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Category: Four For Friday



July 15, 2011

Four For Friday for July 15, 2011

Q1 - Signature Item: If you were to open your own restaurant, what would be the 'signature' item on your menu?

Working-Hard.jpgQ2 - Start-up: If you could choose anyone to start a business with, who would you choose and why?

Q3 - Labor Statistics: How many full- or part-time workers do you feel you do the work of?

Q4 - Harry Potter: Harry Potter, the series of fantasy novels written by the J. K. Rowling, chronicles the adventures of adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Since the release of the first book in June of 1997, the series has gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide, including via the big screen. How many of the Harry Potter books have you read and do you plan on seeing the final Harry Potter movie, which debuted this weekend at movie theaters nationwide?

Category: Four For Friday



March 4, 2011

Four For Friday for March 4, 2011

Q1 - Economy: The unemployment rate in the U.S. dropped slightly (by 1/10th of a point) to 8.9 percent in February, the Labor Department reported today. What do you feel is needed to stimulate our longterm economy?Rubber-Stamp.jpg

Q2 - Rubber Stamp: Imagine for a moment that your hand has been replaced by a rubber stamp. What does it say?

Q3 - 90 Minutes: If you could spend 90 minutes with any living famous person, not because of their fame or good looks but because you truly admire them, whom would you choose?

Q4 - Location: Where would you like to retire?

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Category: Four For Friday



January 28, 2011

Four For Friday for January 28, 2011

Q1 - Life: Talking about yours for a moment (i.e., the fact that you're among the living)... Do you think of life as a right or privilege, and how does your answer impact the way you live your life?

collegeimage.jpgQ2 - Unexplained: Incidents of mass animal deaths have been reported in the U.S. and around the world in the past two months. Thousands of dead birds fell from the sky in Arkansas on New Year's Eve, following a massive fish kill just 100 miles away days earlier. In the week following, other mass bird deaths were reported in nearby Louisiana and Kentucky. Birds were also reported to fall dead from the sky in Italy and Sweden, and more recently similar incidents have been reported in California and Alabama. Mass fish kills have also been reported in Chicago, Maryland, Brazil and New Zealand, along with 40,000 dead crabs that washed ashore on England beaches. Are you concerned about these incidents? What do you think is causing them?

Q3 - College: According to the authors of the new book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, 45 percent of college students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years, while after four years, 36 percent of students do not demonstrate significant improvement. Do you feel college improved your critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing? If not, what did?

Q4 - Exercise: Do you have a regular exercise routine? If not, what routine runs thru your head as being something you think or wish you could go do on a regular basis?

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December 10, 2010

Four For Friday

Grizzly-Bear.jpgQ1 - Protection: Back in August, police officers raiding a marijuana farm in western Canada were shocked to find nearly a half-dozen bears guarding the crop. If you could train a grizzly bear to guard something of yours (something aside from your family or another loved one), what would you want guarded.

Q2 - Compromise: Once upon a time, it was considered a good thing when a President from one political party and Congressional leaders from another reached a compromise agreement on major issues like taxes and aiding the unemployed. But when that happened this week, all hell broke loose, with many from the President's own party feeling betrayed and threatening full revolt. Even some member of the other party are unhappy with a package that is loaded with their favorite dish, tax cuts. Have you been following this issue, and if you have... what's your opinion about the compromise?

Q2 - Recline: On a recent flight from Los Angeles to Denver, Brian Dougal did what many of us have done... he clicked the button on his armrest and leaned back. Upon doing so, however, the passenger behind him -- identified in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado as Tomislav Zelenovic -- became so infuriated with the invasion of his space that he assaulted Dougal, which of course resulted in Zelenovic's immediate arrest once the plan landed in Denver. Reclining seats on airplanes: Are they a privilege or a right?

Q4 - Leak: WikiLeaks, the organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and leaks online, now boasts more than 1,100,000 Facebook fans. Have you ever visited Wikileaks.org? If not, why? If you have visited the website, were you surprised or underwhelmed by what you found?

Category: Four For Friday



September 17, 2010

Four For Friday for Sept 17

Warning.jpgQ1 - Warning: If you came with a "Warning" label, what would it say?

Q2 - Birthday: What was the last birthday gift you purchased and who did you give it to?

Q3 - Cheating: Earlier this week, New York Yankees baseball player Derek Jeter created controversy in a game against Tampa Bay when he faked being hit by a pitch. Television replays showed the ball had hit the baseball bat, not Jeter's body, yet Jeter fained being hit by the ball and was rewarded by the plate umpire with a free pass to first base. Moments later, Jeter scored on a home run by Curtis Granderson but the Yankees lost, 4-3. Do you think what Derek Jeter did -- faking that he was hit by the pitch so he could be awarded first base -- should be considered cheating, or because the umpire made the call himself, Jeter's in the clear?

Q4 - Work: Thinking about your current job for a moment, if your boss told you had to focus 100 percent of your time for the next week on one aspect of what you currently do on a daily basis (e.g, answering the phone, writing reports, attending meetings, writing email messages, designing in PhotoShop, stuffing envelopes, etc.), what would you choose to do (aside from quit)?

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August 20, 2010

Four For Friday for Aug 20

Q1 - Stop and Count: How many cosmetics or personal care products do you use over the course of an average day?

Q2 - Deeds: What percentage of good deeds do you feel you do out of generosity versus the ones you do out of the avoidance of guilt?

Q3 - Find Me: Facebook launched a location-based check-in tool this week called Places. Similar to Foursquare, Facebook Places allows you to share where you are, find out where your friends are and discover new places. Would you want your friends and others on Facebook to know where you are?

Q4 - Happiness: A couple of years ago I asked "How do you define happiness?" Mixing it up a bit, what do you believe is the secret to your happiness?

Category: Four For Friday



July 23, 2010

Four For Friday for July 23

Sandwiches.jpgQ1 - Checkout: When you're making your way to the checkout lanes, does the person working the cash register have any impact on your decision of which lane you choose?

Q2 - Sandwiches: Do you prefer yours cut in half or served whole? What about hamburgers or chicken sandwiches?

Q3 - Facebook: As of this week, 500 million people were actively using Facebook to "stay connected with their friends and the people around them." How has Facebook changed or impacted your life?

Q4 - Tweet: If you could send President Obama a Twitter message that's guaranteed to be personally read and responded to, what would send him (remember, tweets need to be 140 characters or less)?

Category: Four For Friday



July 2, 2010

Four For Friday for July 2, 2010

Q1 - Wages & Work: In California, nearly 200,000 state employees could see their pay rate plunge to the minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour if the state controller follow orders from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office. In a letter to the state controller, Schwarzenegger's administration ordered the controller's department to reduce the wages of state workers unless a budget is reached soon. If your employer cut everyone's wages -- for just one or two weeks -- to the minimum wage, would you continue going to work?

Four-For-Friday-July-2-2010.jpg

Q2 - Sense of Self: If you suffered from amnesia, do you think you could reconstruct your sense of self from your social media profiles and feeds (in other words, would you recognize that person)?

Q3 - Gas Talk: When you're getting gas for your car, do you talk to the other people getting gas for theirs? What about talking on your cell phone... do you ever do that while getting gas?

Q4 - Fashion Trends: Name at least one fashion trend you were once really jazzed about but aren't into anymore?

Category: Four For Friday



May 7, 2010

Four For Friday - the May 7th Edition

Q1 - Apprehension: Earlier this week, during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, a towel-waving Philadelphia Phillies baseball fan gained access to the field where he eluded security while running in circles in the outfield. After just 30 seconds of being on the field, the fan was subdued by a Philadelphia police officer who used a Taser stun gun to bring him down. While many people question the use of a stun gun to bring down a prankster, Major League Baseball players have said it's an appropriate action, because they fear for their safety. What do you think... should stun guns be used to stop the occasional jokester, or should fans entering the field of play during games will be apprehended by team security as they always have (by tackle)?

Q2 - Loans: In Long Beach, California, the City Council unanimously voted to loan the local Cal Worthington Ford dealership $600,000 so it could keep its doors open and 120 local residents employed. According to news reports, the dealership generates $1.8 million in tax revenue each year and plans to use the loan to finance its expansion plans. Do you think cities or municipalities should lend money to local businesses as they've done in Long Beach, California?

Q3 - Summer 2010 Movies: Which of the following summer 2010 movies are you most interested in seeing (either in the theatre or on DVD)... Robin Hood (opens May 14); Shrek 4 Forever After (opens May 21); Prince of Persia The Sands of Time (opens May 28); Sex and the City 2 (opens May 28); Killers (opens June 4); Marmaduke (opens June 4); Splice (opens June 4); Get Him to the Greek (opens June 11); Karate Kid (opens June 11); The A Team (opens June 11); Jonah Hex (opens June 18); Toy Story 3 (opens June 18); Grown Up (opens June 25); Twilight 3 Eclipse (opens June 30); Knight and Day (opens July 2); Leaves of Grass (opens July 2); Despicable Me (opens July 9); Inception (opens July 16); The Sorcerer's Apprentice (opens July 16); Salt (opens July 23); Cats and Dogs 2 (open July 30); Get Low (opens July 30); I Love You Philip Morris (opens July 30); Little Fockers (opens July 30); The Other Guys (opens August 6); Eat Pray Love (opens August 13).

Q4 - Humor: On the heels of its decision to censor an episode of "South Park" that included a depiction of the prophet Muhammad, Comedy Central said this week it has a cartoon series about Jesus Christ in the works (apparently, "JC" depicts Christ as a regular guy who moves to New York City to escape his father's enormous shadow). Are you offended by the very notion of this new cartoon series (enough so that you wouldn't watch), or could you care less and/or are actually looking forward to watching "JC" when it airs later this year?

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Category: Four For Friday



April 30, 2010

Four For Friday for April 30, 2010

Q1 - Cooking: Have you ever created a meal you thought would be great but upon tasting it realized otherwise? What did you make and what went wrong, and have you attempted to make the same meal since?

Four-For-Friday-April-30.jpg

Q2 - Green: Being green's expensive! If money was not an issue, how far would you choose to go in making your life green?

Q3 - Drilling: Does the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affect how you feel about offshore drilling?

Q4 - Censorship: About seven in ten Americans (70%) disagree with the recent Comedy Central decision to censor part of a South Park episode deemed offensive to some Muslims, a new Zogby survey finds. The decision followed a warning that the series' creators could be murdered because of their depiction of Muhammad. Generally speaking, do you agree or disagree with Comedy Central's decision to censor parts of a South Park episode deemed offensive to some Muslims?

Category: Four For Friday



April 23, 2010

Four For Friday for April 23

Q1 - Parents: What's the most important thing you learned from your parents that you hope to pass along to your children or young people you mentor?

Q2 - Traffic: Have you ever diverted your route because of something you heard on a radio or television traffic report?

Four-For-Friday-April-23.jpg

Q3 - Groceries: Do you make a grocery shopping list as you run out of items or notice you're running low, or do you make a list right before leaving to go to the grocery store?

Q4 - Dinner: What did you have for dinner last night and was it fulfilling? If not fulfilling did it at least hold some nutritional value?

Category: Four For Friday



April 16, 2010

Four For Friday For Friday April 16

Q1 - Pajamas: How often do you spend an entire day during the weekend in your pajamas? And if you do, how do you view that day... does spending it in your pajamas mean it was a "good" day or a "wasted" day?

Mikal-Pajamas.jpg

Q2 - Restaurants: Name three restaurants you've always wanted to try.

Q3 - Mail: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night may stay the nation's letter carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, but e-mail and the U.S. recession may stop their Saturday deliveries. Under a plan currently being considered, the U.S. Postal Service would cut Saturday delivery beginning in 2011. How do you feel about the possibility of the Postal Service ending Saturday deliveries?

Q4 - Toyota: Attitudes toward the safety of Toyota vehicles have remained consistent among both Toyota owners and the general public over the past month, a recent Zogby Interactive poll of U.S. adults finds. A majority of both Toyota owners and the general public continue to believe Toyota vehicles are equally or more safe than other vehicles. However, while a majority of Toyota owners say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the way Toyota management has handled the safety and recall crisis, the general public does not feel the same. If you were in the market to buy a car, would you seriously consider buying a new Toyota?

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March 12, 2010

Four For Friday - Test Taster Edition

Q1 - Haircut: When do you make an appointment for your next haircut... a day or two beforehand, before you leave the barbershop or salon, or never because walk-ins are always welcome where you get a haircut?

Q2 - Purchases: Do you believe where you buy something is just as important as what you buy?

Q3 - Tasting: If you could be a test taster of anything, what would it be?

Q4 - Black Box: In the fallout of Toyota's automotive recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering requiring black box data recorders for all new vehicles sold in the United States. Advocates of the idea say the black boxes, which are linked to the deployment of airbags, are able to note information like the speed of your car, whether you were applying the brakes, and other facts that can be downloaded and analyzed. Opponents say the measure is a violation of our privacy, and that black boxes would like be used for more than just accident analysis and investigation. What do you think?

Category: Four For Friday



March 5, 2010

Four For Friday for March 5, Two Thousand-ten

Q1 - Dressing Room: When you try on clothes at a store and choose not to buy them, do you return the items to where you found them or leave them in the dressing room (or just outside the dressing room) for someone else to deal with?

Four_For_Friday_March52010.jpg

Q2 - Cut or Leave: Grappling with a growing budget deficit and an endangered credit rating, a divided Los Angeles City Council voted last month to eliminate 4,000 municipal jobs by July 1. City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana estimated the move would save the City of Los Angeles about $260 million this fiscal year and next. Earlier , Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared that layoffs could be minimized if labor unions agree to pay cuts. "If all city employees agreed to a 5 percent pay cut, we could save $150 million," he said. "If civilian employees, firefighters and police officers agreed to a 15 percent pay cut, we could save $450 million." Would you take a 15% cut in pay to keep your current job or save your co-workers' jobs?

Q3 - Say It: How do you pronounce "2010"... Twenty-ten, Two Thousand and Ten, Oh-ten?

Q4 - China vs. Terrorism: More than twice as many U.S. adults (58%) say that debt owed to China is a more serious threat to the long-term security and well-being of the U.S. than is terrorism from radical Islamic terrorists (27%). Interestingly, for those of you who like to politicize everything, Interestingly there was little variation by party identification with a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents all agreeing that the debt owed by the United States to China poses the greater threat. What do you think... does debt owed to China pose a more serious threat to the long-term security and well-being of the U.S. than is terrorism from radical Islamic terrorists?

Category: Four For Friday



January 29, 2010

Four For Friday - With Video

Q1 - Punch Buggy: About 50 years ago, a single punch launched a game we all know and either love or hate: Punch Buggy (also called punch bug or slug bug). After an exhaustive search, the folks at Volkswagen claim to have found the game's inventor, Sluggy Patterson (see video below). Have you ever played Punch Buggy? Regardless of whether you have or not, do you enjoy car games like Punch Buggy, and if you do, what car game is your favorite?

Q2 - Hometown: On Facebook, all members are asked to list a Hometown. When you're asked online to fill in a location for Hometown, do you put the town where you grew up or where you live? Is your response different if someone asks you in person about your Hometown?

Q3 - State of the Union: According to Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, the President of the United States "...shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." Nearly every President since Dr. Thomas Woodrow Wilson has made the State of the Union report in the form of a speech delivered personally before a joint session of Congress. Did you watch President Barack Hussein Obama II's speech on Wednesday evening? If so, what did you think?

Q4 - iPad: Apple unveiled the iPad earlier this week, a 0.5 inches thick device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, looking at photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading e-books and much more. According to Apple co-founder & CEO Steve Jobs, the iPad is the company's "...most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price." Do you see a "need" for the iPad in your business or personal life? Do you want one?

Category: Four For Friday



January 22, 2010

Four For Friday - The Haiti Edition

Q1 - Tourism: Despite numerous steps to assist with the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti -- including a $1,000,000 donation; donating 100 percent of its net revenue from visits to Haiti; and using its vessels to drop off food, water, lounge chairs and beach furniture -- Royal Caribbean cruise line has come under heavy fire for making a scheduled stop at a private resort in Labadee, Haiti, where it maintains a private beach approximately 60 miles from the earthquake-ravaged city of Port-au-Prince. Do you think Royal Caribbean is right to continue visiting Labadee, Haiti during this period of extreme hardship, or should they divert their ships and go elsewhere?

Map of Haiti with Port-au-Prince shown

Image via Wikipedia

Q2 - Donations: A new survey finds two-thirds of U.S. adults (64 percent) have given or plan to give to relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti. Thirty-three percent have already made a donation and another 31% plan on doing so. Have you donated to Haitian relief efforts? If so, what organization did you go through to make your donation?

Q3 - Volunteers: Thousands of aid workers and volunteers from all over the world have flocked to Haiti to assist with earthquake relief efforts. If you could take a week off from work with pay and travel to Haiti to assist with relief efforts, would you?

Q4 - Descent: Approximately 2,000,000 Haitians currently live in the United States and Canada combined. Do you personally know anyone of Haitian descent?

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January 8, 2010

Four For Friday

Q1 - Neighbor: Zillow.com recently released the results of its 3rd annual Neighbor Survey, and Nadya Suleman, Jon and Kate Gosselin, Sarah Palin, Richard and Mayumi Heene, and Kanye West were voted the least desirable neighbors of 2009. If you could choose to live next door to anyone alive today -- celebrity or otherwise -- who would you choose as your new next door neighbor?

Q2 - Financially Speaking: As we begin 2010, nearly half of Americans (47%) say their financial situation is worse now than it was a year ago, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows. Just 19% say their personal finances are better off now than they were a year ago and 33% say their finances are about the same. Looking ahead to the end of 2010, do you think you'll end the year in the same, better, or worse financially as compared to the end of 2009?

Q3 - Undecorate: When do you think people should take down their Christmas tree and holiday decorations... the day after Christmas, New Years Eve Day, January 2nd, or whenever they darn well feel like it?

Q4 - 2020: Nearly one-half of U.S. adults say it is likely that by 2020 there will be regular use of stem cells and cloning techniques to create human organs for transplant. Also, more than one-third say it is likely by 2020 that computer chips will be implanted in humans, robots will perform manual labor jobs, and virtual reality will be a staple of home entertainment. Only 28% think there will be a cure for cancer. What do you think about these findings?

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December 25, 2009

Four For Friday - The Holiday Edition

Q1 - Location: President Obama and his family celebrated Christmas in Hawaii this year. If you and your family and loved ones could celebrate the holiday anyplace but where you currently live, where would you like to go?

Q2 - Mood: Thirty-nine percent of Americans are less "in the mood" to celebrate the holidays this season than they were last year, nearly twice as many as say they are more in the mood (21%), a new Zogby Interactive poll shows. Another 40% say there is no difference in their mood to celebrate the holidays this year compared to last year. How about you... what's your mood this holiday season?

Q3 - Giving: Nearly 70% of Americans participating in a CNN poll say they give to charities during the holiday season. How about you... do you regularly donate money during the holidays, and if so, do you give to the same group(s) each year or do you change it up from year to year?

Q4 - Tradition: Do you have any holiday traditions, like opening one gift on Christmas Eve, or prolonging the gift opening by having each person take a turn opening one gift at a time while everyone else watches?

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December 18, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Uncommon Names: According to research economists at Shippensburg University, the more uncommon a person's first name, the more likely he is to wind up on the wrong side of the law. When comparing crime statistics against a roster of more than 15,000 first names, researchers David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Le found a distinct "name-crime link" among American males. Do you experience a certain amount of discomfort with saying someone's name when the name in question is highly uncommon? For example, if you learned someone's first name was Universe, Meadow, or Pacific, would you have a certain amount of discomfort when saying their name?

President Johnson's 1967 White House Christmas...

Image via Wikipedia

Q2 - Holiday Greeting Cards: Have you received more, the same, or fewer holiday greeting cards this year versus last year?

Q3 - Medical Records: A judge is set to determine whether to allow an Oklahoma law to go forward that will mandate the posting of information online about women who have abortions in that state. Do you think medical records of private citizens should ever be made available to the public?

Q4 - Winter Movies: Which winter 2009-2010 movies are you most interested in seeing... Armored; Brothers; Everybody's Fine; One Peace at a Time; Serious Moonlight; Transylmania; Up in the Air; A Single Man; Did You Hear About the Morgans?; Invictus; Tenderness; The Lovely Bones; The Princess and the Frog; Crazy Heart; Avatar; Nine; The New Daughter; The Young Victoria; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel; It's Complicated; Sherlock Holmes; The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; Case 39; Crazy on the Outside; Daybreakers; Leap Year; Wonderful Word; Youth in Revolt; The Book of Eli; The Spy Next Door; Extraordinary Measures; Legion; Tooth Fairy; Edge of Darkness; When in Rome; From Paris with Love; I LOve You Phillip Morris; The Wolfman; Shutter Island; A Couple of Cops; Takers.

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December 11, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Prayer: With the many challenges people experience during the holiday season, The Salvation Army in Spokane, Washington, has decided to give the red kettles an additional role: collecting prayer requests from people in the community. Would you place a prayer request into a Salvation Army kettle, and if so, would you feel compelled to make a donation while doing so?

Q2 - News: Katie Couric anchors the CBS Evening News; Brian Williams anchors the NBC Nightly News; and now, Diane Sawyer will be anchoring ABC's World News Tonight. What role does a national or local news anchor's personality play in your decision to watch a particular news channel or show?

'I'm Lovin It' -- HM1(FMF) Fred Turner swipes h...

Image via Wikipedia

Q3 - Taking a Break: Tiger Woods says he's taking "an indefinite break" from professional golf because of, well, you know. If you could choose three other athletes, politicians, or public figures to take a similar indefinite break, who would you like to see on that list?

Q4 - Gift Card: According to a leading research and advisory firm, spending on restaurant, retailer, and other gift cards will fall slightly in 2009, from $91 billion to $87 billion, of which nearly 6% (some $5.75 billion) will go unused by card recipients. When you receive a gift card, do you tend to use it once for a purchase in an amount less than the card's total value and never use the card again, or do you use the card to the fullest extent possible?

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November 27, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Turkey: If you had to pick the biggest business, political, or celebrity turkey of 2009, who would it be and why?

Q2 - Lights: If someone driving toward you has his car's high beam lights on when you feel they shouldn't be on, do you ignore it or do you flash your lights in an attempt to get him to turn them off?

Q3 - Change: When you pay for an item at a store and the amount due comes to something and change (e.g., $5.47), do you attempt to pay the exact amount (i.e. do you dig around in your purse or pockets to find the 47 cents), or do you simply pay with bills and pocket the change for later on? If you're not the kind to pay with exact change, how do you feel about the people in front of you who do?

Q4 - Invention: If you could invent something that hasn't been invented yet, what would you invent?

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November 20, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Sniff & Smell: With so many choices in the shampoo, laundry detergent, deodorant, and soap isles/sections of the grocery store, do you sniff or smell items before buying them, or do you base your purchasing decisions entirely off the name of scent as printed on the packaging?

Q2 - Waiting in Line: A friend recently chose to camp out overnight for a shot at being one of the first patrons at a new In-N-Out Burger near his home in Utah. What store or restaurant opening, sporting event, speech, etc. would you deem worthy enough to camp out overnight for?

In-N-Out Burger

Image via Wikipedia

Q3 - Purchase: What's the most recent item you purchased online?

Q4 - Place: If I told you that a recent CNN online headline proclaimed "Right-wing activists storm TV station over 'bias,'" in which city and state would you guess this took place? Related: If you saw this same headline and learned -- by clicking through and reading the opening paragraph of the story -- that the report was out of New Delhi, India, would you feel mislead by CNN?

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November 13, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Trigger: Do you have a trigger or tell-tale sign that you're about to get sick (i.e., that you're about to get the 24-hour flu, a massive headache, a fever, etc.)?

Andre Agassi at the US Mens Clay Court Champio...

Image via Wikipedia

Q2 - Award: If you could win any important or noteworthy award, would you choose the Heisman Trophy, a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Wimbledon or French Open championship, a Grammy, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in Graphic Design, World Series MVP, the Google Lunar X Prize, a Purple Heart, National Parent of the Year award, your company's employee of the year award, a Nobel Prize, the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language, something else entirely, or nothing at all?

Q3 - Top Secret: If any of the world's federal governments have evidence of extra-terrestrial visits to Earth, do you feel they have the right to keep it secret?

Q4 - Read: Two books that have already ignited firestorms are set to make their debut this month. Sarah Palin's Going Rogue: An American Life lands on bookstore shelves November 17, while Andre Agassi's Open: An Autobiography was released earlier this week. Do you plan on reading either of these books, and why?

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November 6, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Intervention: If you could single-handedly have stopped one historically or noteworthy tragedy or event, what would you have stopped from happening?

Q2 - Wrong Number, But: If you dialed the wrong number and anyone of your choice answered and spoke with you for 30 interrupted minutes, whom would you choose to answer?

Q3 - Friend: Who is your oldest friend in the world, and how and when did you meet?

Q4 - That's a Relief: Name one thing that would make you sleep better at night (either literally or figuratively)?

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October 30, 2009

Four For Friday - Should death row inmates be offered H1N1 vaccinations?

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Q1 - Vaccinations: Do you think H1N1 vaccinations should be offered to Guantanamo Bay detainees or other prisoners serving time in jail for major offenses?

Q2 - You 2.0: How concerned are you about your reputation online... very concerned, somewhat concerned, not concerned at all, I have no idea what you mean by "reputation online."

Q3 - Black Friday: If you don't enjoy the "thrill" of hitting the stores at 4:00 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving (to find the best deals on holiday gifts), some retailers are offering holiday-like deals right now. How likely are you to shop for holiday gifts before Thanksgiving?

Q4 - TV Character: Who is your favorite TV character of all time? Can't name just one... how about your top three, five or 10?

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October 23, 2009

Four For Friday - Solved

Q1 - Solved: Looking back, if you could solve an unsolved caper, murder, theft, political leak, heist or practical joke, which one would you solve and why?

Office Practical Joke.jpgQ2 - Interviewed: If you were nearing the end of your life and were granted one opportunity to be interviewed on camera about anything -- your life, your views, your favorite moments, your regrets, all of the above, something else entirely -- who would you choose as your interviewer and why?

Q3 - Portrait: Set the scene... if you could be photographed anywhere in the world by a world-class photographer, where would you want to be shot and why?

Q4 - Ghosts: Halloween's just around the corner... do you believe in ghosts? (How about goblins, defined as small grotesque supernatural creatures that makes trouble for human beings?)

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October 16, 2009

Four For Friday - The Success Edtion

Q1 - Defined: How do you define success?

Q2 - Yourself: Do you think you're successful?

Q3 - Accomplishment: Name one success in your life most people might not know about.

Q4 - Recipe: Regardless of the endeavor, philosophically speaking, what's your recipe for success?

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October 9, 2009

Four For Friday - Do you think President Obama Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

Preserved food.

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Q1 - Nobel Peach Prize: The Nobel Peace Prize -- one of five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel -- is supposed to be awarded to the person who "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Do you think President Obama deserves the Prize?

Q2 - Bodyguards: If for some reason you absolutely had to have two bodyguards for your own personal safety and protection, and one had to be someone you personally know, while the other could be anyone dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

Q3 - Airbrushing: Like many nations, France requires health warnings on tobacco and alcohol, as well as similar labels on processed food containing genetically modified ingredients. Now some French legislators want to take consumer protection to an unprecedented level, requiring that advertisements, product labels and even campaign posters carry a warning when they feature a photograph that's been digitally enhanced or airbrushed. Would you be in favor of such a requirement or do you think when it comes to advertising, there's nothing wrong with a little artificial reality?

Q4 - Freedom of Speech: The U.S. Supreme Court voiced deep free speech concerns this week about a law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos showing dog fights and other acts of animal cruelty. The justices heard an hour of lively debate about the scope and intent of the decade-old statute that supporters say has done much to stop the spread of profiting from the torture and abuse of animals. But media groups and the National Rifle Association were among those who say the law is overly broad. Do you think the current federal law outlawing the sale of graphic videos of animal cruelty amounts to a violation of free speech rights?

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October 2, 2009

Four For Friday

transparent version of :Image:Olympic flag.

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Q1 - Presidential Duties: Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games reached its peak this week when the most well-known, influential and famous person in the world traveled to Copenhagen to make the Windy City's case before the International Olympic Committee: Oprah. Oh, and the President of the United States went as well to make Chicago's case before the IOC picks a host city Friday. Ever since Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin swayed votes for the 2012 and 2014 Games, sending your head of state to the IOC is considered as much of a prerequisite in an Olympic bid as a well-placed "contribution." Do you think it's appropriate for the President of the United States to lobby for an Olympic bid? Related, do you think President Obama would have gone to Copenhagen if a U.S. city other than Chicago was in the running for an Olympic bid?

Q2 - Turn That Down?: A friend asks: "I was waiting in my car for [sic] my daughter's school to let out, had the windows open and was enjoying the breeze. A man pulled up in line and sat in his car playing very loud music with a heavy bass beat. The words to the songs were ugly, and it was bothering my few minutes of solitude. Would you say something?"

Q3 - Earnings: Tiger Woods hit another milestone over the weekend. But his most recent record wasn't set on the golf course but, rather, at the bank. The $10 million bonus Woods received by winning the FedEx Cup golf title makes him the first athlete to earn $1 billion in a career, Forbes.com reported. Woods had earned $895 million going into 2009. Adding his $10.5 million in prize money from this season, the FedEx bonus and more than $100 million in endorsement earnings, Woods has topped the $1,000,000,000.00 mark. Putting aside for a moment that capitalism is alive and well here in the United States and that Woods has done nothing criminal in earning his money, are you okay with the amount of money the 33-year-old golf pro has earned during his professional career, or is there something seriously wrong with the corporations that have collectively chosen to dole out the type of money Woods and others like him are able to earn from playing sports professionally?

Q4 - Tax Returns: H&R Block performed miserably in the 2009 tax season, handling approximately 6 percent fewer in-store, retail tax returns, as consumers sought lower-cost IRS filing alternatives due to difficult economic conditions. Thinking ahead to your 2009 tax filing (which you'll file in early-2010), do you think you'll file your return yourself or seek the help of a professional like the ones at H&R Block?


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September 25, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Moving: Americans have apparently tamed their wanderlust during the recession. According to the latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, only 2.4% of Americans moved from one state to another in 2008, down from 2.5% the previous year. Do you know anyone who recently moved from one state to another?

Q2 - Vaccine: A vaccine to prevent HIV infection, the virus that leads to AIDS, has shown modest results for the first time, researchers have found, raising hopes that a disease that kills millions every year may someday be beaten. Do you believe a vaccine to prevent HIV will be developed in the next 10 years?

Q3 - Iran: President Obama said today "Iran is on notice" regarding its nuclear efforts, and that the international community is united in its opposition to the country's nuclear program. Do you think Iran's motives for developing its nuclear facilities are peaceful?

Q4 - Electronic Cigarettes: In the hunt for a safer cigarette, electronic cigarettes, often referred to as ecigarettes, are becoming a popular option among those either trying to quit or who are looking to replace standard tobacco smokes with an alternative that manufacturers claim to be safer. Ecigarettes vaporize a solution often containing nicotine, but there is no smoke, just odorless water vapor, and produce almost no dangerous carcinogens. Have you heard of electronic cigarettes, and do you think electronic cigarettes should be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the same way smoking patches, gum and lozenges are regulated?

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September 18, 2009

Four For Friday

Texting on a keyboard phone

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Q1 - Texting: Do you think it's presumptuous for people to send you a text message without knowing if you like or use the texting feature on your cell phone, or do you feel texting has become so mainstream that everyone should be used to it by now?

Q2 - 3-D: Three-dimensional images are expected jump out of movie theaters and into living rooms by next year. Sony and Panasonic say they will release home 3-D television systems in 2010; Mitsubishi and JVC are reported to be working on similar products. Do you want your television to be capable of handling 3-D images, or do you feel 3-D is best suited for the big screen (i.e., movie theaters)?

Q3 - Fall Movies: Whiteout; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; The Informant; Jennifer's Body; Love Happens; Fame; Surrogates; The Invention of Lying; A Serious Man; Zombieland; Couples Retreat; Where the Wild Things Are; Amelia; Disney's A Christmas Carol; The Box; The Fourth Kind; The Men Who Stare at Goats; 2012; New Moon; The Blind Side; Planet 51; Nine; Ninja Assassin; The Road... which Fall 2009 movies are you most looking forward to seeing?

Q4 - Back Lime Olive: Visit this online Anagram Maker to create an anagram for your name (clicking "Anagram Maker" opens a new page); then, pop back here and share your favorite two or three results.

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September 11, 2009

Four For Friday: Who Would You Like to Trade Places With?

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Q1 - Trading Places: Who would you like to trade places with for 48 hours?

Q2 - Lunchtime: It's been a staple of lunch for generations. Where do you go to get your favorite sandwich, what is it, and how often to get it?

Q3 - 9/11: What does September 11 mean to you?

Q4 - Song: What one song can you not get enough of right now?

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September 4, 2009

Four For Friday - The Kid Edition

MikalBabyPic.jpgQ1 - Hair: Which do you like better... the hair you had as a kid or the hair you have now?

Q2 - Talking to Kids: While the President of the United States prepares to deliver a back-to-school speech to the nation's school children on Tuesday, September 8, some parents are convinced he is going to use the opportunity to advance a partisan political agenda on the nation's young minds, and are threatening to keep their children out of school on that particular day. "At a minimum it's disruptive," says Minnesota's Governor, who is a possible future Presidential candidate himself. "Number two, it's uninvited. And number three, if people would like to hear his message they can, on a voluntary basis, go to YouTube or some other source and get it. I don't think he needs to force it upon the nation's school children," the Governor told reporters this week. Taking the issue a step further, the chairman of the GOP for Florida released a statement this week accusing the President of the United States of using taxpayer money to "indoctrinate" children. Background: President George H.W. Bush delivered a nationally televised speech to students from a Washington D.C., school in the fall of 1991, encouraging them to say no to drugs and work hard. And in November 1988, President Ronald Reagan delivered remarks that were made available to students nationwide. Among other things, President Reagan called taxes "such a penalty on people that there's no incentive for them to prosper ... because they have to give so much to the government." The President's talk next Tuesday... It focuses on encouraging students to study hard and stay in school. How do you feel about the President's upcoming address for the nation's school children?

Q3 - Learned: What's the most valuable thing/lesson you learned as a kid?

Q4 - Cash for Kids: Japan's new ruling party is floating a proposal to pay Japanese parents approximately $3,400 a year per child (until the child reaches high school age) as a way of boosting the country's birth rate, which is one of the lowest on Earth and is said to have future negative ramifications on Japan's economic welfare. How do you feel about 'cash for kids'? If you were on the fence about having a child, would an extra $3,400 per year ($283.00/mo.) sway you one way or another?

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August 28, 2009

Four For Friday

Professor Charcot (left) of Paris' Salpêtrière...

Image via Wikipedia

Q1 - Wikipedia: It appears Wikipedia's positioning as the Internet's encyclopedia may be in need of some editing of its own. Media reports quote a spokesperson for the Wikimedia Foundation, which manages the uber-site, as saying that the English-language version of Wikipedia.org will soon start experimenting with designated editors to check for errors, vandalism and opinions sneaking their way into entries involving public figures still living. Have you ever created or edited a Wikipedia entry?

Q2 - Hypnosis : Experts estimate over 10 million Americans suffer from disabling chronic pain, and there is considerable scientific evidence that practicing self-hypnosis under the guidance of a certified hypnosis professional can quickly help improve the quality of life for these people. According to Michael Ellner, an internationally prominent self-hypnosis educator and co-author of three books on self-empowerment, the recent spate of bad news about possible adverse effects of popular analgesics and concerns about abuse, overdose, and addiction to controlled pain killers are compelling reasons to consider effective complementary and alternative approaches like self-hypnosis. Have you ever been hypnotized? If not, would you consider hypnosis to treat chronic pain?

Q3 - Death of a Kennedy: Two prominent members of the Kennedy family passed away this month. Which do you feel had a greater impact on society... Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (born February 22, 1932 - died August 25, 2009) -- a United States Senator and a member of the Democratic Party; or his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (born July 10, 1921 - died August 11, 2009) -- founder of the Special Olympics and founder of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)?

Q4 - Era: If you could choose any era other than the one in which you currently live, what era would you live in? (Think ancient Rome, the middle ages, Gupta Empire, Ottoman Empire, industrial revolution, etc.)

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August 21, 2009

Four For Friday

A mural painting depicting a hot dog on the wa...

Image via Wikipedia

Q1 - Food: A friend of mine insists certain foods are exclusively "outdoor" foods, while others are exclusively "indoor" foods. For example, he says pizza is an indoor food, and hot dogs are meant to be eaten exclusively outdoors. Do you agree, and if so, what would classify as indoor or outdoor foods?

Q2 - Wasteful: The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) -- an educational assistance organization with 40 private, historically black, member colleges and universities -- coined the phrase "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" back in the early-1970's (actually, it was Forest Long, an advertising executive with Young and Rubicam, who developed the tagline for UNCF). Aside from money, water, gas, electricity, hot dogs, and pizza, what else do you feel is a terrible thing to waste?

Q3 - Research: According to research conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, nearly 70% of all American adults have used the Internet to get help with personal economic issues related to the recession and to gather information about the origins and solutions to national economic problems. Those hard hit by the recession are among the most avid and wide-ranging Internet users searching for advice and understanding. Some 52% of American adults have either lost their jobs, seen their investments fall by more than half their value, suffered a pay cut, watched their house lose half its value, or lost their job outright during the downturn in the past year. How about you... have you recently gone online to search out information specifically related to an impact brought on by the recession?

Q4 - Performance: Fifty-one percent of likely voters now say they disapprove of the President's job performance, according to the latest Zogby Poll. How would you rate the President's job performance: Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor?


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August 14, 2009

Four For Friday

Silhouettes representing healthy, overweight, ...

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Q1 - Coup d'etat: If you could overthrow any sitting government anywhere in the world, which one would you replace and why?

Q2 - Location: What's most important to you when choosing where to live: Proximity to family, good paying jobs, affordable homes and apartments, top-notch schools, low crime, fun things to do, access to the arts, something else?

Q3 - Storage: What if anything is stored under your bed?

Q4 - Taxes: As Americans have continued to eat more and exercise less, health and fitness experts have focused their efforts on inspiring healthful change one individual at a time. Unfortunately, this approach has not improved the nation's obesity crisis, nor has it increased adherence to healthful eating habits and regular physical activity programs. With steps ranging from a trans fat ban in California restaurants to mandatory nutrition labeling in New York, regulators are changing federal and state policies to improve the health of the nation. Do you think its okay to impose higher taxes on calorie-dense and nutrient-poor foods, which some experts say might lower consumption of unhealthy foods and generate revenue to subsidize programs that promote better choices?

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August 7, 2009

Four For Friday

DSC_0424.jpgQ1 - Feelings: Do you believe anyone else can be responsible for how you feel/your feelings, or do you believe only you can be responsible for how you feel?

Q2 - Pamper: What do you do to pamper yourself when you're tired, stressed, and worn out? How about when you're feeling on top of the world for having accomplished something you worked really hard to achieve?

Q3 - Deal: What's the best buy or deal -- the biggest bang for the buck -- you recall ever receiving?

Q4 - Trade: The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), colloquially known as "Cash for Clunkers," has helped an estimated 250,000 Americans receive a $3,500 or $4,500 voucher toward to the purchase of a new, more fuel efficient vehicle when trading in a less fuel efficient vehicle. Eligibility requirements for vouchers include that your 'clunker' be less than 25-years-old, receive 18 or fewer miles per gallon, be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in, and be in drivable condition. Based on those criteria, do you have a vehicle that qualifies for Cash for Clunkers?

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July 31, 2009

Four For Friday - The Stuart Lisonbee Collection

Stuart Lisonbee.jpgNote: This week's Four For Friday questions come from my friend, colleague, and longtime Four For Friday participant -- Orem, Utah's own Stuart "StuTheWise" Lisonbee. Enjoy, and if you'd like to add a collection of your own, shoot me an email message! ~ Mikal

Q1 - Wearing Your Emotions on Your Bumper: It's been a little over a year since Colorado State University scientists published the results of a study showing a correlation between the number of bumper stickers a driver chooses to display and the likelihood of that driver experiencing road rage. How many bumper stickers do you have on your vehicle(s), and which one is your favorite? If you're not a bumper sticker type of person, which is your favorite of those that you've seen?

Q2 - Secrets: I've long been interested in secret societies. A friend of mine is a Free Mason and a Shriner and has recently been hinting to me that he would like me to join the local lodge (unlike many secret societies, potential members are never invited -- to become a Mason, one must ask to join). Since many of Masonry's secrets aren't so secret anymore, I admit to losing some interest in it, but am still considering joining. Have you ever been "tapped in" or otherwise joined a secret society? If not, would you ever consider it? Why or why not?

Q3 - I Want to Believe: Like the poster hanging in Fox Mulder's office says, I want to believe. I believe there are intelligent beings, much like ourselves, living on other planets. However, as much as I want to believe that one of those alien races has visited and is currently visiting Earth, I don't believe that is the case. Do you believe in space aliens, and if so, do you believe they have ever visited Earth?

Q4 - Politics and Interpretive Dance: My favorite book is "Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein, which I first read as a teen back in the late 80's. But it wasn't until recently that I realized there was so much controversy over Heinlein's statements on war, American culture, politics, the military, etc. To me, it was just an enjoyable story. When you read a fictional story or watch a movie, do you simply try and enjoy it, or do you seek some deeper meaning or life's lesson from the author's/director's intended message?

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July 24, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Familiar: If you see someone who looks familiar to you but can't exactly place their face, do you approach the person and strike up a conversation (in an attempt to figure out if and how you know them), or do you simply move on and try not obsess about it?

Q2 - Claim: Direct-response marketers (i.e., infomercials producers) told a Congressional panel this week that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shouldn't attempt to change advertising rules currently allowing atypical testimonial claims to appear in their ads. As you've likely seen for yourself, infomercial advertisers who cannot substantiate atypical claims made in their own commercials are allowed to "disclaim" the statements in fine print or superscript that appears at the bottom of the screen (e.g., "Results May Vary" and "Results Not Typical"). The FTC has proposed removing the loop hole allowing disclaimers, and making all advertisers responsible for ensuring that consumers are not misled by ads in their entirety. Do you support the FTC's proposed change or is this just another example of government regulation gone wild?

Q3 - Wages: The federal minimum wage on Friday rose to $7.25 from $6.55. Do you think $7.25 is an appropriate amount to mandate for the federal minimum wage? If not, what amount do you think is appropriate and why?

Q4 - Observe: The longest total solar eclipse of the century took place this week, sweeping total darkness east from the Ganges River in India all the way over to southern Japan and then off into the near east reaches of the Pacific Ocean. In some areas, according to published reports, the eclipse lasted as long as six minutes and 39 seconds, the likes of which will not be seen again anywhere on Earth until the year 2132. If you could safely observe one natural phenomenon that you have never seen before in person, what would it be?

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July 17, 2009

Four For Friday

Mariah Carey and Robert De Niro at the premier...

Image via Wikipedia

Q1 - Degrees: Founded in 1976, the University of Phoenix -- a privately owned private for-profit institution of higher education -- has a current enrollment of 420,000+ students spread out over 200 campuses offering more than 100 degree programs at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. When calculated by the federal standard used by the U.S. Department of Education, the University of Phoenix's overall graduation rate is 16%, which when compared to the national average of 55% is among the nation's lowest. Still, the University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize as a credible accrediting body for the nation's colleges and universities. Personally, do you view a degree from a college like the University of Phoenix as being less impressive or less valuable than a degree from a traditional college or university?

Q2 - Celebrity Personality: Which famous person's personality do you think most resembles your own?

Q3 - Health Care: Americans are unsure that a healthcare reform bill introduced this week is the solution to problems with the U.S. healthcare system, according to a poll created and commissioned by a public policy expert at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. By a 50-42 margin, Americans oppose H.R. 3200 -- the House of Representatives' bill introduced July 14 to provide "affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending." Simple question... do you know enough about H.R. 3200 (officially titled "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009") to say whether you support or oppose it?

Q4 - Age: If you've been telling yourself you're not old yet, you fit right in. No matter what their chronological age, most people say that they aren't yet "old" and that they feel younger than their birthday count, according to a new survey of 3,000 adults by the Pew Research Center. How old do you feel and how does that number stack up against your current age?

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July 10, 2009

Four For Friday

Map of North Korea

Image via Wikipedia

Q1 - North Korea: According to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, a majority of Americans think the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's pursuit of ballistic missile technology and weapons of mass destruction poses the biggest threat to the security of the United States of America. Which do you think North Korea wants more... war or attention? Related: How big a threat do you think North Korea's nuclear ambitions pose to your life today?

Q2 - Tasks: Fortune 500 companies have been outsourcing tasks for years, accessing the globe to get their work done, cheaply and effectively. If you could outsource 10 hours of work a week to someone overseas, what would you have them do for you?

Q3 - Travel: "Travel will be down significantly this summer since tourism tends to track with the economy," says Carl Winston, director of San Diego State University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. How is the current economy affecting your summer travel?

Q4 - Evening: Plan the perfect evening out... what does it involve?

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July 3, 2009

Four For Friday

Buddhist Monk in Sri Lanka.

Image via Wikipedia

Q1 - Conversion: What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a Jewish rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists? A Turkish television station hopes the answer is a boost in ratings as it prepares to launch a game show where the imam, priest, rabbi and monk will attempt to convert a group of non-believers. The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews, and Tibet for Buddhists. If this show were airing on American television, would you watch it?

Q2 - Receipts: Do you review the receipt you get at the grocery store? How about the bill at a restaurant before paying?

Q3 - Accomplishment: Answer this: "At the end of my life, I'd love to be able to look back and know I'd done something about..."

Q4 - Deposit: According to a recently published report, the average no-show rate for medical office visits is 7% and growing. As a result, many doctors and dentists now charge a deposit -- payable by credit card or PayPal -- when taking appointments. If you keep the appointment, the deposit is either dropped or applied to the cost of the visit. If you miss misses the appointment, you lose the deposit. The deposit, according to reports, generally will be waived in the event of a true emergency, or if you give ample notice that you cannot make the appointment -- usually 24 to 48 hours. Would you be put off if asked for a deposit for your next visit to the doctor or dentist? Do you think medical professionals should be allowed to charge you a fee for missing an appointment?

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June 26, 2009

Four For Friday

English: KN-C29248 26 June 1963 President Kenn...

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Q1 - Legacy: Three famous people passed away this week. Former Tonight Show sidekick Ed McMahon died on June 23rd after fighting pneumonia, bone cancer, and other medical problems. Farrah Fawcett, best known for her stint on television's "Charlie's Angels," died on the 25th of June after battling cancer for the last three years. And last but certainly not least, Michael Jackson, regarded by many as the 'King of Pop,' died suddenly on June 25th after suffering cardiac arrest. Each lived storied lives full of highly publicized ups and downs. When thinking about their lives ten years from now, do you think you will remember each more for their entertainment-related accomplishments or their eccentricities?

Q2 - Listening In: On this date in 1963, President Kennedy visited West Berlin, where he made his famous declaration: "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner). If you could have been in the audience for any previous speech, presentation, or performance, which event would you have attended?

Q3 - Health Insurance: If your current employer provided a health insurance plan and you suddenly lost your job, would you make it a priority to find new health insurance?

Q4 - Trust: Most Americans, 75%, don't believe CEO statements surrounding the financial outlook of their companies. What do you think... can CEOs be trusted to tell the truth or are they just as bad as some elected officials who seemingly care more about getting reelected than they do about telling the truth and solving real world problems with workable solutions.

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June 19, 2009

Four For Friday

Goofy during Disneyland's 50th Anniversary in 2005

Image of Goofy via Wikipedia

Q1 - Damage Control: If you damaged someone else's car in an accident and agree to give them money to repair the damage, would you be upset if you learned they used the money pay for something other than fixing the car?

Q2 - Sense of Humor: How do you think most people would typically describe your sense of humor: Goofy/Silly, Witty/Clever, Humble/Self-Deprecating, Dry/Deadpan?

Q3 - Wedlock or Deadlock: Fox TV stations in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Tampa, Phoenix, Orlando and Memphis are planning a six-week test run of a new show titled "Wedlock or Deadlock," starting late-July. The show, according to published reports, features a well-known psychologist and life coach who each week determines whether struggling engaged couples should marry or split up. The couples reportedly share their hopes and fears with the show's host, who then gives them her blessing for marriage or literally tears up their marriage license. Based on this description of the show, would you take the time to watch an episode if it were playing in your local market?

Q4 - Access Denied: Taking the exact same position as the Bush White House adopted from 2001-2009, the Obama administration this week denied a Freedom of Information Act request seeking access to White House visitor records. According to the American Society of News Editors, disclosing visitor records--which were recently sought by MSNBC--poses no direct harm of any kind. However, according to a White House spokesperson, the administration ought to be able to hold secret meetings in the White House, such as an elected politician interviewing for a Cabinet position or a career diplomat visiting the White House for a discussion on issues that might possibly affect international relations. What do you think... should the White House's visitor logs be made available upon request? Why or why not?

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June 12, 2009

Four For Friday

Free Stuff

Image via Wikipedia

Q1 - Movies: As a rule, when you go out to watch a movie, do you try to make it to the theater in time to watch all of the previews? Related: Do you ever stay all the way through the credits?

Q2 - Pay For Free: Video calls via Skype, NPR, Facebook, Public Television, MySpace, Twitter, the online edition of The New York Times, and millions of other things in this world are available to you for free. What are some things you now use for free that you would gladly pay to use if charged a reasonable fee?

Q3 - Crime: According to the FBI's Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, the U.S. experienced a 2.5 percent decrease in the number of violent crimes and a 1.6 percent decline in the number of property crimes for 2008 compared with data from 2007. The report is based on information that the FBI gathered from 12,750 law enforcement agencies that submitted six to 12 comparable months of data to the FBI for both 2007 and 2008. In 2008, all four of the violent crime offense categories declined nationwide compared with data from 2007. Murder and non-negligent manslaughter declined 4.4 percent, aggravated assault was down 3.2 percent, and robbery decreased 1.1 percent. Does it feel to you as though crime has dropped over the last year, stayed about the same, or gotten worse?

Q4 - Bring It!: If you could will any one thing to fall from the sky and harmlessly land in your lap -- aside from money, jewelry, precious metals, or a winning lottery ticket -- what would it be?

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June 5, 2009

Four For Friday

A single fold wallet filled with receipts, cas...

Image via Wikipedia

Q1 - Lost & Found: If you found a wallet or purse in a Starbucks or other public location, that was stuffed full of cash (we're talking lots of cash here, people) along with its owner's contact information, would you turn it in to the facility where you found it or--because of the outrageous amount of cash/the opportunity for a handsome reward from its owner--contact the owner directly for its safe return?

Q2 - Uniformly Slippery Slope: The Phoenix Mercury (2007 Champions of the Women's National Basketball Association) and LifeLock (a fledgling identity theft protection company) have entered into a marketing sponsorship agreement that replaces the words "Phoenix" and "Mercury" across the team's road and home uniforms with the word "LifeLock." Under terms of the agreement announced this week, the Mercury's team logo will now appear above the word "LifeLock" on the left side of the uniform. If your favorite sports team chose to enter a deal like the one the Mercury entered--which includes your team's jersey changing so dramatically--do you think your enthusiasm and support for the team would stay the same as it is now or change for the worse? (Note: In the case of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, existing fan jerseys with the Mercury's name will continue to be sold at retail outlets, but once they run out, only ones bearing the LifeLock name on the front will be available for purchase.)

Q3 - Ambassadors: President Obama this week announced eight new ambassadorial appointments, including three people with no foreign policy experience but who collectively helped raise more than $1,000,000.00 for the President's campaign and post election inauguration. While U.S. presidents have long rewarded big campaign donors, fundraisers and other supporters with ambassadorships, President Obama himself criticized the practice while campaigning for the Presidency and made the appointments nonetheless. Do you feel it's in the United States' best interests to allow the President to appoint whomever s/he wants to political posts, or should minimum standards be established for certain posts like ambassadorships?

Q4 - Washed Out Doubts: In an online survey conducted this spring, 94 percent of U.S. adults said they always wash their hands after using a restroom. However, when asked what percentage of other people they thought washed their hands each time after using a public restroom, 99 percent of U.S. adults felt that other people don't do so each time, and almost half (48 percent) felt that people wash their hands less than 50 percent of the time after using a restroom. What percentage of people do you think wash their hands each time after using public restrooms?

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May 29, 2009

Four For Friday

Opening (inverted) and closing question marks ...

Image via Wikipedia

Q1 - Free Time: How much time do you have on a daily or weekly basis that you would classify as "free time," and what do you tend to do most during that time?

Q2 - Campus Clubs: Liberty University, the evangelical college founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell (and now run by his son), recently revoked its recognition of the campus' Democratic Party club, saying "we are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by" the university. According to an e-mail message the club said it received from the University's VP of Student Affairs on May 15, the club was told to stop using the university's name, holding meetings on campus, or advertising events. Violators, according to published reports, could incur one or more reprimands under the University's conduct code, and anyone who accumulates 30 reprimands is subject to expulsion. Do you feel it's okay for private colleges and universities to restrict free speech / prohibit students from organizing and engaging with one of the nation's two major political parties?

Q3 - Sales Tax Holiday: In recognition of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, the State of Virginia now offers its residents a tax break on the purchase of items considered useful during and after a hurricane. (Background: A sales tax holiday, according to the State of Virginia, is a temporary period during which purchases of certain items are exempt from the sales and use taxes.) Following legislation enacted by the 2007 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, Virginia now has three annual sales tax holidays (in addition to the one mentioned above, there's a School Supplies and Clothing Tax Holiday in August and a Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday in October. Would you be compelled to shop during such a tax holiday, or is a 5%-7% saving just not worth it to you?

Q4 - Summer Blockbusters: Star Trek, Angels and Demons, The Brothers Bloom, Terminator Salvation, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Up, The Hangover, Land of the Lost, My Life in Ruins, Away We Go, Tetro, Imagine That, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Proposal, Year One, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, My Sister's Keeper, Cheri, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Public Enemies, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, All Good Things, G-Force, Funny People, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Julie and Julia, Shorts, When In Rome, The Time Traveler's Wife, Inglourious Basterds, Post Grad, The Boat That Rocked, and All About Steve... which Summer 2009 movies are you most excited about and planning to see?

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May 22, 2009

Four For Friday

working-in-bed-2.jpgQ1 - Pillow Talk: Over a quarter of UK employees are so work obsessed they can't resist using a mobile device such as a laptop in bed before they go to sleep, according to a survey released this week by CREDANT Technologies. The survey discovered that of those people who do work in bed, 57% do so for between 2 and 6 hours every week, while nearly 10% admitted they spend more time on their mobile devices during the evening than talking to their loved ones (i.e., husbands or wives). Do you work at night while in bed (hey, it's a serious question... get your mind out of the gutter)?

Q2 - Staying Home: Nearly 350 Boulder, Colo. teachers played hooky this week in protest of that town's school district's latest teacher contract offer. Last week, contract negotiations broke down between the Boulder Valley School District and the local teachers' union, the Boulder Valley Education Association. The union wants a permanent cost-of-living increase to the pay scale, but the school district says it does not have the guaranteed revenue to make that change. Do you think certain 'essential' professionals -- such as teachers, firemen, doctors & nurses -- should be barred by law from walking out and striking, or is going on strike as American as musicals, college football, and apple pie, and therefore should never be viewed as illegal?

Q3 - Turning Around and Going Back: Everyone's done it at some point in their lives... forgotten something at home or work and had no choice but to turn around, go back and retrieve what was forgotten or left behind. When was the last time you had to do this, how long did it take, and what was it that you forgot in the first place?

Q4 - Different Path: Assuming you had never gone into the career you are currently in, what would be doing now professionally?

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May 15, 2009

Four For Friday

A decorated birthday cake

Image via Wikipedia

Q1 - Handling Disagreement: President Barack Obama will receive an honorary degree Sunday when he delivers the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame du Lac in South Bend, Indiana. The President's scheduled appearance, as well as the University's invitation and plans for conferring upon him an honorary degree, has drawn opposition from a number of students and alumni because of the President's stated preferences and beliefs on a woman's right to choose to abort a pregnancy, and stem cell research. For the uninformed, Notre Dame is affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross and its Catholic identity permeates into student life. More than 93% of students identify as Christian, with over 80% of them being Catholic. Collectively, according to the University's own Student Life FAQ, Catholic Mass is performed over 100 times per week on campus. If the President of the United States--or anyone for that matter with whom you disagree--were scheduled to deliver the commencement address at your college or university, and you disagreed with some of her/his policies, would you protest and skip the event altogether or do you believe university campuses should be forums of ideas where even if we disagree, we should still take the time to listen and peacefully participate in the dialogue?

Q2 - Shutter the Impact: General Motors announced today it will shutter more than 1,500 of its U.S. auto dealerships as it continues to struggle in an attempt to slash billions of dollars in debt and operating costs before an anticipated bankruptcy filing by the end of May. When combined with a similar announcement by Chrysler just yesterday, nearly 2,400 U.S. auto retailers have been put on notice that they are being eliminated by the two struggling automakers. Will the closing of so many car dealerships create difficulties for you and your family?

Q3 - Giving Trends: The former CEO of Trammell Crow Residential Company -- J. Ronald Terwilliger of Atlanta, Georgia -- yesterday donated $100,000,000 to Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit organization that coordinates the building of simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need. According to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Terwilliger's gift, which comes at a time when philanthropic giving in the U.S. is expected to drop, is by far one of the largest in recent years to a group devoted to social services. How has your giving been impacted by the presented economy? Do you give more than you normally do, about the same, a little less than normal, or a lot less than normal?

Q4 - Singalong: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, "Happy Birthday to You" is the most well recognized song in the English language, followed by "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" and "Auld Lang Syne." When you hear the Happy Birthday song being sung in a restaurant to someone who is not sitting at your table, do you sing along?

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May 8, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Airport: When you pick someone up at the airport, do you park in short-term parking and meet them inside the airport, or do you do the drive-by until you can pick them up from the passenger pick-up area outside of baggage claim?

Q2 - Foreign Affairs: If you found yourself in a foreign country, would you rather speak the language or have a pocket full of the local currency?

Q3 - Thievery: Sans money, if you could steal any one thing and not get caught, what would you take and what would you do with it?

Q4 - Delivery: If you could have one thing delivered to your home on a consistent basis that just isn't available for delivery, what would you have delivered?


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May 1, 2009

Four For Friday

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

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Q1 - Church and Torture: The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey. More than half of people who attend church services at least once a week -- 54 percent -- told the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life the use of torture against suspected terrorists is "often" or "sometimes" justified. Only 42 percent of people who "seldom or never" go to church services agreed. Why do you think people who attend church services are more likely than those who do not to approve of torturing suspected terrorists?

Q2 - Expeditions: This past Tuesday marked the 61st anniversary of a six-person expedition that sailed from Peru aboard a wooden raft on a 101-day journey across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia. If you could go back in time and participate in any previous expedition, in what expedition would you like to participate? If nothing from the past interests you, how about something in the future?

Q3 - Calming Influence: When it comes to testifying in court there can be a lot of stress and anxiety in getting up on the witness stand. However, imagine how difficult it is for kids. Now, thanks to a trained facility dog named Dory, children testifying in sexual abuse and physical assault cases in San Diego, Calif., have a friendly advocate by their sides when taking the witness stand. According to court judges and prosecutors, having Dory the dog available to children before, during, and after testifying in open court is a calming influence in a traumatic time. If you were facing a difficult situation, do you think having a dog by your side would help? If not a dog, what would you like to have with you?

Q4 - Social Distancing: News this week of a human-borne "swine" flu outbreak has given rise to targeted social distancing. Never heard of "social distancing" before? Me either. Apparently, it refers to deliberate steps taken by governments, communities, or businesses to mitigate the spread of potentially pandemic influenza (think high schools canceling athletic competitions or companies postponing annual user conferences). Have you experienced social distancing due to the oink-oink flu outbreak?

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April 24, 2009

Four For Friday

Old License plate Map

Image by Whirling Phoenix via Flickr

Q1 - Democracy: According to a friend of mine, the Pope is on record as saying democracy cannot survive without religion "A democracy without values can easily turn into an open or hidden totalitarianism as history teaches us." My friend read between the lines, replacing "values" with "religion." Do you agree with the PopeDo you think democracy can survive without organized religion?

Q2 - Replay: Sixteen years ago on Thanksgiving Day, Phillipsburg High School and Easton Area High School left the football field without a clear winner: a 7-7 tie. That is about to change. The participants, now grown men in their early 30s, will head back onto the field this weekend to settle the score. Are there moments from high school you would like to replay?

Q3 - Lawsuits: Three-quarters of all small business owners in the U.S. say they are concerned they might be the targets of a frivolous or unfair lawsuit. Of those who are most concerned, six in ten say the fear of lawsuits makes them feel more constrained in making business decisions, and 54 percent say lawsuits or the threat of lawsuits forced them to make decisions they otherwise would not have made. If you could have sued any one person from your past, who would you sue, and for what?

Q4 - Licensing: On this day in 1901, the State of New York became the first U.S. state to require automobile license plates. If you could require a person to obtain a license before doing something that currently does not require licensure, what would it be?

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April 17, 2009

Four For Friday

A typical helping hand

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Q1 - Lending a Helping Hand: What's the furthest distance you've traveled to temporarily help a family member or friend (think: change a tire, move, etc.)?

Q2 - Age: From Satchel Paige... How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

Q3 - Reform: Which do you believe poses the greatest threat to true government reform at the federal level in the U.S.: Democrats, Republicans, the two-party political system, all current politicians and elected officials serving at the Congressional level?

Q4 - Cooking: According to my friend Meagen, everyone's really good at cooking one dish or meal in particular. What is the one meal you cook really well?

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April 10, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - Pictures: Privacy groups in the United Kingdom want Google's 'Street View' service to go away. In support of the effort, residents of the village of Broughton in Buckinghamshire formed a human barrier to stop Google from photographing their village last week, expressing fears that an online display of the resulting images was an invasion of their privacy and would contribute to the facilitation of future crime. Would you object to Google's Street View vehicles driving through your neighborhood and taking and displaying on-demand pictures that included your home?

Q2 - Assurances: As we worry less about what car we drive to work and more about whether we have a job to drive to, car companies are throwing us a security blanket of sorts. Hyundai offers protection for new buyers who lose a job and can't make their monthly auto payment. General Motors, Ford, and Saturn recently followed with programs that provide varying degrees of protection to distressed customers. If you were in the market for a new car, would you be swayed by one of these assurance programs?

Q3 - Optimism: President Obama said this week that the U.S. economy is showing signs of progress as a series of his administration's policies begin to kick in, despite mounting unemployment and rising foreclosures. In remarks to reporters, the President said: "What you're starting to see is glimmers of hope across the economy," adding that it's too soon to make any firm pronouncements. Do you agree with the President's opinion?

Q4 - Balance: Which of the following best describes how you generally handle your credit card balance at the end of each month: do you pay off the entire balance, make a partial payment, make a minimum payment, or do you not use credit cards?

Category: Four For Friday



April 3, 2009

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Cybersecurity: Federal legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate this week would give the President of the United States the power to declare a cybersecurity emergency and then shut down the Internet. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 773, introduced April 1, is aimed at ensuring the continued free flow of commerce within the United States and with its global trading partners through secure cyber communications, to provide for the continued development and exploitation of the Internet and intranet communications for such purposes, and to provide for the development of a cadre of information technology specialists to improve and maintain effective cybersecurity defenses against disruption. On the first point, the one allowing the President of the United States to shut down the Internet, do you believe the President should have this authority and power or should the Internet remain Wild West territory, so to speak?

Q2 - That Guy: We've all seen him and commented to ourselves, I don't want to be "that guy" -- you know the one I'm talking about... he's the guy talking absurdly loud on his cell phone in a coffee shop or wearing the concert T-shirt while at the concert. Got any good "that guy" stories or experiences (either personal or observed)?

Q3 - Government Intrusion: On March 29, 2009, Rick Wagoner agreed to immediately resign his position as Chairman and CEO of General Motors, as part of an Obama administration automotive restructuring plan. Do you think the Obama administration should be dictating strategy and firing CEOs of the companies to which it offers funding? Arguments for include: "The U.S. government (i.e., the American taxpayer) is a major stockholder in GM; why shouldn't it exert the same influence that any other big investor could wield?"; and, "The precedent is already in place. Just ask the former leaders of AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, all of whom who were forced out after federal bailouts." Arguments against include: "Does the government really know what it's doing? Why fire the CEO but let the Board, which supported Wagoner, stay in place? Moreover, if fundamental change is the prescription of the day, why replace Wagoner with a longtime company exec?"; and "AIG, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were different. They were federally regulated to varying extents. GM and Chrysler have no such umbilical cords to Washington D.C." What do you think?

Q4 - Change: What would you do if this happened to you? A friend of mine recently went to the bank to make a deposit for her employer. Included in the deposit was six dollars or so in change (i.e., coins). Upon presenting the entire deposit (which included a number of large and small bills in addition to the coins), the teller told my friend, "Sorry, I don't have time to count change today, so either come back with bills or come back some other time when we're not as busy as we are today".

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March 27, 2009

Four For Friday

Four For Friday 032709.jpg

Q1 - Lost & Found: After three weeks on the run, earlier today a friend's cat finally returned home (much to the delight of their youngest daughter who was very skeptical about Tiger's eventual return). Name one material possession you've lost that you really wish you could find.

Q2 - Discount: In an attempt to increase business and branding, my Mom's bed & breakfast recently began offering a 50% discount on all rooms through April 15 (offer subject to availability and some restrictions do apply). Generally speaking, for any product or service, what 'percentage off' do you consider a good deal or enough of a deal to garner your serious attention and consideration?

Q3 - Groceries: Compared to this time last year, are you buying more, less, or about
the same amount of groceries? Related: What about organic fruits and vegetables?

Q4 - Preparedness : After nearly four years of declining public confidence in the nation's military preparedness, Gallup's annual World Affairs survey documents a sharp reversal. Currently, 54% of Americans say the country's national defense is about right, up from 41% a year ago. What do you think?

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March 20, 2009

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Replacement: If you had to choose one item from your home to represent you in a photograph, what would you choose?

Q2 - Banking: Do you bank the old-fashioned way--inside your bank's local branch--or do you conduct your banking online or through an ATM machine? Related: Do you bank with a national banking institution (think: Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, etc.) or a locally owned community bank?

Q3 - Global Warming: Historically, support for environmental protection in the United States has been relatively nonpartisan. Republicans pointed with pride to Theodore Roosevelt's crucial role in promoting the conservation of natural resources by establishing national parks and forests, and Democrats applauded Franklin Delano Roosevelt's efforts to include conservation as part of the "New Deal" via the Soil Conservation Service and related programs. Although a majority of Americans believe the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated, a record-high 41%, according to new Gallup poll, now say it is exaggerated (and most of those who feel that way are Republicans). The 2009 Gallup Environment survey measured public concern about eight specific environmental issues. Not only does global warming rank last on the basis of the total percentage concerned either a great deal or a fair amount, but it is the only issue for which public concern dropped significantly in the past year (pollution of drinking water and toxic contamination of water and soil ranked highest). Do you believe global warming is a serious problem caused by humans, a natural occurrence, or a bunch of made up hooey?

Q4 - LEGOS: On this date in 1999, LEGOLAND California--the only LEGOLAND outside of Europe--opened in Carlsbad, California. If you could afford to commission (warning: pop-up window ahead) full-time LEGO artist Sean Kenney to make anything for you, what would you ask him to create?

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March 13, 2009

Four For Friday

Four For Friday 031309.jpg

Q1 - Work it Out: The week-long "feud of the century" reached its climax last night as Jon Stewart welcomed freshly minted nemesis Jim Cramer to "The Daily Show." Cramer, who hosts a CNBC show called "Mad Money" had figured heavily in a "Daily Show" piece highlighting that network's poor track record on the financial apocalypse ("If I only followed CNBC's advice," Stewart said then. "I'd have a million dollars today -- provided I'd started with $100 million.") When Cramer objected publicly to what he considered unfair treatment, Stewart and his writers, smelling comedy blood, turned their sights toward him. Or, as Stewart described it last night, "We threw some Boston Cream pies at CNBC, you got a little shmutz on your jacket from it, you took exception, and then we decided to hit you with more pies." If you could compel two public figures to 'work it out' on live television, who would you put into each of two chairs?

Q2 - Sacred Places: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs, California, now offers an AT&T-powered Wi-Fi service enabling park visitors with wireless enabled laptop computers or personal digital assistants (PDAs) to access the Internet. Should Internet access be offered to state and national park visitors, or are some places meant to remain off the grid.

Q3 - Sentencing: Muntadhar al-Zaidi -- the Iraqi broadcast journalist who removed and then threw his shoes at George Bush in mid-December of 2008 -- was sentenced this week to three years of prison for "assaulting a foreign leader." Mr. al-Zaidi, who served as a correspondent for Iraqi-owned, Egyptian-based Al-Baghdadia TV, often reported on the plight of widows, orphans, and children in the Iraq War, and himself was kidnapped and beaten while on his way to work in central Baghdad in 2007. If the shoe was on the other foot, so to speak, and you were the judge in the case, how would you have sentenced al-Zaidi?

Q4 - Building: There's a $28 million home near mine that goes on the auction block tomorrow morning because its owner let it fall into foreclosure. If you could own any building in the world, what building would you choose to own and what would you do with it?

Category: Four For Friday



March 6, 2009

Four For Friday - The Either/Or Edition

Four For Friday 030709.jpg

Q1 - Homeownership: Burden or Joy?

Q2 - School Year: Make it longer to boost students' academic achievements or shorter or the same so kids can be kids?

Q3 - Weekend: Saturday morning or Sunday morning?

Q4 - Quickly: Instant Messaging or Texting?

Bonus Question:

Q5 - Newspaper: Hardcopy or Online edition?

Category: Four For Friday



February 27, 2009

Four For Friday

FourForFriday_022709.jpg

Q1 - Foreclosure: Millions of Americans are currently facing home foreclosure. For some, real estate and mortgage fraud is to blame, while for others it is a combination of using their home as an ATM machine and living beyond their means, or job losses or resetting adjustable rate mortgages. If you were in charge, how would you manage the housing crisis in America. Would you simply reset everyone's mortgage to more affordable rates, allow those who bit off more than they can chew to lose their homes, take everyone's situation into account on a case-by-case basis, do nothing, do something else, etc.?

Q2 - Troop Withdrawal: A new poll indicates that a majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's plan to send nearly 20,000 U.S. troops to the conflict in Afghanistan. What do you think of President Obama's recently announced plan to have U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by August 2010?

Q3 - Success: In large numbers, U.S. teens today express a troubling contradiction when it comes to ethical readiness for the workforce. At the same time, they express confidence in their preparedness to make the right choices in the future, they freely admit to unethical behavior today. Those are among the key findings of a new study from Junior Achievement and Deloitte, the results of which reveal considerable ethical confusion among teens regarding what types of behavior are appropriate in order to succeed. Do you think it is possible to be successful beyond even your wildest dreams by playing by the rules, or is some level of unethical behavior required to succeed beyond measure?

Q4 - Picture: According to market research released at the end of 2008, the most lucrative consumer segment within the digital camera market is mothers, defined as females between the ages of 25 and 44 with children under age 12. Mothers exhibit particularly unique preferences and behaviors when it comes to digital photography, the research concluded, and will account for more digital camera sales in 2009 than any previous year. Think for a moment... what were the last three pictures you shot with your camera, and what do you plan on doing with them?

Category: Four For Friday



February 20, 2009

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Home Remedies: If it's February and you are sick, chances are it just might be the flu. Whenever he feels like he's getting sick, a friend of mine slathers his chest and the bottom of his feet with Vicks VapoRub, and sweats it out in bed while wearing three T-shirts, sweatpants, two pairs of socks, and a hooded sweatshirt. How about you... do you have any unconventional home remedies for dealing with the flu, common cold, headache, upset stomach, etc.?

Q2 - Give it Up: I've had the same pocket wallet for nearly 25 years, and while I know I should, I absolutely refuse to give it up for a newer one. Have you owned something for far too long... something you know you should get rid of but can't?

Q3 - Blood Banking: For the last 10 years or so, Florida-based Cryo-Cell International has been providing families the opportunity to cryogenically preserve their newborn's umbilical cord blood stem cells in a safe and secure environment. The service, called U-Cord, allows parents to preserve the cells for the potential future medical benefit of the family, or donate the blood for research or use by a third party. Would you consider banking your newborn's umbilical cord blood stem cells?

Q4 - Be Careful!: When a waiter or waitress tells you to be careful because the plate they just placed in front of you is hot, do you touch the plate to see how hot it is?

Category: Four For Friday



February 13, 2009

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Stress: According to data from the American Psychological Association, the declining state of the economy is taking a physical and emotional toll on people nationwide, Last year, more people reported physical and emotional symptoms due to stress than they did in 2007, and nearly half of all adults reported that their stress has increased in the past year. Generally speaking, what would you say are the three most stressful things in life?

Q2 - Vitamins: The largest study ever of multivitamin use in older women found the pills did nothing to prevent common cancers or heart disease. The eight-year study in 161,808 postmenopausal women echoes recent disappointing vitamin studies involving men. Do you take vitamins on a daily basis?

Q3 - Trade: If you had no choice but to sell your soul to the Devil--for which you would receive any two things in return--what would take in exchange?

Q4 - Hmm: How do you feel about Valentine's Day?

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February 6, 2009

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Hello and Goodbye: Do you wave at people on trains or boats as they pass by?

Q2 - Library Books: Do you think people who fail to return books to public libraries should face criminal charges?

Q3 - Acronyms: If each of the letters in your first name combined to form an acronym, what would your acronym be?

Q4 - Approval: According to a Gallup Poll conducted earlier this week, President Obama's approval rating is 65 percent, which is nearly identical as when he was inaugurated. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the President is doing?

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January 30, 2009

Four For Friday

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Q1: - Drugs: Fueled primarily by Internet sales, the International Journal of Clinical Practice recently reported that the counterfeit pharmaceutical market could reach $70 billion dollars by 2010, Alarmingly, the Journal reports, these include fake drugs that could have devastating consequences, like counterfeit medication for potentially fatal conditions like cancer and high blood pressure. Have you ever--or would you consider--purchasing pharmaceutical drugs online from a foreign-based provider or company?

Q2: - Rejuvenile: Rejuvenile's are what marketers are now calling people who cultivate tastes and mindsets traditionally associated with those younger than themselves. For example, the iPhone recognizes and plays to the rejuvenile trend by featuring brightly colored icons and playful features that reflect a kid-like tone, whereas the Mini Cooper lets every boy or girl live out their fantasy of driving a Matchbox/Hot Wheels-like car in real life. Do you consider yourself a rejuvenile?

Q3: - Credit: The credit score--that annoying but all-important numerical expression based on a statistical analysis of a person's credit files that represents your creditworthiness--is getting a lot of play these days. With the availability of credit tightening and more people going into debt because of the state of the economy, many people stand to lose ground over the next few years--not gain it--when it comes to their credit score. How concerned are you with your credit score? Do you, for instance, use a fee-based service to monitor and check your credit score, or could you give a rats-you-know-what about your credit rating?

Q4: - Place: A new national survey by the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project finds that nearly half (46%) of Americans would rather live in a different type of community from the one they're living in now. When asked about specific metropolitan areas where they would like to live, respondents rank Denver, San Diego and Seattle at the top of a list of 30 cities, and Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati at the bottom. Reasonably speaking, would you like to live somewhere other than where you currently reside?

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January 23, 2009

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Salary: Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum revealing his intention to freeze the salaries of approximately 120 senior White House staffers who make more than $100,000 per year, saving the government about $400,000 over the next 12 months. Ironically, President Obama currently earns $400,000 per year, along with a $50,000 expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and a $19,000 entertainment allowance (the same as President George W. Bush). Do you think the President of the United States should be paid a salary? Why or why not?

Q2 - Murder: According to CBS News, 13,000 Americans are killed by drunk drivers every year. Authorities call it an epidemic. They say that despite all the publicity, all the education campaigns, and all the advertising over the past decade, the number of drunk-driving fatalities has not gone down. In New York's Nassau County, district attorney Kathleen Rice believes that if you want to stop drunk driving, you have to treat it as a serious crime with serious jail time, which in one recent case means prosecuting a drunk driver for First-Degree Murder. Related: A growing number of states and foreign countries have banned the use of cellular phones while driving automobiles. If an automobile driver kills an innocent person while talking on a cell phone while driving, do you feel they should be prosecuted for murder?

Q3 - Employment: If your employer told you the company was moving to a neighboring state and you had the choice to accept a 25% increase in salary and move with the company at the company's expense or take a severance package equal to 25% of your current salary with no opportunity to file for unemployment, what would you do?

Q4 - Sleep: Studies show most people fall asleep within seven (7) minutes of placing their head to a bedroom pillow. Generally speaking, how long do you think it takes you to fall asleep, and, do you do anything special (e.g., take a pill, listen to the radio, watch television, read a book or magazine) to help you fall asleep?

Category: Four For Friday



January 16, 2009

Four For Friday

Q1 - The American Dream: This question comes courtesy of John Zogby, President of Zogby International and the author of The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream. Which of the following statements best represents your goals in life?

  • A. I believe the American dream means material success. It is possible for my family and me and for most middle-class Americans to achieve.


  • B. I believe you can achieve the American dream through spiritual fulfillment rather than material success.


  • C. I believe the American dream means material success. It exists but is more likely to be attained by my children and not me.


  • D. I believe I cannot achieve the American dream, whether material or spiritual, nor can most middle-class Americans.


  • E. None of the above... I have my own view of what the American dream is, and I am capable of achieving it.


  • F. None of the above... I have a different view of what the American dream is, and I am not capable of achieving it.

Q2 - Value: It's not just the American dollar that's losing value. A government agency has decided that an American life isn't worth what it used to be. The "value of a statistical life" is $6.9 million in today's dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency reckoned in May _ a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago. (The Associated Press discovered the change after a review of cost-benefit analyses over more than a dozen years.) Though it may seem like a harmless bureaucratic recalculation, the devaluation has real consequences. When drawing up regulations, government agencies put a value on human life and then weigh the costs versus the lifesaving benefits of a proposed rule. The less a life is worth to the government, the less the need for a regulation, such as tighter restrictions on pollution. What value do you place on your own life? Does $6.9 million seem high or low to you?

Q3 - Branding the Incident: Quickly after yesterday's crash landing of a US Airways jetliner in New York's Hudson River, television networks began referring to the incident as "Miracle on the Hudson." Do you appreciate that television producers "name" incidents such as these, or do you think its a waste of time and energy to devote critical news gathering and reporting resources to the "branding" of news stories.

Q4 - Decorating: A popular Los Angeles-based interior designer has been chosen to redecorate the White House. Michael Smith was named this week as the Obama's choice to put their mark on the private quarters in the East Wing of the executive mansion, including the bedrooms of their daughters. If you could completely redecorate any room in your house at someone else's expense, what room would you choose and what would have done to it?

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January 9, 2009

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Afterwards: If you want to help the Chesapeake Bay in the afterlife, a Georgia company has a burial option you may want to consider. Eternal Reefs, Inc., mixes cremated remains into concrete used to make "reef balls" that it places at sites along the East Coast, a service it markets as an environmentally friendly and less-expensive alternative to traditional burials. In the waters off Miami, the Neptune Memorial Reef offers an underwater burial plot for cremated remains, as well as an attraction for divers who can swim among its gates, paths and statuary. Have you decided yet what should be done with your remains when you die? If so, are you going to be buried or cremated? If not, is the 'cremation and burial at sea' option described above something you'd consider?

Q2 - Mail: Imagine having a mailing address on one of the best-known, most prestigious streets in the world (think Park Avenue in NYC or Market St. in San Francisco), even if you reside in another city or state ― and being able to access, read and manage mail sent to that address online, 24/7, from wherever you are. That's exactly what Earth Class Mail, a Seattle-based start-up, offers its customers. When you sign up for the service, you have you mail routed to one of the company's addresses/locations, where computers scan the outside of envelopes and alert you by email when you've got mail. Then, you log in to your Earth Class Mail account and select which pieces of mail you want opened, scanned and e-mailed to you, and which ones should be left unopened, shredded and recycled. Is Earth Class Mail a service you think you'll ever use? Why or why not?

Q3 - Q&A: If you could receive the answer to any three questions, what questions would you ask and who would answer?

Q4 - Picture This: The Polaroid is back... sort of. Polaroid has unveiled a new digital camera with a built-in printer. The PoGo produces 2 x 3-inch pictures and, just like the original Polaroids, they take about a minute to develop. The $200 camera is slated to go on sale by early April. Think you'll buy a digital camera with a built in printer?

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Category: Four For Friday



January 2, 2009

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Admission: Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, is considering whether to raise its academic admission requirements so that students earning non-honors high school diplomas wouldn't be accepted. Do you think it's okay for public colleges and universities to require such rigid entrance requirements, or, should public colleges and universities consider each applicant on his or her own merits regardless of whether they graduated high school with honors?

Q2 - Feelings: What matches your mood right now?

Q3 - Co-Workers: If you could choose anyone--dead or alive--as a co-worker, who would you like to work with and what position within your company would that person hold?

Q4 - Ownership: If you are with a small group of people (i.e., in a car or small conference room) and you initiate a silent-but-deadly flatulent emission, do you own up to it or simply ignore it and hope everyone else does the same?

Category: Four For Friday



December 26, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

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Q1 - Notables: Many famous and noteworthy people died this year, including the ones listed here: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Crichton, Beverly Garland, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Yves Saint Laurent, Christopher Bowman, Eartha Kitt, Sir Edmund Hillary, Jeff Healey, Bobby Fischer, Bo Diddley, Jeremy Beadle, Isaac Hayes, Paul Scofield, Heath Ledger, Guillaume Depardieu, Michael Lee, Paul Newman, M.C. Breed, Sydney Pollack, Charlton Heston, Albert Hofmann, W. Mark Felt, Sunny von Bulow, Odetta, Kenny MacLean, Tony Hillerman, Dee Dee Warwick, Don Haskins, Kevin Duckworth, Gene Upshaw, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Sandy Allen, Bernie Mac, Skip Caray, Estelle Getty, Tony Snow, Bobby Ray Murcer, Michael DeBakey, Jesse Helms, Dody Goodman, George Carlin, Wilbur Hardee, Tim Russert, Charlie Jones, Jim McKay, Harvey Korman, Hamilton Jordan, and Brad Renfro. Which notable person's death affected you most in 2008?

Q2 - Credit: In the midst of the current global recession, credit card companies have cut back on credit lines even to good customers. In addition, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, some credit card issuers have gone beyond looking at how much their customers spend or how promptly they pay and are now evaluating where they live and where they shop. In other words, redlining is apparently alive and well, aided and abetted by the very companies which could not restrain themselves from blindly offering credit cards and balance transfers to anyone who opened the mailbox, even if they were underage and without visible means of support. Do you think credit card issuers should be able to adjust credit limits and rates based solely on your zip code or shopping habits?

Q3 - Hot: From California to Florida, an increasing number state departments of transportation are allowing single occupancy vehicles (SOVs) to pay a premium toll to use HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes. High-occupancy tolls (HOT) are criticized by some as being nothing more than "Lexus lanes" that allow drivers with deeper pockets to buy special treatment on highways built using fuel taxes collected from everyone. What do you think? Are HOT lanes a good idea?

Q4 - Theatre: When you watch a movie in a movie theatre, do you like the theatre filled to capacity, halfway full, or nearly empty? Does your answer change depending on the type of movie you're seeing or do you feel the same way regardless of the movie or genre?

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Category: Four For Friday



December 19, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Names: Here in the U.S., the parents of a three-year-old boy have branded a supermarket "intolerant" after it refused to decorate their son's birthday cake with his name: Adolf Hitler Campbell. The couple, from New Jersey, asked ShopRite staff to decorate little Adolf's cake with his name, which he shares with the deceased Nazi dictator, and were outraged after staff refused to on the grounds that it was inappropriate. Do you think the supermarket's bakery staff made the right decision or does every little boy deserve to have his name on their birthday cake regardless of what their name is?

Q2 - Grumble: What are your top five beefs?

Q3 - Layaway: As everyone knows, it's shopping season once again, but we all know times are a little tough this year. A new ABC News poll this week found that many Americans are feeling the financial strain, resulting in a lot of us spending a lot less on holiday gifts. So perhaps it's not a big surprise that we would see the resurgence of a more conservative way to shop... the layaway. If you could put one item on layaway for up to five years that you absolutely intended to incrementally pay for in full, what would you choose to put on layaway?

Q4 - Memories: How will you remember 2008?

Category: Four For Friday



December 12, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Smokin': What do you think of President-elect Barak Obama's decision to smoke cigarettes... Who cares, it doesn't affect his ability to lead; I care because kids will smoke as a result of his example; it bothers me, but as long as he does it in private, I'm okay with it; something else?

Q2 - Books: Did you read any memorable books this year/books you'd recommend reading?

Q3 - Take Notice: What do you think people tend to notice about you? Related... Is there something else you wish they'd notice instead?

Q4 - Winter 2008/2009 Movies: Australia, Four Christmases, The Transporter 3, Nobel Son, Frost/Nixon, Punisher: War Zone, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Milk, Defiance, The Tale of Despereaux, Yes Man, Bedtime Stories, The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hurricane Season, Marley & Me, Will Eisner's The Spirit, Revolutionary Road, Nothing Like the Holidays, Seven Pounds, Valkyrie, Bride Wars, Possession, The Unborn, The Brothers Bloom, Notorious, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, He's Just Not That Into You, Pink Panther 2, Push, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience... which movies are you most looking forward to watching this winter?

Category: Four For Friday



December 5, 2008

Four For Friday

Q1 - 180 Degrees: If you could suddenly proclaim that any one work of fiction (be it a movie, novel/book, short story, fable, fairy tale, play, etc.) was actually true, what would you choose?

Q2 - Airline Safety: According to a recent report, approximately 96% of people involved in airplane accidents survive the accident itself and, aside from a fear of flying, experience no long-term health problems. When flying, do you take certain precautions or care to increase your chance of survival in event of a crash (i.e., choosing a certain seat in a specific part of the airplane or counting the number of seats between yourself and exit) or do you not like to think about such things?

Q3 - Citizenship: Have you heard about this one? The latest effort to rewrite the election of 2008... an accusation that that President-elect Barack Obama is not a legitimate natural-born American, and therefore cannot be sworn into office. The argument, which is being taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, goes something like this: When Barack Obama was born in 1961, Kenya was still a British colony. Obama's father was from Kenya, and therefore a British citizen. That British citizenship automatically passed onto his son (President-elect Obama), and that means that President-elect Obama--who was born in the U.S.--was born with dual citizenship and should not be allowed to hold the Office of the Presidency. What do you think this? Should the President of the United States be allowed to hold dual citizenship? (By the way, for the record, President-elect Obama's dual citizenship expired when he turned 21.)

Q4 - Overrated: Who do you think is the most overrated (you choose... actor, politician, professional athlete, or musician)?

Category: Four For Friday



November 28, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Art: A woman in the U.K. who was given a painting by Adolf Hitler as a birthday gift from her son in 2006, reportedly sold the painting at auction this week at an $8,900 loss because she disliked it so much. The painting, titled "The Church of Preux-au-Bois," bears the chilling signature 'AH' and dates back to a time when the future Nazi leader was stationed as a foot soldier (sometime between 1915-1918). If you liked this particular painting--which you can see here--and you had the means to own it, would you buy it and put it on display in your home or office, or would you never buy or display anything either created by Adolf Hitler or which came from his regime?

Q2 - Satisfaction: According to the latest figures from the U.S. government, one out of every six U.S. households (15.8%) do not have a landline telephone, but do have at least one wireless telephone. If you have a cell phone, how satisfied are you with your wireless service provider, and are you considering switching providers the next time your current agreement is up for renewal?

Q3 - On This Day: On this day in 1943, Franklin D. President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin met in Tehran during World War II. If you could put any three world-leaders in the same room and make them talk out their differences, whom would you put into that room? (Extra credit: Have more than three / more than one room? That's fine... do tell!)

Q4 - Open Tryouts: Pick a profession or job that requires extreme skill or training (academic or otherwise). Now read this: "One Day Only... open tryouts for [insert highly skilled job here]!" For what highly skilled job would you stand in line to tryout for?

Category: Four For Friday



November 21, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Holiday Shopping: Where will you be doing the bulk of this year's holiday shopping... from a catalog, online, at the mall, shopping? bah humbug!, somewhere else?

Q2 - I've Had Enough: A few years ago, I could not get enough of a certain sandwich at a little deli near my office. For months, no matter what time of day, if you offered me that one specific sandwich and I was hungry, I gladly would have eaten it and thanked you for making me so happy. Then, out of nowhere, I lost my appetite for that sandwich (I guess I just got "burned out" of it). Has this ever happened to you, and if so, what specific food item was involved?

Q3 - Automobile: Would you consider buying a car from an automobile manufacturer who has declared bankruptcy?

Q4 - Hovering: A growing number of scholars, psychologists, educators and pundits think kids today have lost their resilience due to overly hovering parents. What do you think?

Category: Four For Friday



November 14, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Work: If technology had not advanced to the point to where it is today (e.g. availability of the Internet, air transportation, telephones, satellites, etc.) what would you be doing for a living? Asked another way, you and everyone you know have been transported to the year 1841... what would you be doing for a living (note: you have no recollection of the fact that you were transported from the year 2008).

Q2 - Thank You!: According to its Wikipedia entry, many people inaccurately assume the word "tip" to be an acronym for terms such as "to insure prompt service", "to insure proper service", "to improve performance", and "to insure promptness", when in reality it is derived from the English thieves' (which may be taken to mean "gambler") slang word "tip," meaning to pass from one to another unexpectedly. Do you tip the person who cuts your hair? If so, how do you determine how much to tip (do you base it on the total cost of the haircut, the outcome, a set amount each time, or something else entirely)?

Q3 - Video Conferencing: Forty years ago, about the only way you could witness video conferencing in action was to tune in to an episode of The Jetsons and watch George Jetson and Jane (his wife) converse over their video phones. Today, over 80% of the Fortune 500 uses video conferencing on a daily basis, and consumers regularly use Skype, iChat, AOL IM and other programs to video conference. Earlier this week, the CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc. said his company is about a year away from launching a consumer/home version of a high-definition (HD) video conferencing system. Putting your concerns about system price and subscription plan cost aside for a moment, would you be inclined to use a home-based video conferencing system?

Q4 - Bailing Out: According to media reports, President-elect Obama favors asking Congress to approve as much as $50 billion to save U.S. automakers. If you were a member of Congress, would you vote in favor of a measure that would result in bailing out the U.S. auto industry?

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Category: Four For Friday



November 7, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Lost vs. Won: Do you think John McCain lost the 2008 Presidential election, or do you feel Barak Obama won it from him? In other words, was this election John McCain's to win but because of his strategy, he lost; or, did Barak Obama "out perform" John McCain at every turn, thus winning this election all on his own?

Q2 - Church Security: In an era when threats and shootings at schools and churches have made headlines, religious leaders are rethinking their security strategies. Last Saturday, a minister was fatally shot and another man wounded outside of a church in Kentucky where the men went to attend a funeral. Such violence, while extremely rare, has many houses of worship hiring armed guards who keep a watchful eye over worship services. In some cases, churches are even turning to their parishioners to join volunteer security teams by carrying concealed weapons. Would you feel comfortable attending church services that were monitored by armed guards?

Q3 - Put em Together: If you could combine any two states, which two states would you enjoin and what would you name the new state?

Q4 - Extra Money: If you had no choice but to earn extra money in order to survive in this economy and were given the choice of doing any job in order to earn that extra money, what would you do (by the way, it has to be a real job, not some made up one)?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 31, 2008

Four For Friday - The Election Edition

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Q1 - Talk About It: Many of my friends have commented they cannot discuss politics with co-workers, family, friends and others without conflict rearing its ugly head. Do you feel you can talk with your family and friends about this particularly divisive Presidential election?

Q2 - And The Winner Is: Do you know who you're voting for in next week's Presidential election?

Q3 - Call It: A pollster is a professional whose primary job is conducting private pre-election surveys and advising candidates on election strategy. Put your pollster hat on: Who will win the Presidential election and by what margin (in percentages)?

Q4 - Issues: What do you think is the most important issue in next Tuesday's Presidential election?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 24, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Name It: Each of our fingers has unique cultural and functional significance. From right to left -- with the right hand in the "talk to the hand" position -- the fingers are commonly known as: thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky. If you could rename any one of the fingers, which one would it be and what would you call it?

Q2 - Dress It: Much has been made this week about the Republican National Committee's $150,000-plus expenditure on clothing, hair and makeup, and accessories for Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family. According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue for $49,425.74, a Neiman Marcus bill for more than $75,000, and a $4,700 tab on hair and makeup. In response to the news, the McCain/Palin campaign issued a statement saying "The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent." A few hours later, a campaign spokesperson said: "With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses. It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign." Regardless of whether you support McCain/Palin, Obama/Biden, or someone else in the race for the White House, do you think its appropriate for campaigns to spend money like this?

Q3 - Extend It: On October 2, 2008, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he would seek to extend the city's term limits law so he could run for a third mayoral term in 2009 (in NYC, two consecutive four-year terms is the limit). Bloomberg's reasoning: a leader of his caliber is needed during the Wall Street financial crisis. Well, the Mayor got his wish yesterday when the City Council voted 29-22 in favor of extending the term limit to three consecutive four-year terms, thus allowing Bloomberg to run for office again (take note: almost two-thirds of the Council's membership is currently in their second term). If you were casting a vote in this matter, how would you have voted: keep the term limits as they are or extend them to three consecutive four-year terms?

Q4 - Medicate It: According to a recent report, about one-half of American doctors in a new survey admitted they regularly give their patients placebo treatments (usually drugs or vitamins that won't really help their condition). If you found out your doctor was doing this to you, what would you do?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 17, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Ouch, That Hurts!: Who do you think hurt the United States of America more... Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda on 9/11 or the people responsible for the current state of the economy?

Q2 - Advice: If you were asked to deliver the commencement speech at your high school: A) Would you do it? B) What would you talk about?

Q3 - Event: "Hello! Is this [insert your first and last name here]? My name is Peter Gadwa and I'm calling from Ticketmaster. By a strange twist of events (pun intended), your name has been chosen to receive four tickets to any event in the world -- past, present or future. What event would you like to attend and who will be joining you?"

Q4 - Commute: If a high-speed or local rail line was available to take you to and from within seven blocks of your home to work or shopping, would you use it at least four times per week or are you too attached to your automobile?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 10, 2008

Four For Friday - The Economy Edition

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Q1 - Cutting Back: The rising price of consumer goods is driving shoppers from all lifestyles to use coupons for food, beauty aids and pharmacy products at an increasing rate, according to some of the country's largest purveyors of manufacturers' coupons. Has the current state of the U.S. economy forced you to take a second look at your spending habits? If so, are there any areas in particular where you are consciously cutting back?

Q2 - Installment vs. Lump Sum: A winner of a $42 million lottery in Michigan may do something almost unheard of: receive the money in installments rather than getting smaller, one-time cash payment. The unnamed winner of the October 3 jackpot told state lottery officials she would be taking the annuity (lottery winners typically take a lump-sum payment with plans to invest it, but confidence in the stock market has dropped with the current financial crisis). If you won a $42 million lottery tomorrow, would you take the money in installments or one lump sum?

Q3 - Worries: Just prior to Congress' passing and the president's signing of the Treasury bailout legislation on Oct. 3, the percentage of Americans saying they worried about money the previous day hit a new high for the year at 48%. Since that time, worry has declined, with the percentage of Americans worried about money falling to 39% in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Oct. 4-6 and 42% from Oct. 5-7. Are you worried about money (asked differently, do your current worries have anything to do with money)?

Q4 - Fund That Cause: Billionaire investor and businessman Warren Buffett is again the richest American, deposing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, after Forbes magazine recalculated the fortunes of some of the 400 wealthiest Americans. If you could compel Buffett to give away 50% of his $58 Billion net worth for a single cause, to what cause would the money go?

Category: Four For Friday



October 3, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Email: We've all probably done this: Composed what we thought was an innocuous email or instant message, hit the send button and sat back to await a reply. When you finally do hear back, you learn the recipient of your message is upset with you. You thought what you sent was a very clearly worded message that could not possible be misinterpreted, but the recipient completely misunderstood. As a rule, do you read or reread email messages before you send them? Related: When you attach a document or file to an email message, do you open the file after it has been attached (to make sure it is indeed what you want to send)?

Q2 - It's a Dogs World: If you were reincarnated as dog, what breed would you like to be and what one person--either dead or alive--would you choose to be your master?

Q3 - Debates: According to political pollsters, there are very few instances in which Presidential or Vice Presidential debates had a substantive impact on election outcomes. In other words, most voters choose to vote for a candidate regardless of what takes place during a debate. Has either of this year's debates influenced whom you think you will be voting for in November?

Q4 - City Ordinance: Beginning this Wednesday, Los Angeles pet owners must comply with a city ordinance that requires most dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered by the time they are four months old. Dog and cat owners not complying with the law will receive information on subsidized sterilization services. If their pets are not "fixed" within 60 days, they could face a $100 fine or eight hours of community service. A third offense could result in a $500 fine or 40 hours of community service. The ordinance exempts a number of animals, including service dogs and animals that compete in shows or sporting competitions. Do you like this ordinance or do you think the government has no right to legislate whether your cat or dog can have kittens or puppies?

Category: Four For Friday



September 26, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Special: In addition to standard menu items, many restaurants offer one or more specials of the day. If your waiter or waitress describes an appealing special but neglects to mention its price, would you order it without asking about the cost?

Q2 -Enawene: Earlier this year, pictures showing the Enawene Nawe tribe of Amazon indians aiming weapons at an airplane overhead made headlines across the United States. The photos, according to the producers of ABC's Nightline television show, inspired them to travel deep into the Amazon to meet the Enawene Nawe, a tribe that reportedly has never before been filmed for television. Do you think there is something inherently wrong with outsiders interacting with or filming never before seen indigenous tribes, or does studying their way of life outweigh any potential negative side effects caused by such actions?

Q3 - Housing: In describing the recent financial crisis here in the U.S., President Bush said: "Easy credit -- combined with the faulty assumption that home values would continue to rise -- led to excesses and bad decisions. Many mortgage lenders approved loans for borrowers without carefully examining their ability to pay. Many borrowers took out loans larger than they could afford, assuming that they could sell or refinance their homes at a higher price later on. Optimism about housing values also led to a boom in home construction. Eventually the number of new houses exceeded the number of people willing to buy them. And with supply exceeding demand, housing prices fell. And this created a problem: Borrowers with adjustable rate mortgages who had been planning to sell or refinance their homes at a higher price were stuck with homes worth less than expected -- along with mortgage payments they could not afford. As a result, many mortgage holders began to default." Do you believe homeownership is a privilege or a right?

Q4 - Television: What is your current favorite television show -- one that you make a point of watching during its regularly scheduled time as often as humanly possible?

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Category: Four For Friday



September 19, 2008

Four For Friday - The Birthday Edition

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Q1 - Today: Some people go out of their way to tell everyone they know that today (or pick your day) is their birthday, while others avoid it like a contagious bacterial disease characterized by fever and wicked bad diarrhea (for example, I once spent an entire with someone and never knew it was his birthday because he never told me). Do you tell people when it's your birthday or do you prefer to keep it to yourself?

Q2 - Keeping Track: How do you keep track of birthdays (BirthdayAlarm.com, a little black book, good memory, your computer calendar, Facebook, etc.)?

Q3 - Celebrating: How do you like to celebrate your own birthday? Do you do anything special for yourself, have a tradition you adhere to, take the day off from work and the rest of the world, etc.?

Q4 - Change: Some of the kids I grew up with felt cheated by the fact that their birthday was in late-June, July, or August... meaning, they never got to celebrate their birthday in school like all of the kids whose birthdays fell on a school day. If you could change your birthday, would you, and if so, what date would you move it to and why?

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September 12, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Food in Class: A friend reports that while waiting for his college course on Cross-Cultural Communications to start, a co-ed sat next to him and started eating her lunch (chicken-friend steak and mashed potatoes with a very strong aroma). Do you feel it's appropriate to bring your lunch to a college or university class and eat during the lecture/discussion? Would you personally do this?

Q2 - Publishing: A federal judge this week ruled against Steven Vander Ark, and U.S. author who was seeking to publish an encyclopedia about the Harry Potter series of novels. U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson concluded Vander Ark's already drafted "The Harry Potter Lexicon" would cause Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling "irreparable injury," and even went so far as to award Rowling and her publisher $6,750 in statutory damages and permanently blocked Vander Ark's publication from ever seeing the light of day. How do you feel about this? Should anyone be allowed to write a guide or reference book about another author's characters, or should only the original author or their publisher have the rights to publish guides about characters they created themselves?

Q3 - Staying Sharp: Everyone knows exercise helps maintain muscles and keep bones healthy. But can exercising your brain really help you remember and improve the way you think? Paying attention to your cognitive skills and taking steps to ward off Alzheimer's Disease is becoming more popular. Do you do anything in particular to exercise your brain?

Q4 - Retail: If you were forced to work at a retail store for 10 hours every week for the next year, which store would you choose to work for and why?

Category: Four For Friday



September 5, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - Delivery: When I lived in Utah, a co-worker told me about a trip he was planning to Boulder, Colorado, to visit family. When I jokingly asked him if he would stop by my favorite Boulder sub shop and bring me back a Garlic-roasted Prime Rib Sub and a Chicken Salad Sub, he said yes. Much to my delight, the following week he walked into my office with a cooler containing ice and both of my sandwiches. Then, when a different friend from Utah told me he was planning a trip to my part of California, I asked him if he could bring me two subs from my favorite Utah restaurant. Like clockwork, he too showed up with a cooler full of goodies. If you could order in from any restaurant on the planet and have your meal delivered to you like my friends delivered mine, what would you order and where would you order it from?

Q2 - Reaching: We've all done it before (dropped something of value in a toilet). In the case of currency, how much money would it have to be in order for you to reach in and pull it out of a toilet. Is a dollar worth it to you? How about $20? More? Do tell!

Q3 - Fighting: Mixed Martial Arts (M.M.A.), which is best described as full-contact hybridized fighting, has made its way from the margins to the mainstream. Twice already, M.M.A. fights have been broadcast in prime time by CBS, and mainstream clothing labels like Ralph Lauren and others are said to be looking into the possibility of developing lines of M.M.A. casual wear. Recently, Mixed Martial Arts has even become popular among children. Kids as young as six-years-old train with instructors in the kicking, punching and pinning that characterize what many say is a violent sport. Do you think participation in Mixed Martial Arts puts children at too much risk, or is M.M.A. training and supervised fighting acceptable for children of all ages?

Q4 - Unemployment: The unemployment rate here in the U.S. inched to a nearly five-year high last month as employers trimmed jobs for the 8th straight month, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The unemployment rate rose to 6.1%, its highest level in nearly 5 years. That's up from 5.7% in July and 4.7% from just one year ago. If those figures are correct, around 6 out of every 100 people you know may be unemployed! Do you know anyone who is currently unemployed?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 29, 2008

Four For Friday

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Q1 - School Bus: In order to meet the demands associated with its $17 million budget deficit, the Humble, Texas, Independent School District is now selling advertising space on their school buses. According to local news reports, auto dealers, hospitals, homebuilders, parking lots, and other businesses are among the first to advertise on the buses. Do you think it's okay for school districts to use their busses as rolling billboards? What if the advertisements appeared inside the bus as well?

Q2 - Sponsorship: Michael Jordan has Nike. Tony Stewart of NASCAR fame has The Home Depot. If any company or brand could sponsor you, whom would you want as your sponsor?

Q3 - Engrish: Professional golfers on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour have been told that by the end of 2009, all players who have been on the tour for two years must pass an oral evaluation of their English skills or face suspension. Do you think it's right for the LPGA to demand that their players speak English?

Q4 - Vice President: Earlier today, John McCain announced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate/running mate, while last week Barack Obama announced Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee. Did you follow the vice presidential candidate selection process? How important is the VP candidate when you cast your vote?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 22, 2008

Four For Friday - The Health Edition

Q1 - BPA: A chemical commonly found in baby bottles, can linings, and household products does not pose a health hazard when used in food containers, according to a draft assessment released by the Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. The FDA report stands in contrast to more than 100 studies performed by government scientists and university laboratories that have found health concerns associated with BPA. Some have linked the chemical to prostate and breast cancers, diabetes, behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity, and even reproductive problems in lab animals. Exposure to the small amounts of BPA that migrate from the containers into the food they hold are not dangerous to infants or adults, the FDA said. Had you heard about the BPA issue before reading this question? If so, is it something you're concerned about?

Q2 - Rub it On: According to a new study by researchers at Rutgers University, several commonly used skin creams may cause skin tumors. Researchers stumbled across the findings after they exposed hairless mice to ultraviolet radiation to mimic sun exposure. Afterward, they applied four popular moisturizers to the mice. What they found was that all four -- Dermabase, Dermavan, Eucerin and Vanicream -- caused tumors to grow on the mice. The cancers were not melanomas, the researchers said in their report, but another type called squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer results when cells in the skin start to change, the National Institutes of Health said on its Web site. It's relatively slow-growing and can spread to other locations, including internal organs. Knowing about this research, will you now avoid using Dermabase, Dermavan, Eucerin and Vanicream? If you never use these products, would you take the time to alert your family and friends who do?

Q3 - Drinking: In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which imposed a penalty of 10% of a state's federal highway appropriation on any state setting its drinking age lower than 21. Today, nearly 100 chancellors and presidents from colleges and universities across the U.S. are asking lawmakers to consider lowering the federally mandated minimum drinking age to 18, saying the current law encourages dangerous binge drinking on campus. The movement called the Amethyst Initiative began quietly recruiting presidents more than a year ago to provoke national debate about the drinking age, and now includes the leaders of Johns Hopkins University, Syracuse University, University of the Incarnate Word, Tufts, Duke, Colgate, Maine Maritime Academy, Kenyon, Morehouse, Dartmouth, College of Idaho and Ohio State, just to name a few. Do you agree with the Amethyst Initiative? Should the drinking age be lowered to 18 or is the law okay as it current stands?

Q4 - You: Generally speaking, how concerned are you about your own health? Not concerned at all; somewhat/slightly concerned; about average; more than slightly concerned; very concerned; something else entirely?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 15, 2008

Four For Friday

Q1 - Military Baggage: Some airlines are now charging U.S. soldiers extra baggage fees to take their military kits with them as they set off for duty. Military personnel carry large, heavy kit bags containing boots, clothing and gear. In the past few months, airlines have instituted fees for all travelers ranging from $15 for one bag to $250 for a third bag. The Veterans of Foreign Wars is asking the trade group representing the nation's major airlines to encourage its members to waive fees for a third piece of luggage checked by servicemen and women. Do you think military personnel should be charged extra baggage fees?

Q2 - Opt Out: When possible, search engines like Google and Yahoo! match your search results with advertisements related to those results. Yahoo! call this "ad matching," (sometimes also called ad customization), and they do this in order to make the ads you see more relevant and useful for you. Recently, Yahoo enacted an opt-out option for users who don't want their searches to be tracked and analyzed for relevant advertisements. While the company has framed this development as a move toward transparency, choice and greater privacy, it also predicts that most users will prefer to remain seeing ads that suit their searches. What do you think? If you saw an opt out button, would you use it to remove advertisements from your search results, or do you like seeing ads alongside your searches.

Q3 - Bigfoot: At a press conference scheduled for later today in Palo Alto, California, two Georgia-based law enforcement officials are set to reveal both photographic and DNA evidence of what they claim is the captured body of Bigfoot, the alleged ape-like creature said to inhabit remote forests throughout the world. Do you believe creatures like Bigfoot exist?

Q4 - Funerals: A funeral home in Idaho is offering funeral webcasts for people who cannot attend a funeral in person. If you could not attend a funeral in person, would you watch it online.

Category: Four For Friday



August 8, 2008

Four For Friday

Q1 - Revive: When you're dragging or lacking energy and on the verge of letting out a succession of yawns and you have work to do, what do you do to snap out of it?

Q2 - Turning: Do you turn your blinker on when you're in a clearly designated and differentiated turning lane?

Q3 - Tracking: BrickHouse Security recently partnered with Duracell batteries for a national advertising campaign to highlight the lifesaving value of child locator devices/beacons. BrickHouse's device is said to helps parents relocate wandering children before the unthinkable can happen. If you have small children, have you ever considered using such a devise? If you don't have children yet, is this something you think you'd use?

Q4 - Olympics: At initial glance, one might think the International Olympic Committee blundered by awarding the 2008 Summer Games to a city in a totalitarian country that aids Darfur's thugs but considers the Dalai Lama a menace, and that censors political debate but can't silence the hacking coughs from some of the planet's most polluted cities. The four other finalists for the 2008 Olympics were all fine and attractive cities that were most certainly less controversial than Beijing (safe to say we wouldn't have seen "Free Saskatchewan" protests leading up to a Toronto version of these Summer Games). And perhaps that's precisely the point: whether it was the IOC's intention or not, due to all the surrounding sagas, Beijing seems to have made the Olympics interesting again. Regardless, with concern for environmental impact and human rights existing across the globe, do you think the U.S. and other countries should have boycotted the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, or do you think having them in a communistic country will eventually lead to democracy for that country?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 1, 2008

Four For Friday - The Home Edition

Q1 - Paint: Did you paint the walls in your home or were they painted to your liking before you moved in?

Q2 - Room: What's your favorite room in your house and why?

Q3 - Work: If your employer offered you the opportunity to work from home, would you take it?

Q4 - Houseguests: When was the last time you hosted overnight visitors in your home, and how long did they stay? Option follow-up question: Do you enjoy entertaining/hosting overnight visitors?

Category: Four For Friday



July 25, 2008

Four For Friday

Q1 - Popcorn and Candy: According to the author of "Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies, And Other Pricing Puzzles" (University of California-Irvine Professor Richard McKenzie), buying your movie candy at a local drugstore or Costco can save you as much as 86% from what the theater charges on a price per ounce basis. When you go to the movies, what type of candy and refreshments do you usually buy, or do smuggle yours into the theatre?

Q2 - Then & Now: A recent special issue of People magazine focusing on child actors from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, profiled more than 100 former showbiz kids with an emphasis on where they are in their lives today. Are there any child actors you would like an update on? If so, which one(s)?

Q3 - Pollution: Recent reports indicate that as much as 46,000 pieces of floating plastic can be found per square mile of ocean. If you were enjoying time at the beach by wading in the water, and you noticed garbage floating nearby, would you collect it and throw it away once you were back on shore?

Q4 - Right Now: What is your most pressing concern right now?

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Category: Four For Friday



July 18, 2008

Four For Friday

Q1 - Television: In case you've missed the public service announcements in recent months, the federal government here in the United States has set February 17, 2009, as the date by which all television stations must discontinue broadcasting an analog signal. Are you prepared for the switchover? Are any of the televisions in your home currently unable to accept a digital signal?

Q2 - R.S.V.P.: According to The Emily Post Institute, your most important obligation as an invited wedding guest is to respond to the invitation immediately, especially if you are unable to attend. Generally speaking, how long does it take for you to R.S.V.P. to a wedding, dinner party, birthday party, etc? Do you R.S.V.P. right away or do you tend to wait till the last possible moment?

Q3 - Hug it Out: How do you feel about hugging? Do enjoy being hugged or does it make you feel uncomfortable?

Q4 - Stunt: Pick a celebrity, any celebrity. Got one? Good. Now, picture yourself in charge of their next publicity stunt. Do tell... who is your celebrity and what would you have them do?

Category: Four For Friday



July 11, 2008

Four For Friday

Q1 - Can I See?: Almost everywhere I've lived, I've had neighbors close enough to my own home that I've often wondered what the inside of their house or apartment looked like. How well do you know your neighbors floor plans? If not at all, are you curious to see what the inside of their homes look like?

Q2 - Four-day Work Week: Many states now offer a four-day work week option for state employees, but according to published media reports, later this year, Utah will become the first state to switch over to a mandatory four-day work week for its state employees. Utah's Governor says he's making the change to reduce the state's carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency, improve customer service and provide workers more flexibility. How do you feel about state workers moving to a four-day work week (regardless of which state you work in)? Do you think it will help the core metrics Utah's Governor says it will (i.e., carbon footprint, energy efficiency, customer service, and worker flexibility)?

Q3 - Virtual Worlds: During the months of April, May, and June of this year, investors poured an astounding $160 million into 16 different companies that build, manage, and host virtual reality worlds online. Perhaps even more surprising is this: leading research firm Gartner predicts that 80% of all active Internet users will be members of virtual worlds by the year 2011. Have you ever visited or joined a online virtual world (i.e., Second Life, The Sims Online, Disney's Toontown, Habbo Hotel, IMVU, Barbie Girls, Gaia Online, World of Warcraft, Lively by Google, etc.)? If so, how often do you participate? If not, do you think you'll adapt and become part of the 80% of us predicted to be active by 2011?

Q4 - Music: What song or album are you hooked on right now?

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Category: Four For Friday



July 3, 2008

Four For Friday - The Early Edition

Note From Mikal: Given that tomorrow is a holiday and today feels like Friday, I'm posting this week's Four For Friday meme today rather than tomorrow. Enjoy and have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Q1 - Holiday Travel: Retail gas prices rose overnight to a record high for the fourth day in a row, ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend -- one of the nation's busiest weekends for travel. The national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose to an all-time high of $4.098 from $4.092 the day before, a daily survey by motorist group AAA showed. Here in Orange County, Calif., our average prices are $4.559 for a gallon of Regular, $4.853 for a gallon of Mid, $4.933 for a gallon of Premium, and $5.098 for a gallon of Diesel. Have you changed your July Fourth plans because of rising gas prices?

Q2 - Neighbors: On the afternoon of November 14, 2007, 61-year-old Joe Horn shot and killed two men burglarizing his Vietnamese-American neighbor's home in Pasadena, Texas. Published recordings of Horn's exchange with 911 emergency dispatch indicate that he was asked repeatedly not to interfere with the burglary, because the police would soon be on hand. Here's a brief snippet of Horn's 911 conversation:

  • 911 Operator: Mr. Horn, do not go out the house.
  • Joe Horn: I'm sorry. This ain't right, buddy.
  • Operator: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with that gun. I don't care what you think. Stay in the house.
  • Horn: You wanna make a bet? I'm gonna kill 'em.

On the 911 tape, Horn can be heard confronting the suspects, saying, "Move, and you're dead", immediately followed by the sound of a shotgun blast, followed by two more. Following the shootings, Horn told the 911 operator, "They came in the front yard with me, man, I had no choice." The two men Horn shot, Diego Ortiz and Hernando Riascos Torres, happened to be illegal aliens from Columbia, and autopsy results revealed both were fatally shot in the back.

To wrap this question up, after hearing two weeks of testimony from witnesses, earlier this week a Houston grand jury chose not to indict Horn for any wrongdoing. Despite how you feel about Horn's actions, would you choose to defend your neighbor's home in the same way? Would you exit your own home in broad-daylight brandishing a weapon in an attempt to stop burglars or suspected thieves?

Q3 - Gobble Up: Now that the European Large Hadron Collider is completed and ready to fire up in August, a slew of articles have popped up on the Internet and in newspapers around the world quoting doomsayers. An AP article from last weekend was the most recent example of critics warning that the 17-mile, $5.8 billion supercollider--which will slam protons together in an attempt to learn more about the building blocks of the universe--will inadvertently create a black hole that will gobble up planet Earth. Are you worried?

Q4 - You Choose: We all know that there only 12 months in a year. But what if I gave you the ability to add a 13th month to the calendar! What would you call this 13th month and where in the calendar would you place it?

Category: Four For Friday



June 20, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Leader: Despite perceptions that the nation is losing its competitive edge, the United States remains the dominant leader in science and technology worldwide, according to a RAND Corporation study issued a last week. The United States, says RAND, accounts for 40% of the total world's spending on scientific research and development, employs 70% of the world's Nobel Prize winners, and is home to three-quarters of the world's top 40 universities. Two questions here... 1. Do you care where the U.S. ranks in science and technology; and... 2. Does it feel to you like the U.S. leads the world in these two categories?

Q2 - Advertising: Some of the companies advertising on television encourage viewers to visit a specific website or URL for an extended version of their commercial. When you see such prompts, do you go to the advertiser's website or do you generally ignore such goading?

Q3 - Internet Traffic: Some people use the Internet just to check e-mail and look up phone numbers. Others are online all day, uploading and downloading large files. For years, both kinds of Web surfers have paid the same price for access. But now three of the nation's largest Internet service providers are threatening to clamp down on subscribers by placing limits on their online activity. One of them, Time Warner Cable, began a trial of "Internet metering" in one Texas city early this month, asking customers to select a monthly plan and pay surcharges when they exceed their bandwidth limit. The idea is that those of us who use the Internet more heavily should pay more, the way we do for water or electricity. How do you feel about this? Would you be willing to pay a metered rate for Internet access?

Q4 - Dissection: Like all medical schools, the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine requires its students to study and work on cadavers. In addition, the OU College of Medicine requires its student to attend its annual Anatomical Donor Memorial Luncheon, where they meet in person with family members of the specific donor they're charged with working on. Do you think you could stomach working on a cadaver?

Category: Four For Friday



June 13, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Rainbow: Rainbows--the optical and meteorological phenomena that cause a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere--are a rare sight. When was the last time you saw a rainbow (where was it and what were you doing at the time of the sighting)?

Q2 - Loyalty: Oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. yesterday revealed plans to sell its 2,200 company-owned gas stations, saying they aren't profitable enough even with gasoline selling at nearly $5.00 per gallon. Are you loyal to a particular brand of gasoline or one specific gas station? If so, what is it about that brand or station that makes you so loyal?

Q3 - Sunday Morning: Tim Russert, NBC News' Washington bureau chief and the moderator of "Meet the Press," died this morning after collapsing while recording voiceovers for Sunday's broadcast. Do you watch any of the Sunday morning interview shows that specialize in interviewing national leaders on issues of state, economics and foreign policy?

Q4 - : The Guinness Book of World Records claims that "My name is Bond, James Bond" is the most famous movie line of all time. What's your favorite line from a movie?

Category: Four For Friday



June 6, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Help, I'm Stuck: With gas prices hovering at more $4/gallon, motorists are said to be putting less fuel in their tanks, then coming up empty on the highway. Though national statistics on out-of-gas motorists do not exist, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that drivers unwilling or unable to fill 'er up are gambling by keeping their tanks extremely low on fuel. In the Philadelphia area, where the average price for a gallon of regular broke $4 last Friday, calls from out-of-gas AAA members doubled between May 2007 and May 2008, from 81 to 161, the auto club reported. Have you ever run out of gas? If so, what happened?

Q2 - Summer 2008 Movies: Iron Man, Speed Racer, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Sex and the City: The Movie, Kung Fu Panda, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, The Happening, The Incredible Hulk, Get Smart, Wall-E, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, The Dark Knight, Step Brothers, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, The Mummy 3, The Rocker, Pineapple Express, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Tropic Thunder... which movies are you most looking forward to watching this summer?

Q3 - Reviews: I recently joined the consumer review website Yelp.com, where I can read, create and post reviews of everything from restaurants to my local cable provider. How likely are you to write, create and post reviews on sites like Yelp or Amazon, and how likely are you to read consumer reviews as a part of your purchasing process?

Q4 - Bookstore: When you visit a bookstore, which sections do you normally gravitate to and which do you avoid at all costs?

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Category: Four For Friday



May 30, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Cookies: The Oreo cookie is an American favorite, whether drenched in milk chocolate, loaded with extra creamy filling or dipped in a glass of milk. Now the Oreo is headed overseas to Britain where it's manufacturer, Nabisco, hopes to please the British palate (can you say "Oreos and Tea"). In any event, what is your favorite type and/or brand of cookie?

Q2 - Music: Helping to alleviate pain and stress in premature babies could be as simple as offering them a few verses of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" -- at least that's what a new study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children shows... that music could help premature babies get out of intensive care units sooner. What role or impact if any does music play in your life or in the life of your friends and family?

Q3 - You: What do you think is the biggest misconception about you?

Q4 - Spending Your Own Money: Jared Polis, a 30-something Internet generation entrepreneur--who together with his parents founded and then sold an online greeting card website (bluemountainarts.com) for $780 million back in 1998--is now running for a seat in the United States Congress (2nd Congressional District--Colorado). According to recent reports, Polis, who legally changed his last name in the late-90s from Schutz to Polis, is said to have already self-funded his campaign to the tune of nearly $3.7 Million, which according to the Boulder Daily Camera is three times as much money as he has raised from contributors, and dramatically more than any of his opponents have been able to raise or contribute themselves to their own campaigns. Do you think it's okay for people to self-fund their race for public office in such large amounts--like Jared Polis and other wealthy American politicians have done over the years--or, should limits be placed on the amount of money people are allowed to pour into their own campaigns?

Category: Four For Friday



May 23, 2008

Four For Friday -- The Early Edition

Q1 - Breakfast: If you could have had anything other than what you ate for breakfast this morning, what would you have ordered up?

Q2 - Opinions: A friend of mine recently decided to try online dating, and one site asked the following question: "Imagine that your friends had to choose the best four descriptions of you from the items listed below. Click next to the four items that they would be most likely to pick." My guess is that hardly anyone ever asks his or her friends to supply the answer. If you are/were single, would you [ask a friend to supply the answer]?

Q3 - Trading In: According to a recent CNN.com poll, approximately 50% of Americans say they are seriously thinking of trading in one or more of their cars for a vehicle offering better fuel economy. How about you?

Q4 - Possessions: If you could own one item that a friend of yours currently owns, what possession of his or hers would you make yours?

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Category: Four For Friday



May 16, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY -- THE LATE EDITION

Q1 - Manufacturing: If you could manufacture and sell anything, what would you make?

Q2 - Bias: When filling out an online form, do you expect "United States" to appear at the top of an otherwise alphabetically sorted "Country" list?

Q3 - Questions: Generally speaking, do you ask more questions than you answer or answer more questions than you ask?

Q4 - Image: Do you like to have your picture taken?

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Category: Four For Friday



May 9, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Junior: The most common name suffixes are "senior" (Sr.) and "junior" (Jr.), and are far more frequently applied to men than to women. What do you think it says about a person (or a couple) who chooses to name a child after himself or herself?

Q2- Parking Meters: In the state of California, automobile drivers with handicap parking permits are allowed to park anywhere except in private lots and in designated no-parking zones. In addition, drivers with handicap permits do not have to put anything into that device used to collect money in exchange for the right to park a vehicle in a particular place for a limited amount of time. In other words, people with handicap permits get to park for free, even in metered spots. How do you feel about this?

Q3 - Language: How do you feel when you're surrounded by people, all of whom speak a language you do not understand (e.g., in a nail salon, a restaurant, beauty supply store, someone's home, etc.), and there's no one there to translate?

Q4 - Seatbelt: Edward J. Hock invented the seatbelt first used by the Ford Motor Company as standard equipment, while he was on active duty with the military as a flight instructor. In 1955 the U.S. Navy accepted his idea, and Hock was awarded $20.50 for his invention. The original schematic and blueprints shows he utilized scrap parachute strapping to implement his idea. He was never awarded anything other than the $20.50, a letter of recognition, a picture with military brass, and a newspaper article to his credit. When you're driving a car, do you start the car first and then fasten your seatbelt or do you do it other way around?

Category: Four For Friday



April 25, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Your Job: What's the best thing about your job? If you do not have a job, what's the best thing about not working?

Q2 - Health Insurance: Whirlpool Corporation's refrigerator plant in Indiana has suspended nearly 40 production workers suspected by the company of continuing to smoke despite claiming on health insurance forms they were nonsmokers. Additionally, the company charges smokers an extra fee for health insurance. Do you think companies should be allowed to deduct higher amounts of money from employees paychecks for health insurance if the employee smokes cigarettes?

Q3 - Borders: In its quest to secure the 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has embarked on a construction project to build a 15- to 18-foot high wall along large swaths of the territory. But a lot of south Texans are mad about the plan. The proposed path of the fence cuts directly through some residents' backyards and even a local golf course. Do you think the United States should be erecting such a wall?

Q4 - Deterrence: A wall-mounted gadget designed to drive away loiterers with a shrill, piercing noise audible only to teens and young adults is infuriating civil liberties groups and tormenting young people. Nearly 1,000 units of the device, called the "Mosquito," have been sold in the United States and Canada, which according to its manufacturer, is a completely harmless solution to the problem of unwanted gatherings of youths and teenagers in shopping malls, around shops and anywhere else they are causing problems. Background: it seems that there is a very real medical phenomenon known as "presbycusis" or age-related hearing loss which, according to The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, "begins after the age of 20..." It first affects the highest frequencies (18 to 20 kHz ) notably in those who have turned 20 years of age or older, which means, there's real science to this Mosquito gizmo. How would you feel about the Mosquito's use in areas you or children frequent?

Category: Four For Friday



April 18, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Cell Phone Usage: According to an article I just read, there are two types of public transportation passengers: those who hate it when you whip out your cell phone and start yakking away, and the yakers themselves, who feel freedom to communicate is a natural born right. Some cities have instituted no-cell phone zones on trains and buses while others maintain an honor system. Do you think cell phone usage should be limited or banned on public transportation?

Q2 - Keychain: Are the keys on your keychain ordered in a specific way or are they slapped onto the ring in random order.

Q3 - Couch Potato For a Day: What TV-show marathon would keep you on your couch all day?

Q4 - Happy: Someone asked me the other day, "Are you happy?" (and not as in, are you happy right now but in general). How do you define happiness?

Category: Four For Friday



April 11, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Moving: If you were forced to leave your home for a location at least 500 miles away for one year, where would you choose to go? Keep in mind that your job would be secure and your financial situation would the same as it is now (mysteriously, your job would follow, and of course, if you're married or have kids or animals, they'd be able to come with you and you'd all live at the same standard as you do now).

Q2 - Recycling: An all-time high of 56% of the paper consumed in the United States in 2007 was recovered for recycling, according to the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), setting an all-time high and achieving an industry goal five years ahead of schedule. In announcing this news earlier this week, AF&PA also set a new goal of 60% recovery by 2012. Do you recycle paper? If so, what percentage would you say goes into a recycling bin?

Q3 - Crime: The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced last week that 63-year-old Louis McGuinn, a/k/a "Lowell Craig McGuinn," was sentenced to one year of probation and one hundred hours of community service for wearing service medals and badges--including the Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star, and multiple Purple Heart medals--that he did not earn or have authorization to wear. McGuinn, who was discharged from the Army in 1968 as a private, falsely held himself out as a Lieutenant Colonel. In imposing the sentence, the Judge stated that he took account of the "likely damage the defendant caused to the prestige" of individuals that had legitimately earned the medals, and specifically imposed community service to try to "redress damage to the community because of the defendant's misconduct." Do you think it should be illegal for someone to wear armed service medals and badges they did not earn, and in this case, do you feel the punishment fit the crime?

Q4 - Friends: If you could have prevented one thing from happening between yourself and a family member or a friend, what would that one thing have been?

Category: Four For Friday



April 4, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Dogs: Downward-facing dog is one of the most widely recognized poses of the ancient art of yoga. Some instructors are taking that pose literally by inviting canines into the yoga studio for classes with their owners. Do you think yoga can provide real health benefits for dogs, and if so, would you be interested in doing yoga with a dog.

Q2 - Money: If I gave you $175.00, what would you do with it?

Q3 - Life: In the United States, life expectancy is just 78 years, which apparently is too short for those of us opting to be cryogenically frozen after death. If having yourself cryogenically frozen gave you a 50/50 chance of being brought back to life at some point in the future, and you had the money to make it happen, would you go for it, or are 50/50 odds not enough for you? If 50/50 doesn't work for you, what if the odds were increased to a 100% probability of success in restoring you back to life?

Q4 - Odors: It's not just the fat and cholesterol in that sizzling bacon that will kill you: The irresistible aroma might too. A recently published study of fruit flies by a University of Houston researcher raises the possibility that even smelling rich foods may reduce the health benefits of dieting. How tempted are you by the smell of food?

Category: Four For Friday



March 28, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Research: A study published in 2006 in The New England Journal of Medicine, which claimed up to 80% of lung cancer cases could be prevented with CT scans, has been revealed to have been underwritten, in part, by a cigarette company. An investigation uncovered what some say is an undisclosed conflict of interest in the study, which was authored by the Weill Cornell Medical College. Generally speaking, how much stock do you place in research studies, and do you now question the validity of this one because of who paid for it?

Q2 - Airline Safety : In this post- 9/11 world of ours, airline safety is said to be key, but it may not be Federal Air Marshals who are keeping the nation's flights safe. According to news reports earlier this week, Air Marshals themselves say they are only on about 1% of the 28,000 or so flights that take off or land in the U.S. each day. Are you surprised to learn that so few flights are protected by Air Marshals?

Q3 - March Madness: This is the time of the year that college basketball fans and at least some who could care less join in on what is often referred to as a March Madness Basketball Pool. Whether it's for money or just for fun, did you fill out a March Madness Bracket for this year's Men's or Woman's Division I Basketball Tournament, and if you did, how is your bracket fairing?

Q4 - Which Matters More: In an article in today's BBC News, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who depicted the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, says he will sue the maker of an anti-Islam film for using his cartoon without permission. According to the BBC, Westergaard told Danish TV that his cartoon was a "protest against terrorism, not Islam as a whole." They have "a right to make [sic: a] movie but.. not permission to use my drawing." Based on what I just you, what do you feel is the most important issue at stake in this story... religious intolerance, intellectual property rights, free speech, or zealotry?

Category: Four For Friday



March 21, 2008

Four For Friday

Q1 - Drinking & Fighting: Debate over lowering the national drinking age is heating up in several states, fueled in part by legislators who contend that men and women who are old enough to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan are responsible enough to buy alcohol legally. Legislation introduced in Kentucky, Wisconsin and South Carolina would lower the drinking age for military personnel only. A planned ballot initiative in Missouri would apply to everyone 18 and older. An initiative in the works in South Dakota would allow all 19- and 20-year-olds to buy low-alcohol beer. Earlier in the week, Presidential hopeful Barack Obama made headlines by telling an underage Army veteran in Connecticut that lowering the drinking age would not be something he would support under any circumstances. What do you think... if someone is old enough to enroll in the armed services and participate in acts of war, should they be also be allowed to drink alcohol even if they're underage?

Q2 - Gasoline & Taxes: A recent poll reveled that 48% of U.S. citizens are unwilling to spend even a penny more in gasoline taxes to help reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. According to the poll's sponsor--the National Center for Public Policy Research--18% of Americans are willing to pay 50 cents or more in additional taxes per gallon of gas to reduce greenhouse emissions, which is exactly what U.S. Representative John Dingell (D-MI), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has called for--a 50 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, used to motivate Americans to conserve fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, transportation accounts for 33% of the U.S.'s man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Over 60% of these emissions--or about 20% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions--result from burning gasoline in personal automobiles. What amount, if any, would you be willing to pay in gasoline taxes to help reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions?

Q3 - Email & Interruptions: If you use a desktop email program like Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Mail, etc., do you have it set to check for mail automatically or do you manually check for mail? If your primary email account is Web-based--like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, etc.--do you have a desktop "notifier" to alert you to new mail or do you check your account manually for evidence of new messages? In either case, do you think people would be more productive at work if email were only available upon manual checks (as opposed to it automatically showing up in an In box and potentially interrupting real work?

Q4 - Charity & Donations: When was the last time you made a charitable donation to an organization other than one with a religious affiliation? What's the name of the organization and do you think your donation eventually went to a worthy cause?

Category: Four For Friday



March 14, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Organic: Recent tests of "natural" and "organic" soaps, shampoos and other consumer products show that nearly half of them contain a cancer-causing chemical that is a byproduct of petrochemicals used in manufacturing. Many items that tested positive for the carcinogen are owned by well-known brands, including Kiss My Face, Alba, Seventh Generation and Nature's Gate products, sold in retail stores across the nation. Generally speaking, before you heard this news, did you trust that "organic" products were safer or better for you than non-organic products?

Q2 - Spokesperson: If you could be the spokesperson for any company or organization for one year, what company or organization would you choose?

Q3 - Barack Obama: Results from a national study among Democrats indicated that more than half (53%), do not agree with former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro's comment that "Barack Obama would not have made it this far if he was a white man." What do you think... if Barack Obama were Caucasian, do you think he would be one of two candidates remaining in the race for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency?

Q4 - You Choose: A full-time housekeep to do your laundry and keep your house in tip-top shape five days a week, or a professional chef to cook you three squares a day, five days a week?

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Category: Four For Friday



March 7, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Storage: Do you have a storage unit? If so, what percentage of items that you currently store would you say you could easily live without? If you do not have a storage unit, would you be inclined to pay for one if the price were right?

Q2 - Affirmative Action: Come election time this November, voters in five states might have a decision to make as big as whom to elect president. Ballot initiatives have been proposed in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma that would give voters the chance to decide whether they want to do away with affirmative action in government-funded projects and public schools. How do you feel about affirmative action?

Q3 - Sign of the Times: Which concerns you more... gas prices or home depreciation?

Q4 - Sick: When you're sick (or suspect that you're sick), how many days will you typically wait before making an appointment to see a doctor?

Category: Four For Friday



February 29, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - You're the Designer: If you had to design a popular mass-market T-shirt, what kind of design/message would you produce?

Q2 - Parlez-vous francais: Without looking it up, how many countries border France? Can you name them? Regardless of whether you can name them, do you think it's important for people to know the answer to this question or questions like this one?

Q3 - What he Said: Yesterday, during a press conference, President Bush fielded the following question from a reporter:

Mr. President, you've stressed over and over in recent days particularly the importance of keeping America safe, and yet you have not yet filled a key national security post--Homeland Security Advisor. Fran Townsend announced her resignation as Homeland Security Advisor months ago, in November. What is the delay there, and what are Americans to make of that delay? Is America less safe because of it?

The President's response:

We got a fine man named Joel Bagnal working that office right now. He's a professional. I trust his judgment. He's a real good guy. And no, they shouldn't worry about Joel. He knows what he's doing. Joel Bagnal has occupied the position. He's doing the job, and I've got confidence in him. And so should the American people have confidence in him. He's a fine professional. He knows what he's doing. And I'm very comfortable in saying, on your cameras, that our staff in the White House, led by Joel Bagnal, knows what they're doing when it comes to advising the President on matters of homeland security.

Apparently, the Homeland Security Advisor position is one that needs to be officially appointed by the President, yet he hasn't done so. Knowing only what you just read, do you find the President's response to the reporter's question (as well as his handling of the matter) acceptable?

Q4 - Cell Phone Plan: Recently, Verizon announced a new cell phone calling plan that allows customers to place an unlimited number of calls anywhere in the U.S. at anytime of the day for $99 per month. Within hours of announcing the new plan, several other cell phone providers matched Verizon's price and terms. Taking into consideration how much you pay for your current cell phone plan (assuming you have one), what do you think of the $99 rate plan?

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Category: Four For Friday



February 22, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Human Nature: The new season of "Big Brother" (a popular reality television show on CBS) already has more than its share of controversies. One guy has been accused of being a racist; one woman has been called a whore; another was called the "c" word, over and over, loudly; one man referred to autistic people as "retards"; one couple is pretending to be lesbians; one woman revealed that her dad committed suicide, only to later have a roommate tell her to "go hang yourself." Regardless of whether you watch the particular television show in question, can all of this be good for the television viewing audience (that these issues are raised)? Or is it just shameless provocation? Is human nature really this bad?

Q2 - Foreign Relations: Three days after stepping down as Cuban leader, Fidel Castro is calling on the United States to change its longtime policy of sanctions toward Cuba. Do you think the United States should lift its embargo on Cuba?

Q3 - Stamp It: Earlier this week, the U.S. Postal Service immortalized novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953), best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Yearling, and her memoir Cross Creek In the foreground of the stamp art is a portrait of Kinnan Rawlings based on an undated photograph. The background depicts a fawn at a watering hole in the Florida scrub, which is consistent with descriptions in The Yearling. Who, if anyone, would you like to see immortalized on a postage stamp, and what imagery would you suggest including on the stamp?

Q4 - Lineage: How far back can you trace your family's lineage?

Category: Four For Friday



February 15, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Prescription Drugs: Unless you've been living under a rock these past few weeks, you know that actor Heath Ledger tragically died earlier this month of an accidental prescription drug overdose. Despite the fact that doctors and pharmacists are drilled in the art of explaining to their patients and customers exactly how to take prescription drugs, far too many people--a lot of them actors--still get it wrong and accidentally over or wrongly medicate themselves. Have you ever become sick because of drugs your prescribed by a doctor, or have you ever accidentally over medicated yourself?

Q2 - Advice: What advice would you give to a young boy or girl who expresses a sincere interest in becoming President of the United States?

Q3 - The Sky Is Falling: Taking a page from Hollywood science fiction, the U.S. government said yesterday it will try its darnedest to shoot down a broken down, bus-size U.S. spy satellite that's on a collision course with Earth. The Pentagon hopes to smash the satellite as soon as next week--just before it enters Earth's atmosphere--with a single missile fired from a Navy boat in the Pacific Ocean. Do you have faith that the Navy will succeed in hitting the satellite, which will be about 150 to 175 miles above the Earth's surface when the shot is fired?

Q4 - Spam: Which do you find more annoying... email spam or snail mail junk mail?

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Category: Four For Friday



February 8, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Economy: Do you think the U.S. economy will improve, worsen or stay the same upon the election of the next President?

Q2 - Interviewing: Have you ever had a really bad job interview? If so, what happened? If not, can you recall the best or worst interview question you've ever asked or been asked? If not, what's one question you would like to ask a potential employer during a job interview but would not (for fear of not getting the job)?

Q3 - Women: How would you feel if a woman became President of the United States of America?

Q4 - How Long: Give this a try (not to worry, a new window will open and it is work-safe): Click on this link, read the ensuing instructions, try the exercise at least three times, and report back on your best result. Good luck!

Category: Four For Friday



February 1, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Crime: Is there a crime, which if it wasn't illegal, you would gladly commit?

Q2 - Immigration: According to recent figures, the conflict in Iraq has forced over 2,000,000 Iraqi citizens to fee the country. Most are stuck in limbo in neighboring countries like Syria and Jordan, while a few (up to 12,000 for the year 2008) are allowed to seek asylum here in the United States. Given our government and military's actions in Iraq, do you think we should open our boarders to more Iraqi refugees or is 12,000 enough?

Q3 - Donations: Have you ever donated money to a presidential candidate? If so, looking back on your donation, do you think it was money well spent? Related: Have you donated--or do you plan on donating--money to someone running for the Presidency this time around?

Q4 - Keys: How many keys are on your keychain, and do you know what all of them are for?

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Category: Four For Friday



January 25, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Crossing: When you arrive at a street corner equipped with a "Cross / Do Not Cross" sign that can be triggered by the push of a button, and you notice someone is already waiting by the button to cross the street in the same or opposite direction as you, do you push the button or simply assume the other person already did?

Q2 - Cash: President Bush and Congressional leaders have reached a tentative agreement on a $150 billion tax relief effort to help stimulate the U.S. economy. Specifically, working Americans who have earned income of $3,000 or more will be eligible for a minimum rebate of $300 for themselves or $600 for a couple filing jointly. Based on the amount of federal income taxes paid, that rebate rises as high as $600 for an individual and $1,200 for a couple filing jointly. In addition to the individual rebate, families will receive an additional $300 per child credit. The individual rebate and the child credit phase out starting at $75,000 in income for individuals or $150,000 in family income. If you were receive a check in the mail tomorrow (as a result of a tax relief effort like this one) what would you do it / how would you spend the money? Additionally, do you welcome such "tax relief" efforts--the ones aimed at stimulating the economy--or do you think the President and Congressional leaders are out of touch with what we want or need with regard to tax relief?

Q3 - Presidential Race: Have you listened to or watched any speeches or debates by presidential candidates? If so, what did you think? If not, will you make it a point to watch any speeches or debates prior to Election Day?

Q4 - Eradication: Every large, mature Lodgepole Pine forest in Colorado will be dead within three to five years, killed in a Mountain Pine Beetle infestation unprecedented in Colorado, forestry officials recently announced. Do you think the Mountain Pine Beetle should be left alone to do its thing, or should the State of Colorado do everything within its power to save its Lodgepole Pine forests?

Category: Four For Friday



January 18, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - National ID Card: In May of 2005, President George W. Bush signed the REAL ID Act of 2005 into law. Last week it was announced that enforcement of the Act--which requires people entering federal buildings, boarding airplanes or opening bank accounts to present identification that has met certain security and authentification standards--would be postponed for three years. In 2011, however, a Federal agency may not accept, for any official purpose, a driver's license or identification card issued by a state to any person unless the state is meeting the requirements specified in the REAL ID Act. According to recent reports, citizens born on or after December 1, 1964 will have to obtain a REAL ID by December 1, 2014, while those born before that date will have until December 1, 2017 to obtain theirs. How do you feel about being required to obtain a national ID card? Do you feel like it's just another hassle to have to deal with--like long lines at the airport and Presidential Addreses which interrupt nighttime television--or do you feel like the time has come for a national ID program and that it will help law enforcement and other others tell the good guys from the bad guys?

Q2 - Comfort and Security: For some people, listening to good Jazz music while sipping a stellar Martini after a long day of work is what it takes to make them feel like they're alive and that everything is going to be okay. For others, that feeling may be found inside a house of worship, on the side of a mountain, near the ocean, or even while vegging out on the couch with a good book or the television on. What does it take for you to feel everything is going to be okay?

Q3 - Disabilities: After scientific analysis conducted in November, the International Association of Athletics Federations (the IAAF is the world governing body for track and field events like the ones which take place at the Olympics) ruled that a double-amputee sprinter named Oscar Pistorius is ineligible to compete in the Beijing Olympics because of his prosthetic racing legs--which are made of carbon-fiber blades--give him a "clear competitive advantage" over his fellow competitors. According to the IAAF, Pistorius' J-shaped blades are a "technical aid" to his running and therefore may not be used in an able-bodied competition. Do you think disabled athletes should be able to compete alongside so-called able-bodied athletes?

Q4 - Telephone Numbers: There once was a time when I had to memorize all of my friends' and family members' telephone numbers or look them up in a telephone book or hardcopy address book. Nowadays, because everything is stored in my cell phone, I couldn't even tell you my best friend's number. Is it the same for you? Do you no longer take the time to memorize telephone numbers (because they're all stored in your cell phone), or are there certain numbers you still commit to memory?

Category: Four For Friday



January 11, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Pets: In the past decade, the number of U.S. households grew 14%. During that same period, the number of pet owning households grew by nearly twice that number (22%). Owning a pet is now considered one of America's top "hobbies," according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Do you view owning a pet as a "hobby" (like painting, antiquing or photography is a hobby), or to you are pets (yours or other people's pets) considered part of the family?

Q2 - Taking a Stand: Would you be wiling to die for a cause? If so, what cause--aside one related to your children (if you have children, that is)--do you think you would be willing to die for?

Q3 - Promises: If you were running for President in 2008, what kind of campaign promises would you make?

Q4 - Adverse Possession : In common law, "adverse possession" is the process by which title to another person's real property (i.e., real estate) is acquired without compensation, by, as the name suggests, holding the property in a manner that conflicts with the true owner's rights for at least 18 years. Richard McLean and his wife, Edith Stevens, of Boulder, Colorado recently took possession of 34% of a vacant lot owned by their neighbors, Don and Susie Kirlin, who have been paying taxes and homeowners fees on it for 25 years. Using the doctrine of adverse possession, the McLean's convinced a judge to award them the property, which McLean and Stevens have been using openly and continuously for at least the last 18 years. Based on what I just told you about adverse possession and the ruling in Boulder, what do you think about adverse possession?

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Category: Four For Friday



January 4, 2008

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Voting & Safety: In the state of California, state law dictates that public schools be available for use as voting locations on electation day, but one California school principal--citing fears that his campus will be wide open on voting day and that that's not good for school safety--doesn't want his school to be used as a polling location. Do you think public schools should continue to be used as polling locations on election day?

Q2 - Executive Compensation: According to numerous news reports, Comcast will pay the beneficiary of co-founder Ralph J. Roberts an amount equal to his 2007 base salary for five years after his death, whenever that occurs. In other words, the publicly traded cable giant company has agreed in writing to pay Roberts for half a decade after he dies. What do you think about this? Should publicly owned and traded companies be allowed to engage in paying their executives after they die?

Q3 - Tripping: Will high gas prices and aggravation at the airport keep you from traveling as much in 2008 as you did in 2007, or will you be taking more trips this year than last?

Q4 - Appearance: Do you think human beings will look the same 500 years from now?

Category: Four For Friday



December 28, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY- THE YEAR-END EDITION

Q1 - Bump That Chest: Looking back on the year that was 2007, what are you most proud of?

Q2 - Moving On : Which famous person's death in 2007 impacted you the most? (Need some help? Here's a short list of some of the famous people--and one horse--who died this year: Kurt Vonnegut, Barbaro, Anna Nicole Smith, Lamar Lundy, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Boris Yeltsin, Art Buchwald, Rev. Jerry Falwell, Robert Goulet, Beverly Sills, Lady Bird Johnson, Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner, Tom Snyder, Bill Walsh, Luciano Pavoratti, Jane Wyman, Joey Bishop, Mr. Whipple, Brad Delp, Richard Jeni, Bowie Kuhn, James Faust, Eddie Robinson, Don Ho, Liz Clairborne, Joel Siegel, Ingmar Bergman, Merv Griffin, Norman Mailer, Leona Helmsley, Sean Taylor, Evil Knievel, Ike Turner, Marcel Marceau, and Benazir Bhutto.)

Q3 - Bring It!: Looking ahead--toward the year that is still to be (2008)--what are you most looking forward to?

Q4 - Now That's What I'm Talkin' Bout: What was your favorite Holiday / Christmas gift (from either this year or of all time)?

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Category: Four For Friday



December 21, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Notification: Rose Tani, the 90-year-old mother of astronaut Daniel Tani, died this Wednesday in the Chicago suburb of Lombard. Police said Rose Tani stopped behind a school bus at a railroad crossing and then drove around the vehicle, bypassing the lowered crossing gate. A train struck the elder Tani's vehicle on the passenger side and pushed it down the tracks before stopping. Daniel Tani is believed to be the first American astronaut to lose a close family member while in space. If you were on a space mission, would you want to be notified of a death in your family, or would you prefer that you be notified once you returned to Earth?

Q2 - Memory: Can you remember what got for Christmas last year? Well, according to a new survey, half of British men cannot remember what was under their Christmas tree. A 2005 Canadian study was the first to systematically mark the onset of "childhood amnesia" in children rather than adults. The research shows that by our tenth birthday our early pre-school memories have receded into an inaccessible past. What is the earliest verifiable autobiographical memory you can commit to?

Q3 - Strip Clubs: Do you think strip clubs (the ones where the ladies dance for the men) debase women, men, or both?

Q4 - Hold It: This one's an oldie but goodie here on the For For Friday. Right now, from where you're sitting, locate a clock or watch and hold your breath for as long as possible. Okay, now tell the rest of us for how long you were able to hold your breath? (FYI: The last time I asked this question--on May 20, 2004--Kim and Sya held theirs for one (1) minute, Dave and AC went for 45 seconds, I lasted 28, and seven people chose not to even try.)

Category: Four For Friday



December 14, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Two Birds with One Stone: What two daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal or annual chores would you like to combine into one chore (for instance, cooking dinner and taking out the garbage would be accomplished by just doing one or the other. Likewise, changing the baby's diapers and doing laundry OR showering and shaving--do one and the other happens without you even lifting a finger)?

Q2 - Squeamish: What is one thing that makes you absolutely squeamish?

Q3 - Effort: Juma Ikangaa, a world-class marathon runner from Tanzania, once said, "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." Do you agree?

Q4 - College: If you went to college, which turned out to be more beneficial to you today: the social experiences in which you participated or the academic training?

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Category: Four For Friday



December 7, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Holy Crap!: What would you do if you saw someone who looked exactly like you? Would you approach them and attempt to have a conversation, snap a picture if you could get away with it, or just run like hell?

Q2 - Dreams: According to many sources, with a little training and discipline, it is entirely possible to control your dreams. Would you want to be able to control what you dream about when you are asleep, and if so, what are some of the things you think you'd choose to dream about?

Q3 - Pay Phones: After years of seeing its public pay-phone business migrate to cell phones, AT&T said earlier this week it will phase out its pay phones in 13 states by the end of 2008. While AT&T's decision doesn't mean the end of the pay phone--Verizon, one of the nation's largest pay phone providers says it is still committed to the pay phone business--public phones are becoming more difficult to find. When was the last time you used a public pay phone, and are you concerned that pay phones may eventually disappear altogether?

Q4 - Lingerie-clad Models: In Carmel, Indiana, some residents are demanding City Hall do something about the local Victoria's Secret window display. Parents are concerned that Victoria's Secret goes too far with its public-facing displays, and that local children are being made vulnerable to inappropriate images. Do you feel stores like Victoria's Secret should tone it down a bit, or is how they choose to entice shoppers into their store okay as is?

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Category: Four For Friday



November 30, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Beam Me Up, Scotty: Do you think humans should actively attempt to colonize another planet, or would doing so right now simply be a waste of money?

Q2 - Absurdity: Which do you think is more absurd: That a 54-year-old school teacher in the Sudan was arrested earlier in the week and sentenced to 15 days in prison after she allowed her class of seven-year-olds to name a teddy bear "Mohammed" as part of a school project, or the fact that almost every single late night "talk" show--including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Late Show with David Letterman--is on hiatus because of a "writers" strike?

Q3 - Spend It All, Now!: On this day in 2004, longtime Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings finally lost after winning 222 consecutive rounds and netting for himself over $2.5 million in winnings. If you came into 10 times that amount of money ($25,000,000) and were given just 72 hours to spend every last dime, how would you spend it? (Caveat #1: You are limited to investing or trusting only 1% or $250,000. Caveat #2: You may only purchase one piece of real property and its cost may not exceed 4% of the total spend or $1,000,000.)

Q4 - Cars: What is the absolute worst experience you have ever had in an automobile?

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Category: Four For Friday



November 23, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE "BETTER LATE IN THE DAY THAN NEVER" EDITION

Q1 - Luggage: You can't stand in an airport for more than a minute or two before hearing: "For security reasons, please do not leave your baggage unattended. Unattended baggage will be confiscated." Keeping that in mind, what would you do if, while waiting to board a plane, a complete stranger asked you to watch their luggage while they head off to the bathroom? If you're reaction to this question is to automatically say: "I wouldn't do it," would your answer be "Yes" if you were physically attracted to the person?

Q2 - Thanksgiving: How would you rate the amount of food you ate on Thanksgiving day -- same amount you eat during an average day, less than you normally eat, more than you normally eat, or a ridiculously large amount of food/you can't believe you ate the whole thing and actually wish you hadn't?

Q3 - Holiday Shopping: According to the National Retail Federation, the average U.S. citizen plans to spend an average of $816.69 on holiday-related shopping. The research also suggests we will spend an additional $106.67 on special "non-gift" purchases for ourselves. Do these numbers ring true for you... will you be spending nearly $925.00 this holiday season? If not, do you think you'll spend more or less?

Q4 - WAKE UP!: When you travel, do you use the hotel's wake-up call system or do you prefer to futz with the hotel's alarm clock or a clock of your own?

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Category: Four For Friday



November 16, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Request: If you opened your email program and found two messages from a friend or co-worker -- one with this subject line: "Something You Should Know!!!", and the other with this subject line: "DO NOT OPEN PREVIOUS MESSAGE, EVER," would you open the first message?

Q2 - Gambling: Earlier this week, a professional tennis player was suspended for nine months and fined $60,000 by the Men's pro tennis tour for betting on tennis matches. Thirty-year-old Alessio Di Mauro, who is ranked 124th in the world rankings, was found to have bet on the matches of other professional players but not his own. Do you think professional athletes should be allowed to bet on sporting events like the rest of us--so long as they do not bet on their own games, matches or results--or should professional athletes never be allowed to bet on the outcome or statistics related to any college or professional sporting match?

Q3 - Secret Societies: If you were offered membership in a highly selective yet secret society--one whose members were rumored or shown to be significantly influential in government, banking, law, international affairs, the arts and entertainment, and more--would you accept?

Q4 - Adoption Records: Most states prohibit adoptees from obtaining birth certificates and other information from their court adoption files unless a judge approves their request. However, a recent study by a Boston-based adoption research institute says open records for adoption after the age of 18 does not result in decreased adoptions or fractured adoptive families. According to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, sealing adoption records "is a living symbol of the bad old days, when we hid unwed mothers, and stereotypes about them ruled the day." The Donaldson Institute advocates reshaping public policy to address what it sees as: 1). a basic civil right issue, and 2) a necessary step to provide access to important information about an individual's mental and physical health history. Others, like the National Council for Adoption, advocate a "mutual consent" policy rather than mandated open records. What rights if any do you feel should be extended to people of age when it comes to gaining access to their adoption records?

Category: Four For Friday



November 9, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Judged by a Supreme Being: If their objective were to judge us, what would the three worst places be for extraterrestrials to land in the U.S. and observe Americans?

Q2 - Changing it Up: After checking into a hotel, have you ever been so disappointed with your accommodations that you asked to be moved to another room? If so, what were the circumstances that led to the request?

Q3 - Wedding Bands: Do you have a system for when you do and do not wear your wedding band/ring? For instance, do you wear yours 24/7/365, remove at night or when participating in strenuous activities, etc.? If you are not married and you wear jewelry on a regular basis, what system do you employ?

Q4 - ???: What's your reaction to this?

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Category: Four For Friday



November 2, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

PLEASE READ THIS NOTE BEFORE PROCEEDING ANY FURTHER

This week's Four For Friday is a little different. As you may have noticed from my previous entry, Belicove.com is currently undergoing a server and content management system upgrade. Rather than risk this entry's comment link not working, this week--and for this week only--I kindly ask that you click over to my friend's Stu Lisonbee's, where this week's Four For Friday is posted with commenting enabled and open for your answers.

My apologies for the disruption. We should be back online and better than ever sometime next week.

Q1 - Big Oil, Big Spill: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed earlier this week to decide whether Exxon Mobil Corp. should pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages to fishermen and other victims in connection with the huge Exxon Valdez oil spill that ruined more than 1,200 miles of Alaskan coastline in 1989. Exxon's position on the matter is that a ship's owner should not be "vicariously" liable for the reckless behavior of a captain, and that punitive damages greater than $25 million are not justified because the spill resulted from an accident. Attorneys for the fishermen and other victims contend that Exxon bore responsibility for the accident because the company knowingly put a drunk in charge of an oil tanker. What do you think? Based on what you just read or know from the longstanding case, should Exxon Mobil be made to pay the $2.5 billion in punitive damages?

Q2 - Racism: Do you think you could be friends with a racist?

Q3 - Criminal Background Checks: Most cities and towns have their fair share of controversy, but Eagle Mountain, Utah, seems to be a magnet for suspicious characters. Back in the late 1990's, voters learned that a candidate for Mayor had previously been convicted of tax fraud and served time in a minimum-security prison. In 2003, the town's Mayor told his police and his wife that he had been forced to drive to California at gunpoint. After learning he lied about the incident, police charged the then Mayor with filing a false report to police. Last year, Eagle Mountain's Mayor was charged with seven felony counts of misuse of public funds. Now, someone whose Real Estate license was recently pulled by the State of Utah over allegations of Real Estate Fraud is running for Mayor, and a sitting councilwoman was recently charged with a second-degree felony for apparently accepting a $10,000 gift without reporting it to the city. Do you think candidates for public office should be compelled to submit to criminal background checks, with the results of such checks made publicly available; or is a candidate's previous criminal prosecutions and adjudications no one else's business?

Q4 - Food: Can you eat something with a texture that is visually unappealing. What about food that smells bad but taste good?

Click Here to answer this week's questions!

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Category: Four For Friday



October 26, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE 'OTHER PEOPLE'S QUESTIONS' EDITION

Q1 - Jerry Chrisman Asks: What is one of your favorite words?

Q2 - Steve Lindhorst Asks: How do react when you are out in public and approached by someone carrying a clipboard asking for your signature on a petition or requesting that you participate in a survey?

Q3 - Jake Sabey Asks: I have a friend that I have never seen wear blue jeans, a friend who claims to never have tried Ketchup, and yet another friend who cannot help but say "Bless You" immediately upon hearing someone--anyone--sneeze. What do your friends or peers know you for?

Q4 - Katie Hanks Asks: Have you ever met anyone famous? If so who and where?

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October 19, 2007

FOUR FOR FIRDAY

Q1 - I'm Telling!: In many parts of the U.S., drought conditions are so bad that homeowners are banned from watering their lawns. If you lived in a town that temporarily banned outside watering and you noticed a neighbor breaking the rule, would you go out of your way to report them to the local water authority? Would your answer change if the neighbor were someone you absolutely despise or consider a good friend?

Q2 - Now That's Funny!: An unlikely new candidate entered the Presidential race this week, adding his name to an already deep field of candidates: comedian Stephen Colbert. The host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" announced this week that he would enter the primary in his home state of South Carolina. Seriously folks, would you vote for a comedian or another non-traditional candidate, (i.e., someone who is not either a successful business person, legislator, politician, or community leader) for President of the United States?

Q3 - Cafeteria Trays: When you eat at a self-serve or walk-up-and-order and carry-it-to-your-table-yourself style of restaurant, do you use your cafeteria-style tray while you eat or do you immediately remove your food from the tray and turn in all directions to see just how quickly you can get rid of the thing?

Q4 - Media Ownership: The head of the Federal Communications Commission has circulated a plan to relax decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city. Kevin Martin, chairman of the FCC, wants to repeal the rule in the next two months -- a plan that, if successful, would be a big victory for Samuel Zell, the Chicago investor who is seeking to complete a buyout of the Tribune Company, and Rupert Murdoch, who has lobbied against the rule for years so that he can continue controlling both The New York Post and a Fox television station in New York. Do you think media conglomerates like the ones Martin seeks to exist are okay, or, like church and state, should local newspapers and television and radio stations remain separate entities?

Category: Four For Friday



October 12, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Death and Taxes: When a successful business or corporation shows an interest in relocating to a new city, town or municipality, if the business in question employs a fair amount of people or generates a significant amount of business or prestige for the local area, city officials will often woo or entice the company by offering significant tax breaks. Similarly, when a successful company indicates that it may move its headquarters or manufacturing facilities to another locale, officials offer the same--tax abatements (a reduction of taxes or an exemption from taxes granted by a local government on a piece of real property for a specified length of time). They say there are two things in life that are certain: Death and Taxes. Do you think businesses should be granted tax breaks by local governments or should they have to pay their property taxes just like everyone else?

Q2 - Politics and Religion: After speaking to an evangelical church last Sunday in a traditionally conservative South Carolina town, U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that Republicans no longer have a firm grip on religion in political discourse. "I think its important particularly for those of us in the Democratic Party to not cede values and faith to any one party," Obama told reporters outside the Redemption World Outreach Center where he attended church services. As everyone knows, separation of church and state is a political and legal doctrine that basically states that government and religious institutions are to be kept separate and independent of one another. Some would say that the two principles--secularity of government and freedom of religious exercise--are what make the United States the greatest place to live on Earth, while others would argue that secularity is our greatest downfall. What do you think? Should religion play a part in which candidate we elect as the next President of the United States?

Q3 - Home Ownership: Foreclosure filings across the United States nearly doubled last month (compared with those from September of 2006), as financially strapped homeowners already behind on mortgage payments defaulted on their loans or came closer to losing their homes to foreclosure. Without naming names, do you know anyone impacted by or who is facing foreclosure?

Q4 - X-Ray Vision: Earlier this week, at an airport in Phoenix, Arizona, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched a pilot program to test a new airline passenger screening system capable of spotting threats hidden underneath clothing. For now, passengers selected for 'secondary screening' can opt to forgo a typical pat-down and instead walk through a device that allows security screeners to view the person without their clothing getting in the way. (In other words, whoever is watching the security scanner gets to see you in the buff.) The TSA insists the machines cannot store images, but some privacy watchdogs are not buying it. Moreover, the TSA says that the people watching the scanner sit in a remote location and are not able to tell the actual identities of the thousands of bodies they'll be look at all day. How do you feel about this? If this screening process became a mandatory condition of boarding an airplane or entering a building, would your protest the process by simply refusing, or, is this just another reasonable measure to protect everyone from those who wish to cause us the greatest amount of harm?

Category: Four For Friday



October 6, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Stay or Go: Eduardo Gonzalez, a petty officer second class with the U.S. Navy, is about to be deployed to the Persian Gulf for a third time. Making his deployment a little more frustrating this time around is the fact his wife may not be around when he comes back. Gonzalez's wife, Mildred, came to the United States with her mother in 1989 when she was just 5 years old (they were granted political asylum because of their status as war refugees from Guatemala). Fast-forward 11 years to September 2000, when Mildred's mother applied for legalization and included her daughter (Mildred) in that application. Mildred's mother was finally granted legal status in July 2004, however, six weeks earlier, Eduardo and Mildred got married, canceling Mildred's ability to apply for legal status through her mother because she was no longer an unmarried daughter under the age of 21. You with me so far? (If not, read it again.) In June of this year, a judge granted Mildred a one-year extension to remain in the United States. If her legal status does not change by June 2008, she will have to leave the country or face deportation. And of course, all of this would happen while Eduardo is overseas serving in the U.S. Navy. Okay, with all this in mind, do you think Mildred Gonzalez should be allowed to stay in the United States simply because she is the wife of a U.S. soldier, or should she be treated like every other non-citizen who is deemed to be in this country illegally? Oh, by the way, Mildred and Eduardo have a young song, Eduardo Jr., who was born here in the United States.

Q2 - Prove It!: If you could disprove something that many people believe is true, what would you like to disprove?

Q3 - What Matters Most: When it comes to deciding which Presidential candidate you are going to support in 2008, which one of the following areas is most important to you when it comes to the candidates' stances on issues: National defense issues, such as the situation Iraq and terrorism; Domestic issues, such as education and health care; Moral issues, such as abortion and gay rights; Economic issues, such as taxes and trade; None of these issues; or, you're just not sure? (Note: f you are inclined to say more than one or all, then the question becomes... if you had to choose just ONE, which area would you say is MOST important to you personally?)

Q4 - Police Competitions: Reports of on-duty sheriffs deputies in Los Angeles County participating in "enforcement competitions" have watchdog groups in California crying foul. One recent competition -- Operation Any Booking -- challenged deputies to arrest as many people as possible within a specific 24-hour period. Other one-day competitions included "Operation Vehicle Impound," a contest aimed at seizing as many cars as possible, while another challenged deputies to see how many gang members and other suspected criminals could be stopped and questioned. How do you feel about these sorts of "competitions"? So long as the bad guys are rounded up and put into jail, no harm no foul; or, situations such as these encourage bad arrests, distort policing priorities, and encourage police to focus on trivial matters instead of more serious crimes?

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September 28, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Next Tuesday: Instead of going to work next Tuesday, if you could spend the entire day doing something else--any one or two things that you absolutely love doing--what would you do?

Q2 - Telecommunications & Privacy: Earlier this week, San Jose, California-based Pudding Media announced the availability of a new service that allows anyone to place free telephone calls from the Web or a cell phone. However, as many "free" offers turn out to be, there is a catch. Pudding Media uses voice recognition software to monitor your calls, and when certain keywords are spoken, timely news, entertainment, and other offers are displayed on your computer or cell phone screen. For example, if you were talking with a friend about an upcoming movie, you may see links to trailers, reviews and show times for nearby theaters. A sports fan talking about her favorite team may see commentary and game statistics on a computer or handset screen. How likely are you to use this service? Does the ability to make free telephone calls entice you enough to open up your conversations to a computer generated voice recognition software program, or does privacy dictate that you would never use such a service?

Q3 - Architecture: Back in the late-1960s, construction began on a six-building structure at the Coronado Naval Amphibious Base near San Diego, California. Designed by a respected architect, the original blueprint consisted of two central buildings and a single L-shaped 3-story barracks. Eventually, the plan called for the L-shaped building to be repeated three times at 90-degree angles from the central buildings. That's right, the United States Navy constructed a series of buildings that when viewed from above, appears to look like a giant swastika--the official emblem of the Nazi party and the Third Reich. (Don't believe me on this one? Fair enough. Google the words "Coronado" and "swastika" and see for yourself. Trust me, I could not make this stuff up even if I tried.) Now, some 40 years later, after fielding requests from the Anti-Defamation League and at least one member of Congress, the Navy plans to spend nearly $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that the complex looks like a swastika when viewed from above. How do you feel about this? Is the $600,000 expenditure an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars or is this not an issue that deserves our time and money?

Q4 - Magna Carta: Later this year, Sothebys auction house in New York will present for sale The Magna Carta, the royal document revered as the birth certificate of freedom. This iconic manuscript, dated 1297, is the original charter that enshrined the rights of man into English law, and inspired the passion for liberty that flowered in America in the 18th century and continues around the world today. Quite simply, The Magna Carta is widely considered to be the most famous single document in existence. According to Sotheby's, it is estimated to sell for between $20 and $30 million. How do you feel about items such as The Magna Carta being sold? Do you think historical documents of such significance should be banned from ever being bought and sold? If your knee jerk reaction is that there is nothing wrong with the practice, would you change your mind if oh, I don't know, it was the original version of the Declaration of Independence that was up for sale?

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Category: Four For Friday



September 21, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Books and Movies: When a movie that is based on a book is about to be released--like "Into the Wild," which is scheduled to open nationwide in early-October--do you try to read the book first or do you believe in the separation of books and movies?

Q2 - Dancing: Do you feel comfortable dancing in public, like at weddings or holiday parties? If not, would you be willing to take lessons and then try dancing in public, or is the thought of dancing in public just so unappealing that lessons aren't even a possibility?

Q3 - I Want That: If you were able to own or have one thing that a friend, colleague, or neighbor has, what would it be?

Q4 - Public Funds: The senior pastor at an Indianapolis-based Baptist church is publicly objecting the placement of special sinks that would aid Muslims (at the Indianapolis airport) in preparing for prayer because he opposes what he calls "the fraternization with our open enemies during a time of war." The sinks, which are set to be installed near a parking lot where Muslim taxi drivers wait between runs, would aid Muslims in washing their feet in preparation for ritual prayers. Despite what the pastor thinks, do you feel it is appropriate to use taxpayer funds for the support of a single religion?

Category: Four For Friday



September 14, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - What was I thinking?: What is your most regretted impulse purchase of all time?

Q2 - Staying ahead of the curve: DNA mapping has advanced to the point where it now offers strong clues as to the medical conditions you may develop later in life. Given your current age, would you want to know what the DNA map has in store for you? If you have young children, would you want to know what a DNA test reveals about their future health?

Q3 - Pricing: As a consumer, which item that you purchase and use on a regular basis--aside from gasoline--do you find to be the most ridiculously overpriced?

Q4 - Hourly wages: On this day in 1966, the U.S. federal government raised the minimum wage to $1.40 an hour. Today, the federal minimum wage is $5,85 an hour, with the state of Washington registering the highest minimum wage rate for any of the 50 states ($7.93 an hour). Do you think the current federal minimum wage is too low, just right, or too high? If you think it is too low or high, how much do you think it should it be?

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Category: Four For Friday



September 7, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Lying: Are there any circumstances under which you can see yourself lying to law enforcement officials at either the local or national levels?

Q2 - Terrorism: Terrorist monitoring groups here in the U.S. say the al-Qaida terrorist network intends to release a new video recording of Osama bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Laden on or before next week's sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks the Pentagon and World Trade Center. If in fact a recording of bin Laden were made available, would you take the time to watch it?

Q3 - Carded: A few years ago, the state of Maine's Legislature passed a law that requires store clerks to verify the identification of anyone who appears to be under the age of 27 when attempting to purchase tobacco or alcohol. Earlier this week, a 65-year-old woman who went into a Farmington, Maine supermarket to buy wine was turned away because she did not have any ID with her. When the woman asked if her elderly friend could buy the wine for her, she was told no because that would be considered "third-party" purchasing, which is illegal in Maine. If you were working the checkout line when the 65-year-old woman attempted to purchase a bottle of wine, would you have turned her away?

Q4 - Cars: If you could modify one thing about your current car (and no, junking it and starting over would not be an option), how would you make it be different?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 31, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Underwear: Pull up your pants or else! That's the sentiment behind efforts in cities across the U.S. to ban droopy trousers that reveal men's boxer shorts, and baggy sweats that reveal a women's thong. In just the last seven days alone, city councils in Shreveport and Alexandria, Louisiana, and Atlanta, Georgia, have taken up measures in favor of banning fanny-flaunting pants. Do you think it's okay for cities and towns to legislate apparel?

Q2 - Compensation: Richard Jewell--the contract security guard who was falsely accused of planting a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics, and who despite never being charged with any crime underwent what was considered by many to be a "trial by media" that took a great toll on his personal and professional life--died earlier this week of what appear to be natural causes. Nearly 10 years after his ordeal, in April of 2005, Jewell was completely exonerated when Eric Rudolph pleaded guilty to carrying out the bombing attack at Centennial Olympic Park, as well as three other attacks across the southeast portion of the United States. Considering Jewell's situation, do you feel people who have falsely been accused of major crimes should be entitled to compensatory reparations, or is having to deal with such situations simply the cost we must pay in order to live in a society that affords us with so many freedoms?

Q3 - Make Room: What particular item of food, regardless of how stuffed you may be, can you always find room for?

Q4 - I Insist: Growing up, I had a neighbor who was rumored to wear a brand new dress shirt each and every time he went to work. Never would he wear the same dress shirt twice. What is one thing that you are absolutely particular about?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 24, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Fighting: A recent poll found that U.S. citizens are now less likely to see the possibility for peace between the believers of Islam and Christianity. Of 1,029 people polled, 53 percent say conflict is inevitable between believers the two religions here in the United States. Regardless of your faith, would you engage in physical fighting on behalf of your religion/religious beliefs?

Q2 - Going: Would you use a public toilet that was entirely encased in one-way glass (it's completely impossible for anyone to see in from the outside, but when you're inside it's like sitting in a clear glass box)?

Q3 - Collecting: Jeremy Mehrle of O'Fallon, MO, recently made news for his pristine collection of Apple computers. The 30-year-old Mehrle has over 100 different models--all in excellent working condition--set up in his basement, and has no immediate plans to stop adding to his growing collection. For special events, like New Year's Eve, he plays videos on several monitors and sets up strobe effects on multiple machines, creating a rave-like atmosphere. If money was not a concern (meaning, you had enough to do it), what would you collect and how and where would you display your collection?

Q4 - Jobbing: If you could have had any job in the history of all mankind, what specific job would you have liked to have had?

Category: Four For Friday



August 17, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Back Seat Driver: When sitting in the back seat of a car, do you have a preference of which side--passenger or driver--you sit on? What if you were the only passenger sitting in the back... would you have a preference then? Related question: As the driver, do you have a preference of which side a lone back seat passenger sits?

Q2 - Lawsuits: A member of the Rutgers women's basketball team sued Don Imus and CBS on Tuesday, claiming the radio personality's sexist and racist comments about the team damaged her reputation. Kia Vaughn's lawsuit says Imus and his former co-host Bernard McGuirk, along with CBS Corp. and CBS Radio, are legally responsible for damage done to her character and reputation. Do you agree that Vaughn's character and reputation were damaged by Imus' remarks and that she has legitimate cause for action against the caustic radio host?

Q3 - Recall: Toy maker Mattel announced this week that they are voluntarily recalling millions of units of toys because of "impermissible use of lead paint and risks associated with small, high-powered magnets." Have you been affected by Mattel's recall? If not, when was the last time you were directly impacted by a mandatory or voluntary product recall?

Q4 - Impressions: If you could get away with it and do it extremely well, whose voice would you impersonate for an entire workday?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 10, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Can We?: There's a lot of talk these days about ending worldwide hunger and homelessness within the next 10 years. Do you think this can or will happen?

Q2 - I Got It!: Barry Bonds hit his 756th career home run earlier this week, surpassing Hank Aaron and landing himself in the Major League baseball record books for hitting the most homeruns in the history of professional baseball here in the U.S. As for the ball itself, it wound up in the hands of 22-year-old college student Matt Murphy of Queens, N.Y. If you were Murphy, what would you have done / do with the ball... toss it back onto the field, give it to Bonds, sell it to the highest bidder, donate it to Major League baseball's Hall of Fame, keep it on your mantel, throw it away, or something else?

Q3 - Yummy: What is your favorite non-breakfast food to eat for breakfast?

Q4 Missing Children: Nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the U.S., and while most of them are found and returned to their loved ones, not all of them are. With this in mind, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has developed a new tool for engaging the public in the search for missing children. The Missing Kid Saver is a screensaver that displays important images and information about missing children (downloadable at http://www.missingkidsaver.com). Now that you know about it, how likely are you to install the NCMECs screen saver or your home or office computer?

Category: Four For Friday



August 3, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Fall: While the Autumnal Equinox is still over a full month away (Sunday, September 23, 2007), what are you most looking forward to about the change in seasons... cooler temperatures, college and pro football, only three months till Christmas, an impending trip, something else, or do you just not care for fall?

Q2 - Bringing it Home: What are some of the very first things you do when you arrive home after work? If you live with someone--roommates, spouse, children, parents, etc.--is there something you'd do different if you lived alone?

Q3 - Ouch!: Physically speaking, what is something you wish you could still do but cannot?

Q4 - Your Bestest Friend: What is your best friend's best quality?

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Category: Four For Friday



July 27, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Safety: When it comes to your own personal safety, where do you feel the safest? In the comfort of your own home, in your office or work environment, while driving a car, when youre out on a walk or hike close to home, when backpacking in the backcountry, when visiting a relative in their home, when out shopping, at the movie theatre, etc.?

Q2 - Tech Support: Does anyone know where my friend and co-worker Greg can get a TXTSetup.oem file for driver configuration of a Via Technologies SCSI controller and associated hard drive (which as I am told is all part of the Dell Optiplex GX270 system)?

Q3 - Shoelaces: How often do you change your shoelaces? Only when one of them breaks, when they're dirty, never? If you do replace one when it breaks, do you replace both at the same time or just the one that broke?

Q4 - Floral Arrangements: Who was the last person you either sent flowers to or received flowers from, and what was the occasion?

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Category: Four For Friday



July 20, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - God's Toys: Starting next month, more than 400 Wal-Mart stores will start stocking their shelves with faith-based toys. The toys will feature figures from biblical stories such as Samson, Goliath and Daniel. There is also a 12-inch-tall talking Jesus. The idea behind the line is to give children a faith alternative to action figures that have been so popular for many years. Would you buy these toys for your children?

Q2 - Bones: How do you feel about eating meat off of a bone, i.e., chicken wings, turkey drumstick, ribs, etc.? Does eating meat directly off a bone gross you out or are you down with the bone?

Q3 - Iraq: While U.S. Senators on Wednesday blocked a bid to force a vote on U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq, a CBS News/New York Times poll finds 61 percent of Americans think Congress should not continue to fund the situation in Iraq unless a timetable for withdrawal is put in place. Twenty-eight percent say funding should be continued without a timetable, while eight percent think all funding for the conflict should be blocked, no matter what. What do you think?

Q4 - Take 'em Off: Do you wear your shoes in your own house? How do you feel when someone else asks you to take your shoes off before entering theirs?

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Category: Four For Friday



July 13, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE FOREIGN EDITION

Q1 - Outsourcing: Just a few years ago, corporate outsourcing was all the rage (and by "rage" I mean "rage"... very few employees supported the trend of sending U.S. jobs--from customer service to computer programming--overseas). Has anything changed over the last five years. Is there still an inherent distaste for the practice or has outsourcing simply become a part of doing business? What do you think?

Q2 - Living in the Third-World: If you were told you would have to live in a third-world country for one year, what would you be most concerned about, e.g., food, sanitary conditions, missing your family, civil war, etc.? Related to this, what do you think would be best part of the experience?

Q3 - Foreign Affairs: Generally speaking, what do you think of the role the United States of America plays on a global scale? Is the U.S. doing an excellent, good, fair, poor, or unconscionable job when it comes to foreign affairs?

Q4 - Working Down Under: If your boss walked into your office on Monday morning and said that she/he wanted you to pick up and move your family to Australia to work in a new division, would you go? If you said no, would you change your mind if the offer included free airfare back to the U.S. for a personal visit twice per year, plus a significant raise in salary?

Category: Four For Friday



July 6, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Possession: Aside from your home and car, what is the most expensive thing you own?

Q2 - Race: On this day in 1975, Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win a Wimbledon singles title (in tennis) when he defeated Jimmy Connors. Do you think race still plays a role in professional sports or is race no longer an issue?

Q3 - Presidential Power: Earlier this week, in an unprecedented move, Present President Bush commuted the two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame CIA leak. Bush's action marked the first time that a President had ever commuted a sentence before the convicted person ever served a day of their sentence. Do you think the President of the United States should continue to have the power to commute and pardon those convicted of a crime? As background, President Bill Clinton handed out 456 clemency actions--which include pardons, conditional pardons, commutations of sentence, remissions, etc.--including one for his own brother, who was arrested for cocaine possession; while his predecessor, President George Herbert Walker Bush issued 77 clemency actions. (President Reagan, in case you're wondering, handed out 406 over eight years, while President Carter distributed 566 during his four years in office.) Again, the question... Do you think the President of the United States should continue to have the power to commute and pardon anyone convicted of a crime?

Q4 -Annoyances: What's the most annoying part of your day (aside from answering Four For Friday :-)?

Category: Four For Friday



June 29, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE SPORTS EDITION

Editor's Note: My apologies for the delay in creating and posting this week's Four For Friday. I've been under the weather for most of the week, and today I chose to spend the day catching up on office work, not blogging. Carry on :-)

Q1 Little League: Citing concerns that orthopedists have been seeing more and more aspiring little league baseball pitchers coming into their offices complaining of arm and shoulder pain, Little League International says it's time to give young arms a rest. These days, when you send a little league pitcher to the pitcher's mound, it's 75 pitches, no more. Good thinking or an overreaching (no pun intended) rule?

Q2 Goin Pro: If you could turn pro (right now) in any sport and compete with the best of the best in that sport, what sport would you choose?

Q3 Fans Rights: A Federal appeals recently court paved the way for pat-down searches to resume at Tampa Bay Buccaneers home football games, rejecting a fan's contention that they violate his constitutional protection against unreasonable searches. High school teacher Gordon Johnston successfully challenged the frisking of fans entering Raymond James Stadium in three lower courts, but a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned those rulings, saying Johnston forfeited his right to challenge the constitutionality of the pat-downs when he consented to them. The court also said Johnston doesn't have a constitutional right to watch a football game, that he was aware of the search policy before entering the stadium, and that the football team can revoke game tickets for any reason. "Being a government teacher and knowing the Constitution," says Johnson, "I think it's the wrong decision." What do you think?

Q1 Pay for Play: Do you think college athletes should be compensated above and beyond their scholarships to attend college?

Category: Four For Friday



June 19, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE EDUCATION EDITION

Q1 - Hands Off: Hugging is now a punishable offense at a Fairfax County, Virginia, school. School children at Kilmer Middle School in suburban Washington, DC, are now under a zero-tolerance touching policy. They're banned from poking, prodding, hugging, and even high-fiving one another. In your opinion, is this a good or bad thing?

Q2 - School Lunch: Did you bring a bag lunch to school or did you buy your lunch in the cafeteria? Did any of the schools you attended--excluding college or prep school--offer breakfast?

Q3 - Paying for Performance: Starting this fall, New York City students and their families could earn as much as $1,000 a year for doing well on standardized tests and showing up for class. As part of the City's new Opportunity NYC program (a conditional cash transfer program aimed at helping New Yorkers break the cycle of poverty), families can earn $25 or $50 per month for 95 percent school attendance for elementary, middle, and high school students; $25 for attending parent-teacher conferences; and $50 for obtaining a library card. An improvement in scores or proficiency on standardized tests at the elementary and middle school levels can earn a family from $300 or $350 per test; while at the high school level, a student can earn $600 for each passing grade on individual Regents exams. Incentives of $25 will be earned for both parental review of the test and discussion with teachers; high school students can earn $50 for taking the PSAT exam, and will share $600 with their parents for annually accumulating 11 credits, and a $400 bonus for graduating. Again, in your opinion, is this a good or bad thing? Should we be offering cash incentives for academic participation and performance?

Q4 - High School Reunions: Have you ever been to a high school reunion (yours or someone else's)? If so, what was it like? If not, is it because you refuse to go to one? If so, why?

Category: Four For Friday



June 15, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Music: A friend of mine has just over 1,500 songs on his computer that he listens to throughout the workday. Over time, he has become of tired of hearing the same music over and over again. His question is this how do you branch out and find new music that you'll like?

Q2 - Church: The Church of England believes its Manchester Cathedral is no place for a gun battle, much less a gory one that can be viewed in any living room. Sony's PlayStation 3 release "Resistance: Fall of Man" features a battle among British and American soldiers and aliens inside the cathedral. The Anglicans are demanding an apology and a contribution to the Church's antiviolence education campaign using the game's profits. Sony maintains that it will not alter the game. Do you think the Church is owed an apology and payout?

Q3 - Take it With You: There's an old saying that goes something like this: You can't take it with you when you die! If you had to choose three items to be buried with, what would you choose?

Q4 - Hotels: When you stay at a hotel, do you take the free toiletries home at the end of your stay?

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Category: Four For Friday



June 8, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Customer Service: When was the last time you had to call a customer service department, and how would you rate the experience/service?

Q2 - Selling on eBay: If you were asked to sell one item that you currently own, what would you sell and how much do you think it would fetch on eBay?

Q3 - Take Your Medicine: When was the last time you took over-the-counter or prescription-strength medicine, and would you say it adequately alleviated or treated your symptoms or pain?

Q4 - Evolution: Do you think pigs will ever learn to fly?

Category: Four For Friday



June 1, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Pictures : How do you feel about having your picture taken without your permission? For instance, if you were in a public settingsay a park or restaurantand you noticed a stranger taking your picture, would you say something?

Q2 - Conservation: Do you follow municipal requests to conserve water during dry periods?

Q3 - Birthdays: According to the latest figures I could find, there are approximately 6,717,024,080 people living on planet Earth today (give or take a few hundred thousand). [Taking into consideration that there are 365 days in a year] approximately 18 million people share your birthday (I know, statistically speaking, not the best way of calculating the frequency of birthdays, but you get the point). How many people do you know who share your birthday?

Q4 - Kevorkian Schmavorkian?: Jack Kevorkian will be released from jail today after serving more than eight years of a 10- to 25-year sentence in the assisted death of a Michigan man. The only U.S. state that allows physician-assisted suicide is Oregon, where the law allows only terminally ill and mentally competent adults who can self-administer medication to ask a physician to prescribe life-ending drugs. Do you think physician-assisted suicide should be allowed, or did Michigan get it right back in 1999 when they found Kevorkian guilty of second-degree homicide?

Category: Four For Friday



May 25, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE DEATH EDITION

Q1 - Remembrances: Given the choice, what would your headstone look like and what would it say?

Q2 - Your Call: What do you think would be the best and worst ways to die?

Q3 - Better off Dead or Alive: Jerry Falwell?

Q4 - Sphere of Influence: What dead person has influenced your life the most?

Category: Four For Friday



May 18, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Sleep: Where is the most unusual place youve fallen asleep?

Q2 - Guns: Do you think blind people should be issued concealed weapons permits or be allowed to own guns?

Q3 - Driving: Taking into consideration errands and the drive to and from work, how many miles do you drive each weekday?

Q4 - Packing: When do you pack for a trip (the day of, the night before, or earlier)?

Category: Four For Friday



May 11, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Language: Does it bother you that more and more consumer goods contain packaging that is printed in both English and Spanish?

Q2 - Selective Service: Last weekend, the owner of a Louisville, Kentucky, restaurant said he didn't want OJ Simpson in his restaurant. "I said I'm not serving you," said Jeff Ruby, owner of Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse. "And then this blonde comes up to me, I guess it's his date, and says 'It' s a free country, he should be able to eat where he wants!' I said, 'Listen now, you're a blonde. You'd better be careful he doesn't slit your throat.'" What's your take on this? Should the owner of a restaurant be allowed to selectively choose whom he does and does not serve or should everyone be served so long as they are not breaking any laws or reasonable house rules?

Q3 - Standby: Have you ever flown standby? If so, was it a good experience and would you do it again? If you said you'd never fly standby again, would you change your mind if the ticket you were flying on was free?

Q4 - Problems: What do you think is the most important problem facing the United States today? The economy in general, fuel/oil prices, unemployment, federal budget deficit/federal debt, taxes, wage issues, high cost of living/inflation, the gap between rich and poor, foreign trade/trade deficit, corporate corruption, the situation in Iraq, immigration/illegal aliens, terrorism, environment/pollution, crime/violence, drugs, the media, race relations/racism, care for the elderly, or something else entirely?

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Category: Four For Friday



May 4, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY--THE SUMMER EDITION

Q1 - Summer Movies: Which movies are you most looking forward to seeing this summer... Lucky You, Spider-Man 3, 28 Weeks Later, Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Day Watch, Mr. Brooks, Knocked Up, Ocean's Thirteen, Surf's Up, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Evan Almighty, A Mighty Heart, Live Free or Die Hard, Evening, Ratatouille, Sicko, Transformers, Rescue Dawn, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 1408, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Hairspray, Goya's Ghosts, The Simpsons Movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, Becoming Jane, Rush Hour 3, Stardust, The Invasion, Good Luck Chuck, or Halloween 9?

Q2 - Summer Vacation: Are you planning to take a summer vacation? If so, where you are going? If not, where would you go if you were taking a summer vacation?

Q3 - Summer Jobs: Growing up, did you ever have a summer job? If so, what were the best and worst summer jobs you had?

Q4 - Summer Travel: Last week, the Denver Post published an article tallying a host of problems that might only worsen by the higher number of airplane travelers this summer, including that the nation's outdated air traffic control system might be overwhelmed; pilots may refuse to work overtime which may cause more cancellations; and, with most flights flying at or near capacity, there might be no open seats on other flights should yours be canceled or delayed. At the same time, some airlines have said that starting this summer they will charge between $15 and $25 extra to air travelers who wish to request aisle or exit-row seats. Are the airlines nickel and dimming you to death or is it about time we started paying extra for better meals and specific seats in coach?

Category: Four For Friday



April 27, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Life: Earlier this week, European astronomers announced that they had discovered the first potentially habitable Earth-like planet outside of our solar system, where they say conditions are so ideal that oceans, and thus life, may be possible. Do you believe intelligent life currently exists on other planets?

Q2 - Clothes: A co-worker came to work today sporting a new short-sleeved shirt from The North Face. This got me thinking... did he plan to wear that shirt today or was it a choice he made just this morning. Hmmm. Do you know before you go to sleep what you'll be wearing to work the next day, or do you choose your wears on-the-fly the morning of?

Q3 Music: Do you listen to music at work, and if so, do you use an iPod (or similar device), play them through your office computer, or do you just listen to them via a separate radio you keep nearby?

Q4 - Wall Street: The Dow Jones industrial average rose on Thursday as a fresh wave of better-than-expected profits from publicly-held companies propelled the index to its second straight close above 13,000 points (a new record for the blue-chip indicator). Two questions here: 1. Do you even know what that means (that the index hit 13,000 points), and 2. Do you care?

Category: Four For Friday



April 20, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Your Life: If life were an audition for a movie, what part would you say you were auditioning for, and what part do you think you'd be offered?

Q2 - Food: What is your favorite sandwich?

Q3 - Law: European Union nations agreed yesterday on new laws they say will combat racism and hate crimes across the 27-nation bloc, including setting jail sentences of up to three years for anyone who denies or trivializes the Holocaust. What do you think about that?

Q4 - Dress Code: If you just started working in an office that had a "business casual" dress code, and to the best of your knowledge no one had ever asked the boss (who has an open door policy) if it would be okay to dress down on Friday, would you bring it up or not touch it with a 10-foot pole?

Category: Four For Friday



April 13, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Child Support: If a parent who is responsible for paying court-ordered child support fails to pay his or her due, do you think that the parent in question should be prohibited from seeing their child?

Q2 - Company Policy: Motivated by the fear of harassment claims, many companies now prohibit men and women from meeting one-on-one inside of offices or conference rooms that do not have a window to an outside hallway or area where others can see into the room. What do you think about that? Good move because it protects everyone involved, or an unwarranted overreaction driven by nothing more than overreaching morals and fear?

Q3 - Annoyances: Which bothers you more: a slow Internet connection or a dropped cell phone call?

Q4 - Travel: Butch Cassidy, the last of the great western train-robbers, was born 141 years ago today. If time weren't an issue, how would you choose to travel from one coast to another: by train, air, auto, RV, motorcycle, bicycle, horseback, or thumb?

Category: Four For Friday



April 6, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Motivation: Professionally speaking, what motivates you? Is it money, the ability to contribute to the decision-making process, a job well done, perks like a break room stocked with yummy foods and soft drinks, engaging and solving problems with co-workers, or something else?

Q2 - Foreign Affairs: Earlier this week, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, along with a small Congressional delegation, toured the Middle East, which included a stop in Syria for a face-to-face meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking on Thursday with radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, said Pelosi exhibited "bad behavior" by meeting with the Syrian President, while other critics of the Speaker charge her with undermining Presidential power, freelancing Middle East diplomacy, appeasing a terrorist regime, and even surrendering to Islamist radicalism by donning a head scarf. Even if this is the first you're hearing of Pelosi's visit, do you think the criticism she is receiving is fair? Should the Speaker of the House's role be limited to domestic affairs, or as the Speaker of the House (a body which represents all U.S. Citizens), is it appropriate for her to meet with Foreign dignitaries one-on-one, outside of the White House's oversight?

Q3 - Pets and Recalls: Three weeks after a massive pet food recall began, there's appears to be no end in sight. Pet food processor Menu Foods has expanded its recall to include more varieties of food, while another manufacturer--Sunshine Mills--just issued a recall for more than 20 dog biscuit brands sold by Wal-Mart. As the recall expands, the Food and Drug Administration is reportedly struggling to deal with a growing number of consumer complaints, along with calls to investigate pet food on a national scale. Do you own any pets, and if so, how has your care or feeding of them changed since the recall began?

Q4 - Names: According to the Associated Press, Michael and Karolina Tomaro are locked in a court battle with Swedish authorities, which rejected their application to name their six-month-old child after the legendary rock band Metallica. Although the baby has already been baptized as "Metallica," the Swedish National Tax Board refused to register the name, saying it was associated with both the rock group and the word "metal," and was therefore deemed inappropriate. What are your thoughts on the matter? Should parents be allowed to name a child whatever they choose, or are some name so absurd and inappropriate that government should stand in the way?

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Category: Four For Friday



March 30, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Education: Across the nation, state legislatures and local school boards are hearing from parents, educators and experts about school vouchers programs--initiatives that give parents vouchers that can be used for paying for the education of their children at a school of their choice rather than at the public school. What's your opinion on school vouchers? Good for kids or bad for communities?

Q2 - Health and Politics: When Presidential hopeful John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth Edwards announced last week that her breast cancer had returned and spread to her bones, and that his presidential campaign would continue, they sparked a national discussion about the choices involved. If you were in Mr. Edwards' shoes, would you continue your run for the White House?

Q3 - Auras: Many people claim to be able to see auras--a subtle field of luminous multicolored radiation surrounding a person or object as a cocoon or halo. Do you think people can really see auras, or as with all paranormal phenomena, seeing auras is just a bunch of phooey?

Q4 - Video: Do you have a webcam? If so, how often do you use it? If not, do you think you're likely to get one sometime before the end of this year?

Category: Four For Friday



March 23, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Freedom: The United States scolded Italy yesterday for arranging the release of three Taliban prisoners in exchange for an abducted Italian journalist, saying the move could embolden the Islamist militants. The journalist on the other hand said the Italian-backed deal for his release was justified. "I think it is right to negotiate if it means showing that we are different from the Taliban, that we know how to forgive and that we respect human life above anything else." What do you think?

Q2 - Parental Rights: A mother whose 7-year-old son weighs more than 250 pounds is concerned that South Carolina social workers will take him away from her because of his size. The woman says she's taken her son to different doctors over the past four years, but no one has been able to pinpoint the cause of his obesity. She told a local television station that the Division of Social Services has threatened to remove her son from their home if he doesn't lose weight. Under these circumstances, do you feel state officials should have the right to take this woman's child away from her?

Q3 - Superhero: If you could play any superhero in real life, who would you be and what are some of the things you'd do with your newfound powers?

Q4 - Protest: If your best friend asked you to participate in a public protest of the Iraq "war," would you? If you would not, what would you be willing to stand up and protest against right now, today?

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Category: Four For Friday



March 16, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Terms of Conditions: "Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the blah, blah, blah. And, furthermore, your use of this life and any dispute arising out of such use is subject to the laws of blah, blah, blah blah blah, and blah blah blah." Do you take time to read the terms of conditions when signing up for an Internet-related service, automobile rental, airline reservation, or any of the hundreds of other services you pay for, or do you skip over the fine print for what you believe to be one valid reason or another?

Q2 - Community: How do you define "community," and what communities do you consider yourself a member of?

Q3 - I Did It, And Oh Yeah, I Did That Too: Last Saturday, during a secret hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 9/11 terror suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to playing a significant role in the 2001 terror attacks on U.S. soil. "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement read during a Combatant Status Review Tribunal at the U.S. detention facility in Cuba. Then, yesterday afternoon, the Pentagon released a revised statement of Saturday's confession, in which they say Mohammed also admitted to personally beheading Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in February of 2002. Do you believe Mohammed, or are you of the opinion that this is all just a little too convenient?

Q4 - Fighting Crime: Do you believe events like the National Night Out (against crime) do anything to curb violent crime in the United States?

Category: Four For Friday



March 9, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Waiting: Earlier this week, a federal court jury found Vice President Dick Cheneys former chief of staff Lewis Scooter Libby guilty of obstructing an investigation into who leaked a CIA operatives identify to the media. Considering that Libby was found guilty on Tuesday, March 6, do you think it is reasonable for the judge in case to wait until June 5th to hand down Libby's sentence, and for Libby to remain free on his own recognizance until the same time?

Q2 - Career: How did your parents' careers impact your plans for a future career?

Q3 - Cigarettes and Health Care: All 50 states and the District of Columbia impose an excise tax on cigarettes. New Jersey charges a whopping $2.75 per pack, while South Carolina tacks on just 7 cents per pack. Indiana's Mitch Daniels is one of eight governors proposing tobacco tax increases to help cover the cost of health care coverage for the uninsured. How do you feel about the government acknowledging on the one hand that smoking is bad for everyone's health (and going so far as to encourage people not to smoke), while at the same time assessing and collecting taxes on something that kills well over 360,000 people annually here in the United States?

Q4 - Best Place to Work: According to FORTUNE magazine, Google, Genentech, Wegmans Food Markets, Container Store, and Whole Foods Market are five of the best companies to work for. If you could change one thing about your workplace for the better, what new benefit, policy, or program would you put in place?

Category: Four For Friday



March 2, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Your Paycheck: If you could receive your entire paycheck in the form of a gift card, which retail store or restaurant's gift card would you choose?

Q2 - 911 Tapes : We have all heard them on the radio or television: 911 recordings between emergency dispatch and citizens in harm's way. Do you think 911 recordings should be made available to the public?

Q3 What Would it Take: How much money would it take for you to eat nothing but McDonald's, Burger King, or Wendy's for 30 consecutive days?

Q4 - Scandal: Yesterday, federal officials in the U.S. broke up one of the largest Wall Street insider trading rings since the 1980s. Thirteen people, including executives and brokers at Morgan Stanley, UBS Securities, Bear Stearns, and Bank of America Securities, have been indicted for schemes that netted high worth individuals millions of dollars. Earlier in the week, an allegedly illicit steroid distribution network, which authorities are saying is responsible for Internet sales of performance-enhancing drugs nationwide, was broken up by the Albany County (NY) District Attorneys office. Customers reportedly included Los Angeles Angels baseball player Gary Matthews Jr., numerous high school and collage athletes, a former Mr. Universe bodybuilding champion, and former heavyweight-boxing champion Evander Holyfield. Which concerns you more: Insider trading on Wall Street or the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs by amateur and professional athletes alike?

Category: Four For Friday



February 23, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Power: Which would you rather have: The power to make all the decisions, or the ability to veto them?

Q2 - Religion: Earlier this week, former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts was heckled by a man during a speech at a retirement community in Florida. "And you sir....you're a pretender...you do not know the lord...you're a Mormon," the heckler shouted. Romney answered back saying, "I'm convinced that the nation does need to have people of different faiths, but we need to have a person of faith lead the country." Do you agree with Romney? Do we need a President who believes in organized religion? Said differently, do you think a presidential candidate's religion or lack there of should play a factor in his or her run for office?

Q3 - Personal Safety: A friend of mine--a young woman around 19 or 20-years-old--was recently offered an opportunity (via an online matching service) to be a nanny for an east coast family. After emailing and talking with the husband and wife a few times by phone, the couple--who never even conducted a background check on my friend--offered to purchase her a plane ticket to fly from her home in Utah to theirs in New Jersey for an interview and multi-night stay. Based on that information alone, would you encourage my friend to make the trip, or would you caution her to the potential dangers associated with hopping on a plane to visit people she doesn't know in a part of the country she has never been to?

Q4 - Hours in a Day: If you could, would you add or subtract the number of hours in a day, and how would your decision impact your daily life?

Category: Four For Friday



February 16, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Public Speaking: What is the largest group of people you have ever spoken in front of, and what was the focus of your talk/speech?

Q2 - Freedom of Speech: Earlier this week, former Miami Heat basketball player Tim Hardaway said on a sports radio talk show that he would not want a gay player on his team. "You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known," Hardaway said. "I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States." National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern, upon learning of the remarks, banished Hardaway from this weekend's NBA's All-Star activities in Las Vegas. Despite what you think about Hardaway's comments, do you think the NBA took the right, appropriate or just action in barring him from the League's All-Star functions?

Q3 - Food Poisoning: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat from certain jars of Peter Pan peanut butter or Great Value peanut butter due to risk of contamination with Salmonella Tennessee (a bacterium that causes food borne illness). The affected jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter have a product code located on the lid of the jar that begins with the number "2111." Have you ever had food poisoning? If so, what made you sick, and can you still eat that particular food? If a restaurant was involved, can you still eat food from the establishment that contributed to your food poisoning?

Q4 - Purchases: What was the last thing you purchased, and what do you think you will purchase next?

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Category: Four For Friday



February 9, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Legislative Perks: In Indiana, home to the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, 45 state lawmakers took advantage of the Colts' offer to buy two tickets at $600.00 each to attend the Super Bowl game in Miami, FL. Do you think state law makers or members of Congress should be given preferential treatment when it comes to purchasing highly sought after tickets to sporting events?

Q2 - Fast Food: Putting aside for a moment how bad you know it is for you, what is your favorite fast food meal?

Q3 - Rules of the Street: For some, the lure of an iPod may be less about music and more about blotting out the world around them. But in some major New York cities, at least, the pause button could soon be pressed on this most modern of luxuries because someone has decided it's dangerous. New York State Senator Carl Kruger plans to introduce legislation that would ban the use of handheld devices such as BlackBerries, iPods, cell phones, and portable video games while crossing streets in major New York cities. Under the proposed law, pedestrians and bicyclists caught using any kind of electronic device while crossing a street would be hit with a $100.00 fine. Do you agree with Kruger's proposal? Should handheld devices be banned in certain public settings?

Q4 - Movie Ratings: The American Medical Association Alliance will soon release the results of a national survey that it says shows that the majority of adults support an "R" rating for Hollywood movies that feature people smoking cigarettes. What do you think? Should movies featuring cigarette smoking actors or actresses be given an "R" rating?

Category: Four For Friday



February 2, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Shopping Carts: When you're done using a store's shopping cart (bricks-and-mortar, not online), do you return the cart to the store, leave it in the parking lot, or push it into one of those storage areas that takes up all the great parking spots?

Q2 - Global Warming: Do you think global warming is an environmental problem that is causing a serious impact now, or do you think global warming isn't having a serious impact?"

Q3 - Prison: At the Southeast State Correctional Facility in Windsor, Vermont, inmates have been told that the facility's prison cats must go. According to SSC's new superintendent, the facility, which for years has allowed cats to come and go as they please, is not conducive to a pet program. If you were in charge of the facility, would you voluntarily parole Ziggy, Marmalade, Smokey and Shane, or would allow them to stay?

Q4 - Taxes: After federal taxes are collected from the public, do you think the U.S. Congress thinks of the money more as taxpayer money to spend carefully or as their money to spend as they wish? How much of the money you pay in taxes do you think is spent on government programs that you personally favor and support?

Category: Four For Friday



January 26, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Smoking Bans: There's little dispute that smoking and second-hand smoke is bad for your health. But did you know it could also be bad for your driving record? Last week in Maine, the Bangor City Council passed an ordinance making smoking while driving in the car with children under the age of 18 a primary offense, meaning the police can pull over motorists who are suspected of breaking the law, with violators being fined up to $50 per occurrence. Do you think the Bangor City Council made the right decision, or is this just another situation where the government is interfering in our lives?

Q2 - Time: Which do you prefer: Military Time/the 24-hour clock... "I'll meet you at the gym at 19:00," or the more traditional way of expressing time via the 12-hour clock... "I'll meet you at the gym at 7:00 p.m."?

Q3 - You're Outta Here!: Were you ever suspended from school, and if so, what for? If not, did you ever skip school? If you did, what was your most memorable skipping-school experience?

Q4 - Gas: Sixty-five percent (65%) of U.S. respondents to a new UPI-Zogby International poll say a rise in gasoline prices to $4.00 a gallon would cause them to make a significant cutback in driving. Another 13.3 percent said it would take $5.00 a gallon for them to change habits, while 3.1 percent said $6.00 would get their attention. How about you...at what price per gallon would you choose or be forced to make a significant cutback or change in your driving habits?

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Category: Four For Friday



January 19, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE BATHROOM EDITION

Q1 - The Bathroom Door: When you're home alone and find that it's time to use the bathroom, do you shut the bathroom door, or do you leave it open?

Q2 - Door Number Two: We've all seen them...unisex bathrooms in restaurants or in the workplace that have both a urinal and a separate toilet surrounded by a stall, all behind a lockable door. Assuming you lock the door to the bathroom (which I'm guessing every sane/reasonable human being does), if you choose to use the toilet inside of the stall, do you also lock the stall door, or do you leave it unlocked?

Q3 - Under or Over: According to a physics professor quoted by Ann Landers, to get (the toilet paper roll) to turn requires a certain torque, which comes from the tension in the paper being withdrawn. The greater the distance between the plane of the paper being pulled and the axis support line, the lesser the force required and the lesser the chance of tearing the paper before you have enough. Which camp are you in: Should the toilet paper be hung so the paper dangles over or under the roll?

Q4 - Keeping It Clean: How often do you clean your bathroom? When you do clean it, do you clean certain parts--like the toilet or the sink or the shower/tub--at various times, or do you like to get the whole job done in one sitting (no pun intended)?

Category: Four For Friday



January 12, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Gift Cards: The National Retail Federation says that we spent $24.81 billion this past holiday season on Gift Cards, and that each one us spent more on gift card contributions last year than the year before (the average consumer, says the NRF, spent $116.51 in 2006 vs. $88.03 in 2005). Did you purchase a gift card for someone last year? If not, did you receive a gift card from someone as a holiday gift?

Q2 - Email: When you open your email in-box for the first time each day, which messages do you read first? Do you read them in reverse chronological order or do you pick and choose which ones to read first based on a different priority?

Q3 - Weather: The current El Nino weather anomaly that can create atmospheric havoc around the world should continue into the spring, extending unseasonably warm temperatures in North American through March, the U.S. National Weather Service predicted yesterday. How has the weather impacted your life these last few months? If you live up north, are you receiving more or less snow; and if you in the down south, is it cooler or warmer than normal? Despite whether (no pun intended) you normally receive snow or not, are you happy, sad, or indifferent about your area's current weather?

Q4 - National Guard Service: For the first time since President George W. Bush mobilized the National Guard and Reserve (after 9/11), the Pentagon is abandoning its limit on the time a citizen-soldier can be required to serve on active duty. Until now, the Pentagons policy on the National Guard and Reserve was that members cumulative time on active duty could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit is now lifted; the remaining limit is on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months. In other words, a citizen-soldier could be mobilized for a 24-month stretch in Iraq or Afghanistan, then demobilized and allowed to return to civilian life, only to be mobilized a second time for as much as 24 additional months. In your opinion, is the Pentagon's change fair, and furthermore, do you think it's called for?

Category: Four For Friday



January 5, 2007

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Investing: If you had extra money to invest in 2007, where would you put it? Real Estate, the stock market, municipal bonds, a friend's start-up, in a savings account, in a hedge fund, under your mattress, in a foreign market, in U.S. savings bonds, mutual funds, precious metals, your 401K or IRA, baseball cards, or somewhere else?

Q2 - Execution: As recently as yesterday afternoon, nearly six days after it happened, U.S. President George W. Bush steadfastly denied having seen the video of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's execution. Do you believe him?

Q3 - Gays in the Military: A recent poll from Zogby International shows that U.S. military personnel are increasingly at ease serving with openly gay colleagues. The poll reveals that 73 percent of military members are not bothered by lesbians and gays serving alongside them. Nearly one in four (23 percent) service members polled reported knowing for certain that someone in their unit is lesbian or gay, including 21 percent of those in combat units. Do you feel gay people should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, and despite what you believe, has you opinion on this matter changed any over the last 5-10 years?

Q4 - Movie: What was the last movie you saw, and would you recommend that I take my Mother to see it?

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Category: Four For Friday



December 29, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Multitasking: Eighty percent of us claim to be multitaskers, and nearly two-thirds of all multitaskers consider themselves good at it. How about you...are you a multitasker? If so, do you multitask by choice or design?

Q2 - Federal Closings: Yesterday, President George W. Bush declared that Tuesday, January 2, 2007, will be a National Day of Mourning here in the U.S. after the death earlier this week of former U.S. President Gerald Ford. In doing so, President Bush ordered all government agencies and departments to close on Tuesday, except for offices essential to national security. In your opinion, do you think federal employees should have the day off from work because of the death of President Ford?

Q3 - Who's on First: For the second time in the last 10 days, a powerful storm has dumped major amounts of snow on Denver, Colorado, and Denver International Airport (DIA). Nearly 5,000 airline passengers were stranded at DIA during a 45-hour closure last week, and when the airport reopened, many of those stranded passengers found themselves waiting even longer to board planes because new passengers arriving at the airport were given preference for flights. Do you think grounded passengers should be first in line for the first available flights, or is it okay for new passengers booked on new flights to have preference over grounded passengers?

Q4 - Calendar: Do you have a 2007 calendar? If so, is it the kind with pictures on one side and the previous month on the backside, or is it a desk calendar, sans pictures? If a picture calendar, what is its theme? If you do not have a 2007 calendar, do you plan to buy one or are you not the calendar type?

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Category: Four For Friday



December 22, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Wealth: In 1982, the year Forbes started publishing its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americas, the magazine could find only a dozen or so billionaires. This year, The Forbes 400 list includes billionaires only. What is your definition of wealthy?

Q2 - Advertising and Religion: Bahrainian athlete Ruqaya Al Ghasara runs her track & field races wearing a hijab (a full Muslim headscarf). Nike, which sponsors Al Ghasara and is notorious for splashing its logo on everything in sight, somehow managed to get the Nike swoosh emblazoned onto the sides of Al Ghasara hijab. In your opinion, should Nike have stopped short of swooshifying a religious garment, or is Al Ghasara hijab fair game for branding?

Q3 - Asking for Advice: According to a recent survey, most employees are unwilling to turn to their boss for advice on problems at work. In fact, a supervisor was cited by only 11 percent of employees surveyed as a source for workplace advice. More employees rely on a peer, another senior person, or a friend outside the company when searching for advice on work-related issues. How about you? When you are experiencing problems at work, who do you turn to for help or advice?

Q4 - Sleep: While everyone pretty much knows that sleep is vital to our health and well being, millions of us are not getting enough of it, or are suffering from sleep-related problems. For example, surveys conducted by the National Sleep Foundation reveal that 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month. What time did you go to bed last night, and do you think you got enough sleep?

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Category: Four For Friday



December 15, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - What Should He Do: A friend of mine found a dollar bill yesterday in the stairwell to our office building. What do you think he should do with it?

Q2 - Name That Town: If you could rename your town, what would you call it and why?

Q3 - Ante Up: To the best of your recollection, what is the most you have ever paid for a meal (either for yourself or for yourself and one other person), and...was it worth it?

Q4 - Fly Away: How many trips, if any, did you take on a commercial airliner in 2006? How does that compare to the amount of air travel you think you will do in 2007?

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Category: Four For Friday



December 8, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Payout: Michael Richards, immortalized as Kramer on TV's Seinfeld, was caught on tape last month at a Los Angeles comedy club delivering a racist tirade directed at four African-American hecklers. The hecklers--three men and one woman represented by celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred--have reportedly agreed to meet Richards' (with a retired judge who will serve as a mediator) to accept Richards' apology. If the judge recommends it, do you think Richards' should pay financial damages to the four people he offended? If not, do you think he should make a financial contribution to a race relations-related cause?

Q2 - Time Off: How much time off from work will you be taking between now and the beginning of 2007?

Q3 - Priorities: A recent poll from the Gallup Organization show that Americans want their government leaders to focus on Iraq as the nation's top policy priority. According to Gallup, more than two-thirds of Americans name Iraq in this context, and it is the dominant issue for Republicans as well as Democrats. The economy and healthcare trail far behind, while concerns about immigration and fuel prices are down considerably from earlier this year. What do you feel the U.S. Congress's top priority should be now and in 2007?

Q4 - Favorite "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "The Little Drummer Boy," etc. What is your favorite animated Christmas special?

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Category: Four For Friday



December 1, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Already Seen: Do recall your last experience with deja vu? If so, what was it about? If not, what was the focus of the last dream you can recall?

Q2 - I Spy: According to the University of Indiana, on average, adults blow their noses about forty-five times during the first three days of a cold. Do you look (and don't act like you don't know what I mean when I say "look") when you blow your nose?

Q3 - Shopping: What percentage of your 2006 holiday shopping do you plan to do online, and how does that compare to last year?

Q4 - Photos: Do you prefer Black & White or Color photographs?

Category: Four For Friday



November 17, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Thanksgiving: Eleven percent (11%) of Americans admit to unbuttoning their pants before, during, or after their Thanksgiving day meal. How about you...do you keep it buttoned up or do you enjoy a little extra room when eating a hearty meal?

Q2 - Education: How well do you think math and science is being taught in American schools?

Q3 - Politics: If you could choose the major candidates for the 2008 U.S. presidential race, who would you designate to run, and who you like to see win out?

Q4 - You're in Charge: If you could run any corporation, college or university, or organization in the world for one month, which one would you choose and what sorts of changes do you think you'd make?

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Category: Four For Friday



November 10, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Iraq: On Monday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he opposed the death penalty for former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein but that his trial had reminded the world of the deposed leader's brutality. Even if Hussein loses his appeal and dies on the gallows, it probably will have little effect on the future of Iraq, experts say. What do you think...should Saddam Hussein's death penalty be carried out, and if so, what kind of impact do you think it will have in the U.S. action in Iraq?

Q2 - College: If you went to college, did you learn more from the social or academic aspects of the experience? If you didn't go to college, do you wish you had?

Q3 - Life and Religion: A friend's teenage son recently said that one of the problems he has with fundamental religion is that it teaches that we are all bad and that we are only going to be rewarded if we make all the right choices and do all the right things. He then said, "Life isn't the test; it's a time for learning." Your thoughts?

Q4 - Whodunit: If you could solve any unsolved crime in history (or prove with certainty that a particular crime was incorrectly solved, and resolve it), which one would you choose?

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Category: Four For Friday



November 3, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Faith: Nearly half of all Americans are not sure God exists, according to a poll that also found divisions among the public on whether God is male or female or whether God has a human form and has control over individual or worldly events. The survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 42 percent of U.S. adults are not "absolutely certain" there is a God compared to 34 percent who felt that way when asked the same question three years ago. What do you think? Does God exist, and if so, do you think God has control over events?

Q2 - Work: Do you socialize with co-workers outside of the office?

Q3 - Holiday Travel: Are you traveling for the upcoming holidays or are you expecting family and friends to come to your home for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas?

Q4 - You Choose: Which would you rather have...a personal assistant or a personal trainer?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 27, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Image: Does it bother you that the rest of the world seems to hate the United States? Do you think the U.S. has to change its politics or simply do a more effective job at public relations?

Q2 - Education: Which do you feel is the best environment for children's education, single sex or co-ed?

Q3 - Convenience: The 2007 Lexus LS has a feature that helps its driver parallel park or back the vehicle into a parking space. At the touch of a button, the 'Advanced Parking Guidance System' automatically parallel parks the LS or backs it into a parking space with just a little brake work by the driver. If this feature were available for your car, would you use it?

Q4 - Work: If you had to choose between working in sales or customer service, which would you choose?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 13, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Holiday Decorations: We have a lot of 'holidays' here in the U.S., including New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Do you ever decorate your home or office space for a holiday? If so, which ones, and how far do you go with your decorating?

Q2 - Birth: Were you born in a hospital or somewhere else?

Q3 - Shoes: Do you wear shoes inside your home?

Q4 - Congressional Pages: The United States Congress employs approximately 100 teenagers from around the country as pages who serve as messengers and who perform administrative tasks for members of Congress. Would you allow your teenage child to be a Congressional page?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 6, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Grocery Shopping: When you go to the grocery store, do you create a shopping list beforehand or do you buy according to a routine or whatever suits your tastes?

Q2 - Awards: If you did the work, which award would you like to receive: The Noble Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, Literature, or Peace?

Q3 - Politics: Do you plan on voting in this November's elections? If so, and if a congressional seat is up for grabs in your area, do you view your ballot as a vote "against" the President, rather than a vote "for" him, or will your vote not take into account the President's performance?

Q4 - Royalty: If you could be King or Queen of any country, which country would you choose and why? (Sorry but Disneyland is not a country.)

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Category: Four For Friday



September 29, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Sleep: When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter, and why? If you can't recall, then where's the most embarrassing place you've ever fallen asleep?

Q2 - Trust: Who do trust the most, or in what order would you rank your level of trust for each of the following: Clergy, Teachers, Police, Doctors, Print Journalists, Bankers, TV Newscasters, Scientists, Lawyers, Members of Congress, and Stockbrokers?

Q3 - Sick: When youre sick, do you prefer to be left alone or do you like to have someone attending to your every whim and desire?

Q4 - Sidekick: If you could pick any cartoon character to be your very own personal assistant, who would you pick and why?

Category: Four For Friday



September 22, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Jewelry: Aside from an engagement ring and/or wedding band, is there a particular piece of jewelry that you wear all the time or most of the time? If so, what is it, who gave it to you, and how long have you had it?

Q2 - Education: Do you think an undergraduate degree from an elite private college like Harvard, Princeton, or Stanford is worth the cost?

Q3 - Movies: School for Scoundrels, The Science of Sleep, The Guardian, Employee of the Month, Man of the Year, Little Children, Driving Lessons, All the King's Men, The Departed, Marie Antoinette, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, A Good Year, Stranger Than Fiction, Open Season, Fast Food Nation, The Pursuit of Happyness, Deck the Halls, etc. Which movies are you most looking forward to seeing this fall?

Q4 - Music: What's the last song you downloaded from the Internet? If you've never downloaded music, what was the last CD you purchased from a store?

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Category: Four For Friday



September 15, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Law Enforcement: Generally speaking, do you trust the police? How about the police in your town?

Q2 - Equestrian: Have you ever ridden a horse? If so, do you remember his or her name? If not, and if you were asked to name someone else's horse, what would name it?

Q3 - Cameras: Do you think it's a good or bad idea to allow cameras in courtrooms?

Q4 - Break-ins: Has your car or home ever been broken into? If so, what was stolen and was any of it ever recovered?

Posted by Mikal at 12:02 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



September 8, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Politics: A recent poll conducted by CNN revealed that Republicans favor former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, while Democrats are looking toward U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as their nominee. Looking ahead to 2008, do you feel you will pleased or disappointed with the person elected President of the United States?

Q2 - High School: Who were you in high school: a jock, prep, dork, geek, motor head, nerd, druggie, punk, straightedge, brainiac, suck-up, a/v cart pusher, teacher's pet, slacker, club member, etc.?

Q3 - Roadside Attraction: If you were given free reign to create a roadside attraction, what would you create?

Q4 - 9/11: Do you agree with the oft-repeated line that "9/11 changed everything"?

Category: Four For Friday



September 1, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Food Eating Contests: Joey Chestnut, the top-ranked U.S. competitive eater, is looking to capture his second straight title this weekend at the Waffle House Waffle-Eating World Championships at Stone Mountain Park, Georgia. (Last year, Chestnut won the title by devouring 18.5 eight-ounce Waffle House waffles in 10 minutes.) If you were to quit your day job and take up competitive eating as a professional gustatory athlete, what food items would you specialize in, or, which food eating contest would you be the hands-down favorite to win the world championship?

Q2 - Laundry: When you do laundry, do you use the recommended amount of detergent or do you pour to your heart's content?

Q3 - Handwriting: Do you like your signature?

Q4 - Today: What are four things you know you will not be doing today?

Category: Four For Friday



June 17, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Holiday: If you could celebrate any holiday twice in one year, which one would it be, and what time of the year would you celebrate it for a second time?

Q2 - Constitution : In your opinion, which of the following issues most needs to be addressed by a Constitutional Amendment: Balanced Budget, Flag Burning, Gay Marriage, Privacy Rights, Something Else, or the Constitution is Fine As Is and Does Not Need Any Further Amendments Right Now?

Q3 - Computer Applications: Last week, Google announced that it would soon launch Google Spreadsheet, a web-based application that someday may compete with Microsoft Excel. How do you feel about web-based applications and programs verses having applications like Microsoft Office (which include Word and Excel) loaded directly onto your computer's hard drive? In other words, all things being equal, do you think you'd ever switch from Microsoft Excel (or Word) to a program like Google Spreadsheet, or do you like the control and comfort associated with having your computer programs and applications right on your own hard drive?

Q4 - Trash: What was the last thing you threw into a trashcan?

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Category: Four For Friday



June 9, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Name It: If you were asked to put together a band, what would you name it and what kind of music would you play?

Q2 - Food: When was the last time you ate cake, and what type of cake was it?

Q3 - eBay: Have you ever bought or sold something on eBay? If so, what did you buy (or sell)? If not, why not?

Q4 - Training: How useful do you think diversity or sexual harassment training is in the workplace?

Posted by Mikal at 10:24 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



June 4, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE LATE EDITION

Q1 - Specialty License Plates: Fourteen states have now approved or are already issuing state-approved anti-abortion license plates for cars. Supporters of the "Choose Life" plate encourage its use because proceeds facilitate and encourage adoption as a positive choice for women with unplanned pregnancies, while critics contend that the plates promote specific religious beliefs and that state governments should not be sanctioning political messages on license plates. What do you think?

Q2 - Death: Do you believe in reincarnation, and if so, do you think you had a past life?

Q3 - Work: How many hours do you typically work in a week, and what's the most you've ever worked over one seven day period?

Q4 - Lock: Do you lock your own bedroom door at night before you go to sleep?

Category: Four For Friday



June 2, 2006

NO FOUR FOR FRIDAY TODAY: SORRY!

My apologies... due to unforeseen circumstances, this week's Four For Friday will be posted over the weekend. Please check back late-Saturday or Sunday for this week's edition.

- Mikal

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Category: Four For Friday



May 26, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Automobiles: A gallon of gasoline weighs just over 6 pounds. When burned, the carbon in it combines with oxygen from the air to produce nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2). With that in mind, and with the price of gasoline continually on the rise, how likely is it that the next car you buy will be a hybrid?

Q2- Television: How many channels are on your television, and approximately how many of them do you watch on a somewhat regular basis?

Q3- How Are They Doing: Do you think pharmaceutical and drug companies generally do a good or bad job of serving their consumers?

Q4- Right Now: What is the closest object to your left hand?

Category: Four For Friday



May 19, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Travel: When was the last time you boarded an airplane, and where did it take you?

Q2 - Security: Do you think National Guard troops should be deployed to bolster security along the U.S. / Mexican border?

Q3 - Dreams: Do you remember your dreams? If so, describe the most recent dream you can remember

Q4 - You Say: Finish this sentence: "When I woke up this morning..."

Category: Four For Friday



May 12, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Shopping: How important is the "Made in America" label in your purchasing decisions?

Q2 - Eavesdropping: To what degree do you feel government should be allowed to monitor its citizens phone calls without court approval (as much as it wants, not at all, by court order only, or somewhere in between)?

Q3 - Soda: Last week, all of the major soft drink manufacturers agreed to stop selling sugary soft drinks in public schools. Schools, responding to pressure that soft drinks contribute to children being overweight and unhealthy, will instead only sell water, low-fat milk and certain unsweetened juices to elementary and middle schools, and diet sodas, flavored water, unsweetened or diet teas and sports drinks to high schools. What do you think? Will this help children to be more fit, healthy and not become overweight?

Q4 - Retirement: Based on what you know today, at what age do you think you'll retire?

Category: Four For Friday



May 5, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Actors & Actresses: Will you go out of your way to avoid watching a particular movie just because it features an actor or actress you do not like? What if the movie in question also features an actor or actress you do like?

Q2 - Established Customs: Good habits like bad ones are habit forming. What's one habit you'd like to break?

Q3 - Nuestro Himno: By now, everyone probably knows that "Nuestro Himno" is the Spanish language version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," and that U.S. President George W. Bush recently stated that he feels that the national anthem should be sung in English only. Despite the fact that the U.S. State Department's own web site features four Spanish language versions of "The Star-Spangled Banner," do you feel that the national anthem should be sung in English only?

Q4 - Driving Age: Do you feel your state's age requirement for receiving a driver's licenses is appropriate as is, should be lowered, or should be raised?

Category: Four For Friday



April 28, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY + 1

Q1 - Possessions: Do you think that the more stuff you own enhances your life or adds to your burden?

Q2 - Oil: If OPEC decided to turn off the oil spigot, do you think that the United States would have the right to wage war to protect its interests?

Q3 - Movie: Have you seen the movie Ellie Parker with Naomi Watts? If so, would you recommend it to a friend?

Q4 - Birthday: What are the maximum number of days someone should spend celebrating his/her birthday?

Bonus Question...

Q5 - Dancing: How often do you dance... and I don't mean just boogying to your favorite tunes inside your car or in the shower. We're talking real dancing here, with a partner on a dance floor (weddings count).

Category: Four For Friday



April 21, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Sleepover: A friend calls you up and says, "Hey, me and some of my buddies are headed your way for a [insert reason here... concert, bike race, conference/trade show, etc.]. Can we crash at your place Saturday night?" What do you say... yes; no; depends on how many people they're bringing? Despite what you'd tell this friend of yours, if you made the effort, how many people could you accommodate for a one-night sleep over?

Q2 - Learning: When did you last learn something entirely new, and what was it that you learned?

Q3 - Natural Disasters: A major earthquake (estimated to be about 7.7 magnitude) rocked a sparsely populated region of eastern Russia earlier today. Considering that certain regions of the planet are more prone to earthquakes than others, would you go out of your way to avoid those regions, even when traveling for leisure? For example, would not visit San Francisco, California, because of its earthquake-related reputation?

Q4 - Reading: Quick, I need to suggest a book for my guys & gals book club. What title should I assign to everyone to read (for the month of June)?

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Category: Four For Friday



April 14, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE PICK FOUR EDITION

Since I've been such a bad blogger as of late--and to make up for last week's absence--this week's Four For Friday includes four additional questions. Feel free to answer all eight, or as they say in the scratch lottery biz, pick four. I'll be back next Monday with a full explanation of what I've been doing with my time and why that has kept me away from my personal blog. In the meantime, here's this week's FFF:

Q1 - Toothpaste: If you were asked by a toothpaste manufacturer to come up with a new flavor, what would be your top three suggestions?

Q2 - Websites: The U.S. Postal Service allows anyone to see the authenticated physical address of a commercial PO Box owner, while at the same protecting vigorously the address of a non-commercial owner. Phone companies protect the privacy of unpublished phone numbers' owners. Should website owners be allowed to register site names anonymously?

Q3 - Food: What's the absolute strangest food you've ever tried?

Q4 - Gasoline: Economists are predicting that gasoline prices in the U.S. will reach $3.00 per gallon within the next three months. How will this summer's gas prices impact your travel plans?

Q5 - Health Insurance: Do you think all employers should be required by law to pay some or all of the costs associated with their employees health insurance?

Q6 - September 11th: How do you feel about movies that attempt to portray what happened onboard commercial airplanes that were downed on 9/11? Do have an interest in watching these movies?

Q7 - Taxes: Did you file your 2005 taxes yourself or did you enlist the services of a professional tax preparer? In either event, did you file online or by hand?

Q8 - Hey You: When you're on a horse farm and you want to get a horse's attention, you make a clicking sound with your mouth. What sort of sound would I need to make to get your attention?

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Category: Four For Friday



March 31, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Underdogs: One of the teams playing in this weekend's NCAA Men's Division I College Basketball Tournament Final Four here in Indianapolis is Virginia's very own George Mason University. Generally speaking, are you the type of person who likes to root for the underdog?

Q2 - Immigrants: Do you think employers should face criminal charges for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants?

Q3 - Wages: As of today, the federal minimum wage here in the U.S. stands at $5.15 per hour. In your opinion, should the minimum wage be raised, and if so, to how much; and if not, why not?

Q4 - Shopping: I'm headed to the grocery store. Is there anything I can get for you?

Category: Four For Friday



March 24, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE PRIVACY EDITION

PLEASE NOTE: I apologize ahead of time if anyone encounters a problem while attempting to leave a comment for today's Four For Friday. It seems that my server is being overwhelmed by blog spam, and until we get the problem fixed, the comment portion of this entry may malfunction. --Mikal

Q1 - Lost Data: Do you think that a company--regardless of its size or scope--should be fined or penalized for losing its employees' or customers' financial data?

Q2 - Searching For Data: Do you think search engines like Ask's, Google's, and Yahoo's be required to give the U.S. Department of Justice data on users' searches?

Q3 - Shredding Data: Do you use a shredder either at home or work?

Q4 - Sharing Your Data: When you turn to a professional tax preparer to complete your state or federal income tax filings, you trust that person or the company they work for with your most guarded and personal financial information. But what if the tax preparer or the company they work for was allowed to sell your information to data miners and telemarketers, as well as to sister firms associated with the tax preparation company. It could happen if a new IRS proposal is approved. According to an IRS statement, the heart of the proposed regulation focuses on "...the right of taxpayers to control their own tax return information." In other words, in order for a tax preparer to sell your information, you would first have to give your consent. The IRS says that's a good thing because it empowers taxpayers, while critics like the ACLU fear that unscrupulous preparers could dupe some of us. How do you feel about this? Should tax preparers be allowed to sell our personal information, and/or should the IRS even make this an option in the first place?

Category: Four For Friday



March 17, 2006

NO FOUR FOR FRIDAY TODAY: SORRY!

Hi, Everyone!

I am having major problems with my web server, so Four For Friday is on hold for today. My apologies. Hopefully the problem will be cleared up soon.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Mikal

Posted by Mikal at 10:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



March 10, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Greeting Cards: When was the last time you mailed a card to someone, and what was the occasion?

Q2 - Courts: Now that two new judges have been nominated, confirmed, and sworn in to serve on the United States Supreme Court, do you believe the Court will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision at some point over the next five to ten years?

Q3 - E-mail: How many different e-mail accounts do you have, and how often do you tend to use each one?

Q4 - March Madness: Because of all the college basketball tournaments taking place this month, some people say the month of March should be renamed "Basketball." Are you following this month's college basketball action, and if so, which men's and women's teams are you rooting for?

Category: Four For Friday



March 3, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Pay E-mail: Starting in April, AOL will charge companies about 1/4 of a cent to send e-mail messages to its users that will bypass the company's filters. E-mails from paying companies will go straight to a user's inbox, while e-mails from non-paying companies will go through a gauntlet of filters that could divert them to a junk-mail folder or strip them of images and links, even if they're not spam. How do you feel about this? Should companies like AOL be able to put policies like these into place because they protect its customers, or pay E-mail a bad idea because it doesn't account for bulk messages sent by not-for-profits or other legitimate groups who cannot afford to pay the price to bypass the system?

Q2 - Weather: Do you check your weather report on a daily basis? Regardless of how often you check, where do you go for information about the weather... newspaper, television, radio, or do you receive your weather reports via the Internet?

Q3 - Sold: What's the last thing you sold (both personally and professionally)?

Q4 - Footwear: How many different pairs of shoes do you own verses how many you actually wear on a regular basis?

Category: Four For Friday



February 24, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Birthdays: How many different birthdays do you have committed to memory, and aside from using your own noggin, how do you keep track of all the others?

Q2 - Seaport Security: A government-owned company in the United Arab Emirates volunteered late yesterday afternoon to delay its $6.8 Billion takeover of most operations at six U.S. seaports. The delay allows President George W. Bush time to convince skeptical members of the U.S. Congress that the deal poses no security risks. What's your feeling on this... should the United States government allow a company based in Dubai to manage seaports in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and Newark?

Q3 - Telephones: Regardless of whether you use just a cell phone or a cell phone and a land line at home, does 'Voice over IP' (VoIP) technology have you thinking about switching or adding a land line at home? (In case you've never heard of VoIP, it allows for the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or any other IP-based network, and it's supposed to be a lot cheaper than paying the old-school phone companies for telephone service.)

Q4 - 2006 Winter Olympics: Have you been watching the 2006 Winter Olympics on television? If so, which events have you enjoyed the most? If not, why?

Category: Four For Friday



February 17, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Pictures: When was the last time someone took a picture of you, and what were you doing? If you can't remember, then when was the last time you took a picture, and what was it of?

Q2 - Vice President Cheney: Texas authorities have already cleared U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney of any wrongdoing over last weekend's incident in which he shot, i.e., peppered pretty well, a 73-year-old hunting companion in the face. Do you feel the White House and Mr. Cheney himself acted appropriately in their handling of the incident?

Q3 - Real Estate: Do you feel real estate agents' commissions are justified?

Q4 - Best Friends: Who was your first bestest friend, and, are you still friends with them? If you're not in touch with your first best friend, do you keep in touch with anyone you knew--aside from family--when you were between the ages of five and ten?

Category: Four For Friday



February 10, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Overcome: Name one physical challenge you'd like to accomplish before you die?

Q2 - Fuel: Twenty (20) years from now, what do you think you'll be using to fuel your car: Gasoline, Hydrogen, Ethanol, Biodiesel, a Hybrid System, or something else entirely?

Q3 - Poking Fun: Cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper last fall, then reprinted in other publications across Europe in recent weeks, have sparked outrage across the Islamic world. From a cartoon image depicting Muhammad wearing a turban crafted into the shape of a bomb with a lit fuse, to another showing the seventh-century prophet standing in heaven telling a line of suicide bombers to stop because "We've run out of virgins," the cartoons hold nothing back in terms of poking fun at Muslims. Do you feel the newspapers in question were justified in publishing these cartoons? If so, would your opinion change if highly offensive cartoons related to some aspect of your own religion were published in your hometown newspaper?

Q4 - Cell Phones: How many different cell phones have you owned, and what was the reason for switching to the one youre using now?

Category: Four For Friday



February 3, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Have You: Ever attempted to put together your family tree? If so, how far back were you able to go? If not, would you like to put one together?

Q2 - Would You: Like it if first-run movies were released on DVD and/or Pay-Per-View at the same time as they are released in theatres? If so, do you think you would watch more movies at home, or would you continue to see first-run movies only in the theatre?

Q3 - Should You: See a doctor more often? If so, what's stopping you? If not, how often do you have a check-up or physical?

Q4 - Could You: Survive living on the streets of your town for an entire month with no access to any of your money or other assets? Why or why not?

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Category: Four For Friday



January 27, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Moving: According to a recent report on American Public Medias Marketplace, in New York City, landlords and developers are paying big money (in some cases upwards of six figures and more) to convince renters to vacate their rent-controlled apartments. The practice, which makes way for property owners to then raise rents or build luxury condos, is now commonplace in many cities where rent-controlled housing still exists. Do you like your home or apartment? If so, what would it take to get you to agree to move?

Q2 - You Choose: Which is more important to you... Liberty or Security?

Q3 - Drinking: If you could drink anything right now--alcoholic or otherwise--what and how much of it would you drink?

Q4 - Counting: How many light bulbs are in your home, and when was the last time you had to change one?

Category: Four For Friday



January 20, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Teachers: The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is about to become the largest public school district in the United States to tie teachers' pay to their students' standardized test scores. How do you feel about this? Do you feel HISD and other school districts around the country should be able to tie teacher pay to student performance, or should merit or something else aside from student performance figure into the equation?

Q2 - Osama: Do you honestly think Osama bin Laden will ever be captured or killed by U.S. troops?

Q3 - Emotion: When and why was the last time you screamed at the top of your lungs?

Q4 - Your Bed: Is your bed really comfortable, or do you live with poor sleep caused by the quality of your bedding?

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Category: Four For Friday



January 13, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE 'YOU'/'YOUR' EDITION

Q1 - You: What one person, out of all the people you know, knows you the best and knows the most about you?

Q2 - Alongside You: If you were recovering from major surgery in a hospital and could have any person, from any era, recovering in the bed next to you, who would it be?

Q3 - Your Computer: Is your computer's home page set to an Internet Service Provider, news/newspaper site, blog, search engine or portal such as Google or Yahoo, or something else? ow often do you change your hompage setting?

Q4 - Your Work: Would you be willing to take a fifty percent (50%) cut in pay to pursue a career or job you were one hundred percent (100%) more passionate about than your current one? If not, what percent cut in pay would you be willing to take?

Posted by Mikal at 12:02 AM | Comments (9)

Category: Four For Friday



January 6, 2006

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - You and Reality TV: If you were to star in your own reality television show/series, what would the title of your show be, and what would the show focus on?

Q2 - Christmas Cards: Did you mail out any Christmas/Holiday cards in 2005? If so, approximately how many did you send verses receive?

Q3 - Terrorism and Air Travel: Do you feel more vulnerable to terrorism now that Cigar Cutters, Corkscrews, Cuticle Cutters, Eyeglass Repair Tools (including screwdrivers), Eyelash Curlers, Knitting and Crochet Needles, Nail Clippers, Nail Files, Personal care or toiletries with aerosols in limited quantities (such as hairspray), Scissors (plastic or metal with blunt tips only), Toy Transformer Robots, Toy Weapons (if not realistic replicas), Tweezers, Umbrellas and Walking Canes (allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed), and Wrenches and Pliers (seven inches or less in length) are allowed back on domestic flights along with carry-on luggage?

Q4 - Going to the Movies: When searching for a movie or show time at a local theatre, do you refer to a daily newspaper, look it up online, or call the theatre directly?

Category: Four For Friday



December 30, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE MORE OR LESS EDITION

Q1 - Time: Comparing the last 365 days to the previous 365, do you have more, less, or about same amount of free time on your hands? If more or less, what changed over the last year?

Q2 - Money: Do you think having more money would buy you more, less, or the same amount of happiness as you have in your life today? If more or less money, how much more or less would it take?

Q3 - Dating & Kissing: Thinking back to when you were in junior and senior high school, do you ever wish you would have kissed/dated more, less, or about the same number of people that you did back in the day?

Q4 - Exercise: Do you plan to exercise more, less, or about the same amount in 2006 as you did in 2005?

Category: Four For Friday



December 23, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 -- Work: Would you be willing to go on strike for better wages, benefits, and/or working conditions?

Q2 -- Celebrity: If you were reborn the child of a celebrity, who would you choose to be your celebrity parent(s)?

Q3 -- Books: When you first start to read one, do you skip over the Foreword and/or Introduction, or do you read the book from cover to cover, Foreword and Introduction included?

Q4 -- Schools: Earlier this week, a federal judge in Pennsylvania struck down efforts to teach what's called "intelligent design" in one of the state's public school districts. Considered a major blow to those who seek new ways to bring religion into public schools, intelligent design says, fundamentally, that some systems of nature are so complex, they must be the result of a higher power. In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, Federal District Judge John Jones, a Bush appointee, ruled that while the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point, it should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions. How do you feel about intelligent design being taught in public schools... should it be allowed, or do you feel the Pennsylvania ruling should be applied to all public schools in the U.S. and elsewhere?

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Category: Four For Friday



December 16, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Saturday Night Live: Last Saturday, Alec Baldwin guest hosted Saturday Night Live for the 12th time. Who, out of anyone either dead or alive, would you like to see host an upcoming episode of SNL?

Q2 - Air Travel: Do you keep track of your frequent-flier miles? If so, approximately how many do you have, and, have you ever used frequent-flier miles to obtain a ticket? If so, where did you fly?

Q3 - Perception: Generally speaking, how do you think others perceive you?

Q4 - Reading: What's the last book you read, and, what book are you planning on reading next?

Category: Four For Friday



December 9, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Co-Workers: Do the people you work with tend to be younger than you, the same age as you, or older than you? How do the differences in age or generations play themselves out in your work environment? In other words, are these sorts of differences good, bad, or not a factor in the work you do?

Q2 - Television: Last week, Kevin Martin, the relatively new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said he was in favor of an "a la carte" cable pricing plan that would allow consumers to choose to pay only for the individual cable channels they want. Do you like the idea of a la carte pricing for cable TV? If Martin is successful in getting the cable industry to offer it, how many channels do you think you'd choose to subscribe to a la carte?

Q3 - Eating Out: After receiving the bill for a great meal in a restaurant you'd been dying to try, you notice that your waiter neglected to charge for one of the items you ordered and happily devoured. Would you... tell the waiter, not tell the waiter but leave a larger tip than called for, or not do anything? Would your answer be different if the meal or service really sucked?

Q4 - Business Cards: Do you have one? If so, how often do you hand yours out verses receiving them from others?

Category: Four For Friday



December 2, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Kids and School: A local car dealership in Yuma, Arizona, has announced it will hold a raffle at the end of the school year awarding brand new cars to two high school students who achieved perfect school attendance records for the year. How do you feel about incentives and awards for perfect school attendance?

Q2 - Religion and Government: Earlier this week, a federal district court judge ruled that the prayers opening the daily sessions of the Indiana House of Representatives must be nondenominational and may not advance any one religion in particular. In the court-issued opinion, U.S. District Judge David Hamilton wrote that the "official prayers" offered at the Indiana House consistently advance the beliefs that define the Christian religion", and that moving forward, prayers in Jesus name--or anyone else's name for that matter--would no longer be allowed. How do you feel about Judge Hamilton's ruling? Should prayers invoking Jesus, Moses, Allah, etc. be allowed during the opening of the daily sessions at the Indiana House of Representatives, or do you feel the judge's ruling was appropriate?

Q3 - Christmas Decorations: According to the National Christmas Tree Association--yes, there really is such an organization--in 2004, Americans purchased 27,100,000 real Christmas trees (with an average price of $42.60) and another 9,000,000 fake trees (with an average price of $96.50) for a total of 36.1 million trees valued at $2,000,190,000.00. Do you plan on purchasing a Christmas tree this year? If so, will you be buying a real tree or a fake one?

Q4 - Cheese: What's your favorite kind of cheese? How often do you eat it?

Category: Four For Friday



November 25, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Holiday: Thanksgiving in the United States is traditionally celebrated with a large meal shared among family and friends. In both Canada and the U.S., it's an important family gathering, with many people often choosing to travel long distances to be with loved ones for the celebration. What did you do on Thanksgiving Day, and, what was on the menu for the big meal?

Q2 - Religion: I keep seeing this bumper sticker that reads, "Jesus Is The Answer!" What do you think the question is?

Q3 - Innovation: What's one invention that would dramatically change your life for the better?

Q4 - Shopping: Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, is historically one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year. Many consider Black Friday the "official" beginning to the holiday shopping season. The "black" in the name comes from the accounting practice of using red ink to denote negative values (losses) and black ink to denote positive values (profits). Black Friday is the day when retailers traditionally get back "in the black" after operating "in the red" for the previous months, often by cutting prices considerably. How much of your holiday shopping do you get done on Black Friday? How much do you save for what could be considered 'last minute'?

Category: Four For Friday



November 18, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE FOOD EDITION

Q1 - The Last Supper: If you could place an order today for your very last and final meal--with the option for said meal to be cooked/prepared by anyone of your choice, dead or alive--what would you order and who would prepare it?

Q2 - Cooking Class: It's three years from now and you've been asked to teach a fun and engaging one-time class at a local cooking school. What are you qualified to teach, and/or what would you like to teach?

Q3 - Cravings: When you have uncontrollable cravings for food, is it for something salty, hot, spicy, greasy, crispy, sweet, buttery, sour/tart, creamy, peppery, steamed, citrusy, rich, melted, pungent, hard, bitter, crunchy, fresh, chilled, oily, gritty, savory, tangy, sharp, zesty, or sweet-smelling?

Q4 - Holiday Weight: Each year millions of U.S. citizens look forward to sitting down at the table with family and friends for a special Thanksgiving Day meal. Woven into the nostalgia of the holiday are the types of dishes which evoke memories of childhood and family togetherness, along with an unhealthy side dish of guilt, which if not poured on by family is surely brought on by the weight of extra calories and excessive portions. According to several leading studies, the average American will reportedly gain 5 to 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years. Keeping in mind that 3,500 calories equals one pound, how many pounds do you think you might gain this holiday season, or are you one of the rare few who plans on actually loosing weight or maintaining your current weight?

Category: Four For Friday



November 11, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Elevators: If you got on an elevator in which everyone had their back to the door, what would you do?

Q2 - Doubts: When was the last time you doubted your professional abilities?

Q3 - Salaries: Do you think it's okay that professional athletes salaries are made public?

Q4 - Jokes: Knock knock. Who's there?

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Category: Four For Friday



November 4, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1 - Halloween: Did trick-or-treater's come to your house this year? If so, approximately how many came by? Was this year's number higher or lower than you've had in previous years, and what did you give them?

Q2 - Allergies: Do you have allergies? If so, what are you allergic to? If you're not allergic to anything, is there anything you wish you were allergic to?

Q3 - Organic Food: The organic food market in the United States is projected to reach a value of $30.7 billion by the year 2007. According to one recent report, close to 40 percent of the U.S. population now uses organic products on a daily basis. Are you included in that 40 percent figure... do you intentionally buy organic foods or drinks? If so, what are you buying? If not, why?

Q4 - Television: Which TV shows from the past would you like to see back on television and why?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 28, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: What are the directions for making a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich?

Q2: How many weddings have you been to, and what is your most memorable wedding-related moment?

Q3: Would you rather spend money on good times and nice things now or invest it for the future?

Q4: Earlier this week, while acknowledging that there's an acute shortage of priests in the Roman Catholic Church, bishops from around the world reaffirmed the Church's stance on celibacy for its clergy. In your opinion, should Catholic priests be allowed to marry?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 21, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: When you're in the privacy of your own home, what--if anything--do you tend to read while youre in the bathroom?

Q2: How did you first learn about your current job?

Q3: On this date in 1915, American Telephone and Telegraph Company engineers in Arlington, Virginia, initiated the very first transatlantic radiotelephone call (they called a telephone placed at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France). What was the last country you placed a call to besides your own?

Q4: If you had picked the winning numbers in this week's Powerball Jackpot, which was worth an estimated $340,000,000.00, you would have been given the option of choosing between a one-time cash payment of $170 Million, or 30 annual payments of approximately $5.6 Million each. Which would you choose and why?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 14, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: When you were in high school or college, did you purchase/wear a class or school ring? If so, do you wear it anymore?

Q2: How often do you use a public or college or university library? What's the last book you checked out of a library?

Q3: Earlier this week, Apple introduced a video-enabled version of its ubiquitous iPod. Do you own an iPod or MP3 player? If so, do you download and listen to non-music podcasts? If you do listen to podcasts, which ones are you currently subscribed/listening to? If you do not own an iPod or comparable device, would you like to have one? If so, do you think you'd use your new iPod mostly for music or podcasts?

Q4: How concerned are you about a widespread outbreak of what's being called the Avian Flu?

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Category: Four For Friday



October 7, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE PICK FOUR EDITION

Q: What are four (4) of your favorite words?

Q: What are four (4) things you hope to do this weekend?

Q: What are the four (4) things you say most often?

Q: What are four (4) things you wish you could do right now?

Q: What are four (4) things that turn you on?

Q: What are four (4) things you know you can't do?

Q: What are your four (4) favorite things to do?

Q: What four (4) sounds or noises do you absolutely hate?

Category: Four For Friday



September 30, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If you were given the opportunity to use a syringe full of sodium pentothal (truth serum) on any two or three people in the world (they can be either dead or alive, by the way), who would you choose to use it on and what questions do you think you might ask?

Q2: Do you have a favorite childhood memory (by childhood, think ages 3 to 18-years-old)? If you don't or would rather not share it, what was your favorite part of yesterday?

Q3: If an impending natural disaster was forecasted for your town or geographical region, how confident would you be in your own ability to evacuate to a safe location? Along the same lines, how confident are you in your own city or town's evacuation plan and capabilities?

Q4: When was the last time you spent en entire morning or afternoon (4 hours or more) exclusively out-of-doors, and what was it that you did during that period of time?

Category: Four For Friday



September 23, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If you were offered an opportunity to travel free of charge to any destination on earth for just a 30 minutes visit, where would you choose to go and why?

Q2: Have you ever taken a cooking class? If so, was it fun and worthwhile, or did you feel it was a waste of your time and money? If you've never taken a cooking class, would you like to enroll in one? If so, what cuisine or techniques would like to learn?

Q3: With Category 4 and 5 hurricanes dominating the news, how prepared would you say you are to successfully ride out a major storm like Katrina or Rita? Said differently, do you have enough supplies on hand to be able to cope with the fallout that accompanies power outages and the like? If not, are you now thinking about stockpiling supplies such as drinking water, food, gasoline, medicines, batteries, etc.?

Q4: The average automobile stands still 23 hours a day. How about yours... how many hours a day would you say your car sits idle (not counting being caught in stop-and-go traffic)?

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Category: Four For Friday



September 16, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Would you be willing to cut off all communication with everyone in your immediate family for one year if it meant by doing so you'd be saving the lives of 10 innocent people whom you do not know? If your answer is no, what if the scenario changed, and instead of 10 people, your action would save the lives of 100 of 1,000 complete strangers?

Q2: How often do you wash your hair?

Q3: Last night, in a nationally-televised address carried by all four major television networks here in the U.S., President George W. Bush promised a massive federal effort aimed at rebuilding the lives, levees, and communities along Louisiana's, Mississippi's, and Alabama's Gulf Coast. In your opinion, should the city of New Orleans be rebuilt in its current location?

Q4: What, if anything, is on the outside of your refrigerator?

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Category: Four For Friday



September 9, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: What's the last item of clothing you ironed? Do you enjoy ironing? If you never iron--opting instead to bring your clothes to a cleaner--do you use a 'green' cleaner or a traditional dry cleaner?

Q2: How many doors do you open over the course of a typical day? Which door do you look forward to opening the most?

Q3: How important are 'the arts' in your life? Are you the type of person who just has to go to the museum in order to stay sane or make sense of life, or could you care less about what people commonly refer to as the arts?

Q4: If you had the budget to do so, what benefit would you add to your employers benefits plan?

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Category: Four For Friday



September 2, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY - THE KATRINA EDITION

Q1: What role, if any, do you feel race and socioeconomic status have played in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing crisis along the United States' Gulf Coast?

Q2: If for one reason or another you were unable to evacuate from your city or town before, during, or immediately after a major natural disaster, and you found yourself without any food, water, or shelter, would you break the law by entering a grocery store and taking food (or a department store to take some new underwear and clothing)?

Q3: From what you've seen on television or heard first- or second-hand, what do you think of the U.S. government's response thus far to Hurricane Katrina and the affected regions in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama? If you were in charge, what would you do differently?

Q4: Do you plan on making a financial contribution to aid in the recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast? If so, will your contribution be higher, lower, or around the same as your contribution to aid in the recovery of other natural or man-made disasters, i.e., the 2005 tsunami, 2001's 9/11, etc.?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 26, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: When eating in a sit-down restaurant, do you refer back to your menu when a waiter or waitress comes back to take your order? In other words, after you've closed your menu (which for most people is a way of indicating to the waitstaff that they're ready to order), do you reopen and refer back to your menu when ordering, or do you not need to do that?

Q2: Do you read more, less, or the about same amount blog-related content today as you did one year ago?

Q3: What's the temperature like in your office/place of work? If you're not comfortable with the temperature, what have you done--or what could you try to do--to do something about it, or does indoor temperature not matter all that much to you?

Q4: Have you ever placed a classified advertisement in a newspaper? If so, what did you advertise?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 19, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: What were the last food and/or drink items you bought from a vending machine?

Q2: If you were brave enough to change the color of your hair, what color would you change it to?

Q3: Do you belong to a membership-based DVD fulfillment service such as Netflix? If so, what titles are you currently waiting to receive/watch? If not, what was the last DVD or video you watched?

Q4: At the age of 13, Mitchell Johnson was sentenced to serve 7.5 years in prison for the murder of four of his schoolmates and a teacher in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Last week, Johnson, now 21, was released from prison. According to Arkansas state law, Johnson will not be on parole nor will he be monitored in any capacity whatsoever. And because he was tried as a juvenile, there won't even be a record of his conviction. In short, Johnson will be afforded opportunities given to every young U.S. citizen. He is free to vote and can even purchase guns, if he so chooses. Taking his age into consideration, in your opinion, was justice served in the Mitchell Johnson affair?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 12, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

1: Are you able to watch a movie or an episode of a television show you've never seen before not from the very beginning but from a quarter or halfway thru?

2: When you put gas in your car, do you attempt to put in an amount that equates to a specific dollar amount (say $19.00 even), or are you okay with paying whatever amount pops onto the screen at the time the gas first stops flowing from pump to tank? Said differently, if the initial charge on the pump reads $18.67, do you stop right there, or do you continue pumping until the meter reads $18.75 or $19.00 even?

3: On average, a hurricane produces more energy than the entire world's power plants put together. Which scares you more, hurricanes or tornadoes?

4: What are three things you wish you could do while sleeping?

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Category: Four For Friday



August 5, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Do you think law enforcement officials, i.e. police officers, state troopers, sheriffs, etc., should be allowed to drive police cars during their time off (say to the mall or supermarket on the weekend)?

Q2: Whose autograph would you be willing to stand in line for an hour or more to receive?

Q3: How many ice cube trays do you have in your freezer, and have you ever used them to make anything other than traditional ice cubes?

Q4: If your personal safety were guaranteed, what two or three things would you do that right now you would not even remotely consider doing?

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July 29, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: How does your current boss compare to others you've had?

Q2: On this day in 1958, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that formally established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). At the time, NASA's inauguration was a sign to the rest of the world that the United States was fully committed to winning the space race against the Soviets. Do you think NASA has outlived its usefulness? If so, do you think our space-related interests would be better served in the hands of private, profit-driven enterprises?

Q3: If you could be a contestant on any past or present television game show, which show would you choose to be on? (If you need a little help identifying all of the possibilities, click here for a list of shows.)

Q4: The first half of the new millennium's inaugural decade is now over. What stands out in your mind as the biggest societal shift since the turn of the century?

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July 22, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: When you shop for groceries, do you go to a traditional supermarket like King Soopers, Kroger, Albertsons, Marsh, Stop & Shop, or Safeway, a deep discounter like Costco or Sam's Club, or do you prefer specialty stores like Trader Joe's, Wild Oats, or Whole Foods? If you shop at a combination of stores, which items do you tend to buy at which stores?

Q2: Not that you would or even want to, but if you did, what image would you choose to have tattooed on your body, and where would it go?

Q3: Do you feel gender or ethnicity should have been a factor in President George W. Bush's nominee to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's spot on the United States Supreme Court? Despite how you may feel about that particular issue, is Judge Roberts, in your mind, a good choice for the Supreme Court?

Q4: At what stage of life do you think it's okay for children to have cell phones?

Category: Four For Friday



July 15, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: At 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning, the next installment in the Harry Potter series will be made available for purchase at bookstores all across the world. Have you ever stood in line for what could be considered an outrageous amount of time for something like concert tickets, the premier of a movie, or the release of a book?

Q2: What's size mattress do you sleep on, and how many pillows do you sleep with?

Q3: Have you ever forgotten where you parked your car, say in an underground parking garage or large parking lot at a shopping mall or airport? If so, how long did it take for you to find your car, and what sorts of techniques do you now use to avoid the same thing from happening again?

Q4: How long does it generally take you to fall asleep? Has that amount of time changed any over the last 1, 5, or 10 years? If so, what do you attribute the change to?

Category: Four For Friday



July 8, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If your employer allowed you to work from home, would you? If so, what--aside from your daily commute--would be different about your morning routine? For instance, if you now shower in the morning, would you continue to do so before starting work, or would you put it off until later in the day or maybe not even shower at all?

Q2: Since yesterday's bombings in London, a number of security analysts have been quoted as saying that the attacks were inevitable, and to some degree, unavoidable. Do you agree with that observation? If not, what do you think government and/or private industry needs to do to ensure public safety?

Q3: How are you different from your parents? In which ways are you the same?

Q4: Have you ever called 911? If so, what were the circumstances associated with the call?

Category: Four For Friday



July 1, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If a credentialed security guard approached you after you made a purchase in a mall department store, and asked or demanded to see what was inside of your backpack, shoulder bag, or some other bag that was large enough to contain stolen items, what would you? Would you comply, no questions asked, or would you automatically say no because you know that you didn't do anything wrong?

Q2: When you're driving a car and you find yourself in a position where you have put the car in reverse and back up, which shoulder do you tend to look over as you're backing up?

Q3: Who was the last person you paid to do something for you and what did they do?

Q4: How many chairs or seats do you have in your house, and how long have you had the oldest one?

Category: Four For Friday



June 24, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY + 1

Q1: Who?

Q2: What?

Q3: When?

Q4: Where?

Q5: Why?

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June 17, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If you clearly saw the driver of a car in front of yours or next to yours opening and drinking from a can of beer while driving, would you call the police or 911 to report what you saw?

Q2: When you eat meals at home, what percentage of those meals do you eat at a kitchen or dining room table verses those you eat while sitting in your favorite chair or on the couch while watching television?

Q3: Was there ever a time in your life when you were convinced or pretty darned certain that you'd like to live in a specific city, state, or region that you did not live in at the time? If so, what happened... do you still want to live there, do you live there now, or has your impression of that place somehow changed?

Q4: Which would you say you posses more of... Business Acumen, Creativity, or Social Skills? Which would you like to have more of?

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June 10, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: When the time comes for you to retire, where do you see yourself living out your remaining days? Will you move to Florida or Arizona and live in a retirement community, or do you see yourself staying put, living life on your own or close to your family until such time that you can no longer function independently?

Q2: If it were up to you, would keep or change the current age requirements for driving on public roadways? How about the age requirements for voting, joining the military, or drinking alcoholic beverages?

Q3: How many household plants do you currently own? If your answer is none, is that because you fear you'd end up killing them for lack of care, or do you just not like to have plants inside your home?

Q4: Each year, more than 1,000 people are infected by E. coli at their state's annual fair. If yours has one, will you be attending the State Fair this year? When it comes to alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which are effective against many organisms, including E. coli, do use them? If so, when and how often?

Category: Four For Friday



June 3, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: What's the longest road trip you've ever taken or been a part of? Did you enjoy the drive or was it a pain in the you-know-what?

Q2: How old is the oldest person you now know or have ever met? Would you like to be as old as that person?

Q3: Earlier this week, 91-year-old W. Mark Felt revealed to the world that he in fact was 'Deep Throat', the man who frequently met with Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in Washington area parking garages to confirm information or fill in gaps from other sources related to the Watergate affair. Felt, who at the time was the second in command at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is being hailed by some as a hero, while others say he violated the ethics of the law enforcement profession by talking to a newspaper rather than turning his information over to a grand jury. W. Mark Felt... hero or not?

Q4: Do you like your feet? Are you comfortable wearing open toe sandals, or do you prefer to keep your little piggies covered up at all costs?

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May 27, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Do you search for and use grocery store coupons? Why or why not?

Q2: With respect to your friends--close or otherwise--do they tend to be the same age as you, younger than you, or older than you? Excluding relatives, blood or otherwise, what's the biggest difference in age between youself and your oldest or youngest friend?

Q3: Within the last couple of weeks, General Motors, Morgan Stanley, and British Petroleum have all instituted policies which demand that newspapers, magazines, and web sites from which they have purchased advertising space, inform them in advance of any text or visual images they plan to publish that directly mention their company's name, a competitor's name, or in BP's case, the oil-and-energy industry. In short, these companies want the opportunity to pull their advertisements from media outlets on days when less than positive editorial coverage may be coming their way. How do you feel about this? Since most media outlets rely on paid advertising as their primary source of revenue, should advertisers, in essence, be allowed to be dictate which editorial content publishers can or cannot print? Or, since publishers charge an arm and a leg for the advertising space to begin with, not to mention that it's the advertiser's money that's being spent, is this sort of practice basically okay?

Q4: Would you ever answer your cell phone if it rang while you were in a public restroom? What if you were in the privacy of your own bathroom at home... would you answer it then?

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May 20, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: How do you feel about television, newspaper, magazine, or web site news reports that rely wholly or in part on 'unnamed' sources?

Q2: Do you think there should be government-mandated drug-testing for anyone who plays sports professionally?

Q3: When you prepare to eat a hamburger or a sandwich, do you prefer to cut the burger or sandwich in half before eating it, or are you okay eating it whole?

Q4: Restaurants are notorious for charging a 15-18% gratuity on groups of eight or more. Are you in favor of this practice or would you prefer to tip the wait staff yourself based on how you feel they handled your table/group?

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May 13, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY THE 13TH

Q1: If you were given a one-year, all expenses paid, all-access assignment to make a documentary film on any subject of your choosing, what do think your film's focus/topic would be?

Q2: Do you think monkeys will ever learn to cook with fire?

Q13: Today is Friday the 13th, a date which many people seem to automatically link to bad fortune and unfortunate events. Even though many cultures consider 13 to be a lucky number, many in the United States are extra careful to avoid black cats, ladders, and mirrors on this, the most notorious combination of day and date of the year. How do you feel about Friday the 13th? Does it give you the willies, or is Friday the 13th just like any other day in your life?

Q4: Earlier this week, the Governor of Indiana signed a bill into law that limits consumers' ability to purchase certain over-the-counter cold medicines. The new law, Indiana Senate Enrolled Act 444, restricts the sale of medicines such as Sudafed that contain ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, ingredients the State says are used in making meth. (Background: The State of Indiana says it is on pace to bust 1,700 meth labs this year alone.) Starting July 1, 2005, Indiana stores with open pharmacies must place cold medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in direct sight of the pharmacy with constant video monitoring, or in a locked cabinet or behind a counter. Additionally, anyone buying cold or allergy medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine will be required to show ID and sign a log sheet upon making such purchases. How do you feel about laws such as Indiana's? Are they worth the inconvenience they'll create for consumers? Are they worth the extra cost and difficulty they'll create for stores?

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May 6, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If you could take a short class for the fun of it, say once a week for four or five weeks, what topic would the class most likely cover?

Q2: Do you think foreign students attending U.S. colleges should automatically be allowed to stay and work in the U.S. upon graduation?

Q3: In many states, knowingly filing a false police report is a considered a crime. Do you think Jennifer Wilbanks, a.k.a. The Runaway Bride, should be prosecuted because she initially reported to a 911 operator in New Mexico that she had been the victim of kidnapping? Regardless of your answer, do you feel Wilbanks should be held liable for the costs incurred by the hundreds of police officers and volunteers in her home town of Duluth, Georgia, who spent three days searching for her?

Q4: Do you have long-term employment or career objectives? If so, what are some of them, and have they changed over the years or have you always had the same goals?

Category: Four For Friday



April 22, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Do you like your office space? Why or why not?

Q2: Have you ever changed a flat tire on an automobile? If you never have, do you think you'll be able to if and when the time comes?

Q3: Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI, is being characterized by some as a hero to the conservative wing of the Catholic Church, and by others as something of a Darth Vader figure to liberal Catholics. Despite your religious affiliation, how do you feel about Ratzinger's selection as Pope?

Q4: A privately supported, not-for-profit membership organization, National Public Radio (NPR) serves more than 750 independently operated, noncommercial public radio stations, each of which serves local listeners with a distinctive combination of national and local programming. Do you listen to NPR? If you do listen to NPR, have you ever made a donation to support its efforts? If you do listen but have never made a donation, do you think you ever will? Why or why not?

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April 15, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Are you concerned about identity theft? If so, what do you do today to protect yourself that you didn't do just a few years ago?

Q2: The summer of 2005 is shaping up to be one of the best on record for potentially blockbuster-level movies. The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl, Batman Begins, Bewitched, The Brothers Grimm, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Kingdom of Heaven, The Longest Yard, Monster-in-Law, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Triple X: State of The Union, War of the Worlds, and Wedding Crashers. Which movies are you most looking forward to seeing this summer?

Q3: At the same time that the U.S. Department of Defense is failing to meet recruitment goals and is forcing some soldiers to stay in Iraq longer than they had signed up for, soldiers are being forced out of the military because they are gay. In light of these facts, or not, how do you feel about the U.S. military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy?

Q4: What are your favorite sections of a bookstore?

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April 8, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Do you think cities should be allowed to use eminent domain to seize property for private business development?

Q2: Across the United States, policy makers are debating whether to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, while in some states, legislators are taking up bills that would require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots. Do you think illegal immigrants should be allowed to receive a driver's license? What about presenting a photo ID when casting a ballot... are you in favor of this idea?

Q3: What kind of impact has Pope John Paul II's death had on you since he passed away last Saturday? What kind of an impact did the Pope have on you while he was alive?

Q4: If you knew for certain that it would extend your life expectancy by 8 years, would you reduce your daily caloric intake by 30%?

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April 1, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: According to an article in The Washington Post, pharmacists across the United States are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control, saying that dispensing such medications violates their personal or religious beliefs. Supporters of pharmacists' rights see the trend as a welcome expression of personal belief. Opponents see it as a major threat to reproductive rights and one of the latest manifestations of the religious right's growing political reach. What do you think? Should pharmacists be allowed to refuse to fill prescriptions based on personal beliefs, or should they be required by law to fill all prescriptions, regardless of their beliefs?

Q2: If you have Caller ID on your phone, do you answer incoming calls from people you know any differently than from people whose number's you do not recognize, or do you just say "Hello" in the same tone and inflection regardless of who it is that's calling? If you do not have Caller ID, are there times when you wish you did?

Q3: Do you have a living will? If not, has Terri Schiavo's situation caused you to think twice about putting one in place?

Q4: What's the name of the first book you can remember reading from cover to cover?

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March 25, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: When eating a meal, do you eat a little of each item until you're done with everything on your plate, or do you eat each item one at a time until that item has been completely consumed, and then move on to the next item on your plate? Regardless of which way you do it, do you think it's odd when you see someone else doing it the other way?

Q2: Despite how you feel about the situation itself, do you approve of the U.S. Congress intervening in the Terri Schiavo case?

Q3: How many towels do you use to dry off after showering or bathing?

Q4: An influential committee of UK politicians recently advised that the British government allow couples who use in vitro fertilization to become pregnant to have the option of choosing the sex of their child. Do you think gender selection for social reasons should be allowed? What about for medical reasons?

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March 18, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Which do you use the most... microwave oven, toaster oven, or conventional oven? Which do you prefer to use?

Q2: If the NCAA Men's or Women's Final Four basketball tournament was played in your hometown arena or within easy driving distance from where you live, would you try to attend one the three games?

Q3: Of all the clothes you own, what do you feel most comfortable wearing, and why?

Q4: On what television showeither past or presentwould you like to make to make a guest appearance, and what role would you play?

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March 11, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: What's the one thing you're proudest of having taught yourself to do?

Q2: Earlier this week, following an internal investigation uncovering the fact that it's President & CEO was engaged in a sexual relationship with another company executive, The Boeing Company announced that its Board of Directors asked for and received the resignation of its President and CEO, Harry Stonecipher, a 69-year-old man who is separated from his wife and is in the process of filing for divorce. Boeings Board determined that Stonecipher actions were inconsistent with the companys Code of Conduct, and that his actions would impair his ability to lead the company. Taking into consideration that Stonecipher and the woman he admitted to sleeping withDebra Peabody, a 48-year-old divorced Vice President in the company's Government Relations officeboth signed Boeings Code of Conduct, which apparently states that having sex with coworkers is against company policy, do you think its fair that Stonecipher was forced to resign while Peabody remains employed by the company?

Q3: Has the rising cost of gasoline had any impact on the amount of driving you do? If it hasn't, how much would the price of gas have to increase for it to have a profound impact on your driving habits?

Q4: From a Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich to advertising space on cleavage and pregnant bellies, on any given day you're bound to find some nutty stuff being auctioned off to the highest bidder on web sites like eBay and Yahoo! Auctions. What's one outrageous item that you could think to sell on an online auction site, and how much do you think you could get the highest bidder to pay for said item?

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March 4, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: It's Friday afternoon and you're just about to leave work when your boss approaches and says she has been really impressed with your work as of late, and she'd like for you to take her credit card home for the weekend to be used for a meal and drinks for two at any restaurant of your choice; oh, and by the way... she also tells you to spare no expense, because you've earned it! Taking into consideration that turning her down isn't an option, what restaurant do you go to, and who do you bring along to celebrate.

Q2: If you listen to the radio on your way to and from work, do you tune in to the same station each day? How about on your way home... do you listen to a different station than the one you tune in for the morning commute? If you don't listen to the radio, do you listen to tapes or CDs instead? If you listen to tapes or CDs, are there certain genres that you prefer to listen to in the morning verses on the drive home at the end of the day?

Q3: Kid Rock was arrested last week on charges that he punched a disc jockey at a strip club. Kobe Bryant agreed this week to a settlement with the woman who accused him of raping her. Michael Jackson may or may not have molested children in his California home. Robert Blake stands accused of whacking his wife. Martha Stewart is about to be released from federal prison after serving five-months for insider trading. Honestly, does anything surprise you anymore?

Q4: Do you drink coffee or tea on a daily basis? If so, what brand/flavor is your favorite, and, do you find that you drink it because you like it or because you just cant operate without it?

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February 25, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Peppermint Patty... straight or gay?

Q2: Imagine for a moment that you're the President of the United States of America. During a formal White House concert, a very talented and extremely sincere North Korean pianist (whose every move, by the way, is being closely monitored by North Korean chaperones) somehow manages to slip you a note stating that he wants to defect. If you grant his request, important nuclear disarmament talks with the North Koreans will be broken off, which would increase the likelihood of war between the two nations. Knowing that if you do not allow him to defect, the North Korean pianist would return to his country only to be killed, what would you do?

Q3: Taking stock of all of your material possessions, which ones are the oldest, and which have you owned the longest?

Q4: Are there any reoccurring or standalone fictional television or movie characters that you personally identify with? If not, are there any who you wish you could be more like in your own life?

Category: Four For Friday



February 18, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Which is a bigger waste of time in your life... being stuck in traffic or being placed on hold during telephone calls? Which do you find more annoying?

Q2: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently rejected a petition from a consumer group asking that product placements on TV be clearly labeled as such. The FTC said that the use of products by characters in fictional television shows or contestants on reality TV shows like American Idol or The Apprentice does not constitute an objective claim to the quality of the product being shown on screen. What do you think... have the lines become blurred on this one? Should television shows be barred from using overt product placements, or should they at least be made to disclose these sorts of practices before, during, or after (in the credits) the shows in question?

Q3: With just about every business under the sun now accepting bank check cards and debit cards, do you find that you carry more, less, or the same amount of cash as you did 5 or 10 years ago?

Q4: What's the last song you downloaded from the Internet? If you've never downloaded music, what's the last CD you bought at a store or received as a gift?

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Category: Four For Friday



February 11, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Do you drive the same roads to work every morning, or do you mix it up? How about the drive home from work...do you typically take the same route home as you did in the morning, only in reverse? If you don't drive to work, or if you don't drive, how about this one... Assuming you shop for groceries, do you typically take the same route thru the grocery store every time you go grocery shopping, i.e. do you travel up and down the store's isles in a certain pattern?

Q2: Has a newspaper or television reporter ever interviewed you? If so, what were the circumstances and what did you think when you read or saw what you said?

Q3: Are there any causes that are important enough to you that you'd be willing to take three days off from work without pay in order to join an out-of-town protest march or sit-in? If so, what's the cause?

Q4: If you were forced to eat the same three items of food for dinner every night for three weeks straight, what would you eat?

Category: Four For Friday



February 4, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Ten years from now, how do you think new or emerging technologies will impact the job you have today?

Q2: The University of Colorado-Boulder is considering whether to dismiss a tenured member of the faculty for remarks made three years ago in a post-9/11 essay in which he likened the people who died in the World Trade Center attacks to Nazi war criminals. From The Boulder Daily Camera's editorial page: "True to form, [Ward] Churchill is unrepentant, refusing to apologize for comparing stockbrokers to genocidal maniacs, refusing even to admit one clear aim of his rant: to suggest that capitalist cogs in the twin towers got what was justifiably coming to them. When his remarks finally detonated a statewide explosion of outrage, Churchill remained as internally inconsistent as ever: He claimed to "mourn the victims" of the Sept. 11 attacks even as he once again likened "technocrats of empire" to Nazi murderers." Based on the information before you, do you think Professor Churchill should be dismissed from his teaching position at the University?

Q3: Weyco, a Michigan-based health benefits administration company, grabbed national headlines this week after it started firing employees who refused to take a smoking test. According to various media reports, seven employees have left the company rather than be tested for smoking tobacco, and the company now says that it will not hire anyone who smokes. Do you think employers should be allowed to fire people who smoke outside of the workplace, or not hire those who do?

Q4: Which team will you root for in this weekend's Super Bowl? If you could care less about the game, will you at least tune in to watch the commercials? If not, what do you plan on doing while the game's being played?

Category: Four For Friday



January 28, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If a stranger leaves a voicemail message on your home phone for someone you don't know, do you call the person back to tell them they reached the wrong party? If your answer is no, are there any circumstances under which you think you would call the person back?

Q2: Currently, no federal laws exist which prohibit using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Proponents of restricting cell phones while driving point to studies that show that their use while driving contributes to distractions, which lead to accidents. Opponents of these restrictions say there is insufficient evidence to conclude that mobile phones are any different from other distractions to drivers. What do you think...should automobile drivers be allowed to talk on the phone while driving?

Q3: Industry conferences and trade shows afford their attendees with opportunities to see 'what's next'. For example, at the Outdoor Retailer Show, outdoor recreation industry professionals, i.e., manufacturers, retailers, guides, and the media, all get a sneak peek at the outdoor gear we'll see in stores at some point in the future. If you could choose to attend any one industry conference or trade show, complete with full access to everything and everybody at the show, which industry would you choose?

Q4: Do you have a favorite weird food or weird drink combination? If so, what is it? If not, did you ever have one when you were growing up?

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January 21, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Last week's published pictures of England's Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party caused outrage around the world. In the days and weeks following the uproar, a poll published in a London newspaper showed that while 70 percent of those interviewed thought Harry was wrong to sport the uniform and accompanying swastika armband, more than half of those between the ages of 18 and 24 said the choice of outfit was acceptable. What's your take on all of this? Was young Harry in the wrong on this one or do you feel the outrage reported in the media was blown out of proportion? If you were offended, upset, or disappointed by Harry's choice of costume, would your opinion change if you learned that for thousands of years Hindus from across the world have regarded the swastika as a highly-sacred sign of wisdom?

Q2: In a move that many see as an admission that marketers do share blame for the childhood obesity epidemic in the U.S., Kraft Foods last week announced that it would stop advertising snacks such as Oreo cookies and Kool-Aid, and instead shift its advertising budget to new lines of healthier "Sensible Solution" food products for children. Many food industry observers fear that Kraft's strategy bolsters the position of consumer advocates who favor a ban on the business of marketing junk food to children. How long do you think Kraft's new childhood obesity-sensitive advertising strategy will last, and how do you feel about vending machines placed in schools that dole out candy and soda?

Q3: Assuming you've never done any of the following, which would you pick to do this winter if forced to pick one: Learn to ice fish and spend a week with anyone you wanted doing so? Travel with anyone of your choosing to the town of Jukkasjarn, in northern Sweden, for a week's stay at the Ice Hotel, a palatial facility built each winter entirely out of ice? Or, attend a fantasy figure skating camp which culminated in your mandatory participating in a public performance in front 1,000 people, some of whom you know and work with?

Q4: Much has been made over the last month or so about the $40-$50 million price-tag for yesterday's Presidential Inauguration here in the U.S., paid almost entirely from non-governmental sources, i.e., private donations. Former Enron executive, Rich Kinder and his wife Nancy, donated $250,000 to the inauguration, while Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens--who put $2.5 million of his own money behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads that ran during the 2004 election--also donated $250,000 to the inaugural event. On the corporate side of the equation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Goldman Sachs, Sallie Mae, Time Warner, SBC, Home Depot, Northrop Grumman, the National Association of Realtors, Morgan Stanley's PAC, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Bank of America, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, and Cisco Systems, just to name a few, each donated $100,000 or more. How do you feel about the amount of private money raised and spent on these inaugural events?

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January 14, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: How has the advent of the Internet changed the way you get your daily news?

Q2: When you were younger, what were some things you dreamed about doing, and that you still think are possible to do today, but that you just haven't gotten around to doing or experiencing yet?

Q3: If you were forced to live on a deserted island for one year, what five things--aside from specific items of clothing--that you'd choose to bring?

Q4: Did any notable or high-profile person's death in 2004 have a dramatic or long-lasting affect on you? (Here's a short list of some of the more notable people who died in 2004: Jack Paar, Marge Schott, Sir Peter Ustinov, Alistair Cooke, Tug McGraw, Pat Tillman, Estee Lauder, Alan King, David Dellinger, Sam Dash, Tony Randall, President Ronald Reagan, Ray Charles, Marlon Brando, Isabel Sanford, Rick James, Fay Wray, Julia Child, Geoffrey Beene, Red Adair, Richard Avedon, Janet Leigh, Rodney Dangerfield, Ken Caminiti, Christopher Reeve, Pierre Salinger, Yasser Arafat, Susan Sontag, Reggie White, Jerry Orbach, Johnny Ramone.)

Posted by Mikal at 12:04 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



January 7, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Let's say you came into work one morning to find that the daughter of one of your office's night time cleaning crew members had used your computer to surf the Internet and to type up and print a junior high school book report, all without asking for your permission to do so. What do you do?

Q2: You are next in line in the '12 items or less' check out lane at the grocery store, and just as you're about to lay your 10 items down on the conveyor belt, you notice that the guy behind you in line is holding only one loaf of bread. As a general rule, do you offer one-loaf-man your place in line, or do you continue checking out yourself? What if roles were reversed, and instead of being in an express lane, you find yourself holding only one loaf of bread, and the person in front of you in the checkout lane has a shopping cart crammed full with groceries. Do you ask the person in front of you if you can skip ahead of them, or do you patiently wait your turn?

Q3: Which are you more looking forward to... this weekend, which signifies the start of NFL playoff games, or, this weekend, which signifies the end of the first work week of 2005?

Q4: Do you buy bottled water? If so, are you loyal to one particular brand over all others?

Posted by Mikal at 12:01 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



December 31, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If you were given 100% control over the casting of a big-budget remake of The Wizard Of Oz, who would you choose to cast in the roles of Dorothy, The Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion, The Tin Man, The Good Witch of the North, The Wicked Witch of the West, Uncle Henry, Auntie Em, and Toto?

Q2: Five years from now, when you look back on the year that was 2004, what do you think will stand out most in your mind about those 365 days?

Q3: As most everyone now knows, a tsunami triggered by an massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Sunday has been linked to the deaths of more than 135,000 people in Asia and East Africa. Despite the massive death toll among humans, Sri Lankan wildlife officials have said the giant waves seemingly missed wild beasts, with no dead animals found. Do you believe that animals have a sixth sense or other mythical powers, which allow them to know about impending danger in a way that humans do not, and that this is responsible for the seemingly low number of animals killed by Sunday's tsunami?

Q4: If fast food had no negative effect on your long- or short-term health, do you think you'd eat more of it than you do now?

Category: Four For Friday



December 17, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY (THE COP-OUT EDITION)

Q1: How's it going?

Q2: What's new?

Q3: What are you doing this weekend?

Q4: If yesterday had been Wednesday's tomorrow and tomorrow is Sunday's yesterday, what day would today be?

Posted by Mikal at 12:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



December 10, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: A 14-year-old Australian boy, Christopher Harris, announced yesterday that next Spring he plans to become the youngest person ever to attempt to climb and summit Mt. Everest. How do you feel about someone as young as Harris attempting such a risky endeavor?

Q2: Are you better off or worse today financially then you were four years ago at this same time (in December of 2000)?

Q3: Do you personally know anyone who has made it really big either in Hollywood, politics, sports, or business? If you don't know anyone directly, how about thru that whole X Degrees of Separation thing?

Q4: If you could choose one event from any point in the future whose outcome could be known to you now, what would you like to know?

Posted by Mikal at 12:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



December 3, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Residents of Arlington, Texas, recently voted to put more than 300,000,000 of their tax dollars into a new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys. Earlier this week, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted in favor of using public funds for a stadium for the city's new major league baseball team, The Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, residents of both San Francisco and Indianapolis are likely to be asked within the next few years to pony-up tax dollars for new stadiums for the 49ers and Colts. Given what you know about these situations, or what you think is fair, do you think it's right for your taxes--property or otherwise--to be raised in order to pay for a new stadium?

Q2: A friend's straight-A daughter was recently suspended from school for two days because of an incident with a classmate on the bus ride to school. Rather than let her sit at home by herself while she was at work, my friend made arrangements for her daughter to work at a local homeless shelter both days. What's the most innovative punishment you've ever received or dealt out?

Q3: Do you use the same brand and type of shampoo all the time? How about soap, toothpaste, and deodorant/antiperspirant?

Q4: How much of this year's holiday shopping will you do online? How does that compare to last year or the year before?

Category: Four For Friday



November 26, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Would you say you over did it or kept it in check when it came to stuffing yourself with food?

Q2: Earlier this week, Columbia Tri-Star Pictures released the first three seasons of Seinfeld on DVD. Have you ever purchased a season's worth of a particular television show on DVD for yourself? If not, which television show would you most likely buy if it were released on DVD?

Q3: If you could wake up tomorrow morning speaking any one language fluently--in addition to English--which language would you choose and why?

Q4: Do you feel there are any circumstances under which it's okay for a professional athlete to enter the stands, other than to celebrate a victory with loved ones or fans?

Category: Four For Friday



November 19, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Yesterday, 30,000 people gathered in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the opening of the $165,000,000 William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park. Have you ever been to a presidential library? If not, which presidential library would you be most inclined to go out of your way to visit?

Q2: If you had your own radio show, what format would it be? Would you go it alone or have sidekicks? Would you just spin records, or would you host a talk show? If music, what kind would you play? If talk radio, what topics would you focus on?

Q3: Next Thursday is Thanksgiving, which has traditionally been the start of the holiday shopping season. How much of your 2004 holiday shopping have you already completed?

Q4: If you arrived in the same amount of time, would you rather take the short way slow or the long way fast?

Posted by Mikal at 12:01 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



November 12, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If you were given the opportunity to perform in the circus, and you knew ahead of time that you would not fail, what would you do?

Q2: You've just been hired to a promotions position at a major breakfast cereal company. What would you put in a new cereal box as a gimmick?

Q3: Who is the most famous or well known person you've had a face-to-face encounter with?

Q4: Can you comfortably eat alone in a restaurant with nothing to do at the table but eat, i.e., nothing to read, no earphones to hear music thru, no one to talk with, etc.? What about going to the movies alone?

Posted by Mikal at 12:02 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



November 5, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY from GUEST BELI-BLOGGER DAVE MEEK....

FUN WITH HYPOTHETICALS

Consider the historic charts below:

2000 Election
271 Electoral College votes - 50.46 million - Bush - WIN
266 Electoral College votes - 51.00 million - Gore

2004 Election
286 Electoral College votes - 59.40 million popular votes - Bush - WIN
252 Electoral College votes - 55.90 million popular votes - Kerry

In Ohio, Bush won by just 136,483 votes. Now, suppose that Kerry tallied just 150,000 more swing votes in Ohio winning all 20 of Ohio's Electoral College votes. This, of course, would render the following chart:

2004 Election Hypothetical
266 Electoral College votes - 59.05 million popular votes - Bush
272 Electoral College votes - 55.75 million popular votes - Kerry - WIN

In 2000, Gore won the popular vote by 540,000 votes but lost the election, which caused Democrats to question the legitimacy of President Bush's administration, notwithstanding Florida's ballot problems.

Consider the aforementioned hypothetical yet plausible outcome of Kerry winning Ohio and therefore the presidency but losing the popular vote handily by a margin of 3.3 million votes, more than 6 times the amount Bush lost to Gore in 2000.

My questions are for Democrats but that shouldn't stop Republicans or Independents from making comments:

Q1: Would you honestly question the legitimacy of a Kerry Administration in 2004 with the same vigor you questioned the legitimacy of the Bush Administration in 2000?

Q2: Would your feelings about the legitimacy of the Electoral College change?

Q3: Along with the presidency, the GOP picked up 4 seats in the House and 4 in the Senate including Tom Daschle's, the Senate Minority Leader. Additionally, 11 Same-Sex Marriage Amendments were defeated. In your opinion, has the country embraced Republican values or rejected Democrat values?

Q4: How should the Democrats change in 2008 in order to regain control of the House, Senate, or White House?

Posted by Guest Beli-Blogger Dave Meek at 12:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



October 29, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: National Treasure, Alexander, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Finding Neverland, The Incredibles, Polar Express, Team America: World Police, I Heart Huckabees, Alfie, Ocean's Twelve, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, After The Sunset, Meet the Fockers, Fat Albert, Ray, Christmas with the Kranks, Seed of Chucky. Which movie are you most looking forward to seeing this holiday season?

Q2: Despite the fact that ABC's Desperate Housewives is the most popular primetime TV program, Lowe's and Tyson Foods have both pulled their commercials from the show because they say the show's content is "inconsistent with the core values they want their brands associated with." Do you think Lowe's and Tyson's decision is good brand strategy? Or do you think the companies buckled to forces that would censor all TV programming down to fare for twelve-year-olds? And, are you concerned about the increasingly successful efforts of consumer lobbying groups to force marketers out of certain TV programs, or do you think such actions are long overdue?

Q3: Dropped by Clear Channel and hounded by the FCC, radio shock-jock Howard Stern has announced that he is moving his morning show to the Sirius Satellite Radio Network, a 100% pay-for-use radio service. The head of Sirius is hailing Stern's move as a "watershed event" for satellite radio. Do you think Stern's move will dramatically impact satellite radio or affect the long-term dynamics of radio use in the United States? Or, do you think Stern's move is meaningless; he's just an over-the-hill radio personality whose celebrity is waning?

Q4: Regardless of which candidate you support in next weeks election, who do you think will emerge victoriously as the next President of the United States?

Category: Four For Friday



October 22, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: What's the most annoying part of your job?

Q2: We've all done it... misplaced the remote control or lost a wallet or purse. What situation stands out in your mind as being one of the most difficult as a result of you having lost or misplaced something?

Q3: Whats the best investment of time, money, resources, or emotions youve ever made?

Q4: How much do your religious beliefs influence the way you vote in local and national elections?

Posted by Mikal at 12:01 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



October 15, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: When and/or where do you do your best thinking... in the car while driving to or from work, in the shower right after you awake, while on an airplane, in the kitchen making dinner, when you're out for an afternoon or evening run, while applying your make-up, right before you drift off to sleep, at the gym, or some other time and place altogether?

Q2: Do you ever have epiphanies, moments when things become so abundantly clear that you're left wondering what in the heck you were thinking up until that point in time? If so, have your epiphanies led to dramatic changes to your way of being or your thoughts about a particular thing, or was your epiphany nothing more than a simple blip on the radar screen of your existence?

Q3: They say every one of us has at least one in our lifetime... Without revealing something you're not comfortable sharing, have you ever had what you believed to be a million dollar business idea? If so, what did you do about it? If you haven't done anything with the idea, and you're pretty sure no one else has done anything with it yet either, do you think you'll ever act on this million dollar idea of yours?

Q4: Mandatory/planned fire drills in the workplace... an unnecessary waste of time or in the best interests of the employee and company?

Posted by Mikal at 12:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



October 8, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If you were granted the power to create and then use a "Panic"/"Stop" button, what are three things youd use it for?

Q2: If you could afford it, would you take a ride into space before the end of 2005?

Q3: If you were given the talent to be considered "world-class" at something which you currently know little to nothing about, what would it be?

Q4: Has anyone ever called you by the wrong name, like a clueless co-worker or a family member? If so, have you corrected them or just let it go? What was your reaction and how did it make you feel?

Category: Four For Friday



October 1, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Did you watch last night's televised debate between President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry? If so, despite which candidate you support, who do you feel did a better job? If you didn't watch, are you planning on watching either of the two remaining televised Presidential debates or next Tuesday's Vice Presidential debate?

Q2: Have you ever given something up--either for religious reasons or just because you wanted to--for a specified period of time? If so, how did that work out for you... were you able to stick with it for the duration of time you had originally planned or did you cave earlier than planed? If you can remember, what was it that you gave up and why?

Q3: If you could change jobs tomorrow in order to start working directly for anyone in the world--either dead or alive--whom would you choose to work for and what would you do?

Q4: Halloween is just 30-days away. What's your best Halloween-related memory and/or costume?

Posted by Mikal at 12:11 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



September 17, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Breakfast: Do you eat breakfast every morning? If so, do you generally tend to eat the same thing each morning, or do you try to mix it up on a daily basis?

Q2: Lunch: If you could have lunch today with any two or three people you wanted (dead or alive), who would you have lunch with? Also, if you were able to eat that lunch at any location on the face of the planet, where would that be? And finally, if you could choose to eat anything you wanted, what would you have?

Q3: Dinner: On average, how many nights per week can you be found cooking dinner for yourself or for yourself and others at home in your own kitchen?

Q4: Generally speaking, which do you feel you have more of in your life... control or influence?

Category: Four For Friday



September 10, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Elton John has those colorful glasses. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan (b.1911 - d.2004) had his Jelly Beans. And former U.S. Senator Paul Simon (b.1928 d.2003) had bow-ties lots and lots of bow-ties. How about you... do you have any 'signature' or 'trademark' items; things that just scream that it's you because you either always have it on your person, in your car, at your office, etc., and which friends, family, or colleagues universally know you by?

Q2: President Clinton did it in 1998, and President George W. Bush is threatening to do the same in 2004. Do you think an incumbent President seeking reelection should be allowed to bow out of one, two, or any or all of the Presidential Debates sponsored and managed by the Commission on Presidential Debates?

Q3: Which would you prefer... to be rich beyond your wildest imagination... as famous as anyone dead or alive... or as powerful as the most influential person you can think of?

Q4: Do you have reoccurring dreams? If so, and you feel comfortable talking about them, what do yours focus on, and, do you think they actually mean something, or to you are they're just these things you tend to dream up while sleeping which you feel have no baring on anything whatsoever?

Posted by Mikal at 12:02 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



September 3, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If you were able to possess any supernatural power, what would that power be?

Q2: On this day in 1935, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in north western Utah, famed English speed demon Malcolm Campbell blew through the 300-miles-per-hour barrier to set a new land-speed record of 310.13 miles. What percent of the time you spend behind the steering wheel of your car would you say you drive faster than the posted speed limit?

Q3: Can one live alone with just having friends in their life, or are we human beings only complete if we have a family of our own, i.e., a husband/wife/partner and children?

Q4: What is one thing that you could start doing today that would immediately improve the quality of your life?

Posted by Mikal at 12:28 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



August 27, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Scenario... You're driving your car down the road when you notice a police officer pointing a radar gun at oncoming traffic. Once you pass the police officer, do you blink/flicker your lights at oncoming traffic to warn of the speed trap? Why or why not?

Q2: Do you think the United States will experience another large scale terrorist attack before the 2004 Presidential Election in November?

Q3: If you had the talent to compete for a medal, which Olympic sport(s) -- summer and/or winter -- would you choose to participate in?

Q4: How does this summer compare to previous ones?

Category: Four For Friday



August 20, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Do you have any magazine subscriptions, or do you make a point of purchasing certain magazines on a weekly or monthly basis? If so, which ones? If not, are there magazine subscriptions you wish you had?

Q2: Which do you think has a more profound impact in the world... 1. People and institutions operating from a standpoint of fear (meaning, people or organizations doing things for fear of something else happening if they do not); or, 2. Our individual and collective impatience as a society?

Q3: Do you use fabric softener when you do laundry? If so, do you prefer the liquid kind that gets added to the wash, or are you more of the sheet type which gets added to the laundry as it goes into the dryer?

Q4: Are there any foods that are widely held as being common everyday eats which you've never been able to bring yourself to try even once?

Category: Four For Friday



August 13, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Are there any words which you almost always mispell?

Q2: Public or private... if you could do it all over again, which would you choose to attend... a public high school or a private one? What about pedagogy... would you be open to Montessori, Waldorf, Friends, Religiously-affiliated, or Home Schooling?

Q3: Saying that the circumstances surrounding his extramarital affair will likely impact his ability to govern, New Jersey's Governor, James McGreevey, resigned yesterday. Do you feel that cheating on one's spouse is cause for an elected official to be impeached by his or her peers, or is cause for one to resign from an elected post?

Q4: What's the farthest distance you've ever moved, and what was it that you moved for?

Category: Four For Friday



August 6, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: If you were a lawyer, would you agree to represent deposed Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein? What if you were a doctor or psychologist... would you agree to treat him?

Q2: Have you ever taken an IQ Test? If so, what did you think of your score? If you've never taken one, are you curious to know what your IQ score is?

Q3: Do you truly enjoy life or do you mostly endure what gets tossed your way in the hopes that it'll soon get better?

Q4: When you get home from work, do you keep your work clothes on or do you immediately change into something else?

Posted by Mikal at 12:08 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



July 30, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: What, if anything, never fails to give you the shivers?

Q2: Earlier this week, mega test-prep company Peterson's announced that it is starting what it calls a 'testing laboratory' to see whether students gain any edge on exams from their choice of pre-test meal, the hue of their clothes, boxers or briefs, certain test day rituals, etc. When it comes to taking tests, interviewing for jobs, or other monumental situations, do you have a routine or superstition related to your chances for success?

Q3: A fixture of American politics for over a century, the Democrats and Republicans, along with other nationally-focused political parties, have held conventions to nominate their party's candidates for president and vice president, as well as to gather together the varying viewpoints and disparate regions of the party to debate and then select a platform that outlines the party's positions on the relevant issues of the campaign. That having been said, do you feel like political conventions in the US have lost their appeal? Do you think we'll ever see a convention where the presidential and vice presidential candidates are not known going into the convention? Did you watch any of the Democratic Convention? Will you make a point of watching the Republican event August 31 thru September 2?

Q4: What's you favorite board game of all time?

Category: Four For Friday



July 23, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: None of us, I'm imagining, deliberately chooses to park our car in a handicapped-designated parking spot (unless, of course, we have the right to do so), right? With that thought in mind, have you ever used (or do you deliberately use) the handicapped-designated stall in a private venue/office buidling or public bathroom? Do you think its wrong or inappropriate for non-handicapped people to use handicapped-designated bathroom stalls?

Q2: Do you belong to any professionals membership-based organizations (like a trade association or a professional society)? How about community-based organizations like the PTA or a homeowners association? What about informal social groups like a book or movie club? If not, is there a group you'd like to be a part of, or a group you'd like to start yourself, but just haven't joined or been motivated to do so as of yet?

Q3: Have you ever posed nude for an art class? If so, what was that like. If not, what would it take to get you do it? On the flipside of this question... have you ever been in an art class where you had to sketch a scene which was based on a nude model being present in the room? If so, what was that like? Did it make you uncomfortable?

Q4: Lance Armstrong is expected to win a record sixth straight Tour De France bicycle race this weekend. Where, in your mind at least, does Armstrong's achievements rank him? Is he the greatest athlete ever or just the greatest bicycle racer ever, or do you feel he's neither or something else?

Category: Four For Friday



July 16, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Do you adhere to any superstitions?

Q2: The Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games is less than 30-days away. Are you planning on watching any of the Olympics on television? If so, which events are you most looking forward to?

Q3: How many times per week do you do laundry (said differently, how often do you do laundry)?

Q4: If you could get paid to do something that you've always wanted to do but didn't think was possible to get paid to do, what would it be that you'd do?

Category: Four For Friday



July 9, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Have you ever marched in a parade? If so, what was the cause/reason/banner/float you marched under?

Q2: Have you ever had to wear a uniform for a job? If so, what was the job, and how did you feel about the uniform?

Q3: What's your favorite way to enjoy music... Live, at a concert; In the comfort of your own home, on MTV; While driving, listening to your car's radio; While exercising, on an MP3 player or CD player/Walkman; or, At home, on your own stereo?

Q4: If you were to trade your current license plate in for a vanity plate, what letters or word(s) would you choose for your new plate?

Category: Four For Friday



July 2, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Man down! Because Mikal is out of town I will be stepping up, picking up the ball, and running with this weeks Four For Friday

Q1: What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book of all time and why?

Q2: If you won the Pepsi Play for a Billion Sweepstakes, how would you spend your new found fortune?

Q3: If you could be the best dancer in the world, what would be your signature dance move?

Q4: How will you celebrate Independence Day this weekend?

Posted by Guest Beli-Blogger Ford Church at 8:29 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



June 25, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Social Security has accumulated trillions of dollars in liabilities to workers who are already retired or who will retire soon. As the program's problems become more apparent, there's growing support for the concept of privatizing the system. Are you in favor of privatizing Social Security?

Q2: Loved and reviled, respected and resented, former U.S. President Bill Clinton is one of the more polarizing and complex politicians of our time. As the President, Clinton presided over a period of dizzying economic growth and technological progress, but his time in office was also marked by a string of scandals, most notably the Monica Lewinsky debacle and subsequent impeachment trial. Earlier this week Clinton's publisher, Knopf, released the 42nd President's highly anticipated and promoted memoir, My Life, which is expected to debut next Sunday at number one on The New York Times bestseller list. Are you planning on reading My Life?

Q3: Where were you ten (10) years ago, and what were you doing?

Q4: Would you rather wash your car by hand or take it thru a carwash?

Category: Four For Friday



June 18, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Name an item of food that you once hated but now like?

Q: How do you feel about actor Sylvester Stallone, L.A. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, actress/comic Ellen DeGeneres, and actor Tom Cruise all being given the honor of carrying/running with the Athens 2004 Olympic Torch?

Q: Have you ever been booked on a flight that was canceled? If so, what were the circumstances, and how did the flight's cancellation impact your plans? If this has never happened to you, how do you think you'd react if it did?

Q: What was your worst summer or part-time job?

Category: Four For Friday



June 11, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: What sorts of things did you enjoy reading as a child?

Q: Are you now, or did you ever, mourn or grieve over the death of former U.S. President Ronald Regan?

Q: Have you ever had a role in a theatrical performance? If so, what did you play? If not, is there a role that youd like to play?

Q: If and when your hair turns gray, will you let the gray in or will you use an over-the-counter product to turn it away?

Category: Four For Friday



June 4, 2004

FOUR FOR FIRDAY

Q: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and hubby Chris Martin, lead singer of the band Coldplay, recently gave birth to a 9 lb. 11 oz. girl they named "Apple" (Apple Blythe Alison Martin, to be more exact). How do you feel about unconventional names such as the one Paltrow and Martin bestowed upon their bouncing baby girl? Do you feel their appropriate, inappropriate, a hoot, no big deal, place the child at a disadvantage in any way, etc.?

Q: Tradition tells us that in the United States and much of the western world, when a man and woman marry, the woman takes the man's last name. How do you feel about this? What about couples who combine last names in order to create a new one, or who choose to start off fresh with some random last name?

Q: If you were told you had to change your first name, what name would you choose?

Q: Have you ever had a nickname? If so, what was (or is) it? If not, have you ever wanted one (and if so, what would you like to be called)?

Category: Four For Friday



May 28, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: What's your favorite bagel, muffin, and/or doughnut (we're talking flavor and/or brand)?

Q: The much-anticipated environmental drama, The Day After Tomorrow, opens today in movie theaters nationwide. According to media accounts, the movie takes a special-effects-filled look at what the world would look like if the greenhouse effect and global warming continued at such levels that they resulted in worldwide catastrophe and disaster, including multiple hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tidal waves, floods, and the beginning of the next ice age. Do you think that in our lifetime we'll be witness to the sorts of major environmental catastrophes such as the ones depicted in this movie?

Q: Birthday and holiday greeting cards; hand-written letters from friends and loved ones... we've all received them. What do you do with these sorts of things once you've finished reading them... toss them or keep them?

Q: Have you ever used a fire extinguisher? If so, what were the circumstances? If not, do you know how to use one?

Category: Four For Friday



May 20, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY (ONE DAY EARLY)

NOTE: I'll be unavailable Friday, without access to my computer or the Internet... so, since I don't have anything in particular to post for today (Thursday), I'm posting this weeks Four For Friday one day early. Feel free to wait till tomorrow to answer, or not :-) In any event, enjoy the rest of your week -- Mikal.

Q: Would you rather receive free gasoline for your car for one year, or free meals for a year at your favorite restaurant?

Q: Do you think it's hypocritical for SUV drivers to display environmentally-focused bumper stickers on their vehicles?

Q: If you could be any cartoon character for a day or two, which one would you be, and why?

Q: For how long can you hold your breath? Not sure; that's okay... give it try, right now!

Category: Four For Friday



May 14, 2004

FOUR (FROM A FRIEND) FOR FRIDAY

Q: When you were a kid, what were your favorite TV shows/Saturday morning cartoons?

Q: If you were forced to give up one modern convenience, which one would you choose NOT to give up because you absolutely could not live without it?

Q: Youre standing on line in a supermarket and the person in front of you is short on cash to pay for all of his/her groceries. Do you: A. Help them out by giving them the money they need? B. Watch them struggle to decide which items they should put back in order to be able to pay? C. Roll your eyes, stamp your foot, and sigh because this is just taking too darn long and you need to pay for your six pack already and get to the BBQ before all the ribs and burgers are gone? D. You dont have any extra cash on you, but you have a credit card with no current balance, and so you offer to pay for both your items and the other persons, if they'll just agree to reimburse you with the cash they have on hand?

Q: Would you rather kiss your boyfriend or girlfriend for an hour straight in order to raise money for charity, or win $1,000 tax free?

Category: Four For Friday



May 7, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Some people collect fine art, while others have a passion for baseball cards. How about you? Do you collect anything in particular? If you don't, did you collect anything as a kid, or would you like to in the future?

Q: When you think back to your high school days, do you have good, bad, or mediocre memories of those four years?

Q: This Sunday is Mother's Day. If you're a Mom, what's the best Mother's Day gift you've ever received? If you're not a Mom, what's the best Mother's Day gift youve ever given to one?

Q: If you could be the host of any past or present television game show, which show would you choose to host? (If you need a little help identifying all of the possibilities, click here for a list of shows and hosts!)

Category: Four For Friday



April 30, 2004

FOUR FOR (FRIENDS) FRIDAY

Q: Last night marked the second to last episode of the hit NBC television show, Friends. Do you plan on watching next week's series finale, or are you more interested in the lesser-touted final episode of Fraiser? Or could you care less either way?

Q: My friend Christina is getting married this September 18th. Any words of advice as she enters her last summer as a single woman? How about tips or tricks for making it thru the last few months of the wedding planning season?

Q: My friend Matt closed on his first house yesterday afternoon (pictures available here). Any words of advice or encouragement for the first-time home owner?

Q: A couple of other friends are flirting on the edge of starting a long-distance relationship. How about advice or thoughts for those crazy enough to put it all on the line... the phone lines, the train lines, and the long lines at the airports... all in the name of love?

Category: Four For Friday



April 23, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: If you were able to leave your present job today in order to start your own business tomorrow, what type of business would you start?

Q: Do you have a regular rotation for the clothes you wear to work, or are you a fashionista--the type who wouldn't even consider wearing the same outfit within the same "x" number of days?

Q: What's the largest crowd you've ever been a part of?

Q: What's in the trunk of your car right now? If not your trunk, then how about in the back seat?

Category: Four For Friday



April 16, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Have you ever intentionally kept your friends apart from one another? In other words, it's a good bet that you have work-related friends, neighborhood friends, childhood friends that you're still touch with, church friends, family friends, etc. Do you ever intentionally keep friends apart from one another for fear of your different worlds colliding, or is that not something you've never even considered (until, of course, you read this entirely asinine question)?

Q: Why do you think reality-based television shows are so popular, and how long do you think they'll remain so?

Q: Have you ever lied about your age? If not, under what circumstances could you see yourself doing so?

Q: If, for some totally random reason, the water unexpectedly went out at your home on a weekday morning, and you couldn't shower, wash your face, or brush your teeth, would you still go into work that day, or would you simply say, "Screw it; I'm taking the day off"? In answering this question, you do not belong to a gym where you can shower, nor do you have neighbors or family close by whom you call upon for use of their facilities!

Category: Four For Friday



April 9, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Have you ever crossed a picket line?

Q: What's one thing--outrageous or otherwise--that you plan or hope to do before you die?

Q: How often do you get a haircut, and, do you go back to the same place/person every time?

Q: If you had to make a guess today, do you think President Bush will be reelected come this November?

Category: Four For Friday



April 2, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: What's your favorite binge food?

Q: Which day of the week do you most look forward to?

Q: What's the strangest request a co-worker or boss has ever made of you?

Q: Yesterday was April Fools' Day. What's the best April Fools' joke you've ever perpetrated or had pulled on you or someone you know?

Category: Four For Friday



March 26, 2004

FOUR "ON" FRIDAY

Q: What's on the nightstand next to your bed?

Q: What one show on television do you try never to miss?

Q: What condiment always tastes good to you no matter what its on?

Q: Would you rather sleep on the most luxurious mattress you can imagine or have your face appear on a postage stamp or your favorite cereal box?

Category: Four For Friday



March 19, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Today is the 86th anniversary of the creation of Daylight Savings Time--the main purpose of which is to make better use of daylight and save on demand for electricity. How do you feel about Daylight Savings Time? Do you look forward to its arrival, or could you care less?

Q: Do you do anything significantly different when the people you live with are gone overnight or are out of town for an extended period of time? In other words, if the or people you live with, i.e., roommate, husband, wife, kids, mother-in-law, etc., are out of town, what changes for you when you're left home alone?

Q: What's the longest stretch of time during your adult life that you've been out of work?

Q: Are you in a pool for this year's NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament? If so, who did you pick to win it all? (Alternate Question #1: Who do you think will win this year's NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship? Alternate Question #2: Why should we not care either way?)

Category: Four For Friday



March 12, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: The Girl Scouts of the USA celebrates its 92nd birthday today! Did you order Girl Scout cookies this year, and if so, which kind did you get Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties, Piatas, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Shortbread, Reduced Fat Lemon Pastry Cremes, and/or Animal Treasures? If you didnt order any GS Cookies this year, which kind would you most likely be accused of swiping off a co-workers desk?

Q: Have you ever been intentionally physically threatened by someone, one adult to another?

Q: Would you rather paint with oils on a blank canvas, or draw with Crayons in a coloring book?

Q: Whats an unusual or quirky habit your pet consistently displays? If you dont have a pet of your own, or if youve never had a pet at any point during your life, whats an unusual habit or thing that youve observed in someone elses pet (like a neighbors pet or a siblings or relatives pet)?

Category: Four For Friday



March 5, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Are there any conspiracy theories that you totally buy into?

Q: Earlier this week, Champ Bailey agreed to a seven-year, $63 million contract with the Denver Broncos, making him the National Football League's highest-paid cornerback (in case you don't know what a 'cornerback' is... it's a defensive player who generally lines up on the outside of the offense's formation, and is almost always assigned to guard a wide receiver or that area of the field where a wide receiver is expected to run to to catch a pass). Considering how much Bailey is being paid to guard wide receivers (which by my count is approximately $562,500.00 per game before taxes), is it fair to expect that a touchdown should never be scored against him?

Q: What's one image, scene, or event that you wish you had a camera handy for but didn't?

Q: What time do you wake up on the average weekday verses either Saturday or Sunday?

Category: Four For Friday



February 27, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Do you have a regular routine for surfing the web... in other words, do you visit certain sites everyday at around the same time (like during lunch if you eat at your desk, or in the morning before you leave for work)? If so, what's your routine... which sites do you visit, and in what order?

Q: These days it seems that more and more scholarship athletes are leaving college early for the professional ranks. Do you think athletes who leave school early should be required to pay back the money that their college or university spent on them?

Q: Do you plan on seeing the new Mel Gibson-directed film, The Passion of the Christ?

Q: Do you have a car of your dreams? If so, what's your dream car?

Category: Four For Friday



February 20, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Earlier this week the University of Colorado placed its head football coach, Gary Barnett, on paid administrative leave for comments he made to reporters about the school's first and only female football player (who just so happens to have alleged that while she was enrolled at the school and playing for the team, she was raped by another team member): "It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful," Barnett said. "Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it." Despite what you do or do not know about the wide array of accusations regarding CU football team members, do you feel Barnett's comments warranted his being placed on administrative leave?

Q: Which of the following do you think would have had a bigger impact on society had it NOT happened: The assassination of President Kennedy or the birth of Bill Gates?

Q: If you were offered a spot on the reality TV show your choice, would you accept? If so, which show would you choose to be on?

Q: What household chore do you dislike the most?

Category: Four For Friday



February 13, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Is there an actor or actress whom you dislike so much that you wouldn't even see a movie or TV show they were in? If so, who and why?

Q: Tomorrow is Valentine's Day... a time of the year when flowers, candy, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones and secret admirers, all in the name of St. Valentine. Do you have anything special planned for Valentine's Day... and/or... how do you feel about Valentine's Day... 'Overrated' or 'I love it / I'm really into it.'

Q: It's two-fifteen / three o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon, and you're falling asleep at your desk (or wherever it is that you work). What do you do to reinvigorate yourself so you'll make it thru to the end of the workday without dragging every step along the way?

Q: Would you rather play a game of basketball with Michael Jordan, have dinner with Oprah Winfrey, or listen to Jessie Jackson read aloud from Penthouse Forum?

Category: Four For Friday



February 6, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. What do you think about the Beatles... as amazing and groundbreaking as everyone says or overrated?

Q: CBS, which aired Janet Jackson's 'peek-a-boob' stunt during the Super Bowl Halftime Show, has instituted a tape-delay to cut potentially inappropriate footage from next Sunday's Grammy Awards show. Overreaction or a necessary move?

Q: If given the opportunity to spend 48 uninterrupted hours with a special someone, where would you choose to spend it... in a first-class cabin on the finest cruise ship in the world; your first college dormitory room; a penthouse suite in a mid-town Manhattan hotel; a tree house in the middle of the forest; your current house; in a Swiss Chalet; or somewhere else?

Q: If you had a band, what would you name it?

Category: Four For Friday



January 30, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: If when you got to work today, someone told you that you and all of your co-workers had been given a mandatory day off, what would you do with your day?

Q: The Super Bowl will be on CBS this coming Sunday afternoon/evening. Which are you most looking forward to the game itself, the half-time show, the commercials, or back-to-back episodes of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy on NBC?

Q: Do you plan to participate in any sort of competitive events this year, e.g., foot race (5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, etc.), cooking contest, tennis tournament, softball or volleyball league, competitive choir, writing contest, art contest, etc.?

Q: If you could be any animal on earth for 24 hours, which animal do you think youd choose to be?

Category: Four For Friday



January 23, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: If you had the power and influence to rid the world of just one thing, what would that one thing be?

Q: Your best friend is hosting an event at her/his house in support of a candidate for public office whose candidacy you do not support. Despite how you feel about the candidate, your best friend asks you to attend. Do you go?

Q: If when you died you had an opportunity to wait for 5 people to greet into heaven, who would they be?

Q: If you were forced to enter a competition for the most useless talent, what useless talent would you put on display?

Category: Four For Friday



January 16, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Next Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day--a national holiday here in the US and a day off from work for some. On days such as these, do you commemorate the day by doing anything related to the purpose for the holiday, or is it simply just a day off from work where you're concerned?

Q: Earlier this week, President Bush announced that he would ask Congress for $12 billion over the next five years for research and development costs related to returning humans to the Moon and using it as a stepping stone for future exploration of the universe. How do you feel about this?

Q: What one question would you like to see on next week's Four For Friday?

Q: If you could be a cereal box cartoon character for a day, what character would you be, and why?

Category: Four For Friday



January 9, 2004

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: What do you consider more important: Your Character or Your Reputation?

Q: Al Gore and Bill Bradley have endorsed Howard Dean. Madonna has endorsed Wesley Clark. Do these sorts of endorsements influence you or your vote? Why or why not?

Q: Do you have any art hanging on your walls that you've created yourself. If so, what is it? If not, do you dream of creating pieces of your own?

Q: For the men in the audience... boxers or briefs? And for the ladies in the house, which do you prefer?

Category: Four For Friday



January 2, 2004

Two Thousand And FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: What are you most looking forward to in 2004?

Q: Do you think 2004 will bring more or less prosperity to the U.S. economy and its average income earning citizen?

Q: Will you be voting in the 2004 U.S. presidential election; and if so, have you already decided who you'll be voting for?

Q: How do you think you're life might be different by New Year's Eve 2004?

Category: Four For Friday



December 27, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY (ONE DAY LATE)

Q: What's worse... having expectations that are too high, or having no expectations at all?

MBs A: In my world, having too many expectations has always been the death of me. I try (emphasis on the word try) to follow the path of possibilities, not expectations. When I allow expectations to rule the day, and something gets in the way (either in or out of my control), theres often disappointment on the other side. But if I allow myself the freedom to think in terms of possibilities, and something gets in the way, theres always more hope and possibility on the other side. This has proven particularly useful in business, but admittedly is nearly impossible to control or affect where matters of the heart are concerned. Nonetheless, life has been a lot simpler since I adopted the practice of choosing possibilities over expectations.

Q: What was your favorite Holiday / Christmas gift (from either this year or of all time)?

MBs A: This is going to sound just awful, but I honestly cant recall which has necessarily been the 'best' per se. All of the gifts I've received have been great, but to single one out over another is really difficult. Mom you have a better memory for these sorts of things than do I. Was it Blip, ColecoVision, or that very first rendition of the Sony Walkman? Maybe it was something else entirely? Actually, now that I think about it some more, I was particularly grateful and happy with that trip to Paris I received my junior year in high school, and I'm sure there's more.

Q: Have you made any New Year's Resolutions? If not, is it because you don't believe in such things? If so, care to share any?

MBs A: Like so many people I know, I believe that the turn of the year is a great time to turn a leaf, but it's not the only time. The first of the year doesn't signify the only time that I start to do something that I hadn't done before. Nonetheless, my resolutions for 2004 and beyond include: 1. Learn to play the piano; 2. Maintain the 40-50 pound weight loss that I achieved in 2003; 3. Be a better friend and colleague by being a better person; 4. Work smarter, not longer; 5. Be with family, not just spiritually but physically, as well; 6. Work to not wear my heart on my sleeve as much as I normally do (which is to say, not let so many of my emotions reveal themselves in my face and posture); 7. Continue to volunteer in the community and beyond at least three times per month; 8. Don't be so hard on myself; 9. Make wiser decisions where my personal and institutional finances are concerned, and continue to pay down institutional debt related to my business affairs; and, 10. Before the end of the first quarter of 2004, create and start to put into action a 5-year plan that addreses both personal and professional goals.

Q: Have you ever slept with all of your clothes on? If so, what were the circumstances?

MBs A: As an adult (post-18) I dont think that I have, but then again my Mom may know something that I dont!

Category: Four For Friday



December 19, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Aside from 'having your cake and eating it to', what's the best thing you can imagine?

MB's A: World Peace which I feel requires people and nations to drop their need to be right, along with their desire to make others wrong for who they are and what they believe in.

Q: Have you ever worked on Christmas Day? If so, how did it feel knowing ahead of time that you'd be working on that day, and then how did it feel actually working that day? If you've never worked on Christmas Day, would you?

MB's A: I have, and because I was covering for people who had more of a Christmas tradition than did I at the time, it felt pretty good.

Q: Do you think Usama Bin Laden will be captured alive, and... did you think Saddam Hussein would be caught alive?

MB's A: I do not think Bin Laden will be captured, dead or alive, but then again, I didnt think Hussein would either.

Q: If you knew ahead of time that you would not fail, what would you do?

MB's A: Everything I could to foster World Peace.

P.S. If this is your last visit to the Beli-Blog for the rest of this year -- because you check it daily or sporadically exclusively while at work (and you're off for the rest of the year starting next Monday) -- Happy Holidays. Thanks for being a part of my world these past 12 months. We truly are a part of all of those who have touched us! Be well over the break... both to others and yourself.

Category: Four For Friday



December 12, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Which movies receive your nod for the best and worst flicks of 2003?

MBs A: Worst: Daredevil: Not one thing in this movie commanded my attention. There were holes throughout, no inspiring sequences to speak of, and the fight scenes including Daredevils big showdown with the Kingpin were weak, feebly edited, and over before they even began. Best: Pirates of the Caribbean The Curse of the Black Pearl: Even though Ive only watched the first half of this movie, its still the best flick I saw this year. Johnny Depps performance is worthy of an Oscar, and the sets and stunts were done to perfection. Cant wait to watch the second half!

Q: Where do you turn for inspiration and/or guidance when faced with difficult situations?

MBs A: Im a firm believer in the notion that we all inherently know the difference between right and wrong. Acting on it is a whole nother matter altogether, and thats where my mothers inspiration and guidance comes into play. She always helps me to see things for exactly what they are, including myself.

Q: Which is better: Opening presents or watching someone else open a gift from you?

MBs A: While both are extremely enjoyable, if I had to choose, I'd prefer to open than to watch. Now, change the question so it reads, Which is better: Opening presents, watching someone else open a gift from you, or shopping for or making someone elses present? and my answer would be entirely different. Nine times out of ten, Id choose the shopping for or making option. I love the planning and execution part.

Q: If someone gave you a billboard for one year, what would have put on it?

MBs A: A different thought-provoking quote or ironic statistic every month.

Category: Four For Friday



December 5, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Have you ever served on a jury? If so, what sort of case was it and how did it end? If not, would you want to?

Q: What are your favorite candle scents?

Q: In what ways do you think your life will be different seven months from today (the day after the Forth of July, 2004)?

Q: What are you planning on doing for New Year's Eve?

Category: Four For Friday



November 28, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: How did you spend Thanksgiving Day?

Q: Was President Bush's surprise Thanksgiving Day visit to U.S. troops in Baghdad worth the risk?

Q: How many days have you taken off from work this year for vacation / personal days / sick days?

Q: Would you rather be double- or triple-jointed or be able to get anyone to break dance or rap on command?

Category: Four For Friday



November 21, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: The holiday season is upon us. Do you look forward to the holidays? Why or why not?

MB's A: I love the holidays and always look forward to this time of the year. For me the holidays start the Monday before Thanksgiving, when I start to notice fewer and fewer cars on the road and not as many people coming to and from work. I like the festive spirit and the lights, and the generally accepted notion that its okay to be friendly toward your fellow man and woman. Its just a special time of the year, and I always look forward to it. For most of my life Ive lived in a region of the country where the holiday season is christened with a chill in the air and snow on the ground both of which I also look forward to.

Q: If the necessary money and space were available to you, what one thing would you add to your bedroom?

MB's A: Either a really tricked out hot tub/Jacuzzi/steam room sort of set up, or ample room for a championship level ping-pong table (along with the ping-pong table itself, of course).

Q: If you could change one law -- at either the local, state, or federal level -- which law would you change?

MB's A: Without doing a tremendous amount of research into the far reaching impacts of dumb federal laws, Id start right here in Indiana by changing IC 14-22-9-1, which covers the unlawful means of taking fish, and reads as follows:

Sec. 1. (a) Except as allowed by section 3 of this chapter, a person may not take fish from waters containing state owned fish, waters of the state, or boundary waters of the state by the following:

(1) Means of: (A) a weir; (B) an electric current; (C) dynamite or other explosive; (D) a net; (E) a seine; (F) a trap; or (G) any other substance that has a tendency to stupefy or poison fish.

(2) Means of the following: (A) A firearm; (B) A crossbow; (C) The hands alone.

It seems to me that the taking of fish by ones hands is by far the most humane method possible. What should be outlawed, in my opinion, is recreationally-motivated catch and release fishing.

Q: How often do you cut your fingernails?

MB's A: Not as often as I should. Just to be safe, in addition to keeping nail clippers in my bathroom, I keep some at the office, which is where I usually notice that I havent been keeping up with them as much as I should. In an ideal world Id clip them every Sunday, or thereabouts. As is, I think I do it every couple of weeks or so, which is probably three or four days too many.

Category: Four For Friday



November 14, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: How do you know that what you know is so?

Q: Does George W. Bush's professed faith comfort or frighten you?

Q: If you could have had a role (staring or otherwise) in any one film already made, what movie and role would you pick?

Q: Given the chance for your name to appear in the Guinness Book of World Records, in what context would you be listed?

Category: Four For Friday



November 7, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: If you were elected President of the United States tomorrow, and took office next Monday morning, what's the very thing you'd do after you were sworn in?

Fire the White House chef and install my brother, Kenny, as the new 'First Chef.'

Q: How has your attitude about the war in Iraq changed since U.S. President George W. Bush, on March 18, 2003, gave Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq or face invasion?

On March 25th I wrote the following, and my thoughts havent changed since:

While I'm not too crazy about it, I do understand why we're doing it. Saddam Hussein and his regime represent a threat to what degree exactly, Im not so sure so I suppose it's best to deal with him before he becomes so powerful that he cause real harm to humans all over the world (including US citizens). That having been said, I'm not happy with intentionally putting our troops in harms way, and I'm also not happy with the lack of true diplomatic efforts aimed directly at Saddam Husseins regime on the part of the current US administration.
If there's anything though that bothers me more than anything else about the whole premise upon which this war appears to be based, it's the notion that Weapons of Mass Destruction are okay for the USA to have in its possession, but its not alright for some other countries to have them in theirs.
I'm also concerned about the net effect this war may have on you and me and our fellow US citizens living here and abroad. I fear that we will be retaliated against by factions who are opposed to how we handle our foreign relations. I think what happened on September 11th is now going to happen again and again and again. As a friend of mine recently said, we (Americans) do not need a tax break from our government; what we really need is a 'fear break'. We need to feel safe again, and I do not see this war as being a positive step in that direction.

Q: Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you're going to say?

Unconsciously, perhaps, but certainly not like I used to when I was in grade school.

Q: Would you agree to have one of your thumbs surgically removed if it somehow guaranteed immunity from all major diseases?

I would not. The only things that separate us humans from all other living things are: 1) Our ability to make informed choices; 2) The fact that we had enough ingenuity to invent duct tape, and 3) Our opposable thumbs. Theres now way Im voluntarily giving up a thumb, not when I believe that most everything happens for a reason.

Category: Four For Friday



October 31, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Do you know anyone who was affected by a wildfire in the past year?

Luckily, no. One of the authors Im currently working with lives just outside San Diego, and he almost lost his home, but not quite.

Q: What hobby have you always wanted to take up?

Playing the piano, which I plan to learn starting in 2004.

Q: What's your favorite thing about your country?

That our destiny is not given to us by any government.

Q: What one object in your home or apartment are you most embarrassed about owning?

Its so embarrassing that I cant even say!

Category: Four For Friday



October 24, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: If you were offered the opportunity to have cost-free and risk-free plastic surgery, would you? If so, and you're comfortable sharing, what do you think you'd have done?

Yes, I think I would. Id probably have a touch of liposuction performed around my waist, but Id wait at least one year from now to make a final decision about that. You see, Im on a medically supervised weight loss program that appears to have dramatic results, and Id like to see it thru to the end.

Q: Should the U.S. Constitution be amended to allow a naturalized citizen to run for president?

Yes, but with the condition that any naturalized citizen seeking the Presidency must have been a citizen in good standing for at least 10 years.

Q: Do think you'll spend more, less, or about the same amount money on holiday gifts this year as you did last year?

Probably more, which isn't saying much, but it's a start :-)

Q: Would you rather vomit marbles or sweat cheese?

Oh, vomit marbles, for sure. I hardly ever vomit (cant say the same about sweating), and I betcha that marbles smell a whole lot better than your standard fare of vomit.

Category: Four For Friday



October 17, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

What was your favorite childhood toy?

My favorite childhood toy was the handheld Blip. I whined and moaned for almost a three months before my mom broke down and bought me one. To this day its still my most favorite childhood toy.

What's your favorite line to quote from a movie?

From the 1987 hit movie, The Princess Bride:

Miracle Max: Have fun stormin' da castle!
Valerie: Think it'll work?
Miracle Max: It would take a miracle.

If you were invisible, where would you go and what would you do?

Like many people, I would hop on a plane to Washington D.C., make my way into the White House, and follow the President around for a little while to see what really goes on in the day of a life of a world leader. Id also do stuff to help children who cant help themselves and are intentionally suffering at the hands of others.

Have you ever purchased something from a TV infomercial or from a spam e-mail message?

Lets see there was that buckwheat-pellet pillow that I bought back in 1997 (bad move I think it withstood my tossing and turning for something like a week before rupturing what looked rabbit pellets all over my bedroom), and then there was that set of video tapes that purported to teach me 101 of the best magic tricks ever (needless to say, I cant perform magic to save my own life), and that of course was preceded by that crappy Home Shopping Network stereo that broke three weeks later and that I was too lazy and poor at the time (probably from paying way too much for the stupid thing in the first place) to pay for it to be shipped back to HSN to be repaired (it ended up in storage for five years before I gave it to a friend who said he could fix anything).

Category: Four For Friday



October 10, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: How do you feel about professional athletes competing in the Olympics?

MBs A: I dont think they should be allowed to compete. At first I was all for it you know, USA!, USA! and all but then after witnessing US athletes (especially our mens and womans basketball teams) celebrate wildly after winning gold medals against sickly competition, I changed my mind. Toss in the fact that most professional athletes refuse to live in the Olympic Village and demand preferential treatment above and beyond what Olympians already receive, and I have little taste for the professionalizing of the what was once the greatest proletarian athletic spectacle on earth.

Q: What's your favorite song right now?

MBs A: Life For Rent, by Dido.

Q: If you lived in California, how would you have voted in this week's gubernatorial recall election?

MBs A: Plain and simple I would have voted no on the recall. No do-overs allowed!

Q: Do you pick your nose?

MBs A: Please, as if; course I do (and I know you do also)!

Category: Four For Friday



October 3, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: What's your favorite restaurant of all time? Is it a chain or an independent eatery? If it's an independent, what's your favorite chain restaurant?

MBs A: Without a doubt, the best restaurant Ive ever been to is Aurelio's Pizzeria in Macomb, Illinois. I was only there once, in the fall of 1990, but I can still taste the uniquely sweet pizza sauce, and it was the first pie Id ever had that was cut Sicilian style. I recently learned that Aurelio's now has 36 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Minnesota. Oh, and my favorite chain restaurant (as in a big-time corporate chain) is The Cheesecake Factory.

Q: Do you feel that Rush Limbaugh's recent remarks about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb were racist?

MBs A: No, I do not feel that his comments were racially motivated, and as an ardent viewer of ESPNs coverage of football, I can see why he made the comment in the first place. ESPNs coverage of the sports it reports on is anything but authentic, and about the only thing that was real about that particular episode of Sunday NFL Countdown was Limbaughs comment. In my mind, despite how I personally feel about the man and his style, Limbaugh asked a legitimate question. Did he ask it in the right place at the right time? Perhaps not, but to force him off of their network for doing exactly what they hired him to do in the first place is an act that shows ESPNs true hypocritical colors.

Q: Would a mayoral candidate's stance on abortion affect how you vote?

MBs A: Only if abortion was a legitimate issue within the town in which I lived. How a candidate feels about abortion -- in a town where the right to an abortion is not within the municipalitys jurisdiction would have no bearing whatsoever on my decision-making process.

Q: Are you thinking about dressing up for Halloween this year? If so, what are you thinking about wearing / being?

MBs A: I am, but Im not sure what to wear. Its been years since I dressed up for Halloween, so if anyone has a suggestion or two thats easy for a schlep like me to pull off, let me know.

Category: Four For Friday



September 12, 2003

FOUR -- OF THE 'EITHER OR' VARIETY -- FOR FRIDAY

Q: Land Line or Cell Phone?

MBs A:: Oh, definitely a cell phone. Believe it or not, I havent had a land line since the fall of 1997 (thats what, like six years). Its amazing how adjusted Ive become to cell phone exclusivity. Honestly, I cant imagine a time when Id opt for a land line, unless of course I owned a home and were married with children.

Q: Johnny Cash or John Ritter?

MBs A: Oh, definitely John Ritter. I grew up with the guy, first on The Waltons, then never missing an episode full of his zany antics on Threes Company. Nothing against Johnny Cash but while I know his voice, I couldnt name one of his songs to save my life (or yours).

Q: Mission to the Moon or a Mission to Mars?

MBs A: Oh, definitely the Moon. While a mission to Mars would be cool and all, the Moon just seems more exciting. The Moon I can see with my naked-eye, and according to everything I know, weve successfully landed there before. In fact, why dont we go to the Moon anymore? Itd be a much more exciting world to live in, in my opinion, if we started to make an annual mission to the Moon.

Q: Dance With the Devil in the Pale Moonlight or Dance With an Angel in the Broad Daylight?

MBs A: Oh, definitely with an angle in the broad daylight. The only problem is choosing from among the many angles that roam the Earth, from Colorado to Indiana to Vermont.

Category: Four For Friday



September 5, 2003

FOUR (PLUS ONE) FOR FRIDAY

Q: Who are you (be creative)?

Q: What's something you hope to accomplish before next Friday?

Q: When is it okay to pick up a hitchhiker?

Q: Where have you lived?

Q: Why do you do what you do for work?

Category: Four For Friday



August 15, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: What emerging technology excites you most, or... what emerging technology do you think holds the most promise or potential for your life or the lives of those you care about?

Q: The beginning of eternity, the end of space. The beginning of every end, the end of every place. What am I?

Q: Are men really from Mars and women really from Venus, or is this an oversimplified gross generalization?

Q: Hellmanns Mayo or Miracle Whip... and as long as you're at it, Ranch or Blue Cheese?

Category: Four For Friday



August 8, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: How do you feel about the upcoming recall election of California's governor, Gray Davis?

Q: Should Internet-related concepts and technologies, such as the "Buy It Now" feature on eBay.com, be patentable?

Q: Do you believe that another 9/11-type of attack will take place on U.S. soil within the next 12 to 24 months?

Q: Name one daily activity that you absolutely despise doing.

Category: Four For Friday



July 18, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY (new questions)

Q: How do you feel about the salaries made by professional athletes in the United States?

Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Q: If the next U.S. presidential election were held today would you vote for George W. Bush or for some other -- as of today "unknown" -- candidate?

Q: What's your favorite thing to cook?

Category: Four For Friday



July 11, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: With its armed forces deployed in so many different parts of the world, do you think that the U.S. is spreading itself too thin?

MEB's A: My answer to this question may surprise some of the regular Beli-Bloggers (yes, I'm now referring to the most active of my site's visitors as "Beli-Bloggers")... but no, I do not necessarily think that the U.S. is spreading its troops too thinly around the rest of the world. While I certainly question the U.S. government's motivations, and thus the appropriateness of its actions, I do not really think it makes much a difference here at home if we have troops in five or fifty different countries (except to the loved ones of those overseas, of course). In my view, having our troops here on U.S. soil won't make any bit of difference when it comes to defending against terrorism. If someone is hell-bent on flying a plane into another building, or driving a car packed full of dynamite into the local grocery store, or on dumping some sort of biological contaminant into a local or regional source of water, no amount of troops will ever stop them. If the question were phrased, "Do U.S. troops belong in (enter the name of any combination of countries where we currently have a military presence)," and my answer may be different.

Q: Should the words "under God" continue to be a part of the USA's Pledge of Allegiance?

MEB's A: While I am a firm believer in the notion of "all there is is what people say and what you choose to believe about it," I do feel that the "under God" reference should be removed. And while the reference itself doesn't specifically state 'whose God', there is the inference that God is somehow on the U.S.A.'s side, and I do not believe that's true in any way, shape or form.

Q: If you were expelled from your country and had limited financial resources, where would you try to rebuild your life?

MEB's A: I'd head up north to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, or some other English-speaking Canadian town or location. Canada's close enough to the U.S. for family and friends to visit, and it's goods and services closely resemble those afforded to citizens of the United States.

Q: How much time do you spend in front of your computer at work and at home on a daily basis?

MEB's A: While at work... six to eight hours a day; while at home... between two and five hours a day. By my own crude calculations, about 11 hours a day each weekday; eight hours total on the weekends.

Category: Four For Friday



July 4, 2003

FOR FOR FRIDAY (Questions Provided by Matt Holzmann)

Matt's Question: Have you ever posted an ad or response to one via an Internet dating service?

Mikal's Answer: Why yes, yes I have. At one point or another I have posted ads (and responses to ads) on Yahoo! Personals, Match.com, American Singles, and other random sites. I've meet some really nice women this way. Internet dating rocks!

Matt's Question: Do recent increases in the U.S. jobless rate reflect the future of the Bush tax cut?

Mikal's Answer: Hmmmm... while I would like to be able to connect the current rate of unemployment to the President's recent tax cut, the reality of the situation is that the tax cut just went into place, while the unemployment rate has been dropping since the first quarter of 2001. My sense, unfortunately, is that we'll continue to experience high unemployment rates for another two to three years, and that by the time we come out of it, Bush's tax cut won't really matter all that much (except to proponents of the cuts, who will attempt to take credit for the turn-around).

Matt's Question: Have you ever danced around your home with incredibly loud musiclike Bridgett Jones while either depressed or crazy-happy?

Mikal's Answer: Like Bridget Jones? No way. Like Joel Goodson... you betcha! (For those of you who don't recall, Joel Goodson is the character Tom Cruise played in the 1983 movie 'Risky Business.')

Matt's Question: What kind of computer do you have?

Mikal's Answer: At home, an Apple iBook, running the Jaguar operating system. At the office, a PC of some kind, running some version of Windows (not XP, I know that). I actually like it that way... using both systems.

Don't be shy (yes, you)... click on the "Comments" link below to share your own answers. You can do so anonymously now due to some changes made to the posting form!

Category: Four For Friday



June 27, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: As Seen On TV... Have you ever ordered something from a television infomercial?

MEB's A: Yes, I am almost ashamed to admit that I have, twice. The first was one of those special pillows, filled with some sort of beans. It was supposed to help improve posture and circulation. I sent it back after just one night. It was easily 1/2 the size of my regular pillows, and I woke up with a massive crick in my neck the next morning. The other item I ordered from an infomercial... a set of video tapes for learning magic tricks.

What's your favorite pancake?

MEB's A: Call me weird, but I'm all about the plain pancake. Oh, I like the ones with blueberries, bananas, and even chocolate chips, but it's rare that I order those at a restaurant, and it's even rarer that I make them at home. (By the way, I'd like to thank Matt Holzmann for suggesting this particular question.)

Name just one thing you are truly grateful for?

MEB's A: Starting when I about 16 or so, the freedom given to me by my Mother to make many of my own decisions. I learned a lot about myself from the mistakes I was allowed to make at such an early age.

During your working career, have you personally observed conduct that you knew violated the law and, if so, did you report it?

MEB's A: I've observed it only once, and yes, I reported it. In my first real office job after college I worked with a woman who misappropriated funds. As soon as I found out about it I told my boss, who quickly told me that snooping around in other people's business was inappropriate! One week later I reported it again, only to find out that my boss never looked into the first reporting. Upon looking into the situation, my boss fired my co-worker and was shocked to see the extent to which the law and company's ethical standards had been violated.

Don't be shy... please click on the "Comments" link below to share your answers.

Category: Four For Friday



June 20, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q: Do you watch any of the reality TV shows? If so, which ones and why? If not, why not?

MB's A: Yes. I watch MTV's The Real World and Road Rules, and CBS's Big Brother and The Amazing Race. I also try to tune in for the last five weeks or so of Survivor. Having lived and worked as an outdoor educator, where room and board are a significant part of the compensation package, I am able to identify with the struggles, hardships, and joys that exist in these short-term televised communities. Click Here for co-worker Phil's most excellent view of MTV's current edition of The Real World.

Q: Do you plan on reading "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"? If so, will you rush out this weekend to buy it, or will you wait a little while to get your copy?

MB's A: I'm sure I'll eventually read it, but I won't be among the millions of people who attempt to get a hold of it right away (unless of course my sister tells that I have to buy it for my nephew!). As an acquisitions editor for a book publisher, I am hoping that the new Potter book sparks consumer's interest for buying books. It's been a pretty dark year thus far for book publishers.

Q: Have you ever been to a high school reunion (yours or someone else's)? If so, what was it like? If not, is it because you refuse to go to one? If so, why?

MB's A: I have never been to one (my own or anyone else's) but am dying to do so! I think it'd be a trip to see old friends and bullies alike. I keep surfing Classmates.com for notification of my reunions but nothing has appeared so far. If anyone's looking for someone to go with him or her to theirs, I'm available.

Q: Which country currently poses a bigger threat to the United States: Iran or North Korea

MB's A: Neither... the United States poses the bigger threat to itself than does any other nation.

Don't be shy... please click on the "Comments" link below to share your views

Posted by Mikal at 12:28 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Category: Four For Friday



June 13, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Do allegations, firings, and resignations at the New York Times, involving reporters fabricating news and taking quotes out of context, cause you to question whether the Times or other newspapers are accurate and truthful?

No. For quite some time now Ive had a discontented view of all news sources (with very few exceptions), including daily newspapers. The New York Times, as far as Im concerned, is no worse of a source for accurate and authentic news and information today than it was one year ago. Frankly, I feel that all of the focus and deliberation thats been placed on the NYT (both by the Times itself and others in popular media) is absurd.

Are you worried about the SARS virus?

While the virus itself doesnt worry me from a personal health standpoint, its domino effect on Asian economies and our own certainly is a cause for concern.

In which city would you like most to have a vacation?

San Francisco its easy to navigate by foot, close to the water, geographically diverse, visually appealing, and packed with energetic people who make tourist traps feel like anything but.

Do you think some of the 505 home runs Sammy Sosa has hit over his career came as a result of him cheating by using a corked bat?

For Gods sake, yes! How could anyone not think so?

Bonus Question: Does it bother you when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday?

No, not at all. I actually think it's cause for celebration and a time for throwing caution to the wind.

For all of you reading this posting, what are your answers to today's "Four for Friday" questions. Don't be shy!

Category: Four For Friday



May 30, 2003

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Name four of your favorite movies of all time.

Roxanne, Groundhog Day, The Last of the Mohicans, and Good Will Hunting. There are lots more, of course... these are just four.

If you were asked to name a puppy dog, what are four possible names that come to mind?

Floppy, Gromit, Rufus, and Sparky.

Name four people, dead or alive, that you'd like to spend 4 hours with (knowing ahead of time that youd never get another chance to be with any of them ever again).

My Father (DOB: 5/18/33, DOD: 4/15/90); My Grandpa Jack (also deceased); Woodrow Wilson; and Albert Einstein.

What are the last four books you read (or are currently reading, if you read more than one book at a time)?

Into The Wild, by Jon Krakauer (for the fourth time); Maus, a graphic novel by Art Spiegelman; Addicted to Danger, by Jim Wickwire; and dot.bomb, by J. David Kuo (for the second time).

For all of you reading this message, what are your answers to today's "Four or Friday" questions. Don't be shy!