Independent, Together

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”


It’s hard to do difficult things by yourself. Writing a document may have been straightforward enough but the signers of the Declaration of Independence knew that they would be forever linked by the consequences of their actions. By standing together with people who were dedicated to the same cause, they would be much more stronger than going it alone.

It’s a good principle to keep in mind hundreds of years later as we celebrate the anniversary of American independence: When you have difficult things going on in your life, no matter how small, are you inviting others to stand with you?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

The “5 Whys”​ and Current Events

If you stop asking why too soon, you’ll miss the root cause.

Protesters overtaking and burning the Minneapolis Police’s 3rd Precinct. Photo by Hungryogrephotos
In my industry we have a diagnostic tool called the “5 Whys”. It’s taken from Toyota because software developers like to pretend we’re in manufacturing.

The idea is that many problems have more than a single cause. If you treat the most obvious reason but miss the underlying system that led to the situation in question, everything’s going to break all over again.

A classic example would be a car not starting. Keep asking “why” until you get to the main cause.

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On the one hand, close to 103,000 Americans have died from a pandemic and people who thought a temporary closure of physical locations was excessive got their demonstration in with no problem. And then Wisconsin justices met remotely to decide that the temporary closure shouldn’t stand.

Many of us could explain why that happened, why it’s only right that we have freedom. Hang on to that for a minute.

On the other hand a man was murdered in Minnesota, we all had the opportunity to see it happen, and the killer wasn’t arrested during peaceful protests. He was, however, arrested after a riot and a police station burned down. 3 other associated people remain, as I understand it, without charges.

Many of us could explain why that happened, why there is a process and this is the fastest a Minneapolis officer has ever been arrested. Hang on to that for a minute.

Hang on to those explanations because people display their priorities with their day-to-day actions. The end doesn’t always justify the means but it does show the choices we made along the way.

Continue reading “Priorities”


A salami sandwich with toasted Italian bread
I always think about my dad when I have Italian bread or salami. Those were part of the supplies he stock in the big white and blue plastic cooler to keep us fed while hiking around out at Devil’s Lake State Park, Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area, Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa, Wyalusing State Park, or any of several other places we’d drive out to with my grandpa or siblings. Apparently that’s the only time in my life that I’d have salami? The trips were usually long days and I can imagine I’d be crabby towards the end of them but sandwiches like these always remind me of waterfalls and eagles and riverside flea markets. Thanks dad. I’m looking forward to you being the grandpa out on these trips soon.

User Engagement

Did you know Facebook tries to get you riled up?

The top goals of every major social media platform include a measure of activity called “engagement”, that is, people interacting with content on the site. The trick is that not only do the adorable pictures of my son get lots of likes and comments, so do all those posts with disagreeable statements that you spend all day arguing about.

Facebook doesn’t care that one left you with a smile and the other left you with a racing heart and bad attitude, it just knows both posts got you to leave a few comments.

I posted a tear-jerker video of a couple celebrating their wedding in isolation that got no reaction. The post I made on election day got a lot of back and forth discussion. Which one do you think Facebook will determine people should see?

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Aviate First

I’ve been thinking about the phrase “Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.” now that Wisconsin looks at the potential of 4 more weeks of altered daily life.

Pilots use this phrase to remind them of their priorities during their journey. A pilot’s most important task is to keep the plane flying, even if they must set the radio down or quit looking at the charts. Nothing else matters if the plane goes down!

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Lenny and the Windows Support Scam

I got a scammy call today from “Martin” from “Windows Technical Support” offering to help with my computer. Martin couldn’t tell me which computer he was calling about, so I transferred him over to my buddy Lenny. Bonus: Lenny’s ducks make an appearance just after the 6 minute mark!
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