Tuesday, May 22, 2018

What is it?

So, what is it?

One similar was found on display in one of the cabins at The Lincoln Pioneer Village in Rockport, Indiana. 

Early on in my marketing career, I read Harvard marketing professor Theodore Levitt's famous quote: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” A lesson on selling the benefits, not the features.

I guess in the 1860s, a company realized people really wanted ruffles.
In the 1860s, when this one was invented, hundreds of thousands of households "needed" this. 
It's a Geneva Hand Fluter. The iron hand-fluter allowed users to quickly press fluted ruffles into cuffs, collars, and other trims.  Truly an important labor-saving device.

It has me thinking of all the "labor-saving" devices that I've purchased over the years that I just had to have -- needed!  It's an interesting study of luxury vs. necessity. 

Most are gone or boxed up now.  Perhaps, someday, my kids and grandkids will make a few bucks on eBay will all the stuff I believed I needed. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Living in the Past

I spent the weekend living in the past.  

Saturday was our muzzleloading club's monthly shoot.  Below is an example of what happens when you load 50 or so grains of black powder in a steel tube, wrap a lead round ball in a piece of cloth and ram it down -- then you set it all off with a flint or percussion cap.  BOOM!  Lots of fun.
Sunday, Suzanne and I headed to Rockport, Indiana and the Lincoln Pioneer Village where we volunteer to step back in time a few times a year.  Among other things, taught a few kids how to start fire with flint and steel. 

The image below is from a past year:  cooking breakfast over an open fire.  
Now back to modern times.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"Houston, we've had a problem."

Had an incident at work yesterday that shook my foundation a little and reminded me of . . .

One of my favorite lessons in history is the story of Apollo 13.  On the evening of April 13, when the crew was 200,000 miles from Earth and closing in on the moon, John Swigert flipped a switch for a routine procedure requested by flight control in Houston.  A moment later, the entire spacecraft shuddered, alarm lights lit up in Odyssey and in Mission Control as oxygen pressure fell and power disappeared.  That's when John Swigert famously uttered, "Houston, we've had a problem." (The 1995 movie "Apollo 13" evidently took some creative license with the phrase, changing it to "Houston, we have a problem" and having the words first come out of Apollo 13 commander James Lovell's mouth -- though I've read different versions).

For years, back when I was a video editor, I had the "Apollo 13" movie poster in my video edit suite to remind me to stay calm when I experienced frustrating problems.  A reminder that not completing on-time that oh-so-critical "Last chance! All inventory must go! Below invoice pricing" car commercial was just an INCONVENIENCE.  Floating around in space, working to get back to earth alive, is a PROBLEM.  And, if those guys could stay calm in their situation, I certainly could put my circumstance into perspective and calm down.

I was reminded of all this yesterday while training for a job.  Things were benign and routine, when, for the first time to me:

AUDIO ALARM!  (A very loud, sharp, shrill noise that shakes you to the core).
COMPUTER SCREEN ALARM:  (A large flashing icon that simply read "PANIC ALARM!"  and the location in the facility).

Someone, somewhere in the facility had hit their "Panic Button."
Very unsettling to say the least.  I did my best to stay calm, call the code to proper authorities, and wait.  Turns out, it was an inadvertent push of a wrong button.  All was well. 

So, after my heart beat fell back down to near normal, I went back to what I was doing -- recognizing that I probably really didn't stay all that calm.

Synchronicity:  Today's Tao lesson was on "Staying Calm in the midst of Chaos."  

Some advice:

The true master knows that the ability to stay calm is always located within, not in circumstances.

When you maintain a peaceful inner posture, even in the midst of chaos, you change your life. 

Choose calmness in the face of a situation that drives others to madness.

Stillness is the master of unrest. 

And, from a real-life lesson,  Houston, we've had a problem.  Now, let's choose to calmly go step by step to fix it. 

Hopefully, I'll remember that the next time the PANIC ALARMS go off in my life.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tao and the Art of Plumbing

We decided to have a new hot water heater installed in our weekend "cabin".  It worked just fine; however, at at 32 years old, we figured that we'd better be safe than sorry.  So, out with the old -- the oldest the plumbers who came had ever replaced -- and in with the new.

I was fascinated with the speed and efficiency that these two guys worked.  It was obvious that they have done these change-outs hundreds of times as they tackled the job with very little communication -- each knowing exactly what and when to do his part.

When they were fished,  I complimented them on their professionalism and efficiency.  "The secret to being profitable in this business," one of them said, " is to be fast, but not to get in a hurry!"

With that -- and payment, of course -- they were out the door. 

It's true, the more I tend to hurry through things, the less I actually accomplish.  Thanks to a couple of fast plumbers, I'm reminded to slow down. 

I'm also reminded to be grateful for clean running water and hot water at a push of a button.  It doesn't come without a cost, but I'm grateful to have it.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Power and Luke Skywalker

Receive a very nice free gift the other day.  Very small, sleek, but very powerful.  Well, at least powerful enough recharge a cell phone or other device.  In fact, that's what it is:  A portable cell phone charger.

The next day I read that Amazon is recalling 260,000 AmazonBasics portable chargers (the power banks, used to charge smartphones and other gadgets on the go), after reports that they can overheat and cause fires or burns.

Thank goodness the gift I received was not one of these.  At least I don't think . . . 

No!  It's not. 

Having nothing to seemingly do with the phone charger, last night Suzanne and I watched the latest episode of The Big bang Theory in which Sheldon and Amy finally get married.  Through a series of events, Mark Hamill (a.k.a. Luke Skywalker) ends up officiating the wedding.  It's perfect as Star Wars is a recurring theme throughout the series. 

Okay, trying to tie all this together. 
Cell phone charger = power.
Power = good (to charge cell phone). 
Power = can be dangerous.
Star Wars = story about power and its danger.

"The story being told in Star Wars is a classic one. Every few hundred years, the story is retold because we have a tendency to do the same things over and over again. Power corrupts, and when you're in charge, you start doing things that you think are right, but they're actually not."  -- George Lucas

Have a great week. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, May 11, 2018

Falling Short

A friend recently asked me how my guitar playing was coming.  I've been "playing" guitar now for a little over three months.  To be honest, I'm playing like Eric Clapton -- with both his broken hands in casts!

I'm like that with a lot of projects/hobbies that I start.  I believe that I should become a virtuoso without really putting in the work.   I "should" already be a Robert Fulghum (writer).  I "should" already be a Roy Underhill (woodworking). I "should" already be an Eric Clapton (I figure everyone knows who Mr. Clapton is). 

Practice.  Patience.  Enjoy the process. 

So, needless to say, I've often fallen short of what I would have like to do and be.  But, there is hope. 

". . . in the hour when we compare what we desired to do with what we have actually done, if we are humble and open to the lessons life offers to teach us, we increase the odds of success.  And knowing that we have tried our best, perhaps we will be content with what we have been able to become and to accomplish." -- John Maxwell

Today, I will start simple and try to make simple better. 

Have a great weekend.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, May 10, 2018


I started training for a new, part-time adventure yesterday.  A little out of my comfort zone, but new challenges always are. 

The one thing that I noticed is that everyone I met seemed to genuinely enjoy working at this facility.  Everyone! 

And, when I got home, there was a "Welcome To The Team" card -- signed by everyone in the department -- in my mailbox.  Perfect timing.

A reminder that it's the little things such as "Welcome" and "Thank You" that really make a big difference. 

Today I'm appreciative for all that I receive -- even the seemingly overwhelming new technology challenges and procedures to learn -- knowing that it flows from an all-powerful source.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn