Jul 28, 2010

Doing Data Entry for Family History

A few weeks ago I was listening to a man at church instruct about various ways to help out the family history cause. I have always been interested in personally compiling my own family history, though admittedly it is not one of my top priorities.

In the middle of his lesson, though, he mentioned something about being able to to indexing, or data entry, for the church's unindexed family history records right from your home via an internet connection. I was interested. Especially since I now know myself to be very proficient at data entry thanks to my data entry -- er, accounting -- internship.  :-)

I went over to the Family Search website later that day and found a link to what he as talking called "Help create free public access to the U.S. census indexes and other records!" It turns out that yes, we can help out even in a small way with genealogy. If you go to that link above and follow the instructions it will walk you through everything you need to do to register and start helping out.

It is interesting, too, since you get to pick what specific records you want to index. There are lots of different types of records you can index; some as 'generic' as World War II draft cards (classified as "Beginning" level) and others as complex as Philippine birthing records from the 1700's ("Advanced" level).

If you are a novice to indexing they walk you through the process with very specific instructions and lots of examples. And if you somehow get a record that you just can't make out, there is always a "Return Batch" option.  :)

Here's the link again if you are interested:

Jul 25, 2010

The Story of Eli Herring

We learned about a very interesting story today at church in Sunday school. The lesson was on keeping the Sabbath day holy. The story that was included to illustrate the point of keeping the Sabbath day holy is about Eli Herring. Here's a summary of his story:
Eli Herring
Projected as a first to third round draft choice, Herring made the decision to forgo a professional career so he wouldn't have to work on the Sabbath, and wrote letters to each NFL team saying as much. He was still drafted in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders, and Raider senior assistant Bruce Allen flew to Provo and offered Herring a three-year, $1.5 million contract. Herring rejected it. His starting salary as a teacher at Mountain View High School was around $22,000 a year (link).
 It tells a lot about Eli's character that he was able to stand by his beliefs despite having to turn down a large sum of money. There is more to the story, and it is very interesting. I suggest reading Eli's full story here.

I hope that I will perform just as Eli did if I ever am faced with a similarly difficult situation.

Jul 19, 2010

Repost: "Why I Still Bleed Dodger Blue This Morning"

Here is a beautifully written piece over at True Blue LA chronicling one fan's Dodger fandom geneology. It's a great read. Here's an excerpt to get you interested (click here for the full article):
In 1947, Jackie Robinson came to the big leagues. Who doesn't know that? That fall, the Dodgers took on the Yankees in the World Series, the first of those epic contests that were to define post-World War II baseball. A long way from New York City, in a small, unremarkable Virginia town called Elliston, the employees at the local meat-packing plant decided to have a World Series pool. But there was a problem--no one in that southern plant would put any money on the integrated Dodgers. Finally, the organizers approached the woman who would someday be my grandmother. Until that moment, she had never paid any attention to organized sports. But as her co-workers explained the situation, she found herself growing angry. And she finally exploded, saying in the polite vernacular of the times, "Good Lord! We don't let the colored people do anything else. Why can't we at least let them play baseball?" And with that she pulled a dollar out of her purse and placed it on the team from Brooklyn.

Jul 18, 2010

Why does misery love company?

Sometimes when things are going bad for myself it makes me feel better about my situation if I hear someone else is going through the same thing. I know I am a bad person. I do not think I am the only person that sometimes feels like this, but I don't use that for an excuse either. It is a selfish feeling, and I always feel guilty when I feel myself feeling better when I hear about someone else experiencing similar hardships to myself.

I think feelings like this come from two sources: selfishness and a longing for understanding from others about our tough situation. I'd like to think my feelings comes from the latter.

Jul 17, 2010

LeBron James & "The Decision"

LeBron James has never been one of my favorite players. It's nothing in particular about his personality, it's just that he has constantly been compared to and elevated above the best player on the team that I root for, the LA Lakers. I recognize that he is a fantastic basketball player and is phenomenally athletic. He's just on the wrong team for me to really become his fan. "The Decision" changed that.

So much has already been said about LeBron James' "Decision" from a couple of weeks ago. Many, many a great writer have penned excellent summaries of all the points involved in the situation. While the stories range from overly protective to ridiculously wild, I will try to stay somewhere closer to the middle with what I hope to be two fairly common sense points.

If I'm LeBron James and I am objectively evaluating the events leading up to my signing with the Heat, I would admit that (1) the situation I manufactured was not good for my reputation, and (2) the team I chose is probably not the team with the best chance of winning a championship. I'm not sure which of the two points is more important to LeBron so I'll start with the first one.

The situation LeBron manufactured was not good for his reputation. I know that LeBron has publicly said before that he hopes to be the first pro athlete billionaire (link).  With that in mind, he is surely not feeling good right now as his once blue-chip image now has now had a major flaw exposed. Turning his back on the Cleveland Cavaliers is no the issue here, but the manner in which he did it.  Stringing them along for the first few weeks of free agency. Leaving everyone in the dark. The 1-hour special devoted just to him and his decision. It was tacky. Leaving Cleveland would have already been a huge blow to their franchise. Why make it any more by announcing it on live television without giving them a heads up?

In my opinion this major crack in his image is nearly irreparable. If he wins a championship with Miami everyone will talk about how it should have been Cleveland that he took to a championship and how he did not do it on his own but instead rode on the coattails of Dwyane Wade. If Miami does not win a championship and this Superstar Trifecta experiment fails then even more 'I told you so's will be piled on top of him. It's really a lose-lose situation for him.

The team LeBron chose is probably not the team with the best chance of winning a championship. This is the more debatable of the two points, but I still think it's pretty clear that Chicago was his best bet of competing for a championship for the next 4-5 years.  They have a budding point guard superstar in Derrick Rose, a defensive rock of a center in Joakim Noah, a reliable offensive power forward in Carlos Boozer, and other various role players to complete their roster.  Right now, Miami's roster consists of: LeBron, Dwyane, Chris Bosh, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mario Chalmers, and Mike Miller. And the rest of their roster is going to be desperate minimum-salary veterans who are chasing a ring. I suppose we will never be able to say exactly how well Chicago would have done with LeBron. I think it would have been an amazing team.

In a way LeBron did get exactly what he hungers for: publicity. Can even bad publicity add positively to your image? I don't know. The common sense answer to me is 'No', but I'm no economics expert.