Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thank You Eugene Polley

A remote control for the television. A remote control for the stereo. A remote control for the Blue Ray Player and one for the DVD Player. And how about a remote control to find the remote control? Yes we have them all. And our thanks for this all important household device goes to Eugene Polley.

Eugene Polley, not exactly a household name we should remember, is it?  In fact I bet many of us did not know who he was until sadly hearing of his passing this past week. Eugene Polley is best known for inventing the first remote control for Zenith back in 1955.  Eugene died in a Downers Grove, Illinois hospital at the age of 96.

In 47 years as an engineer for Zenith, Eugene Polley has 18 U.S. Patents to his credit. Another important device developed by him: the push-button radio for automobiles, which I think is just as important as the remote control.

Though he was recognized with an Emmy in 1997 for his invention of the remote control, one can't help but wonder:

Did Eugene Polley receive enough financially as the actual inventor of the device or did Zenith reap most of the windfall profits?

Which leads me to another story of the gentleman who in the 1960's created the symbol for the Chicago Bulls. He sold it to the franchise for about $3,000. Today the Chicago Bulls logo is one of the more prestigious and marketable logos in all of sports, raking in more than a billion dollars so far.

Sometimes it's good to take a look at the small foundations that were created by the little people in the world such as Eugene Polley. If it weren't his creative ingenuity, there would be no channel surfing couch potatoes.

"Hey kid, get up and turn the channel for me,will ya?"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Like This!

"We are the makers of dreams, the dreamers of dreams."
   - Willy Wonka

One of my favorite stories is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where the confectionery artist fulfills the dreams of five lucky children: a full tour of his tightly-guarded candy factory. And one of my favorite scenes in the film? When Augustus Gloop disobeys the rules and drinks from a chocolate river then gets sucked through a pipe and delivered to the Fudge Room. Not such a bad room to be sent to,huh?

The original book was convinced into being made a movie by the director's ten-year old daughter. And ironically the family's "Uncle Dave" was given the job of producer for the original film. Which brings my story into play:

No, I am no big name movie producer nor an actor, just a guy who loves to give to others and fulfill the dreams of those around me; especially those in my own family. Just recently I took my niece  (who is an extremely talented dancer for the half-time shows of her school's basketball team) to her first Chicago Bulls game. She was ecstatic about finally getting to go to a Chicago Bulls game. And nevertheless it was a playoff game, a game the Bulls were expected to lose but ended up winning in dramatic fashion.

My niece's 12 year-old brother, who is my nephew in case you haven't had that first cup of morning coffee yet, has the luxury of being taken to all the Superhero movies that come out at the theater. Our recent outing to see the Avengers movie made about 15 films we have seen together. It is something he enjoys, but it is also more gratifying to myself as well. You see, the enjoyment of giving to others and seeing their appreciation is what brings satisfaction and joy to those who are doing the giving.

After being at a late start Chicago Bulls game, a thrilling game I might add, I arrived home afterwards just in time to get 3 hours of sleep before work. It took me a couple of days to get back to getting my usual amount of sleep. Drinking a lot of coffee to stay awake kept me abuzz for a few days!

On my drive home from work on one of those days God reminded me: "You see, you fulfill dreams of those close to you, now how much more do you think I will do to fulfill your dreams?"

And so at that moment  this Parable came to mind:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.  (Mathew 7:9-12)

If you take great joy in giving to others, without wanting anything in return, the Lord recognizes your heart. And in return He will reward you:

But this I say, "He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall also reap bountifully. (2 Cor. 9:6)

I like the fact that God recognizes and acknowledges our good deeds when they are done with a grateful heart.

Whatever you do, do it with a grateful heart.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Rules According to the Weather

"I like how you consistently live by your rules, Dave." my co-worker exclaimed to me yesterday.
Some of my self-made rules coincide with the weather since I am considered an outdoor person, except for when it comes to sleeping in a tent. Here are some of those rules:

Rule 1.  I can only eat oatmeal and soup during the cold months.

Rule 2. I can only eat salads during the warm months.

Rule 3. I can't watch television or films on DVD or Blue Ray when the weather is nice outside. But I can definitely go to the theater to watch a film! (go figure) I think that last part is because most of the movies worth viewing at the theater always come out during the summer months.

Coincidentally one of my favorite Mark Twain quotes has to do with the weather:

"Why complain about the weather, you can't do anything about it."

My sentiments exactly.  I  may not be able to change the weather, but I sure can change some of my lifestyle habits to adapt to the weather.
That's my rule, and I'm sticking with it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Like This!

This is my 250th blog post!

"Dreams do come true if you really believe. You do the right things in life, good things happen to you."

This coming from Eric Legrand, upon hearing that Pro Football's Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him to a contract. So, what's the big deal you might ask? Eric was paralyzed with a spinal injury in 2010 while playing in a football game for Rutgers University. It was Eric's dream of not only one day playing for a professional team, but to later pursue broadcasting. Eric's former coach at Rutgers is now the new head coach for Tampa Bay. So, after this past NFL Draft a few weeks ago, Eric's former coach thought it would be fitting to sign Eric Legrand, since this would have been the draft that he would have been in had he not been injured. It's a symbolic gesture, no doubt, but one that speaks volumes to a world that's looking for a feel good story amongst all the junk out there.

As for Eric' condition, doctors said he would be a quadriplegic and remain on a ventilator. Boy, were they wrong! Today Eric can: breathe on his own, is able to stand upright with the help of an aid,  and will graduate this fall from Rutgers University. You can follow his updated progress daily on Twitter or just Google his name.

Eric Legrand hopes to walk again someday, and I have a feeling the way things are going for him, that someday will be soon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Health 101

"Yeah, or die doing something, like that!"  This coming from a kid as I crossed the finish line at the end of my long run this past Sunday afternoon.

Although I only caught the last bit of the conversation between the two young boys, I couldn't help but wonder if they were referring to my running and all the energy I used to where it would might actually kill me. But, exercise does do wonders for the body. Yes, there have been instances where someone has unfortunately passed away after exercising; in fact the last two Chicago Marathons someone has died while tackling one of the most grueling feats of strength. But for the most part, exercise is good. Now there is no way you will ever catch me running a marathon, but I do take solace in the fact that I do enjoy running on the trails in the woods. There is something to be said about finding peace when running through the woods while viewing and listening to nature. It's my way of finding peace after a hard day's work or even to quiet my soul on a Sunday afternoon.

I have many friends and co-workers who either: exercise before or after work at the gym, bike to work (an actual bicycle with peddles), go walking on their lunch break, and others who will go for a run or a walk  during the day. It doesn't matter which of these you do, but exercise is good for your health.

Probably the other most important ingredient to our health is what we eat. It's like that old adage, "You are what you eat!" And we sure can't curse God when something goes wrong with our health such as having clogged arteries or being overweight, because we are in charge of what we eat. Now I am definitely not talking about health related issues that we have no control over, but there are some things we do have control over.

Since I came back from my latest vacation, I've started adding a slice of lemon ( it's a Southern Cal thing) to my drinking water and have found that I now drink more water than I previously had. I also believe I am going on about 3 or 4 years of giving up on soda pop.

Now if you think that Diet Coke is really helping you control your weight, you are wrong. In fact, studies have proven that diet soda is worse than regular soda. But if you are looking to cut down on calories and shed a few pounds, I would start with cutting out soda. You will be amazed at how many pounds you will shed just by giving up soda pop.

So, I said all that to say this:

God wants us to be healthy, but it is up to us to maintain that which has been given to us; not just physically, but spiritually. Just as we maintain our soul by following a certain  discipleship regiment, how we maintain our physical well being is just as important to God.

You do not necessarily have to go out and run a few miles because walking a mile or two each day is just as sufficient. If you have a  gym or park district facility nearby, go checkout what they have to offer. Today there is so much competition with health clubs that most gyms will now give you the option of only having to sign up one month at a time, no contracts involved.

 If you are not in the habit of working out and may be leary of trying some form of exercise, remember:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Philippians 4:13

Once you get into a habit of working out two or three times a week, you will eventually find yourself with more energy to do the things you want to do throughout any given day. And you are assured of a good nights sleep. Just as you go through a daily discipleship program to strengthen your soul and feel better spiritually; the same goes for yourself physically when you exercise regularly, you will feel better.

Exercise is good for the body, and good for the soul.