Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Secret Millionaire

In the spirit of my last post, I would like to add a show that I feel is very much worth watching. There is a new "Reality TV" show called "The Secret Millionaire". It goes right in line with "Home Makeover: Extreme Edition." The premise is that a millionaire will put himself in someone else's shoes for 1 week. He/she is not allowed to disclose their identity, but must find someone to whom he/she can give away at least $100,000 of their own money. The first episode was quite touching and taught the millionaires some great lessons and helped 3 different groups of people get back on their feet. Of course, it would be awesome if we could go back and see how these groups have done in a year or so, but for now it is a great mental and temporal boost to them. If you would like to see this show you can watch it online at: http://www.hulu.com/secret-millionaire.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From Commandments to TV

What would the world be like if we were to just follow the 10 commandments? Could you imagine a world in which we didn’t covet our neighbor’s wife? That would eliminate about 90% of TV. And another 9% would be removed if we lived the part about “Thou shalt not kill.” But what would we do with our time if there wasn’t TV? What if we put our TV shows to the test. There are suppose to be bad guys, so we will let them sin. They can break all of the commandments, since that is what Satan does, we can allow Satan to do the same thing on our TV shows. However, the catch is that the good guys have to follow the commandments. Are there any TV shows out there where the only “bad” material is from the “bad” guys? I won’t mention my two favorite shows, but I am no longer able to watch them, because the “good” guys break most of the commandments, not to mention what the “bad” guys do.

Is this complicated? Of course not? But we sure try to justify ourselves in our sins. We want to watch the TV show, so instead of saying, “this isn’t a good show, I am not going to watch it.” We say, “Well, it isn’t that bad, and the plot is really good, and the graphics are amazing, and I really like the actor and the director.” And worse is, “What else am I going to do? This is the best thing on right now.” How about instead of polluting our minds with the trash, we actually follow the command of loving our neighbor as ourselves and we get out there and serve? We don’t even have to get outside to find someone to serve, we can start with our own families. Aren’t they our neighbors too?

Monday, May 19, 2008

In the beginning...1st Commandment?

So this is going to end up being a collage of various thoughts, but at least I am writing something down instead of skipping so many days as I have in the past:
What matters most? What has God commanded us to do? I think we need to return to the Garden of Eden when God first created man:
26 ¶ And God said, Let aus bmake cman in our dimage, after our elikeness: and let them have fdominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own aimage, in the image of God created he him; male and bfemale created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be afruitful, and bmultiply, and creplenish the dearth, and subdue it: and have edominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 ¶ And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for ameat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for ameat: and it was so. (Genesis 1)
In verse 28 God said unto Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Really we should break these up a little:
“Be fruitful”: Check out the footnote on this topic: “TG Children”. So, let’s look up the dictionary definition:
producing good results; beneficial; profitable: fruitful investigations.

abounding in fruit, as trees or other plants; bearing fruit abundantly.

producing an abundant growth, as of fruit: fruitful soil; fruitful rain.

I find it interesting that God used the word fruitful when he has just planted a garden and it about to give a commandment regarding taking care of the garden. He commands Adam and Eve first to “Be fruitful.” Could he have said, “Be like this garden, and multiply yourselves in abundance, then protect and take care of your children as you are commanded to do with this garden and the fruit thereof?”
I also like this “usage” piece at the end of the definition of “fruitful” at dictionary.com:
“Usage: Fertile implies the inherent power of production; fruitful, the act. The prairies of the West are fertile by nature, and are turned by cultivation into fruitful fields. The same distinction prevails when these words are used figuratively. A man of fertile genius has by nature great readiness of invention; one whose mind is fruitful has resources of thought and a readiness of application which enable him to think and act effectively.”
What excites me? “A man of fertile genius” are we men of “fertile genius”? Hopefully we look for opportunities to improve our minds to have fertile genius.
“Multiply”: Much of what will be discussed here is be in English because, well, that is the language that I speak most fluently, and in the English King James Version of the Bible, we see “Be fruitful, (comma) and multiply, (comma). “ So, let’s take a look quickly at multiply:
to make many or manifold; increase the number, quantity, etc., of.

Arithmetic. to find the product of by multiplication.

to breed (animals).

to propagate (plants).

to increase by procreation.
–verb (used without object)
to grow in number, quantity, etc.; increase.

Arithmetic. to perform the process of multiplication.

to increase in number by procreation or natural generation.

Based on the definition above, God is definitely giving a command of procreation. Let’s add a side note that if we are “fruitful” in our minds than we should “make many” our “fertile genius” which means that we should actually think!
BTW the footnote for multiply is: “TG Birth Control. TG Marriage, Fatherhood. TG Marriage, Motherhood.”
“Replenish the earth”: My immediate thought goes along with the footnote which reads: “HEB fill; see same word in v. 22. 1 Ne. 17:36 “Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it.”
Ok, I have two conflicting thoughts on this:
1. Ha! All you environmentalists listen up, the Lord has said that we should “possess” the earth and it should be “inhabited”. Shakespeare said, “The world must be peopled.” Also, D&C 104:17 “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.”
2. The Lord has asked us to “replenish” which means
a. to make full or complete again, as by supplying what is lacking, used up, etc.: to replenish one's stock of food.
b. to supply (a fire, stove, etc.) with fresh fuel.
c. to fill again or anew.
So, this means that we need to supply the earth with “fresh fuel” or replace that which we have taken. So, we can “use” what we need, but we also need to “make full or complete again” that which we have taken. If we “supply what is lacking” then we must provide water where there is no water, and plants where there are no plants, and animals where we have killed the animals etc. Therefore, I believe that we can build our high rises, and highways, and temples etc. but at the same time, we must plant additional trees, and provide homes for the homeless animals, and water and food for the environments which we have caused damage. I really can’t believe that I just said that, but that is what I am getting out of these passages of scripture.

“and subdue it”: The “it” refers to the “earth”. We must “subdue” the “earth”. Definitely need some help with “subdue”:
to conquer and bring into subjection: Rome subdued Gaul.

to overpower by superior force; overcome.

to bring under mental or emotional control, as by persuasion or intimidation; render submissive.

to repress (feelings, impulses, etc.).

to bring (land) under cultivation: to subdue the wilderness.

to reduce the intensity, force, or vividness of (sound, light, color, etc.); tone down; soften.

to allay (inflammation, infection, etc.).

Ok, this is going to bring out some interesting thoughts:
We are to subdue the earth. Can you even accomplish planting a garden? How about a 6 foot by 6 foot garden? What about a fruit tree? Can you even get a flower to make it through the season? Hmm..Well, it looks like this commandment may be harder than procreation, and definitely doesn’t come with the perks.
“To overpower by superior force.” Wow! We are to “subdue” the earth which brings with it, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, tropical storms, fires, etc? Hmm… Maybe what was meant by this is “to bring (land) under cultivation: to subdue the wilderness.” I don’t know the answer yet to this question, but it definitely brings into question if you are a purest (translation wise) or if you believe that the word can be used in various ways. That leaves some food for thought. (Speaking of fruit.)

Could we say that the “1st commandment” is really 4 separate and very real commandments?
1. Be fruitful. (Think)
2. Multiply. (Have kids)
3. Replenish the earth. (Garden)
4. Subdue it (the earth). (Overcome the elements and challenges of the earth.)
Well, it is an interesting place to start on a long journey…

Friday, February 22, 2008

Customer Service (Target vs. Wal-Mart)

I fully realize that my opinion of customer service is based on my own experiences and therefore only reflect my paradigm which may be completely false for the rest of the world, but it is my experience and therefore I can share my own opinion right?
I have a biased against Target. My wife and I had a bad experience with them with our Wedding Registry and since then we have avoided them when possible. However, we purchased a water softener that uses Potassium and the only place we have been able to find this Potassium is at Target and therefore I bought a year's supply one year ago and have not been back for Potassium since. About 2 weeks ago I returned to Target to make a purchase of an additional year's supply but was informed they were out of stock. This was ok since it is only a few minutes away from the in-laws and I was on my way there anyway. I was NOT informed that they did not carry Potassium anymore and so I decided I would just come back in 2 weeks or so and pick it up then.
Yesterday I decided I would call and make sure they had some in stock before I drove there even though once again I was on my way to the in-laws and found it an opportune time to stop. I called when I was 12 minutes away from the store so I would have time to head directly to the in-laws if their stock was depleted. First annoyance, as my wife later pointed out, was the automated system I had to navigate in order to speak to a human being. I did make it through this system, (by the way, if you want to speed things up, just hit 0 before anyone starts talking and you will be transferred to a real human being without listening to the 4 options they have) and was told to hold by the operator. And I did hold my cell phone while I was driving with a tighter and tighter grip as I became more and more frustrated at the time it was taking for someone to answer the phone. I was then greeted again, by the same operator, and she told me to hold and she would get someone. This was repeated about 4 times. I was approaching my exit and the fork in the road where I would have to decide if I was going to Target or to the in-laws. I decided this would be a great opportunity to make a point and I decided to drive to Target and check for myself if they had Potassium. I would stay on the phone while I checked myself, then I would check out all while on hold with the operator. My evil plan of revenge (not sure how this would actually be revenge, but you know how you don't think rationally when you are angry) was working as I pulled up to Target and parked my car. I was making it inside the store when I heard, "Service call would someone please help on line..." I laughed as I thought that was for me! Yes, I just heard over the PA system someone asking for help on the phone. I walked up to the area in the front of the store where the 40lb. bags of Potassium should be deposited and noticed right away they were not in stock, however, at this same moment, I noticed someone speaking in my ear, "How may I help you?" I asked if they had Potassium in stock and I noticed the man on the phone start to walk towards the section where the Potassium should have been located. I looked right at him and continued the conversation and he looked back at me noticing that I was the same person that was on the phone. We did hang up and spoke in person at the front of the store.
It took 12 minutes and 11 seconds on the phone to get a response. No, they do not carry Potassium anymore and neither did their Fort Union store. I thanked whoever it was that I was speaking to for his help since he was very friendly and left with a little smirk on my face thinking that this man had no idea what I had just been through. Should I have shared this with him? Maybe, but it wouldn't have helped me with the lack of Potassium and they wouldn't change anything to help me or anyone else next time so I decided that 12 minutes and 11 seconds was enough time wasted at Target that day.
But, I also thought it would be interesting to call Wal-Mart immediately and see what I would find there. So, I called before I even had left Target. As I was walking out the door of Target I called Wal-Mart. I was greeted warmly by a human being. When I asked her about Potassium she said she had no idea and wondered how she would even find out. I thought to myself, "Well, there goes that, Wal-Mart and Target suck!" But she pulled out the surprise with, "Let me get a manager." Well, that is fine, but I really didn't want to spend another 12 minutes on hold. Again, I was pleasantly surprised when a manager within a few seconds had picked up and asked how he could help me. I asked him about the Potassium and he quickly explained that they did not carry it but did carry salt. I thanked him and was off the phone in 1 minute and 24 seconds total and before I was even able to get in to my car and leave the Target parking lot.
I understand completely that this comes from my own bias. I understand that this was a one time proof of the customer service provided between one store and another, but you can be assured that I will be choosing Wal-Mart over Target as often as I can.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

First Post

Here is my first attempt at "blogging." I plan on using this blog to express my opinions (I am very opinionated), predictions (How many times do we say, "I knew that would happen" but we can't prove anything, nor did we write it down?), and other thoughts. I don't mind feedback on this block, but I will remove any feedback that has not basis or causes the reader to be "stupider" by having read it. Many posts will be a "work in progress" and could easily be modified or opinions changed at any time. Especially if others have input then opinions could be changed by the author. I only ask that those who read and post have an open mind to change as none of us know everything nor are we perfect.