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What was a book that really made a difference for you as an adult?

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand would be that book.  It taught me that critical thinking was the only way through life, that I would have to dig deep into issues, view them from different perspectives, and make informed, balanced decisions.  It taught me that others have their own agendas and they don’t make them public to you, but you can figure them out if you listen and watch closely.  Often their own selfish nature is disguised as helping others and too often that help is only short-term at best and never actually solves anything.  That whole theme of short-term versus long-term explains a lot of the world’s issues.  Should we be focused exclusively on what’s needed today, this week, this month, etc., and not concern ourselves on what happens later on?  Conversely, is it wise to ignore all short-term concerns and look only at how it will play out later?  These are difficult questions and most often do not have assured positive outcomes in all cases.  But focusing on one to the exclusion

Tell me your favorite story about Moses

Moses was the perfect cat.  He was loving, at least to humans, and everyone adored him.  I would take him to appointments at the vet and he would walk down the check-in desk where all the staff would pet him to his delight and there’s.  He never weighed more than eight pounds even though I kept his food dish full all the time.  He ate when he was hungry or when I opened his favorite treat, a can of tuna fish.   Moses was also a fierce hunter.  When I moved into a new apartment, he spent the first couple of days getting rid of every ant and spider he could find.  He could easily jump six feet in the air and I once saw him clear a six-foot fence with graceful ease as some neighborhood dog gave a fruitless chase.  He only had claws on his rear feet, but that combined with his teeth were more than enough to take out his prey.  Combined with remarkable see-in-the-dark abilities, he would routinely disappear for hours and that leads to my favorite story. I rented a house in Kettering for a s

What things are you proudest of in your life?

I’ve written about some of the things I’ve built during my career while answering some previous questions but after forty-four years of dabbling in Information Technology, I accumulated more than a few.   One of my favorite sayings is “I’m glad I never learned I couldn’t do something” and the stories below begin with a pair of projects I undertook at Wright State University that few others would have even contemplated trying, followed by two situations where technical ability had nothing to do with achieving significant changes and finishing up with how I helped resolve a dispute without knowing anything about the subject being discussed. GOTHIC was a mainframe assembler program that read a single input card and printed out, sideways, each character using multiple lines of asterisks, creating large letters in a Gothic-looking font. Since the mainframe printers used continuous forms, GOTHIC was perfect for creating large fancy banners, many feet long, announcing birthdays or other speci

What makes you happy?

A short-term view of happiness would lean towards accomplishing big goals like finishing a marathon, implementing a new computer system, or hosting the family for Christmas dinner.  The energy and focus needed to pull your mind and body together for a few hours, days, or sometimes weeks is a great adrenaline rush and the sense of accomplishment is a thrill.  But happiness shouldn’t be just about the short period of time when you feel you're on top of the world, but a lifestyle choice that is your normal.  Getting there takes getting to know yourself and laying out a course to get you happy most of the time because life’s twists and turns and ups and downs will guarantee that you’ll never be happy all the time. For myself, I like a balance of social, physical, and intellectual activities.  That balance is achieved over weeks and months, not hours and days, so some days will be a lot more of one than the others, but over the course of a somewhat longer timeframe, things will even out

What is one of your favorite holiday memories?

That would be opening Christmas presents when I was a child.  We grew up in a small house in the North Riverdale neighborhood in Dayton and the living room must have been all of maybe eight feet wide by twelve feet deep.  That tiny room was packed with couches, chairs, a TV, a stereo, a Christmas tree loaded with boxes, five kids, and two parents.  Somehow it worked.   At first, we opened presents on Christmas morning, maybe got to play with them for what seemed all of ten or fifteen minutes, and then had to get dressed, go to Our Lady of Mercy for Christmas Mass, and then downtown for brunch.  We were going half crazy by the time we returned home and had time to play with our presents, but even that was short-lived as we packed back in the station wagon for our trip to Grandpa Otto’s house in Beavercreek for continued festivities. It took a few years, but our parents finally realized they were packing too much into one day and decided to let us open our presents on Christmas Eve.  We

What are you most thankful for?

 I believe people want the best for their children from the time they say “I just want them to be healthy” and count their fingers and toes immediately after they were born.  It takes time to move on to more important matters and the thousands and thousands of decisions, big and small, that are made as the most precious part of your life grows up.  I believe most parents knock themselves, too harshly at times, for making wrong decisions, missing some event, not saving enough, etc., believing if they were perfect that their children would be too.  I’m not perfect, my parents weren’t, you’re not and my children won’t be either. That’s the reality of life.  Stop worrying about just the here and now and make the best decisions you can to help guide your children to adulthood.  Parenting is a long-term effort and worth everything you put into it. My children took very different paths as they entered adulthood.  My son entered the work world, has started a few businesses, worked two jobs at

What's a gift you always wished someone would give you?

Anything that they think I’ll like. Ever since I was a kid I loved buying gifts that I thought a sibling, parent, child, or relative would really like.  I shied away from asking for a list of things they wanted, preferring to think about the person, what they like to do and what type of gift might be something that they would appreciate and perhaps never think of themselves.  My sister said when we were younger that I always bought the most thoughtful gifts.  That’s exactly what I was going for.  I love to see the surprise in their eyes. To this day I collect ideas all year long for the next birthday or Christmas.  It might be an off-hand comment about something someone had seen or something I notice while browsing in a store.  I try to take notice of the activities they do and look for potential ideas.  I keep a list and add to it as soon as things pop up.  Waiting for last-minute inspiration is not my thing.  Too stressful. I have a little list of ideas in case people ask.  But at th