when those things are completed and there’s nothing left to share, you’ll be left wondering, “who is this person and why is he here?”

C) Let the surprises flow. Who doesn’t like attention? An unplanned lunch, a note on the kitchen counter, a link to an article in an e-mail that made you think of her, a digital photo reminding him of what you look like when he’s traveling on business. These are the surprises that make the difference. The rest – the anniversaries, birthdays and special occasions that require gifts are hat in hand – it’s the real surprise moments that make the relationship indelible. It’s one of the true expressions of not just love but of the obsession you still have for that person. It’s your refusal to let her forget how important she is in your life.

There are more keys to successful and happy love relationships, without question, that work for couples who’ve been married for five, 10, or 50 years. But these three seem to embody the foundation of all great loves in the world. It doesn’t take Dr. Phil, a self-help book, or $175 per hour psycho-counselors to make this happen. It does take being with the one person who is without question the love of your life. And it does take immense willingness, patience and understanding.

And with that, my friends, you can experience the joys that poets write about. The kind with the constellations and fireworks and flowery prose.

The once-in-a-lifetime love that fills you and makes you dance.

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pen-e-tra-li-a

1. The innermost parts of a building, especially the sanctuary of a temple; 2. The most private or secret parts; recesses

The penetralia of the soul.

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Faith: A Perspective

Faith is not contrary to the usual ideas, something that turns out to be right or wrong, like a gambler’s bet: it’s an act, an intention, a project, something that makes you, in leaping into the future, go so far, far, far ahead that you shoot clean out of time and right into Eternity, which is not the end of time or a whole lot of time or unending time, but timelessness, the old Eternal Now.   –Joanna Russ

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Hard to believe that the Big 10 standings look like this two weeks into the season.

WolverinesMichigan. No wins. Imagine that. I feel a little sorry for the Blue. And I really wish the Hawkeyes had Michigan on its schedule this year. It could be a real drubbing, which Iowa doesn’t get to do very often when it comes to Michigan.

Things get even more interesting on Sept. 15 when the Wolfies will take on The Irish and the interstate rivalry between Iowa and Iowa State will help determine if the Hawks are for real…or not.

The fun of college football certainly beats the scripted NFL story lines. After all, who would have guessed Michigan would be out of the Top 25 after the first two weeks of play (the team was ranked No. 5 in pre-season polls). You just can’t make it up!

Saturdays in September and October can be so much fun – and I didn’t even watch a snap of a game. That’s sure to end pretty soon, however, as teams making upsets become too fascinating not to watch.

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Diet supplements remain a multi-billion dollar industry. And I admit, I’ve forked over a small savings account in order to supplement my dietary needs when I’m training and eating healthily.

The supplements in my home consist of:

FitnessA) Protein powders and pre-mixes. I’m a big fan of the AdvantEdge protein supplement that’s available at almost any Wal-Mart or Target. Made by EAS and recommended by the Body for Life plan, the chocolate and vanilla mixes are tasty and loaded with just 110 calories and 17 grams of protein.  The key in any protein supplement is finding one that tastes good. Most don’t.

B) Protein bars. I can’t recommend any of these nasty tasting things.  Protein bars make me gag, but I choke them down because it’s better for me than eating a kingsize Three Musketeers bar. One protein bar that I can handle is the Next Detour Bar with 290 calories and 30 grams of protein. I’ll cut one in half and over the course of a day have two decent snacks for around a buck. The downside with these bars is that they often contain as many or more carbs than protein. Gotta pay close attention to the nutrition labels when buying bars.

C) All natural cranberry juice. Not so much a supplement as it is an aid to regularity. I’m not talking about Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail, but rather organic, all natural, no sugar added cranberry juice. I water four ounces of the juice down with 28 ounces of water and drink two to three 8-ounce glasses a day.

D) Water. Even Willie Nelson knows the body needs water. When I’m at my best I’m drinking about 60 ounces a day. Just remember, the lighter the urine stream, the better hydrated you are (and no, beer doesn’t count).

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There’s some irony in the following story, so bear with me while I find it…

Today I had my two-year physical.  I’m 42-years-old and my doctor recommends a check-up at least every two years. He hinted at doing this annually. Sigh. I’m aging.

So in preparation for my 8 a.m. appointment, I had to fast for 12 hours. Only water and/or coffee.  Not a problem. I arrive and the first thing I’m prodded to do is remove my shoes and step on the scale. I don’t own a scale at home, but I know that even given my frequency with cycling and running (and completion of a sprint triathlon earlier this summer) I’d gained weight. Especially in my core area (that’s from the hips up to the chest for those not into such jargon).   I’m 6’2″ in height and this morning after 12 hours of fasting, I weighed 199 pounds. UGH!

In the exam room I waited for Dr. Smith (his real name) to do all the things he needed to do to physically examine me. He quickly asked if I was OK, noting that I’d gained 17 friggin pounds since my last exam two years ago. YIKES! Well, I am OK, but 182 certainly felt better on my frame than 199.

So my work lies in front of me. Improved diet. Hit the weights (again) to fire up my metabolism. And continue with the biking and running only increase the intensity level. But not before I stopped at a Starbucks for one last low-fat vanilla latte (200 calories) and a cinnamon chip scone (470 calories). Eat breakfast like a king, I always say.

What sucks is waiting for a physician to tell me I’ve gotten soft in the gut and should probably take action.

And the irony? I had to fast for 12 hours to get to 199.

Now hand me that dumbbell!

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