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Archive for December, 2007

Holographic Communication, April 2008

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Jonathan Altfeld’s presentation skills are beyond compare, and one of the best things about them is that he’s willing to teach them to you. In April 2008, Jonathan will be holding his Holographic Communication training in both Copenhagen, Denmark and London, UK.

If Your Livelihood Depends on Giving Compelling Presentations… or Even if You Just WANT People Hanging on your Every Word, in Business, in Public, or in Platform Sales… We’ve got a Pain-Free, Risk-Free, Fun-to-Learn Process… that can turn ANY Ugly Duckling into a Swan… & we’ve published video case-studies [on the Web site] to prove it.

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 22nd, 2007 at 5:00 pm

Pattern Interrupt!

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Santa finally gets to rest

Come on. Tell me you didn’t at least smirk. I triple-dog dare ya!

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 22nd, 2007 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Left Field

Keys to Programming

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My old friend Chad Amberg is an interesting guy. Definitely not the type to march in time with the popular crowd, but not at all “weird” either. I think he’d make a great NLPer. I should mention it to him.

Chad is a computer guru. Mostly Windows, poor guy, but he can do pretty much anything that needs doing on pretty much any system you’re likely to be running. He’s the one who got me turned on to OS/2 back in the mid-1990s. Definitely old-skewl. Especially when it comes to programming.

We NLPers tend to spend a lot of time on the “N” and the “L” but not so much on the finer points of the “P”. Remember that Richard Bandler was learning computer science when he began poking around in subjective human experience, and that one of Jonathan Altfeld’s more popular courses, Knowledge Engineering, is pulled directly from Jonathan’s experience and training in the modeling of human decision structures using the Lisp programming language.

I know that when I learned the basics of programming in Rexx, it helped me to think much more clearly about structure. (I wouldn’t recommend Rexx right now, though, even though it’s excellent; I think Python is much more useful for the majority. If I had it to do over again, I’d have started with Python.) Learning to write a simple structured program, even in a scripting language like Rexx or Python, is a tremendous gift you can give to yourself.

Chad wrote a short article today on what he believes are the Keys to Programming. It’s brief, high-level, good advice with no language-specific ideas… more like “how to think like a programmer” than “how to write a program”. He references an essay by Paul Graham titled, “How to Hold a Program in Your Head”, which is what we’re interested in doing, yes?

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 19th, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Visual Clichés

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We all know that there are times to use a cliché and times to avoid using one. Most people think of clichés as purely verbal, though; something like “money talks” or “pull yourself up by the bootstraps”. (Here’s the Internet Cliché Finder, if you’re interested.) But they can be visual, as well.

For example, here’s an article for Webmasters: Eleven images you might want to avoid in your designs. Looking through the list, I find it makes a lot of sense. (But where do we draw the line between “classic” and “cliché”?)

While you’re at it, browse around on if you’re interested in Web design at all.

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 19th, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Where Have You Been All My Life?

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(A gentleman named Mark Margulies wrote the following story. It really hit home with me because I was, and still am, the kind of guy from whose perspective the story is written. I tracked him down and asked him if I could post the story, and he agreed. I post it here because I think it’s a great fable on the subject of values. Mark, if you’re reading this, send me your URL!)

There have been times when I’ve met you and we’ve gotten to know each other a little, when you ask a question I assume is supposed to flatter. You ask, “Where have you been all my life?” It’s a question that’s easy to answer.

I’ve been the guy you didn’t want to see again because I never used the word “love” as a weapon. Instead you went out with the guy who immediately swore how much he loved you and how much he cared. Then one morning he left because there was another girl he “loved” more.

I’ve been the guy who never lied to you, who never cheated on you because I have too much respect for you and myself. But you decided on the guy who did, because if other women wanted him that badly, he had to be quite the catch. You were only concerned with winning; of course, you cried on MY shoulder when you lost.

I’ve been the guy who listened to your problems and tried to be a partner. Thus, I became your “best friend”, and you went to great lengths to remind me of that fact, lest I forget and maybe think you cared for me romantically as well.

I’ve been the guy who always told you how nice you looked and how proud I was to be with you. But you decided to stick with the guy who you were never pretty enough for, who didn’t care about your life or your dreams, who never asked for your opinion and told you how dumb you were to think what you did. You spent every waking moment trying to please him because, without his acceptance, you felt like nothing.

I’ve been the guy with the “great personality” and sense of humor who was always fun to be with. Yet, you decided to choose the more sullen, brooding type because, after all, he had a cuter smile and looked better in tight jeans.

I’ve been the guy who loved to suprise you with gifts and cards, even when there was no reason to. But you decided you really cared more for that guy who didn’t even remember your birthday.

I’ve been the guy who was available. But you decided you wanted the guys who were married or who had girlfriends. They were more of a challenge.

I’ve been the guy who never flirted with anyone else, especially when we were together. But you went for the guy who was always on the make, because after all, he was more of a battle to keep.

I was the guy who believed you when you said you and he were “just friends.” That meant I was the jerk who heard the excuse that always began, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, but…”

Where have I been all your life? I’ve been right here. In fact, I may be in your life right now. It’s you who’s always been looking somewhere else.

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 19th, 2007 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Articles,Values

The Art of the Double Bind

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Bateson would be proud of Dilbert. Check out last Sunday’s strip. I bet he gets that raise.

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 17th, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Thoughts on the Death of my Brother-in-law

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(In September of 1999, my eldest sister’s husband died. I wrote this story a few days afterward to detail the shifts in frame and values I experienced.)

Last Saturday, at 6:30 PM, in Christiana (Delaware) Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, my terminally ill brother-in-law drew his last breath. Three weeks of suffering ended just like that. He was only 54 years old. He left a wife, three children, nine grandchildren, and a multitude of friends.

I visited him once in the ICU. He looked every bit the part of the terminally ill man. Christiana’s a good hospital from a technical standpoint, so I figured his odds were even. When he died, I wasn’t sad… partially because I knew he was suffering and needed to go, but mostly because I believed I hadn’t lost anyone.

Donnie and I weren’t close. We each knew who the other was, but that was about it. He worked a lot, and when when I was a kid and we visited it was for musical purposes and they were busy so I stayed out of the way and stayed quiet as I could. When I got older, I went my way and I worked a lot too, and he and I never got to know one another. So he and I weren’t involved in one another’s lives at all.

Yesterday, I went over to my sister’s house to meet up with the rest of the family so we could all go together to the funeral home for the viewing. She (my sister) walked into the kitchen and I looked at her, and I asked her, “when did you start wearing glasses?”

“About four years ago,” she responded.

My sister has been wearing glasses for four years and I just noticed.

Well, we went to the viewing. I knew nearly no one there. Lots of people poured through, lots of people… and almost all of them I didn’t know. Probably a few of them were there out of filial duty, but it was obvious Donnie was well-loved and well-respected by an overwhelming number of people.

In the casket was a picture of Donnie and Linda, my sister, in formal clothing. It looked way too recent to be a wedding photo, but I asked anyway. Linda told me it was when he was being honored for bravery. He and a co-worker rescued a man and his family from a burning house about eight years ago. Went in, woke them up, got them out, hooked up a hose, and by the time the fire company got there Donnie and his co-worker had put out the fire. And I didn’t know this.

When I got home, I figured I’d post something on the newsgroup about Donnie’s death. Donnie was a part-time radio DJ who played old-time country music, and the musical group he and my sister and my parents formed are fairly well-known among people who appreciate old-time country music. When I got there, though, I found someone had beaten me to it. It hit me then that he was important to more than just the people who attended the viewing; he was important in some way to thousands of people all over the world.

So now I’m wondering what else I didn’t know. I’m thinking of all those people and what they knew about him and the people who were touched by his art. And it’s dawning on me that I was wrong when I thought I hadn’t lost anyone. There was a guy whom I could have spent time with, whose company I could have enjoyed, whose interests I could have shared, and with whom I could have made music.

You bet I lost someone.

I didn’t lose him Saturday, though. I lost him all my life.

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 17th, 2007 at 2:08 pm

Expert instruction

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I don’t know how I missed this site up until now. Expert Village offers a multitude of free instructional videos on a wide variety of topics, all from credentialed experts in their respective fields.

The Internet is filling up with content. But the challenge in the information age is no longer finding information, but figuring out which information to believe. Our philosophy is to film and interview leading experts who teach you what they know. We go a step further by providing you the credentials of the expert we consulted so that you can judge the credibility of the information you receive.

Let me know how you like Expert Village: Free video clips, how to videos, and video instruction

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 17th, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Sympathies During Bereavement

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(One of today’s posts on got me thinking about offering sympathy to those who have lost someone to death. I was going to leave a comment, but it turned into an article, so I decided to post it here. I’d track back to but they seem to have neglected the trackback URL.)

Many years ago, a nurse on the psych unit of the hospital where I work seemed to be in some mental pain. I asked her what was going on, and she told me that a patient had kicked her in the belly, causing her to miscarry. I knew she wanted a child and I knew how difficult it was for her to get pregnant. My heart went out to her and I said, “I’m so sorry for your loss”. She started to cry and hugged me, saying I was the only one who had acknowledged she was hurting. Everyone else kept trying to tell her to stop feeling bad about it.

My advice to those in front of a grieving person: never try to cheer them up. “It could be worse!”, “You’re still young, you can have another child/find another husband”, “They’re in a better place”, or some variation on how God did it for a reason are all total garbage at best and a slap in the face at worst. Consider this: if you were to lose to death someone you loved, is there anything that anyone could say that would make your pain go away? I doubt it. So don’t even try.

And for those who are angry at God for their loss, I offer them a simple idea: any deity worth worship and devotion is probably hurting over this as badly as you are.

(If you haven’t read Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”, I strongly recommend it.)

Read at How to Offer your Sympathies Following a Bereavement

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 12th, 2007 at 1:59 pm

An OCEAN of personality traits

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A little surfing around led me to the Web page of researcher Sanjay Srivastava on what he calls “The Big Five Personality Factors”. I haven’t finished reading the docs available, but at first blush it seems that he’s found five Meta-Programs that tend to go together somehow in most people:

  • Extraversion (sometimes called Surgency). The broad dimension of Extraversion encompasses such more specific traits as talkative, energetic, and assertive.
  • Agreeableness. This dimension includes traits like sympathetic, kind, and affectionate.
  • Conscientiousness. People high in Conscientiousness tend to be organized, thorough, and planful.
  • Neuroticism (sometimes reversed and called Emotional Stability). Neuroticism is characterized by traits like tense, moody, and anxious.
  • Openness to Experience (sometimes called Intellect or Intellect/Imagination). This dimension includes having wide interests, and being imaginative and insightful.

I’m going to want to spend some time examining this, as I’m not certain how useful it might be to NLPers.

Link to Measuring the Big Five Personality Factors

(Oh… the word “OCEAN” in the title refers to an acronym of the names of the “Big Five”.)

Written by Michael DeBusk

December 12th, 2007 at 1:37 am