Framing the Dialogue

Random Thoughts

Today’s Hottest Jobs

Kiplinger writers Martha Craver and Michael DeSenne have done the impossible and uncovered 10 hot jobs in an era of high unemployment. Even more unlikely one of the professions, and number four no less, is my profession. The “jobs” are ranked by the number of job seekers for every position open environmental engineers only have 1.15 active job seekers per opening according to Kiplinger. I was happy to see the 10-year growth projection at 31 percent though I don’t see a move to another employer in my future.

Cradle to Grave

My son recently bought a new bed. You’ll have to bear with me on this one, but I was thinking about that and its implications about growth and where we sleep or more importantly what we sleep on. He has lived on his own for years now, but still used his single bed much as he has since he was probably two years old. His move up to a double bed seemed like a life step. I know it’s just a bed, but think about what we sleep on.

Update 1 – Fat, Drunk, and Stupid

This is the second year in a row that my wife convinced me to go somewhere that I really didn’t want to go and it again involved the group Train.  This time instead of the opening act for John Mayer, Train played after a Pittsburgh Pirate home game against the San Diego Padres.  The Pirates had been fairly hot and recently even had first place in the division.  I have never really been a big baseball fan, but I do enjoy going to the ballpark.  I should say used to as it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a game.  It may stem, at least partially, from the fact that I had a brief stint as one of poor souls who cleaned up after ball games.  I was in high school and I think I lasted two or three home stands.  If I close my eyes I can still conjure up the odor of stale beer, peanut shells, and damp popcorn.  Brrrrrrrr.

Liberty Quotes

What better way to celebrate the Independence of the United States than a collection of quotes from some of the great minds that contributed to our country’s history…

“Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. Happy Fourth of July.”

End of the World Commencement

We recently had the good fortune of attending the graduation ceremony for our oldest as he moves from university life to working life. This is even more gratifying for him as he has secured gainful employment in a field that he loves. Congratulations Kevin!

The ceremony was full of pomp and circumstance befitting the achievements of the now former students. Professors in robes, loud trumpets blared, and around 250 graduated in their blue cap and gowns. Speeches were made and diplomas (really just place holders until the real ones are mailed this week) were handed out. The university is a Catholic school and I would say fairly conservative for a college these days and this was the graduation from only the business school which, in general, is even a little more conservative.

Re: Treads

Money is a little tight, but my car needed new tires.  Even though I made it through the winter in decent shape I was always concerned that I’d lose one of my tires at an inopportune moment.  I am not sure what an opportune moment would be to lose a tire…perhaps if one blows just as you pull into the bay at a tire dealership.  There are a lot of options and you can pay as little as $75 per tire to well in the hundreds of dollars.  I really wanted to fall between the two and closer to the lower end.  The problem then is that I’d be doing this again in two years.  Tires just don’t last like they used to. 

PC Guide to Holidays

As the Easter holiday (Holy Day) approaches there are stories about how secularists are attempting to “PC” the holiday. Perhaps the saddest story was a Seattle school that reportedly diminished an Easter egg hunt by renaming the eggs as “Spring Spheres.” Spring Spheres! How silly is this? Can there be any holiday symbol more secular than a rabbit that somehow lays colorful eggs filled with candy? I just don’t see any connection between the bunny and either Passover or Jesus dying on the cross. Another thing that bugged me was the whole “sphere” label. Perhaps calling an egg-shaped object a “sphere” is illustrative of the decline of our public learning institutions. It should have been called a “Spring Ovoid.” I’m just saying!

Sticker Shock

So I’m driving through a more “liberal” neighborhood in Pittsburgh last Saturday and was not surprised to be following a boxy car covered with bumper stickers.  Surprisingly the car was not a Subaru Forester.  I first noticed the “coexist” sticker on the top center of the rear window.  I probably saw thirty of these that day during my travels.  The crescent always looks to me like a PacMan-like character ready to consume the other symbols (religions).  Perhaps that is an accurate symbolism.  As we wove through a somewhat rainy morning (hence the somewhat fuzzy photo – sorry about that) I got a chance to get a closer look at this driver’s array.  I started to laugh as I noticed two of the stickers were shockingly contradictory (I’ve enlarged them for you). 

Great Balls of Fire

One of the facts that stuck with me most when I first read Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything was the shear number of occurrences that could annihilate our life on Earth. None were more surprising than the fact that there was a volcano under Yellowstone National Park…in fact Yellowstone is a volcano. A recent article suggests that the Yellowstone Supervolcano may be even larger than original estimates. The bigger the volcano the bigger the effect WHEN it blows again. The article also provided some historical perspective:

Roadside Entrepreneurship

We spent a fair amount of time this summer traveling to visit family.  On the route we take to visit my in-laws in Maryland I had really noticed the number of folks who look to attract drivers to their businesses.  There have always been the standard yard or garage sales and roadside produce stands, but there seemed to more, both in number and variety of entrepreneurial ventures…hence the title of this post.  This will kind of be a lazy post as it features a lot of pictures and fewer words.  I know that you probably had a long week and don’t want to read a lot.