Category Archives: Think

Summer Reading Lists

As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July and look forward to the summer to come there are suggested books for us to put on our individual reading lists. There are suggestions for every type of reader, those who want to escape the worries of everyday life with some great fiction. Those who want to come to the end of the summer having learned something new. For students, getting a head start on next years classes by doing some reading in advance and get a head start on the fall semester. So many really good books you have to be selective but where to start.

Here is a great suggestion from MentalFloss, “13 Essential Summer Reads“, from book critics in 1852! The books were recommended reading from the New York Times and they are all available now online. This is another list I couldn’t resist and have started reading through it.

Although the article in MentalFloss makes light of many of the books, I am enjoying them as they give a glimpse of real people and real observations of the time. We can snobbishly feel superior as the article’s author seems to enjoy, or try to place ourselves, relaxing on a front porch in 1852 and try to imagine what it would have been like living in the middle of the 1800’s. “My First Visit To Europe” by Andrew Dickenson gives an entertaining look at what Mr. Dickenson saw and experienced in his travels.

Another list comes from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, yes the legendary basketball player, gives his recommendations for adults who might find Young Adult books interesting. I think he is the former UCLA and LA Lakers star, his by-line in the OC Register has his name misspelled but that is a subject for another post. He points out that 55% of YA titles are bought by people over the age of 18. I am adding a couple of titles that sound promising to my list already. His preview of “Slave Day” and “Au Revoir , Crazy European Chick” have made both books part of my 2014 summer reading.

What’s on your list?


Tony Gwynn’s Death Makes Addison Reed Think, Stops Using Smokeless Tobacco

Tony Gwynn, one of the great pure hitters in Major League Baseball history, lost his battle with cancer last week. The cancer, he says, was the result of years of chewing tobacco, a practice that has been part of baseball since it’s very beginning. MLB has been discouraging the use of smokeless tobacco for years because it is known to increase the chance of cancer. And while the use by players has been in decline there are many who haven’t been able to kick the habit. Addison Reed of the Cincinnati Reds was one of those who kept telling himself he would quit, soon. The slap to the head for him came with Gwynn’s passing, it finally brought home the reality of what could happen because of his habit.

First Think, Then Think Again. Easy enough to say but the reality is we don’t usually do the hard work of thinking through issues. We shortcut the process to come to the conclusion we want to reach regardless of how the facts stack up in an argument. Then there is the problem of actually going through the process of analyzing a situation, really trying but in the end making the wrong decision. If you read the articles I have linked you will see that there is nothing new here, just guys who have made a decision and nothing that is said can change their behavior until an event becomes the trigger that makes change possible for them. That trigger for some is the birth of a child, a death such as Gwynn’s or even a dream.


This isn’t a screed against the use of smokeless tobacco, unlike the editorial board of the Modesto Bee which wrote that, “We MUST Snuff Out Smokeless Tobacco Use“. They call this a teachable moment which it is, and hopefully will open more eyes and save others from the suffering from cancer that can be a result of a nasty habit. Of course it is a legal product and untold numbers of people have dipped and enjoyed it from childhood without becoming a cancer victim. We are all different and what makes me happy may not do anything for you. Obviously I am a little “prissy” for others, I watch an outfielder chewing and spitting all game long and the chance of him succumbing to cancer doesn’t bother me as much as the idea of the other outfielder having to make a head long dive for a screaming line drive and winding up getting tobacco juice, spit, on him. That is plain nasty.

Many of us suffer from bad habits and just don’t have the necessary motivation or will power to escape. Many of us have bad habits and thoroughly enjoy every moment of them despite any negative consequences. The power of thought is amazing, we can convince ourselves what is good is bad, and what is bad is good and leave me alone it is of your business what I like to do. It is never easy to make others do the right thing even though I know very well what you need to be doing. However, culture can be changed to advance public health, is the conclusion of Robin Silverstein of the University of Minnesota in her great presentation, Smokeless Tobacco and Baseball.

Rest in peace, Tony Gwynn and condolences to your family. May your story be the trigger that helps others possibly avoid something so avoidable.

Around The World From Paramount California, The Zamboni Ice Resurfacing Machine

Just another American success story about how far hard work and a little Thinking can take a person. This is the story of Frank Zamboni and his brother Lawrence and cousin Pete. For hockey fans the name Zamboni will probably be recognized for Frank invented the Zamboni Ice Resurfacing machine that is seen between periods at 25 National Hockey League arenas. Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of Frank’s filing for a patent for THE ZAMBONI. He built his first machines using Army surplus Jeep parts and that continued until 1965 when the HD series was the first to be produced not using surplus Jeep parts.

Moving to southern California from the family farm in Idaho, Frank and his brother opened an ice manufacturing plant in the 1930’s. Then as refrigeration started to lessen the demand for block ice, the brothers along with cousin Pete opened ICELAND, an ice skating  rink in Paramount. The development of the ice rink saw several setbacks as did the creation of the ice-resurfacing machine. But with Frank’s inventiveness the road blocks were mere bumps in the road to a lifetime of success.

By his death in 1988, Frank held 15 patents. Besides four patents for ice-resurfacing equipment he patented the “Vault Carrier” to lift and carry cement burial vaults, “The Grasshopper”, which rolls up artificial turf, “The Black Widow” which fills in dirt on top of cemetery vaults and  “Astro Zamboni” which vacuums water off of artificial turf.

Inventors have a history of never giving up, they Think, Then Think Again. Eventually getting it right. More than 10,000 Zambonis have been delivered to date and the ice-skating rink in Paramount California is nearing its 75th anniversary.

The people who made America great.

Here is a YouTube tribute to The Zamboni

Democrats Propose Voting On The Internet In Their Primaries

Think, Then Think Again. Going slow may be a really good idea with this proposal from the Democrats. As with earlier posts about technology getting out in front of our ability to manage it, this idea is fraught with danger. But Democrats always take the position that making voting easy is the fair thing to do no matter that it opens up the possibility for even more voter fraud and therefore less democratic elections than we already have.

Oh, yes they say voter fraud is nearly non-existent so no one should even mention it anyway.

The Republicans of course are going to have to look at the idea for their own primaries or risk being left behind the technology curve.

The story reported by FOX NEWS . Once again the lazy among us drives politicians to make life easier. But not necessarily better.

Businesses Held Hostage By Internet Blackmailers

The power of the internet in this, the Information Age, is being used and abused. A couple of stories points out problems that have people searching for solutions while too many of us don’t have a clue about what is going on. This report in THE TELEGRAPH is about the abuse of the website TripAdvisor by what some business owners are calling blackmailers. The blackmailers demand special treatment at hotels and restaurants by threatening to post bad reviews on TripAdvisor.

A sane person who has read reviews from the great unwashed masses for anything from hotels, restaurants, books, you name it, knows that it is dangerous to listen to people you don’t know, talking about things they may or may not know anything about. Or, they may actually have an agenda to boost or tear down something. That leads us to democracy for the stupid, in the words of Alex Proud writing in THE TELEGRAPH about the death of the professional critic at the hands of amateurs who usually seem like an angry mob.

The aggrieved aren’t taking it without a fight however. And it becomes a fight over free speech for some. There is this situation reported on by NATIONAL JOURNAL, that is spiraling out of control over a negative review on Amazon. An unhappy customer posted a negative review of a router he had purchased and wasn’t happy with. That company has threatened to sue the man who posted the review. Now Amazon has revoked the company’s seller account. The company, Mediabridge, is now unable to sell on Amazon which means there will likely be people losing their jobs.

The power of the internet is out of control.