Monday, October 31, 2016

Crafts Amongst the Cabins

Spent the weekend interacting with several dozen craftsmen and craftswomen demonstrating “forgotten crafts” amongst a dozen hand-hewn log cabins in the Rockport Lincoln Pioneer Village.
The village was mostly constructed during the period from 1935 to 1937 (Works Projects Administration funds).  The cabins are a memorial to Abraham Lincoln and the neighboring cabins during his lifetime here in Indiana.

When white settlers first migrated to Indiana, they built their homes with the only tools they brought with them:  Axes, knives, a maul and froe to split shingles.  Not much more.

Household crafts included: cooking over open fires with iron cauldrons, making and repairing clothes by spinning and weaving, making lye and soap . . . just to name a few of the unending daily chores.

All this was, of course, all done as a matter of survival.  Survival.
Unless you've lived it -- which a few of our older volunteers have - working hard for daily survival is a difficult concept to teach at these events.  We try.  Correction:  I try; they do.

Meet a few of our reenactors:

Above, Liz H. is a mother, educator of her children, web content designer (some hi-tech modern-age career) and a weaver, et. al.  Liz, thanks for my new bag!

How did these generous folks get to the point near-mastering their crafts?
I use the word "Persistence" in the Carpe Diem Life system.  Writer Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, uses the word "Frequency."

"We tend to overestimate what we can do in the short period, and underestimate what we can over a long period," she advises, "provided we work slowly and consistently."  Over the long, long haul, the small daily habit of frequency will foster both productivity and creativity.

Rubin has found that frequent work makes it possible to accomplish more with greater originality for several reasons:

Frequency makes starting easier.
Frequency keeps ideas fresh.
Frequency keeps the pressure off.
Frequency sparks creativity.
Frequency nurtures frequency.
Frequency fosters productivity.

How can frequency help master your passions?

Unfortunately, the best habit I practice frequently is the habit of making a list in my "someday" journal, and persistently finding other things to do.  Hopefully, spending a couple of days this weekend with my more creative craftsmen and craftswomen will wake me up to the fact that, as Gretchen Rubin say, "Day by day, we build our lives and, day by day, we can take steps toward making real the magnificent creations of our imaginations."

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, October 28, 2016

Try Not To Suck II

My second job is part of the audio/video crew at our Evansville Arena.  Last night we worked the Evansville Aces’ Basketball Hoopsfest.  Our technical director, as it turns out, is a Cubs fan.  A Cubs fan who must have too much time on his hands because he reads this blog from time to time (Good morning, Curt).  So, I thought I would end the week with one final Cubs story (see yesterday's post for the introduction).

Let’s face it, for many years the Cubs have just been just a “lovable losers” baseball team. Sure, they have also fielded some quality clubs that made the playoffs, only to, as one sports write poetically wrote, “wilt under the spotlight of October baseball.”  Needless to say, there has been a lot of stress on the North Side of Chicago.

Then, in 2015, along comes manager Joe Maddon.  Here’s a guy who is renowned for “managing” light-hearted antics like themed road trips and even inviting animal acts and a magician into the  locker room. 

You see, Maddon has a simple piece of advice:  Don’t ever let the pressure exceed the pleasure!  “That’s on the top of my lineup card every night,” Maddon told reporters as his first Chicago press conference a couple of years ago. “Don’t ever forget while we’re here. This is baseball. This is a game.”

That’s pretty much it.  Pretty much all I wanted to say today.  As you head out this weekend,  I encourage you to take Joe’s advice with you:  Try not to suck, and don’t ever let the pressure exceed the pleasure!

Have fun playing and managing this game of life. 

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

P.S. Curt, I’ll see you tonight working the hockey game — which can be stressful — where we’ll do what we do at every event:  Try not to suck, and don't let the pressure exceed the pleasure!

Thursday, October 27, 2016


My Mom was the biggest Cubs fan I’ve ever known.  Period.  I, for the record, was a White Sox fan.


I have not followed major league baseball since the strike in 1994 (with the exception of the year my White Sox won the World Series in ’05 — that’s 2005 for you Cub fans).   The strike.  948 games were canceled in all, and MLB became the first major professional sports league to lose an entire postseason due to labor struggles.  NO WORLD SERIES! 

I can hear my Mom still saying,  “GET OVER IT!

But I have to admit, there is something intriguing about this year's World Series.  Sure, there’s the Cubs who haven’t won a World Series since ’08 (that’s 1908) or even been to one since 1945.    And the Indians who haven’t won since 1948. 

What I love about this matchup are the two managers.  They have style.  They exude a real love for the game and see each and every day as privileged to be a part of it.

Take the Cub’s Joe Maddon.  The catchiest of his catchy catch phrases: “TRY NOT TO SUCK!” 

Die-hard Cubs fans Jacob Chandler and Joe Ferro loved the "Maddonisms" so much, they designed t-shirts for their apparel company Korked, which have taken Chicago and the world by firestorm (what, too early?).  A portion of the proceeds goes to charities. So far, they’ve helped raise almost $500,000.

Meanwhile, a few miles east, in Cleveland, Terry Francona has proven to be a hilarious, self-deprecating sort of guy that his team just loves to play for. 
Icon Sportswire/Getty
For example, there is the Tervor Bauer incident during the week of the American League Championship Series.  Bauer — one of Cleveland’s star pitchers — nearly cut off a digit on his throwing hand while doing maintenance on a drone of all things.  Francona shrugged it off with,  “Who hasn't suffered a drone-related injury before? Things happen.”

Yes, my Mom was an honest to goodness Cubs fan till the day she died.  In fact, one of the last things she said to me before she passed away was, “Well, I guess I didn’t live long enough to see the Cubs in the World Series.”  I replied, “Mom, no one might live long enough to see the Cubs in the World Series.”

Fortunately, for Cubs fans -- and baseball fans everywhere -- I was wrong.  Sadly, she was right.  I know that Mom would have loved this match-up.  And maybe, for the first time since 1994, I would  actually “get over it!”

Because I would give anything to be watching this World Series with her.  And we'd both be proudly wearing our “TRY NOT TO SUCK!” t-shirts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Paul Revere and Dirty Dishes

I mentioned in Monday’s post that I spent the weekend on a historical reenactment (a.k.a. a Rendezvous).  One of the joys of these events is cooking with cast iron skillets, pots, and ovens — eating what we cook is another other joy! 

No one can say with certainty when cast iron was first used to make cookware, but we do know that simple cast-iron utensils were being used in China more than 2,000 years ago.  Paul Revere is given credit for refining the Dutch oven after it came to the Colonies. He improved the lid to the flanged lid in order to better hold the coals placed on top of the oven. Over time, the pots grew legs so that the oven could be elevated above the coals — which allows it to be used as a baking oven.  Like the long knife, ax, and rifle, the Dutch oven was a basic necessity and cherished possession for early American settlers.

Our group starts every day with the most delicious breakfast you’ll ever eat -- every morsel cooked in these blackened iron skillets, pots, and Dutch ovens.  Usual fare is biscuits, sausage gravy, sausage, bacon, potatoes, eggs, cooked apples, pots of coffee, etc.   Dinners include stews, side dishes, and plenty of bread and desserts.

After? Relaxing by the fire; A full belly and fully content.  That is until reality sets in. A large pile of dirty cast iron awaits!  Where’s Paul Revere when you need him to help clean? 
Caring for cast iron is counter-intuitive to my nature in many ways.  It involves:

1. Clean immediately after use (usually, while I’m too full and too lethargic to move).
2. Wash by hand using hot water and a sponge or stiff brush. Avoid using the dishwasher, soap, or steel wool, as these may strip the pan's seasoning (in other words, a method that is very slow).
3. To remove stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water. Stubborn food residue may also be loosened by boiling water in the pan (again, taking more time while my buddies are BSing around the fire).
4. Thoroughly towel dry the skillet and then dry thoroughly near the fire (at which point my friends are asking me where's my apron and warning me not to catch my skirt on fire).
5. Next, using a cloth or paper towel, apply a light coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside of the skillet (see yesterday's post on forgetting something.  More ridicule as I have to beg for oil).
6. Store the cookware in a dry place (this means putting things back where they belong).

The consequence of not doing these steps?  RUST! And rust is corrosive.  Rust ruins perfectly good things. Rusted cookware takes 10 times more work to clean and season than it does to take care of it in the first place!

Again, I am the antithesis of the above instructions.  I am a procrastinator.  I'm am not the old idiom, “A stitch in time saves nine.”  I cause rust.  

Stitch in time . . . Darn, that reminds me that I not only have some cast iron to clean from this past weekend, but I also have some socks that still need mending.

Good luck with your projects. Don’t be like me.  Don’t cause rust!

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hudson Bay Start II

After I finished yesterday's post on the Hudson Bay Start, I went to work at one of my jobs:  A 120-year-old uniform company that specializes in police, sheriff, fire, EMS, and other public safety uniforms.  Our specialty is being able to customize the uniforms in-house with rank stripes, department patches, American flags, service bars, striping, tailoring, etc. 

Yesterday was no different that any other day really, except that the Hudson Bay Start was still fresh on my mind as I greeted one of the first customers of the day:

"How may we help you?"
"I need a new Class A uniforms: Jacket, pants, shirt, tie, shoes . . . everything."
"No problem.  Do you have an event coming up in the next couple of months?"
"I need it for an event this Saturday!"

We're good, but we're not always that good.  And it's not really that we're not that good, it's just that his order falls behind dozens of other procrastinating customers who came in before him and who need their uniforms rushed, too.   Guys wait till the last minute only to find out that their uniforms are woefully out of date and that they've shrunk in the closet.  

Really, these department events (usually held annually) should still come with this warning:  Date for this event is closer than it appears. 

"Procrastination," Napoleon Hill wrote, "is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday."

It's true, if it weren't for the last minute, men would never get anything done! (I assume that some women are the same way, but I haven't seen evidence of it.)

The Carpe Diem Life Process can help you overcome procrastination by taking lots small steps to overcome inertia.  The Hudson Bay Start (detailed in yesterday's post) is about finding ways to find and fix problems early in the process:

CHOOSE your goal
Create your ACTION LIST
Utilize your RESOURCES
Stop early in early in the process (i.e. your Hudson Bay Start) and EVALUATE the reality of the situation
This will allow you time to change DIRECTION if need-be
Of course, it's important to find ways to ENJOY THE PROCESS
Because you know, "It's MY LIFE!"

Question:  Do you know what's the worst form of procrastination? 
Answer:  Probably reading my blog post on procrastination knowing that you've got better things to do with your time.  Much better things.  But, from one procrastinator to another, I'm glad you've logged on to your computer and taken this awesome tool of productivity and turned it into a tool of leisure — at least for a few moments.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, October 24, 2016

What's a Hudson Bay Start?

Spent the weekend camping at a primitive pre-1840 Rendezvous.  Back in the day (1825-1840), a Rendezvous (mountain man trapper jargon) was an annual gathering at various mountain locations held by a fur trading company at which trappers and mountain men sold their furs and hides and replenished their supplies.  Men also spent most of their hard-earned money on gambling competitions such as shooting their rifles and throwing their knives and hawks.

The event I attended included muzzleloading rifle competitions, primitive skills, cooking with cast iron over open fires, and sleeping under stars or under canvas.

Don’t let the term “primitive” mislead you.  It takes a lot of stuff to live the primitive life — even for just a weekend.  There’s the gun, black powder, lead, etc. just to shoot.  Then there’s the clothing.  Cooking equipment. Tent, sleeping bag, wool blankets.  The list goes on and on.  Admittedly, it really doesn’t need to that complicated; I just can’t seem to minimize.

The funny thing is, no matter how carefully I plan these weekends, I always seem to forget some valuable piece of camp gear or food.  Once, I even forgot my gun.  Wouldn’t have lasted one night in the real “primitive” world.

As I’ve studied history, I see that I’m not alone.  In fact, it’s a problem as old as men and women have been trekking out in the world looking for new shelter or food. 

“Look! A charging saber-toothed tiger. Quick! Hand me the spears”
“I thought you brought them!”
“Uh oh!”  

I’m sure that most expeditions throughout history discovered “Uh-oh!” moments.  At least until around 1670.  That’s when England’s King Charles II came up with a solution — at least the company he chartered came up with the solution: The Hudson Bay Company  (considered by many to be the world’s oldest continuing commercial enterprise).  The company outfitted fur traders for expeditions out of Hudson Bay in Canada.  In that part of the world, having the right supplies in the correct amounts was literally a matter of survival (unlike my weekends where I can hop in my Expedition and drive to a close convenience store for just about anything I need).

So, what was their plan?  It’s now referred as the “Hudson Bay Start.”  Basically, they would back their canoes with all the necessary supplies for the trip.  Then they set the expedition only a short distance out to camp overnight.  It was done so that they could evaluate everything they had -- before they headed into the great unknown.  Sure, it cost them precious trading time, but if they did indeed forget anything, they were only a short distance away to correct the problem.

Today's Carpe Diem Life Lesson:  Keep searching for ways to find and fix problems early on in the journey.  Oh, and when you head out into your jungle today, don’t forget your spears!

Carpe diem,
David Kuhn

Friday, October 21, 2016


I mentioned yesterday that I usually “read” the local paper every morning.  The routine goes something like this:

Still only in my bathrobe, I go out to the mail/paper box to retrieve the paper.  Next, I either make a fresh pot of coffee or microwave a cup from yesterday’s pot (frugal German, right?).  I let the dog out . . . then let the dog back in.  We settle into our chair and start to leaf through the paper. 
I know, I know.  I’m an old-man-in-the-morning cliché. 

There is something else, though.  I also find myself just gazing out the window.  Especially this time of year — never missing an opportunity to gaze at the giant red maple on “the backstreet.”  It is a colorimeter of sorts, measuring the changing autumn colors.  I catch myself, as Robert Fulghum calls, window gazing.

“Window gazing is a feature of solitude — something one does alone.  Yet, if you shift your visual focus from out there to what’s right in front of you, it’s clear that you are not alone.  The window panes serve as mirrors, reflecting your image as a window gazer.
There you are . . . looking out through yourself .”  — Robert Fulghum

Looking out, while through myself. Looking out, while looking in.  Reflecting.

So, there I am every morning.  Looking out at the world through the tiny window pane that is the morning newspaper.  Looking out on our little world that is our neighborhood.  Looking out through myself.

It gives me a quiet, thoughtful beginning of my day.

“For thousands of years there was no glass, no windows.”  Robert Ringer writes.  “And now . . . one of the blessings of the age we live in is this magic clear enabler of those who are inspired by window gazing.”

People like me. Looking out, while looking in.  A reflection of an inspired window gazer.

Oh, by the way, Robert Fulghum was wrong about one thing:  Window gazing isn’t always a feature of solitude.  Sometimes you’re lucky enough to share it with your dog.

Have a wonderful weekend.
Carpe diem,
David Kuhn

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Debate News: Hold Your Horses . . .

Every morning i put our lap dog Uli in a chair with me and I read the morning paper (okay, she reads; I scan headlines and look at the pictures).  This morning’s headlines are no surprise:  National and Local Debates.  Language like, "Haymakers and jabs punctuate local debate."  And the opening line from Las Vegas -- "Threatening to upend a basic pillar of American democracy, blah, blah, blah . . . "

What a circus!  What a bunch of clowns!  Agree?  Not so fast!

Perhaps what follows will change your mind.  I see that one headline that did not make our local paper:

Ringling Bros. Declares: The Circus Wants The Circus Back!

Dateline: Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Baily website

Official statement:  We here at Ringling Bros. have had enough of the media calling this year’s election a “circus.” In fact, we’re downright insulted! Calling something or someone a “circus” or a “clown” isn’t something anyone should say lightly. Our performers have been working their entire lives to become top-notch circus artists talented enough to perform at the industry’s Presidential level — The Greatest Show On Earth.

Seems that this year’s election rhetoric has crossed a line.   Over this past year, the mainstream media (whatever the heck that means) has used the term “circus” and "clowns" in more disparaging ways than the circus has, well, clowns jumping out of a tiny carand Barnum & Bailey Circus.”
. “Even President Barack Obama himself has repeatedly called the 2016 Presidential election a circus or referred to the candidates as clowns,” noted Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Out Of This World™ Ringmaster, Johnathan Lee Iverson. “These comparisons need to stop! We want to take back the circus to where it belongs, to the real circus, the Ringling Bros.

Go to to join the movement.  

The election countdown clock at 18 days and counting, so . . .
Hold your horses, here come the elephants!  And the asses!  We shall see. But, PLEASE, stop referring to the election as a "circus" and the bozos as "clowns."

In the meantime, Carpe diem!
David Kuhn

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Meet Mr. Fulghum

So, taking my own advice from yesterday, I’ve pulled out a box of crayons and will set them on my desk again as a reminder to be more childlike, to dream, and to use my imagination.

Yesterday's post quote Robert Lee Fulghum.  Who is he? 

Most of you know him as the guy who wrote All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  But he's so much more than that.  25 years later and 7 more best sellers, Mr. Fulghum is still writing.

From his website:

Why do I continue writing? To be useful.
Often, without realizing it, we fill important places in each other’s lives. It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery, the mechanic at the local garage, the family doctor, teachers, coworkers, and neighbors. Good people who are always “there,” who can be relied upon in small, ordinary ways. People who, by example, teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the daily-ness of life.
I want to be one of those.
You may be one of those, yourself. There are those who depend on you, watch you, learn from you, are inspired by you, and count on you being in their world. You may never have proof of your importance to them, but you are more important than you may think. There are those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who. We seldom make this mutual influence clear to each other. But being aware of the possibility that you are useful in this world is the doorway into assuring that will come to be true.
My way is to keep writing and sharing that. What’s yours?
Robert Lee Fulghum

What’s your “Why do I…”?  It may be something completely different than writing.  It may be many things.  Robert Fulghum, through his writing, encourages us to keep Carpe diem-ing.

Check him out at

By the way, if you’ve never read Fulham essay All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten, here is the most quoted part of it:

“These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.”

Look!  What's your "Why do I . . . ?"

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Carpe Crayons

Yesterday, I wrote a little about the joys of coloring with my grandchildren.  As I look back on my life, I realize that that is a joy I shared with my girls; it is a joy that my parents shared with their grandchildren; it’s joy that I remember: especially sitting at the kitchen table at Granny Kuhn's; It's a joy that it is, well, timeless.  I can even imagine the first caveman grandpa handing his grandchild a piece of charcoal and saying, “Ugh, Want have fun? Let’s draw on walls!” 

The history of the crayon is not entirely clear. According to Wikipedia, The word "crayon" dates to 1644, coming from (chalk) and the Latin word creta (earth).  Pliny the Elder (sounds like a guy who would play with crayons), a Roman scholar, was thought to describe the first techniques of wax crayon drawings.

This method, employed by the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and more. Contemporary crayons are purported to have originated in Europe where some of the first cylinder-shaped crayons were made with charcoal and oil. Pastels are an art medium having roots with the modern crayon and stem back to da Vinci in 1495.

Turn the coloring book pages a few hundred years and we come to Edwin Binney and his wife Alice.  I don't know if they were grandparents, but they came with their famous Crayola brand of crayons (The French word for chalk, craie, with the first part of oleaginous, the oily paraffin wax used to make the crayon).

The rest, as they say, is history.  Very colorful history!

Back in the days when I worked in advertising and marketing and had my own office or video editing suite, I always had a box of Crayola 64 Crayons (with the built-In sharpener) on my desk.  Why?

I noticed what the great storyteller Robert Rulghum observed:

 “What I notice is that every adult or child I give a new set of Crayolas to goes a little funny. The kids smile, get a glazed look on their faces, pour the crayons out, and just look at them for a while....The adults always get the most wonderful kind of sheepish smile on their faces--a mixture of delight and nostalgia and silliness. And they immediately start telling you about all their experiences with Crayolas.”  — Robert Fulghum,  All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten.

So, my Carpe diem challenge today is to pick up a box of crayons and have them at the ready for both children and adults -- and for you, as you make very colorful goals and create your own Carpe Diem Life Map.  Coloring is, as children remind us,  something we can all do to the best of our ability — no matter what that ability is.  Coloring makes us happy.  Coloring makes us completely present.  Coloring allows us to dream in delightful spaces somewhere between dreams and reality.

“We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”  — Robert Fulghum

Carpe Diem Life — In brilliant color!
David Kuhn

Monday, October 17, 2016

Picasso, Raymond Reddington, and Grandchildren

I spent the weekend playing with my two grandchildren ages five and sixteen months.

It’s a special world, that of children.  They tend to Carpe diem every minute of the day — with a lot more energy that that of an old grandpa like me.

One of our favorite activities — beside playing with something called Shopkins — is coloring.

And now for something completely different: 

Friday night before we left for the weekend, my wife and I watched the latest episode of the NBC crime thriller, The Blacklist.

If you’ve never seen the Blacklist, it stars James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington, a former U.S. Navy officer turned high-profile criminal who is also working with the FBI and an FBI profiler name Elizabeth Keens.  It’s complicated. The character of Reddington is even more complicated.  Red’s a master storyteller — often at the most critical, time-sensitive moments -- which only adds to the tension of the scene.  Whether it is recalling a scene from a movie he loved, a vacation he once enjoyed, or time spent with a friend, his stories are very detailed and dramatic.  The juxtaposition of a ruthless killer telling sweet, nostalgic stories makes you hang on to every word.

What’s all this have to do with coloring my my granddaughter?

So, in last week’s episode, Reddington has just invited himself to sit with a mother and child at a diner.  The child has an obvious disfiguring physical birth defect (the cause has something to do with the plot and Red's mission there is to coerce medical information from the mother).  Red has just bought the boy ice cream and now the child is contently coloring:

Mother:  Do you have a child with special needs?
Red (smiling in wonderment at the boy):  Picasso said it took four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.  They live in a delightful space somewhere between dreams and reality.
They taste color, hear shapes, see sounds . . .
We should all have such special needs.

My hope today is that I can Carpe diem . . . like a child!

David Kuhn

Friday, October 14, 2016

Amidst Autumn

One final word on the Seven Words That Can Change the World.

“In a word, our relationship with our environment is about respect.” – Joseph R. Simonetta, author

Simply put, every physical thing we require and enjoy is from our planet:

Every breath we breathe,
Every drop we drink,
Every bite of food we eat,
Every bit of clothing we wear,
Every bit of medicine,
Every bit of building material,
Every bit of . . .

Everything is drawn from this same source that is our earth.

“It’s a great irony,” Simonetta writes, “we search the cosmos for evidence of even the most primitive form of life.  Here on earth, we destroy whole ecosystems and habitats that teem with all manner of extraordinary life form.”

Instead of preaching about if climate change is “science” or a “hoax” (something I am honestly not qualified to discuss), I just want to encourage you to get out this weekend and enjoy an autumn day in nature.  Look deep into the beauty of nature.  Close your eyes and take in a deep breath. Listen to the way nature speaks to you.

It was Anne Frank who said, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, along with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”
My Mom and Dad never missed an opportunity to take my siblings and me on autumn hikes and picnics. Looking back on those experiences, I indeed felt that all was as it should be and that we were happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.
So choose to Carpe diem and enjoy your weekend in nature.  Respect it.  And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll hear the spirits of those who have gone before you and you’ll feel that all is as it should be.

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Voters ‘get it over with’

Voters ‘get it over with.’  That was the sub-headline of our local newspaper this morning.  The story is about yesterday being the first day to vote in the 2016 election:  People voting early to just get it over with.

The MAIN, BIGGER HEADLINE (in a font/typeface once reserved for presidential assassinations, starting and ending of World Wars, and man walking on the moon)?  GIVING A SHOW (The NBA's Indiana Pacers played an exhibition basketball game last night at the Ford Center). 


Yesterday I introduced you to a slim but powerful book by Joseph R. Simonetta.  Simonetta  describes himself as a student of life. I like that description. Through his travels, experiences, and studies, he was able to see and understand the cause and effect relationship of life — everything in our world is related and that the proper relationships must be understood and practiced if we are to survive as a species.  From that knowledge, he wrote Seven Words That Can Change the World.

Before presenting his solutions, Simonetta lays out the problems:

Means without Goals
Profit, Power, and Progress
Primitive Beliefs

Carpe Diem Life is a personal tool I’ve created to help me achieve goals — a map to getting from “your are here” to “X marks the treasure.”  Hopefully, someone out there will benefit form it.  Please know that my intent is not to get political.  However, having been sucked into watching several debates and countless hours of evening news, I feel compelled to mention a few highlights from the Simonetta’s chapter on Democracy. 

“Democracy is more than a form of government,” Simonetta writes. “It is a way of life, a formula for just relationships.  The word ‘democracy’ means rule by the people.  Abraham Lincoln described this form of self-government as ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people,’ not government of some people, by some people, for some people.  Democracy supports individual freedom and the fundamental dignity and equality of all persons.”

 Here are a few things Democracy says to us:

Democracy says do not look only to yourself and like-minded people for answers; avail yourself of that which others have to offer, for life is diverse.
Democracy says do not be rigid or inflexible; be open and adaptable, for life is dynamic and ever changing.
Democracy says to make participation inclusive, for life is all encompassing.
Democracy says do not gravitate to extremes; seek moderation, for life requires balance.
Democracy says do not represent only those who have influence; represent all, for life demands justice.
Democracy says do not tamper with they process, for it is your only hope of survival.

“The democratic process represents an appreciation for life, a celebration of diversity, and an acknowledgment of our oneness.” This book was written in 2001, by the way.

It’s been said that the right to vote is the most important right granted to a U.S. citizen, as it is preservative of all other rights. As hard as it sometimes, whether you’re eager to take part or just want to “get it over with,” Democracy says that we all have responsibility in this process. 

Carpe Diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

7 Words That Can Change the World:

Looking for a short book with a powerful message?

As the jacket states:  "It may seem impossible that seven words could actually change the world . . . But according to Joseph Simonetta, even with an overwhelming amount of information at our fingertips [television, books, magazines, internet], it is the simple truths that human beings still fail to understand."

The Seven Words That Can Change the World is a slim, but powerful call to action for global change.

Those seven words?

Be kind.  Be healthy.  Respect the environment.

Advice that I need to learn to live better! 

Carpe Diem Life. 

David Kuhn

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Courage Undaunted and The Weight on Minds

Suzanne and I stopped in Newburgh, Indiana, Sunday to check out a replica of the keel boat used on The Lewis and Clark Expedition (also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition). 

The boat was built in early 2000s by The Discovery Expedition, a nonprofit organization out of St. Charles, Missouri, dedicated to rediscovering the legacy of Lewis and Clark. They promote education and the study of American history and heritage through discussions and living history demonstrations.  You can see more photos and read more information at

The Lewis and Clark Expedition is a perfect example of using the Carpe Diem Life Map.

President Thomas Jefferson CHOOSE the audacious goal:  For Meriwether Lewis, Jefferson’s personal secretary, to lead a group of around 50 men to explore the vast interior of North America to the Pacific —an area completely unknown to American citizens.  In all, they traveled over 8000 miles in less than two and one-half years, losing only one member of their party (most likely of a ruptured appendix).

Lewis created his ACTION PLAN / LISTS
Utilized all the RESOURCES available to him
Took PERSISTENT ACTION both preparing and throughout the trip
Made constant EVALUATIONS
Changed DIRECTIONS as needed
Strove for CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT for himself and his men
Recognized that he was responsible for everything — including everyone's lives

Now, you may have noticed that I missed one of the letters of the CARPE DIEM acronym:  E = ENJOY THE PROCESS.

It’s evident many of the men must have thoroughly enjoyed the process because they choose to head back shortly after returning to St. Louis. 

Meriwether Lewis, on the other hand, is a different story. As a young man, Lewis was labeled as being, "prone to long bouts of melancholy." In fact, Lewis' good friend, Thomas Jefferson, described him as, "a man of good sense, integrity, bravery and enterprise" but also, "prone at times to sensible depressions of the mind."

Little is known about the events of October 10, 1809, after Lewis – armed with several pistols, a rifle and a tomahawk – stopped at a log cabin lodging house known as Grinder’s Stand along a perilous Tennessee trail called Natchez Trace.  Has only 35 when he died of gunshot wounds — most probably suicide. 

William Clark, who had for years observed his companion’s melancholy states, wrote after receiving word of Lewis’s fate:  “I fear the weight of his mind has overcome him.”

Admittedly, I really don’t know where I’m going with this post.  It's a story of the past, present, and future; it’s a story of one of the greatest achievements in explorations; it’s the story of a group of men and women who are working today to insure that future generations don’t forget The Expedition; it’s the story of setting goals, creating action lists, persistent action, etc.; it’s the story going forth every day with courage undaunted; and it’s the story of "melancholy" and mental illness.

It's a story to remind me not to let the weight of my mind overcome me; to find ways to enjoy the process as I try to Carpe Diem Life.

David Kuhn

Monday, October 10, 2016

Carpe Diem Your Shadow

This weekend I had the honor of escorting my wife, brother-in-law, and mother-in-law a few hours north to check on family cemetery plots. 

While at one stop, I couldn't help but notice the shadows cast by the monuments of those who have gone before us.  I came away with this poem.

David Kuhn
Ocotber 8, 2016

My shadow
Weaves between
Gnomons casting shadows
Sundials marking eternity
Sundials marking eternity
Gnomons casting shadows
Weaving between
My shadow
But, hastily heading in the same direction

Friday, October 7, 2016

Boldly Go . . .

This week’s final post is the fourth of Robert Ringer’s Four Pillars of Action:

No. 1:  Nothing Happens Until Something Moves.
No. 2:  God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.
No. 3:  The Law of Averages.

Today, we’ll boldly go…

“Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Ringer has modified that saying to

Pillar No. 4: Action Produces Genius, Magic, and Power.

Ringer writes that there is something wondrous about action that is impossible to adequately describe. “Action,” he writes, “is the key to the brain’s ignition.”

Think of it as a success cycle:  Action leads to genius, which is your mind opening up to new ideas; Action and genius leads to magic, which results in otherwise unexplainable “coincidences” happening in your life; action, genius, and magic work in concert to produce power and motivation which leads to more action — creating solutions we need to solve our problems and accomplish our objectives.

Again, I didn’t create Carpe Diem Life because I’m an expert — far from it.  I created it because I want to motivate myself to start writing again and hopefully tap into some magic. 

As Ringer shows, a human being can CHOOSE to change his existence by altering events.  In Carpe Diem Life terms, that means:

Plotting ACTION LISTS . . .
Connection to RESOURCES . . .
EVALUATING the progress . . .
Changing DIRECTION if need be . . .
Remembering that it’s MY LIFE / RESPONSIBILITY!   

I encourage you to pick up one of Robert Ringer's works and see if it sparks some action, genius, magic, and power.  Choose to take some ACTION today and BOLDLY GO into this weekend.

Carpe Diem Life,

David Kuhn

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Even a Blind Pig . . .

A quick review of modern-day-philosopher Robert Ringer’s Four Pillars of Action (up to this point):

No. 1:  Nothing Happens Until Something Moves.
No. 2:  God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.

Today, I’d like to delve into No. 3:  The Law of Averages.

The “Law of Averages” is more of a lay term that is often mixed up with the real theorem “Law of Numbers,” which states:  The average of the results obtained from a large number of trials should be close to the expected value, and will tend to become closer as more trials are performed.

I don’t pretend to really know exactly what that means; about the only useful information that I received from math class was that 85% of success is showing up and the other 25% is working hard.

The way Ringer uses “The Law of Averages” is very basic:  Over the long term, the more you try, the more chances you have of success.  But here’s the thing to remember: The “Law of Averages” is passive. It just sits there invisibly in the background, and it’s always up to us to apply the action — Persistent Action.

As the old-timers and my shooting club say whenever I somehow manage to hit a bulls-eye, “Even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then.”  

All you have to do is keep rooting!

Carpe Diem Life

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

God Help Those . . .

News of Hurricane Matthew slamming into Cuba, Central Bahamas, and heading to Florida — with heavy rainfall resulting in potential massive flooding — reminds me of this old parable:

A religious man is at his doorstep on the outset of a great flood. A man comes by in a truck and says “Get in, get in!" The man replies, “No! I have faith in God; he will grant me a miracle."

Later, as the water has risen, the man has moved up to the roof.  A boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in. He again responds that he has faith in God and God will provide him a miracle. 

With the water now at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in. Mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God will save him. 

He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, “I thought God would grant me a miracle and I have been let down."  St. Peter chuckles and responds, "I don't know what you're complaining about, we sent you a truck, a boat, and a helicopter."

Which leads me to today’s Robert Ringer Action Principle (Pillar #2 of 4):  God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.

While we certainly are able to exert a considerable amount of control over our own destiny, Ringer suggests that there is also outside forces that seem to come into play whenever he takes action.  “The bolder my action,” he writes, “the more powerful these outside forces seem to be.” 

God is always standing by, ready to help.  The only unknown is whether or not you are going to do your part and take action.

Ringer’s conclusion:  In simple terms, “God helps those who help themselves” means that God helps those that take action. 

And in case you missed it, Pillar No. 1 is:  Nothing Happens Until Something Moves.  Hurricane Matthew is moving 145 MPH!  Consequently, if you’re in the way, you’d better take action and batten down the hatches!

Carpe Diem Life

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Almost / Action!

Have you even had one of those synchronicity days?  A day of highly meaningful coincidences?  Yesterday’s frequency illusion was the word almost.

I started my day yesterday by introducing you to Mr. Robert Ringer and his four Pillars that make up his Action Phenomenon.

Pillar No. 1:  Nothing Happens Until Something Moves.

After I wrote yesterday’s post, I opened the local paper to read this headline:

‘Almosts are never good enough!' (Indianapolis Colt’s QB Andrew Luck after their loss on Sunday).

Then, on the way to a wellness checkup, I heard this public service announcement on the radio:

“Don’t almost give.  Give!”

At my wellness checkup, the nurse was looking at my results and said something like, “You’ve almost got your total cholesterol down to a good level.”

We're talking two different things here, I know.  One, the Colts did take action, however, they didn't achieve the results they wanted.  They will now have to take a serious evaluation of where they are and change directions if need be.  They will keep working to improve (we hope).

The other situation is almost starting (which is the same as not getting started at all).

Either way, when it comes to taking action, Andrew Luck is correct, “Almosts are never good enough!”

Christopher McDougall is most often credited with telling this story:

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.”

The moral of the Almost/Action story is self-evident:  It’s not what you can do; it’s what you do!
Remember, "Nothing happens until something moves!"

Carpe Diem Life

Monday, October 3, 2016


This week I would like to introduce you to an author and old friend, Robert Ringer.

Who is Robert Ringer?

While it’s usually a good idea to ignore the superlatives on book jackets, this one seems to nail it:  “Robert Ringer is an American Treasure, a rare philosopher who dispenses unique ideas that work in the real world.” — Marsh Fisher

Ringer is a Carpe Diem Life kind of guy.  His first book, Winning Through Intimation, was  rejected by 23 publishers.  That’s when Ringer evaluated his situation and decided to take a new direction: He self-published the book.  Winning Through Intimation became a #1 bestseller, spending 36 weeks at the top of The New York Times Best Seller list.  That's where I first "met" Robert Ringer and his works.

His other works include:

Looking Out for #1. 1978.
Restoring the American Dream. 1979.
How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization 1983.
Million Dollar Habits. 1990.
Getting What You Want: The 7 Principles of Rational Living. 2000
To Be or Not to Be Intimidated?: That is the Question. 2002

In his 2004 book, Action!: Nothing Happens Until Something Moves, he focuses on a Carpe Diem Life principle:  PERSISTENT ACTION!  “As the years have passed,” he writes, “I have increasingly zeroed in on ACTION as the most important success habit when it comes to determining how an individual’s life plays out.”

Ringer goes on to describe four key elements (he refers to them as pillars) that work in concert with one another to make action an awesome tool that gives a person the capacity to overcome virtually any obstacle in his or her path:

Pillar No. 1: Nothing Happens Until Something Moves.
Pillar No. 2: God Help Those Who Help Themselves.
Pillar No. 3: The Law of Averages.
Pillar No 4:  Action Produces Genius, Magic, and Power.

We'll look at each a little closer this week.  In the meantime, I encourage you to, pardon the pun, take action.  Pick up one of Mr. Ringers' books and read for yourself.  Who knows, you may come up with some new ideas, knowledge, and wisdom.  But, as Robert Ringer reminds us, ideas, knowledge, and wisdom are all but useless without action. 

“Nothing happens until something moves.”  — Albert Einstein.

CHOOSE your goal, create your ACTION LIST, then start taking PERSISTENT ACTION.  PERSISTENT ACTION is the starting point of all Carpe Diem Life progress.