Wednesday, April 30, 2008


A friend of mine recently told me of her trip to Spain. She was excited about their public transportation system, and more specifically about this SmartBike system in Barcelona. Now just yesterday I saw on the news that the same SmartBike system has come to the United States. In Washington D.C., users can pay an annual fee of $40 that grants them access to a number of SmartBike bicycles. These bikes, located in strategic places throughout the city (usually in places of high traffic, business districts, shopping areas, and tourist markets), are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no additional cost to the user.

Next, just wave the SmartBike user card in front of the card reader at the station and it will assign you a bike, unlocking it, and you're on your way. also says that because the user cards and card readers use radio frequencies, you may not even have to take the card out of your wallet or purse.

There is a time limit on the rental of the bike, though. Yet in the same time that you return your used bike, you can pick up a new one. It's that simple. Users are responsible for their bikes while in use; and since user cards are used to rent and return bikes, those cards can be used to identify whether or not a user has returned their bike. A three hour time limit has been posted on use of smartbikes. And should your bike not be returned within 48 hours, you will be charged the cost of the bike. That said, I am glad they do put at least some responsibility in the hands of the SmartBike users. It being such a great deal and terrific solution to some traffic issues, I'm sure people won't mind.

The news report I saw commented on how the SmartBike system in Barcelona--the one my friend saw on her trip--had grown from 1,500 bikes to 6,000 bikes. The SmartBike website ( says that Barcelona now has 80,000 registered users with each bike being used an average of 12.5 times per day, and that through the SmartBike program an annual savings of 2,500 tons of CO2 is achieved.

SmartBikes aren't only being used in Barcelona, Spain and Washington D.C. either. SmartBikes can be found in France (Caen, Dijon, Perpignan, and Rennes), Norway (Drammen, Oslo, and Trondheim), and Sweden (Gothenburg and Stockholm).

If all goes well with this trial run in Washington D.C., we could very well start seeing more SmartBikes on our city streets. And with it being such a smart and eco-friendly solution to the problem of automobile emissions, I think we can all breathe a bit easier knowing that at least someone is not only helping the environment, but trying to help with the issue of auto traffic as well.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Popemobile

That's right. The Popemobile. His Holiness has his own personalized ride, usually a Mercedes-Benz, out-fitted specifically for him. Though some of them are open-air, they are usually covered with, you guessed it, bullet proof glass.

In one respect it's kind of cool that the Pope has his own pimped-out ride. Of course, I think it's pretty ridiculous that he needs bullet proof glass. If that's the case, why not ride in a car that would draw far less attention? I guess that's part of the job though: being visible (but couldn't they have at least tinted those windows? He must be burning up in there!).

I'm not exactly partial to the Pope, though. I think the idea of a Pope is ridiculous. That's not to say I don't respect the man-- I did capitalize his title, didn't I? That's also not to say that if I saw him I wouldn't treat him like any other person. I would treat him differently. Maybe not like some people would, but I'd treat him better than if I had, say, a celebrity in my house. Unless it was Matthew Perry. He'd get the good hand towels... and I'd buy yoohoo too.

I think it's funny that people get so excited about religion when the Pope comes to town. I bet more than three-quarters of the people following him around, lining the streets, or going to mass wouldn't be there were he not there. Why don't people get excited about Christ all of the time? Is it because the Pope is such an important and visible leader (so-to-speak)? Is it that he's actually, physically here (where Christ is with us in spirit)? Regardless, the Pope is nothing more than a man. Who cares (aside from the millions around the world)?

The Pope coming to bring the Good News is great. The fact that the Word of Christ is probably being sidelined by stupid people only interested in the Pope is not very great.

But who knows, maybe someone will come to Christ--and actually come to Christ, not just come to church.

Love Story

I'm sure we all know that infernal cliche: "Love never means having to say you're sorry." Well, I've only one word to say to that. Rubbish!

Sure, it worked for Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal in the 1970 film Love Story, but does it work for us today, in the here and now, in the real world?

If love means never having to say you're sorry, then one can do whatever one wants--whether hurting the one they love or not--without consequence. And that, in my opinion, is not love at all, but rather greed and self absorption.

Do you want to know what love really is? Love is saying you're sorry for the things you've done wrong. Love is caring for the other while putting yourself on the back burner. Sure, there will be fights and times when you don't particularly feel fondly of your significant other, but that's no excuse to forget your love. Make things right. Own up to what you've done. Say you're sorry. And learn from it.

That's the main thing, you know-- learning from your mistakes. And if you can learn from those mistakes, then you're one better than a lot of people.

Just remember that it's not about you anymore, just as it's not about me. We are a collective. We are one.

Love is sacrifice. Love is hard. Love is saying you're sorry.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Little known fact about me: I like trees.

That's right. I'm a tree-hugging, save the planet one tree at a time, arbor day loving, let's all plant a tree kind of guy. I may have been a little lapse in my fight for trees the last 26 years, but I'm back! And my first order of business is toset straight a few facts about trees and to educate the public on trees!

For instance, did you know that it's better for the environment to use a real Christmas tree than a fake one (for every tree bought, three are planted in its place)?

Did you know that the government does not own the majority of Unites States forestland?

Did you know that there are 10 million more acres of forestland than there was only 15 years ago and that the amount of forestland in the United States is actually on par with what it was 100 years ago, even with our population tripling in size?!

Did you know that the wood and paper industry account for nearly 1.7 million of the 4 million new trees planted each and every day (effectively planting triple the amount of trees they harvest each year)?

I'm sure you did, but did you know that trees are big helper in the fight against global warming?! For every ton of wood a forest grows, it removes 1.47 tons of carbon dioxide and releases 1.07 tons of oxygen into the environment.

Did you know that almost every part of a tree is used in production?

Did you know that using things like paper plates and paper towels are actually not bad for the environment?


While you're at it, find out how you can Plant It Forward!

If you're feeling really frisky, try going to and donate. A dollar a tree is a pretty good thing. And these trees will be planted in the Atlantic Forest, a tropical rainforest in South America that is suffering and is now less than 10% of its original size!

The Books of the Bible

On my way to work this morning I heard on 88.1 WAYfm that there is a new version of the Bible out called The Books of the Bible. This version utilizes Today’s New International Version (TNIV) of the Bible.

About The Books of the Bible (from website):
Researchers such as George Gallup, George Barna and the Bible Literacy Project have shown a disturbing deficiency in biblical knowledge among the American public.

The Books of The Bible project encourages better Bible reading, particularly by emphasizing the reading of whole books. The result is an inviting and clean visual presentation of the Bible that can be understood and enjoyed more easily. The Books of The Bible differs from the format of most current Bibles in significant ways:

- chapter and verse numbers are removed from the text (a chapter-and-verse range is at the bottom of each page)

- individual books are presented with the literary divisions that their authors have indicated

- footnotes, section headings and other supplementary materials have been removed from the text (translators’ notes are available at the back of each book)

- the books of the Bible have been placed in an order that provides more help in understanding, based on literary genre, historical circumstance and theological tradition

- single books that later translations or tradition divided into two or more books are made whole again (example: Luke-Acts)

- single-column setting that clearly and naturally presents the literary forms of the Bible’s books.

For more info, go to their website at:

It seems like a good idea to me. It's certainly a change from the book/chapter/verse that we're all so very used to. But indeed, those chapter/verse additions weren't made until the year 1205AD. Pulling them out would give us a better look at how it was originally read.

I like the idea of the Bible being more like a regular book. Not that it is a regular book, but that it hopefully won't intimidate its readers as much. I know, I know. It sounds ridiculous, but perception is key. And I'm sure this version will certainly help people come to a better understanding of the Bible. If only it helps people actually read the Bible then it will have done its job.

It'll also allow its readers to focus on whole passages and not merely single verses. I always hated when someone brought up a particular verse of the Bible. "Oh! See! That's a contradiction! Your Bible is false! God doesn't exist!" Oh, well gee, maybe if you read the verse in the context of the entire passage you'd see the meaning, genius.

I think I'll add this to my wishlist.
(Don't worry Shannon. I'll read my other books first.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good Night, Blog.

Good night, blog. It's time for bed.

And good night, world.

Click on the picture to see the larger image. It's pretty neat.

3rd Annual Charles R. Rubado Memorial Golf Tournament

For the third year now, Florida Southern College is hosting the Charles Robert Rubado Memorial Gold Scramble this next Saturday, April 26, 2008 at the Cleveland Heights Gold Course in Lakeland, Florida. The tournament is open to the public.

Come out and play some golf, enjoy the company of others, and help raise money for the Charles R. Rubado Scholarship at Florida Southern.

My brother-in-law Charlie, a 2 Lt. in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tiger Squadron, United States Army, was killed in action on August 29, 2005 while on duty in Iraq.

He is missed by all who knew him, by all whose lives were touched by this great man of God, and by those who know him if only by his legacy.

More information about the Gold Tournament can be found at Florida Southern College's Website.

"The Lord"

First, let me make this absolutely clear. I'm a Christian. I love Jesus. I love God. There is no way I'd be the man I am today without the love of God in my life. Without His grace and mercy, I am nothing. Okay? Good.

Why am I prefacing this blog anyway?

I have the tendency to cringe inside whenever I hear anyone refer to God as "The Lord." Don't ask me why. I certainly don't know. I just do. For some people it's fingernails and chalkboards. For me it's "The Lord." It's just automatic.

When it's Scripture, it's completely fine. Certain other times I'm absolutely fine with it as well. But for pretty much the rest of the time, why can't they just call Him God, or Jesus, or something? Anything. Anything other than "The Lord." Just typing it is making my ears hurt.

That's all.

Justin Roberts and The Inventors' Magic Key

We've had this children's show running for the last week at work: The Inventors' Magic Key by Don Butler. It's actually a really good show. Excellent writing, but phenomenal acting. The actors really make it worth while. It's probably pointless to say, "Hey! You should go see it!" since the last show is tomorrow before it goes on the road for a week. Regardless, it's a good show.

The reason for this blog is actually the pre-show music I've been playing: Yellow Bus by Justin Roberts. At first I jokingly mocked it, but now it's actually grown on me. It's really good, decent music for children. Beyond that, it's just good music. Oh, and my favorite song from the Yellow Bus album is Rocketship. :)

If you have children, you should definitely check out Justin Roberts' music. You never know, you just might like it too.