This blog is a maintained as an archive to my 28+ years as a web development / software project manager with Honeywell. However in the Spring of 2014 I decided to retire at the early age of 57. I have never looked back. I am now a Duluth based outdoor photographer / naturalist.
A little over 20 years ago (1989) some very brave students stood up for freedom in China. A good friend of mine was one of those students. He was walking back to the Square to continue the demonstration for freedom when the Chinese tanks attacked his friends.
I'm thrilled to announce due to a generous grant from the Hegardt Foundation, for the third time in as many years the Northstar Nerd is teaming up with the China Tomorrow Education Foundation (CTEF) to make the world a slightly better place by building another school! It seems appropriate that only eleven days before Christmas, I can announce the funding of this new school. Please take 60 seconds and watch my short slideshow (see below). Most of the world's problems can be solved by providing access to better education.
Details: Disun (the bamboo school) is up in the mountains of southern China near the Vietnamese border. While it does not get cold like Minnesota in Disun, Winter temperatures fall to the low 40's and sleet is not unknown. When you see the present school, you'll know why I am trying to help these kids.
If you would like to help out with school suppliers for the new school, email me your pledge. Any donation to to CTEF is tax deductible in the USA. I'll get back to you with details. Live the Christmas spirit!
As always, Molly and I contribute both financially and with many volunteer hours to all our projects, but given we're not wealthy ... we rely upon your generosity to help with our work. You may wish to read a project report from the rebuilding of our first school in JiaYou, China.
How the world has changed ... for the better! 20 years ago the Berlin Wall came down. My personal travels have taken me many times for both business and pleasure to the Czech Republic (Pavla's wedding) and China (trip to JiaYou: Link #1, Link #2, Link #3). Both of these countries were on America's "persona non gratis" list when I was younger. Here are some of my Memories from an earlier age:
Listening via short-wave radio the night the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia
Watching President Kennedy on black and white TV saying "Ich bin ein Berliner" when he visited West Berlin
Seeing all the US Air Force B-52's in the skies over Duluth, Minnesota, During the Cuban Missile Crisis these bombers were shifted north to be out of range of the Soviet missiles.
Now through work I lead collaboration projects for a large Fortune 100 company which involves working almost daily with friends / co-workers from China and the Czech Republic. Pavla, whose wedding photo is displayed below is my "Czech daughter", and via Skype and Penny Talk I am in constant communication with her. Her "real" father died young due to his opposition to communist rule in Czechoslovakia, but that's another story ...
My son is now studying in Europe for his master's degree through Johns Hopkins University. Like his Dad, he blogs ... and has an interesting perspective on the historical significance of today (see his blog post). He comments upon a world he never knew ... thankfully.
Click to expand either image ... from our travels to the Czech Republic and China.
It's not often in life you get the opportunity to combine your major beliefs and ability. With that brief introduction, I am pleased to present this musical web mashup of the Bible's Old Testament, traditional Chinese folk art and music (Amazing Grace). All the art was created by my friend, Chinese artist He Qi.
We may be friends, but He Qi's life and mine could not be more different ...
While I was growing up in Minnesota during the 1960's, and worrying
about the fortunes of my favorite Minnesota Twins baseball players, He Qi was being "re-educated" by the Chinese. He Qi was considered an "undesirable" due to his Christian faith, and was
sent into the Chinese country side to learn proper thought. The
local authorities learned of his artistic ability, and he was given the task of painting portraits of Chairman Mao. By night, he painted the Madonna. (Learn more about He Qi via Christianity Today)
I own two of He Qi's large silk prints including the Nativity and Finding Moses. Both works of art hang in places of honor in my home and appear in the video (more on He Qi's Silk Print Style |detail). Here is the link to He Qi's online gallery.
As a reminder, my wife Molly and I have been privileged to learn a little bit about China through our work and trips that built both an elementary school and a dorm in rural China. Our travels took us up in the mountains near the Vietnamese border. I hope you enjoy this web mashup. You may wish to maximize the video to get a better view of the Chinese Folk Art: