Sunday, October 30, 2011


Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

From Homer [not Simpson] to Obama, this is one of the greatest of the deceptive and dangerous myths:

It is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland.

Friday, October 28, 2011


A blast from the past......

(Do-lang, do-lang, do-lang)
(Do-lang, do-lang)
He's so fine
Wish he were mine
That handsome boy over there
The one with the wavy hair
I don't know how I'm gonna do it
But I'm gonna make him mine
He's the envy of all the girls
It's just a matter of time
He's a soft spoken guy
Also seems kinda shy
Makes me wonder if I
Should even give him a try
But then I know he can't shy
He can't shy away forever
And I'm gonna make him mine
If it takes me forever
He's so fine
(Oh yeah)
Gotta be mine
(Oh yeah)
Sooner or later
(Oh yeah)
I hope it's not later
(Oh yeah)
We gotta get together
(Oh yeah)
The sooner the better
(Oh yeah)
I just can't wait, I just can't wait
To be held in his arms
If I were a queen
And he asked me to leave my throne
I'll do anything that he asked
Anything to make him my own
For he's so fine
(So fine) so fine
(So fine) he's so fine
(So fine) so fine
(So fine) he's so fine

(So fine) oh yeah
(He's so fine) he's so fine
(So fine) uh-huh
(He's so fine)
He's so fine.....

Monday, October 24, 2011


Our Amish, Ourselves

Ashland, Ohio

BY the time I made my way to Mr. Stutzman’s farm to ask for his take on the renegade Amish of Bergholz, Ohio — a splinter group that includes several members recently arrested after participating in assaults on other Amish — I was too late to break the news. I knew I would be. Several of my fellow English (that is, non-Amish) residents of Ashland County had been to see Mr. Stutzman earlier that morning. All were eager to tell him of yet another Amish incident. And this was the best kind — a case of Amish-on-Amish violence.

English always stop by Mr. Stutzman’s place with news of the outside world, especially if the news reveals Amish indiscretion, or worse. A few years ago an Amish man in an adjacent county was sent to prison for sexually abusing his daughters. Traffic at Mr. Stutzman’s produce stand was heavy that day, he told me. Folks he’d never seen before stopped by to pick up a head of lettuce or a bushel of peppers. They stared hard into his face as they asked if he’d heard about the abuse. Springing bad news on our Amish neighbors is just something we do around here.

I live surrounded by the Swartzentruber Amish, widely considered the most conservative of all Amish. Around here, people seem either to love or hate them. Unlike those parts of America without large Amish populations that tend to romanticize the community, here things take on a more fundamental, some might even say practical, prejudice.

Around here people tire of swerving around buggies and dodging horse droppings. Around here people resent the amount of land bought up by the Amish and how they have their own kind of health insurance, an insurance called community. Around here people are convinced that the Amish are getting away with something, have figured out something, have too many secrets. Around here people love to poke holes in the fabric of Amish solidarity.

The assaults and arrests in Bergholz seem to fit a convenient narrative for people seeking to discredit the Amish. There’s evidence of a doctrinal split, which is as common in the community as straw hats and hay wagons. Schisms and splinter groups are prevalent among the Amish that I know. Mr. Stutzman’s neighbor, Mr. Gingerich, also a Swartzentruber, recently broke off from Mr. Stutzman’s group over the issue of adding a second lantern to buggies. Mr. Gingerich is set to move to Maine later this month to start his own settlement.

All Amish seem to fall into the trap of believing their way is the true Amish way. The Swartzentrubers believe that the more liberal Old Order groups and the even more liberal New Order groups live dangerously close to the modern world, a world from which all Amish are to remain separate. The more liberal orders deride Swartzentrubers for taking baths only on Saturdays, and they call them gruddel vullahs (or “woolly lumps”) for getting cows’ milk in their beards. So it comes as no surprise that the attacks in Bergholz, which included the forced cutting of hair, were the work of a splinter group that believed somebody had betrayed the true cause, if the attacks can be credited with such lofty motives.

Whatever the case, I know a few things for certain. The Swartzentruber Amish will continue taking baths only on Saturdays, believing this deliberate inattention to hygiene is evidence of living the true Amish way. I know that there will always be splits and schisms among the Amish. I know that many of the rural English of Ashland County will continue to dislike the Amish in general, even while maintaining genuine friendships with a few. I know that many Americans will continue to see the Amish as a backward cult of religious fanatics, but that many more will persist in mythologizing them, seeing in them what they need to see. I know that, as the writer Wendell Berry says, America’s view of the Amish is a “perfect blindness.”

The truest thing I can say about the Amish is that within a week, or even less, they will disappear from the media and from the nation’s consciousness. They will deliquesce — until the next newsworthy incident — into the background of contemporary America.

Joe Mackall, a professor of English and creative writing at Ashland University, is the author of “Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish.”

As I walk through the valley where I harvest my grain
I take a look at my wife and realize she's very plain
But that's just perfect for an Amish like me
You know I shun fancy things like electricity

At 4:30 in the mornin' I'm milking cows
Jedediah feeds the chickens and Jacob plows, fool
And I've been milking and plowing so long that
Even Ezekial thinks that my mind is gone

I'm a man of the land, I'm into discipline
Got a bible in my hand and a beard on my chin
But if I finish all of my chores, and you finish thine
Then tonight we're going to party like it's 1699

We've been spending most our lives living in an Amish paradise
I churn butter once or twice, living in an Amish paradise
It's hard work and sacrifice, living in an Amish paradise
We sell quilts at discount price, living in an Amish paradise

A local boy kicked me in the butt last week
I just smiled at him, and I turned the other cheek
I really don't care, in fact I wish him well
'Cause I'll be laughin' my head off when he's burnin' in hell

But I ain't never punched a tourist even if he deserved it
An Amish with a 'tude, you know that's unheard of
I never wear buttons, but I got a cool hat
And my homies agree I really look good in black, fool

If you come to visit, you'll be bored to tears
We haven't even payed the phone bill in 300 years
But we ain't really quaint, so please don't point and stare
We're just technologically impaired

There's no phone, no lights, no motorcars, not a single luxury
Like Robonson Crusoe, it's as primitive as can be

We've been spending most our lives living in an Amish paradise
We're just plain and simple guys, living in an Amish paradise
There's no time for sin and vice, living in an Amish paradise
We don't fight, we all play nice, living in an Amish paradise

Hitchin' up the buggy, churnin' lots of butter
Raised a barn on Monday, soon I'll raise a nutter
Think you're really righteous? Think you're pure in heart?
Well, I know, I'm a million times as humble as thou art

I'm the pioust guy the little Amletts want to be like
On my knees day and night scoring points for the afterlife
So don't be vain, and don't be whiney
Or else my brother might have to get medieval on your hiney

We've been spending most our lives living in an Amish paradise
We're all crazy Mennonites, living in an Amish paradise
There's no cops or traffic lights, living in an Amish paradise
But you'd probably think it bites, living in an Amish paradise

For those unfamiliar with the basis for this Weird Al parody, watch Coolio's original here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Angel of the Morning is neither particularly memorable nor musically sophisticated.  However, Merrilee Rush's version made it to the top 10 in the summer of 1968, and is etched deep in my mind because that was a time of great changes - graduation from college, being drafted and heading off to Civilian Public Service, being in love and engaged to be married, and spending my last summer in Goshen working at the college before heading off to Denver.  As the "broomers" worked around the campus, particularly painting dorm rooms in Westlawn, we heard Angel of the Morning many times per day and every day of the week.  This is a song that takes me back to 68, and it would be great to hear of songs that take you back.

They'll be no strings to bind your hands
Not if my love can't bind your heart
And there's no need to take a stand
For it was I who chose to start

I see no reason to take me home
I'm old enough to face the dawn

Just call me angel of the morning, Angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, Angel
Then slowly turn away from me

Maybe the sun's light will be dim
And it won't matter anyhow
If morning's echo says we've sinned
Well, it was what I wanted now

And if we're the victims of the night
I won't be blinded by light

Just call me angel of the morning, Angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, Angel
Then slowly turn away
I won't beg you to stay with me
Through the tears of the day
Of the years, baby, baby

Just call me angel of the morning, Angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, Angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, Angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, darlin'

Monday, October 10, 2011


Seems as though when we were young, we got out of school on Columbus Day, which of course is the main reason to celebrate any holiday regardless of its meaning.  I am not going to get into the controversy surrounding honoring Columbus, but rather am going to point out one of the unlikeliest tributes to the man - the Pepperdine Columbus.

A gift to
commemorating the Quincetennial Celebration
from the
Columbus "500" Congress 
It is not particularly clear why he stands high above the Chapel, pointing toward the Pacific Ocean.  One Robert J. Barbera appears to be the driving force of the Columbus 500 Congress, and his vitae lists his connections to Pepperdine as a Board Member, Lifetime Associate, founder of the Italian major, sponsor of the Pepperdine chapel in Florence, and founder of a scholarship program for Pepperdine students to travel to the International Program in Florence.  Money talks :-)

Saturday, October 08, 2011


I recently received this from a friend and found it very illustrative:

Numbers and political information can be so confusing........I think this simple analogy will be helpful to gain an understanding whether we should be concerned or not...

U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000

Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000

New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000

National debt: $14,271,000,000,000

Recent budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000

Let's remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

Annual family income: $21,700

Money the family spent: $38,200

Annual New debt on the credit card: $16,500

Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710

Total budget cuts: $385

Understand those "deep" cuts now?  Also - who in the world borrows to cover 40% of one's expenditures?  Good grief.


I am always amazed when apparently intelligent people willfully suspend logic and/or ignore facts and data in order to support the 'party line.'  This happens way too often in politics and religion, and surprisingly is also happens sometimes in science.  The examples in politics and religion are TNTC and you can provide your own.

In science, there are a couple of examples that are quite interesting.  One is how a mathematical descriptor of cancer growth became an entrenched paradigm with little supporting data, and how the research of our motley crew in Colorado Springs challenged the paradigm.  I will write about this in another post.  The second example is how dental amalgam has been generally accepted as the standard filling material for decades with little concern about the biological effects of the components of the restorative material.  Challenges to the use of amalgam have been growing - hence - amalgam wars.

Immunology was one of the courses that I taught to undergraduate students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs [UCCS].  It is a fun course to teach [many new and non-intuitive concepts] and many topics have a direct bearing on student interests and experiences.  One semester, Hal Huggins showed up in my class.  Because of his age and wardrobe, he stood out, but I really did not pay too much attention because UCCS has a large contingent of 'non-traditional' students.  After class one day early in the semester, Hal stayed afterwards to introduce himself and to explain his interest in immunology.  I clearly remember being taken aback by the conversation.  He described his long-standing battles with the American Dental Association [ADA] about the use of amalgam, and innocently commented, "You do know that 'silver' fillings are about 50% mercury, don't you?"  Well, like millions of Americans, I did not, and actually thought that silver fillings were probably silver - duh?  But, as a scientist, I did know that mercury is one of the most toxic metals known, and naturally thought, why would dentists be putting this stuff in people's mouths?

Hal wanted to understand the workings of the immune system because he believed that many of the adverse effects of amalgam were caused by the interaction of mercury with the cells and molecules responsible for immune protection.  He admitted that he was a clinician and not a scientist, but felt that perhaps science could support his claims about the health effects of amalgam.  Hal took additional courses at UCCS and completed a masters degree, but to make a long story fairly short, he never became patient enough to pursue the science but rather continued to be much more of a proselytizer preaching the evils of amalgam.  For reasons summarized below, I believe that Hal's claims have some merit, but I was unable to rein in Hal's enthusiasm and sense of urgency when it came to translation of lab science to clinical practice.  Indeed, I got into some hot water with the CU administration because I was taking our research initiatives through the proper University review committees, and Hal started working before they were complete - bad form :-)  Thereafter, I always tried to be supportive of Hal's work, but had to make a clear separation.

So - what is the path that led me to conclude that amalgams are not for me?  I could go through the 100's of research papers that demonstrate how mercury is released from amalgam, how mercury from amalgam spreads through the body and is deposited in various cells and organs, especially neurons, the adverse biological effects of mercury, and on and on.  However, I am simply going to present below a portion of the work of attorney Sandy Duffy presented at the website Campaign for Mercury Free Dentistry.  Personally, I think that the amalgam wars are winding down.  Many dentists no longer use amalgam, particularly since other materials have been developed that perform similarly to amalgam for restorations.  However, be sure to go to the News section of the website that demonstrates that there is a long way to go before amalgam disappears from dental practice in this country.

1. Mercury in dental amalgams chemically binds with the alloy metals and results in an inert substance. The ADA also frequently claims that the components of amalgams are analogous to sodium and chlorine which are hazardous in their pure form but combined to form ordinary table salt.
1. An amalgam is a mixture and the properties of the components remain the same, i.e. mercury remains highly toxic and vaporizes and leaches out of the amalgam. Table salt is a compound, i.e. a new product which has different properties from the components. Guzzi, et al, The Lancet, 360:2081, Dec 21/28,2002; David M. Eide (Grant High School chemistry teacher), The Oregonian, Letters to the Editor, Dec. 30, 2000.
2. If mercury is emitted from amalgams, it is only in very minute amounts.
2. The average amalgam weighs 1 gram and is 50% mercury. As much as 50% of the mercury in an amalgam has been found to have vaporized after 5 years, and 80% after 20 years. Pleva J, "Dental mercury - a public health hazard", Rev Environ Health 10(1):1-27 (1994); Pleva J, Mercury from dental amalgams: exposure and effects, Int J Risk & Safety in Med, 1992, 3: 1-22. An exacting study conducted in 1991 evaluated the amount of mercury emitted from a common amalgam in a test tube with 10 ml of water. This study showed that "the over-all mean release of mercury was 43.5 mcg per cm2/day, and the amount remained fairly constant during the duration of the experiments (2 years)." This was without pressure, heat or galvanism as would have occurred if the amalgams were in a human mouth. Chew, CL, et al, Long-term dissolution of mercury from a non-mercury-releasing amalgam, Clinical Preventative Dentistry, 13(3):5-7, May-June (1991).
3. The small amounts of mercury emitted from amalgams are not bioavailable.
3. Mercury vapor from amalgam is the single largest source of systemic mercury intake for persons with amalgam fillings. Average daily exposure for mercury is 3-17 ug. per day; for fish is 3 ug per day; for air it is .04 ug per day; and, for water .05 ug per day. WHO Document 118, p.36, 1991; A 1998 study by NIDR concluded that amalgams were the primary source of mercury in the urine of military personnel. A. Kingman et al, National Institute of Dental Research, "Mercury concentrations in urine and blood associated with amalgam exposure in the U.S. military population", Dent Res, 1998, 77(3):461-71.
4. There is no credible scientific evidence supporting a link between silver fillings and systemic diseases or chronic illnesses.
4. Dr. Murray Vimy, Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, prepared a document which sets out dental journal articles from 1957 to 1984 which very clearly show that mercury amalgams cause gingivitis and periodontal disease. This document can be downloaded from the website: In turn, periodontal disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease and pre term, low birthweight babies. Greenwell H, et al, Emerging concepts in periodontal therapy, Drugs, 2002;62(18):2581-7. A 2001 scientific study corroborates the role of mercury in Alzheimer's. The researchers concluded: "…that this visual evidence [of neurodegeneration] and previous biochemical data strongly implicate mercury as a potential etiological factor in neurodegeneration." Leong, CW, et al, Retrograde degeneration of neurite membrane structural integrity of nerve growth cones following in vitro exposure to mercury, NeuroReport, 12(4):733-37, March 2001.
The "previous data" included a study in which the authors concluded that: "We believe one …[theory of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's] could be mercury vapor to which the majority of individuals are continuously exposed [from dental amalgam]. By reducing levels of viable brain tubulin, mercury vapor could exacerbate the conditions related to the onset of symptoms identified with Alzheimer's." Pendergrass, JC, et al, Mercury vapor inhalation inhibits binding of GTP to tubulin in rat brain: similarity to a molecular lesion in Alzheimer diseased brain, NeuroToxicology 18(2):315-324 (1997).
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin and many peer reviewed scientific studies have found evidence that amalgam fillings may play a major role in central nervous system diseases such as depression, schizophrenia, memory problems, ALS and Parkinsons's,
A Canadian study found that blood levels of five metals, including mercury, were able to predict with 98% accuracy which children were learning disabled. Other studies found mercury causes learning disabilities and impairment, and lowers IQ. Marlowe, M, et al, "Main and interactive effects of metallic toxins on classroom behavior", J Abnormal Child Psychol, 1985, 13(2):185-98; Moon C et al, "Main and Interactive Effect of Metallic Pollutants on Cognitive Functioning," Journal of Learning Disabilities, April, 1985; Pihl, RO et al, "Hair element content in Learning Disabled Children", Science, Vol 198, 1977, 204-6; Gowdy JM et al, "Whole blood mercury in mental hospital patients", Am J Psychiatry, 1978, 135(1):115-7. Also see above website.
There are 1000's of other studies showing adverse health effects from mercury in general, and amalgam in particular.,,,,
5. If amalgam was bad for you, dentists would be the canary in the mine and, in fact, they have no more health problems than anyone else.
5. A CDSPI Report (supplies malpractice insurance to dentists) was published in the Journal of Canadian Dentists in 1994. It reports that suicide rates among dentists are double those of other professions; 20% of dentists at any given time are on long term disability due to mental or nervous conditions including depression, increased alcohol consumption, fatigue, insomnia, ulcers and heart problems. Female dentists have increased spontaneous abortion rates and increased breast pathology, compared to the general population. Wiksztrajis, Med Pr 24:248 (1967 Lithuania).
6. No other country has banned the use of dental amalgam.
6. Most other developed countries have issued limited bans, or mandated health warnings regarding the use of mercury amalgam including: Canada, Great Britain, France, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Swedish National Dept. of Health, Mercury Amalgam Review Panel, 1987; Heavy Metal Bulletin, Dec 2000, Vol 6, Issue 3. A Swedish National Mercury Amalgam Review Panel and a similar Norwegian panel found that "from a toxicological point of view, mercury is too toxic to use as a filling material." Id.; Press Release, Swedish Council for Planning and Coordinating Research (FRN), Stockholm, 19 February, 1998; Norwegian Board of Health, Report 2652,
7. A few people can be allergic to amalgam, but there are only 50-100 reported cases.
7. In a clinical study, allergy tests performed on fourth year dental students found 44% of them allergic to mercury. E.G. Miller et al, "Prevalence of Mercury Hypersensitivity among Dental Students", J Dent Res. 64:Abstract 1472, p338,1985; D.Kawahara et al, "Epidemiologic Study of Occupational Contact Dermatitis in the Dental Clinic", Contact Dermatitis, Vol 28, No.2, pp114-5,1993. The Clifford Immune Reactivity Test is used to test dental patients for biocompatibility with dental materials. A review study of that test showed that 93% of patients tested were immune reactive to mercury. Clifford Consulting & Research, Inc, Dental Materials Reactivity Testing, Colorada Springs, Colo, & Peak Energy Performance, Inc., Dental Materials Biocompatibility Testing,
An important new study from the United Kingdom found that mercury can cause allergic and immunotoxic reactions, but there are no dose-response studies for immunologically sensitive individuals and, therefore, "it has not been possible to set a level for mercury in blood or urine below which mercury related symptoms will not occur." Kazantzis, G., Mercury exposure and early effects: an overview, Med Lav 2002 May-June;93(3):139-47.
8. The U.S. Public Health Service, including the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have all concluded that amalgam is a safe and effective restorative material for dental fillings.
8. In 1993 the PHS Director, Dr. James O. Mason, in an introductory letter to the USPHS CCEHRP report states: "Because the possibility of adverse health effects resulting from the use of dental amalgam cannot be fully discounted based on available scientific evidence, I am requesting the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration to undertake an expanded and targeted program of research, professional and consumer education and product regulation." That report, at page 3 states: "In the absence of adequate human studies, the Subcommittee on Risk Assessment could not conclude with certainty whether or not the mercury in amalgam might pose a public health risk."
The USPHS, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry also has a publication entitled: Toxicological Profile for Mercury Update TP - 93-10 (1993) which specifically states that "the continuous exposure to mercury from amalgam fillings is not without risk to patients." At p. 25.
The American Dental Association never acknowledges that there is a 1999 Update of the USPHS publication which clearly states that amalgam is the primary source of human body burden.
Two presenters at an NIH/NIDR Technology Assessment Conference in 1991 presented significant documentation of adverse effects of mercury amalgams. The Final Statement of this conference was written by W.D. McHugh and the Conference Editor was Joyce a. Reese; both are dentists. The Final Statement from that Conference is not a strong endorsement of the safety of mercury amalgams. It states: "While the current evidence supports the concept that existing dental restorative materials are safe, it must be recognized that the supporting data are incomplete." (Advances in Dental Research, Vol. 6, page 143, Sept. 1992.)
One of the presenters of the adverse effects of mercury amalgam wrote to protest the Final Statement. The NIH responded to him thus: "The recognition of the paucity of data on the subject, especially with regard to mercury, was the reason for using the term 'Technology Assessment' rather than 'Consensus Development.' Our guidelines for a Consensus Development Conference do require the statement to be data-based to the extent possible …. In regard to the studies you presented being ignored, they were definitely considered and discussed at length, but not emphasized in the Final Statement."
In response to public uproar after the airing of the CBS 60 Minutes segment called: "Is there poison in your mouth?" the FDA held a Dental Products Panel Meeting on March 15, 1991. At page 208 of a transcript of that meeting, there is a list of Panel Recommendations. It includes: "Without the addition of any statements that reflect that the Panel feels that there is any unsafety [sic] to the use of dental amalgam as a restorative material, I would ask the Panel, now, that the information under review today, if that information raises questions that warrant further research. I will poll the Panel for a yes or no vote." All Panel members voted "yes," therefore all agreeing that questions about the safety of amalgams had arisen. The Panel made no declaration that amalgam was safe or harmless.
The latest FDA Consumer Update (December 31, 2002) informs consumers that Canada limits the use of mercury amalgam in pregnant women and it indicates that the FDA is reviewing the scientific studies related to the safety of mercury amalgam. While the FDA has up until now indicated that there was insufficient scientific proof that mercury amalgams cause adverse health effects, it has never declared mercury amalgam to be safe.
A World Health Organization (WHO) Scientific Panel in 1995 concluded that there is no safe level of mercury exposure. The Chairman of the panel, Lars Friberg stated that "dental amalgam is not safe for everyone to use." L.T.Friberg, "Status Quo and perspectives of amalgam and other dental materials", International symposium proceedings, G.Thieme Verlag Struttgart, 1995.
Additionally, the U.S. EPA found that mercury amalgam fillings which are removed from dental patients are hazardous waste and must be sealed airtight and disposed of as such. "Amalgam declared hazardous", Dentistry Today, February, 1989, p1.
And, finally, a Canadian Government study for Health Canada concluded that any person with any amalgam fillings receives exposure beyond that recommended by the USPHS standard. Mark Richardson, Environmental Health Directorate, Health Canada, Assessment of Mercury Exposure and Risks from Dental Amalgam, 1995, Final Report; G.M. Richardson et al, "A Monte Carlo Assessment of Mercury Exposure and Risks from Dental Amalgam", Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 2(4): 709-761.

Friday, October 07, 2011


If I had an extra $100,000 burning a hole in my pocket, here is the car I would buy.  Saw one virtually identical to this outside of Marmalade in Malibu -  looked it over for about ten minutes!

And here's a song to go with the Vette:

Hey well, I'm a friendly stranger in a black Sedan
Won't you hop inside my car?
I got pictures, got candy, I'm a lovable man
And I can take you to the nearest star

I'm your vehicle, baby
I'll take you anywhere you wanna go
I'm your vehicle, woman
But I'm not sure that you know
That I love ya (love ya)
I need ya (need ya)
I want ya, got to have you, child
Great God in heaven, you know I love you

Well, if you wants to be a movie star,
I'll get a ticket to Hollywood
But if you want to stay just the way you are,
You know I think you really should

I'm your vehicle, baby
I'll take you anywhere you wanna go
I'm your vehicle, woman
But I'm not sure you know
That I love ya (love ya)
I need ya (need ya)
I want ya, got to have you, child
Great God in heaven, you know I love you
Oh, you know I do

Hey well, I'm a friendly stranger in a black Sedan
Won't you hop inside my car?
I got pictures, candy, I'm a lovable man
And I can take you to the nearest star

I'm your vehicle, baby
I'll take you anywhere you wanna go
I'm your vehicle, woman
But I'm not sure that you know
That I love ya (love ya)
I need ya (need ya)
I want ya, got to have ya
Great God in heaven, you know I love you
And I'm your vehicle, babe

You know I love ya (love ya)
I need ya (need ya)
I want ya, I got to have you, child
Great God in heaven, you know I love you

And here is a video of the one-hit-wonders, the Ides of March:

Thursday, October 06, 2011


With the passing of Steve Jobs, so much has been written about the man and the impact he has had on life in this country and around the globe that there really is nothing that I can add.  So I am going to comment on something that is completely trivial compared to the contributions that Jobs and Apple have made to society and culture - and that would be Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos.

I am not an armchair quarterback - most of those guys have a lot of talent - but I will comment as an armchair general manager/owner - most of those guys have no more talent than I do.  Message:


The Broncos are going nowhere fast with Orton and there is no good reason to think that the losing trajectory will change.  I don't know how Tebow will fare as an NFL quarterback, but I do know that he is an excellent athlete, an intelligent football player, and most importantly, a winner. Waiting to put Tebow in the starting position is simply wasting time - sooner or later, as the Orton-lead Broncos continue to lose, the organizational 'leadership' will have to put in Tebow.  So why wait?  Let's find out right now how he will fare and let him get important NFL game experience.  A few loses will not be any different than where the Ponies are headed right now.

Now let me throw in one more rant - what is with all of the 'look at me' gyrations and histrionics that seem to come after almost every play in the NFL?  These dolts are being paid millions of dollars to make great plays and one would think that they had cured cancer rather than making a tackle or scoring a touchdown.

I think that the two videos below demonstrate the different contributions to our society of folks like Jobs and folks like Tebow

The New York Times had a nice summary of Jobs' career:

Apple’s Visionary Redefined Digital Age


Steven P. Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple who helped usher in the era of personal computers and then led a cultural transformation in the way music, movies and mobile communications were experienced in the digital age, died Wednesday. He was 56.

The death was announced by Apple, the company Mr. Jobs and his high school friend Stephen Wozniak started in 1976 in a suburban California garage. A friend of the family said the cause was complications of pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Jobs had waged a long and public struggle with the disease, remaining the face of the company even as he underwent treatment, introducing new products for a global market in his trademark blue jeans even as he grew gaunt and frail.

He underwent surgery in 2004, received a liver transplant in 2009 and took three medical leaves of absence as Apple’s chief executive before stepping down in August and turning over the helm to Timothy D. Cook, the chief operating officer. When he left, he was still engaged in the company’s affairs, negotiating with another Silicon Valley executive only weeks earlier.

“I have always said that if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know,” Mr. Jobs said in a letter released by the company. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

By then, having mastered digital technology and capitalized on his intuitive marketing sense, Mr. Jobs had largely come to define the personal computer industry and an array of digital consumer and entertainment businesses centered on the Internet. He had also become a very rich man, worth an estimated $8.3 billion.

Tributes to Mr. Jobs flowed quickly on Wednesday evening, in formal statements and in the flow of social networks, with President Obama, technology industry leaders and legions of Apple fans weighing in.

“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor,” said Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder. “I will miss Steve immensely.”

A Twitter user named Matt Galligan wrote: “R.I.P. Steve Jobs. You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful.”

Eight years after founding Apple, Mr. Jobs led the team that designed the Macintosh computer, a breakthrough in making personal computers easier to use. After a 12-year separation from the company, prompted by a bitter falling-out with his chief executive, John Sculley, he returned in 1997 to oversee the creation of one innovative digital device after another — the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. These transformed not only product categories like music players and cellphones but also entire industries, like music and mobile communications.

During his years outside Apple, he bought a tiny computer graphics spinoff from the director George Lucas and built a team of computer scientists, artists and animators that became Pixar Animation Studios.

Starting with “Toy Story” in 1995, Pixar produced a string of hit movies, won several Academy Awards for artistic and technological excellence, and made the full-length computer-animated film a mainstream art form enjoyed by children and adults worldwide.

Mr. Jobs was neither a hardware engineer nor a software programmer, nor did he think of himself as a manager. He considered himself a technology leader, choosing the best people possible, encouraging and prodding them, and making the final call on product design.

It was an executive style that had evolved. In his early years at Apple, his meddling in tiny details maddened colleagues, and his criticism could be caustic and even humiliating. But he grew to elicit extraordinary loyalty.

“He was the most passionate leader one could hope for, a motivating force without parallel,” wrote Steven Levy, author of the 1994 book “Insanely Great,” which chronicles the creation of the Mac. “Tom Sawyer could have picked up tricks from Steve Jobs.”

“Toy Story,” for example, took four years to make while Pixar struggled, yet Mr. Jobs never let up on his colleagues. “‘You need a lot more than vision — you need a stubbornness, tenacity, belief and patience to stay the course,” said Edwin Catmull, a computer scientist and a co-founder of Pixar. “In Steve’s case, he pushes right to the edge, to try to make the next big step forward.”

Mr. Jobs was the ultimate arbiter of Apple products, and his standards were exacting. Over the course of a year he tossed out two iPhone prototypes, for example, before approving the third, and began shipping it in June 2007.

To his understanding of technology he brought an immersion in popular culture. In his 20s, he dated Joan Baez; Ella Fitzgerald sang at his 30th birthday party. His worldview was shaped by the ’60s counterculture in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he had grown up, the adopted son of a Silicon Valley machinist. When he graduated from high school in Cupertino in 1972, he said, ”the very strong scent of the 1960s was still there.”

After dropping out of Reed College, a stronghold of liberal thought in Portland, Ore., in 1972, Mr. Jobs led a countercultural lifestyle himself. He told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand.

Decades later he flew around the world in his own corporate jet, but he maintained emotional ties to the period in which he grew up. He often felt like an outsider in the corporate world, he said. When discussing the Silicon Valley’s lasting contributions to humanity, he mentioned in the same breath the invention of the microchip and “The Whole Earth Catalog,” a 1960s counterculture publication.

Apple’s very name reflected his unconventionality. In an era when engineers and hobbyists tended to describe their machines with model numbers, he chose the name of a fruit, supposedly because of his dietary habits at the time.

Coming on the scene just as computing began to move beyond the walls of research laboratories and corporations in the 1970s, Mr. Jobs saw that computing was becoming personal — that it could do more than crunch numbers and solve scientific and business problems — and that it could even be a force for social and economic change. And at a time when hobbyist computers were boxy wooden affairs with metal chassis, he designed the Apple II as a sleek, low-slung plastic package intended for the den or the kitchen. He was offering not just products but a digital lifestyle.

He put much stock in the notion of “taste,” a word he used frequently. It was a sensibility that shone in products that looked like works of art and delighted users. Great products, he said, were a triumph of taste, of “trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then trying to bring those things into what you are doing.”

Regis McKenna, a longtime Silicon Valley marketing executive to whom Mr. Jobs turned in the late 1970s to help shape the Apple brand, said Mr. Jobs’s genius lay in his ability to simplify complex, highly engineered products, “to strip away the excess layers of business, design and innovation until only the simple, elegant reality remained.”

Mr. Jobs’s own research and intuition, not focus groups, were his guide. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: “None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.”

Early Interests

Steven Paul Jobs was born in San Francisco on Feb. 24, 1955, and surrendered for adoption by his biological parents, Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali, a graduate student from Syria who became a political science professor. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs.

The elder Mr. Jobs, who worked in finance and real estate before returning to his original trade as a machinist, moved his family down the San Francisco Peninsula to Mountain View and then to Los Altos in the 1960s.

Mr. Jobs developed an early interest in electronics. He was mentored by a neighbor, an electronics hobbyist, who built Heathkit do-it-yourself electronics projects. He was brash from an early age. As an eighth grader, after discovering that a crucial part was missing from a frequency counter he was assembling, he telephoned William Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Mr. Hewlett spoke with the boy for 20 minutes, prepared a bag of parts for him to pick up and offered him a job as a summer intern.

Mr. Jobs met Mr. Wozniak while attending Homestead High School in neighboring Cupertino. The two took an introductory electronics class there.

The spark that ignited their partnership was provided by Mr. Wozniak’s mother. Mr. Wozniak had graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, when she sent him an article from the October 1971 issue of Esquire magazine. The article, “Secrets of the Little Blue Box,” by Ron Rosenbaum, detailed an underground hobbyist culture of young men known as phone phreaks who were illicitly exploring the nation’s phone system.

Mr. Wozniak shared the article with Mr. Jobs, and the two set out to track down an elusive figure identified in the article as Captain Crunch. The man had taken the name from his discovery that a whistle that came in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal was tuned to a frequency that made it possible to make free long-distance calls simply by blowing the whistle next to a phone handset.

Captain Crunch was John Draper, a former Air Force electronic technician, and finding him took several weeks. Learning that the two young hobbyists were searching for him, Mr. Draper had arranged to come to Mr. Wozniak’s Berkeley dormitory room. Mr. Jobs, who was still in high school, had traveled to Berkeley for the meeting. When Mr. Draper arrived, he entered the room saying simply, “It is I!”

Based on information they gleaned from Mr. Draper, Mr. Wozniak and Mr. Jobs later collaborated on building and selling blue boxes, devices that were widely used for making free — and illegal — phone calls. They raised a total of $6,000 from the effort.

After enrolling at Reed College in 1972, Mr. Jobs left after one semester, but remained in Portland for another 18 months auditing classes. In a commencement address given at Stanford in 2005, he said he had decided to leave college because it was consuming all of his parents’ savings.

Leaving school, however, also freed his curiosity to follow his interests. “I didn’t have a dorm room,” he said in his Stanford speech, “so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5-cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”

He returned to Silicon Valley in 1974 and took a job there as a technician at Atari, the video game manufacturer. Still searching for his calling, he left after several months and traveled to India with a college friend, Daniel Kottke, who would later become an early Apple employee. Mr. Jobs returned to Atari that fall. In 1975, he and Mr. Wozniak, then working as an engineer at H.P., began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, a hobbyist group that met at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, Calif. Personal computing had been pioneered at research laboratories adjacent to Stanford, and it was spreading to the outside world.

“What I remember is how intense he looked,” said Lee Felsenstein, a computer designer who was a Homebrew member. “He was everywhere, and he seemed to be trying to hear everything people had to say.”

Mr. Wozniak designed the original Apple I computer simply to show it off to his friends at the Homebrew. It was Mr. Jobs who had the inspiration that it could be a commercial product.

In early 1976, he and Mr. Wozniak, using their own money, began Apple with an initial investment of $1,300; they later gained the backing of a former Intel executive, A. C. Markkula, who lent them $250,000. Mr. Wozniak would be the technical half and Mr. Jobs the marketing half of the original Apple I Computer. Starting out in the Jobs family garage in Los Altos, they moved the company to a small office in Cupertino shortly thereafter.

In April 1977, Mr. Jobs and Mr. Wozniak introduced Apple II at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. It created a sensation. Faced with a gaggle of small and large competitors in the emerging computer market, Apple, with its Apple II, had figured out a way to straddle the business and consumer markets by building a computer that could be customized for specific applications.

Sales skyrocketed, from $2 million in 1977 to $600 million in 1981, the year the company went public. By 1983 Apple was in the Fortune 500. No company had ever joined the list so quickly.

The Apple III, introduced in May 1980, was intended to dominate the desktop computer market. I.B.M. would not introduce its original personal computer until 1981. But the Apple III had a host of technical problems, and Mr. Jobs shifted his focus to a new and ultimately short-lived project, an office workstation computer code-named Lisa.

An Apocalyptic Moment

By then Mr. Jobs had made his much-chronicled 1979 visit to Xerox’s research center in Palo Alto, where he saw the Alto, an experimental personal computer system that foreshadowed modern desktop computing. The Alto, controlled by a mouse pointing device, was one of the first computers to employ a graphical video display, which presented the user with a view of documents and programs, adopting the metaphor of an office desktop.

“It was one of those sort of apocalyptic moments,” Mr. Jobs said of his visit in a 1995 oral history interview for the Smithsonian Institution. “I remember within 10 minutes of seeing the graphical user interface stuff, just knowing that every computer would work this way someday. It was so obvious once you saw it. It didn’t require tremendous intellect. It was so clear.”

In 1981 he joined a small group of Apple engineers pursuing a separate project, a lower-cost system code-named Macintosh. The machine was introduced in January 1984 and trumpeted during the Super Bowl telecast by a 60-second commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, that linked I.B.M., then the dominant PC maker, with Orwell’s Big Brother.

A year earlier Mr. Jobs had lured Mr. Sculley to Apple to be its chief executive. A former Pepsi-Cola chief executive, Mr. Sculley was impressed by Mr. Jobs’s pitch: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”

He went on to help Mr. Jobs introduce a number of new computer models, including an advanced version of the Apple II and later the Lisa and Macintosh desktop computers. Through them Mr. Jobs popularized the graphical user interface, which, based on a mouse pointing device, would become the standard way to control computers.

But when the Lisa failed commercially and early Macintosh sales proved disappointing, the two men became estranged and a power struggle ensued, and Mr. Jobs lost control of the Lisa project. The board ultimately stripped him of his operational role, taking control of the Lisa project away from him, and 1,200 Apple employees were laid off. He left Apple in 1985.

“I don’t wear the right kind of pants to run this company,” he told a small gathering of Apple employees before he left, according to a member of the original Macintosh development team. He was barefoot as he spoke, and wearing blue jeans.

That September he announced a new venture, NeXT Inc. The aim was to build a workstation computer for the higher-education market. The next year, the Texas industrialist H. Ross Perot invested $20 million in the effort. But it did not achieve Mr. Jobs’s goals.

Mr. Jobs also established a personal philanthropic foundation after leaving Apple but soon had a change of heart, deciding instead to spend much of his fortune — $10 million — on acquiring Pixar, a struggling graphics supercomputing company owned by the filmmaker George Lucas.

The purchase was a significant gamble; there was little market at the time for computer-animated movies. But that changed in 1995, when the company, with Walt Disney Pictures, released “Toy Story.” That film’s box-office receipts ultimately reached $362 million, and when Pixar went public in a record-breaking offering, Mr. Jobs emerged a billionaire. In 2006, the Walt Disney Company agreed to purchase Pixar for $7.4 billion. The sale made Mr. Jobs Disney’s largest single shareholder, with about 7 percent of the company’s stock.

His personal life also became more public. He had a number of well-publicized romantic relationships, including one with the folk singer Joan Baez, before marrying Laurene Powell. In 1996, his sister Mona Simpson, a novelist, threw a spotlight on her relationship with Mr. Jobs in the novel “A Regular Guy.” The two did not meet until they were adults. The novel centered on a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who bore a close resemblance to Mr. Jobs. It was not an entirely flattering portrait. Mr. Jobs said about a quarter of it was accurate.

“We’re family,” he said of Ms. Simpson in an interview with The New York Times Magazine. “She’s one of my best friends in the world. I call her and talk to her every couple of days.”

His wife and Ms. Simpson survive him, as do his three children with Ms. Powell, his daughters Eve Jobs and Erin Sienna Jobs and a son, Reed; another daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, from a relationship with Chrisann Brennan; and another sister, Patti Jobs.

Return to Apple

Eventually, Mr. Jobs refocused NeXT from the education to the business market and dropped the hardware part of the company, deciding to sell just an operating system. Although NeXT never became a significant computer industry player, it had a huge impact: a young programmer, Tim Berners-Lee, used a NeXT machine to develop the first version of the World Wide Web at the Swiss physics research center CERN in 1990.

In 1996, after unsuccessful efforts to develop next-generation operating systems, Apple, with Gilbert Amelio now in command, acquired NeXT for $430 million. The next year, Mr. Jobs returned to Apple as an adviser. He became chief executive again in 2000.

Shortly after returning, Mr. Jobs publicly ended Apple’s long feud with its archrival Microsoft, which agreed to continue developing its Office software for the Macintosh and invested $150 million in Apple.

Once in control of Apple again, Mr. Jobs set out to reshape the consumer electronics industry. He pushed the company into the digital music business, introducing first iTunes and then the iPod MP3 player. The music arm grew rapidly, reaching almost 50 percent of the company’s revenue by June 2008.

In 2005, Mr. Jobs announced that he would end Apple’s business relationship with I.B.M. and Motorola and build Macintosh computers based on Intel microprocessors.

His fight with cancer was now publicly known. Apple had announced in 2004 that Mr. Jobs had a rare but curable form of pancreatic cancer and that he had undergone successful surgery. Four years later, questions about his health returned when he appeared at a company event looking gaunt. Afterward, he said he had suffered from a “common bug.” Privately, he said his cancer surgery had created digestive problems but insisted they were not life-threatening.

Apple began selling the iPhone in June 2007. Mr. Jobs’s goal was to sell 10 million of the handsets in 2008, equivalent to 1 percent of the global cellphone market. The company sold 11.6 million.

Although smartphones were already commonplace, the iPhone dispensed with a stylus and pioneered a touch-screen interface that quickly set the standard for the mobile computing market. Rolled out with much anticipation and fanfare, iPhone rocketed to popularity; by the end of 2010 the company had sold almost 90 million units.

Although Mr. Jobs took just a nominal $1 salary when he returned to Apple, his compensation became the source of a Silicon Valley scandal in 2006 over the backdating of millions of shares of stock options. But after a company investigation and one by the Securities and Exchange Commission, he was found not to have benefited financially from the backdating and no charges were brought.

The episode did little to taint Mr. Jobs’s standing in the business and technology world. As the gravity of his illness became known, and particularly after he announced he was stepping down, he was increasingly hailed for his genius and true achievement: his ability to blend product design and business market innovation by integrating consumer-oriented software, microelectronic components, industrial design and new business strategies in a way that has not been matched.

If he had a motto, it may have come from “The Whole Earth Catalog,” which he said had deeply influenced him as a young man. The book, he said in his commencement address at Stanford in 2005, ends with the admonition “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

“I have always wished that for myself,” he said.

Monday, October 03, 2011


Do you need a babysitter for an hour? Someone to take your puppy on daily walks? A run to the airport? Help with an online resume?

For some Mennonites, these everyday tasks require only a Groupee or two. The Groupee, a small, wooden token, is exchangeable for the time, labor and materials of other members of a community. A Groupee is valued at one hour of physical work.

Jonathan Moyer and other Menno­nites in Denver created the Groupee system and hope to expand it to other communities. As of September, five Groupee groups participate in the system in Denver, with several more forming in the Iowa City, Iowa, and Lancaster, Pa., areas.

Selecting the name Groupee was like naming a band. One day, Moyer’s small group sat around talking about the system when someone threw out the term Groupee, and it stuck, says Moyer.

Moyer hosts Groupee-making parties in his garage to create the wooden Groupees. The process involves wood-cutting and an official brand from bike spokes.

“The people who make the Groupees get Groupees,” says Moyer.

The Groupee bylaws outline five ways in which the system remains rooted in Anabaptism: bread, baptism, binding and loosing, fullness of Christ and Rule of Paul.

Moyer says the Groupee system further propels the productivity that already exists in the community.

“It’s a radical expression of the community’s love for each other,” he says. “We’re already so ‘in the world and of the world’ that the Groupee system is really resonating with people.”

Moyer quickly adds that their intention is not for Groupees to “supplant giving and receiving.”

“If my friend is sick, I still visit him in the hospital; if he has a baby, I make him lasagna,” he says.

However, the structured system allows for Groupee users to meet people and form new connections as well as find reliable babysitters, petsitters, housesitters and more.

“I’ll vouch for it being a pretty cool system,” says Brad Miller of Denver. “We’re spending three Groupees tonight to have someone babysit Silas. I earned these three Groupees by helping a church member water her lawn, took another church member to the airport and babysat another church member’s kid.”

Jean Kilheffer Hess attended Moyer’s seminar on the system at Pittsburgh 2011 and is beginning a group at her church, East Chestnut Street Mennonite in Lancaster, Pa.

“I hope the Groupee system becomes a natural way for us to remember each other as ready-to-help-and-be-helped people,” she says. “I’m excited that Groupee offers a loosely organized way for us to extend mutual aid to each other.”

The Groupee website facilitates the request in a way other than face-to-face. For example, if a household needs a babysitter for an hour, they will post a request stating they will offer one Groupee. Others in the system will see this request and then the household will accept one offer. Then the website notifies others that the request is filled.

Arlen Hershberger of First Mennonite in Denver says the system works well, although people with desk jobs “naturally have a headstart on responding to requests. We’re working on ways to bring greater equity to the group in terms of earning power,” Hershberger says.

Moyer is a dissertation-level doctoral candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Moyer hopes this system engages more people across Mennonite Church USA. For more information, go to or send an e-mail to Moyer at

By Anna Groff at


I have to apologize for teasing some of my relatives for not being able to post a comment to this blog.   Some of us were rather merciless since WE could do it and THEY could not.  Turns out the incompetence is at Blogger.   Since several folks were having the same problem, as did I now and then when I did some testing, I checked out the Discussion section of Blogger and found that many bloggers were having the same problem.  Despite all of the brainpower at Google, they suggested a work-around rather than fixing the problem.  I changed the Comments format, and everything appears to be working at the moment.  [Maybe it's time to migrate to WordPress ;-]

So - if you had tried to comment and your words of wisdome disappeared into the ether, please give it another shot!

Thanks - your Boulder Curmudgeon