Thursday, May 31, 2018

"I'm a boat man!"

Took my grandchildren fishing this past weekend.  Annabeth is six and little Owen is three.  Annabeth has been fishing before.  Even caught her own fish, kissed it, and wished it a good life as we let it go.  Owen?  It was his first time out with Grandpa.

I suspected that he was having fun playing on the ol' pontoon and playing captain, but I didn't realize HOW much until I got a text from my daughter yesterday that read:

Owen woke up and said, "Take me back to the lake house.  I am a boat man now.  I need the water!"

I love it.

There is a lot to learn from fishing.  Or, at least, try to learn -- I'm not sure any fisherman actually masters it all.  But, here are some basic Carpe diem Life lessons:

1. Planning & Preparation.  This one is a tough one as I still go out fishing forgetting something back on land.  

2. Practice. Actually, it's all practice. Sort of like doctoring and lawyering.

3. Optimism. At least for me, the odds are stacked against us when we go fishing.  But, there is always hope.

4. Patience. Something that three-year-olds and six-year-olds don't understand.  To be honest, 58-year-olds don't either. 

5. Unplugging.  Just get out of the house, unplug the electronic devices and plug into the harmony of nature.

6. Accepting failure. Well, at least not catching any fish.  How can spending a day with those you love (even fishing alone) on the water be a failure?

9. Celebrating success.  As I mentioned above, we celebrate by kissing the fish, thanking it for letting us catch it, then wishing it a good life.  Crazy, I know.  I guess if I really loved the fish, I wouldn't even catch it in the first place, but . . .

10. Creating memories.  I know that little three-year-old Owen will probably never remember the exact experience, but hopefully, he'll remember that his Grandpa and Grandma love him very much and want him to be happy.

Here's to many more days on the water, Little Miss Annabeth and Mr. O.


Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

And now for something completely different . . .

Was having dinner with some friends last week when one of them mentioned an obscure (at least to me) horror movie,   Night of the Lepus (also known as Rabbits).  Released in 1972, this science fiction horror thriller film  (I use that term loosely) is based on the science fiction novel The Year of the Angry Rabbit (1964) by Russell Braddon.

So, we decided to have our own Mystery Science 3000 movie screening last night.  Enjoy some pizza and couple of beers while watching Giant Mutated Carnivorous Killer Bunny Rabbits rain terror on a small western town (at least on models of a small western town).  Too funny.  Could never happen, right?  Or could it?

This morning I read:

By The Associated Press

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — May 28, 2018, 3:00 PM ET
Officials on Long Island are offering a reward for information leading to the person or people responsible for dumping 27 rabbits by a Suffolk County train station.

The Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it was notified on Sunday that a number of domestic rabbits were in the vicinity of the Ronkonkoma train station.

The SPCA and other animal welfare groups captured the bunnies, which don't have the skills to live in the wild on their own. [or so they say]
- - -
Coincidence?  Hare raising, isn't it?

Be careful out there.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hello, Alberto

As I write this is southern Indiana, we're inundated with rain from Alberto a subtropical depression formally knows as Tropical Strom Alberto.  It's moving inland bringing a threat of flash flooding and even tornadoes to parts of the United States.

Storms and Floods.  Going with the flow.

Of course, the first thing to remember is that no storm lasts forever. 

Terry Gordon writes in his book No Storm Lasts Forever
There must be this maintenance of equilibrium in our lives, a balance that is manifested in the apparent dualities of life. The monsoon is countered by a calm, sunny day; perfect health is balanced by life-threatening disease, good by evil, and darkness by illumination. These perceived opposites are in truth conjoined with one another and must be embraced as one in the same.

I admit that I don't really understand all this Tao stuff.  But, if you look at some of the recent news footage of the flooding that Mr. Alberto is bringing, it does give a pretty good image of "going with the flow."   One who lives in accordance with nature does not go against the flow -- the way of things.  He moves in harmony with the present moment. 

Like those palm trees I see flexing in Alberto's winds, I need to remember to remain flexible. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, May 25, 2018

Who was Mr. Mojo Risin'?

Who was Mr. Mojo Risin'?

The Doors fans will recognize this name. 

So, “L.A. Woman” is a song by one of my favorite rock bands, The Doors.
The song is the title track on their 1971 album — one of my favorite of all time —  L.A. Woman, the final album with frontman Jim Morrison before his death.

In the song’s coda, Morrison repeats the phrase “Mr. Mojo Risin’.”

So, Who is Mr. Mojo Risin?  It’s actually an anagram of “Jim Morrison”. 

An anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase.

Mr. Mojo Risin'.  Pretty cool.

Try it, there are dozens of anagram generators on the web to create your own.


Carpe diem Life,
Hak Dud Vin  (not quite that same cool factor)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Mr. L'Amour Take 2

Another quote from Mr. L'Amour (see yesterrday's post):

. . . What do you wish to be? What would you like to become?” I did not know, and I told her so, but the question worried me. Should I know? “There is time,” she said, “but the sooner you know, the sooner you can plan. To have a goal is the important thing, and to work toward it. Then, if you decide you wish to do something different, you will at least have been moving, you will have been going somewhere, you will have been learning.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Who is Louis L'Amour?

While researching a line for a monthly newsletter I'm writing, I turned to my trusty big book of quotations.  I've opened it hundreds of times and plagiarized (um, I mean borrowed) many wise sayings to pass along.

One name that keeps popping up is Mr. Louis L'Amour.  Never heard of him.
So, I looked him up.  This from our friends at Wikipedia:

Louis Dearborn L'Amour (March 22, 1908 – June 10, 1988) was an American novelist and short-story writer. His books consisted primarily of Western novels (though he called his work "frontier stories"); however, he also wrote historical fiction (The Walking Drum), science fiction (The Haunted Mesa), non-fiction (Frontier), as well as poetry and short-story collections. Many of his stories were made into films. L'Amour's books remain popular and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death, almost all of his 105 existing works (89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and two full-length works of nonfiction) were still in print, and he was "one of the world's most popular writers".

There you go.

Here are just a few of the quotes that I've come across:

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.

Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.

Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.

Anger is a killing thing: it kills the man who angers, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before - it takes something from him.

Knowledge is like money: to be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value.

To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.

No memory is ever alone; it's at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.

To disbelieve is easy; to scoff is simple; to have faith is harder.

No one can get an education, for of necessity education is a continuing process.

I've been nothing . . . but there is tomorrow.

- - -

Today, maybe I'll run to my favorite used bookstore and pick up a couple of those "frontier stories".   After all, "Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content."

Thanks, Mr. L'Amour

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


I went through an orientation at a local hospital yesterday that, in part, focused on centering work life around "PRIDE" pillars:

Passionate people achieving
Remarkable results from growth and
Innovative ideas that
Demonstrate top performance while
Enhancing family-centered care

I'd seen this years ago while editing a video for the corporation and, to be honest, forgot all about it until I saw it pop up on the screen. 

What awesome Carpe diem Life concepts:
Passion, Remarkable Results, Growth, Innovative ideas, Top performance, Enhancing family-centered care. 

And here's the cool thing:  The standards were a result of teamwork.  And this teamwork continues to be the standard that creates a work environment that enhances professional development, open and effective interaction, educational opportunities and promotes pride and respect. 

"The magic formula that successful businesses have discovered is to treat customers like guests and employees like people."  -- Tom Peters.

Today, I'm proud to say that I'm a small part of The Women's Hospital / Deaconess PRIDE. 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Or schemes.  Schemes? Plans? 

Yesterday, the rains gave me the opportunity to execute Plan B:  Organize the garage/workshop.   After 30+ years of never getting my side organized and usable -- at least for any length of time -- I had yet another perfect plan to organize all my stuff (no, not get rid of any of it).

The result?  24 hours later it's still not finished.  My perfect plan, it seems, was just plain wrong.   This morning, I'm looking at it all asking the "wrong" questions:

What went wrong?
When did it go wrong?
Where did it go wrong?
Why did it go wrong?
How did I contribute to making it go wrong?
What can I learn from this experience?
How will I apply what I"ve learned in the future?

Humility is filled with mistakes.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. 

On a slightly different path, what do cellophane, Goodyear rubber, penicillin, the cooking power of microwaves, Post-it-notes, and Coca-Cola all have in common? 

They were created by mistake!

It is said that Mark Twain was once asked to name the greatest of all inventors.  His reply:  "Accidents."

This weekend, I'm going to accidentally finish the garage (again). 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Plan B

Today's blog is brought to you by "Change of Directions."

Everything that I had planned for outside is just about to be washed out -- with strong winds, hail, flooding, etc.

So, always good to have a Plan B (in this case, Plan to BE inside).

Midwest saying:  If you don't like the weather, stick around for a few minutes and it will change.

Today looks like a good day to study nature's might law:  Change.  As Tolstoy wrote, "Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself."

Signing out before the power goes out . . .

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sparks & Energy

Our 20-year old motor on our old pontoon finally ran into some serious problems last year and we just didn't have the energy to get it worked on.  It sadly sat motionless all year -- nothing more than a floating dock.

This year we finally had it trailered in for service.  First, thanks to our neighbor Ray for "towing" it to the dock for us a few weeks ago.

Last week we got the call that it was ready and I picked yesterday as the delivery date.  First thing in the morning the phone rings.  "Mr. Kuhn, I'm sorry to say that we now can't get your boat running.  We don't know . . ."  That's when I hear someone in the background yell something at him.


Yes, it seems that they had been using a shop battery to work on it and the tech pulled it after he was done.  No juice!

I've seen this countless times in my A/V career.  Dead batteries, replaced batteries put in the wrong direction, power cord not fully plugged in, bad power supply, etc.   When we first moved into our house over 30-years ago we had a light that worked only intermittently.  Couldn't figure it out.  Turns out that it was plugged in an outlet that was controlled by a switch on the wall.  I'd never heard of such a thing.  


"For purpose of action, nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combines with ENERGY OF WILL!"   -- Henri Frederic Amiel

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn