Sunday, January 6, 2013



What is happening... in Nebraska?

Actually, a lot is happening in Nebraska. I even think that most people who currently live in Nebraska would be surprised about the events and people in our state. We are interesting, curious, doers.

So, what is happening in Nebraska?

All you need to answer that question is this 16 minute video that gives you an overview of TEDxLincoln.

After watching the video, get involved in your community (whether that is somewhere in or out of Nebraska). Connect with people. Learn about them. Do something simply significant.

And for those of you who live in Nebraska and are reading this, begin paying attention to the youth in this state. They are pretty darn amazing. And they will be unleashing their brilliance at TEDxYouth@Lincoln on August 17th of this year.

I will be blogging more about this upcoming event, so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base

Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military BaseArea 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things that fascinates me about history are the stories of people and the decisions they make based upon their world-view at the time. Area 51 is compelling for that very reason: the stories of the people who were involved with the beginning (and continuation) of America's military complex. Our current military presence in the world is due, in large part, to the technology, experimentation, and ingenuity of the people situated at the military base.

The only reason this book exists is because quantities of once top-secret, classified documents were finally released due to the passage of time and the Freedom of Information Act. What took place at Area 51 is fascinating, years ahead of its time, and (some of it) quite frightening.

The first-hand accounts of the people in this book are what weave together the timeline of events and bind together the trajectory of where we are today with our military weapons systems in the United States. Additionally, the book provides perspective on some behind the scenes decisions and power-plays to serious events such as the fear of communism, The Cuban Missile Crisis, and World War II.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants perspective and a unique view in understanding our United States spy programs and military: the extreme endless government spending, our role in escalating and deescalating international situations, and our leadership in cutting edge military technology.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gracie: The extended guest

We had a visitor at our house over the holidays. Her name is Gracie and she is a Yorkie. She wears sweaters because she gets cold easily.

She didn't like us, Charlie, or our home the first day. She was very nervous about her surroundings, especially the sleeping arrangements. If we put her in the bed with us, she would jump down to the floor. If we put her in her kennel with her blanket she would cry intermittently all night long and she would claw at the door.

During waking hours, there was a lot of pacing throughout the house with Charlie in tow trying to keep her under wraps.

Eventually she got used to us and we got used to her personality.

Barking: For such a tiny dog, she can really bark. I'm not used to having a barking dog. Charlie rarely barks and when he does it is incredibly short-lived. Gracie on the other hand will bark at traffic, other dogs she hears outside, the sound of the warm air flowing through the vents when the heater is on, and the dark at night.

Drinking water: Gracie drank much more water than Charlie. And, because she is smaller dog, she also had to go outside all the time. This was maddening because it had been unbearably cold outside and she wasn't exactly the best at listening to commands to come back inside. She would get close to the back door after being in the yard, but the second I would open the back door, she would run out to the yard again, quickly bouncing in the snow. It was like she flew above the white covered ground. This would happen many times before she would be ready to return to the warmth. Maybe if I took that sweater off of her, she wouldn't have been so comfortable out in the cold.

Gracie whined like the best of dogs: And the high-pitched screeching was intolerable. After Michelle left one day, the whining went on for quite some time. I appreciate the fact that my wife is so much cooler than me but it wasn't like I was totally ignoring Gracie. I was trying to get Gracie to snuggle with me, Charlie, and the blankets on the couch, but she was having none of it. Until I let her outside. And she almost escaped. And I carried her back in the house. And then cuddle-fest ensued and I couldn't even get up to refill my cup of coffee. That was pretty much the scenario all week: crazy neediness or nap-time.

Lizard kisses: It wasn't long before I stopped calling her Gracie and just referred to her as Lizard. She was very skilled at quickly sticking out her neck and repeatedly flicking out her tongue. Those little kisses from a lizard-like tongue were Gracie's trademark. She would lick your face, neck, bare feet, arms, hands, wherever she was able to get you. One instance she nestled herself under my arm, attacked my hand like crazy, and then laid her head down on it to help me write.

Of course, because she was on my lap, that made Charlie very jealous. That was his spot.

Loyal companion: In the short time Gracie (aka: Lizard) was at our house, she was our companion. And Charlie's. Wherever I was, she was there next to me. One day, Charlie and I went for a short run. Since Gracie is such a small dog she was unable to go with us. That caused some consternation for her; Michelle informed me that the entire time Charlie and I were gone she was restless at the window barking, whining, pacing, wanting to be where we were. I do know that without Gracie around, Charlie will be very lonely. His companion will be absent.