Friday, May 30, 2008

201: A Web Odyssey

This is post 201 on my little corner of cyberspace, that puts me at about a post every two days. In honor of this accomplishment, I am flattered to announce that I will have some posts up at Available Light, a new blog from Dean Abbott. The posts are currently re-releases of book reviews that you read here first, but I will be sending him some new material in the near future. So go check him out, dear reader.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

11 Weeks on Reliv

Health: I fit into a 32 waist, comfortably, for the first time in years and I am frequently down one notch on the belt. My BMI seems to be fluctuating more, so I'm not always seeing the low numbers I had previously.

Business: I have been doing some calls and learning a lot from my sponsor. I have a potential new customer.

I am thankful that this business is giving me an excuse, and motivation, to call people whom I wouldn't ordinarily call. I am starting to develop relationships, even with non-customers, that I would have left fallow otherwise.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Excellent Activism

I generally decry the activist, whiny culture which seems more and more common in America. However, I truly love excellent activism couched in wit and reason. With that, I give you:

The Meatrix
The Meatrix 2

In trying to live a natural life, I become more sympathetic to the way animals are treated. I hate being treated as a cog in a machine; it seems unpleasant to them too. Also, grass-fed beef is absolutely delicious.

Monday, May 19, 2008

First Novel is a Lulu

A book review of Conspiracy Untold by Brad Leiphart

I have contemplated this review for over a week and I was unsure exactly what to say about Brad's first novel. It defied easy categorization and therefore, comparison was difficult for me. The basic style was reminiscent of Ludlum but the protagonist, Ryan Hull, was far more gruesome in his methods, like Jason Bourne but with less control. The novel also used the scenery of Philadelphia and the environs to good extent, just as Ludlum often vividly described the locales of his adventures. The story also contained many detective elements, yet Ryan was more gruff and direct than a PI written by Raymond Chandler. Fortunately the plot was also far easier to follow, which was a big plus over Chandler. My biggest complaint was the brevity of the novel, ending in under 300 pages.

Even though it was the first novel in The Corrosion Legacy series, I hoped for a more exciting climax, though I enjoyed the lively banter between the two principal characters which brought the novel to a close. Lively banter and the vivid action sequences were the biggest discriminators for this novel and I hope they continue in the next installment.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stuff Catholics Like

A great new group blog has started up, called Stuff Catholics Like. Ironic Catholic has just written an excellent post on sex. Everyone knows Catholics like sex, right? Where else would those big families come from?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Practical Ease of NFP

In light of the previous exchange at I Have to Sit Down, I decided to write about what can be done, practically, by each spouse to make abstinence easier.

The single best thing that can be done to make abstinence easier is not to focus on it with all of one's mental power. I know, easier said than done. I notice that I constantly focused on abstinence in the first years of NFP. The focus on abstinence made it larger than life and it loomed over everything, casting darkness upon the things we were already doing to handle abstinence. At the worst, this attitude would have me counting the days since our last interlude, which only made everything more difficult. In this case, accurate charting was actually an obstacle to learning charity.

Putting the focus on abstinence was an extension of focusing on myself and focusing on the self is antithetical to developing virtue. All virtues are learned by dying to self in some form or another, and the sacrifice involved in abstinence is only beneficial if I actually sacrifice with the proper attitude, not just grudgingly endure what I am giving up until "go time."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The News is not New

I am happy that this article is brief and gets the facts straight, but I am tired of the journalistic slip of claiming newness in something old. The Church has condemned contraception, artificial or natural, since the Didache, if not earlier. Humane Vitae merely shocked the would by being constant. I imagine reporters waking up every day:

"Look the earth is still here!"
"Wow, the sun is shining!"
"Air, there is air!"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

9 Weeks on Reliv

Neither I nor Reliv International make any health claims about our products. They are just optimal nutrition. The body is the miracle.

Health: I have been able to exercise a bit more but I don't think that accounts for my decrease in body fat. According to the same body fat scale that I have been using for years, there has been a noticeable decline in the fat percentage of my body. I am also down a few pounds and I can eat like I did in college.

Business: No new customers but I'm enjoying spending time to meet people who I would usually ignore, even if I never talk about the business. I have heard some excellent motivational speeches and received lots of training in sales. My support group has helped to bolster my confidence and keep me focused.

One of the eminently Christian aspects of Reliv is that the rich serve the poor. The people who have built successful businesses and pull down large incomes are the same people who help the young upstarts. Much is expected from those to whom much is given.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

TOS vs. TNG vs. DS9

I have finally made that critical nerd decision. I have decided that Captain Kirk is my favorite Star Trek captain. Sure, he was an over-actor and he had an annoying trait of leaving the ship in the hands of some random chief while it was in mortal danger so he could beam down to the planet and talk things out. What clinched it for me was that he could deliver a joke (Picard couldn't) and he knew how to fight (Sisko fights like an actor). In general, the fight sequences have completely won me over to Kirk. His fight sequences involved throws, punches, kicks, and grappling. In DS9, every Federation officer threw double overhand smashes and Klingon warriors crumble. It is fake, even for acting.

I can't wait until my lovely, nerdy wife and I finish watching all of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) and move on to Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) since we've already watched all of Deep Space 9 (DS9) that will only leave the dumb ones which I hope to convince my wife never to watch.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I am In Style

Choosing businesses by my small business philosophy has finally given me the determination to break the chains of cheap haircuts at SuperCuts. I went to a local salon which advertises in my parish's bulletion, the In Style Salon. I received an excellent haircut and had high quality conversation. Both of those experiences only occur randomly at SuperCuts, roughly once in every four visits. The price was steeper, but well worth it. I am planning to budget more money for haircuts in the future. There were some drawbacks, like having to schedule an appointment in their more restricted hours of operation, but those provided philosophical reward to me. I want to set my hours and have customers arrange to come to me, why should I expect other businesses to fit into my schedule? I have noticed that most businesses are populated by people who may want the same things. Sounds like the perfect application of the Golden Rule to me.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I Like Small Businesses

... and I can not lie. You other jobbers can't deny. When friend walks in with a big idea and a little business on the side, you get sprung."

I just couldn't resist that. Perhaps I should work to improve my self-control. Anyway, this quest to start my own business has tremendously increased my empathy for other entrepreneurs. As a result of that, I have been updating my Business Links. Please visit them and use them, if they are in your area.

By the way, I receive no compensation from any of these businesses (except for my own, obviously). I merely want to see them succeed.