Framing the Dialogue

Random Thoughts

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. 

Funeral For A Friend

As I get older I seem to have more and more opportunities to attend funerals.  I never liked funerals; no one LIKES funerals and I avoided them as much as possible, however,  I just returned from a funeral for someone that I never knew or even saw.  It was for my daughter’s friend’s grandmother.  The last time I saw this young lady was only about a month ago as she and my daughter celebrated their sixteenth birthdays at our house with around thirty of their friends.  Quite an emotional contrast.

I Miss

I started a new job in January.  I didn’t have a lot of options at that time so I accepted a job where I have a 60 minute commute each way, longer hours, poorer benefits (but better than unemployment), longer hours, mountains of stress, a thankless workload, longer hours, oh and longer hours. 

Driving home tonight at 7:30 pm I noticed this bumper sticker on the car in front of me at a stop light.  It took a few seconds for the message to register, but it gave me a chuckle. 

I’m A Cart Watcher

A hobby that I have developed is cart watching.  When we Costco shop we generally have lunch and I love to watch what other people buy.  A friend of mine calls it the 200 club because that is about what it costs to get out of the store.  I recently spoke to the local manager on a busy Saturday and he told me that their revenue averages around a half million dollars on a typical Saturday.  It is amazing how fast you can get to a hundred or even two hundred dollars. 

Entitlement

The City of Pittsburgh generally lands in the top ten when a list of “the most livable cities” is created.  In the most recent poll by Forbes, Pittsburgh landed in the tenth spot.  Having lived here I cannot think of a better place to live and raise a family.  My wife and I did decide to move out of the city, however, for two primary reasons; Pittsburgh’s excessive taxes and poor schools. 

It is an interesting contrast to be one of the top ten most livable communities while the City is in receivership because they spend too much money and the schools are poor.  Pittsburgh is, however, blessed by having great universities, phenomenal health care facilities, great cultural amenities, and world champion sports teams.

Spring Road Trip

This morning I got an early start (around 7:30 am) for a road trip and got home around 8:00 pm.  As you may have guessed it wasn’t really a pleasure trip even though it was a bright and sunny day.  Round trip was around 500 miles traveling 4.5 hours each way for a 2 hour meeting.  Sigh.  My trip started in Pennsylvania took me into West Virginia to Ohio then back to West Virginia and then to Ohio and back to West Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia and finally home to Pennsylvania.  This poor soul got nailed in PA. 

A few observations:

That Guy

If you have worked anywhere you have probably run into that guy (or girl) sometime in your career.  Terry was the name (name changed to protect the innocent) of “that guy” at one of my recent jobs.  I would describe him as young, well dressed, very good looking, very personable, great to talk to, funny, a good listener, and someone everybody likes.  Terry started in our sales department. 

Talk To The Hand

Even before I reached my advanced age I was a list maker.  Whether it be a shopping list, task list or the every present Honey-Do list there is usually one in my pocket.  My obsession (or organization skill) is to the point where I will actually add a task to a work list after I have completed it.  The task did not have to be on my original list.  I just like to cross items off of my lists.