Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekend Magazine: Clarity Is Key.

In retrospect, using "a big thick gold chain" as an example of swag was a too imprecise representation of what I hoped to receive.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

ROL: Sometimes, It Just Sucks.

ROL (Return on Life) is a self designated qualitative measure based on the quantitative metric, ROI (Return on Investment). ROI is maximized when small investments provide whopping returns. ROL is maximized when small incremental lifestyle changes provide exceptional enhancement in one's QOL (Quality of Life). This week's ROL is about acknowledging and reacting to tough times.
As A Job.
"I don't know how you do your job. I couldn't do your job and I wouldn't want to do your job for anything." As a funeral director, I hear that frequently. I have a prepared answer. "I know my limitations. I know I can't do the one thing the family I'm serving wants me to do. The family wants me to restore their loved one not just to life, but to a vigorous healthy life. I know I can't do that, so I stay within my limitations." I know it's vital to maintain my composure and help the family plan the funeral. Maintaining my composure allows the family to lose their composure. Still, sometimes it just sucks.
Doing The Job.
This week I helped a friend by directing a funeral. The deceased was my age, survived by his wife and 20 month old daughter, his parents, a sister and her husband. He was predeceased by another sister and her husband, both within the last few months. Sometimes, it just sucks.
Not Even On The Job.
Sometimes, it just sucks. It doesn't have to be as bone numbing sad as the example above. Consider the twice a year (for a good reason) dinner with relatives. Sometimes, it just sucks and it's impossible to make it any better. But it is possible to keep it from getting any worse. And when keeping things from getting any worse is all that can be done, it's doing alot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sufficient Tragedy.

The death of Trayvon Martin has provided the USA with tragedies galore. I would like to offer my thoughts on just 3 of the tragedies:
source: abc News
The Killed.
Trayvon Martin goes out to the local convenience store to buy some Skittles and an iced tea. Trayvon Martin never comes home again. Compounding this simple tragedy, Trayvon Martin was killed by a bullet. The bullet that killed Trayvon Martin was intended for Trayvon Martin even though all Tryavon Martin was carrying were Skittles, an iced tea and a cell phone. His family will not be able to eventually take solace that his death was an unlucky random occurrence. The nature of Trayvon Martin's death does not allow his friends or family to grieve and (hopefully) heal in private.
source: The Miami Herald
The Shooter.
George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. (I am not neutral about Mr. Zimmerman. I am pleased Mr. Zimmerman lives in another neighborhood, in a different state. I wouldn't want him to watch a dead rat, let alone my neighborhood. Still, the purpose of this post is not to talk about Mr. Zimmerman's actions.) Whenever the "stand your ground" law, Trayvon Martin or a confrontation with a neighborhood watch are mentioned, George Zimmerman will be mentioned next. Should an investigation determine Mr. Zimmerman could and should have avoided the shooting, the effect on his life and his family's life is no less tragic.
source: Yahoo! News
The Journalist?
I haven't considered Geraldo Rivera much of a journalist since Al Capone's vault. As someone with over 30 years of experience, Riveria should be beyond embarrassed for suggesting that Trayvon Martin's wardrobe (hoodie)  led to Trayvon Martin being shot. No matter Rivera's belief about the efficacy of "stand your ground" or Zimmerman's innocence, blaming a 17 year old for dressing like a 17 year old contributes to the dumbing down of the public. Rivera's subsequent apology can't stuff the genie back in the bottle. The tragedy here? Someone somewhere agreed Riveria: Trayvon Martin contributed to his own shooting by wearing a hoodie.
Little Suzy and I were sitting in my car, waiting for the school bus. As usual, I was listening to the news. When the news conversation turned to hoodies, shootings and dead kids, I turned off the radio. Suzy asked, "Daddy what was so bad that your turned off the radio"? It wasn't a tragedy that I couldn't offer a good explanation, but it still made me sad.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Weekend Magazine: May? Flowers.

March 24, 2012

I don't know if my (wife's) tulips blooming in the third week of March is a good thing or bad thing. 
Either way, I'm just going to enjoy the blooming tulips.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


source: Sue
Tuesday, March 20 was the vernal equinox of 2012. My friend Pamela Morse offered this great post and my friend Sue took a really cool picture.

Consider the egg for a moment: A fragile shell protecting life sustaining substance or life substance itself. On the equinox, a day with exactly the same amount of dark and light in our world, there is such balance that the egg can be stood on end without putting the egg's interior in danger.

Such is the power of balance.

Here's wishing all six months of equinox. 
Happy weekend. 

ROL: Be Yourself.

ROL is an abbreviation of the words Return on Life. ROL is the "live a fuller life" counterpart of the financial measure ROI. The concept of ROL is to make small, simple, incremental life changes that have to potential to pay off big time. This week's ROL is about being yourself.
source: Wikipedia
I Want To Be Your President.
Willard Mitt Romney is running for the Republican nomination to oppose President Barack Obama in the 2012 election for President of the USA. Mr. Romney has a well funded and well organized campaign organization. None the less,  Mr. Romney appears to be challenged connecting with the electorate. Mr. Romney is extremely rich and seems uncomfortable with his wealth.
Used His Resources.
Mitt Romney's father, George Romney was the chairman of American Motors Corp. and a former Governor of Michigan. George Romney was also in the running for 1964 Republican nomination to run for President on The USA, eventually dropping out of the race. Mitt Romney made good use of his privileged birth, graduating from Brigham Young University and earning a joint JD and MBA from Harvard. Mitt Romney entered management consulting and eventually became CEO of Bain Capital. Whatever wealth the Romney family may have had, Mitt Romney has substantially increased that wealth. Mitt Romney is an American success story.
One Of You?
Mitt Romney continually appears uncomfortable with his wealth. Examples include:
  • Offering to wager $10,000 with Gov. Rick Perry during a publicly televised debate.
  • While attending the Daytona 500, Mr. Romney offered "I have friends who own NASCAR teams."
  • When asked about Peyton Manning leaving the Indianapolis Colts, Mr. Romney said, "I've got a lot of good friends-the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets-both owners are friends of mine."
In all three cases the press has used the quotes to suggest Mr. Romney is out of touch. In all three cases Mr. Romney has really not offered a response to the criticism.
Embrace Self-Wealth.
Mr. Romney is failing to be true to who he is. Whenever his personal fortune is suggested to be a liability, Mr. Romney should embrace his wealth. For example: "Yes I'm rich. I was born into opportunity and made the most of it, unlike many others (picture of Paris Hilton). I am friends with my peers, who also happen to be rich. As President, it would be my goal to create an environment where anyone that wishes could exceed the accomplishments of his/her parents." And poof, no more pot shots (without an answer).

We all are who we are and none of us can escape who we are. Trying to be different than ourselves comes across stiff and disingenuous. Even when you're a multi-millionaire.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Faith On Display.

Last week my wife had taken a week off of work before starting a new job. At her "request" I accompanied her on a search for a few inexpensive accents to lighten up our family room decor. I believe she "invited" me to accompany her on this journey to make the end of week dental appointment enjoyable in comparison. In one store I saw plastic lawn crosses with "He Is Risen"  printed on the cross, available for sale. I don't get it.

I understand "He Is Risen" is a theme (perhaps the theme) of Easter. I understand that providing testimony and spreading the Gospel is an inherent part of worship for some Christians. I understand I have Orthodox Jewish friends with long beards, earlocks and  prayer shawl fringes in daily dress as part of their religious practice, yet I didn't post on their worship.  Still, I don't get it.

source: Amazon
Isn't there a better way to spread the Gospel? Volunteering at a (fill in the blank) is less expensive than a plastic lawn cross, an embodiment of charity and a chance to reach out on a one to one basis.  And after lawn crosses, can I look forward to a garage projection resurrection?

Am I being (too) judgmental? Am I overstating the situation? Am I demeaning someone's faith? If so, I apologize. Please leave a comment and help me view these lawn crosses in proper perspective.

Monday, March 19, 2012


source: morgueFile
We're having a run of unseasonably wonderful weather. Yesterday's high temperature was upper70's/low 80's. It was warm in the sunshine but with a slight breeze blowing, the shade was just cool enough to perfectly compensate for the heat in the sun. It wasn't just a great day for Mid-March, it was a great day for May or June or August or October. People pay to live in a climate with weather like yesterday. What a glorious day!
As sometimes happens, I was asked to assist a friend by directing a funeral. The deceased lived into her 9th decade, seeing college graduations and marriages from her grandchildren.The family was supported by extended family and long time friends. I'm sure the family was relieved not dealing with rain, wind or cold as they said a final farewell to their loved one. Still, I don't think the family will ever describe yesterday as glorious.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

ROL: Heed A Warning.

ROL is an abbreviation for Return on Life. Return on Life is all about making small incremental changes that yield large returns on life enjoyment. This week's ROL is about heeding a warning.
source: morgueFilecom

Emperor: "Hey Brutus, I was working the rope line outside the forum and the strangest thing happened. A guy in a conical hat"
      Brutus: "What was so funny about his hat?"
Emperor: "Conical, not comical. Save that shtick for the Senate. Anyway, this guy with a long beard and a cone shaped hat warned me about the rides of March. Is there a carnival fund raiser in March?"
      Brutus: "No carnival. He must have said Ides of... No worries Emperor Caesar. He's just another moon gazer."

It's important to pay attention to the signs all around. When offered a warning, pay attention and fully evaluate all the potential danger before merely dismissing the warning.  Listening to a warning, even from outside a circle of intimates could be a life changing choice.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gracie's Birthday.

My neighbor, Union Jack says, "I don't understand people that humanize pets. Yes, pets are part of the family but pets are still animals." I understand Union Jack's point.

Candy was born at the Beagle Barn, near Joliet, IL on March 13, 2007. At the time, Mario was 7, just diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and Little Suzy was barely 3. We chose a beagle for a beagle's size and temperament with kids. We chose a purebred over a shelter dog because given our kids, we needed a dog of certain lineage. We chose The Beagle Barn because the pups were raised in the house, around a family with a family's foibles. We wanted a dog because given my Aspie's inability to make friends we wanted Mario to have a best friend. Candy was "Mario's dog" but Mommy always wanted a dog named Gracie. Mario decided we should name our dog Gracie, but retain Gracie's birth name Candy as Gracie's middle name. That's how Gracie Candy Silver became a part of our family.

Gracie slept thru the 1st night at our house and has been sleeping through the night ever since. Whenever the kids come home from school, Gracie greets the kids audibly and doesn't stop until the kids say hi to her. Gracie has been licking my face and head since her 2nd day with us and hasn't stopped (except for meals and naps). As Mario has gotten older, Gracie has taken to giving Mario a frequent tonguebath as well. Most importantly Gracie has been and continues to be Mario's best friend.

I agree with Union Jack that it's silly for people to humanize pets. Still, we have to hold off Gracie's birthday party until Saturday. Tomorrow isn't a school day for Gracie, but it is for the kids.

Happy Birthday (and many, many more), Gracie.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One Thought.

While there is little as boundless as the strength of youthful ardor, nothing replaces knowledge borne of experience. 
Your one thought?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring Forward.

This Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 2:00 AM most of the USA will begin Daylight Saving Time. The process of advancing timepieces one hour actually saves nothing, but it does arrange for an additional hour of daylight in the late afternoon/evening. This extra hour of daylight facilitates outdoor activities as the temperatures approaches temperate. Still daylight savings also brings some challenges. For example:
source: morgueFile

  • Those above over the age of (fill in the blank) have more trouble adjusting to the biannual hour shift each year. The additional usable hour of daylight is offset by a feeling of post-intoxication for multiple days.
  • Little Suzy has to catch her school bus before 7 AM daily. It's been nice going to the bus stop at daybreak the last two weeks. Not anymore.
  • Since Little Suzy has to get up very early she needs to go to bed early. During the last few weeks of the school year, I have the privilege of putting her to bed while it's still daylight and her peers are still outside. This will again ruin my hopes of Suzy nominating me for "Father Of The Year", a streak that remains unbroken.
Still, I like daylight saving time if only because it is a first harbinger of spring and warmer weather. Enjoy the weekend, spring is almost here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

ROL: I'm Sorry.

ROL (return on life) is a qualitative corollary to the quantitative metric, ROI (return on investment). Just as ROI strives for incremental investment driving disproportionately large returns, ROL strives for small incremental changes that greatly increase quality of life. This week's ROL is about apologies.

This past week there has been a lot of talk about apologies. If you require a more thorough back story, here's a link. Listening to all the apology talk, I think it's time for a primer on apologies.
source: ABC.OTUS News
When you realize an apology is necessary, here's the formula: "I'm sorry my words/actions hurt you. I did not plan on hurting you. I thought my words/actions indicated (fill in blank) I will be careful in the future to make sure my words/actions are clear. Again, I'm very sorry." That's an apology. "I'm sorry if anyone misunderstood my words/actions and was hurt" is not an apology.

The person receiving the apology says either:
  • "Thank you for your apology. I'm glad you cleared that up" and it's over.
  • "Thank you for your apology but it does not ring true because...." and it's over.
Two final notes about apologies.
  1. A heartfelt apology is one of the best ways to move things forward for both the apologizer and the apologizee.
  2. The only person that should evaluate the efficacy of an apology is the person receiving the apology. Any bystanders are entitled to their opinion about the apology. Said opinion is best expressed silently.
"I am sorry" are three very powerful and healing words when used appropriately. Lather, rinse, repeat, as often as necessary.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Zealot's Dilemma.

As the nomination process for the Republican candidate for President continues, a question looms larger every day. What is Rick Santorum going to do?
source: Wikipedia

To clarify, how will Rick Santorum choose a running mate if he wins the Republican nomination for President? Conventional wisdom is to choose a running mate to help balance the ticket. For example, in the 2008 Presidential election, the Republicans selected a cranky old man from the southwest and balanced him with a mean spirited woman from the northwest. Okay, that's not a great example but the concept is clear.

Santorum is both a fiscal and social conservative. Their is no room to budge as a fiscal conservative because the less tax crowd is also the "money to run the campaign" crowd. Their appears to be no room to move as a social conservative, either. In severely criticizing the speech of candidate John F. Kennedy on the separation of faith and governance, Santorum has made his own stance on personal faith and public policy clear. I'm not criticizing (at least today) Sen. Santorum on his mix of faith and government, but should he earn the GOP nomination for President he will face a tough choice: Either choose a running mate for balance and compromise his public stance on belief and governing, or choose a running mate that mirrors his beliefs and lose the election.

Many have been faced with a similar dilemma. Compromise on strong (ultimate) principals for gain or maintain strong principles and fail. What would you choose?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weekend Magazine: Little Boxes.

When builders attempt to build as many houses as possible, as cheaply as possible, these are the results.
There is a movement afoot to educate as many children as possible as cheaply as possible.
Any predictions about the results?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Old Business Revisited.

Are You Ready?
I posted in September about the national embarrassment of a local Green Bay affiliate not covering President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress in lieu of the pregame coverage of the opening game of the NFL season. In order to avoid the same "schedule conflict" the NFL and the Democratic National Committee have put their heads together (I fear without the resounding loud crack that would have been so satisfying). The NFL will begin the 2012 championship season on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 to avoid President Obama's to the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, September 6, 2012. The fact that this shift is even news is troubling. Still a small victory is a victory nonetheless.
No 'Bots About It.
I posted in mid-February about the plethora of pornbots on Twitter and Tabitha Fung's campaign to get pornbots banned from Twitter. The pornbots have adapted. The latest generation have an account with tweets containing an innocuous quote, but the link in the description is always porn. If you haven't signed the petition yet, please lend your support.
Stretching My Legs.
I posted in January about my commitment to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's "Walk Across Illinois" program. It became apparent immediately that my normal day to day walking would complete this challenge by August. Not only isn't that much of a challenge, it doesn't really do anything additional for my good health. As so often happens, life circumstances provide an answer.

We found out from Little Suzy's pediatrician that Little Suzy's weight was out of ratio with her height, enough to require action. So now, when Suzy comes home from  school we go for a walk, weather and schedule permitting. Suzy has even joined the"Walk Across Illinois" challenge with me. So far, we've walked 5 miles together, leaving 162 miles to complete the challenge. That's not a lot of miles walked, but it's still winter in the Midwest.
Thank You.
Thanks for spending to take some time to read my little blog. Let me know what you think and have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

ROL: Nobody Beats You.

ROL(Return on Life) is the "help improve your life" counterpart of ROI (Return on Investment). Simply stated, ROL suggests incremental changes or activities that can produce major returns toward a better quality of life (QOL). This week's ROL is about your personal touch.

Illinois primary election day is in less than 3 weeks. I have already received 5 phone calls regarding the upcoming election. All calls we're regarding the open Illinois State Senate seat in District 34. 4 calls were regarding 1 candidate, requesting my support. The other call was from a candidate asking for my support.

I will be voting on March 20th, but only once despite my Chicago roots. I still haven't decided who will get my vote for the Illinois State Senate. I had been leaning toward the candidate whose volunteers called me 4 times. But the candidate that called me personally grabbed my attention and will get my consideration. His personal phone call had the appropriate effect.

I'm not against email, texting, Tweeting, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates. There is something special about a personal phone call, thank you note (handwritten) or visit. When I get all of you not just a piece of you, I am impressed and I will listen.