I will not lie for you

Blu e-cigarette adIt is amazing to think that electronic cigarettes will allow you to take your freedom back. Nicotine addiction is a prison, of sorts. Yes, e-cigarettes will allow you to smoke in public (though that is being debated). They will allow you to have freedom from the poisons of tar and some of the other harmful toxins in tobacco smoke. But are they a path to freedom? I don’t think so.

I’m not here to tell you that tobacco is evil. I know it brings pleasure — and yet it kills you. My coffee each morning is laced with a minor toxin, caffeine. And since my mother and several of her brothers died from heart diseases, if I were only concerned about my health, I would kick that habit. Alas, I choose pleasure.

What I am here to say is that if I have a choice, I will not spend my hours marketing something that I could not sell to a friend. I also know that not everyone has the luxury of choosing how they spend their working hours. And I do not condemn those who spend their hours working on something they don’t totally believe in. As a friend said a long time ago, “Why do you think they call it work?”

If you are curious, I do spend my working hours on stuff I believe in. And I definitely consider that to be a privilege.

(And the title of this post was inspired by a song by James Taylor.)

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Save some energy

IKEA bulbYou should switch bulbs. If you are using incandescent light bulbs in your house, it’s worth your time and energy to switch them over to LED bulbs.

IKEA has a basic bulb that costs just $4.49.* It puts out a little less light than a 60 watt bulb, so it’s not the solution to all your lighting needs. But it will work in many applications.

Some complain that the color temperature of LED bulbs is not as warm or natural as that of incandescent bulbs. In reality, LED bulbs are available with outputs across the color spectrum. You may have to pay more — the IKEA bulb I’m trying to get you to buy is available in just one temperature.

The biggest reason to switch is that you will save a lot of energy. LED bulbs use about 85% less energy than similar incandescents. A second reason is that changing bulbs will become a distant memory. LED bulbs often last 10 years or more.

If $4.49 per bulb adds up to a big expense for your whole house, just buy one at a time. You can switch out all your bulbs over the course of a few years.

Enjoy a lower energy bill starting right away!

* UK residents — the equivalent bulb costs £7. Alas.

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Car fun

BMW i3Two of my kids recently joined me for a fun day at the Denver Auto Show. Even though Rachel may not be considered a typical car fan, she loved our time together. Part of the appeal for her was free promotional stuff. Car2Go gave her lip balm, Scion provided headphones, and we shared the Visa gift card I got for test driving a new Lincoln crossover. (I was surprised at how much I liked the small SUV.)

We enjoyed pushing buttons and seeing and feeling the design of cars I had only experienced through magazines and websites. There is a lot to be said for real life compared to photos. Even though Ben disagreed with me, Jaguar’s interiors seemed to have no where near the quality compared to BMW or Mercedes. And Maserati’s rich design details showed a depth of emotion that German cars can’t touch. Though owning such cars will never be part of my life, I appreciate the beauty and technology they represent. (The photo shown is the BMW i3, a new electric car. BMW was kind enough to let the public experience the interior, though the car is not yet for sale.)

So go to the nearest car show. Even if you’re not a “car person,” you might enjoy a no-pressure test drive of a car you would never buy.

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Sketches from Church

This is a guest post by Chris Thomas, for your enjoy­ment. (Thanks Chris!)

A sketch by my friend ArturoI was not planning on going to church today. I was instead going to do my taxes. You know, “Give to Caeser…” and all that business, so skipping seemed biblically justified. But I needed to get a DVD from church, so I texted my friend, Arturo, to ask if he could pick it up for me. He texted back, “Sure,” and then proceeded to send me photos “live” from the first service. I thought it was funny that he was not only texting in church, but also taking candid photos.

Just as I was thinking that this was a new medium for him — he’s usually drawing in his ever-present sketch book — he sent me a photo of this amazing “doodle” (above).

When it popped up on my phone, it grabbed me immediately, like Jesus himself saying, “Chris, get your butt in here!” In an instant, I knew I had to go. No time for a shower, I quickly brushed my teeth, threw on a sweatshirt and sped across town in an attempt to make it to the second service.

I got there late and walked in with my friend, Sheryl, who was also alone. We sat together. After the service, we ran into Linda who has been having a hard time lately and needed a boost. As we shared a much appreciated laugh, TC snuck up behind me, singing “Help Me, Rhonda.” He was raving over a book I had loaned him on Brian Wilson. He’s a fellow music lover so we shared a few moments of giddiness discussing the Beach Boys. Just then, Phil came up and gave my whole little gang a “group hug”. It seemed he needed to give one as much as we all needed to get one.

I can’t tell you much about the sermon, or the service itself for that matter. But as I drove home from church, I knew for sure that Jesus was right — I was supposed to be there today.

Footnote: Arturo is a mutual friend. He has helped me in other ways than by sending me doodles from church — but he has given significant input to my life, nonetheless.

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One-time treasure

one-time-worthThis truck was once someone’s dream vehicle. They had a huge amount of pride driving it off the dealer’s lot for the first time. Washing the dirt away to keep it shiny clean was a joy. Showing the amazing new features to the next-door neighbors was a delight.

No more.

Why did I feel compelled to remind you — and me — of how short pleasure lasts? I dunno. Maybe just to say we should enjoy it while we can! We were designed for pleasure, and if it lasted forever there would be no contrast.

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