Stephen Kerr's Blog

A True Sense Of Community

This past week has been one of deep reflection for me. No, I'm not going to espouse philosophy or anything; it's quite simple, really. The devastating wildfires here in the Austin area, along with the 10th anniversary of 9/11... both events have stirred a myriad of emotions in me, and, I'm sure, in many of you as well. We probably know at least someone who was affected by the wildfires in some way. I know three people personally who had to evacuate, but thankfully they were able to return to their homes with little or no damage. But there were countless others who lost everything, including their homes, and my thoughts and prayers go out to them. You always hope that there is no loss of life with these events, but unfortunately, two people died from the wildfires, and my heart goes out to their families as well. Even if many of us weren't directly affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001 in the sense of losing loved ones or friends, I don't think we can ever forget the sense of horror and outrage we felt when the terrorists struck. Our country was being violated, and it didn't matter whether you lived in New York or Austin, if you saw the images on television or heard about it on the radio, you felt as if you were right in the thick of it. The dominant thought running through my mind as I ran through both events this week is the way people pull together in times of tragedy or great crisis. We worry and complain daily about our local, state, and federal government, about the economy, the unemployment rate, health care, etc. But when something or someone threatens our community, state, or country, all that goes out the window. When you hear about people opening their homes to total strangers because they had to evacuate, or give generously of their finances or material possessions, it shows more than just a sense of duty or responsibility. It demonstrates real compassion, a feeling of togetherness. It's one of the many reasons I'm proud to be an American.
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Do It For Our Troops

No words (or videos) can completely describe the sacrifices our troops and their families have made and continue to make each day. But we can certainly do our part to honor those who put their lives on the line for our freedom, not just once a year onVeterans Day, but every day. Hope you enjoy the video from a veteran to all veterans, and Happy Veterans Day!
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Kids Talk About Mom

Want to get the real take on Mother's Day? Just ask kids; they'll tell it like it is. Happy Mother's Day!
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My Biggest Pet Peeves

Most of us have pet peeves, those things that annoy or irritate us. I've often wondered how the term came about. According to, it was first used in 1919, and comes from the 14th-century word "peevish". If I thought about it long enough, I could probably come up with dozens of things that bother me. Since I don't want to turn this into a whining fest, I decided to just list my three biggest pet peeves. BEING PUT ON HOLD. Yes, I know times are tight, and businesses are having to do more with less people (it's no different where I work). But being on hold for any longer than five minutes drives me crazy, especially when the automated system comes on about every 30 seconds to say, "your call is important to us. We're working hard to take your call next. Please continue to hold for the next available agent." I'd rather just hear music, or even silence, than to have this repeated over and over. NOT BEING ON TIME. Naturally, there are occasions this can't be helped, but I'm talking about a chronic problem. If you tell me you'll be here at 3 Pm, and show up at 6, that's three hours I could have done something else. It also makes me think I'm not that big a priority. SOMEONE WHO TALKS WITH THEIR MOUTH FULL. This is probably my biggest one. I usually can't understand what the person is saying, and they'll have to end up repeating it. I'd rather they savor their food, then we can talk. We may not be able to do anything about our pet peeves most of the time, but it's good to let it out every now and then. Feel free to share yours.
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Mac and Cheese, Anyone?

I've been hiding a deep secret for years, as early as my childhood. It was only a few weeks ago that I accidentally let it slip in a conversation with a friend of mine. I'm amazed I kept it hidden as long as I did, but I've finally decided to go public and get it off my chest. Brace yourself: this could be quite shocking. I CAN'T STAND MACARONI AND CHEESE! That's right: mac and cheese, a favorite of millions of kids and grownups everywhere. Not me; I can't stand the smell, taste, or texture of the stuff. Come on now. How many people do you know who won't eat one of the most popular foods ever? Oh, and while I'm at it, I might as well reveal another food shocker: I don't like dressing, either. I'm not talking about salad dressing; I mean the kind you have with turkey at Thanksgiving! My mother still recalls the time when I was about six, and she attempted to make me eat some of my aunt's homemade dressing. Without being gross, let's just say it didn't work out too well, and even to this day, I won't touch it. Is something wrong with me? Do I have Popular Food Deficiency Syndrome, or PFDS? (I'm not sure if there is such a condition; it just sounded appropriate). My friend thought I was the weirdest person ever upon hearing this revelation. What do you think? Is there a popular dish or kind of food you absolutely despise that would make someone's jaw drop in shock if they knew? I'd love to hear about it. I do like chocolate. At least no one can pin that one on me.
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