New Smart Phones and Tablets

I got a preview of some of the manufacturers’ new smart phones and tablets.  I think the best was a water proof tablet.  It reminded me when Rebecca was a kid and wanted to see if her grandma’s cordless phone would ring under water.  Pretty cool if you have curious kids.

Of all the new phones, the LG model interested me the most.  Being a visual guy, the display on this thing POPS!  Talk about HDTV in your pocket.

Today started off with slight overcast, but as I left this trade show it was sleeting.  (Call it snow if you want, but sleet is a different type of cold/wet.)  Then, as I left the office in Rochester, it was drizzling.

Elizabethe was out of yogurt so I made my stop at Walmart because I had some other stuff to get too.  (I didn’t want to go to two stores on the way home.)  Besides getting some stuff from the hardware department, I had to get a bunch of candy for a photo shoot later this week.  I need candy for the shoot and I got lucky.  They have all the Easter stuff out so it was easy to get some candy with some cool colors.


New Returning Missionaries

I’ve lived here about 2.5 years now.  I have now seen missionaries come and go, and come back.  Yes, I’ve seen couple missionaries, complete their missions, go home, turn in papers, and return to Palmyra (again) as missionaries.  It’s kind of cool that they love it so much here they want to come back.

We get missionaries (couples) who have been mission presidents, in temple presidencies, and even general authorities.  Of course it is a popular place to serve.  After all, it all started HERE.

Recently, someone called our bishop “the most popular bishop in the church”, because he is the bishop of the Palmyra Ward.  I guess that’s true.  People may not know him by name, but they know where our ward is.

That said, is our Primary Presidency the most popular Primary Presidency in the church?  After all, if you visit the sites and attend church here, you drop your children off in our Primary.  And, the Elder’s Quorum President must be the most popular Elder’s Quorum President.

I guess I’m safe.  I’m the ward organist.  And, the most popular organists in the church are the ones who play for the Tabernacle Choir.  Whew!  Thank goodness.


Job Interview

I took Elizabethe to a job interview today.  She was screened over the phone by a head-hunter, and he thought she’d be a good fit.  She gets there, and the questions they are asking are akin to the stuff I do at work.  The scary part is, they were only offering $13/hour.

So, have things got so bad in the tech industry that India and China have caused jobs that were once 6-figure incomes are now competitive with other low-pay jobs?

Perhaps we did this to ourselves and over-inflated our salaries.  Yes, it is a global market, but I don’t care who you are, what language you speak, if you cannot understand the person on the other end of the phone, you are not going to be happy with the level of service you are getting.

Hmmm… I guess that means that if you speak English well, and communicate well, and have a lot of technical expertise, they still want you, but they want to pay you a LOT less than they would have paid you 4 years ago.  I’m sure this is the trend and it is scary what it will do to our economy.


A couple talked in church today.  He’s a retired Engineer and an extremely smart guy.  Often, when he talks, he gets in to some technical stuff.  Personally, I don’t mind the techie-talk.  I kind of like it when someone can tie science to pure religion.  After all, if you are a scientist and a Christian, you probably can see the divine links between the very matter that makes this world, the laws that govern it, and God’s laws.

So, after Sacrament Meeting, and Sunday School, we get in to Priesthood Meeting, and this same brother is teaching it too.  It turned out to be the best lesson I’ve heard taught in a long time, and there was no techie-talk!

The sister missionaries, Sister Carver and Sister Thomas, came for dinner tonight.  I prepared a baked ham, couscous, and broccoli.  We had kheer for dessert.  It was the first time I had made kheer.  It’s a nice light dessert.  Elizabethe suggested I make tapioca flavored the same way as the kheer.  (I think I’ll try that next time.)  Kheer has cardamom, pistachios and raisins in it.

Lately I’ve got hooked on this show on the Food Network called “Chopped”.  Even if someone doesn’t cook, it has some good lessons.  1) It teaches one to think outside the box.  2) It teaches that paradigms can be broken.  3) It teaches that a little humility goes a long way.  And, 4) it teaches that if you double-dip or drop something on the floor, someone might be watching and be offended.  Okay, it’s a fun contest to watch between 4 chefs over 3 courses of a meal.

It should be required watching for future L.D.S. Missionaries.

The Bishop’s Storehouse

Elizabethe and I woke to snow.  It was windy and cold as we made our way to the Bishop’s Storehouse.  When we got there, the roads were dry and no snow.

While there we filled 40 orders destined to Lancaster.  It took us 2 hours.  We had about 25 people there from our ward.

As we were leaving, that storm had moved south and was now coating the windows of the car.  So, I slowly made my way north back to Palmyra to discover it had stopped snowing in Palmyra.

Teri Eisner had invited us to come to her mom’s (Louise Massagli’s) for dinner.  We headed over early and had a nice visit with them and another couple they had invited to dinner.  Our dinner conversations turned to how we each met our spouse.  It was a wonderful evening.


Retire When You Can

I’ve adopted the philosophy that one should retire as soon as they can.  Forget the idea that you can’t afford to retire.  If someone is going to pay you to NOT work, take the money and run.  You can always get another job to supplement your income.  Heck, I know people who retired at an early age, started a second career, and retired from that job too.  Can’t beat two pensions.

Take Social Security as soon as you can too.

If you’re still young, max out that 401K, especially if your employer pitches in.  After all, that’s free money they are adding to your 401K.  They say, hindsight is 20/20, so I wish when I was younger I would have maxed out my 401K from the very start.

Elizabethe and I went to the temple tonight and we almost didn’t get in.  The session was packed.  After that, the High Priest Group hosted ice cream at the church.

We came out of the building and the wind was really blowing.  Looks like I might have some downed wood tomorrow.

Better Taxes

Have you ever thought about how we are taxed?

Property tax, sales tax, excise tax, income tax, gasoline tax, liquor tax, cigarette tax, and so on.

I think property and income taxes are the worst of all taxes.  One is a deterrent to homeowners, the other to workers.  You never really own your home if you have property tax, and you never get out from under income tax unless you stop earning money.

Why not just a flat sales tax?

This is on my mind because I’m gathering up all the data (as is Elizabethe too) to send to our accountant so he can figure out what our tax liabilities are.  And, the fact that we do this annually seems to be a huge waste.  Why not every 5 years… or even every 10 years.

I guess I’m just grumpy because it seems that it takes up so many resources to do taxes.  Yes, it provides jobs.  But, accountants will still have jobs if we changed how we do taxes.  They’d just be doing things differently.


That Was Fast

On Friday I shipped my dead HP computer back to HP for repair.  I really wanted a replacement, but the man I escalated the trouble to said they cannot do that at this point, but assured me the team working on my computer would be the best HP has.  Well, today that computer came back.

The slip inside said they replaced the video card.  Who would have thought a bad video card would have caused all the symptoms I experienced?  But, it did.

I spent a good portion of the evening re-installing software and all is seeming to go well.  If it continues this way, Hewlett-Packard will have redeemed themselves.

At work today a lady commented that she hadn’t seen me in the office for a while.  During the discussion, one thing lead to another and it came out that her mom was a Latter-day Saint. When I got back to my desk, I saw I had one of my 5×7 postcards of the Palmyra Temple.  So, I slipped it in her in-box.

After lunch, she came by my desk holding the card with tears in her eyes.  She informed me she had not talked to her mom in over 2 years and this card might be the way to melt the ice between them.  She expressed her gratitude and said, “I do not think this is a coincidence that you gave me this card.”  (Coincidence is something I don’t believe in anyway.  It is nice to hear someone acknowledge that things like this are meant to be.)

Teri Eisner came over to participate in a Little Black Dress book photo session.

At the end of the day came the emotional crash one experiences after having lost a loved one.  You don’t notice how much such events are draining your strength until the crash hits.  It is like all of a sudden you feel like you could lay down and sleep for a couple of days.

I Hate Hackers

I went to sign on to an account and I got a message that it was locked due to too many login failures.  I called the company’s 800 number and was told 2 days ago someone tried to access the account.  grrrrrr!!!!

The moral of this story is this… choose hard to guess passwords.  Never use a word that can be found in the phone book or dictionary.  Make it look totally random like “yr$urpw2”

Elizabethe called to tell the temple staff we were going to be late.  They told her they have enough staff for the night, but I still went in.  It was a melancholy night.  I was missing Enrico, but I was also glad he got the experience of going through the temple before his death.

Last night, we had 8 of the temple missionaries over for a Family Home Evening.  It was fun.  They asked me to teach a little lesson on Barbershop Singing.  Several of them came up and commented on the activity, others commented on how cool they house is.

Enrico’s Services

I managed go get a good rest last night.  That was good.  Otherwise, I’d be a nervous wreck.

We arrived at the church at 9am and we joined Louise, Teri and Dan and EJ in the Relief Society room as people came and offered their condolences.  I can’t name everyone who was there, but there was a huge outpouring of people coming to pay their respects.

A minute before 10am, Bishop Wildey came and escorted everyone to the chapel for the funeral.  As I sat their on the stand, I sang the opening hymn, listened to the opening prayer, and thought, “OH, CRUD.  I’M the FIRST SPEAKER!”

I felt my remarks went well.  There was so much I could have said about him, and I hoped I got the highlights.  We laughed together and cried together as we honored this great giant among men – in every way.

EJ and Teri paid tribute to their dad.  It was so sweet to hear.

If there were anything I’d like anyone to take away from what I learned over the last few days it is this…

Cherish your friends and family.  When oportunity comes to spend time or talk with them.  Do it, for today they may be here, and tomorrow they may have moved on to a different realm.

Enrico John Massagli, Jr. - April 6th, 1946 - February 16th, 2012