Year: 2011

Tom Swift

I have been watching the SyFy channel during the holidays for some reason. One of the things that is obvious is the apocalyptic nature of so much science fiction today. It’s all about the end of the world as we know it with either invasions or self-destruction. Being 65 I started thinking about what science fiction was like when I was growing up. It was NOT apocalyptic at all. It was futuris ...[Read More]

Begging to Differ

I posted an article on the shrinking of the middle class as an increasing number of people are falling into the category of low-income. “Squeezed by rising living costs a record number of Americans – nearly 1 in 2 – have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.” While I did not say much about the article I did say “Is it un-Christian of ...[Read More]

Christ's Mass

My friend asked me why I was not writing a piece on Christmas. Well for all the reasons so many use to support their own reservations about Christmas – crass commercialism mind-numbing jingles exhausting rounds of parties and social events and yes a proliferation of blogs about the true meaning of Christmas I have taken the easy way out. I don’t like that but it’s easier – ...[Read More]

Ask Fred – Getting started with a foundation.

Question: Fred we are just getting started with our foundation. I am interested in learning how other foundations meeting the IRS requirements of obtaining statements of good standing and the most recent letter of determination with the organizations the foundation chooses to support. What steps do others take to make sure they are always in compliance? Is there any way to verify this information? ...[Read More]

Believing is Seeing

One of my favorite books is Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m sure that’s so because I like his premise that some decisions and appraisals made quickly are more accurate than those made after deliberation. Having said that I don’t like to find books that challenge that! Unfortunately that is what Daniel Kahneman does in Thinking Fast and Slow. Most of us (and especially those of us ...[Read More]

Sad Sells

The Boston Globe article “Why We Give” I wrote about in the previous blog made me curious about Deborah Small at The Wharton School. It turns out she has done quite a bit of research on charity and why people give…or don’t. One of her papers is titled, “The Face of Need: Facial Emotion Expression on Charity Advertisements.” Maybe it’s just me but I found t ...[Read More]

Why We Give

An article titled “Why we give to charity” in the Boston Globe caught my eye last week.     “What we find is that when people are thinking more deliberatively . . . they end up being less generous overall ” said Deborah Small an associate professor of marketing and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School ...[Read More]

Sitting Loose

Part of my Dad’s ability to communicate with people was his use of aphorisms. When I was a young man I thought he either read them heard them from others or they just appeared spontaneously as he spoke. “Wait to worry” “Only criticize as much as the person can correct” and “It’s unfortunate when money accumulates faster than wisdom” were among the hu ...[Read More]

Keeping a Soft Heart in Hard Times

I love the martial arts choreography in movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I asked a black belt friend how he hardened his hands for real (not staged) competition. It seemed simple enough. Set up a five-gallon bucket of white rice and punch your hands in it 10-12 times in a row five times a day. When that no longer hurts use a five-gallon bucket of dry beans for several weeks and then grad ...[Read More]

A Thanksgiving Irony

I think ironies make life interesting unless they become cause for cynicism. One of those ironies is our spending a full day of thanksgiving with our attention on gratitude and blessings whole families volunteering to feeding the poor at the Salvation Army or a homeless shelter and so far the retail industry has not figured out a way to turn the focus to presents cards and extravagance – oth ...[Read More]