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Archive for the ‘Values’ Category

Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules

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Michal Migurski’s tecznotes blog featured a recent post containing Immaculate Heart College’s Art Department Rules. I thought they were wonderful, a great set of rules for teacher and student alike.

I especially like the last line: “There should be new rules next week.”

Written by Michael DeBusk

February 27th, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Attributes of Highly Effective Programmers

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Once I was more interested in the Java programming language than I am now. I joined the Java Lobby so as to keep up with developments. I never learned to write Java code, but I still keep my Java Lobby newsletter coming. Sometimes there is something powerful in it. Like this past issue, which pointed me to The Philosophical Geek‘s article on the Top 5 Attributes of Highly Effective Programmers:

  • Humility
  • Love of Learning
  • Detail-orientedness
  • Adaptability
  • Passion

Please don’t just read the list and think you’re done. The article is wonderful. I especially enjoyed the part about humility… what it is and is not. Go read it all.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 30th, 2008 at 3:33 am

Posted in Programming,Values

The quest for Self-Esteeeeeeem is questionable

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I’ve long questioned the value of pursuing and cultivating “self-esteeeeeeem”. My take on it is pretty much the same as that of author Jane Haddam: “In my day, we didn’t have self-esteem. We had self-respect, and no more of it than we had earned.”

I’d expand on this, but the blog “Violent Acres” recently did a much better job:

Remember when the hippy dippy girl with the dreads was the only one dashing off to Indonesia to ‘find herself?’ Now everyone under 30 is off searching for themselves in some misguided attempt to discover inner peace and the results are nothing to write home about. Usually, when people ‘find themselves,’ the only thing they really discover is more things to hate.

The reason for this is simple: If you’re spending all your time focusing inward, it’s pretty impossible to make a positive impact anywhere else. Self fulfillment never comes after looking in the mirror and finally realizing you’re a raging narcissist.

Go read Learning to Love Yourself is a Pointless Waste of Time at the very funny and insightful blog, Violent Acres.

Incidentally, some years back I developed a process for improving one’s self-respect. It’s really a method by which it’s discovered… that is to say, we’ve earned it and don’t realize it. I really must write it down sometime.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 24th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

If you build it, they will… uh…

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One of the most important economic lessons I learned in college was that of the law of supply and demand. The professor used porn as a great example. During a lecture on business ethics, she posed questions to the class: Should it be legal? Is it ethical to produce it? Opinions varied widely, but she closed the discussion with, “If there were no demand, there would be no supply.”

That law (among others) figures in to the world’s oldest profession, too. Why does she sell her body? Well, because people buy it, that’s why.

Now there’s a brothel in Prague that’s combined the two and leveraged modern technology to meat the kneads (sorry, I had to do it) of both markets at the same time:

…Big Sister, a Prague brothel where customers peruse a touch-screen menu of blondes, brunettes and redheads available for free. The catch is clients have to let their exploits be filmed and posted on the Internet.

OK, OK… free sex in Prague. Are you wondering what this has to do with us in the context of NLP? Not a whole lot, but one thing caught my attention:

Visitors to Big Sister start at the electronic menu, which provides each woman’s age, height, working name and the languages she speaks.

The cops in my area tell me that most of the Johns around here only want to know how much she costs and if she still has most of her teeth. The guys in Prague actually sort hookers based on the languages they speak.

Written by Michael DeBusk

January 15th, 2008 at 2:14 am

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

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