Monday, March 17, 2014


Children are suffering.  More than I can count.
For lack of clean water, or food, or vaccines to prevent hideous disease.

I have a son, 3 years old, light of my life.
I couldn’t bear the same happen to him.

By random chance, one father was born here, and another there.  The same except for place; connected.  Were I the parent of the suffering child, what would I have my middle class double in America do?

Continue streaming House of Cards, munching caramel popcorn and sipping Diet Coke?  No, I would have him give:  a care, a dollar, a voice.  I would beg him to fly over with supplies, with compassion, to tackle these problems head-on, even at personal cost.

But as the middle class parent, I’m comfortable.  With my movies, snacks, air conditioning, and recliner.  What’s my incentive to act?  Am I to give up all my comforts, redirect all my efforts to solving these global problems, and encourage all I know to do the same?  The moral answer, though it may be uncomfortable:  yes.
They talk of circles of influence:  the wise pour their energy into that which they can control.  While my circle may be limited, collectively, we have the power to team up to achieve results undreamed of.

I'm no criminal:  the law protects my decision to buy a $5 latte instead of giving the money to charity.  But I live with the consequences:  guilty feelings that I don’t deserve good things while others suffer.  I’m experiencing the disparity between the desire to help, and the reluctance to give up the comforts that have defined my life to date.  Tell me, do you ever feel this way, too?

Joy and Pain

Another airplane gone missing.
Crashed, or, as the news reports say, disintegrated.
The passengers exist no more.
Whole generations extinct:  Mother holding daughter in 26A.  Father in 26B.  Doting grandparents in 26C and D.
No time to tell friends goodbye.  Left on a trip and never returned.
What decent God could allow this?
What God worthy of our prayer would not step in and prevent?
This misery, this unnecessary suffering.
And yet this world has such promise.
Anyone who has glimpsed the beauty of a sunrise or sunset can agree.
The colors more awe-inspiring than paintings from the great masters.
Or the joy of love, of finding one’s true match, that acceptance, willing to do anything.
Or altruism, that honest feeling in our hearts that inspires care about fellow humans.
About causes greater than our own petty, personal dramas.

So what lesson am I to draw?
This saddened wanderer, torn between the beauty and promise of this world, and the all-too-frequent pain and suffering.
What lesson am I to draw?
Tell me God, speak to me and tell me true.
I feel so lost.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ideas for a new business

There are many benefits of starting one's own business.  For instance, one can set his own hours and work from home.  With the right business, one can be mobile, working just as easily while vacationing in Paris as while in an office.  Also, one's own business can create a passive stream of income, which can leverage one's time more powerfully than the traditional concept of working for an employer 40+ hours at the office.

So, I'm thinking of starting a new business.  Here are some ideas:

Translation service (Mandarin Chinese to/from English)
Researcher for hire
Make beef jerky at home and sell it -- all sorts of flavors, very tasty!
Write blog articles valuing businesses, companies, and stocks
Website design
Tax preparer
Personal finance budget consultant

Which of these ideas would you be most excited about?  Do you have any improvements on the above?

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Many of us want to make the world a better place.  One way to do this is through ensuring we achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)  The goals are as follows:

1) End extreme poverty and hunger
2) Achieve universal primary education
3) Promote gender equality and empower women
4) Reduce child mortality
5) Improve maternal health
6) Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other major diseases
7) Ensure environmental sustainability
8) Develop a global partnership for development

We live in a world of 7 billion people, but not everyone enjoys the same opportunities:  some face extreme hardship.  Families lack access to enough food or clean water; parents can't send their children to quality schools; women face discrimination, whether conspicuous or subtle, and major diseases are causing suffering in many parts of the world.

Over the next week, I'm going to review the goals and develop an action plan on how I can help.  I'll post my findings here.  What key actions can we take to improve the experiences of the people in our world?

What makes a great place to live?

Here are some of my desired attributes:

Easy commute
Light traffic
Enjoyable climate
Access to amenities such as libraries, theatre, sports stadiums
Public transportation
Fit in with community - like-minded people
Low crime - feels safe
Natural beauty including mountains, rivers, lakes, and ocean

If I could live anywhere in the world I might choose:

Bern or Zurich, Switzerland
Hong Kong

Where would you live, and why?

Some of my favorite things

Video Games
Retiring Early
Drinking Coffee
Reading financial news
Studying companies
Reading interesting books
Computing for science
Learning new languages
Playing tennis
Making the world a better place
And much more

This blog will be a place to go into more depth about each of these topics.