Mark Riffey Over yonder Small Business

Deposits, karma – Whatever it is, are you earning yours?

Hildy Gottlieb, a fellow board member from my days on the board had the temerity to call me out on her blog yesterday. 

Well, maybe not call me out exactly. More like give me a hat size adjustment.

I only found out about her kind words because WordPress told me I had a new inbound trackback. So I mosey over there like I always do when I get an inbound link and blammo, I’m humbled by her words. 

It was a nice really thing for her to do, and something that she had nothing to gain from. 

It made my day, if not my week.

Stephen Covey talks about making deposits in your personal account, but he isn’t talking about money. He never uses the word karma, but that’s what some might call it.

Regardless of what it is, the day after Hildy makes that post and calls attention to a number of folks including myself, she appears on a list in a post at with some pretty amazing company (noting that she is pretty amazing herself).

Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe not. 

What can you do for someone today, without expecting a thing in return? 

To that end, as I asked the other day on Twitter: 

What local business in your area is in the most trouble, economy-wise? What can your business do to help them?

Speaking of deposits, karma and what not…

Tomorrow morning for a couple of hours, I get to carry out Christmas baskets at our food bank. Its cold as a welldigger’s, uh, boots here. Those boxes are heavy. Lots of folks coming to the food bank are not the most mobile or don’t need to be carrying a 20-30-40 lb box of food, plus a turkey – and that’s particularly so when the parking lot is slick, its 4 degrees and the wind is whistling.

Our Rotary Club helps the local food bank at Christmas every year. It’s a high demand time for them. Last year, about 100 Christmas baskets went out. As of a few days ago, they had over 140 requests for this year. Earlier this week, we gave them $1425 to help with their purchases.

Been that kind of week. Good stuff flowing in all directions.

Don’t forget my question about that local business. You never know what that might turn into.

Over yonder

Are you a crappy American parent?

The Economist noted last month that the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development had completed an 8 year study of television viewing habits across the globe.

The verdict: A lot of American parents must either dislike parenting, or really stink at it. That or they have “better things to do” and use the TV as a stand-in parent (ie: they’re idiots).

Why? Because the study on TV viewing shows the AVERAGE American household is watching TV more than EIGHT hours a day.

That’s an average, not the peak.

Translation: for every home with 4 hours of viewing, statistically there’s another one with TWELVE. (keeping in mind what Mark Twain said about statistics).

Even if this figure is 20 or 30% off, that’s still a big number.

Here’s a few tips for parents (using the term loosely) of couch potato(e<g>) kids:

  • Turn off the danged TV set, or at least turn it off more often.
  • Show the kids where the library is.
  • Get em involved in Scouts or Boys and Girls Club or something – anything but planting their plumpish buttocks in front of the TV with a box of Pop Tarts.
  • Remind them what a swimming pool, soccer field, hiking path, bicycle, tennis racket, golf club, hockey skates, fishing pole and/or baseball glove look like.
Over yonder

Seems Darwin was right

Natural selection, that is. Survival, or at least success of, the fittest, smartest and/or strongest.

My example: 2 escapees from Montana’s state prison in Deer Lodge were captured earlier this week.

One of them – the guy involved in the plot to kidnap David Letterman’s son (eventually arrested for overcharging him for painting???) – had THREE months until his first parole hearing. He just couldn’t wait. Or, maybe he knew he wouldn’t get parole.

He’ll be going back to prison on new felony charges related activities during the escape and flight.

Either way, not one of Darwin’s better examples.

Over yonder

Four, Eleven, Sixty-six

Been out of the loop a bit lately.

Eleven people, including a 4 year old, have been around the house for the last several days.

Been 11 years since we were in the Life-With-A-4-Year-Old department, so it took a little practice to get back in that game.

High school graduation, grad parties, a $66k Corvette that wasn’t mine, birthdays, national park visits, yada-yada-yada.

Schedule turmoil of the highest order 🙂

Back in the saddle this week.

Over yonder

Take a break

I dont think I could cover this better than I already have, so I’ll just send you here:

Over yonder

I really don’t admire your socks, or your butt.

Collectively, I get the impression that smokers seem to feel they have an inalienable “right” to fling cigarette butts out of their car windows.

I cant count the times Ive seen someone open their car door at an intersection and dump a full ashtray on the road. While I saw this with regularity when I lived in Dallas, I havent yet seen this in Montana. Despite that, there are still lots of butts on the side of the road. Look along highway 2 and you’ll find more butts than you’d see on a Richard Simmons commercial.

Our troop adopted the piece of U.S. 2 that goes all the way through Columbia Falls. 3 times a year, we walk that 2 miles or so and pick up all the crap people felt they needed to toss out the window for the rest of us to admire. As a result, we know what people dump out the window for the rest of us to admire them for. Of course, smokers are certainly not alone.

We find lots of other crap besides cigarette butts and empty packs. Sometimes, stuff you dont EVEN want to find. Condoms. Yes, used (those get left behind unless someone has a trash pick up stick – you know, a stick with a nail in it). Prescription bottles. Old beer bottles with “something” still in them. Needles (rarely, but we do find em). Clothing. Socks seem to be a popular item for some reason. Building materials. Sometimes it’s stuff that blew out of the back of a pickup, but most often, it’s stuff that likely didn’t.

It hasn’t really struck me why people would throw this stuff out the window. I doubt they’d appreciate it if we dumped our bags in their yard after we finish walking the highway. I guess that’s different.

This morning, I was on the way back from hauling Jonny to school and for some misguided reason, I felt obligated to provide some “counseling” to a smoker who felt the need to flick her butt out of the car as she sat in front of me. Having just spent time picking up a fair # of bags of trash with the troop just 2 weeks ago, for one brief moment, offering some counsel seemed like the thing to do. As you might imagine, my comment fell on deaf ears, even though both car windows were open and there was no question that they heard me. I suppose I probably was infringing her rights as a smoker.

If it had been summertime, when forest fires are a serious concern, I suspect I would have been substantially less shy. However, we’ve gotten some good rain here lately and it’s not dry enough for fire as yet. Yet I still offered my advice to this person. This is unusual for me, as I’m not in the habit of trying to save souls. I figure if you want help, whether its personal or business, I’ll do everything I can for you. On the other hand, if you don’t want help, or think you don’t need help, I’m likely to let you have your way. There are plenty of folks out there who want help, so why waste time on people who are just going to be annoyed (or worse) by your attempts to help them?

Once in a while, the perfect storm happens. That combination of me forgetting forget this habit at about the same time that I’m observing stupid behavior that ticks me off. The inevitable result: I say something about it.

Must be getting old or something:)

So stop throwing your crap out of car windows. No one admires it. Not even the socks.

Over yonder

Bush gives Phil Zimmerman the ultimate “I told you so”

Thats Phil Zimmerman of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) fame.

Get your PGP while you still can. You may not need it today, but you just never know.

No worries, politics is not the raison d’etre for this blog, but frankly, this isnt really about politics.
5 years ago, who would have thought that someone with (R) after their name would be the one torching privacy?

Over yonder

Crikey…Steve could’ve been a better parent

I was saddened to hear of Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin’s death this morning, but the longer I think about it, the more it angers me as a parent. Steve’s shows were always enjoyable and educational, and I spent a good bit of time watching the show with my boys over the year, despite wondering on numerous occasions how a guy with young kids could put himself at risk like that.
Certainly, its easy to say he “died doing what he loved”, as a good friend of mine (who isnt a parent) said today. Dying doing what you love is ok (I guess) when your kids are grown and have learned the life lessons they need to get from their dad. I doubt his 8 year old daughter and 3 year old son will get much solace from that as they grow up fatherless.

From everything you read about Irwin, he loved being a dad and I dont doubt that at all. What blows me away is that he would set aside the needs of his kids, the primary one to be “Stay around and be their dad”, in order to take the risks he took, no matter how well managed those risks were.

This is not, of course, limited to the Crocodile Hunter. I suspect many people see dads taking part in risky activity that might, maybe, someday, take them away from their primary job at this time in their lives, to be a dad to their kids, and eventually, the grandfather that a kid never forgets.
What a waste.