The United States of Shame

My friend shared this with me and it was too good not to post.  The map below shows what each state is worst at or best at (if best = negative).  What is your state known for that you wish it wasn’t?

Advertisements

Snow Closure

It is really cold in Denver right now.  It is 6 degrees Fahrenheit.  I’m not a fan.  The low today is -4.  Tomorrow, the high is -1 and the low is -15.  Seriously.  The low is not a positive number.  That just does not seem right.  The wind chill is supposed to be -20 to -30, which I do not even know how to fathom.

I’ve been expressing my desire for a snow day for tomorrow since this morning when I realized how cold it would be.  It is also snowing, but the amount of snow itself would not qualify the University of Denver for a snow day (although that would not necessarily be the case if I were home in St. Louis).  Nevertheless, with the extremely cold temperatures I figured it could happen.  Everyone told me that there was no way school would be canceled – but it was!  I was extremely surprised though that DU was closed early today.  Tomorrow is less surprising.  Nevertheless, there is more time to relax and (hopefully) get work done.

Earlier today, I checked snow closures online and saw that the Greeley Moose Lodge was closed for bingo tonight.  I figured we may have a shot.  No one wants bingo canceled without good reasoning.  This resulted in my current Facebook status of “Greeley Moose Lodge is closed for bingo tonight. It is thus appropriate that DU is closed. No bingo, no school. That’s always been my philosophy.”

 

This is a message from the University Of Denver Department Of Campus Safety. Due to hweather, the University will be closed the rest of today, 01/31/11 and all day and evening on 2/1/11. Please check the University of Denver website at www.du.edu for updated information.


To listen to the above message, you will need audio software and speakers on your computer.

 

Doughboy Eulogy

I saw this online and thought it was worth sharing:

Dear friends,
It is with the saddest heart that I pass on the following.  Please join
me in remembering a great icon.

The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and
complications from repeated pokes in the belly.  He was 71.

Doughboy was buried in a lightly-greased coffin.  Dozens of celebrities
turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs.  Butterworth, Hungry
Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and
Cap'n Crunch.  The grave site was piled high with flours as long- time
friend, Aunt Jemima, delivered the eulogy, describing Doughboy as a man
who never knew how much he was kneaded.  Doughboy rose quickly in show
business, but his later life was filled with turnovers.  He was not
considered a very "smart" cookie, wasting much of his dough on
half-baked schemes.  Despite being a little flaky at times, he -- even
still, as a crusty old man -- was considered a roll model for millions.
Toward the end, it was thought he would rise again, but alas, he was no
tart.

Doughboy is survived by his wife, Play Dough; two children, John Dough
and Jane Dough; plus they had one in the oven.  He is also survived by
his elderly father, Pop Tart.

The funeral was held at 3:50 for about twenty minutes.

Girl Comes Out During School Assembly

This girl has a lot of courage.  There may be some performance here, but her message is important and speaks of the stories of a lot of people.  I hope she encourages others to be able to live their lives fully.

Really?!?

Sarah Palin gave her “analysis” of the State of the Union last night on Fox News.  All I can say is “really?!?”  and nice use of that acronym… I really hope she doesn’t win anymore elections.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

On a quasi-related note, Sarah Palin did not even finish one term as governor. How long until someone realizes that and comes up with a more accurate way to address her?

Quick Note on Last Night’s State of the Union

So I am behind on posting again, but that’s the way life goes.  It seems that even a slow week in Winter Quarter is a busy week.

I thought the State of the Union was great last night.  Obama’s speech was on point and effective.  He discussed a number of initiatives that are important moving forward – including some that reached across the aisle, as it were.  Equally important, if not more so, was the symbolic act of Democrats and Republicans sitting together.  It seems like a simple thing but the atmosphere of the entire event was different because of it – and different in a good way.  I’d like to see more collaboration in the years ahead.  It’s the only way to actually get anything done.

I was disappointed though in the Republican response, given by Rep. Paul Ryan.  If fear mongering and apocalypse predicting were what we were grading speeches on then Mr. Ryan would have gotten an A+.  That was not, however, what was needed.  Apparently, Rep. Ryan did not pay full attention to President Obama’s speech either: President Obama spoke about plans to consolidate and shrink the federal government, yet Rep. Ryan accused him of planning to continue increasing the size of the federal government.  Somehow, he missed that one…

If you missed the State of the Union, you can watch it here:

“To Live a Life of Honor” – Why the Boy Scouts Matter

More and more it seems that we all need to be reminded of the importance of integrity, citizenship, and community.  The Boy Scouts of America understands this and embeds it in the lives of its members at a level no other organization can match.  I recently came across the article below and thought it was worth sharing.

—–

HAGELIN: Scouts’ honor counters culture

by Rebecca Hagelin – The Washington Times

Culture challenge of the week: Raising strong boys in a soft culture

Parenting boys can be tough.

From sexually provocative media, to the influence of bad-boy athletes and self-indulgent celebrities, to violent video games … the cultural undertow exerts a powerful pull in the wrong direction.

When looking for alternatives, parents like Angela and Ty, who both work full-time while raising three boys, feel overwhelmed at times. Angela observes, “Its hard to know whats going to benefit our guys in the long run … and be something they like.” Their vision is to raise boys who will become strong, godly men of character, with inquisitive spirits and service-oriented hearts and the self-discipline and drive to achieve their goals.

Thats no easy task in a culture thats gone soft: entertainment idealizes gender-bending celebrities and devalues strongly masculine traits; the social-media environment fuels teenage narcissism; and schools inflate self-esteem by pouring on unearned praise in the absence of actual achievement.

How to save your family by partnering with the Boy Scouts

So how can we raise strong sons?

As parents, we must set clear direction — and be positive examples. But we also need to find strong partners — organizations, friends and churches — to support our values, provide admirable role models, and to offer friendship and encouragement to our children.

Theres no better organizational partner for parents than the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

A recent Gallup poll found that, while fewer young men are Boy Scouts than in years past, boys involved in scouting have higher academic achievement than non-Scouts. And as adults, former Boy Scouts out-earn their non-scouting peers.

Dig a little deeper, and its not hard to understand why.

According to recent research, Scouts are highly likely to internalize positive character traits like honesty, leadership and dependability. And boys who were Scouts are more likely than non-Scouts to resist negative peer pressure, on the one hand, and to value family life and lifelong friendships, on the other. They learn, as one BSA executive told me, “to live a life of honor.” Those qualities are indispensable not only for career success, but for family life as well.

Why does Scouting work so well? For starters, the Scouts have a hundred-year track record of building character and fitness. Though times change, human nature does not. The Scouts incorporate the latest technologies and current interests into the time-honored merit-badge system; boys learn to try new things, set goals and persevere until they accomplish them.

But the capacity for achievement, by itself, doesnt create better human beings. And heres where theBoy Scouts shine most brightly: its activities explicitly seek to instill character and virtues within the hearts of young men.

Im so grateful to the Boy Scouts for the years of support they gave my own two sons throughout their childhood and teen years. My husband and I first introduced our boys to Scouting when our oldest son was in second grade. The next year, his little brother joined the Scouts, too, and for the next 10 years, our sons lives were filled with adventure, friendship and achievement — and consistent teaching about God and His commandment to serve others.

Our two sons thrived in the Boy Scouts. They found strong role models and lifelong friends, and both of them earned the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. But even had they not decided to pursue the Eagle Scout rank, the years of Scouting would have been a blessing. I will always be grateful for the way Scouting strengthened the values we were working so hard to instill in our sons.

For parents looking for an assist in raising strong young men in a world thats gone soft, check out your local Scouting troop. Your boys will “be prepared … for life.”

• Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@howtosaveyourfamily.com.

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC.

 

Quote #22 – Friendship

I realized that I have not posted any quotes on here recently, so here goes:

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.”

– G. Randolf

I find this quote to be incredibly relevant to my life right now as I finish college and look to a future job and living location.  I have been reconnecting with old friends and making new friends, some of whom I most certainly hope to keep well into the future.  This complicates my life decision regarding living location/job but I have to trust that my memories will always remain and the relationships will continue to be built, regardless of geographic proximity.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Ranked No. 48

Fortune Magazine just released its list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, ahead of the February 7 issue which focuses on the list.  Not surprisingly, Build-A-Bear Workshop is on the list.  It also had huge growth on the list, moving from No. 80 in 2010 to No. 48 in 2011.  That is a huge jump!

Here is what Fortune said about BABW.  And be sure to check out the entire list.

Rank: 48 (Previous rank: 80)

What makes it so great?
Warm-and-fuzzy culture may overuse puns (“Reach Fur the Stars” and “CollaBEARate”), but it gives part-time store workers health, dental, and vision benefits, while HQ staff enjoy on-site yoga and Zumba workout classes.

Headquarters:
World Bearquarters

1954 Innerbelt Business Center Drive
St. Louis, MO 63114

2009 revenue ($ millions): 394
Website: www.buildabear.com

 

Trying to Embody the Dream

Even my friends who sometimes seem unwilling to challenge notions of racism and discrimination have an understanding that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man.  His legacy has transformed the United States – and we still have so much further to go.

I am trying, on a daily basis, to do my part to embody Dr. King’s Dream.  Below, you will find the text of his 1963 speech and a video of the same.  I encourage you to take just a little time today to read or watch the speech or something else produced by Dr. King.  Martin Luther King Day should not be viewed only as a celebration, but as a challenge, as a call to action.  I hope to do my part.  Will you?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” Speech

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!