On Not Irritating People

A couple years ago I asked a good friend of mine, someone who has a lot practical wisdom, whether I should take a stand more often and be more willing to enter controversy.  I said I was afraid sometimes by failing to speak up, I let bad ideas go unchallenged.  He said there are quiet ways to make a point.  He said,

There are enough people in the world irritating other people.

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced he’s right.  I will go on trying to make positive suggestions in a gentle way, but I think I will try to avoid sarcasm–it’s so hard to tell someone’s “tone of voice” in writing.

I also think I will avoid politics, mostly, for the next four years.  The election is over and the people have spoken.  I will write my representatives and talk to people on a local level.

I will say this: I think President Obama is doing his best to bring people together.  Politics is inherently divisive, but he has tried to extend an open hand across the aisle.  If his gestures have been met with a clenched fist, he keeps on smiling.  I thought last night’s speech was remarkably free of blame and bitterness.

Bridge over the Forth of Firth


It’s been almost a year since I traveled overseas, and its been almost a year since Berkely Scot joined as a reader.  See her comment below under “Free TV.”  She says she feels like a girder on the Forth Bridge, after a falling in December and having hardware installed to mend her bones.

(Click here for photos and details on the famous bridge).  Let’s hope it didn’t cost the lives of 57 men to put the iron in Margaret’s arm to repair her fractured bones.  The construction of the bridge in Edinburgh did exact a heavy toll.


On of my students in a large class this semester has been in critical care the last couple of days, with a tumor in his chest.  It was evidently just discovered.

All of his friends and classmates have rallied around to send him their good wishes and prayers.  This is only the third week into class and I really haven’t had the chance to get to know him.  I have seen a lot of love from his friends.

It makes me want to try harder to get to know new students from now on, starting with the first day.

Kasey’s aunt set up a web page to update his friends and to give them an opportunity to post greetings.  It i s at CaringBridge.

Free TV

So, they found a way to send the television signal over the air instead of through a cable.  Who’d have thought it–wireless TV!

I’m walking through the parking lot of Big Lots and this guy steps out of the shadows beside a van and says,

“Hey buddy, let me show you something.”

“Sorry, I don’t need any gold chains.”

“No, no.  How’d you like to watch TV free?

“No way!”

“Yea man.  You just plug your antenna into one of these little converter boxes, and you’ve got instant Hi-Def TV.  And you don’t have to pay nobody.”

“Oh sure, and next you’re gonna tell me it’s all legal.”

“Look, these little boxes normally sell for $50.00 bucks, but I’ll let mine go for $29.00.  It’s the last one, and I’m willing to take a loss so I can go home and watch I Love Lucy with my kids.”

So I tried it.   I went to Radio Shack and got an antenna and spent the day Saturday finding the best spot to place it on my roof, ran the cable into the converter box, and then into the TV–and sure enough–free TV.  My wife was able to watch the Wildcats pull off an upset victory in overtime while I was ratcheting down the final bolts for the antenna mount.

So here I am, in Wabaunsee County, surrounded by the Flint Hills, channel surfing with 9 channels and no cable bill.