"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Keen Intellect....

Intellect: the power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills; the understanding; the faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge.

Last Saturday my wife and I were having a discussion on race in America and during that conversation I remembered Dr. Michael Eric Dyson intelligently debate the remarks Bill Cosby made in 2004 about black America.

In the end I thought they both made some very valid points.

Having heard Dr. Dyson speak at Wittenberg University a few years ago during the Martin Luther King Day yearly celebration and speaker series I was mesmerized by his keen intellect and his ability to articulate his thoughts. You don't have to agree with everything he says but I would find it very hard to find someone, or agree with anyone, who doesn't believe him to be highly intellectual.

With all of this being said, I sent an email to his show's website expressing my appreciation for his intellect and what I received in return was an email thanking me for my kind words and, after checking out my blog, an acknowledgment stating that I was being considered to be one of three people in the nation to be on his radio show the day after the upcoming midterm elections.

Yes, I was shocked to.

Below is the email I received from his staff and my reply.

From the Dyson Staff

Thank you Shawn for writing in a few days ago. We appreciate the comments and we would like to invite you on the show if you are interested. We are producing an election wrap up for November 3rd, where we invite fans and listeners of the show to discuss the elections turn outs in their hometown. We came up with a list of questions to help select the guest. 

1. Where are you from?
2. How often do you listen to the show?
3. Where do you listen to the show? (i.e. radio station, podcast, stream by web)
4. Occupation?
5. How is the election affecting your hometown and what would you like to discuss on air about the election?

Please provide a number and the best time to reach you.

Thank you once again and we look forward to hearing from you.

The Dyson Show Staff

My Reply 

Dyson Show Staff,

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my email. I really appreciate it. As far as the show is concerned, I’m honored (and completely shocked) that you would invite me in as a possible participant on Mr. Dyson’s show. I would first like to say that I’m not an political expert and I’m not sure how I could possibly add to your show. Secondly, and probably most importantly, I’m a person with opinions like most other people and think being a part of the ‘political dialogue’ (nationally & locally) is important. Again, thank you for your possible interest in me for your show and for reading my email. Below is answers to the questions you put forth:

            Where are you from?
·         Powell, Ohio (suburb of Columbus, Ohio)

            How often do you listen to the show?
·         Once or twice a week
           Where do you listen to the show? (i.e. radio station, podcast, stream by web)
·         Web

·         Sales Representative for International Paper

           How is the election affecting your hometown and what would you like to  discuss on air about the election?
·         Not to over simplify the question, even though I operate better when things are kept simple, but our hometown is not being affected any different than other areas in America during this midterm election. The choices of midterm voters are paramount because of the simple truth that those elected will make decisions that will touch millions of American lives. These issues range from taxes and national security to Social Security benefits and Medicare. The decisions made by the voters on Nov. 2nd are big; the impact on millions of American lives by those elected is even bigger. Everything from education policy to health care and taxes are on the table, and which party is in control makes a big difference. Governor races throughout the country could tremendously affect the balance of power and are important to more than just the people in the specific state that is in the middle of a Governor’s race. At the end of the day, voters in November will help determine whether Republicans or Democrats will run the House and Senate. The party in power in each house runs the committees, the most powerful clubs in Congress. Committee members control which bills come to a vote, and bills that committees approve can affect issues including taxes, immigration and health care.
·         What would I like to discuss?
o   There are two issues that stand out to me that I’m not really sure I could expand upon more than just to say this midterm election is about MONEY and it is an early referendum on a democratic controlled House & Senate and ultimately on President Obama and many of his unwanted policies.

sbb 31.10.10


Sunday, October 24, 2010

This I believe...

Believe: to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so: Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully.

Below is a 500 word essay I wrote for "This I Believe". "This I Believe" is an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives. More than 90,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, are archived on their website, heard on public radio (The Bob Edwards Show), chronicled through their books, and featured in weekly podcasts. The project is based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow. I would encourage others to take the time and write an essay stating what you believe. It is my belief that you will grow from the experience.

This I Believe

Believe defined by Webster is "confidence in the truth or existence of something without absolute proof one is right in doing so" and with that definition I was reminded of one of our nation's greatest philosophers, Crash Davis, played by Kevin Costner in the movie Bull Durham. Crash stated confidently his belief in "the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber and good scotch." He commented that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and that a constitutional amendment is needed outlawing Astroturf. Crash also believed that opening presents on Christmas Eve was absurd and kisses should be "long, slow, deep, soft, wet" and "last for three days." 

Much of what Crash said I agreed with; who could argue Astroturf being outlawed and that "long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days" aren't wonderful, especially when looking into the eyes of Susan Sarandon. Costner charmed us with his witty monologue and delivery but it was the simple fact his character believed in something that reflected thought that gave many reason to pause.

Stuart Chase, an American economist, commented; "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible."

I agree. What I believe is what I believe.

And what I believe is parents ruin youth sports, marijuana should remain illegal and term limits for elected officials are needed. I believe all should arrive in this country legally, learn English once here and register to vote. I believe Pee Wee Herman is a comedic genius that I wouldn't allow to babysit my children, uniforms should be mandatory in public schools and that Geoffrey Canada should win the Nobel Peace Prize. I believe our country is best served when Vice President Biden isn't heard, Vice President Cheney isn't seen and Vice President Gore isn't heard or seen. I believe coaches get too much of the blame when their team loses, too much of the praise when they win and too much money in both instances.

But with many beliefs it's my faith in God sending His only son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for my sins that sustains me; because of this I have peace and eternal salvation. I believe in God's greatest commandment and commission to "love my enemy" and "to spread the gospel" and because of these beliefs I have no desire to politicize my faith. I also believe those around me are better served if I live out my faith in deed; not word, realizing my faith doesn't licenses me to judge a woman's right to choose or a man's desire to marry another man. What my faith does provide is the ability to agree to disagree without being disagreeable and the realization that you can never argue another one into believing what you believe. In the end, I do believe "You attract more bees with honey than you do with vinegar" and that people would rather see a sermon than hear one. 

This I believe. 

sbb  24.10.10


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grow up...

Aged: having lived or existed long; of advanced age; old: an aged man; an aged tree.

One of the most important things we can accomplish as we grow old is to grow up. Growing up isn't only about becoming a mature adult, though that is a part of it, what I'm referring to has a much deeper and significant meaning. Proverbs 29:22 states; "The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old". Another version of this verse explains it this way; "...and the beauty of old men is the gray head." Growing old is to be honored, respected and admired but we have to be careful that it isn't our only intention to grow old.

...loafers, no socks. (My personal favorite)

And while many of us would love to stave off old age and remain young and attractive; strong and invincible, and many of us try to do this very thing with mindless medical procedures and thoughtless use of pharmaceuticals, the fact remains that we will grow old. Walt Whitman points out to us that growing old isn't a bad thing and describes it to us this way in "Youth, Day, Old Age and Night":

 Youth, large, lusty, loving-youth full of grace, force, fascination,
Do you know that Old Age may come after you with equal grace,
force, fascination?

...Doesn't hurt to be young & rich too.

It is a fact that we will take longer naps and more medications; we will ask more questions like, "What did you say?" and we will never be heard saying, "I heard you the first time". Our bodies will fail us and our minds will betray us from time to time. We will take less walks and do more crossword puzzles. 

Growing old is a part of life.

Growing old is a natural progression of life but growing up isn't necessarily a given. 

...naps are great companions because you can take them anywhere.

But if we are intentional, blessed and a little lucky we will become less rushed and more purposeful. And as our eyes lose their sight many of us will experience life with more focus and less pretense. From time to time I'm reminded of this fact when I see an older person walking through the airport with an easy smile and a purposeful walk. The same can be said when I've notice an aged person sitting at a table at a bookstore drinking coffee, reading a book and writing notes in the margins with the intent of becoming more knowledgeable. There are many examples, ones better than the two I gave, of people choosing to forge on with the same energy, vigor and focus of a thirty year old. The common theme with all of these examples is that they are choosing to live and not to die. What I've come to admire about many of these people, national treasures as I like to refer to them as, is that they have come to the point in their life where they realize what is truly important. And most of the time it isn't them, their needs or their desires. 

And they are at peace with it...

...grandparents are so valuable and have so much to pass on.

As I mentioned earlier many of us are familiar with what getting old looks like but what I think is important is to understand what growing up looks like. I do believe it to be someone that chooses to live and not to die, but what does that really mean? And more importantly what does that look like? And finally will I recognize it when it's right in front of me?

...focus on his eyes.

As I became more focused and reflective in my thinking I realized that there are a few, four to be exact, qualities that are common in a person who is growing up. And while I don't think that the four I share with you are to be taken as gospel I do believe that they are keys to advancing towards growing up and not just growing old.

Allow me to share.
  • Affirming...
    • Most people that are affirming choose to positively embrace the goodness in everyone around them. They realize that each one of us entertain weaknesses and display faults on a daily basis but would much rather identify with and encourage the best that resides within all of us. To affirm another is to encourage them and validate who they are and what they are trying to accomplish. We all need people in our lives that will affirm us when it is deserved and needed; they are of value to everyone they come in contact with.
  • Flexible...
    • People that are flexible are people that are willing to negotiate away their needs and desires for the greater good of all those around them and with whom they are involved. They don't argue their right to be right and they don't need to have the last word. For the most part, people that are flexible are selfless; not selfish. Their ideas don't have to implemented, their actions don't need to be acknowledged and their thoughts of kindness don't have to be recognized. They have released themselves from the words "always and never". They are principled but not rigid.
  • Compassionate... 
    • A compassionate person is an understanding person. They realize that hurt and pain are real and often they cannot be explained away or ignored. Prayer doesn't seem like enough to be offered and shared acknowledgment of the circumstance seems hollow. A person that is compassionate is a person who cares. They care enough to close their mouth and open their ears; they listen and don't talk. They share your tears and they embrace you with a hug that is reassuring, loving and protective. Compassionate people are action oriented people with their attention and focus directed at you. They often save the day.
  • Confident... 
    • Confident people are often people with strong conviction and resolve. They are not arrogant people. If they are arrogant they are not confident they are just arrogant. Arrogant people are insecure individuals that make up for their insecurity with false acknowledgment of who they truly are and can only feel good about themselves when they can make themselves superior to another, and in turn, make another feel bad about who they are. A confident person lacks internal dilemmas because they have resigned themselves to the fact that others are more important than self. There is no confusion about who they are or what their purpose is. They are free and when you are free you are confident. Confident people have purpose and they are secured in who they are. They are comfortable in their own skin and at the end of the day they don't complain nor do they explain.

...Two men and a boat.

Finally, this past Sunday a good friend contacted me concerning a text message he received from the husband of his ex-wife. The text emphatically challenged his manhood and character when it came to the raising, or lack thereof, of his older children. My friend and his ex have been divorced for 17 years and have two college age boys. There hasn't been much admiration between the step-father and father for many years for many different reasons. And as my friend read the texts that he received, out of the blue, that questioned his financial and physical involvement with his children over the years he became perplexed. When he shared with me the situation; asking me what I thought and what he should do, I asked him what he thought and what he "planned' on doing.

He replied; "nothing". "I'm going to pray for him and for myself; he is being human and I don't want to be human; I don't want to be guided by my natural human instincts... we both need God's help" he stated.

He went on further to say that the unfortunate reality of a blended home is that when a divorce occurs the kids are with the mother more than the father. It is a known fact that the burden of the day to day trials and tribulations fall upon the lap of the mother and her spouse if she is remarried. That doesn't omit the children's father from any responsibility but it still remains a fact that "life" falls at the feet of the mother. Ask any single or remarried mother and she will tell you the same.

"Everything is a trade off" he said; "the mom gets more money and less free time and the father gets more free time and less money."

So true, so very true. Nobody knows this more than I.

My friend also revealed to me that his ex wife and her mate have been having troubles for some time and that at the end of the day he lashed out at him more out of fear than anger. "Does he dislike me" my friend asked..."yes, yes indeed he does but often times men display their fears in the form of anger and violence. We often have trouble when we can't explain something away... so we go looking for things to blame and that often involves other people" he stated. He finished with saying that I have too much respect and love my children's mother too much to get involved in a battle and add another layer of stress upon her.

When my friend shared with me his thoughts I was reminded of Proverbs 17:14; "Beginning a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so drop the matter before a dispute a breaks out."

There is much more I could say about the situation but I don't need to because I realized that my friend was displaying exactly what I had been thinking about for days. He displayed what it looks like to grow up and not just grow old. He was affirming by recognizing the other person's weakness but not willing to focus upon it. He was flexible with his anger and his desire to retaliate; he didn't need the last word or any word for that matter. He was compassionate towards the circumstances his ex-wife and her husband have found themselves in and my friend realized that it was better to pray for another than to argue with another. 

At the end of the day, my friend was confident in who he was and what the right thing was to do. He was comfortable in his own skin and he didn't need to be affirmed by someone that wanted to do him harm.

I have to say I'm glad he is my friend. What a good example of how to properly handle a situation.

I thanked him for sharing his particular circumstance with me because I learned something. 

I learned what it looks like when you grow up and not just grow old.

sbb  19.10.10

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trials...You Are Not Alone

Hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
-Isaiah 41:10

If you live long enough most of us will be hurt beyond repair, troubled to the point we cannot sleep and we all will grieve in such a way that we will lose more than just our appetite. Trials and tribulations, and pain and hurt, have a way of putting everything into perspective.

Ask a parent of a "special needs" child or mother that just buried her son what is important and you will get an answer that if you're lucky, and smart enough to realize, will cause you to question everything you do and why you do it.

Pain and suffering get our attention and they get our attention fast.

So what are we to do when an unwelcome trial arrives at the doorstep of our life?

The options are limitless and most of them usually make things worse. Below, I want to share three questions we should ask ourselves when we are hurting and three answers to those questions we all can cling to in our individual times of need.

  • Ask yourself the question: "What can I control?" 
    • The only thing we have total control in our life is our Attitude. Attitude determines outcome & altitude. I refuse to add anything else to that statement. 
  • Next ask:"What am I to learn in this situation?" 
    •  James 1: 2-4 states; "For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." 
    • We are to endure. When we do this we grow in courage, strength and character. And when we grow in those three areas we become of value to everyone around us and everyone we come in contact with... whether they realize it or not.
    • It really comes down to faith and hope if we are truly going to endure. The key is what we put our "faith" and "hope" in.
  • Finally, ask yourself:"Where do I go from here?" 
    • The first place I go to is my knees. Psalm 61:1-3 is beautiful and reassuring... "O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge..." 
    • God can take any situation and make it more than better. He can give us victory in each and every situation; he can take our bad and turn it into good. We may not get the desired outcome but if we trust in Him He will show us the intended message and where we are to go from here.
    • At the end of the day, God is either in everything and every situation or He is not. The choice is yours... all you have to do is invite Him into heart and into each circumstance of your life.
"For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 'And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."
 -Jeremiah 29:11-13

John 16:33 say's, "I have told you all is so that when you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. 

I'm not sure why I chose to write about this today only to say it was on my heart. And though the words in this piece might be helpful to some and pathetic to others the one thing I do know is that we all experience trials in our lives. We all experience such pain and hurt that when we think about a certain situation that was painful it can, and usually does, bring us to tears.

Pain and suffering is universal and it spares no one. 

We all are currently facing a trial(s), we just came out of a trial(s) or a trial is just around the corner. That is an undeniable truth. And the question each one of us needs to ask is who will we depend on when the winds increase in strength and the waves get higher and higher? Will it be a friend, a parent or we will depend on ourselves? Will it be alcohol, drugs or an unwarranted relationship?

In closing, Proverbs 15:1 states that "a gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger." My intention or goal was not to stir up any anger in the reader or to come off as a know it all. It is just my belief that so many people are truly hurting in such a way that many times they find it difficult to even get out of bed in the morning.

I hope that person is reading this piece right now. It is my hope and prayer that they realize that it will get better. It comes down to our attitude, our desire to endure and our ability to admit we can't do it alone. Ask God for His help and his direction; ask Him today.

I usually reserve this type of commentary for Sunday but I chose not to today.

And for those of you that are hurting at this very moment, take pause and just remember... you are not alone and you will never be alone.

Hold on to that... you are not alone.

sbb  15.10.2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Comfort: to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to: They tried to comfort her after her loss.

This past Sunday Ann Rodgers ask me if I would post Vince Gill's song "Go Rest High on That Mountain" on my facebook page. I post a "song of the day" everyday but that day was unusual because rarely do I have requests. As I read Ann's little note she stated she wanted to dedicate it to her brother Todd. The reason for her dedication request was because her brother passed away two days earlier.

Todd was the second sibling she has lost in the last three months. 

And as I sit hear listening to Vince Gill's song I realize I don't have anything to say. I have no remedy for Ann and her families' pain, I have no insightful thought or so called wisdom to impart; I have nothing that I can, or ever could, say that would be worth saying.

I feel empty and my heart is saddened beyond belief.

I never met Todd or his parents and I know little about Ann, but what I do know is that I'm a father and I'm a brother, and I know how much I love my sister and how much I love my children.

My heart goes out to the entire family.

And after seeing the outpouring of sympathy and concern that Ann and her family have received I too realize that Ann, her family and Todd are people that are very much loved. I was encouraged by the wonderful display of genuine sorrow from others and was reminded how fortunate we "all" are to be loved by those close to us. 

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus say's,  

"Come to me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."

Ann your brother was, and still is, loved by many. The same can be said for you and your family. And as I search for words to share with you all I can say is that my prayer will be for you and your loved ones to experience peace during this most difficult time; that you will find rest.

 "Go Rest High on That Mountain" 

I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain
You weren't afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the rain

Go rest high on that mountain

Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and Son

Oh, how we cried the day you left us

We gathered round your grave to grieve
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing

Go rest high on that mountain

Son, you work on earth is done
Go to heaven a shoutin'
Love for the Father and Son

 ...listen to the song.

sbb  12.10.10
"Go Rest High on That Mountain"  .  Vince Gill  

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Communication: the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.

When I first saw this drawing by a little girl named Lucia I knew I was going to write about it. My attention was held captive by the authenticity, the originality and the innocence the picture displayed. I knew I was going to write about it and use the drawing as the "centerpiece" of my piece; I just wasn't sure what I wanted to communicate.

As I pondered Lucia's artwork for three days it ignited a desire in me to research the beginnings of our English language and to gain an understanding on why we communicate the way we do. Many of you reading this are very familiar with my love for research; if only I could make a "six seven figure" salary doing research on topics and then provide a detailed outline, with "bullet points", to someone, anyone, I would be in heaven. 

Also, provide me with an Apple iMac (27" monitor) then I will be good to go. I would quit my job today, do research and write a book. I would be set.
Enough about what I want (besides, I'm getting the Mac next year for Christmas... watch me), this piece is about a six year old girl named Lucia, how we as a society communicate with each other and her perfect little talent. A talent that displays such originality and simplicity that most art majors, and advertisers, would do well to revisit the powerful premise that messages are best when they are simple and concise.

Greatness is usually elementary in form, void of false pretense or false humility.

As I mentioned earlier, I was interested in the genesis of the English language and to see if anyone else noticed that the way we communicate is changing faster than most our abilities to keep up.

If you don't believe me look at "". There are over 82 million people that text on a daily basis and with the advent of this new form of communication a new language has arrived with it that is rapidly becoming the communication tool and style of choice... if it isn't already.

For better or worse acronyms like "OMG & LOL" are here and they are here to stay.

Before we can to begin to understand where we are today we must first gain an understanding of where we came from. The English language has been around since 450 B.C. and came about due to an invasion.

Nothing like a good invasion to get the party started. 

The history of the English language really found it's beginning with the invasion of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century A.D. The three tribes were the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. They crossed the North Sea from what is known today as Denmark and northern Germany. This began the period in England's history as the "Anglo-Saxon" period. At the time most of the people living in Britain spoke a Celtic language. As the invasion progressed most of the inhabitants that spoke Celtic were pushed into what is now known as Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The Angles came from "Englaland" and their language was called "Englisc"... from which the words England and English are derived. And from these early beginnings we have seen the English language endure four phases ending with the phase we reside in now; the "Late Modern English" (1800-present) phase. The four periods of the English language for those who are keeping score at home are as follows:

           1. Old English (450-1100 AD)
Old English would be very difficult to speak and even more difficult to understand today. Nevertheless, almost half of the most commonly used words in the Modern English have Old English roots. For example the words "be", "strong" and "water" finds their origins in the Old English language...

           2. Middle English (1100-1500)

During this phase the new conquerors from what is known as France today brought with them a kind of French language that ultimately became the language of the Royal Court. When William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy as he was referred to as, invaded England the new language he brought with him ignited a "linguistic" class division. The poor spoke English and the rich spoke French. And now I know why the French are so arrogant. Thankfully, English became the dominant language again in Britain in the 14th century. This language became known as the "Middle English". It was the language of the great poet Chaucer, who is best known today for his great poem, "The Canterbury Tales".

           3. Early Modern English (1500-1800) 

During this stage a sudden and very distinctive change in the pronunciation of vowels began to take shape. This shift is referred to as the "Great Vowel Shift", not to be confused with the "Great Bowel Shift" that is taking place in my baby daughters diapers as we speak (or as I type and you read). I loosely use the term "shift" if you get my drift. Anyway, during this great shift in which we began to pronounce our vowels in a much shorter fashion and the fact that in the 16th century the British came in contact with many people from around the world meant that new words and phrases entered the language. The fact that the British came in contact with more people all across the globe, coupled with the Renaissance of Classic learning taking place, both ushered in a new dawn in the English language. Also, during this time printing standardized English, books became cheaper and more people learned how to read. With this progress came a fixed structure for spelling and English. The distinctive dialect of London became standard because London was where most of the writers and publishing houses resided. During this time, William Caxton invents the first printing press (1476), Shakespeare was born and died (1564-1616), the first dictionary is published (1604) and the first English-language newspaper, The Daily Courant, is published in London.

           4. Late Modern English (1800-Present)

Vocabulary is the main difference between the Early Modern and Late Modern English periods. The English we speak today has many more words. This is my wife's excuse for talking so much. She says that there are many more ways, and words, to explain how she feels. I am women, hear me Talk. Anyway, there were two principal factors that contributed to the increase of our vocabulary: the first was the Industrial Revolution and the technology that created a need for more words. Secondly, the British Empire covered one quarter of the earth's surface during this time, and because of this fact the English language adopted foreign words from many countries.
Now we find ourselves in a new phase of sorts in the English language. A period of communication that is fueled by incredible technology and limited only by our imagination... if you can think it most likely we can make it happen. And while "SMS" (Short Messaging System) is the current trend of communicating, along with email and cell phone, we need to take notice that communication is more than just 160 characters. 

Texting is just another reminder that our life has quickened to an out of control pace, a pace 'we' created, and that rat race type of pace we live has caused us to become over stressed, over scheduled and over worked. 

And we are doing all of this with less sleep.

With this out of control schedule, lack of sleep and the fact that the average person experiences over 200 interruptions a day is it any wonder that 36% of adult males in a recent poll said they were "over stressed". The rate for women with children that were stressed was even higher.


As well as being over stressed we are over worked. The average married couple works "114" hours a week. The man works on average 48 hours a week whereas women are working 41 hours a week, plus another 25 hours a week once they arrive home. There are so many things I could say about that statistic but I'm going to refrain from stating the obvious.

As I mentioned earlier, we are doing all of this while sleeping less. In 1850 the average person slept 9.5 hours a day, in 1950 it was 8 hours and in 1990 it was, and still is, 7 hours a night.

The bottom line is the average American gets 2.5 hours less sleep than they did a100 years ago.

A vast majority of Americans would agree that we have allowed our communication to suffer the same demise that our day to day lives has experienced. Our communication, like many peoples lives, is rushed, less personal and void of any emotional investment or substantive content. And ironically, because texting is less personal it's easier for all involved to say very personal things that they wouldn't say in person and to send very personal images that they wouldn't send otherwise. 

How much of what we text would we put in a letter or a personalized note? How many of the highly personal and inappropriate images, or pictures, would we send to someone we barley know in the mail?  

Please don't misunderstand me, all communication doesn't need to be a Hallmark card but there needs to be some thought put into what and how we communicate with others from time to time.

One only needs to examine the shift in designing and building homes over the past forty years to see the sad trend of our neighborhoods becoming less personal in much of the same way our communication has become impersonal over the last ten years.

Both are very similar.

Many of us remember a time, or have at the very least seen photos of old homes, where most of the homes had a "front porch". 

In every neighborhood across America people were often seen sitting on their front porch responding to cars honking their horns and watching kids play "in the street". Today, many of us are aware that most of the neighborhoods in America have removed the traditional front porch from most homes. That once wonderful communal experience has since been moved to the backyards of America.

No more is that community connection lived out in the front yards of America.

And while this geographical shift from the front porch to the backyard has taken place it has left us somehow less connected with those around us. It is very difficult to find a new housing development today building homes with real front porches; it is even tougher to find people using them if their house has a porch. 

This single architectural paradigm shift moved us farther from our neighbors and our community. 

We used to watch out for others in the neighborhood and our neighborhood watched out for us. Gone are the days that we know everyone on our street and wave to people passing buy. Now we pull into our garage, put down the garage door and retreat to our media rooms or our backyards with the privacy fence. America has moved from their collective front porches to their backyard brick patios, and all of this has been done in the name of privacy. 

Case & point: My in-laws backyard...
(They actually have a beautiful front porch too)

We have become more distant.

Texting has done the same thing; it has made us more distant from each other. Even though we communicate more we actually say less because our communication is hurried, distracted and often without little thought, and all of this has been done in the name of technology. We actually have less real contact. 

Once again, we have become more distant.

And though we are becoming more "connected" via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube one must ask the question: Are we really becoming more connected? Are we? Does our contact with others have any substance? Does it really have any meaning? Like I said earlier, many of us talk more on our phone but in all actuality we say less; when we text we say even less. Our texting is just another example of our hurried and busy lives. We would much rather text someone than to talk to them; we would much rather email someone than write them a letter. And while many of us have anywhere from 100 to 2000 friends on Facebook most of us are lucky if we know 50% of the people we call "friends" on Facebook.

My point is that we are saying less to more people. We abbreviate our feelings and reduce our thoughts to three letter acronyms and little emoticons. Sometimes the key is to "touch" someone not just contact them. 

One of the toughest, and best managers, I've ever had is a man by the name of Tony D'Angelo. Tony always asked if 'today' I 'touched' a prospective advertiser (I sold TV advertising at one time) that we were trying to get on the air. When I first began at the station I would tell him that I sent them an email earlier in the day. He would always follow my comment in kind with this statement; "I didn't asked if you sent them an email, I ask if you touched them... did you speak with them"

The message here is that often times contacting someone isn't enough, sometimes you have to reach out and touch someone to make a difference.

Lucia & Mom... and "glitter" 

In a roundabout way that is what Lucia did to me... she touched me. She reminded me that all forms of communication are important and valuable, and no matter the language or the form of communication I use it always comes back to my tone and attitude. 

It's not what I say it's how I say it that will create the most impact.

I was also reminded the importance of writing a letter to someone that is in a difficult situation or is grieving the loss of a love one, or that a simple thank you card or note that acknowledges the success or milestone in one's life that will create the most impact and stir the deepest of emotions.

A letter has that kind of power.

Maybe it is all of that and the fact that each generation that follows needs to be reminded that though their form of communication can be, and is, very cool, efficient and a time saver it should never replace the beauty of genuine correspondence. Always remember, a heartfelt letter and a stamp is all that is needed to touch someone in a very deep and meaningful way... we need to make sure our children know this truth and we as parents must make sure we display this truth in our own lives. 

Technology is great, let's just make sure we don't lose real connection with other people. The quality of our conversations is more important than the mode of communication we use to communicate. :)

idk...OMG i thk i just learned sthing new... i hope u did 2... lol! ttyl...B4N... thks agin Lucia 4 the grt pics.!

sbb 10.10.10