More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Why I’m not buying an Apple Watch…right now

What if that guy in Glengarry Glen Ross wore an Apple Watch?

“You see this watch…That watch costs more than your car.”

Update: Find out how I later changed my mind.

I consider myself a tech savvy guy, but I’m not an early adopter. The first personal computers came out in 1977, but I didn’t buy my Commodore 64 until 1983 — after the price dropped to USD 299. The Motorola DynaTAC was introduced in 1984, but I didn’t get my first cell phone until 1999, 15 years later. I got my first smartphone in 2012, 5 years after the first iPhone.

The first of any new technology is expensive, limited, and often impractical. The first automobiles were dangerous playthings for the rich. Early televisions were barely useful as furniture with tiny screens and limited programming.

All of this brings me to the Apple Watch.

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Spock: The outsider as hero

TV Guide cover from 1967 shows Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner from Star Trek, The Original Series

TV Guide cover for March 4, 1967 (image from Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki)

Tributes have been pouring in for Leonard Nimoy, who died on February 27. Nimoy was more than just Mr. Spock. He was a poet, playwright, photographer, and humanitarian. He was an artist of uncompromising integrity, and he stood up for his fellow actors.

However, Spock will always remain Nimoy’s most enduring legacy. In creating this iconic character, Nimoy gave the world a powerful gift: the image of the outsider as hero.

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Je Suis Charlie…and many more

A man holds a placard which reads "I am Charlie" to pay tribute during a gathering at the Place de la Republique in Paris

I join in the voices condemning the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris. We must also realize that this is not an isolated incident.

In 2014, 61 journalists were killedMarcos de Barros Leopoldo Guerra was a blogger who called out local officials in Brazil for corruption. He was killed by unidentified assailants on a motorcycle. Rubylita Garcia had a reputation among the local press for being a hard-hitting journalist who exposed wrongdoing in the Cavite, Philippines police force. Two gunmen shot her multiple times as she entered her home. Steven Sotloff was an American-Israeli journalist who wrote for Time and Foreign Policy. In Syria, he was kidnapped by Islamic State and beheaded.

Freedom of the press is not respected in many countries. Even in countries where freedom of the press is law, reporters still face pressure from interest groups and even threats of physical violence from those who want to silence their criticism. It takes courageous journalists who are willing to risk their lives to uncover the truth and defend our right to know.

Let us honor these brave men and women and remember that we can only have freedom if we are willing to fight for it.

Why “Let It Go” Best Represents 2014

Doll of Elsa from FrozenI usually write my year-end parody this time of year, but we already have a song that best fits 2014: “Let It Go” from Frozen. It’s not just because “Let It Go” has been heard everywhere (especially if you have children). When you look at the lyrics and the context of the song, you’ll see why it inspires people. (And if you haven’t seen Frozen, spoilers ahead.)

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1. Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels We Have Heard on HighDuring December, I’m posting my Top 10 favorite holiday songs. Each song has a special story or meaning behind it for me. What stories or meanings do you have for your favorite holiday songs?

My number one song “Angels We Have Heard on High” combines all of the great features from the rest of the songs on my list. I sang it in every choir from elementary to high school and in the caroling group at AST. It has a great melody and unforgettable bass line. It includes Latin for practicing my language skills. It is easy to sing while being full of joy and passion. “Angels We Have Heard on High” best embodies the meaning and spirit of Christmas. This year, we especially need that spirit.

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