Exxon posted a ten biliion dollar profit last quarter. Let's all say a quick prayer for them as they struggle to come to grips with this most recent setback. Rumors have it they were expecting profits to be in the fourteen to sixteen billion dollar range. As a good spin doctor, I can safely say that Exxon is experiencing a shortfall of between four and six billion dollars, despite their ten billion dollar profit level. I know how I feel when I don't have four to six billion extra dollars in my pocket, so I can feel their pain.

In case you are one of those who are angered by this most recent trend of high gas and oil prices and even higher oil company profits, here's what you can do to "stick it to the MAN", if that's your thing.

1. Do not, under any circumstances, buy higher grade gasoline unless your car's manufacturer explicity instructs you to do so. It is a myth that higher grade gasoline produces higher gas mileage, and protects and cleans your engine better than normal grade. Don't believe me? Check out this link for yourself. The truth is, higher grade gasoline DOES NOT improve fuel economy one iota.

2. Change your oil every six thousand miles or seventy-five hundred miles, whichever your car's manufacturer recommends. In extreme cases, some vehicles will require oil changes every three thousand miles, but these cases are for EXTREME use (as in dust, sand , etc) and certain specific vehicles within certain specific manufacturer's auto lines. By far, those vehicles are the exception , not the rule. Six thousand miles is a good, safe expectancy for the visocsity of your engine oil to be maintained. Today's oils are mostly detergent oils, which mean they clean your engine for you, suspend the dirt in the oil (making it impossible for the dirt to get into sensitive areas such as near zero tolerance bearings and such) or deposit it quickly into your oil filter.

Here is one major important fact for you to learn. Changing your oil more frequently than every six thousand miles will not protect your car's engine better, nor will it keep your engine cleaner. ( it also won't earn you brownie points with your car's manufacturer) Simply put, if you change your oil every three thousand miles, you are throwing your money into the garbage every other oil change, or more implicitly, you are increasing the oil company's profit FOR them.

Here is a link to provide you with even more information about your car's oil.

I suppose I could also add that driving less and car pooling will reduce the amount of money you spend at the gas pump, but you already know that. How smart are we if we aren't already doing it? Americans especially, we should know better than to complain about high gas prices if we aren't willing to change the way we do things. Literally, if we aren't doing the small things we can do to reduce our dependancy on oil, we have no right to complain about high oil prices.

Good day.



No real time to blog this week, yet, except to say that for the fews times I've actually been on my computer, I have been enjoying a new 19" LCD widescreen monitor, and better yet, a Kensington Expert Optical trackball mouse. The mouse ball is almost frictionless. If you have wrist problems (which I don't; I'm just used to trackballs) than the Expert Mouse might help you.

Anyway, God loves each and every one of you, and I hope you are doing exactly what He created you for; to enjoy life and this beautiful world He has created.



I have been watching CNN during lunch these past days, and which each new reiteration of the battle between Lebanon and Israel, I cringe inwardly at what it all means, and what it all could lead to. During his evening show, Glenn Beck of CNN claims, barely seriously, that we are now, all of us, living through world war three. While I do not agree that things have come to that point, I do see that they could arrive given a few more "localized" battles and incidents.

I feel powerless to do anything about it all. My heart hurts for the deaths of people I have heard about, but never known. I cannot understand all of the happenings, my mind is overwhelmed with "too much". Some around me, and others within this country can be heard saying, "good, let them kill each other". To which I say silently, if they are our brothers, which ones are okay to kill? All of them? All of us? Will it still be "good" when the battle comes back to our shores, as it must at some point?

Is there anything we can do about this to help, we as individuals living in supposedly the most powerful nation on this planet? Does anyone know? If so, please let me know.



I shared a moment with Heidi on Friday evening. In actuality, I have had several very short conversations with her and her friends in the last couple of weeks, but Friday, it was simply one of those moments you enjoy for what it is.

I didn't say a word to her from across the patio. ( we were outside at the time) I just happened to be looking at something, and then a thought crossed my mind which I felt was rather comical (having to do with a 'gaggle' of women). As I turned away from what I was looking at, there was Heidi looking right at me. We made eye contact, and I decided not to break it. She might have decided to do the same, because she smiled at first, then laughed a little, and asked over the noise, "What?" with this big Heidi-like smile on her face.

I said, "nothing", but I couldn't help laughing along, as I thought about what my previous stream of consciousness had been. So, I looked back at what I had been looking at before I saw Heidi, and then looked back at her. She was looking directly at me again, our eyes locked, and she asked, "What?", still smiling, although seeming to blush a bit now. I repeated what I had I said in response the first time, and we held the eye contact for a few more moments, laughing gently, until her friend grabbed her attention away from the moment.

Not much to talk about if you weren't involved in the moment, but times like that make me feel alive and full of spirit. She's still seeing her boyfriend, and I am still being a distant admirer of beauty, and above all, polite. I can't help but feel that there's something there, but at the same time, really, there's nothing there, because she's not available. So, I stand back, and in honesty, I hope the very best for her, whatever that may be.

Moments like that are a huge part of this thing called life, and all I want to do is enjoy them as fully as possible. It makes the moment better when it's shared with someone like like Heidi.



I have seen a white crow for three days running now. I see him/her outside at the project I am working on, hanging out with three other black crows. Can anyone tell me how rare white crows are? I have been searching on google, but all I seem to find is statements claiming that white crows don't exist. I can plainly say that they do.



There are over 6.5 billion people living on this planet right now. Can you imagine seeing all of those people at once? I can't What an astounding figure!

Can you project your own thoughts and emotions onto someone else? In other words, can you place yourself in their shoes? In the few years I have lived, one of the things I have learned about me is that I am an arrogant, rude bastard if I do not make the attempt to understand things from someone else's perspective. Compassion doesn't come naturally to me; nor does grace for others. I guess that's why I have learned so much about the psychology of the human mind. If I hadn't, how many more people might I have injured through simple thoughtlessness? Would I have done it 6.5 billion times?

Only self-reflection allows me to remember to pursue perspective, specifically the perspective of my neighbor. If I didn't reflect inward, I might never remember to remember my neighbor.

God!, I need grace more than the normal human being. That, too, I only know because of the mirror inside of my mind which causes me to reflect. And I am happy to say that my reflection, although still looking pretty much the same, no longer scares me. Yet another thing I wouldn't know if I didn't actually look.



My Ally, my baby. I know well you are not a baby any longer, being fourteen and going on twenty. You are in such a hurry to grow up, and I'll try my best not to stand in the way.

When I talk with you, I am honored deeply inside that you still call me Daddy, and still want to talk with me at all. I know Fathers aren't exactly cool any more; I was a teenage boy once. You honor me far more than I ever honored my own dad, and try as I might, I can't make up the time I lost with him when I was your age and older. Now it seems like I can talk with him so much easier, and maybe that's because I no longer feel like I have to prove myself to him.

And that's what this is all about, Ally. You don't ever have to do anything to prove yourself to me, either. I loved you before you were even born. I used to talk to you through your mom's belly button, and you would move almost every time I did. Now I am talking to you through something else, and I am hoping you will be moved again. You see, I love you.

I love you more than I have ever loved anyone else, and saying that seems so small, because, really, I can't compare how much I love you to anyone else. The difference cannot be described. If the difference were the distance between the earth and the moon, then that would still not be far enough to go to show you how much I love you. I can't explain it, Ally; I just can't.

You will never have to do anything, good or bad, for me to love you. I just love you. I just do. That love is real before anything else happens, before you ever do a single thing.

Yes, you are a good girl; or shall I say, an excellent young lady? You are far above me when I was your age. All of the things you have accomplished do make me so very proud; I admit it. But still, I loved you long before you ever accomplished anything.

So that's what I wanted to tell you, and I know you visit this page before you get to the other pages you visit on the web. I wanted to surprise you, I wanted to move you in your heart, and let you know that you are loved by me. I never realized what loving a child was like for a father until there was you. Now I am totally amazed that there can be so much love felt by a single heart. And that's the other thing I wanted you to know. Maybe you feel loved, maybe a little more right now than you did a moment before you read this, but the love in my heart for you makes me feel more wonderful than anything has ever made me feel. Loving you has been the greatest experience of my life. I never knew how wonderful love could feel, until there was you.

Thank you for being my daughter, my little girl, the one who is always growing up, but still gives her daddy hugs whenever he asks. Thank you. Someday, I hope you'll know what this love inside of me feels like for a child of your own, if that's what you want. It's the greatest feeling a person can ever have, as far I know.



There is one question I am asked more than any other. Without fail, if someone gets to know me, they invariably ask, "Why aren't you looking for someone? Don't you want to get remarried again some day?"

I am the kind of man who set his sights on a marriage lasting forever. As far as I was concerned, the life I had with my wife and daughter was a life I had chosen for myself, and I decided to make the very best of it. For my part, my life was a good one. I guess that's what happens when you decide to make the best of something; you tend to notice the best, and look past the worst. All the other stuff in between is just varying shades of life. Much of it doesn't even make its way into a recallable memory.

Whenever I am asked about my future with a woman, I hesitate in my answer. I do so not because I don't know what to say, but because realistically, my answer may well have changed since the last time I was asked. So I think about it.

Recently, I was asked again, and I answered, "I had a wife, and before I was married, I never really considered the fact that the divorce rate was fifty percent or better. In fact, it never even crossed my mind; I guess I just didn't believe it would be something I had to concern myself with. Now, I am very aware of that statistic, and as I recall the days of my youth, I find it hard to believe that I was so blind to the bad risk that marriage is these days. Knowing what I know now, and what I should have known then, I can't honestly say I m willing to take the risk again, at least not right now."

My questioner didn't think this was a complete answer, so she questioned me further. "Yeah, but what about being in love? Don't you want someone to care about you?" I guess maybe my answer was honest, because she blinked hard as I gave it.

"I am almost thirty-nine years old, and although I have been married, I have never had a woman care about me in the way you believe one would. My former wife made it very clear that she never loved me to begin with. Is it true, that you have to love in order to consistently care about someone? Because if that's what you're talking about, then being near forty, I can tell you that 'no, I don't need someone to care about me, I've lived this long without it and I am sure I can live the next forty years without it as well' ".

She asked, "Your ex-wife never loved you? Didn't she ever say she loved you? If not, why did you marry her?"

"Of course she said she loved me, quite often, actually. She once told me she had never felt the way I made her feel before, just before she said 'I love you' for the first time. I asked her about all of those times, about all of those things. Do you know what she told me?" My questioner blinked hard again, and shook her head, no.

"She told me it was all lies, that she used me, and that if she had to rate her life with me, she would have judged me as 'unsatisfactory' ". I let that little tidbit hang in the air for a moment before I added, "One doesn't get past words like that very quickly, especially not when one is already as low emotionally as one can get."

"But you are past them now, aren't you?" She asked.

"Yeah, for the most part, but there are still times I hear those words, and there are still times I think of how my daughter felt through all of this, and those are the times that I realize we never really get ALL the way past everything. We crawl past, and sometimes we take leaps past, but the tentacles of our past are always reaching out for us, no matter how hard or fast we run from them. In answer to your question, I am no longer consumed by them, but I have not forgotten them either. Forgiveness is easy; healing myself was not."

"So then you have hang ups about trust." she continued to question.

"I don't think it's a trust issue. I think it's a 'do I really want to get married again?' issue, and I just haven't answered that question yet. The risk involved is not in favor of success, and that doesn't give me a great deal of confidence in it. I know for my part, I can make a marriage work. But I cannot make my partner make it work, and if that's a trust issue, then, yeah, maybe I don't trust a woman to carry through on her vows."

"Sure sounds like a trust issue to me" my interrogator said.

I guess we all have hangups about certain things. Will I ever get married again? I honestly do not know. But I do know this; I have never had a woman care about me the way a wife supposedly cares about a husband, and I am almost thrity-nine years old. I guess I really don't need someone to care about me, do I?

Would I like someone to? Maybe. I don't really know, because I don't know what it feels like. All I know is what faking it looks like.



At some point, I am going to start blogging regularly again. As things stand currently, my office was just gutted (by me), and I have been working to put it back together again as I get time. And, if I were a really good writer, I could have made that sentence run on at least another one hundred words. Maybe some day...we all have our dreams.

There is so much I want to write about, and share with you. Isn't it funny how when you want to write, you either have no time, or things (such as offices being redone) stand in the way, whereas when you could just as soon shove writing, you have all the time in the world? At any rate, I'll start again, and when I do, things are going to get regular around here; and I'm not talking about bowel movements.

Thanks for stopping by so often. You have no idea how much that means to me and my ego. I admit it. I am not afraid of admitting it, and I think deep, deep down, you know that my ego is the largest part of me...except maybe..., nah. (Really, I was going to say my belly...really I was!) ;)

In the meantime, (for you out-of-towners, "meantime" is defined as time spent in the mean, otherwise known as, time between events), hang in there, and always know that although my love doesn't always go with you ( I wish I was more, I really do), the love of Christ covers all of my shortcomings, and that love follows you wherever you go.

Now, aren't you glad you stopped by?