Aug 30, 2012

Long Weekend Bound - KY

Paintsville serves as the county seat of Johnson County. It is located along the mouth of Paint Creek at the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River. Originally called Paint Lick Station, the town was established in 1834, after being laid out in 1826. Paint Lick Station was referred to in military dispatches as early as 1780. Paint Creek and Paintsville were named in reference to drawings found on trees, believed to be drawn by Native Americans. It is believed that the post office was originally known as Paint Creek, but was renamed Paintsville before 1843. The founder of the town is acknowledged to be Dalton Ray Chandler II. The Civil War found Johnson County Fiscal Court passing an ordinance barring both Union and Confederate flags from being flown. This was quickly repealed when then Col. James A. Garfield marched his brigade on the city of Paintsville.
During the early twentieth century, Paintsville began to transform into a modern American city. In 1902, the First National Bank opened as Paintsville's first bank. In 1906, the city received telephone service and two years later, all of the streets were paved. In 1912, Paintsville received electricity and natural gas services. Then in 1926, Paintsville residents received public water and the city's fire department was established.[2]
Since the late 1990s, Paintsville has been growing rapidly. This is due in part to some business developments in the past few years, as well as growing tourist interest. Paintsville has also been in the process of revitalizing the downtown area in order to rejuvenate its original business district.

We will be back to normal programming on Tuesday, September 4th!

Aug 29, 2012

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon!!!

While I am a bacon lover, I think this may be taking it a bit to far...

This so-called “Bacon for the Ages” is one of many canned products produced by Kokubu & Co. Ltd. of Tokyo.

Each can contains 105 grams (3.75 oz) of which 65 grams (2.32 oz) is “solid”. Not a whole lot, really, even at a mere 380 yen (about $4.80) per can. The diced chunks of bacon are obviously a lot smaller than they appear in these images – one more reason to buy a case or even a truckload. 


Aug 28, 2012


There are few experiences more painful than being rejected.  We vividly remember the hurt of not being picked for a sports team, not being invited to a social event, or not being accepted to university.

Our basic human need to belong causes these incidents to stick with us through the years. Even as adults, at various times in our careers we're not selected for jobs, promotions, or projects; or even less significant benefits such as parking spaces, preferred offices, or new computer equipment. Whether it's fair or not, the hard reality is that everyone cannot have everything.

Accepting rejection however is not an easy process — for children or adults — and many of us handle it poorly. When this happens repeatedly, it often leads to two types of dysfunctional patterns in organizations: entitlement and resignation.

Entitlement is when someone feels that he deserves certain benefits, no matter the reality of the situation.

At the other extreme is resignation, when people avoid situations where they might be rejected. By passively accepting new constraints or situations, they make sure that none of their ideas are rejected (because they don't offer any).

It's easier to talk about learning from rejection than to actually experience it. Rejection often triggers painful emotional doubts about our own competence and self-worth, so we either try to avoid it or pretend that it doesn't matter. A more constructive approach is to remember that rejection can be beneficial: It can force us to come up with more ideas, redirect us to different paths, and keep us humble and open to learning. 

Aug 27, 2012

Batman > Physics?

Where would Bruce Wayne be without the batsuit’s ubiquitous slick cape? Alive and well, according to physicists at the University of Leicester, who have revealed that the impact of the hero’s plunge back to Earth after a little lofty cape-gliding would be the equivalent of being hit by a car at 50 mph.

Overall, depending on your standards, Batman seems to do pretty well in a reality check. The "memory cloth" cape that becomes rigid as a current passes through it was deemed a possible means of flight. But it's not the flying that gets you; it's the landing. The students mathematically calculated what his impact would look like, and it's not pretty. Roughly, it would be about the same as getting hit by a car going 50 mph.

The paper does admit that variations of the angle of the glide were not taken into account, and could contribute to a safe landing.  

Interesting subject for a thesis, not sure it is going to help solve any crimes though.  Rock on Caped Crusader :o).

Aug 24, 2012

New Chapter!

Sometimes it is good to take a chance, to make a change, to re-baseline your career.  I have decided to do that! 

06BG-ElkhartBrass.jpgRecently, I received an inquiry, based on my LinkedIn profile, about whether I was interested in a change.  As I discussed and investigated the opportunity, I discovered that I was.  

After the phone interview, we made arrangements for a visit to the facility, and what was supposed to be a 1-2 hour visit turned into over 4 hours.  It all seemed to click.

Shortly after that, an offer was received, a counter was proposed, and agreement was reached :o)  Beth and I discussed the positives and the negatives, and as always, we made the decision together.  

So I sealed the deal, and yesterday provided my two week notice.  It has been uplifting, even though there is a spot of sadness that I will not be there to coach and mentor our recently hired project managers.  The decision was made even easier by some recent turmoil.  There have been many "happy for you, but sucks for us" comments.  The sad thing is that sometimes you are not appreciated until you are leaving...

We will have some challenges based on my salary reduction, but the quality of life quotient will be through the roof.  All in all, a worthwhile compromise. So on September 6th, I will end my career with AEP, and in nuclear power.  On September 10th, I start my new journey as New Product Development Manager at Elkhart Brass. 

I only have good things to say about my career at AEP, Cook Nuclear Plant, and I wish them well.  But I cannot lie, I am giddy with excitement to start my new job.  Elkhart Brass is a family owned business, established 110 years ago, with 151 employees.  It will be such a different environment from my past experiences. 

We have been invited to the company picnic tomorrow, where more than 600 employees and their family will be present.  It feels so special to be so welcomed.  

I look forward to sharing my new journey with you.

Purposeful Team

Purpose and related goals are the glue that holds a team together. Purpose without concrete goals is just a dream. Goals without purpose are aimless activity. But although they are critical, purpose and goals are not enough. A team also needs clarity. In particular, team members need clarity about:

Members' roles and responsibilities — not everyone can do everything
Important work processes — the way the team does its work, such as making decisions
Values, norms, and standards that define what members expect of each other — how conflict, for example, may and may not be expressed
The kinds of feedback and metrics needed to measure progress.

A purposeful team leader fosters and sustains this environment. Thus, instead of imposing and directing, you as suggest, support, define, focus on, talk about, expect, lead discussions about, and evaluate performance against the conditions that foster the spontaneous formation of a team. In the end only your group's members can make themselves into a team by freely committing themselves to a mutual purpose.

Aug 23, 2012


"Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords."
- Samuel Johnson

Aug 22, 2012

Don't Stir Me Up

The so-called Kuru-Kuru Nabe, or “Round and Round Pot”, puts basic thermodynamics to work so you don't have to. The secret is the sculpted sides of the pot, something Watanabe came up with while experimenting with dental plaster at his office. As water in the pot begins to warm up, it rises, but the spirally angled sides of the pot direct the flow into a circular direction.


Aug 21, 2012


"I will prepare and some day my chance will come."

- Abraham Lincoln

Aug 20, 2012

Joy At Work?

For those who want to be speechless and inspired by work, the place to start is charting a course to create joy at work.

Why joy? Joy is an outcome of doing something that makes you happy. Joy is contagious. It has a force of energy that moves people forward with optimism.

Three things to help with the journey:

Increase freedom
The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint” 

Create purpose
For joy to emerge at work, the team must revisit why it exists and reclaim a shared purpose. It’s a purpose that calls you forward to accomplish something bigger than any one person. 

Align strengths and work
Learn what each person’s strengths are and then shift work around them.

None of the three items above can be thought about alone. They must escape your brain and be shared with your team. To create joy requires a community of committed people: committed to each other, their own growth and a common calling that dares them to be bold in their work.

Joy at work is possible, but you’ll need to shed conventional beliefs about how work is done and the relationship between managers and employees. The very exploration of both can generate joy at work. But you must take the first step and recognize that how things are today is simply not working.

Aug 18, 2012

Happy Weekend - Here is a kool summer utensil :o)

The Watermelon Knife is purpose-built by Kuhn-Rikon of Switzerland to enable even the sloppiest kitchen novice to slice watermelons like a pro. The fact the knife looks like a watermelon itself only adds to the joy of using it.


Fear & Hope

"We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes."

- John F. Kennedy

Aug 17, 2012

Take a Hike

Employee_Engagement_Dashboard.jpgAccording to research by, the top 10 reasons employees leave their jobs are all related to the inability of managers to provide a work environment that meets their employees’ needs. To retain talent, managers must find ways to provide a workplace culture that promotes productivity while keeping employees challenged, stimulated and fulfilled. Here are a few strategies to help you do that:
  • Make work challenging. People tend to enjoy their work more when there is some sort of challenge involved. Solving problems invigorates people and makes them feel good about what they do.
  • Empower your employees. Employees who have some say in how they do their jobs tend to be happier and more fulfilled. Empower empoyees by giving them the latitude to make decisions related to their jobs, even if that means allowing them to make mistakes now and then.
  • Don’t overwork your employees. One of the biggest reasons employees leave is because they are expected to do more work than they can handle. If you lay off several employees and distribute their work to those who are left behind, you are going to end up with overworked and stressed out employees who can’t wait to leave. Keep employees’ workloads fair.
  • Ask them what they want. You don’t have to wait until someone quits to find out what needs are not being met. Ask questions to determine potential problem areas and take steps to eliminate them.
  • Show appreciation. A common complaint among employees is the lack of appreciation. Too many times, employees are expected to give everything they have without getting anything for their efforts but a paycheck. People love to hear that they’ve done a good job. Give praise freely when it is merited; it costs nothing and does far more to keep employees happy and motivated than most tangible benefits.

Aug 16, 2012

The Trust Equation

The Trust Equation
When we think of trust and what it means, we quickly realize it encompasses many things. We use the word “trust” to:
  • Interpret what people say
  • Describe behaviors
  • Decide if we feel comfortable sharing information
  • Indicate whether we feel other people have our interests at heart
The Four Variables
The Trust Equation uses four objective variables to measure trustworthiness. These four variables are best described as: Credibility, Reliability, Intimacy and Self-Orientation.
We combine these variables into the following equation:
TQ stands for Trust Quotient. The Trust Quotient is a number — like your IQ or EQ — that benchmarks your trustworthiness against the four variables.
Let’s dig into each variable a bit more:
  1. Credibility has to do with the words we speak. In a sentence we might say, “I can trust what she says about intellectual property; she’s very credible on the subject.”
  2. Reliability has to do with actions. We might say, “If he says he’ll deliver the product tomorrow, I trust him, because he’s dependable.”
  3. Intimacy refers to the safety or security that we feel when entrusting someone with something. We might say, “I can trust her with that information; she’s never violated my confidentiality before, and she would never embarrass me.”
  4. Self-orientation refers to the person’s focus. In particular, whether the person’s focus is primarily on him or herself, or on the other person. We might say, “I can’t trust him on this deal — I don’t think he cares enough about me, he’s focused on what he gets out of it.” Or more commonly, “I don’t trust him — I think he’s too concerned about how he’s appearing, so he’s not really paying attention.”
The Trust Equation has one variable in the denominator and three in the numerator.
Increasing the value of the factors in the numerator increases the value of trust. Increasing the value of the denominator — self-orientation — decreases the value of trust.
Self-orientation, which sits alone in the denominator, is the most important variable in the Trust Equation. We developed the formula this way on purpose. 
It’s All About People
The Trust Equation covers the most common meanings of trust that you encounter in everyday business interactions. What’s important to remember is that the meanings are almost entirely personal, not institutional.
People rarely give over their trust to institutions; really they trust other people.
While companies are often described as credible and reliable (the first two components of The Trust Equation), it’s really the people within the companies that make those companies what they are. And intimacy and self-orientation are almost entirely about people.
Trust in business requires good “scores” on all four variables in the Trust Equation. You want high credibility, reliability and intimacy, and low self-orientation.
Living the four Trust Values is the best way to increase your trustworthiness. The Trust Equation provides a scientific, analytical and actionable framework for how we help organizations and individuals improve their businesses and lives.

Aug 15, 2012

Flat Ruthie, Behind The Scenes...

It has come to my attention that I may have been remiss in explaining what Flat Ruthie is all about.

My friend Mark's (formally Detroit, now Omaha) daughter is a host for Flat Ruthie, who travels the world visiting fellow bloggers and friends.  After his daughter visited him this summer, he kept Flat Ruthie and offered her up for adventures for any of his followers.  With our pending trip to Florida, we offered to host Flat Ruthie on a "Road Trip". So that, my friends, is the story behind our friend Flat Ruthie.  She will soon be on her way via USPS to Omaha Mark :o)

Go to the blog to see Flat Ruthie's adventures!


If your confidence is low, rather than extremely low, you stand a better chance of succeeding than if you have high self-confidence. There are three main reasons for this:
Lower self-confidence makes you pay attention to negative feedback and be self-critical: Most people get trapped in their optimistic biases, so they tend to listen to positive feedback and ignore negative feedback. 

To be the very best at anything, you will need to be your harshest critic, and that is almost impossible when your starting point is high self-confidence.

Lower self-confidence can motivate you to work harder and prepare more: If you are serious about your goals, you will have more incentive to work hard when you lack confidence in your abilities. In fact, low confidence is only demotivating when you are not serious about your goals.

Lower self-confidence reduces the chances of coming across as arrogant or being deluded. Although we live in a world that worships those who worship themselves — from Donald Trump to Lady Gaga to the latest reality TV "star" — the consequences of hubris are now beyond debate. According to Gallup, over 60% of employees either dislike or hate their jobs, and the most common reason is that they have narcissistic bosses.

Lower self-confidence reduces not only the chances of coming across as arrogant, but also of being deluded. Indeed, people with low self-confidence are more likely to admit their mistakes — instead of blaming others — and rarely take credit for others' accomplishments. This is arguably the most important benefit of low self-confidence because it points to the fact that low self-confidence can bring success, not just to individuals but also to organizations and society.

In brief, if you are serious about your goals, low self-confidence can be your biggest ally to accomplish them. It will motivate you to work hard, help you work on your limitations, and stop you from being a jerk, deluded, or both. It is therefore time debunk the myth: High self-confidence isn't a blessing, and low self-confidence is not a curse — in fact, it is the other way around.

Aug 14, 2012


"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Aug 11, 2012

Flat Ruthie on the Road Trip Return Leg, West Virginia

We met up with Sheria (please go give her a visit, she is an amazing person with some great and thought provoking perspectives) again today for lunch and managed to squeeze our lunch into a mere two hours.  

Then it was back on the road to knock out six hours of our return leg of our Vegecation back to South Bend.  It was hairy at times as The Big Guy had to avoid various cars going through Virginia and West Virginia.  Apparently the drivers in these states are not familiar with freeway/highway interchanges and mountain tunnels, because they slow down, and sometimes even stop, when they approach them.  I even heard The Big Guy say that these drivers make the Tennessee drivers look like professionals...

We stopped in Ripley, WV and headed out for some BBQ.  

This is my last entry with The Big Guy and Nutwood Beth.  Thanks Bucko and Beth for taking me on a road trip!

Raleigh NC, Flat Ruthie Meets Sheria


We continued our trip back from Florida today and ended up in Raleigh, NC.  This gave us a chance to meet Miss Sheria at "The Pit".  There was a lot of chatter (we were there for almost four hours), and some good eatin's (it was BBQ after all).  I really enjoyed spending time with them and listening to them!

While I do not have a picture with Bucko or Beth, here is a picture of them with Miss Sheria :o)

Aug 9, 2012

Flat Ruthie in Charleston, SC

We left sunny Florida this morning and spent some pleasant driving time going North up the coast.  We hit some rain storms in Georgia and South Carolina, and arrived in Charleston in the early evening hours.  

Here is our River View just across the river from historic downtown.  After freshening up, we took the hotel shuttle into downtown and had dinner at an Irish Pub.  We were going to walk around and get another picture to share the historic area with you, but it was raining kittens and puppies, so that's all from Charleston folks.

Aug 8, 2012

Flat Ruthie - Golf & Eats

The weather was pretty nice here in central Florida this morning.  Went to the links to play a round of golf with the big guy.  

With the weather being warm and humid, the big guy and his wife went for a dip (I did not go, did not want to be in a baggie :o), then we headed out for a bite to eat.

Have to say I have enjoyed the seafood down here in Florida.  Tonight it was a Grouper Sandwich and Coconut Shrimp.  Yum!

Aug 7, 2012

Flat Ruthie at Flip Flops

It was a quiet day today in New Smyrna, the big guy went for a run on the beach, but he had no pockets and I did not get to go.  Then it rained in the afternoon for several hours, so we were stuck in the room.

But in the early evening, we headed out to Flip Flops, whose menu was designed by the Season 5 winner of Hell's Kitchen, and boy-o-boy, was it good.

Here I am with the appetizers!

Aug 6, 2012

Flat Ruthie in the Sand

The sun was shining today and Flat Ruthie went for a walk on the beach.  The destination, The Breakers for one of the best burgers (and they have the awards to prove it).   The restaurant is on the beach with great ocean views.  The burgers are out of this World!

Aug 5, 2012

Aug 4, 2012

Flat Ruthie in Kennesaw, GA

Road Trip commenced this morning.  Flat Ruthie made it to Kennesaw. GA, just north of Atlanta.

Relaxing after a long day in the car.

Aug 3, 2012

Green Games?

Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of the London Organizing Committee identifies six major highlights that demonstrate where they and their partners have been able to set new standards for sustainability:

The Olympic Park: The most sustainable Olympic Stadium ever built was completed on time and budget and to high sustainability standards. The Park itself is the largest new urban parkland in Europe for 150 years. It is already developing a mature landscape, and the cleaned up and re-profiled river valley is providing both new wildlife habitat and significant flood alleviation – early examples of lasting legacy benefits.

Carbon management: London 2012 is the first summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to measure its carbon footprint over the entire project term. By using the outcomes of the foot-printing assessment to inform decision-making, we’ve radically improved our ability to avoid, reduce and substitute carbon emissions associated with delivering the Games.

Sustainable transport: Our commitment to delivering a public transport Games means nine million ticket holders will experience sustainable events like never before from the way they travel. Our Active Travel program, launched in October 2011, aims to achieve one million extra journeys by walking and cycling in London each day of
the Games

Food Vision: London 2012 is the first Games to specify stringent sustainability requirements for its catering operations. All our caterers are signed up to the Food Vision standards and are ready to serve 14 million sustainably sourced meals. Meanwhile, the excellent work of the Food Legacy Group is extending the Food Vision approach to
other sectors and
organizations beyond the Games.

Waste: Our commitment to delivering a zero waste to landfill Games is another first for the Games and has required detailed planning, as set out in our recently published Zero Waste Games Vision. The work of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) on the Olympic Park construction has set a very high bar, achieving 98.5 per cent and 99 per cent rates of re-use and recycling of materials in demolition and construction respectively.

6 Standards: In 2011 LOCOG became the first Organizing Committee to be certified to the British Standard 8901: Specification for a Sustainability Management Systems for Events. The standard was inspired by the London 2012 bid and is proof of how deeply sustainability has been embedded into our organization. Achieving the standard enhances our ability to deliver sustainability across all the areas that matter to stakeholders.

Well Done London!!!