Friday, April 18, 2008

Cultural America is under siege. And as the Soviet experience illustrates, ideology is a weak glue to hold together people otherwise lacking racial, ethnic, and cultural sources of community —— Who Are We? America's Great Debate, p.12 by Samuel Huntington (1927, New York) who was born today.

Entrepreneurs are sharing office space and calling it coworking. Here in Denver, entreneur Andrew Luter, managing partner of BaseCamp Capital LLC has just opened the Hive in Denver’s LoDo. Is this the logical extension of the pooling of resources that Ben Franklin and his friends did, back in 1727 with their little group the Junto, it's shared library and rented meeting room? Here's an interesting coworking blog: http://coworking.pbwiki.com/

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"I am not interested in … such subjects as the adulteries of dentists. I am interested in those things that repeat and repeat and repeat in the lives of the millions." Thornton Wilder who was born today (1897, Madison, Wisconsin), who wrote Our Town (1938).


After I saw Our Town produced in my high school, I posted this line from Emily Webb above the light switch in my bedroom where I saw it every day until I left home:

Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking...and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. ...Do human beings ever realize life while they live it? — Every, every minute?

I'm going to put this up again, as a reminder of how wonderful it is right now. Let's not forget.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot." Charlie Chaplin (London, 1889), who was born today and went on to be the most popular movie star and producer in the world until the advent of sound.

April 13-19 is National Library Week, so let's take stock: The U.S. has more public library branches than it does McDonald's restaurants, and Americans go to their libraries more than twice as often as they go to the movies. The American Library Association found that between 1994 and 2004, the number of visits to public libraries in the U.S. increased by 61 percent. And the increase is not wholly made up of senior citizens researching family history, or frantic parents checking out DVDs for their little ones. According to a 2007 ALA poll, 68 percent of respondents between ages 18 and 24 said they had visited a library in the past year. Among the 35 to 44 age group, 74 percent have visited.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New York Times reports another reason not to waste money on vitamin suppliments: They can do real harm!

On this day in 1912 - The British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic, after hitting an iceberg two and a half hours earlier, the previous day.1955 - Ray Kroc opens his first franchise of McDonald's restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; research tips; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Today in 1935, known as "Black Sunday", twenty of the worst "Black Blizzards" occurred throughout the Dust Bowl, causing extensive damage, turning the day to night. Witnesses reported that they could not see five feet in front of them at certain points. Four years later on this same day in 1939 John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath about the Dust Bowl and the migration to California that it caused.

Don’t spend another dime on medical care until you’ve read this!Stephen Barrett, M.D. a retired physician, has written a text book on health care for the consumer, and he maintains websites to expose medical fraud where he has just published a very interesting report about how to spot medical fraud.

My research has found that the three biggest problems with medical fraud are: 1) seniors and others on limited income spend money of things that are worthless rather than care (such as an adequate diet including fresh vegetables and fruit) that would really help them; 2) people loose valuable time and good treatment comes too late to help; and 3) purchases fund the engine of fraud that lures people into the clutches of the medical fraud killers, manufactures, distributors, retailers, practitioners, and writers and advisors of all kinds .

I’ve asked medical doctors why they don’t speak up against the frauds that are becoming so prevalent in our supermarkets and other channels of retail distribution. They tell me it’s because the big lie is so dominate in our society that it would kill their practice to stand up to it.

As the run away train of medical deception was picking up steam in the 70s, and had me it it's clutches as a good health true believer, I had the great privilege of spending a year of my life researching vitamin supplements. I met Linus Pauling, the great advocate of vitamin C, and met the people behind Rodale Press’s Prevention Magazine. We did a statistically valid telephone survey of consumers asking them why they did or did not take vitamin supplements, and found no one had a very good reason for their decision. That’s why we are all such easy prey for the weapons of massive medical malpractice. I hope people will read Dr. Barrett’s Consumer Health: A guide for Intelligent Decisions and encourage every school and library to put a copy in it’s collection.


Religious faith and when life begins is becoming part of the Democrat's debate as we try to choose a presidential candidate.

I’d like to see someone ask if either Clinton or Obama has read Kristen Day’s wonderful book Democrats for Life. She heads the organization Democrats for Life that carries the same name. I’m a member and have gotten to know Kristen on the DFL steering committee for our DNC convention that will be here in Denver next August.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

“He who knows most knows best how little he knows.”
Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) who was born today was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United States. Major events during his presidency include the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806).

This Jefferson quote was on a bronze plaque in a flagstone planter around the flagpole at Thomas Jefferson High School, given as a gift by my class in 1965. I was the class gift chairman. The plaque and all the flagstone is gone now, and it’s back to just bare concrete around the flagpole; our faculty sponsor insisted the contract for the work go to the lowest bidder. The money saved was used to buy some used furniture to put in Senior Hall, which is also long gone. I’d wanted to give the contract to a stonemason who’d done work for my parents; everything he did for them is still standing, and will be for eternity, I expect.


Alfred Butts (1900- 1993) the inventor of the game Scrabble was born today. He was an architect who enjoyed games. He made the first set by hand, then made sets for friends. One of those friends retired and started marketing the game for Butts. A Macy’s buyer saw it being played in a resort, ordered all the stores, and the game became a sensation. SUCCESS across ENTREPRENEUR down.


Guess what, there is an award for websites and blogs, the Webby Awards.

Awards for things like blogs and websites are tricky. Mountain Bell put out a catalog for small business products that won all kinds of awards, I used it as example in a seminar I did. Later when I worked for Mountain Bell I discovered that it had attracted almost no new business and was considered a real flop inside the company.

Thanks to all of you who emailed me yesterday with your thoughts about blogs. I’m going to compile them, add my own thoughts, and post the article here if I can’t find a newspaper or magazine that is interested in it. But please keep those comments coming:

What do you think of blogs (online personal journals like this one)? Why are so few comments posted even on the best? Are they a waste of time, or do they really level the playing field for the grassroots entrepreneur against the corporate giants who buy their ink by the barrel? Post your comments here, or email me if you’d prefer at JohnSWren@aol.com. (I’m trying to get away from AOL, almost impossible! Have you done it? Might be another article…)

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