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Friday, April 27, 2018

There's a Battle for Good Information

In my nerdier days...ok ok....I've never quite shook off that wonderfully geeky tendency of mine.
Truth be told...I love information...but only accurate information.

One would have assumed that with the net and tv and smart phones, that we would be getting bombarded with all manner of top notch quality data at our fingertips.

But it appears that good quality information is at a higher cost now than ever before.
If you want  good information from a newspaper, you need to pay for a high priced subscription, which may or may not be available for home delivery.

Why does everyone hate paper so much???
 Or is it just a conspiracy to keep good data out of the hands of the every day man or woman like me?

When I try to get good reads from CNN.com or CTV.ca  I see lots of photos and click bait.
What am I .....10 years old? I still visit these sites hoping that someday I will be able to read a thoughtful two page essay on the current state of affairs, and again and again I find myself clicking on links to view the latest pop culture crap and yet another trendy way we can lose weight in 30 days without trying.

Nope I'm ready for the real McCoy, the real news....not that I really understood the whole
"fake news" phenomenon.

Perhaps the real difference between "fake news" and "real news" is merely the price that we are willing to pay. The free websites propagate fake news because that is all they can afford to publish. They don't necessarily want to pay fact checkers to verify each story before they run it, because the news blurbs flow at lightening speed. They don't want to publish anything too shocking about the big wigs because they don't want to get sued. So they stick with beige. Beige fake news click bait. Who has time for checking facts and accuracy, when folks just want to "feel" like they are " in the know"? and few can tell the difference between a real honest story and a frilly fluffy piece of nonsense?

I must admit that we as a society are partially to blame. Perhaps we never should have cancelled our old fashioned "throw it at the front door" style of newspaper subscriptions. Maybe we never should have preferred glimpsing briefly at flashy colorful headlines with two paragraph pseudo stories.

We should have preferred the thoughtful "takes a while to learn to understand it" style of journalistic meat instead of the visual cupcake. We should have been willing to pay a higher price for the higher value now put on all things "paper".

The switch to all things digital is leaving a bigger gap between the haves and the have nots. The haves pay for the right to access good data. The rest of humanity...the "have nots" click feverishly to  access the free garbage been poured out on the free websites...and we are reaping the
mental starvation from eating this low quality mental fast food.

Maybe they should figure out how to print newspapers on bamboo pulp paper or rice paper....maybe it could become trendy again to disseminate the same data to all of our front doors ....with the same high quality, high level of thinking style journalism. And those who can't digest the real stuff, can just go watch cartoons.



Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sorry to hear that He is gone...

Sorry to hear that Avicii is passed on...what an artist.
Thank you Tim Bergling for giving us such exuberant joie de vivre in your music. It was contagious.
All we can say is thank you, and thank you God for allowing him to blossom ever so briefly in our little world.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

That Pup was Planted

God has a mischievous twinkle in his eye sometimes...I am convinced. It has been a hard couple of weeks because our city has been deluged with snow and slush and ice and it's already April 18 2018. One would think I could have started raking up the spring time grass buds...but winter's icy grip has been taunting us and maligning our trust in the Almighty.

I had to go to the eyeglasses place because they forgot to give my husband the lens cleaning cloth with his fancy glasses. Rather than mock him for being high maintenance...I acquiesced and after running other errands, drove on over to the shop to pick up that tiny cloth.

Lo and behold there was a furry mobster waiting for me there. A curious little white ball of fur tucked up into the grinning arms of its new owners. Instantly sidetracked...I made a beeline for the furry thing propped up comfortably in its human nest. I found myself asking unabashedly of its owners....if I could see him/her. The gracious lady not only said I could see the pup which turned out to be a her, but she insisted saying "so that I could get the full experience"...wanting me to hold her in my arms. And so I did. Oh...it doesn't take much time of holding a tiny fluff ball of a puppy to make my day... and so it twas.  A furry glimpse of God's grace in the midst of too much snow and ice.

The snow has begun to melt....on my driveway and in my heart.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

J'ai besoin de ton Avis

I finally found out what that means....it was a phrase that has been kicking around in my soul for months...on the wisp of the wind in French no less..... I have a very simple functionality in the French language, and so sometimes I will think in French. And so it was this phrase that has been circling my mind for the past few months....

"J'ai besoin de ton Avis".

And now today I finally realized what it means:

 "I need your opinion".

One of my pastors  ( yes...I need more than one...) has a wonderful habit of bringing the "Christian" life down to our earthly level so that we mere plain vanilla church attenders can actually fathom what it means to try to be a Christian in our real daily dusty lives.

He has a habit of not painting things in black and white, but rather a million different splendiferous colors, not assuming anything about people's basic goodness or the lack thereof, never show boating the success of his ministry and doing what he can to enable our ability to serve God here and now in our community. To say his ministry is refreshing would be an epic understatement.

And so, in some mystical fashion, I hear the cry of my own heart and those of other Christians around me crying out to God ...and the plea is simply this....this simple quiet prayer in the dark sent up to heaven..... "I need your opinion".

God, I need your opinion....desperately....urgently, kindly and persistently. Please listen to me God, I need to know that you are hearing me, hearing my heart, hearing my life...
thank you God for listening. Phewph! I feel that you are listening now. I feel that you can hear me now. Thank you for loving me. For loving us, this 'thing' they call the Body of Christ, with all it's
frenetic and occasionally peaceful motion. You love us. You hear us. Amen.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

How Do You Look At Equities?

Just curious....how do you look at investing in equities?

Folks say all kinds of interesting comments when you bring up the subject of investing or saving.....Here are a few unique comments...perhaps you have heard some of them?

"Oh Vey! the Stock market is like gambling....too risky....btw...where is the nearest convenience store because I forgot to buy my lottery tickets ..."

"I prefer to invest in funds that carry a large diversified basket of equities so that I can sleep at night knowing that I am not betting all my eggs on one chicken"

"Investing is for men....so I'll just leave that stuff for the hubby to take care of...."

"Equities only represent perceived value....so I'd rather put my money into solid things that I can hold in my hands.....like gold bullion or real estate."

"I don't understand the tax system, so I'd rather not use banks, and just hide my money in my sock drawer.....the same way Uncle Buck did back in his day..."

"Reading about investing is boring....I don't want to read anything nonfiction....because it just reminds me of school."

"I don't invest in anything because I feel like the world is going to hell, so I might as well just spend everything that I earn and enjoy every day as if it is my last"

"I might be dead by the time I reach retirement age, so I don't think I will save anything for retirement".

"Those investment professionals that handle my retirement account surely know what they are doing....at least they seem to...based on their fancy logo, luxurious office building and those glossy pamphlets they send to me once in a while. Surely they won't squander my wealth with they? Btw...what does -8% mean in average return?"

"I cancelled my life insurance policy because I believe that Jesus is coming back very soon, so I know that my family and I won't need those funds in the near future..."

Ok, enough sample comments for now. But perhaps you have heard or spoken some similar sentiments at one point in your life. Money brings out the crucial issues of life and many folks just prefer  a polite silence when it comes to all things financial. Being too excessively secretive inhibits frank discussion and squelches learning. Remember that bible verse about "iron sharpens iron" ? We sharpen each other's ideas when we are ready and willing to speak and listen to one another. We speak together, we listen together, we learn together....and finally yes, we grow together.
Yes, be careful who you speak to and who you listen to....but don't give up on the positive influence of good healthy discussion and frank conversation.

Public and college libraries and book stores are well supplied with many volumes of books that can help us all boost our financial acumen, not to mention the over abundance of learning tools available in the cloud.

I hope you find that the abundance of available information isn't overwhelming. Feel empowered.

Be curious. Find your answers....


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Stay Focused with this kind of Instrumental track....

When you are trying to concentrate it can be REALLY helpful to have background music that has no one singing or even talking in it.... Therefore I really do recommend the above background instrumental music. A powerful restful background track for a busy life.