Saturday, March 18, 2006

You say Agriculture - I say Horticulture

I can't prove this except I heard it on the radio (Orion Samuelson on WGN in Chicago). They never lie, do they? Orion was talking about the changes in Agriculture in the USA. His comment caught me off guard. Of the 50 Billion plus total agriculture economy nationwide, 15 billion of it is Horticulture. That would be about a third.

He said that compared to agronomic crops like beans, corn, wheat, oats Horticulture is a larger economic component of the total ag sales.

I knew that the screw was turning. I didn't know it had already turned.

Think about it. In my lifetime, (I was going to say short but I don't anymore) production agronomic agriculture has been eclipsed by intensive horticultural production. Certainly on fewer acres but with much larger dollars per acre.

I think this is a good thing. It means that subsidies should be examined. It means that states like North Dakota should think about the structure of it’s agricultural economy.

It does make me wonder about my alma mater, North Dakota State University. A land grant college. The school where I got my 4 year degree (in 5) in Horticulture 40 years ago. When I first attended it was North Dakota Agriculture College. We had a department. Dr Lana. Hundreds of students.

Then, Horticulture became part of plant sciences. Then something else. Now it's nearly non-existent.

Horticulture eclipses Agronomy nationwide. NDSU deletes Horticulture as a curricula.

Something is seriously wrong with this picture. Joe Chapman (a good guy) who is the current President of NDSU is thinking about leaving. Maybe the next guy will have a deeper passion about this new agriculture that North Dakota doesn't even realize exists.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Character Is Destiny

I Know some of you hate it when I post something I read somewhere else.  But sometimes it's really good.  So, bear with me.  This is worth the read.  Jim Paluch is a writer/trainer from OHIO.    I needed to give him attribution.  Read the whole thing.  It'll be good for your soul.



Character Is Destiny

Where does character begin? It begins in our thoughts, in what we think. Ask yourself these questions: “If I were invisible--able to do anything I wanted without consequences or repercussions--would I be kind or unkind? Honest or dishonest? Respectful or disrespectful? Reliable or unreliable? Your answers would say a lot about you as a person. These questions cause you to hold a mirror up and look at the inner you. Once we are honest with ourselves and understand the inner person . . . then we can begin to build or reshape the habits that determine our character and then ultimately our destiny.

It has been said that the farmer who cheats is only cheating himself--put off mending the fence today and you’ll be chasing livestock tomorrow. It comes down to a choice: to do what is most convenient or to do the right thing. Are you doing what is easiest, most enjoyable, or most profitable-–or are you doing what is right? Sometimes they can be one in the same, but, when they are not, then we put our character to the test. Though most people would never think of stealing someone else’s property, they might think it is all right to give less than their best to their work, their family or even themselves. Think about the challenges you face each day to choose between what is convenient and what is right. It is the clear choice between evading responsibility and accepting responsibility. The habit of accepting responsibility paves the way to strong character and a great destiny.

Vince Lombardi said, “You don’t do what is right once in a while, but all the time. Success is a habit. Winning is habit.” Your daily commitment to exercising your ethical muscles to the point that doing what is right is just a natural habit will reap incredible rewards for you. You work at character just as an athlete works at refining a skill in their chosen sport. The greatest athletes are never done improving on their skills. There is always a little more to be done in refining our character and developing the habit of doing the right thing. As a leader, your commitment to doing the right thing is setting an example to those that have chosen to follow you.

Albert Schweitzer said, “Example is not the main thing in life; it is the only thing.” What example is your team following? Your family? Your friends? I have often said to leaders, "Your crew is a direct reflection of you." It goes beyond this . . . your life is a reflection of you. Your character is your destiny. Create your destiny with the next action you take . . . do the right thing.

- Jim Paluch



Definition of CHARACTER


The ability to carry out a good resolution long after the mood in which it was made has left you





Jefferson on Character

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current. Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give up the earth itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing. Whenever you are to do a thing though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you and act accordingly."

- Thomas Jefferson



The Man in the Glass


When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day.
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum
And think you're a wonderful guy.
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please – never mind all the rest.
For he's with you clear to the end.
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass.

- Author Unknown





Stretching the Truth

Do you ever S T R E T C H the truth ? ? ?

? On why you were late or absent . . .
? On how many sales calls you really made . . .
? On how many cookies you really ate? . . .
? On whose great idea that really was . . .
? On how much you really weigh . . .
? On how fast you were really driving . . .
? On why you really left your last job . . .
? On what qualifies you for the next one . . .

Remember the truth comes in one dimension, straight up . . . and stretching it is just that . . . a stretch!



"Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.:

"I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me."

- Abraham Lincoln

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
- Helen Keller

"Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing, and only character endures."
-Horace Greeley, New York newspaper editor

"Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses and avoids."
- Aristotle

"A good character carries with it the highest power of causing a thing to be believed."
- Aristotle


Thursday, March 16, 2006


Milleborne I am told is French for milestone. At least the game we used to play was was called milleborne.

I have experienced a few milleborne in the last few days.

First, the bad news. I turned 61 years old. Ides of March. I’ll survive but I don’t like it. I’m older and crankier than ever. Now watching the movie Grumpy Old Men is sort of “SO WHAT” to me now. I have lots of days like that.

But time limps along and I don’t.

Second, A friend and business associate of mine for nearly 30 years left town. In the late 70s we were in a Dale Carnegie Class together. He was so bright. I kept in touch and later we went into business together. After the business closed he moved to California. I moved to Chicagoland to take a new job. We needed a smart quality software guy to augment our development efforts. Bill was the man I thought of at once. So he hopped in his little Fiat 150 or something like that (a large matchbox sized car) and motored to Chicagoland. On the 15th of March exactly 20 years ago he moved here. Two ides of Marchisms. Does it mean anything???? Probably not.

One of the men he worked with and meshed with immediately was Ken. Ken was a contract software developer who just plain fit hand in glove with Bill. I enjoyed and still do enjoy getting together with all of them.

And on the Ides of March a year ago these two couples were those who came to dinner when we spent a terrific memorable evening of ideas and fun. I wrote about it.

Now Bill and Barb are off to Sunny and Cool North Carolina. We will miss him. Ken (the other one in this picture who isn’t me) and Ellen will miss him too.

The picture of 3 women and 2 men above (I took the Picture) are Left to Right- Peggy, Ellen and Ken and Barb and Bill. The three men below are Ken, Bill and me left to right. I don't even want to think of the cumulative age of all of us. It's not 4 digits yet anyway.

The other milleborne this week was the Worship Leader from our church leaveing. He has been there since we have. He’s a good man and has brought us far. I can’t wait to see how much further we have yet to go.

Take care Chad.

Milestones. I don’t like to see them go by but you can’t get to the next one unless you keep on peddling. I will only fall down if I stop peddling, so I keep on.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Boston Legal Looking for a Shark to Jump

If you don't know the term, To Jump the Shark.  Google it up.  You'll discover it means that something happens in a TV series that causes the show to fall off the edge of the earth.  Usually from really bad writing.
I enjoy Boston Legal and William Shatner.  But, this weeks episode was lame X 3.  It represented a political viewpoint which it doesn't have to.  It wasn't clever.  It wasn't edgy.  It was lame.
I have a feeling the writers have run out of ideas and now are using it for a platform for left wing opinion.
Guess what, Mr/Mrs writer group.  We don't want to hear your drivel now or ever.
Entertainment is supposed to entertain. You bored. 
So, there may be hope but I am pessimistic.  You are just looking for shark and then you're lunchmeat.
Too bad, you had a franchise going.  Even the Sun Times in Chicago had a full page spread on the star of the show, Shatner and calling Boston Legal his best work.
You have blown it.
Now, if I could just address the producers of the show.  Fire them tomorrow, throw away everything they have written, find Larry David and get your edge back before I (and millions of others) quit watching.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Stop the Disease of Public Education

Our schools have failed. Not a little. BIG!

It's all over. The wave of anger and protest is growing every day. I am adding my voice as small as it is.

Public education hasn't worked for a couple decades. In it's present form it has no prospect of working.

I am going to write on this further. But before I do I want anyone who disagrees or wonders what I have against public education to read the following essays by John Stossel. He is no fan of Public Education. He has been campaigning to enable choice in education. Vouchers. I am joining his campaign.

So, that you can know what the issues are read the following and then be ready for more.

The facts are, Public Education no longer works

Open Competition for the Education Dollar will help Children

Being a GOOD teacher is not rewarded and must be

The Teachers Unions are destroying our education system and must be put down forever

The net of this discussion is this, Public Education, particularly k-8 is so destructive and so broken that no incremental fix can ever be made. Schools must be closed and rebuilt for performance from the ground up.

Join the fight to abolish monopoly public education. Competitive schools fighting to do a better job of teaching your children (customers) is the only salvation left.

Reward competence, fire incompetence. Make Public Education about education again and not about teachers.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

We Plan to Take Over - Resistance is Futile

I just wrote about Club Gitmo in the comments section of Say Anything.  Time to close up shop in Cuba.  Fall 2006 is comin.  Not a popular view.  But when it's over it's over.  Boy, am I being pilloried by my conservative friends.  But now I see that Gitmo closure is under discussion.  It's time.  It's over.  Time for everybody to go home.
I also take a lot of heat from my conservative friends for my view of Wal-Mart. 
I was sad to see public radio (which is liberal but I listen anyway) take ads for Wal-Mart.  But Money talks and Bull- walks.  So much for courage of convictions.  They are hopeless hypocrites like everyone else. Anything for the buck. 
Now Wal-Mart is trying to coerce conservative bloggers with money. I haven't gotten a call.  I am too small potatoes for Wally.  Besides after my last tirade against them I think they burned my fax number.
I don't fit into the traditional conservative mold as well as Wal-Mart wants me to. 
Ron Dreher wrote about it in a book entitled Crunchy Conservatives How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party)
National Review, that paragon of conservative thought dedicates a chat blog to the idea.  Interesting Reading.  Wal-Mart gets the snot kicked out of them there.
I don't feel so all alone anymore.  Liberals don't get it and Wal-Mart loving Conservatives don't either.  Some of us take a road somewhat less traveled and that makes all the difference.
We plan on taking over the place.