Sunday, September 24, 2006

Apparent Waste

On my walk this morning I noticed several houses in our neighborhood were built with underground garbage cans out near the street. Apparently this was the rage in the mid 70's/early 80's. The lid is at ground level and you drop the garbage into the can(s) that sit down in this pit. The garbage man lifts the can out of the pit to put the trash in the truck. The advantages seem to be: garbarge away from the house, never needing to bring the cans in, and, well I'm not sure what else. The disadvantages are: you gotta go to the street with each load of trash (making an extra 4-5 trips to the street can't be good), it has to be tougher on the garbage men to lift these things out of their holes, I bet it gets messy down in the pit after a while...and tough to clean out, seems to be a haven for vermin, and I'm sure I can think of more.

It got me thinking about other so-called conveniences we build into our homes that never really intercom systems and Christmas tree closets.

How many can you guys come up with?

Friday, September 22, 2006

More in common than we are allowed to believe...

Recently on a distant thread on my friend Brent's blog, Jill and Kristen and I kind of agreed that women doing equal work should be paid the same as men. Jill and Kristen, I'm assuming, don't think that's happening out there in the business world, and I offered up my company as a glowing example of how it is.

This got me many areas (I'm guessing death penalty, gay marriage, abortion, etc.), we probably differ in our thinking. But I bet in far more areas we agree. Here are some...

Equality for women
Corporate Responsibility (financial, environmental, social)
Grace and Forgiveness
The New Testament
The Sovereignty of God
The Divinity of Jesus Christ
Inefficiency in Government
Too much traffic

I could go on...but you get the point. Why all the energy on the 4-5 things in disagreement? Wouldn't we all be better served banning together on the things that say 90% of agree on, and getting some things done?

My operations manager...female, single, Siera Club Outing Leader, Democrat, highest paid in the company, mid-50's, ex-hippi (maybe still a hippi)...she and I agree on a ton...interesting. Yes, we banter about some things...but overall, after 6 years of working together, we find common ground on at least 4 of 5 topics.

Why can't we all do this more? Why can't our leaders (they are Leaders right?) do this?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Drill Baby Drill

Here's the plan to bring peace and prosperity:

Drill everywhere we have the coast of Florida, Alaska, renew and restart the grasshoppers in Texas, California...everywhere.

Build 2-3 more mega-refineries domestically...wherever the big boys can get permitting and let the states jocky for who wants these cherry jobs.

A few things will happen:
1. Gas will go up to $5 - $6 a gallon because it is more expensive to produce gas domestically than in the middle east (we pay our people fair living wages...and then some for oil jobs).
2. With gas that high, the American spirit will take over and the working class will find alternative ways to reduce fuel consumption (bikes, motorcycles, public transportation...maybe some things we don't even think of now).
3. The sheiks will choke on their own oil and come to us with much reduced prices to halt this domestic production...our response will be (and this is important)...get your house in order, specifically get your radical family members in line and we will consider buying SOME of your oil, but until you are able to put a halt to this radical segment of your faith...we will not do business with you.
4. Global terrorism will subside drastically.
5. With 2-3 years of $5 - $6 a gallon gas, many forms of alternative fuels will be invented...again, the American spirit will take over...thus dwindling demand of said gas, driving the price down due to competition of said alternative.

That's the plan...shoot holes in it as you see fit...convince me I'm wrong...praise me for my brilliance if you agree. But about it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Going into last nights game, I'm losing 107 to 78...but there's hope. If the Jaguars defence steps up and plays great (against the defending Super Bowl champs), and Reggie Williams (who I got off waivers yesterday) can make a few big plays...then I might have a chance.

No Monday Night Football game has been as exciting for me in decades. I rushed out of my Eschatology class to get home, and sure enough the Jaguars pulled through...Gator Haters 111...Noles 107. I'm 2-0 on the season and have a big game against the first place team coming up this week.

I'm Hooked.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Some thoughts of late...

1. Two entries on gluttony, both from a food and financial perspective, challenging our readers to react...and very little reaction.
2. Auburn could have a very good season, but they better learn how to defend the pass.
3. Fantasy football is awesome...but crazy. Our home team is the Bucs, so we root for them. But today I found myself wanting them to get behind because I started Michael Clayton (the Bucs' receiver) and wanted them to play from behind so he could catch more...that doesn't seem right.
4. Our local high school football team went to Ohio and beat their best's cool and all, but seems wrong on several levels.
5. Seeing lots of tatoos lately...not sure what the allure is to getting this done...and where does one draw the line in what's enough...seems a slippery slope from a shamrock on the ankle to a dowel through your earlobe?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Gluttony (Part II)

A while ago I posted on Gluttony (you can still probably read it by linking to the right about 8 posts ago). Like most people, I think Gluttony and food go together. But the more I thought about it, I think Gluttony and money should be more appropriately linked in our society. And this new correlation has really pricked my heart of late...going back to where the prick became an open wound in Juarez, Mexico this summer.

Why should we have so much, and others have so little? (Pause a while again for emphasis)

But this didn't jive real well with my conservative, capitalist, anti-communist upbringing (and I'm still all those things). And the reason it didn't jive make my upbringing work, those with plenty really have to step to the plate and be giving (like Warren Buffet and Bill & Melinda Gates...two non-Christians by the way). So if people with no faith "get it"...why so many $50K+ cars in church parking lots? How big does our 401K have to get to step to the plate? Do we really need vacation homes? These were questions rolling around my brain...about the same time images of Juarez...and (here's where the hand of God is orchestrating things) my wife simultaneously having similar thoughts.

So, what are we doing about it?

Yesterday we submitted an application to begin the process to adobt and new born boy from Guatemala. A few weeks ago we started to pray specifically about this path and the more we prayed and the more things unfolded, the more right it became. Only accounting for the three agencies we contacted, there are 20 baby boys born in Guatemala in August, who need families and are available for adoption. If the Gospel is about relationships, and people, and love...then what better way to accomplish this than through a single life?

So pray for us and our family. And forgive me for being a tad infrequent with my thoughts on the blog...lots is going on.


In spite of...

- the worst attack ever on our country (which oh by the way was in the middle of our financial hub)
- the collapse of trust in corporate America (Enron, Tyco, Worldcom)
- the overcompensation by Congress to fix said trust with Sarbane-Oxley, which is choking corporate America now, causing 85 public companies year to date to buy their stock back and go public...a record if you track such things.
- the worst pattern of Natural Disasters ever (if you track things by dollars damage done)
- two wars (Afghanastan and Iraq)
- oil prices double, virtually causing the price of everything except iPods to go up.

...our economy continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. In fact 2006 is growing at 2% and because it's the worst growth in 10 years, chicken little has re-emerged and is screaming "the sky is falling."

And one word explains why this is all happening...productivity. We continue to get more done with less than any nation in the world. My little company is producing 25% more with 20% less people than it did in 2003 (we were a tad fat in 2003 mind you, but still remarkable)...and we are in a mature industry.

Even more surprising is my expectation over the next four years is to continue to create these same productivity improvements. I'm meeting with each of my direct reports and gaining commitment from them as to their plan to get themselves to be more productive in 2007 than they were in 2006. And the kicker is...we'll continue to tighten the's my job...and unfortunately (or fortunately if you are an economist or politician or are my principal supplier) the pattern will continue until I pass the reigns to someone else. And, I'm pretty good at my job.

So here's the rub. Since I look at things from a Kingdom perspective...and my leading candidates for sharing the Gospel and Discipleship are both associates (and direct reports)...I'm having a very difficult time getting my job (which if whittled down to the basic premise is to increase productivity and profitability for my company) to jive with my faith...kind of "rich young rulerish" if you would. So I pray..."God, only you can supernaturally make these two things coexist...please help me to do so." Yet still no peace.

Any thoughts?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fantasy Football

I've never done it before...a virgin of sorts...but a couple of the young guys in the office asked me, and it appears a lot of people have fun with it. There's no money on the line...totally free...just for bragging rights. The draft was last cool how technology brings us all together. Many from our group are friends of our commissioner from college, so they log in from all over the country. May be something we need to do with our old buddies. So, here's who I got:

RB (which I understand is a very important position): Carnell "Cadilac" Williams, Reggie Bush, Corey Dillan, LenDale White.
QB: Eli Manning, Byron Leftwich
WR: Rod Smith, Nate Burleson, Michael Clayton, Matt Jones, Reggie Brown
Def: Jaguars
K: Adam Vinatieri

I really like my team. Although, as a first year expansion team, expectations are low. However, part of me feels like a real geek now.

Friday, September 01, 2006

More harm than good...affirmative action?

Sylvester Croom is a bad football coach.

Two years ago he was ushered in with great fanfare as the first SEC football coach of color, in of all places Mississippi State University. I cringed everytime I heard a story about this, which without fail always made reference to his race.

Fast forward and Mississippi State is the worst performing football program in the conference. However, everytime you hear the coach mentioned, we get to hear how "he cleaned things up", "what a great role model he is", et. al.

Here's the rub...I did a little mental excercise identifying great coaches of an era, by sport, and came up with names like Shula, Knoll, Landry...Coach K, Bobby Knight, Dean Smith...Cohwer, Jimmy Johnson, Parcell, Gibbs...Lasorda, Torre, Billy Martin...Phil Jackson, Larry Brown...Scotty get the point. Two people of color enter my mind with the likes mentioned above...Eddie Robbinson and John Thompson...and I wonder if Eddie Robbinson gets it done in the SEC.

Clearly the % of uber-talented coaches of color is disproportionate to the % of the population. However, and I mean a big however, the solution is not to keep force feeding black coaches into the system in hopes that one sticks. This only fulfills the stereotype that blacks aren't smart enough to perform "high level thinking jobs" like coaching sports...which is clearly a WRONG stereotype. We have dark skinned leaders of government, dark skinned military heros, dark skinned business leaders...why the quota in athletics...or for that matter only hurts the cause.

And Sylvester Croom fulfills my unfortunate prophesy.

Any thoughts?