12/29/2008

Out of Order (but coming back soon)

http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/o/out_of_order_gifts.asp


sorry for the silence.
when self employed people take a break for the holidays
they get really behind.

i'm starting to get caught up.
then i'll blog some more.
and you will all be able to have meaningful lives again...

:)

see you soon.

12/07/2008

new headshots




either my photography skills are improving dramatically (with no practice)
or my wife is getting hotter by the minute...

11/25/2008

wow wow wow



much like a car accident in the median
you know you shouldn't keep watching
but you can't turn away...

now, who's willing to "sign the comments" as a petition for my father (The Reverend Doctor William Rudd) to learn this routine and perform it on Sunday morning in his church?

11/24/2008

belated apology, and advice from a hypocrite

This December, I'll be spending the advent season with the good people of First Baptist Church. Their pastor is recovering from an operation, and I've always enjoyed filling in there (especially for advent).

Since I'm feeling pretty rusty in the pulpit (it's been 3 years since my early retirement from pastoral vocation) I thought I'd listen to a few old recordings of my advent sermons for some ideas.

When I was a pastor, I knew my sermons were too long. I'd always talk about it apologetically (probably hoping someone would be gracious enough to say -- "ohh..but *your* sermons are so interesting, I never notice the time...."), but I rarely demonstrated any progress in moving from 50 minutes to 30 minutes.

I'm sure I had an inflated sense of the importance of my words and the necessity for people to hear enough of them. I've since learned that every pastor has *someone* who will tell them that they aren't preaching too long. I guess that was all I needed. One person to stroke my ego while everyone else was over-informed, bored, or asleep.

From the age of 18 (part time youth pastor during college) until three years ago, there was no extended period of time when I was not in some form of church leadership (almost always vocational).

A "break" from that has given me some clarity on the matter.

And listening to my own sermons from 4 years ago, I'm once again reminded I owe lots of people lots of apologies.

If you were a victim of mine please accept my apology: I'm sorry.

PS. If you're a pastor, here's my suggestion:

Most sermons I hear actually contain 3-5 sermons.
Why not land on the first main idea that emerges?
Offer that idea from a few angles so that it connects with more of your audience.
Pose some questions to catalyze ongoing exploration.
Then give the idea some space to breathe.
Give it some time to find a place in the minds of the people who are listening.
Don't knock it loose with additional ideas.
Demonstrate your confidence in the text by resisting the urge to give it elaborate support.

11/22/2008

Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama

I'll be brief. I know you're busy.

I suggest that you appoint Seth Godin to be:

"Secretary of 'Let's-not-try-to-build-a-New-economy-the-Old-way'"

Seriously. I think we'd all find ourselves knee deep in the types of ideas we need to be cultivating for a new world.

I think that some of the best and brightest minds could be engaged in dialogue and leveraged for a better and brighter future.

I think we'd have a national catalyst for rethinking some of the habits that get us stuck.

At the minimum, I suggest that you make his blog and books required reading for your staff.

And consider this thought very seriously (not just in thinking about the automotive bailouts):
'What to do about Detroit'

Sincerely, Daniel Rudd
Small Business Owner, Michigan

PS. Thanks for your hard work. Congratulations.

11/19/2008

11/13/2008

Lost Footagej from the Archives

So did I ever tell you about that time when I took Will and a big tank of helium to Philadelphia? It was a couple years ago but I just found the tape from my video camera.

11/08/2008

the [happy] end[ing] of [my] political blogging

1. McCain finished well. I was impressed by his concession speech and his demeanor. I particularly appreciate his obvious disapproval of his supporters who would "boo" at the mention of the new president elect.

I'm obviously happy with the election results, but I recognize that John McCain is a person worthy of great honor. I don't think a presidential campaign is the most fertile ground for cultivating virtue, and I wonder how much control or awareness either of the candidates had for many of the poor campaign decisions that were made.

2. I voted for Barack Obama because I believed that (all things considered), he was the best (but not the perfect) candidate with the best (but not the perfect) plan.

The fact that he is an African American had (as far as I can be sure) little to do with my decision.

However, it seems that it has a *lot* to do with emotions I've experienced after the election.

Having lived a privileged white life, and not having been closely connected to anyone who has experienced racial injustice in its most powerful forms, there isn't really a great explanation for the powerful emotions that I have been experiencing since November 5th.

I'm just more happy than I can express. Not just for those members of my human family who are not white (although very much for them), but for everyone. Even those of us (myself included) who have been complicit (by the benefits we have enjoyed) in creating a world of inequality.

The work toward a more just and equitable nation/world isn't done.
Barack Obama is not the Messiah.
I'm sure he'll make mistakes.
And, I'm sure I'm still unaware of prejudice and bigotry within my own habits and assumptions.

But I'm feeling a lot of pure happiness about what's happened.

3. To those with different ideas about our nation's future and some of the critical issues in this election, I am sorry for any disappointment you may be feeling.

I'm also sorry for any ways that I, or the party I support, have been disrespectful or combative in this emotionally charged election.

I'm still just as interested in hearing your viewpoints even when they are different from mine. I'm optimistic about the future. I hope we can all find ways to move forward more cooperatively, and I believe that our government will ultimately reflect *our* posture in doing this.

-Happily returning to silly videos and cute pictures, I remain:
Danielmatic

ps.



(it's a long speech (40 minutes); but it would not be time wasted, even if you've already heard it.

10/30/2008

Is Obama a Socialist?

First, lets consider the McCain/Palin assertion that Barack Obama may be a "socialist", wishes to "experiment with socialism", or that his tax plan resembles socialism in any way.

1) Higher taxation for people in higher income brackets is not socialism. It's called progressive taxation. It's used by most governments and overwhelmingly favored by economists.

2) The tax plans of both candidates are based on progressive taxation. They both tax wealthier citizens at higher percentages than they tax the lower income brackets. Obama wants to restore the former tax rates on the two wealthiest tax brackets (which were lowered by George Bush in 2001) while retaining or increasing the tax cuts that were given to the middle class tax brackets.

3) In 2001, while defending his vote against the Bush Tax Cuts, John McCain said,
"I cannot support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief."
I don't know what changed McCain's mind, but his position eight years ago sounds like a good argument for Obama's tax plan. Now he's insisting that we need a change, that he's just the maverick to make that change happen, but for some reason we should make the Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy permanent?

4) When Barack Obama used the phrase "spread the wealth" (a regrettable choice of words) in his conversation with Joe the plumber, the contextual meaning was "spread around the *tax breaks* so more people can benefit from them". This is clearly understood if you listen to the entire conversation between Obama and the infamous plumber.

5) John McCain understands that Obama is not really proposing class warfare or the redistribution of wealth. And he understands that the tax proposals of both candidates are more similar than they are different. He knows that neither of them resemble true socialism. The 700 billion dollar bailout plan, which both candidates endorsed, resembles socialism far more closely than either tax plan.

In that light, the repeated assertion that Obama's plan resembles socialism feels pretty dishonest. I'm disappointed that John McCain would allow it to enter the conversation, surprised that he would embrace it, and even more disappointed that it has become such a centerpoint of the final stretch of their campaign.

6) John McCain truly believes that reduced taxes on the wealthiest Americans (and their estates) will ultimately strengthen our economy via the trickle down approach. I'm not questioning his motivation. And it's not a ridiculous concept. Lots of people agree with him. Even I think it may have been a successful strategy in the past (when the world was a very different place). He's entitled to his opinion and he's earned a platform to promote it. I think he should argue the merits of his plan and stop wasting time on unsubstantiated claims of socialism.

Some Important Facts About the Candidate's Tax Plans (I believe these assertions are mostly undisputed):

1) Unless you make over 250,000 per year, Obama's tax plan does not raise your taxes.

2) If your small business does not make a *profit* (not gross revenue) over 250,000 you are better off under the Obama tax plan. Even if your small business *does* make a net profit over 250,000, you may still pay less taxes (especially if your growth includes new employees or capital gains). If you are self-employed, you will have access to better more affordable health care under Obama's plan.

3) About 95% of Americans would be taxed less under Obama's tax plan, than McCain's tax plan.

With this in mind, I'm frustrated that John McCain and his campaign continually state that Obama will raise taxes. This seems pretty dishonest.
Factcheck.org debunks claims that Obama will raise taxes.
Here's a tax calculator which will allow you to estimate your taxes for 2009-2013 under the plans of both of the candidates. This web site is helpful in comparing the tax plans of the candidates; and here is another comparison.


Also: The plans of both McCain and Obama will have a virtually identical impact on the national deficit (neither will fix it; we'll basically end up another $150 billion in the hole either way). I haven't found a non-partisan research group that indicates otherwise. McCain's projections about Obama's spending do not seem to be based in the actual economic plans he has published.

Further: Obama's tax plan includes a comprehensive battery of tax credits and incentives for the middle class tax brackets (encompassing roughly 95% of US citizens). I believe that cultivating a more financially stable sector of professionals and small businesses will stabilize the US economy in much more effective and sustainable way than the "trickle-down" philosophy which has been tried for the last eight years--giving substantial tax breaks to the a few of the wealthiest Americans.

Interestingly enough, an unprecedented number of very wealthy Americans are leaving the republican party to support the Obama/Biden ticket. These are the citizens who know that McCain's tax plan will save them hundreds of thousands of dollars. But they also know that the value of the assets they hold relies on the future prosperity of the US economy. They are willing to pay more in taxes, not neccesarily as a matter of fairness, but a matter of survival.

Finally, Obama's budget does more for education, more for healthcare (I might actually be able to get decent health insurance as a self-employed person), more for senior citizens (no income tax on seniors who make less than 50,000 per year), and more for the technological developments that will make our nation cleaner, more independent, and more competitive.

When it comes to the economy:
What I'm hearing from Obama is a plan for the future. A plan that makes sense. A plan that is changes our course in some very important ways.

I'm not hearing that from McCain. And I'm not hearing where he is offering something substantially different than what we've got now.

10/29/2008

tonight: watch for yourself 8-8:30pm

a few friends and i bought some airtime for our candidate.
I *hope* you'll tune in.

8PM CBS, FOX, NBC

ps. tomorrow I talk about "spreading the wealth" and "socialism"

10/25/2008

On a lighter note:

I felt better about all the candidates now that they've demonstrated a sense of humor:

McCain Roasts Obama (about 10 minutes)
Obama Roasts McCain (about 10 minutes)

I call McCain the winner on this one. He's pretty funny.

Palin on Saturday Night Live (about 3 minutes)
some of Amy P.'s best work, it doesn't hurt that she's super-pregnant as she busts out her nine and "[shoots] a mutha-hump'n moose eight days of the week!"

Katie's mom sent me this cautionary video (don't worry, I won't forget):

Nephew Liam releases his first solo film project.

10/16/2008

McCain, Obama, Osama, Ayers, & Us


While his campaign continues its efforts to cultivate an imagined connection between Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden (source), recent television adds accuse Obama of "lying" and attempting to "hide" his relationship with Bill Ayers.

(From FactCheck.org - non-partisan, non-profit group)

We find McCain's accusation that Obama "lied" to be groundless. It is true that recently released records show half a dozen or so more meetings between the two men than were previously known, but Obama never denied working with Ayers.

Other claims are seriously misleading. The education project described in the Web ad, far from being "radical," had the support of the Republican governor and was run by a board that included prominent local leaders, including one Republican who has donated $1,500 to McCain's campaign this year. The project is described by Education Week as reflecting "mainstream thinking" about school reform.

Despite the newly released records, there's still no evidence of a deep or strong "friendship" with Ayers, a former radical anti-war protester whose actions in the 1960s and '70s Obama has called "detestable" and "despicable."

Even the description of Ayers as a "terrorist" is a matter of interpretation.
Setting off bombs can fairly be described as terrorism even when they are intended to cause only property damage, which is what Ayers has admitted doing in his youth. But for nearly three decades since, Ayers has lived the relatively quiet life of an educator. It would be correct to call him a "former terrorist," and an "unapologetic" one at that. But if McCain means the word "terrorist" to invoke images of 9/11, he's being misleading; Ayers is no Osama bin Laden now, and never was.

I reccomend that you read the entire article here.

I find myself neither upset, nor unsettled that Obama has worked cooperatively with Bill Ayers. I *want* a president who will cooperate with all kinds of people to further the interests of the United States and make the world a more peaceful, equitable, and prosperous place.


That kind of cooperation certainly includes direct diplomacy with our enemies when they aren't behaving in ways that promote peace. If they were behaving well, it seems diplomacy would be less necessary. In my mind, it also includes working to improve education alongside just about anyone who is willing to contribute in productive ways. (even if they have done bad things, or embrace different ideologies).

Obviously, I don't approve of people blowing up government property (or anyone's property). I don't advocate the choices of Bill Ayers in his youth. Barack Obama has definitively and consistently called those acts "detestable". Out of the scores of admirable public servants who have worked alongside Bill Ayers, it's likely that none of them agree with the militant activism Billy Ayers mobilized in the 70's. But almost three decades later, they still worked with him. Why? Because he was making positive contributions for the good of his community (you could say they were all working with people from the neighborhood).

Question: How would John McCain and his campaign leaders prefer that Obama had treated Bill Ayers?

(Ten Years Ago) Should he have refused to engage in a project to improve education simply because Bill Ayers (even then a contributing and well respected citizen of IL) was involved?

These boards included numerous other public servants from both political parties. Should all of them be somehow implicated in the acts committed by Bill Ayers more than 30 years ago?

Should every politician who has received some kind of support from Bill Ayers (or other entities with a shady past) receive this kind of scrutiny, or be compared to Osama Bin Laden?

I would actually be more upset to find that Barack Obama had refused to work on these education reform projects simply because another board member had participated in violent acts more than 30 years ago.

My feelings on this extend both directions:

I assume that Gov. Sara Palin does not agree with the many of the ideologies of the Alaska Independence Party (AIP) - a fairly radical group with a very radical past.

I choose to believe that she does not share in the feelings of the AIP's founder Joe Vogler who wrote: "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions... The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. And I won't be buried under their damn flag. I'll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home."

In 1993 Vogler was scheduled to make a presentation to the United Nations on making Alaska an independent nation. The presentation was sponsored by Iran.

Sara's husband was a member of the AIP from 1995-2002, but that doesn't mean that he agrees with Vogler's inflammatory rhetoric. And it certainly doesn't mean that Governor Palin does.

This year Sara Palin addressed the AIP convention, welcoming the attendees with remarks including: "Good luck on a successful and inspiring convention, keep up the good work, and God bless you."

Does the AIP have some radical ideas? Yes.

Was it founded by someone who was less than Patriotic in their rhetoric? Yes.

If she participates as a speaker in their 2008 convention, addresses them cordially and declares some of their work "good", does that mean she embraces all of their past and present viewpoints? Absolutely not.

A good leader works to build consensus and unite unlikely allies.


**

If we want peace for our children, we've got to suppress the urge to ignore, marginalize and isolate our enemies. Handing out "Axis of Evil" name-tags and refusing dialogue with enemies does not seem to be working well.

While there are some very bad people out there, we've got to remember that these nations are still comprised primarily of mothers and fathers who want peace for their children as desperately as we want it for ours.

I believe that we should seek an audience with anyone who demonstrates the most remote interest in peace. I believe this as a spiritual compulsion and a practical necessity. Barack Obama's willingness to extend diplomacy before conditions are met is a great step in that direction.

John McCain's campaign strategies, and his "guilt-by-association" posture toward diplomacy seems to be a stark contrast.

**
Back to the [ir]relevance of Bill Ayers in this election:

I believe that Sara Palin's *active* association with the AIP has a more significant bearing on this presidential election than the fact that Barack Obama worked on the same board of some non-profits with Bill Ayers. But at this point, the entire line of questioning seems to be an unnecessary distraction from the real issues.

If someone has a problem with either association (or any similar association), they should specifically identify whatever it is that they find detrimental in the ideologies or actions of the person who is a "friend", "colleague", or "acquaintance".

We *should* ask:
Does the candidate agree or endorse the behavior or ideals in question?
Is the candidate clearly and substantially influenced by the individual or organization?
Is the candidate, or will the candidate enable the undesirable behavior, ideals, or agenda in question?
Is the candidate complicit in wrong-doing?

If not, further inquiry seems like a waste of time.

From my perspective there is no reason to believe that Sara Palin "sees America as so imperfect" that that she thinks Alaska should break away from the union, even if she is able to find and applaud "the good work" being done by the AIP (whatever that may be).

Conversely, there is no connection between the actions of Bill Ayers 40 years ago, and Barack Obama's political campaign. It doesn't seem like Sara Palin has any legitimate reason to believe that cooperative efforts with Bill Ayers provide a true measure of how Barack Obama "sees America".

None of the candidates hate America. None of the candidates want to hurt their country. None of the candidates are friends of terrorists. None of the candidates have anything substantially in common with Osama Bin Laden.

Obviously, I don't approve of the Weather Underground's militant activism. However, since the W.U. took deliberate measures to make sure that no humans were harmed or killed in their bombings, I'm not sure it's helpful or honest to compare them to the Osama Bin Laden brand of terrorism.

With that in mind, the Virgina GOP Chairman Jeffrey Frederick's unapologetic assertion that: Obama and bin Laden "both have friends that bombed the Pentagon" seems ignorant, manipulative, and irresponsible. "That is scary," Frederick said while providing talking points to GOP volunteers in western Prince William County as they prepared for a door-to-door canvass (source).

Frederick knows that the 911 assassins he calls "friends" of Bin Laden, were in fact trained, motivated and equipped by Bin Laden himself. He knows that the eight year old Barack Obama was obviously and completely non-complicit when Bill Ayers executed his plan to flood the empty pentagon bathrooms destroying classified information in the pentagon.

And while we can rightfully call the actions of Bill Ayers in the 70s "terrorism", the value of human life implies that it cannot be considered in the same league as the 911 attacks.

The definition of "friends" is incomparable, and the scope of terror is incomparable.

I'm sure the line has garnered it's share of laughs. It is moderately clever.

For me, the comparison might be laughable if it did not seem so disrespectfully flippant toward those who have actually lost a loved one in a terrorist attack. The slightest implication of similarity seems to diminish the incredible loss caused by Bin Laden's attacks.

My son Will has a cold. If I went to the children's cancer ward and told a greiving father that "we have something in common", it wouldn't be lying outright; but it wouldn't be honest and it wouldn't be helpful. At best, it would be grossly insensitive.

The Virginia GOP Chairman knowingly made these evocative statements in the presence of a NY Times reporter who had been invited by the McCain campaign to observe Frederick and the campaign. Frederick remains the Virgina GOP Chairman and stands by his remarks.

Last week, McCain was asked directly if he felt the remarks were appropriate (video). McCain stated that he would have to "look at the context of [Frederick's] remarks" and proceeded to validate the connection Frederick was attempting to make; once again misquoting Obama as stating that "Bill Ayers was *just* a guy from the neighborhood".

This seemingly innocuous nuance has been erroneously repeated numerous times by McCain and his staff, further reinforcing his false claim that Obama lied about his relationship with Bill Ayers.

I'm not sure why McCain needed to examine the "context" of Frederick's statement. I can't imagine any context where such a comparison would be an appropriate public statement by a campaign leader.

In the following days the McCain Campaign issued the following statement: "While Barack Obama is associated with domestic terrorist William Ayers, the McCain campaign disagrees with the comparison that Jeff Frederick made."

From my perspective, it just doesn't seem that John McCain is sincerely interested in laying this comparison to rest.

**

Like everyone this election season, I approach these issues with a degree of personal bias. Still, it seems that these kind of statements coming from the McCain campaign are unacceptably frequent, deceptive, and intentionally engineered to create an irrational conclusion or some kind of hysteria.

It also seems these groundless assertions are intended to play into the fears that are peddled to the gullible and willfully ignorant:

"Just listen to his name..."
"He says he's a Christian, but he was raised in a Madrasa..."
"Once a Muslim, always a Muslim..."

When this type of atmosphere is intentionally and consistently cultivated, you can't be surprised when McCain/Palin supporters start yelling:
"Traitor!"
"Terrorist"
"Kill Him!"
"Arab"

This is a dangerous form of political energy.

And these are sad moments for America (sad for the whole world).

My suggestion to the candidates: (I assume you are both listening)

At this point, you both have an opportunity to take a big step in the right direction:

"Thanks for coming to our rally. Feel free to get excited. But if anyone shouts something that is hateful, dehumanizing, or of a violent nature, we will stop whatever it is we are doing. We will all cooperate to identify the person who shouted the inflammatory statement. They will be forcefully removed from this and all future rallies. If possible, we will press charges. This party, this candidate, and this country, deserves better, and will not tolerate less."
**

To his credit
, in the time that I've been working on this post, John McCain has made some small steps in the right direction.


Considering the ads he continues to run & the enabling statements he has already made, I believe that he and his campaign need to do more. (much more).

A clear and consistent message along these lines would help: "I do not believe that Barack Obama holds *anything* in common with Osama Bin Laden. The comparison is ridiculous and ugly. I regret someone made it while campaigning on my behalf. My best efforts will be applied toward the prevention of statements like this coming from my campaign." (If he's made this statement and I've missed it, please let me know).

**

I should also add that unfortunately, neither campaign has been innocent of misinformation.

Barack Obama's campaign also runs negative ads pointing out what they perceives to be deficiencies in McCain's policies, voting record, or stance on issues. While I often agree, and find that type of critique appropriate (from either side); I've sometimes been disappointed when those ads turn out to be misleading. I wish that Obama's campaign would more often find the courage and humility to correct these mistakes and issue retractions when necessary.

Here is a critical difference in my mind: As far as I can tell, none of Obama's campaign ads have been engineered to make the American people associate John McCain with a mass murderer, or enhance the existing ethnic tensions surrounding people of color, Americans of middle-eastern decent, the Muslim faith, or fear induced racial profiling.

And most politicians at least try to remember that their opponent could be leading the nation in a couple months.

  • I believe that John McCain wants the best for America.
  • I believe that John McCain is an American hero.
  • I believe that this political behavior is beneath his ability, beneath his accomplishments, and beneath the office he aspires to.

10/14/2008

First, One More Thing... (Amended)

Barak Obama is a Christian. He's never been a Muslim. He wasn't raised in a Madrasa.

Barak Obama is an American citizen. He is not of Arab descent.

The way that Barak Obama's name sounds has absolutely nothing to do with either of the previous facts, and even less to do with his ability to lead the country.

These are facts. They have been tested and cofirmed by every major news outlet. We can ascribe more certainty to these facts than we can to the moon landing.

Barak Obama has been in public service for a long time. He's been running for president for a long time. He is under a great deal of scrutiny. To imply or assume that he is hiding some dark secret, or sinister affiliation with America's enemies is a waste of everyone's time.

For someone who should know better, it's more than a waste of time. It's condescending (to thinking Americans), manipulative (to gullible Americans), and debilitating to the democratic process.

You know who you are (even if I don't)
Stop it.

I think we all expect better.

**
adendum: I wanted to keep this post brief, but I don't feel right about leaving off this important detail:

If John McCain, Barak Obama, or any qualified candidate *were* Arab-Americans it would not negatively influence my voting decision.

For every militant fundamentalist Muslim, there are literally millions of people who practice Islam faithfully and peacefully. In the future, if one of them were to run for president on a platform that reflects my values, I will not hesitate to vote for her. The same is true for a Deist or a practicing Jew.

We are at a pivotal moment in history. It's not the time to say "Arab's [or Muslims] bombed our buildings so an Arab shoudln't be president."

*Extremists* attacked us. They could have found fuel for their hate in the Christian Scriptures if they had not [mis]used the Koran (this premise confirmed by history and current events).

If anyone of Arab descent, or Muslim faith reads this, please accept my apologies. It is a fact that Barak Obama is not Arab, and not Muslim. It is a shame that we're fixating on it. It's a shame that it matters.

10/13/2008

John McCain Posts:

I'll be writing about my concerns with John McCain for a few weeks.

He's a hero. He's sacrificed much. I appreciate and respect him.

I do not think he is a good choice for the presidency.

I'll try to articulate that in the most respectful and compassionate ways possible.

I know lots of people who disagree with me. I respect and love them just as much in light of that.

I think that a good, intelligent, and faithful person could in good conscience vote for John McCain or Barak Obama.

(I won't publish anonymous comments)

10/02/2008

being a maveric is kind of like being a lady

if you frequently find yourself telling people you are...
you probably aren't.

9/29/2008

wow...

i've decided that the internet is basically good, and not evil.
thanks in part to facebook's notification technology, i received a bazillion birthday wishes.
....some really thoughtful notes
...phonecalls and messages (chachacha-emma!)
..chinese food and a nice lunch with ma and pa
.cards gifts and hugs from the kids

i couldn't possibly list all the ways that the people in my life have been kind to me (both on my birthday and throughout my 31st year.

so thank you everyone.
i feel really lucky to have all of you in my life
you made a really great day (weekend) even greater.

in an effort to "give back" I'll share one of my bd messages from the corbin prodigy
enjoy (audio recording)

9/28/2008

happy birthday to me

i don't really believe in birthdays.
it's just another day.
(sorry mom, I'm not trying to minimize your efforts 32 years ago)
but I *do* believe in getting special treatment.

and i've gotten plenty.
so thanks everybody. i feel very well loved.

a few of my favorite presents.
B&N gift cards,
a very very nice blog post
an hour long massage (masterminded and administered by my lover)
she borrowed a table, set up a room, played relaxing music
and (apparently) went to massage school somewhere along the line.
it was amazing


the kids will be back tonight.
and I just keep thinking how dramatically different my life is from one year ago.
and how incredibly fortunate I am.

it is a very very happy birthday

(as my birthday wish -- i'm praying, hoping, and projecting the peace and joy that I'm experiencing toward all the people i love who are experience life on more difficult terms -- i hope to be more present for you this year)

9/27/2008

beanworld

* Will and Willow demonstrate the benefits of home video viewing for vocabulary development
* Ginger is a Ninja
* Isaac sheepishly declares his undying devotion to Adeline's four wheeler (his "favorite toy") -- then mercilessly throttles over his cameraman/father


Visit To the Bean's House from Daniel Rudd on Vimeo.

** grownups enjoyed Katie's heirloom chicken and dumpling recipe -- a good time had by all

9/25/2008

The Birthplace of White Puppy (it works now)

A couple days ago I got to spend an evening canoeing with my girls. On our way up the channel we discovered a magical water forest cove--which turned out to be the birthplace of White Puppy.



Discovering the Birthplace of WhitePuppy from Daniel Rudd on Vimeo.



There was great rejoicing.

conversation with will


seagull conspiracies from Daniel Rudd on Vimeo.

9/16/2008

my skatepunk son

we headed north to our old house on Cedar Avenue tonight. The goal was to pick up our canoe. The bonus was a good time wiht our old neighbors/friends/generous-hosts (deb, lilly, mim, zach, and max).

Willow had fun defluffing cat-tails swiped from the mile long dock. Ginger bonded with zach (she's very good with dogs), Isaac explored and Will found his new calling. It was very hard for him to part with the helmet.

check him out:


skatepunk will from Daniel Rudd on Vimeo.

9/13/2008

Election 01: Pro-Life for Obama

If you know me well, you know that my world changed dramatically when I became a father. I was completely blindsided by how strongly I could *feel*. I've never recovered and I can't imagine life without them.

We all understand that we live in a broken world, and that women often find themselves in a place where raising a child would be very difficult. Perhaps impossible. It was the bravery of Isaac and Will's birthmother that resulted in the greatest gift I've ever received. I've always been pro-life (now more than ever).

*

With that said, I have not found the "Pro-Life" political movement to be adequate in its advocacy on behalf of LIFE.

I do not consider it to be effective in influencing people to think and act in ways that truly and expansively value all human life.

I do not feel that it adequately addresses some of the complex dimensions or scenarios that comprise the abortion issue.

I consider its legislative efforts to be ineffective in addressing the root of the issue, and in some ways counter productive.

Additionally, I believe that people of faith must always be careful when they become passionate about any cause. For me this becomes even more true when a cause focuses my attention on evil that is *outside* of myself.

This kind of cause, even when it is rightfully motivated, can easily become a diversion from honest introspective inquiry. I believe that in many ways the issue of abortion--particularly as it is framed by the pro-life movement and political conservatives--has become one of those diversions.

I don't believe anyone has ever truly wanted to abort a child.

When I think about the abortion issue, the most important questions for me center on the systemic forces that create those desperate situations. I want to consider the ways that my personal and political decisions contribute to those forces. I'm primarily speaking of poverty, lack of opportunities for minorities and inequalities in education.

For me, this is a more productive way of addressing evil in general, and a way that seems to align more closely with the teachings of Jesus. I want to always start by looking inward.

An externally focused legislative approach to the problem of abortion is (in my mind) an unrealistic solution in today's political climate. In addition to being unrealistic, I believe that the Pro-Life legislative agenda offers a largely ineffective solution because it only addresses the surface layer of a deep and complex issue.

I'm not saying that the issue is of little importance. I find abortion to be horrific and deeply saddening. I am saying that the for people who are called to advocate on behalf of LIFE, there are *many* other important considerations in this year's election.

While many billions of dollars have been spent rallying Christian Americans around [the 'pro-life'] cause, there is very little effort to understand the impact of the American lifestyle on the poor of the world.

There has been very little inquiry toward unfair trade policies, the enormous loss of civilian life as "collateral damage" in our military operations, or the daily opulence we enjoy as millions of children in the developing world starve.

We've not closely examined our own domestic systems of discrimination and inequality that repeatedly cultivate the kind of desperation that brings someone to an abortion clinic.

I find the stance taken by Barack Obama on many of these issues to be far more consistent with my Christian (pro-life) values.

I find the rhetoric and policies of George Bush and John McCain to be very centered in preserving and protecting the "American Way of Life", instead of preserving and protecting LIFE wherever we find it. I find them to be more focused on creating opportunity for the wealthy, than for the poor. (I'll save my thoughts on sustainable free-market economics for a different post).

I have a lot more I'd like to say about that, but for now I'll focus on the practical ramifications of this election for abortions in the United States (because that does matter to me very much).

I feel strongly that the policies of the Democratic party do far more to address issues of poverty, inequality, and the education of at-risk youth. I believe that this type of focus has proven to have an immediate, direct, tangible, and statistically demonstrable impact on the number of abortions performed in America.

It's not just that I find Barack Obama's plan to be more holistic or philosophically sound in the way it values (all) LIFE. I find that it is more effective--even when it comes to the specific issue of abortion. Caring for the poor, creating opportunity for the disadvantaged, and making adoption more accessible, simply does more to prevent abortions than having a president who is endorsed by the Pro-Life Movement ever could.

In the last few decades, the greatest declines in abortions occurred during the Clinton administration when impoverished mothers had more options, resources for adoption were greater, and the under-privileged had greater access to education and job training. The last eight years have seen a diminished reduction of abortions as many of those programs have been cut.

Sadly, those tax dollars were reallocated to a war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians (both born and unborn).

I'm pro-life and I'm voting for Barack Obama.

I'm open to your thoughts. Let me know if anything requires clarification.

9/12/2008

don't call us! we're busy

just because katie and i work from home doesn't mean you can call us during the day, or expect us to be available for stuff.

we're very busy doing things and such.
important business matters and dealings.

PLEASE! LET US WORK!

Election Blogging (Preface)

It's an important election.
And for the first time, I feel strongly in favor (hopeful) about a candidate.
So I'm going to write about my opinions on the candidates and the issues.

Please don't mis-interpret the intensity of my feelings for disrespect or ambivalence toward those who hold opposing viewpoints.

There are a lot of people, that I both love and respect, who see things very differently from the way that I do. That does not diminish the love or respect that I have for them.

I believe that the voting decisions of evangelical Christians will play a very significant role in this election. As someone who spent more than 10 years as a pastor in evangelical Christian churches, I'm hoping to offer some thought-provoking perspectives.

I'm voting for Barack Obama.

Tomorrow, I'll post about my pro-life stance.

9/09/2008

affectionate bedtime quotes from isaac

last night:
[while tenderly patting my shorn head]
you a good man dad...
you're a good tool fixer
you're a good dad...
[some internal chuckling]
you're a good caboose bed
[explosion of laughter]


tonight:
[isaac's in bed and i'm scratching his back]
i got you a present dad.
i put it on your bed.
it's a necklace and a phone.
i bought it for you at the store.

**
are you a surprised as I was that I did not find the items on bed?

**

tonight (after will is tucked in):

Dad!
(yes Isaac)
I don't want you to leave.
(sorry buddy, I have to. I'm going to take a shower and go to bed)
You not need a shower! Your armpits not smell bad. You smell nice!

9/01/2008

killer frog

we spent part of our honeymoon at my grandpa's cabin.
Katie (a true situational actor) was attacked by the giant wooden frog that greets all cabin guests as they pull in the driveway. Luckily my camera phone was there to document.

Untitled from Daniel Rudd on Vimeo.

8/26/2008

what happens in vegas...

...gets put on my blog.
(sometimes it just takes a while)

A couple weekends ago Katie and I went to the "New Media Expo" in search of new customers and a better understanding of the vlogger/podcaster/new-media industry.

We met some cool people. Sold some music. Had a chance encounter with some generous and interesting old friends of mine.

In the evenings, when all the work was done, we even had some time to enjoy each other. (which i *really* enjoyed).

When at shows like this, it's good to get as many interviews or editorial contacts as you can.

I had fun doing a live interview with the good people of "Blog Talk Radio".
Chuck from the MacVoices podcast was great.

The excellent Marcelo Lewin (Pixelheads Network)
did a video interview for his show "Exposed" (I thought there would be editing so I was a little more candid than I should have been).In a screenshot of that interview (below), you can see Katie in the background doing her thing.
(her thing being: looking very hot, being very articulate, becoming fast friends with everyone, inflating revenue like nobody's business).

Katie and I don't often get to spend significant time together (just the two of us). This trip was really nice in that way, and having Katie's help made a huge improvement on what is usually an exhausting experience (trade shows).

We missed the kids a lot. Katie turned $5 into $30 in an attempt to appease the constant chorus of a million slot machines. (then, with the same level of resolve, she turned $30 into nothing - I was much more efficient in turning my $5 into nothing).

There were frequent sightings of a middle aged man dressed as a frog--that was [the frog] dressed as a warrior (no one would accuse him of being one-dimensional in his fantasy).

The Detroit airport rejuvenated our tired bones in a "tunnel of heavenly lights"

tunnel of heavenly lights from Daniel Rudd on Vimeo.


I love flying. I was able to briefly capture an incredibly beautiful while flying over Michigan.

Beauitiful View from Daniel Rudd on Vimeo.
(also, toward the beginning of the video, you can look out the window and see some interesting cloud formations).



(this morning) white puppy's birthday

celebrated with decorations, trumpet fanfare, marching, and general exuberance...


White Puppy's Birthday from Daniel Rudd on Vimeo.



special thanks to my brother, the kids regularly ask to practice on uncle david's trumpet (with supervision of course)

8/09/2008

i'll see you in las vegas

i've been really swamped.
(i know, it's the story of my life for the last 2 years)

my most pressing deadline right now, is a trade show in Las Vegas
after day one on the show floor is complete,
I will begin the assembly of a blogging extravangza.
by the end of next week will overwhelm you with content.

once i've caught you up on the doings of the rudd6,
i'll be focusing on the upcoming election.

6/30/2008

happy birthday


you're extraordinary
beautiful
amazing
brilliant
beyond sexy
compassionate
complex
creative
passionate
perfectly nuanced
mine

i don't know what i did without you
I'm lucky beyond words to be granted a place in the world that celebrates your birthday


5/13/2008

to my concerned readers...

(re: the comments from my last post)

1. be assured: there are no typos in any of my past present or future posts. anything that appears as such is an (obvious) error on the part of the reader. Don't feel bad, it's probably due to my cosmic grasp of language, which from time to time employs words, spellings, or alternate meanings of words, which have not yet been discovered (like ankshent, and nukeyoular). For your own protection, this is not open for discussion.

2. certainly, *you* are not the "rabid" readers I was discussing in my last post. You are the "concerned readers". There are, of course, many other kinds of readers as well. I assumed that when I noted the quantity of "rabid" readers (thousands or millions perhaps) that all would understand I was discussing a microscopic minority within my general readership (billions perhaps trillions).

3. While statistical probability suggests that tens (hundreds perhaps) of my readers do in fact have rabies in the very literal sense, this was not my intended categorization of the thousands/millions I referred to in my post. I was describing a "rabid" state of mind: hunched over their keyboards, pounding the refresh button like an old-school metronome, awaiting the next post with mouths a-froth and darting eyes.

Many of my readers, upon looking deep into their own hearts, will discover their own true nature. Do not be ashamed. You are not alone.

4. This kind of rabid fervor often leads to desperate measures. While we appreciate redbeard's finely crafted tribute site: and its predecessor (from the anti-onion-coven) The ManielDatic Buper Slog my legal counsel informs me that we should not make an official endorsement of either of these sites at this point.

This extra post has been kind of tiring, so any "above-and-beyond" donations this month would be appreciated. Remember, only I can make this blog grow, but that doesn't mean you can't "plant more seed"...

5/11/2008

seriously, i mean it, for sure...

i will post again.
but i'm trying to get my office and studio set up;
and i've got to make some music;
and i need to get some pictures together before i can post again.

i realize the inconvenience that I'm causing to 1000's (millions even?) of rabid readers, and I appreciate your patient dedication to this publication. Please keep the donations coming and there will be new content soon!

5/01/2008

speedblog

no time to blog all the things i would like to blog...
but I'll share yesterday's funniest quote:
will: "Dad, I want to go to the dentist."
me: "You want to go to the dentist?"
will: "Ye-ah" (in the two-syllable way that will says it)
me: "yeah, our dentist is nice isn't he?"
will: "Ye-ah... my teeth are getting too long."

ps. unbelievably cute prodigy

4/20/2008

very very happy

all who helped to make yesterday very special,
thank you so much.
we are very happy
see you soon...
-daniel & katie

4/12/2008

grueling happyness

i'm very very happy with my life
it's been a really grueling week
the boys turned three * they are amazing
and they are surrounded by amazing people who love them
i'm so thankful for all of them (you)
and i'm so thankful for the new shape my family will take
one week from today * i can't wait.

and it's been a really grueling
high-pressure-feel-horrible-week

there are numerous simple and complex
reasons why this week has been so difficult
but two prominent suspects should be noted:

1. the IRS and their pesky deadlines
2. the antics of this tiny little organism

the streptococcus bacteria managed to give several days
of torment before the medi-center flushed him out of hiding
with a culture.

Katie also provided a nurturing environment for this resilient
moocher to grow, find fulfillment and look for other places to
expand its operations.

Both of us should be feeling a little better, and no longer be
contagious by this evening.

All four kids left to spend time their other parents on Wednesday
and so far are not reporting symptoms.
But if you've been around any of us.
Be aware.
Be paranoid.
Talk yourself into a sore throat.
and get your free antibiotics from meijers.

...i still feel *really* fortunate.
I have a lot more to say about that
I hope to have time soon.

3/24/2008

"I can dig it!"

While shoveling, Isaac and Will would often exclaim: "Bompa, GoGo be SOOO HAPPY!"
(because they were shoveling their driveway or sidewalk).

And just for the record (mom and dad) I did try to "shovel" all their helpful efforts back into the snow banks once they were inside.

This video documents one of the last good shoveling expeditions of the year (for this I am not sad).

And also triggered the lyrics of one of Will's favorite songs in his bulldozing video.




3/19/2008

spring is coming!!?!!

every other week the boys go with their momma for an extended weekend.
that's when i get most of my work done.
that's also when i'm very lonely for my boys.
so i usually try to borrow them back on friday or saturday for lunch.

last friday we had time the park as well (first time since fall)

all were jubulent as we sensed the proximity of spring, and the season of daily visits to the park


3/18/2008

wasting my time, so you can waste yours


I find this pretty extraordinary





(via tony's page)


A closer look finds beauty in the fading flower I gave one of my valentines a few weeks ago...

(click to enlarge)
I think I'd like to experiment with more photography like this.

*

These pictures were passed on to me by a friend, but originated many levels away. So I don't know who to credit for the images or the explanation (below):



Subject: An ice wave from the floor of Lake Huron near Mackinaw Island.....

An Ice wave from the floor of Lake Huron near Mackinaw Island.....

Michigan has had the coldest winter in decades. Water expands to freeze, and at Mackinaw City the water in Lake Huron below the surface ice was supercooled. It expanded to break through the surface ice and froze into this incredible wave.

I've seen pictures of this wave phenomena in Antarctica, but in Michigan? Yes, it's been quite a winter!

***
And finally, no explanation is needed for the inclusion of the "Gert Johnnies" in this e-mail.



i'm pretty sure this comes via the keen musical taste of matt fulk,
I'm more certain that this is proof positive of a rift in the space time continuum.
Jon Gerten, you now have reason to believe in re-incarnation

3/17/2008

life is good

saturday night i was the luckiest man
at the westshore symphony
with a beautiful woman at my side
beautiful sounds surrounding me
and interesting conversations
from our gracious hosts
(Uncle Keith and Aunt Sue)
who also treated us
to an exquisite dinner
at the city cafe

and oh yeah... the little mermaid was there.

3/13/2008

missing jae and addi



but i know i'll be seeing them soon.


here's a shot from last summer capturing jaelynn
as the incredible "big cousin" that she is...





earnest will


there is something about children in a state of "earnestness"
that really endears me.

Will (in all of his best and worst moments)
is possibly the most earnest human I know.

unbridled affection * unrestrained emotion * cheerful "galump-ing"*
agonizing-bloodcurdling-laments
he's intense. he's unabashed. he's fully revealed.

If he senses that your level of attentiveness
does not mirror his level of urgency:
He'll grasp your face firmly,
his two little palms reshaping your cheeks,
directing your face to squarely address his own
inches from his widely opened eyes.

whatever it is you're experiencing with Samuel William,
you can count on it being very sincere.



here's "earnest will" when he was about 4 months old.


**


Will (sincerely-earnestly-intensely) loves
to watch cousin Liam play soccer.

Here's a clip from last week's game.
Props to Liam for some nice defensive work.
There was much that I did not capture (dead battery).

Observe Will's constant attempts to inform Liam of his presence.
And his instantaneous joy when Liam's team scores.



BTW: for 4 consecutive nights after this game
Will exclusively requested that his "special story"
feature: "Liam Plays Soccer"


**

for my final "Earnest Will" exhibit,
I invite you to enjoy this short clip from the archives.
the sound quality is terrible
but the memory is firmly embedded in my mine.
We called him "captain hillarious"
he had just learned the joy of diabolical laughter






i tried to sign him up for "Junior Super-villain camp that summer,
but apparently you have to be potty-trained.


*galump-ing: (gerund) to galump(v); the way that Will walks with an unbalanced but moderately rhythmic shuffle-thump, corresponding (momentary) shoulder shrugs, and consequential swaying of perfectly limp arms--ultimately conveying a sense of optimistic possibility and his unmoderated embrace of whatever the immediate future holds.

Are you kidding me?


I found this old picture two days ago.
I love it because I think it captures one of Isaac's very frequent faces:
"wait a minute... are you serious?!?"

And from the date of the post, he couldn't have been more than 4 months old.

I haven't capture it often.

here's one other picture where I can barely see it:



...almost three years old, and he loves a good joke more than ever.

3/08/2008

Beware the Flying Koala!








shoveling has proven to be the boys' new favorite pastime

**








ginger and willow have both enjoyed early "graduations"
to new classes (gymnastics and dance)

**






niece/cousin emma defies the fastest settings on my camera
as she hurtles over her specialty...


...and earns herself a place in the state competition
(coming up next weekend)


**

I promise to post more regularly when i finish my taxes.
-daniel

2/17/2008

wow

my brother helps me feel normal

if you thought my toaster rant a few posts back was bordering clinical
(as several were kind enough to point out in your comments),
i invite you to enter the mind behind these eyes.


fortunately, Andrew's psychosis usually turns out to be meaningful in some profound way.
it's one of the best posts in a while from one of the best storytellers i know

2/16/2008

on your mark, get set,

ok sorry for the mixup.... here's a replacement video (also from this fall):




If you could see their eyes more clearly, you'd appreciate the immense pleasure they both find in being the *only* person who really knows *when* they will actually "Go".

I find this to be a perfectly valid way to enjoy the beginning of a race.
...it's possible that a future track coach might feel differently.

2/15/2008

peanuts and cheerios beware!

i'll post some more current stuff soon.
for now, here's a little video from fall featuring my highly motivated son and one of his favorite pastimes.



1/30/2008

Messed Up World!

I'm so angry.
I've been up since 4am.
I'm trying to get my songs finished for Stock20 January release.

I'm very hungry.

I just want one piece of toast.
Thick hearty Koeplinger's Wheat Bread
With Smucker's all natural peanut butter.

I don't want two pieces of toast.
I know that after I eat one, I won't need another one.

But I can't stop both sides of the toaster from heating up!

I refuse to waste the energy of the vacant toaster chamber.
And I refuse to waste a piece of Koeplinger's Wheat Bread.

So, I sit.
Not eating.
Not making music.
Angry...

...

wait!
it's winter.
I'll put the toaster under the thermostat.
Then the furnace will sit efficiently at rest for a few more minutes.
And I will slather my esophagus with toast.

1/21/2008

clean-up

The boys have been learning (among other things) to clean up after themselves.

There are three primary sets of toys dominating play time right now: a train set (gift from gigi and ryan) and legos (gift from david and maryanne), and a set of "cut-able" wooden vegetables (gift from Katie's mom Colleen).

When finished, Isaac and Will are equally passionate about carefully storing every piece in its designated container, and meticulous about quickly correcting any errors made in the cleanup process.

The boxes are carefully stored on the shelf in the exact same locations.

Also high on the list right now is vacuuming and doing dishes (now if I can just get them to sew fancy basketball shoes I'll be I'll set).

Of course Isaac's favorite projects always involve some reason to use the shop-vac.


1/13/2008

some important news

On November 6, I posted about some specific ways that my life felt rich and beautiful.
And that post linked to more details about a special person.

And in that description I hypothesized that I would have more to say about that person (and that relationship) in the future.

And I'm very very happy to say more now, so I've updated the page that I wrote introducing you to Katie Corbin.

So, if you are interesting in hearing about some exciting and significant recent developments in my life click here.

1/06/2008

too much

it's not that there isn't anything to say.
it's that there is too much.
(some things that are really great, that I'm very excited about)

but i've been really really swamped
right now i'm recovering from a day on the tradeshow floor
felt some floriday sunshine today
but not much of it

i'll write more later this week when i'm home