When Businessman, Philanthropist and Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen wakes up today he will be 56 years old —– and a brand new U.S. President, Barack H. Obama, will begin his first day in office.

Fifty six years ago, on January 21, 1953, the day that Paul Allen was born in Seattle, Washington to Edna Faye and Kenneth Samuel Allen,  also marked the first day of a new Presidency—that of 34th U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  

On January 21st, 1953 the world was a much different place. Among other things, the U.S. experienced its leader’s inauguration in a very different way.  President Eisenhower’s Inaugural Address  was broadcast live—-just as it was yesterday—from the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.,  but his speech was received by the U.S. people only through radio, televison or newspaper.  http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwighteisenhowerfirstinaugural.htm  


 Fast forward 56 years later to 2009 and President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address was viewed by millions; shot around the globe via a thousand different media. The Internet buzzed with the excitement of the moment—people “Twittered”  or “Tweeted” every line of the new President’s speech and about everything that was happening at the Capitol  http://search.twitter.com/search?q=Inauguration ; the Internet’s Hulu streamed the entire ceremony from beginning to end  http://www.hulu.com/spotlight/obamapresidency ; celebrities were sharing their private backstage views of the festivities surrounding the welcoming of a new President http://www.kyte.tv/ch/11105-johnlegendtv/321483-mobile-show-137  ; Satellite photos were taken http://www.foxnews.com/photoessay/0,4644,6338,00.html# and by the evening of January 20th, Microsoft had designed a composite 3D photo of the scene via “Photosynth” —resulting in a remarkable virtual tour of the event taken from the emailed cell phone and camera pictures of some of the 2 million people who witnessed the Inauguration firsthand.  http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-10146012-75.html

The same “Wired World” that Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen and numerous other Visionaries dreamed about years ago has come of age and has brought the Presidential Inaugural Experience up close and personal in a way never seen before—in a way that couldn’t have been imagined 56 years ago.  

The world is very different than it was in 1953.  And yet,  in some ways, it is also very much the same:

Fifty six years ago, our 34th U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, made his Inaugural speech on January 20, 1953 and reflected on our Country’s need for hope, for God’s guidance and help, and the courage to face the challenges of the day:

“The world and we have passed through the midway point of a century of continuing challenge…..in the swift rush of great events, we find ourselves groping to know that full sense and meaning of these times in which we live.   In our quest of understanding, we beseech God’s guidance.  We summon all our knowledge of the past and we scan all signs of the future.   We bring all out wit and our will to meet the question:
How far have we come in man’s long pilgrimage from darkness toward light?   Are we nearing the light—a day of freedom and peace for all mankind?  Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us?”*1

And yesterday, January 20th, 2009,  so did America’s 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama.  As the American people face the enormous challenges of the day, we are still searching for an answer to the same question that was asked 56 years ago:

“How far have we come in man’s long pilgrimage from darkness toward light?   Are we nearing the light—a day of freedom and peace for all mankind?  Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us?”

As Paul Allen celebrates his birthday today, this country welcomes a new President whose eloquent Inaugural speech brings hope that we are in fact drawing towards light and peace, and that despite the significant challenges we face today, we are better than ever before.  Here is the full transcript from yesterday’s address, courtesy of ABC News:

President Barack Obama Delivers Inaugural Address at US Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Jan. 20, 2009


“My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.

They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”


Happy Birthday, Mr. Allen!

And Welcome Mr. President! May God bless and guide you and America!



President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Speech:





President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Inaugural Address:


*1 Eisenhower Inaugural Speech
January 20, 1953



How to Go a Million Miles on Less than a Gallon of Gas

Oh, the weather outside is frightful….
And there’s no money to go anywhere even if you did dare to venture outdoors.
Sound familiar?
If you’ve got the Holiday blues, read on……maybe good cheer is just around the corner (or just around the world, if you think about it :-). Cyberspace travel is free, and there are a million good destinations out there—plenty of things to see and do, plenty of fun to be had even if you never take a step out the door.
So let’s do some Holiday traveling, ok?  🙂


Before we even begin, let’s see where Santa Claus is right now!





Check out the videos of where he’s been so far!! 


Now let’s take a tour of the wired world at Christmas time…..
Check out some Christmas Scenery (set to music):
Or a Christmas Lights Tour around the world:
How about going to Paris?  Here is the Eiffel Tower via live web cam
And now on to a stunning live webcam view in Rome, Italy:
Here’s the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
and here’s London’s Trafalgar Square:
Here are a few live webcams from Hawaii. First, a view of the sky from a telescope on one of the islands.
An Hawaiian volcano
And Waikiki beach
Google Maps Street View will give you amazing photos of just about anywhere you want to go, and you can travel along through neighboring streets when you get there. Try searching for the “Golden Gate bridge” in San Francisco,  the “North Pole” or your own house….
But don’t get too close! 🙂 LOLOL!!!
Ready to head home? You’re just in time to finish a few belated Christmas cards. What about creating your own free ecards, complete with singing elves?
Now to hang out with friends……..
Go ahead and start the caroling at www.midomi.com.
Talk about what interests you in this virtual community www.twine.com, http://www.twine.com/twine/11p0rt184-14g/christmas or get a Facebook profile, and start chatting with friends from around the world. www.facebook.com.
And now to relax. Go ahead and start by lighting a fire in the fireplace.  I’ll wait:
Grab a cup of hot chocolate:
and put on some Christmas music:
Here are a few more Holiday songs and movies:
Or go to  www.hulu.com, where you can watch a few full-length movies and t.v. shows for free.
When you’re done with that, try saving Santa from the clutches of the evil Dr. Zass:
Or just design your own videos with some fun-to-use software courtesy of the late, great Randy Pausch and Carnegie Mellon University:
Didn’t get the Iphone you wanted for Christmas? With this site, you can pretend you did. Scroll through a 3d videowall of images with a swoosh of your mouse with this free search download.
Last but not least, here are a few presents…….
Your first gift is a selection of full-length Christmas stories, including Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.”
And your second  gift is an invitation to rediscover your local library—online.
Now, before you Luddites out there insist that you will never read a book unless you can feel the paper in your hands, consider this: the invitation comes with 20 new books every 2 to 3 weeks, including audiobooks, and you can browse through and check them out at midnight in your p.j.’s. No kidding. That’s pretty good, isn’t it?
And if you can’t live without that old book smell, here’s a scratch and sniff sticker that might help! 🙂

 More later on ebooks in cyberspace, but go ahead and get started checking out library books at www.overdrive.com 
Check out whether your local Library is connected:
Just one more thing….


What has all this got to do with Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen? Well, his Flipstart, the mini-pc that his company invented, has been my passport to the wired world during the last several months. It is a fantastic E-reader, among other things, and because of it I have been able to read more during the last 8 months than I have in the last 8 years. It’s the best gift I’ve had all year.
Thanks, Paul, and Merry Christmas!!! I’m so glad you’re feeling better, dude!!! 🙂
And Merry Christmas everyone!!!! Hope you’ve enjoyed the online journey!!!
Other Christmas Links:
David Letterman’s Top 10 Lists—Christmas
Top 50 Christmas Sites
All Things Christmas
Grinch Online Coloring Book
More Christmas Stories