Friday, April 30, 2010

“Hope-y Change-y” Things

What a tough week for the GOP and supporters on the Right.  It seems as if every event brought nothing but bad news:

U.S. Gross Domestic Product Rises for 3rd Consecutive Quarter.  This follows 4 consecutive quarters of negative GDP.  Could be a possible tipping point towards moderate, sustained future growth.  More importantly, consumers are buying, reflecting economic optimism.  If you saddle Obama with the economy (“Stop blaming Bush!”), be careful it doesn’t get better in time for November.

Health Insurance Companies Adopt Popular Reform Measures Early.  Dozens of carriers have decided to allow adult children (interesting oxymoron – perhaps I qualify) to remain on their parents’ plans, 4 months before it becomes mandatory.  The major carriers have stopped their rescission practices (dropping customers who are sick and actually need health services) before required by law to do so.  It will be hard to argue for repeal now that carriers have already begun to implement these popular changes.

Arizona Requires Identity Papers to be Presented On Demand.  Here’s an interesting no-win political scenario.  Side in favor of the law, and you are supporting an overreaching government that cannot be trusted, one that will use any excuse to infringe on personal freedoms.  Side against the law, and you’re indifferent to the endless invasion of the undocumented into our country.  George W. Bush was successful in encouraging Latinos, the largest ethnic voting group, to consider the family values friendly GOP.  Now, the risk exists that a generation of Latinos will reliably vote Democratic.

Gulf Coast Rig Bleeds Oil Towards U.S. Coastline.  “Drill, baby, drill!”  Oops.  Bad timing.  The calls from the Right will be…more regulation?  “No, we’re anti-government regulation because it hurts our global competitiveness.”  Less regulation?  Not sure that position will poll well in the coastal states, whose economic livelihood is now threatened.  Instead, the early read is that the Right is choosing neither option.  At this point, they are blaming Obama for not cleaning it up fast enough.

The problem here for the Republicans in the coming months is photographic.  If you thought the photo of Bush looking out the window of Air Force One during his fly over of the Gulf Coast post-Katrina was a PR nightmare, wait until the dead birds and fish covered in oil starting washing ashore.  Quick, America – when you think of oil companies, what political party comes to mind first?  The images will last well into November midterms, and probably beyond.

Charlie Crist Bolts the GOP to Run for Senate.  This guy was on the short list for the VP slot in 2008, and less than 2 years later, he’s a pariah, posed to split the vote and hand the seat to a Democrat.  Not good.  All it does is inflame the talk about the ideological purity test that is winnowing the ranks of electable Republicans. RHINOs though they may be. 

Dow Remains Steady Above 11,000.  Under Democratic watch, the stock market has rebounded and retirement accounts are recovering a bit.  A few of my personal friends from the Right were betting on the Dow hitting 5,000 last summer.  Not quite.  It would appear that our nation’s biggest supporters of capitalism are not as afraid of the coming Obama-led Socialist takeover as the Right is.

Goldman Sachs Executive Grilled on Capitol Hill.  The greed of Wall Street was on full display, under oath, while the GOP voted 3 straight times NOT to open debate on financial reforms, preferring to negotiate behind the scenes first.  Wait, I thought “transparency” was a GOP talking point.  Not this month, and not on this issue, I guess.  The contrast between Wall Street under investigation and the debate stalling tactics in the Senate was striking, and hard to spin in the GOP’s favor.

We have a long way to go, but so far, based on results, a reasonable argument can be made that the “hope-y, change-y” thing is working out pretty well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Seventh Game

In October 1973, I was 11 years old, and in love with my New York Mets.  That season, they snuck into the playoffs, squeezed past the mighty Big Red Machine from Cincinnati in the NL Championship, and held a 3 games to 2 lead over the defending World Series Champion Oakland Athletics.  The series returned to Oakland for the final 2 contests, and the A’s MVP slugger, Reggie Jackson, was guaranteeing victory.  I knew he was wrong, and that my Mets were destined to win their 2nd world championship in 4 years.  “Ya Gotta Believe” was the rallying cry, and I did.

We lost.  Oakland won the next 2 games, and the world title was theirs.

37 years later, and I still carry the bitterness of that loss.  I replay and lament all the crucial details.  Why wasn’t Bud Harrelson called safe at home in extra innings when Gene Tenace CLEARLY missed the tag?  Why couldn’t the weather have been overcast so Willie Mays wouldn’t have lost those fly balls in the late afternoon California sunshine?  Sometimes I wonder what is more pathetic – that the Mets choked, or that I still care?

Professional sports is a touchstone for the days of my youth, and I know that for many men of my generation, the sports team loyalties and the seminal sporting events of our formative years shape us in ways that are sometimes hard to see, but are nonetheless real.  The scars from the defeat of the teams that became one with our identities are still there, still healing with time as the only balm.  I heard a sports commentator once say that everything he knows about sports he learned between the ages of 10 and 14, after the passion for cartoons ended, and before the passion for girls began.  I guess that’s true.  Sports is life when you are a young boy.

Last night, I watched my 11-year-old son invest himself in every moment of the Washington Capitals 2-1 loss to the 8th seeded Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of their first round playoff series.  I witnessed the fresh wound to his innocence, as his team couldn’t come through for him.  As I sat there, I felt the haunting memory of Tom Seaver failing to throw the no-hitter that I desperately prayed for, as my little man saw his hero, Alex Ovechkin, fail to score the hat trick he needed to carry the day.  Thomas and I can share this moment together, 37 years from now, regardless of what happens in the intervening years.  The memory will be bitter, but we’ll share it and the burden will be lighter.

We’ll always have Game 7.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Legend Begins


April 24, 2010 (Chantilly, VA)

The first chapter in the storybook athletic career of Lucy Sherrier was written on Saturday morning at the Navy Elementary School Field #2, when Lucy hammered home 3 unanswered goals to lead her undersized squad to an exclamation point victory in her second split squad game of the season. Lucy now has recorded 4 goals in 2 games, shattering the previous record of never having scored before this inaugural season.

Lucy’s first tally of the afternoon occurred on a broken play, with the defenders lackadaisically kicking the ball in the wrong direction, and then giggling and running in small circles after one another, oblivious to the action around them. She celebrated her mighty punt with a slight skip, hop and her signature “Happy Dance” with fellow teammate, Sammie. The Happy Dance, a straight up and down jump while facing another player, with piggy tails flying willy nilly, seemed to ignite the crowd, which up to that point had seen a contest memorable only for its lack of teamwork, inconsistent officiating, and cranky participants.

Her memorable performance occurred under threatening rain clouds, but nothing could dampen the unbridled enthusiasm of the hovering parents, hyperactive siblings and assorted for-profit caregivers. They cheered loudly and lustily for even the most ordinary play, and digital cameras clicked like crickets in the summer heat throughout the contest.

Lucy celebrated her accomplishment with a post-game orange wedge and a box of sugar water. Some of her teammates squirted themselves accidentally with their own congratulatory grape Juicy Juice, and then cried tears of what was surely joy. Lucy’s only post-game comment was, “I scored a goal.” Yes, she sure did.

Her parents are hopeful that with some hard work and a little luck, she will earn a trophy this season.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Survey Says…

I recently read in The Week that 71% of Afghans expect that life will get better, and that the Taliban enjoys a favorability rating of less than 10%. So it begs the question for me: how are these public opinion surveys being conducted in a country with more rocket launchers and poppy plants than indoor toilets? It is difficult to imagine the compensation plan that would encourage an eager pollster to walk from cave to cave, armed only with a clipboard and a nervous smile, asking multiple-choice questions of the skittish citizenry. Robo-calling local residents seems out of the question, with so many unlisted cell phone numbers and the limitations of the ‘soup-cans-connected-by-string’ technology. I guess that leaves only one possibility – the opinion survey results are modeled (see “fabricated”) using the answers from a limited number of respondents. There is no one who could reasonably prove that the statistics are inaccurate, so why not shape a little world public opinion to match political objectives?

82% of Afghans agree with me on this point.

“Good luck.” “Thanks”

In Arizona, you can now be stopped by the police, without cause, and asked to produce citizenship (or other authorization) documentation on the spot.  This practice is not new.  In one of my favorite movies, The Great Escape, the German characters did this quite often, and successfully rooted out those pesky escaped Allied prisoners, sometimes with deadly results.  During a climactic scene, the crafty German inspector tricks one of the protagonists (James Donald, I believe) into answering an English question with the appropriate English response, thus revealing his true country of origin.  Perhaps Arizona officials could entrap those of color into saying “gracias” as a method of identifying those who don’t belong.

While the law as written is probably unconstitutional (IMHO – in my humble opinion), you have to sympathize with the legal residents of that state.  Estimates that I have seen put the population of immigrants there illegally at 450,000, with no end in sight for the flow of humanity across the border.  That’s a lot of people to absorb into the infrastructure of the state.  I get it.  I view this new law as a gross overreaction, morally offensive, and potentially incendiary; however, if it forces the Federal government to fulfill its’ proper role and finally address the issue in a comprehensive manner quickly, I guess that it has served its’ purpose.  The time is long overdue for action. 

Let’s hope cooler heads prevail, before any more scenes from The Great Escape get reenacted on the streets of Tucson.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shameless Self-Promotion

I didn't know this was still on You Tube, but for those of you who wonder what I do for a living, here's a snippet from last year.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I Was Just Wondering in a "Fair and Balanced" Way...

 Can we all now just admit that Fox News isn't really news when it manufactures its' own information without checking it out for any factual accuracy or newsworthiness???

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Right-wing claim about nuclear summit logo debunked on Comedy Central

April 15, 2010 5:19 pm ET — 7 Comments
In recent days, Fox News and the conservative media have seized on the official logo of the Nuclear Security Summit to claim its image "looks like" an Islamic crescent. However, as Comedy Central's Jon Stewart noted, "the inspiration for the logo is actually the Rutherford-Bohr Model of the atom that we all learned about in high school."

Fox, right-wing media claim nuclear summit logo is an "Islamic crest"

NY Post's Goodwin: "[N]ot a coincidence" that nuclear summit logo features "[t]he kind of crescent moon you see on the flags of Muslim countries." In his April 14 New York Post column, Michael Goodwin wrote that the logo "reminded" him of "a crescent moon," the "kind of crescent moon you see on the flags of Muslim countries." He added: "Indeed, the crescent, often with a single or multiple stars, is the main symbol of Islam. So now there is something like it at an official presidential event, prominently displayed in photographs being beamed around the world." While Goodwin claimed that he was "not suggesting President Obama is a secret Muslim," he wrote: "But I am certain the crescent-like design of the logo is not a coincidence, especially at an event where Iran's nuclear ambition and al Qaeda's search for a bomb are prime topics."
Fox & Friends sees "Muslim image" in logo for Nuclear Security Summit. On the April 14 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson discussed Goodwin's column, with Kilmeade saying: "When I first saw this logo, I wasn't really thinking this, but upon further review, perhaps I should have been. And that is, if you look at the Nuclear Security Summit logo, what does that have in common with all those other flags there representing Muslim nations?" Showing images of flags, Carlson replied: "That's the same thing that you see on the flags of Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, and Pakistan, and what do they all have in common? They're all Muslim nations." Carlson then stated that Goodwin's claim is that Obama "deliberately put this as a logo to try and continue his outreach to Muslim nations in a positive way," adding that at "the same time, he points out in his article that we're not going to say terms like 'Jihad' anymore or 'Islamic extremists' anymore. So you be the judge." During the segment, Fox featured text that read: "Curious Crescent Logo: Summit Symbol Similar to Muslim Image" and "Islamic Image? Summit Design Looks Like Crescent Moon."
Jim Hoft: "That's weird?... Obama's nuclear summit logo is an Islamic crest." In an April 14 post on his Gateway Pundit blog titled, "That's Weird?... Obama's Nuclear Summit Logo Is an Islamic Crest," Jim Hoft repeatedly asserted that it's "weird" that "Obama's nuclear summit logo is an Islamic crest." Other right-wing blogs, including Evil Conservative and Right Side News, also claimed that "the Nuclear Security Summit logo looks an awful lot like an Islamic crescent."
Error Theory: "Nuclear Summit logo uses an Islamic-shaped crescent." In an April 13 post on the Error Theory blog, also featured at Free Republic, Alec Rawls claimed that it "is hard to believe that the State Department" could use "an Islamic-shaped crescent" for the Nuclear Security Summit "by accident," asserting: "Maybe our State Department really is this ignorant, but more likely, as in the case of Fort Hood mass murderer Nidal Hasan, nobody was willing to make an issue of anything connected to Islam, no matter how disturbing, for fear of committing career suicide. After all, Obama has commanded all of his underlings to be as oblivious to Islam as possible."
Pam Geller reprints NY Post graphic calling Obama a "crescent loon." In an April 15 Atlas Shrugs post -- published the day after the logo claim was debunked -- Pam Geller reprinted the following graphic from the April 14 edition of the New York Post:
Geller then wrote: "Good to see that big media (NY Post) is actually printing the obvious. Whether O is a crypto-Muslim is irrelevant. Because even if he were, what would he be doing differently?"

Daily Show debunks absurd logo claim

Stewart mocks Fox & Friends for seeing "Muslim image" in nuclear summit logo. On his Comedy Central show, Jon Stewart aired excerpts of the Fox & Friends segment on the nuclear summit logo and stated that when the show contacted the White House, they learned that "the inspiration for the logo is actually the Rutherford-Bohr Model of the atom that we all learned about in high school."
From the April 15 edition of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
STEWART: Yeah, you be the judge! We're just letting you know about some bullshit thing we saw saying this is a coded message to the Muslim world. We're just curious citizens, wondering if we put that logo up with four Muslim flags, whether you'll have a visceral reaction that our president is perhaps Muslim, while clearly stating our conclusion on our lower third graphic. Anyway, but -- we're just -- what do you think? We're just doing the math and giving you the answer and then asking you to check our work.
We called the White House to find out the genesis of the nuclear summit logo because, I guess, our phones work. You hit nine, and you get an outside line. Anyway, they said that the inspiration for the logo is actually the Rutherford-Bohr Model of the atom that we all learned about in high school. So it turns out, it's worse than we thought. It turns out the people at the White House are not secret Muslims, they're nerds.

Right-wing previously linked new defense agency logo to Islamic Crescent

Gaffney: "Can This Possibly Be True? New Obama Missile Defense Logo Includes A Crescent." In February, after the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) redesigned its logo, media conservatives compared the new design to the Islamic crescent. In a February 24 BigGovernment post, Frank Gaffney called the "symbolic action" "nefarious," writing that "the new MDA shield appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo," and that "Team Obama is behaving in a way that -- as the new MDA logo suggests -- is all about accommodating that 'Islamic Republic' and its ever-more aggressive stance." Gaffney concluded: "Watch this space as we identify and consider various, ominous and far more clear-cut acts of submission to Shariah by President Obama and his team." Gaffney later issued a correction. "Others have noted that it has a crescent and star design, evoking a common symbol for Islam. " In a February 24 article, acknowledged that the MDA logo "first appeared" on the MDA website "in the fall," nonetheless reported claims that the logo was "strikingly" and "scarily" similar to Obama's 2008 campaign logo, adding that "[o]thers have noted that it has a crescent and star design, evoking a common symbol for Islam." In a Special Report segment, anchor Bret Baier cited an MDA statement calling the claims "ridiculous," and that the new logo is "for recruiting in the public website and was developed almost three years ago" and "has no link to any political campaign," he went on to note that "The Washington Times points out that the red, white, and blue symbol looks strangely similar to Barack Obama's campaign 'O' from 2008."
Free Republic: "[I]s it a coincidence it also looks like an Islamic Crescent?" In a February 21 blog post on Free Republic, RaceBannon wrote that the "Missile Defense Agency Changes logo to look more like Obama logo," and asked: "Tell me, is it a coincidence it also looks like an Islamic Crescent?"  

My Exercise Haiku - Long Version

I watched 10 minutes of an infomercial today for P90X, a collection of work-out DVDs that promise ripped abs, bulging biceps, and luscious lats.

At what point is the line crossed between preying on people's fear of inadequacy and empowering people's sense of self-worth and potential accomplishment?

I watched the commercial and felt pretty darn good about myself.  Then I looked in the mirror, and that feeling went away.  I guess the line was crossed somewhere between the couch and the mirror.

Party On

The original Tea Party in Boston protested the concept of taxation without representation. The colonists objected to paying a tax on stamps (the Stamp Act) without having the colonies represented in Parliament.

I would be interested to know the percentage of current Tea Party supporters who support full voting rights for residents of the District of Columbia in the U.S. Congress, since these residents today are taxed without representation.

I'm just saying...

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm Somebody!

Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection, and was was doomed to spend all of eternity staring at himself. Today, I joined the Facebook frenzy, so now I, like Narcissus, can stare at myself online for all eternity. Unlike the fabled Greek tragi-hero, however, I can update my profile at any time. And this makes all the difference.

The Facebook phenomenon is filled with paradoxes for me. You can reinvent yourself through Facebook, but all your connections are with those who know the real truth about you. You can connect with more people, but how connected are you in reality? Isn't it more like a year-long Christmas card list? You can judge yourself by the number of "friends", but the word "friends" has started to lose its significance and intimacy. It's called Facebook, but isn't it more accurately described as "Face Magazine" - short snippets of life, without the depth of face to face interactions? More communication isn't necessarily better communication.

I'm too old to express myself with a tattoo. Up until today, my attempt at self-expression has been confined to a rotating series of vanity license plates (that only I seem to understand), and a couple of well-worn t-shirts. Everything has changed today, though. I have a page of history on the World Wide Web.

I'm going to go see who wants to be my friend in cyberspace for all eternity .

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Envy of the World

The Center for Disease Control should be a place for dispassionate data, free of bias. I hope we can all agree on that. So here's some data from that agency:
The lifetime risk of maternal deaths is greater in the U.S. than in 40 other nations, including most of the industrialized world. Overall, 13.3 per 100,000 mothers die in childbirth, and that's twice as many as 20 years ago. Assuming our health care is the best in the world, I will have to conclude that not enough expectant moms have access to this world class treatment.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state's largest insurer and considered a non-profit, earned $186 million in 2008 while raising premiums on customers as the economy slid into recession.

Employment Movies We Love

I watched Up in the Air recently, the latest 21st century take on employment. I liked the movie, which I thought was mostly about loneliness and isolation in the modern world, and only used employment to emphasize the point. It made me think, since I love movies, what are the best employment movies of all time? Here’s my list, but I am sure that I have forgotten your favorite. Let me know where I’ve missed the mark:

10. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: Robert Morse brings this zany musical to the big screen and exposes the lunacy of the advertising business and Big Business in general. The name of the movie alone earned it a place on the list.
9. Working Girl: Melanie Griffith assumes her boss’ identity (before identity theft was fashionable), and proves that anyone can run a company and steal the boyfriend at the same time. Griffith thinks this is all fair because the boss (Sigourney Weaver) has stolen her idea for a business merger. Petty office politics spun to the extreme. Harrison Ford rounds out the cast, but don’t forget Joan Cusack as the stereotypical NY secretary. She makes the most of a small role.
8. Philadelphia: The most serious movie on my list explores many social issues, but in particular the discrimination that leads to wrongful termination. It’s a movie for any aspiring employment attorney, and Tom Hanks won the Oscar for his performance.
7. The Firm: Have you ever started working for a company, and then come to realize that the leadership acts in an unethical manner? Or perhaps you are asked to participate in the unethical behavior? What do you do to save your own integrity? Hopefully nothing as extreme as going to work for a money laundering mob front like Mitch McDeere did ever happens to you!
6. Kramer vs. Kramer: This movie is on the list for one reason – Dustin Hoffman’s Christmas Eve job interview scene. If you have ever been desperate to get hired, this scene is a must-see. Dustin Hoffman (Kramer) needs to have a job by the end of the day Christmas Eve, or risk losing custody of his son, the adorable Ricky Schroeder. Dustin waits outside the hiring manager’s office for a decision while a 1970s style holiday party rages in front of him, complete with wide ties, big hairdos and lots of booze. “Awkward” doesn’t even being to describe the uncomfortable emotions of the moment, portrayed by arguably the best actor of his generation.
5. Jerry McGuire: Did you ever fantasize about quitting your job with as much bravado and conviction as Jerry McGuire? I think we all have written a Mission Statement about our jobs, at least in our own minds, but have we ever told all of our co-workers “The Things We Think But Dare Not Say”? This movie ushered in the era of the micro-business.
4. 9 to 5: Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, all superstars at the time, team up to make life miserable for their sexist boss, Dabney Coleman. The politics of gender get an extreme comedy makeover, and give life to a hit single by the same name. Hey, they kidnap the boss and torture him – what’s wrong with that?
3. Falling Down: Workplace violence was never so cool. Michael Douglas gets laid off from his Silicon Valley defense contractor position, and snaps big time. How great is it that he is a disgruntled worker and ends up finding a bazooka? This is the kind of movie that should scare an HR person involved in any “reorganizations”.
2. Glengarry Glen Ross: David Mamet’s realistic dialogue and the skills of 4 Academy Award winning actors (Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey) make this one of my all-time favorites. If you are in sales, and have never seen Glengarry Glen Ross, then stop reading now and rent this movie – better yet buy it to watch over and over. You can’t work in sales and not understand that “coffee is for closers.”
1. Office Space: The Granddaddy of them all, the cult classic that has gone mainstream, the movie that has given rise to dozens of quotes that are forever part of the daily work experience. “Did you get that memo?” “Looks like someone has a case of the Mundays.” “So what it is you’d say it is….you do here?” And those are just some of the clean ones.

Enjoy the arguments that only a Top Ten list can spawn, and let me know if I have missed something.

PS - Modern Times with Charlie Chaplin and Tootsie with Dustin Hoffman receive Honorable Mention.

Tiger in the Tank

Tiger Woods lost the Masters. Now we can get back to the 24 hour news feed covering his personal life. Oh no.

I am a Tiger Woods, the golfer phenom, fan. If he is in contention on Sunday, I tune in and I get my kids to watch with me. If he isn't playing in a tournament, I do not watch. Apparently, this makes me like most Americans. Unlike most Americans, however, I could care less about his personal life.

While many have blamed Tiger, rightly so, for his poor personal behavior and even worse example he has set, that blame does not compare to the blame I place on the media that is profiting from his immoral behavior. I blame People magazine and the people who buy it because Tiger's hookers are on the cover. I blame the E! Network, and its glorification of his mistresses and unquenchable search for perverse details of his secret encounters. I blame our addiction to voyeurism.

Perhaps we as a nation need to go into rehab.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Why We Love Hockey

I play every chance I get, and it calms my savage beast. Thank God my chosen sports allows for such sweet emotional release.

JESENICE, Slovenia -- Six Slovenian ice hockey players who beat up their American coach after winning a league title were released by the team Thursday.

Mike Posma, a former American Hockey League player who took over as coach last year, was beaten up by his players Saturday following Acroni Jesenice's celebrations for winning the title. The 42-year-old New Jersey native was cut and bruised but not seriously injured.

The team denounced the incident Thursday and announced the end of the players' contracts. Club president Slavko Kanalec said the team was "shocked" and "strongly condemns" the incident.

The team said it also suspended further contract talks with Posma, who reportedly left Slovenia for the United States earlier Thursday.

Slovenian media say that both the six players and Posma were drunk while celebrating the team's third consecutive national league title.

The six players were reportedly angry at Posma because he allegedly told a 19-year-old backup goaltender to drive a car -- even though he knew the man was drunk. The goaltender subsequently crashed the car.

The six then turned on the coach, reportedly beating him with wooden traffic signs that they found by the side of the road.

Earlier this week, five of the six players denied that they attacked Posma, claiming they attempted to convince the coach to go to the police and take the blame for the goaltender's accident.

The Slovenian public and team's fans warmly welcomed Posma when he took over as coach last November. He had previously coached rival Olimpija Ljubljana.

On Friday, Acroni Jesenice beat Olimpija to win its eighth Slovenian league title since the country's independence in 1991. Olimpija has won 11.

Posma played defense for the Utica Devils in the 1990-91 AHL season and later spent several seasons playing professional hockey in Switzerland and Germany.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Innocent Fun

As a kid, I was always fascinated by astrology. I was mostly fascinated because it seemed so accurate in my case. The described qualities of an Aries paralleled my self-perceived personality about 90% of the time. Those are good gambling odds. As a carry over into adulthood, I enjoy reading my horoscope on my actual birthday. So here it is for 2010:

For the deeply religious - this is for entertainment value only.

"You earn the respect of your peers this month and may wind up leading a group or selling or giving something of value that could only come from you. An agreement will be sealed in March. Your political mind will help achieve a goal in May. June tightens family bonds and brings fun for you and a loved one. Capricorn and Sagittarius people adore you." Holiday Mathis, as read in The Washington Post.

We'll check in on this from time to time...just for fun.

Monday, April 5, 2010

An Actor Prepares

I attended a discussion group meeting this past January sponsored by my local SHRM (Society for HR Management) chapter. The advertised topic was something about social media. I had heard that it's all the rage with the kids these days. As both a business professional and the parent of an eighth grader, the subject matter was of great interest. Actually, I had a 3rd reason to attend, and it was personal.

I had been resisting the calls from friends, quasi-friends, casual acquaintances. and other serial networkers to join the virtual reality club, but my attitude was decidedly 20th century. "Increased volume of communication has led to a decrease in true connections between people." I had no facts, no data, to support my thesis. My facts were anecdotal stories of spouses emailing one another from across the same room. My data were tales of performance reprimands on the job being delivered via email by supervisors hiding behind their wireless keyboards. Messages were being sent, but rarely was the intended meaning being accurately received. The electronic nature of the process intervened, changed things en route.

I attended the discussion group with my normal dose of skepticism, ready to expose the social media fad as the Pet rock of the 21st century (Note: if the Pet Rock is unfamiliar to you, try Googling "money for nothing"). Instead, I was blown away by a YouTube video:

Oh, the irony.

Of all the facts and stats hurled at me during the 4 minute presentation, it was the conclusion that was not on the screen that impacted me most. I was acting like an old man. I was resisting the impersonal embrace of the times in which I live, clinging to the comfortable conventions of my youth. I mean, what's wrong with carbon paper, anyway? (Again, Google it if the term 'carbon paper' is foreign to you). I'm not sure I wanted to be the old guy yet.

So I am creating a Facebook page very soon - this month. Maybe I'll tweet, if all goes well. Perhaps a meaningful connection to someone, somewhere will occur. Perhaps my skepticism will be proven wrong.

I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a Bottle
- The Police
Regatta de Blanc
Side One, Song One