Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Think These Might Be Resolutions...or I Might Need a Check-up

I have to keep trying to make things better. I have to get rid of some bad habits, and look closely at something I need to embrace.

This prayer has to become my guiding force:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.Amen.



Now as wonderful as that prayer is, I don't think it has to apply exclusively to the profound things in life. I think a good part of our existence involves very simple, ordinary things to deal with. Our days seldom consist of life-changing decisions, and getting to the heart of the matter in the simplest ways can determine the course of our lives.

For me, a lot of my time is spent sorting out mundane, silly things. Things that are definitely not worth a lot of time, and paying undue attention to those banalities can distract me from what is important.

I have to accept some things, if for no other reason than I simply cannot change them. They become big because I let them get big. Time to squash 'em back down.

Things such as:

  • A lot of people don't stand by their word. That's sad, but it's a truism.

  • Selfish, obnoxious people demand more attention than they're worth. I'll work on giving them their due. And paying attention where I should.

  • You cannot make people do what they don't want to do. Trying to do that is unethical and wrong. But there are people who insist on that as a way of life, and do not see that as wrong. That's their problem. I have to worry about being decent and honest, and that should take enough of my time.

  • There are a lot of women in my life who make very bad decisions with their love lives. Time and again. It's not my job to change that. It's my job to be there when things don't work out. Again.

  • Reality Television isn't going away. There are enough other options to enjoy. Although I am getting to be too much of a forensics expert.

  • I need to love the people who love me for me. There's nothing more valuable. My life has recently shown me how important the ones who stick by you are.

I need to love unconditionally.

I need to accept that life can't always be all good.

I will cherish the time that others give to me.

I will always make time to thank those who make me feel as though I matter.

I will do my best to do things that assure that I matter.

I will stop apologizing for who I am. The ones who appreciate me far outshine those who would look for perfection.

I think those resolutions are ok, no?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Figurings for 2009

I have some things rolling around in my cranium that I'm going to figure out by the end of 2009. It's just one of my many items on the to-do list for the year.

I'm wondering how long Obama will be in office before the armchair geniuses decide they don't like him.

I'm going to figure out how screws unscrew themselves. Happens to me all the time. Things fall on me 'cause of that.

I'm going to hook up a video camera to help me figure out how those electric cords work themselves into a tangle that can never be undone. Ever. And you get a shock when you try to undo said tangle. Ouch.

In NY State, I see signs that say "Speed Limit 55" alongside ones that say "Minimum Speed 40". I'm going to figure out if anyone ever got a ticket for driving less than 40 mph, and if they call that "slowing".

There's a musical group called The Killers, and they currently have a song out called "Human" which contains the lyrical question, "Are we human, or are we dancer?" I'm going to figure out what the heck that means.

This Christmas, UggsAustralia actually had Uggs available for sale. That you could buy. And Amazon.com actually had what I needed in stock, AND shipped on time. I'm going to figure out why other companies think that's bad for business.

There are a lot more things to figure out, but I don't want to tax my brain too much in such a limited time, you know?

I'm sure there will be more. There always is.

Monday, December 29, 2008

You Do When You Can, Right?

You have to strike when the iron is hot, right? I know it's a little premature, but I really want to do a year-end entry, and I got the time right now!

I can't say that 2008 was a good year. So I won't. Some good things happened, granted, but this is one year I can do without.

I have learned so much, however, that I can take with me as I give 2009 a try. I learned that people make the best friends. Furniture is comfortable and usually reliable, but it's just not up to the task of being a pal. I love my friends. Thank you for being my friends. As always.

I will never forget the spiritual kindness I received from two wonderful people this year. The beauty of that gift is that it never wears out, won't break no matter how hard you lean on it, and it comes in the form of the best kind of love you can get. Thank you for that.

I learned that for every 5 snake-in-the-grass, lying, posturing fools you encounter, there is 1 decent, kind person who is true to their word. I can deal with that ratio because the 1 good person makes you feel 5 times better than any of the snakes can make you feel. I can live with that. I'm just never going to get used to that feeling you get when you realized your assessment of someone is way off.

But overall I realized that no matter what, being alive is good. As long as you survive, you get a shot at a clean start.

Here's hoping 2009 is the beginning of something good for everyone.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Uno


Worst UNO score to date:

She: 536

Me : 27

Uno isn't my game.

Obviously.

But I really have fun playing it, so...

Gram

I can't walk well. When it gets slushy and icy out I really can't walk well. It's been rather icy and slushy the last couple of days. I'm very angry about that because I need to go up to NY and visit with Gram at the hospital. But if I fall and break my head, I'll be visiting from the next bed. If ever a drought could be a good thing, I'd like to find out about now.

Gram is going to go into Physical Therapy starting Monday. It will be a move to another facility. She's not quitting just yet. I think that's very cool, and very brave. But you know what, it's just Gram doing what she thinks she needs to to not be a pain in the butt. See, she said she doesn't want to go home until she can walk because she doesn't want to be any trouble. Gotta love her. So she goes to rehab so she can walk well again.

The least I can do is get out there and see her, support her. So this week I go, ice or not. Keep praying for her with me, will ya?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Great Cell Purge

I must let go of the Cell Disease I have. It has to go because the cell phones aren't going away, and if I keep griping, I will go away in that 6x6 hole. Gotta deal with it.

People will continue to serenade us with unwelcome and unwanted conversations, in restaurants, malls, etc. I have learned that you cannot shop in Walmart unless you have a cell stapled to your head so that you can babble away. There is a segment of the population for whom driving without yappin' on a cell would be like the rest of us trying to walk without legs. I gotta accept that.

I will move on with one closing thought: Cellphoniacs will stay in control unless I perfect that device that makes them explode on demand. Heh heh. Ya never know.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Great Purge...continues...

Politicians. They are a necessary evil. I wish there were a way to live without them, but there really isn't a better way to keep 305 million people in line. Isn't that a delightful thought? We have to have them because there isn't an alternative for us.

Whenever there is an inauguration, I watch very closely. I look for the moment when the judge takes the very large Bible and smashes the incoming over the head with it.

It has to happen. Only a severe head injury could explain why it is that someone who seemed very decent and smart and capable prior to the swearing-in could transform into a lying, double-talking, double crosser in such a short time.

I'm tired of listening to these maniacs. I hate the fact that it seems only a matter of time before any and every one of them gets bagged for doing something crooked. And I keep wondering how many of them would be left if we passed a law making stupidity a punishable offense.

So yeah, they're bad. But they give us someone to blame for the lousy condition we're living in, ya know?

Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State.

Sorry, I had to finish barfing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Great Purge...

I know that I had gotten started a few weeks ago with the whole "Walking In Their Boots" project, but that has to wait (mainly cause this is my Blog and I don't feel like doing that right now...)

I decided that if I'm going to turn around my life a little, I have to get the poisons out of my system and clear the brain somewhat. So this series will be a little bit like Primal Scream therapy, ya know?

So let's start the list.

People I Have to Not Be Around Or Think About Anymore


  • Yes...Lousy Drivers-People who are incapable of driving as though they have both gasoline in the tank and brain in the skull just aggravate my hypertension. And get on my nerves a lot. I have been heard saying such things as: "Hey pal, you driving that car or carrying it?"; "Wow, you're not the worst driver in the world, but when that guy dies..."; "The long pedal on the right...step on that one!" I have often found myself wishing that I had those fancy weapons like the fighter pilots in "Star Wars". And saying words that I'd have gotten my mouth washed out with soap for. We need to stop thinking about these people because an aneurysm is sure to follow.


I think this is a good start.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Update

Well, the news wasn't so great. There was a mass in Gram's abdomen that has been identified as cancerous. She's 93, so there aren't a lot of options here. Surgery is almost a 0% possibility and of course chemotherapy at this stage would do more harm than good. Gram's doctor, obviously, has given us this information, and she feels that hospice care is the best option.

Gram seems pretty at-peace with the whole situation, and is examining all her choices for said Hospice care. It's just so sad, though, because she really, really enjoys life and it's always (and I honestly mean always) been a pleasure to live it with her. Being philosophical is fine and all, but still, there's just that little bit of, you know?

The family has promised to honor her every wish. She hasn't lost a step in her mind, and she is sharp as a tack (even if you should happen to wake her from napping, she's right on her game). So this is not a case of deciding what's best for someone, but rather, doing our very best to see that she gets what she decides is best for herself.

I'll be by to update again on this. Just please ask God to keep her pain at a minimum. Oddly enough, she doesn't seem to be in much at all, at least for the moment. But let's ask that it stays that way, ok?

Performance Evaluation

Ok so put your wet-suit on if you're going to read another word of this, because this is going to be like a weather report: partly whiny, with occasional grumbles, but clearing at the end of the day.

If you'll pardon me, 2008 has 90% sucked out loud. Very, very ungood, as I like to say. Now while I have a lot to be thankful for (for all you philospohers out there) it's my opinion that if you can't do what you want to for the people you love, then the resulting feeling is that things are pleasant-not.

Sigh

I have to admit though...I think it's me.

As my wooden coffee table is a dust magnet, I have been a mess magnet. But as a magnet attracts, I attract ungoodness...non-luck...anti-beneficial stuff.

Yeah it's me. I feel like I not only cause my own quagmire, I believe that I brought a lot of the yuck to people's lives as well. I come in the room, it's like that scene from "Ghost" where the demons come up outta the ground all black and moaning, and drag people off.

My career is in its infancy stage for the second time in my life. Only I didn't get to be 23 again to do it all over. And being all bent up and driving with that parking permit hanging on the mirror just serves to remind me how close I am to being a fossil.

So with that all in mind, I figure I have to make some changes. One of those changes is to start by fixing my attitude. I think it reflects on people when your mouth looks like it's full of salt, ya know?

But me turning into Jimmy Sunshine is going to take some work. Kinda like completely filling in the Grand Canyon. Will rake some planning and preparation. And probably some fertilizer.

The first thing I have to do is let it go. Spit it out, get rid of the venom.

That's not very simple ya know, especially if you've known me for a decent amount of time. You know very well that there are lots and lots of people out there whose sole purpose is to make me very mad all the time!

But I have to purge. I have to stick my thumb down my figurative throat and get it the hell outta there.

So...

Between now and the end of this miserable, stinkin' lousy rotten smelly year, I am going to spout about the things that always seem to be a thorn stuck in my tongue. We'll go one more round with all of them, and then start the new year all fresh and pretty and new.

Well, maybe not fresh and pretty and new. But you get what I'm saying.

I'll update about Gram as I can ok?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gram

Hello my friends. It's me, returning from another M.I.A. episode. So to begin, I'd just like to lean a minute and get some things off my chest.

We've had some illnesses spring up in my family of late. One had an ok ending, sort of a work in process. The other situation camee out last night.

My grandmother, aka Gram, received some bad news Monday morning. She has cancer. She is 93 years old, and her health has been failing somewhat, but only in the last couple of years. She has always been a vivacious Lady, one of those people who when you say, "She is always ready to help or lend a hand" it really is true.

I spent Sunday with her at the hospital, and while it was a good day, it couldn't be perfect because there were things there in the background that we'd only find out about Monday.

I'm really sad about this. It's not a feeling a grief right now, it's more just a plain ol' sadness because I really enjoy watching her enjoy life. I could make her whole day just stopping by to take her to lunch (Gram is REALLY my buddy 'cause she likes Applebee's too!), although the last couple of lunches I had to bring in to her because she was not really able to get out. I really would like to get a few more of those lunches in with her, you know? So maybe remember Gram in your prayers today ok?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Recess!

At some point yesterday, there came a formal announcement that our economy is, in fact, in recession. I actually think it was more like an admission, but that's for another day.

Your Pal Lippy here, is doing his part to make it as bearable as possible. With a little humor, perhaps.

We've made some shirts you can share the pain with. Check them out here


Available in a variety of recessive styles and sizes!

A Short Stay...

OK so we worked on living the dream...Life As A Bad Driver.

Ungood, to say the least. Shortly after we snapped the picture from the previous entry, we began to rethink our position.

About nine seconds after that shot, sure enough, someone shot up behind us, tailgated, and then shot around us. We got a look that could have melted our top row of teeth. We beat a retreat out of the left lane into the presumed safety of the far right lane. Funny, though...we maintained our speed at precisely the speed limit (with the assistance of Cruise Control) but shortly after our retreat, we had someone riding the bumper in the right lane too. We disengaged the cruise control and slowed to about 40 mph before Gater decided to pass us. This was accompanied by a look that pretty much took care of the bottom row of teeth.

We activated our turn signal about 2 miles prior to our exit, just to see what that felt like. And went on to safer waters. Off the highway.

At the first traffic light, we waited 10 or so seconds after the light turned green to come out of our coma. Sounded like the horn section from the Boston Pops. First chance these folks got, they shot us some more teeth melters.

Tailgating occurs on one-lane roads too, when one drives 10 mph below the speed limit. Even for only a minute.

We resisted the urge to try on the cellphone-iac hat while driving though. That's illegal. None of that here, ok?

Next up, we signaled a right turn about 12 hours before the actual turn, and then made the turn at about the speed one would dock the Queen Mary. Horns can be loud. And certain curse-words are very easy to figure out when lip-reading.

Our last little taste of fun was going into a trance just after entering a large parking lot. We sat and treated our choice of spot like most people would consider a career decision. People will tailgate in a parking lot and check to see if there are any teeth left to melt. Then they'll look to your soul.

That was enough for me.

I don't know why people would drive that way on purpose. I couldn't stand the road rage. I'll be cutting this little Walk short.

Over and out.

Next up, CellFun!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Here we are

Starting my project. We are currently in the left lane doing exactly the speed limit. Let's see how this goes...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Walking In Their Boots: The Bad Driver

Another important step in my self-improvement project was suggested to me by a friend. Actually, it was mentioned a long time ago, but it took some time to sink in.

One of the ways to achieve peace with enemies is to learn to understand them, see things from their point of view, right? So, this is what I will do. I will live as they do, act as they do, think as they do. Since I seem to have many peeves, this will have to be done in a few parts...one step at a time, so to speak.

One of my biggest teeth-grinders is the Bad Driver. I often rail against this human obstacle, but this hasn't made BD go away, or improve. So maybe it's time to see life through his eyes. That will be my first project. I will drive as he does, act as he does and see how it goes. (by the way, how come "does" doesn't rhyme with "goes"?)

Anyway, I'm going to use the first day of the week to see how it feels to be that person. I'll let you know how it plays out (if I survive). Maybe I will grow to understand him; maybe I will take on a different point of view. Maybe I will drive off a cliff. Who knows?

While I'm out doing that, maybe you can suggest other experiments I can engage in. I have a few more up my own sleeve, but I'm open to your ideas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

So This Is Christmas...


I was sitting around today, recovering from Thanksgiving, which was quite good, by the way. The news came on and a story was breaking.

A Walmart store in Valley Stream, NY was the scene of the latest piece of evidence showing the demise of civilization as we know it. To leave me speechless, you know something has to be pretty awful.

A crowd waiting for the 5 AM opening of Walmart on "Black Friday" decided 5 AM wasn't early enough, I guess. They ripped the doors of the store off the hinges and a stampede ensued. The herd didn't even stop to look at the man as they rumbled along in their pursuit of the prey otherwise known as "Christmas presents". And what's worse is, one of the people interviewed after insinuated that this was somehow the fault of the store.

So you trample a man to death, and get your booty. How precious that moment will be, Christmas morning, when one presents a gift to a loved one, knowing that, in order to actually get that gift, you had to help stomp the life out of an innocent man.

So if someone has the audacity to hang a "Christmas" decoration, or display a Nativity scene on public property, you can hear the screaming of the morally outraged for miles. I just wonder if people will decry this act of Christmas spirit as loudly?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Logging In


While there are definitely time constraints on my life, due to starting my own business and doing what it needs to get it moving, there's something else that holds me back.

I wrote a little entry recently, commenting about how you can become monotonous and boring if you're one of those people who seem to live a life that's nothing more than a series of dramas, crises and episodes. And I think I was pointing that at myself more than anyone.

I don't write a lot about what's going on here. I tend to go "journalist" or "columnist" when I hit these phases. I love to write. I just don't like to write about the "waaah, my life sucks" thing, day after day after day.

Truth is, life does suck a whole lot here lately. I do recognize the good that I have...my kids, my family, my partial health (heh heh). And I know that money doesn't buy happiness.

But neither does poverty, ya know?

I have responsibilities that I absolutely have to live up to. I just had to find a different way to do it. And I'm working on that.

But for the time being, it's a soul-sucking, pride-swallowing process I'm going through. It's not fun, not interesting, and not enjoyable. But maybe it will make a good back-story some day.

Just not now, ya know?

I hope to bring my own brand of nonsense to my new business, so that I can share the idiocy with you here. Hope that it's sooner than later.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bloggity Blog Blog

I just wonder about something, and want to see what you think?

I don't spend nearly as much time on Blogs as I had in the last couple of years. Time has gotten ridiculously tight lately, but Blogging/Journaling was a pastime that I enjoyed so very much.

So I consider a lot of Bloggers/Journalers my friends, even though I haven't met a lot of them. Real friends. "Real" friends. Do you?

I miss the people I would connect to daily. I don't get there every day anymore. But do you think they know I miss them and think of them? Do you miss your Blog friends if you don't see them daily?

Is that weird?

Do you think it's ok to write and not read?

Do you think I think too much?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Odd

I have to say, I think I got my widdle feelings hurt recently. A woman I worked with asked me if I had any pictures of my kids. As luck would have it, I had a little folder with one picture of each of my three kids. They'd just had their school portraits done.

I gave the folder to the Lady, and she looked at my kids one by one, but didn't say a word. Not one. Gave the pics back to me. That was that.

Makes you think a lot of things. It just seemed unusual to not say a single word. I don't think my kids are ugly or anything, but I was definitely waiting for something.

Nothing.

Odd.

Made me a little bit sad. Who knows, right?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More and More...

I have kinda had it. And I just wanted to vent this out so I can sleep.

It seems that I've encountered a whole lot of people who, at one time or another, loudly declared that they were going to live their lives their own way, by their own rules, and without caring one damn bit about what the rest of us thought.

So then why do we have to carry their butts when that whole gameplan goes sour?

WOW!

I'm onto something so very, very cool. I'm really excited about someone launching a Blog, so I just had to share it with you all. (Although I'm just a little bit mad that I had to find it on my own!!!)

The blog is called "Women Doing More", and if I said a whole lot more here, it would only ruin it for you because I just can't do this justice. You have to see it for yourself.

Click here: "Women Doing More"

Neanderthal

When men get angry, they all react differently. But there is one moment all we guys have in common, that one moment when, in our minds, we go back to our caveman roots. We want to smash what makes us angry, make it go away.

Evolution has taught us that those ways aren't the best. And usually we get past those Neanderthal moments pretty quickly and deal with the problem at hand in the most rational way we can.

For me, part of that process, getting past the pre-historic, is having my friends involved. They talk sense to me, and make me see that I have to act responsibly. It's good for me to always have at least one good friend to talk to, because I know they'll always act in my best interests, and get me behaving in a way that has the best interests of those around me at heart.

Tonight I had a Neanderthal moment. My oldest girl had her heart crushed by a boy. It isn't the first time, and I know it won't be the last. Only this boy is a bad guy, and it isn't the first time he's done this. There have been other boys, and other heartbreaks, but this boy does it because he is a control freak, and I couldn't sit silently and just "offer support". I was angry, very angry, because he keeps coming back, solely for the purpose of making her cry. He tries to keep others from her as well, and he tries to control her life.

I know what has to be done. I know how these boys think. I know because there was a time when I behaved that way, albeit a short time, thankfully. But I know what's in his mind. He wants to do whatever he wants, but he wants to make sure that she is always there, ready for him to come back when playtime is over.

I can't have that. But I also know that simply forbidding contact with him will work against me. She has to come to realize that he is a bad guy all on her own, but there is nothing wrong with helping her to clear her vision.

In the meantime, though, I had that moment that I wanted to make this boy go away, my way. And while my daughter was talking to her Mom, I used that time to get hold of my rational self. I did have my Caveman moment, with visions of clubs over the head, etc. And I had a good friend to talk to. She let me rant and rave, and then delivered a solid dose of good common sense to bring me around to reality.

I smile when I think of that conversation now, because I don't think she's seen that side of me. I rarely get that way, but someone hurting my kid tends to bring that out in me. But she stuck to her gameplan, and got me thinking rationally again.

I do tend to be long-winded, it's just the way I am. But my girl and me sat for better than an hour once I wasn't a Neanderthal anymore. And she went to bed feeling a lot better. I told her that we can do a lot of things, get her around the other people in her life. I reminded her that the world is a big place, to take chances, to meet other people to just have fun with. I think it worked.

I needed a friend, and she was around tonight, and that's a good thing. Good sense is always better than nonsense. I'm blessed in that regard, because I have plenty of good friends who are ready to penetrate my thick skull. I'm lucky because there always seems to be a never-ending supply of their love to keep me going in the right direction.

It was a long night, for sure. But it ended a lot better than it began, and I think that's a good thing. A father's love for his children is an unstoppable force, but that doesn't mean it can't be channeled in a positive direction. I love all my friends, because they always seem to know what's right for me.

I think my daughter would love them all too.

Goodnight now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Little Hint...

If I may be so rotten as to say this, I just think it's helpful. And since we're all so into being "honest" these days, I don't even have to be sorry for saying it I guess.

Ok the point is, if you're one of those people for whom life is one never-ending series of personal crises, for whom life is one giant "bail-out" after another, who always "needs" someone, or "tests" the friendships of others, here's a flash:

You will become boring and monotonous, and will drive away the very people you're looking to manipulate with your drama.

Like they say, I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Follow-up to Financial Services

I just wanted to say thank you for anyone who participated in that little survey.

The discussion stemmed from a recent transaction I was involved in. My focus is, was and always will be doing what my clients want when they want it. I will always give sound advice, to the best of my ability. If I think someone is making a mistake, I'll simply point out all options and risks, but in the end, the client's will is law.

I firmly believe that there is a need for life insurance, particularly when none is in place. A lot of people get life insurance through work, etc, so purchasing their own policies isn't always a priority.

Some of my clients do not have the luxury of having both retirement savings in place along with life insurance. In fact, in that is the case with many of them. When they decide they want to implement an IRA or other savings plan, I am only too happy to oblige. As I said, I go with the clients' wishes, and while offering advice, I don't like to try and "strong-arm" anyone into doing things they don't agree with.

I made the statement in the office that most people would probably prefer a savings plan if forced to make a choice between that and life insurance. I would say that our little survey agreed with that statement.

The best service is the kind that provides what my clients want. Not what I want.

Would you agree?

See?

Well there you are, you're driving along on a rainy day, maybe the windows start to get a little foggy, so you hit the defroster and WHAM.

The whole windshield blasts over and now it's like looking through cement! Gotta love it.

Oh yeah, I survived.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wow

I sometimes wonder if these maniacal reactions we see from people, when they're faced with disappointment, really are an indication of some sort of mental disability, or just another sign that we're doing a really lousy job raising our offspring.

When people aren't equipped to handle situations, they either fight or flee. Maybe we can add "totally freak out" to the occasion. There have been a slew of movies like "Fatal Attraction" the past few years, but they don't have the same appeal or attraction because a lot of us know people like that. Still scary, just not so unusual.

They had a series of raffle drawings for the kids the other night at my church. Just pulling tickets for a bunch of toys, etc, no big. But when they finished and announced the last prize, I saw three different examples of just what I'm talking about. There was one boy, big enough to know better, who absolutely threw a fit because he hadn't won anything. He began flinging the folding chairs as he stormed out of the gym. Another girl, also big enough to know better, began to scream and cry that she "wanted something", refused to leave or quiet down, and essentially had to be dragged out by he mother. The last one was another boy who was a little young, so I'm going to pass on that one. Future psycho will suffice.

Life disappoints sometimes. We don't always get first prize. It might be a good idea to stop the BS of the last 20 years and start informing our little charmers that no, not everyone wins every times. It sounds like common-sense thinking, but I'm starting to believe common sense isn't so common anymore.

The "better" we get as people, the worse off we seem to be. Unrealistic expectations only increase the bad feelings that come about when disappointment hits. Soft-soaping, sugar-coating, rationalizing, it all sucks in my opinion, because the first time these charmers get hit, they're down for the count, and it's up to the rest of us to pick up the slack.

That's ungood, to say the least, huh?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Financial Service

Hi there..help me settle a discussion. Over on the sidebar I've placed a poll. Really simple question.

If you HAD to choose from one of the following, which would you prefer:

I would contribute $50 per month into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) in your name, for the next 40 years or,

I would pay $50 per month for a $250,000 term life insurance policy in your name for the next 40 years.

You can only have one, and can't change your mind once we start. Which one would it be?

OK go over and vote your choice on the poll.

And for my friends who are dummies, that means votes don't count in the comment section. You know who you are, too!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Good

The bad thing about good days is that they never last long enough. People wish us a good day quite often, but if we had that many, we'd never really appreciate them, that's for sure.

For me, the "good" in my "good day" was really enjoying the connection that I've had with my kids, as well as a bunch of my nieces, recently.

I get these little "flash-floods" in my eyes on days like that. It's not crying or anything like that, it's just that momentary rush that happens when my heart takes a snapshot of a moment to make sure it goes into my memory forever. My oldest knows when I hold a camera to my eyes for a bit longer than normal, it's because I'm having a "flash-flood" moment. It's what happens when your heart melts, ya know?

I think I'm pretty lucky. I'm not a greedy person by nature (cheeseburgers aside, that is) so I've developed a pretty good skill for recognizing moments I'll really want to cherish forever.

I'm so glad I had kids. Even when they break my stuff.

A Chapter Closes

Funny thing about failure...it's that gorilla in the room that we can't ignore. It's a bad thing in some ways, but it can sure be good. After all, what else would we measure success against?

Failure is also not permanent. Imagine that?

Technically, we have to fail if we're ever going to make a "comeback", ya know?

Of course, anytime we cite "failure" in our lives, our supporters are quick to remind us of how much good we have going for us. And I'm really not going to delve into that philosophical debate now because I'm not calling myself a failure. I'm definitely not that. I'm just talking about looking directly at an aspect of my life where I am a failure.

And now it's time to do something about that.

I am saying gooodbye to some things in my life that I've done badly. I still have to do them, of course, but I'm now declaring it time to do it right. The three most important people in my life are dependent on me doing just that. I can't think of a better motivation than the well-being of the very reason I wake up in the morning.

I wasn't screwing up, so to speak. I was just doing things wrong, and now I've come to grip with the fact that simply doing something the same way for a very long time will not make one successful.

I know this is a little vague in regard to what I'm talking about. The specifics aren't important. I just need to make myself accountable, and there isn't a better group of people to hold myself accountable to than the folks who are kind enough to share their time with me here.

I'm going to turn things around. I have to. I have the brains to do it, and I most definitely have the will to do it.

Now I have a lot more people to answer to. That's a good thing.

More details will follow.

Wish me luck, and hold me accountable. I'm counting on that.

Monday, November 03, 2008

In My Humble...

There are few absolutes in life that I can think of, offhand, but one that I'm relatively sure about concerns opinions.

The way I understand it, an opinion is a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty. A feeling. We're all wayyyy up to speed on feelings, at least in this country, right?

My opinions doesn't have to be your opinion. Me telling you my opinion is simply that: telling you. I'm usually not of the opinion that opinions can be right or wrong.

I just don't understand how one person can get angry at another based on said person's opinion. (by the way, is it bad sytnax to italicize a period at the end of a sentence?)unless maybe that person's opinion is that you are an idiot maybe. Then your feelings are hurt, and well, I just don't want to get into that circle of hell, ok?

Anyway, I just don't get it. We ask people to express their feelings, and then get mad at them for those feelings if they don't fit our profile too well. (is welly an adverb?)

My opinion for tonight is that "Sex and the City" sucks as much in the re-runs as it did in the first run. Oh, and Ron Paul will never, ever be the President of the United States.

Bye now.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Fun Blog

This blog is a new favorite of mine. I think you'll get a few smiles here. A Penny For My Thoughts

Saturday, November 01, 2008

See???

A while back, I was carrying on about how they make commercials with the camera shoved in people's faces. And I complain about everyone talking in scratchy bedroom voices too.

Here's an example that covers both: (by the way, I'm not commenting about the product being advertised...just the means with which it's advertised, ok? No preaching thanks!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nostalgia

I talked about coming back to familiar favorites the other day, when I talked about people getting back to eating real food when they go out. I'd just like to clarify if I may?

I wasn't talking about the frequency of dining out, I was talking about the activity when they go out. I'd just gotten tired of dining out and watching people eat yard clippings instead of food. I can't imaging viewing a meal of birds nests as something people enjoyed on purpose, ya know?

Anyway, something else I miss:

Yay.

I miss "yay!"

When people burst out into cheers nowadays, they yell "wooo!"

Poor "yay!" No one uses that one anymore. And don't get me started on "hooray!"

And I miss clear, pronounced speech. Every time I watch TV or a movie, it seems that, no matter the situation, everyone talks like they're in bed, just waking up. Bedroom voice, that scratchy tone that I often whine about, is ok when they're filming a bedroom scene or something, but I see news interviews, documentaries, etc., and everyone speaks like they're seducing us or something!

And I miss, "I'm good, thanks, how are you?" Nowadays, you ask, "How ya doin?" and you get these silly, over-the-top responses such as, "I'm awesome today!" or "I'm better than I deserve to be!"

Cut it out, will ya? I get it.

Of course, there's the reverse, such as "Don't ask!" That's probably why people don't like to ask, "How ya doin?" as much anymore.

What do you miss?

Not Mine, But...

I didn't write these. I got a kick out of them and thought you would too. If you're old like me, that is.

Hollywood Squares:

If you remember the Original Hollywood Squares and its comics, this may bring a tear to your eyes. These great questions and answers are from the days when ' Hollywood Squares' game show responses were spontaneous, not scripted, as they are now. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course..



Q. Do female frogs croak?

A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.


Q.If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?

A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.


Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.

A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.


Q.You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?

A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.


Q. According to Cosmopolitan, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married?

A. Rose Marie: No; wait until morning.


Q.Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?

A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.


Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say 'I Love You'?

A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.


Q. What are 'Do It,' 'I Can Help,' and 'I Can't Get Enough'?

A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.


Q.As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking?

A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I'll give you a gesture you'll never forget.


Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?

A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.


Q.Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?

A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.


Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score?

A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.


Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?

A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.


Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet?

A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.


Q. Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls?

A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.


Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?

A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?


Q.If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?

A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.


Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?

A.. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.


Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?

A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn't neglected.


Q.Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?

A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.


Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?

A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?


Q.When a couple have a baby, who is responsible for its sex?

A. Charley Weaver: I'll lend him the car, the rest is up to him.


Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?

A. Charley Weaver: His feet.


Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?

A. Paul Lynde: Point and laugh





WE DON'T STOP LAUGHING BECAUSE WE GROW OLD, WE GROW OLD BECAUSE WE STOP LAUGHING

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Things That Need To Stop!

Politics in this country will never get better. Bad weather will continue to ruin big events, taxes will always go up, and the government will always suck no matter who is in power.

Those things we can't change.

There are a few things, though, that we probably have a bit of control over. And I was thinking of a few that we could could fix. Or at least make go away. Let's look at my suggestions, and then maybe you could add yours to the list.

Here goes:

  1. Tire Warranties. Firestone, Bridgestone, it doesn't matter. If you read the list of things these tire warranties don't cover, it's 10 times as long as the list of things that are under warranty. Basically, if your tire goes flat, get a new one. The tire company will only make YOU go flat trying to make a claim.

  2. Same with Verizon Wireless. Their "water damage" bullshit, the reason they will declare a phone out of warranty is a crock. Even if you live in the desert, during an extended drought, that little red button by the battery will tell them your phone is water damaged. Blame it on a mirage maybe.

  3. People who include the phrase "wake up people!" when they're expressing their political opinions. Yeah genius, the whole world has been hibernating while you went and figured it all out.

  4. Calling Reality TV "Reality". Most of us don't, and probably couldn't live in that "reality." And others among us don't want to ever accept that people like that define "reality."

  5. Dismissing asenine, rude, obnoxious and stupid behavior in others by saying "Oh it's just So-and-So being So-and-So." No, Sir, an idiot is an idiot. It's not charming. "Free Spirit" is not the moral equivalent of "Complete Moron."

  6. Television broadcasts that are nearly unwatchable now due to the screen being splashed with logos, animated ads and crawls. Advertise during scheduled breaks. simple as that.

  7. Business news channels. CNBC, FBN, Bloomberg, whatever your choice. The reporters on these channnels have now assumed the role of "Experts." 90% of what these so-called "Experts" are spewing over the air is complete nonsense. Go back to reporting on stories, and stop editorializing. Let the experts be experts. Those people screwed things up badly enough. We don't need reporters and anchors adding their own two cents.

  8. And let's close with a business fix. The CEO's and their teams of leaders, who have blessed us with the most recent financial disaster need to be held accountable for their accomplishments. This wasn't "business gone awry", this was arrogance, ignorance and stupidity run amok. These people didn't fall prey to cyclical downturns. These people let greed lead them to try and tap into something that should have been left alone. Period. Make some noise. Get them called onto the carpet.

OK, your turn...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Plug For A Friend...

Hi folks.

You'll often hear me talking about the wonderful young couple who used to be my neighbors. When I was laid up like an invalid a while back, these two young people took care of me like I was their own family. Two of the best people I have ever met.

Niki, the Mrs. of the couple, recently pointed out that her sister is running an online business. So as I am eternally indebted to Niki, I just thought I would add a plug and links to her sister's site and blog.

I like that is on the site, and I think you will too. Geezees Canvas

Here they are:

The business website: click here

The blog: click here

Shaking It Loose...

Being that I am such a tech geek, I keep up on the latest gadgetry, toys, trinkets.

I don't, however, like cellphones at all. I like the technology, mind you; it's the application I dislike so much. We have grown adults walking around using them like pacifiers...when something gets boring, watch them reach for the binky. Kids don't even seem to be aware that life exists even when it isn't on the other end of a cell call.

But my real problem is that I got one for the obvious reasons. Safety, convenience, security. Turns out, mine is turned off a lot for a lot of other reasons. though.

It never rings when I want it to, always rings when I don't. It's a portable invasion of privacy, as far as I am concerned.

And people who have sense of courtesy, manners or civility feel free to invite us into their personal nonsense on a daily basis. And I say nonsense because, as I have figured out, people with brains and class don't hang their filthy laundry for the world to hear. People without those two things have no problem spewing their personal business anywhere and everywhere.

Anyone who has read me here realizes this is nothing new. My un-love of the mighty cell has been around for a while. It's gone from a peeve to an outright dislike. I figure these things aren't going away, I better do something. Legal I mean.

I guess this is my attempt to shake it out of my system.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just Thought This Was Funny

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chewing the Fat...

Part of the business I'm in requires me to go to dinner with clients. Business dinners. Yum.

I've noticed a small trend. A trend that, if it takes, will make me happy. I always defer to the client for the choice of restaurants, and the last five choices they made seem to be going against convention.

Three chose steak houses. One chose a sushi joint (gag) and one picked a burger joint. OK it was an "upscale" burger joint (if there can be such a thing), but it was a burger joint nonetheless.

Can it be? After too many years of being served grass, weed-clippings and pet dander, can it possibly be that people are returning to food?

Sushi isn't food, by the way. I used to pay $3 a bucket of that stuff to take it fishing where I caught fish and took them home and cooked them, and now they want me to pay $5 a PIECE to stick it on a hook and shove it in my OWN mouth.

But I got lost there a second. As I wondered, can we possibly be back on the track where dinner in a restaurant is once again something intended to bring pleasure? Can fine dining (burger joints can be fine, too, ya know) actually be a situation where we break from the norms of our daily eating habits and actually enjoy ourselves?

I went on vacation with a friend, and she had to allow an hour per day for her "training". Which really meant about 2 and 1/2 hours as she had to dress for the gym, and then spend an hour afterward primping for the other parts of our vacation. And she wasn't really "training" for anything. She just couldn't imagine 7 whole days of just relaxing and enjoying herself.

It's the same principle, you know? How often do we really engage in "fine dining"? Would one steak per month really hurt you? Would a burger every third week put you in a coma? Come on now!

I don't think there's anything wrong with sitting down in a restaurant and letting one's hair down (or loosening the belt, so to speak)once in a while. And I'm so happy at the prospect that Good Eats might actually come back into vogue.

Think I'll call a client and go for some ribs. See ya.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How To Not Feel Badly...

I don't know where I heard it, but someone said, "Just because there are so many people far worse off than you, doesn't mean your pain doesn't count." To me, that's such a great quote.

We've got this whole thing going on in our society these days, where someone is always telling us that we shouldn't feel badly because somewhere, someone is suffering so much more than we. And others tell us that we should spend no time dealing with the things that are bad in our lives, in essence, get over it and move on.

I will agree, 100%, that dwelling on problems isn't the most productive way to live. When it comes to things that we have no control over, it's probably best not to ponder them too long. I'll give you that. But the impression I get from some people is that they consider feeling badly, being upset over things that go wrong, is somehow selfish or greedy bahavior.

We work with superstition and beliefs, telling a bride that rain on the wedding day is "good luck", for example. There is nothing wrong with being encouraging and supportive. Nothing at all. But treating someone's feelings as if they're doing something wrong by hurting, well I don't always see that as constructive.

Yes, some people are never happy. If life isnt 100% perfect, they're miserable. That's not a realistic view of life, and that's not a healthy disposition. But sometimes, things do happen to people, things they may not be able to control, and the hurt they feel is very real. Are we doing them a service by telling them something like, "Oh you have so many things to be thankful for, get over it."?

I think it's sort of wrong to condemn someone for hurting. Bad things sometimes happen to good people. I think that feeling badly, being upset, is a natural reaction. I don't think that having most of one's ducks in a row should render one immune to pain. I believe we should be supportive of those who are dealing with crises, and not be too quick to dismiss what it is that is causing them pain and sadness just because most everything else is in order. No one should be made to feel inadequate or selfish because they succumb to bad feelings now and then.

Again, I'm not advocating the behavior of those who never seem to be happy. In truth, there are those who make a career out of being in the dumps. A pity-party regular, so to speak. But now and then I think everyone is entitled to hurt. Life isn't perfect, and we shouldn't expect it to be. But to me, it's not wrong to hurt occasionally.

What do you think?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Perchance To Dream...

I dreamt that I was using my cell phone to send a text. I was using my headset in the dream and was composing the text using my voice. I was very happy about that.

Then I woke up. Not happy. My phone doesn't do that in real life, but that wasn't the problem.

I mean, with all great stuff that there is to dream about, my brain comes up with that?

I think I need a tune-up.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

To Cap It Off...

My skeletal situation makes picking things up off the floor a little difficult. It seems that everything I want to buy in the supermarket is on the bottom shelf, and things are always dropping to the floor.

In high school I participated on the shot-put team. I wasn't very good. You have to hurl a 12-pound steel ball and try to hurl it far. I couldn't do that too well. No gold medals for me.

So how come when I drop a bottle cap on the floor, it winds up 480 miles away in Cleveland??? Or I dropped a screw to the light fixture, and I think it's still rolling, 4 years later.

Ugh.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Very Corny

Now that it's becoming more apparent that the Ethanol Mandate is probably going to go away, The Corn People are going to have to stop trying to shove their product in our tanks.

So now they're looking to start shoving it down our throats instead. How funny is this site?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ponderances

I do enjoy being silly. Most of the time. But sometimes I really wonder how we can keep smiling when things just seem to get tougher on us. These are some of the questions that come to mind.

I must note that I am just as guilty of the posted sins as anyone else

Sitting and looking at the whole Credit Crunch Fiasco, I can't help but think. There were a lot of people who sought to benefit from the underhanded practices that took place in the credit markets the last few years. Admittedly, there was a lot of sleight-of-hand and misrepresentations, but it just makes me remember the adage, "If something seems too good to be true..." My question is, could every single person who got into these situations, particularly in real estate have been completely unaware of the loaded guns they were picking up when they agreed to sub-prime mortgages?

I think of all the product recalls from a year ago, and how the most recent one once again involved Chinese products (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1063950/Cadbury-recall-chocolate-China-fears-contain-contaminated-milk.html). I just wonder how all the companies that repeatedly violate consumer safety practices in this country remain in business in this country. Will we really tolerate anything to save a buck?

And speaking of bucks...Alan Fishman lost WaMu. He was CEO for 18 days and stands to make over $13 million. Stan O'Neal was at the helm at Merrill Lynch when that firm went by the wayside because of bad investment decisions in the sub-prime lending fiasco. He walked away with nearly $160 million. And the guy in charge of Lehman brothers could possibly net $240 million for his troubles. Are we really going to allow these guys to profit so handsomely from their disastrous leadership? Shouldn't we be screaming to our Congressmen or other lawmakers to see what can be done? If not, why not?

And to finish spitting up here today, I just want to know if anyone can't point out the moment in time when elections became a matter of choosing who lies the least?

What's happened to us?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things Is Fixed?

Usually Mondays aren't too great. I sometimes feel like I am the human equivalent of a Monday, you know, like no one really likes them, but they can't make them go away, so they deal with them as quickly as possible. And wait for Tuesday, of course.

So Blogger has finally surmised that I'm not a Bot (as in SPAMbot, as in Robot). I wouldn't make a very good robot. Robots don't typically fall down and break things. Or do Stupid things. And they can generally walk without a limp. And without crutches.

It's funny...while I was in Spam Purgatory, it just meant that I had to type in one of those word verifications in order to publish my entries. Not really a big deal, but I didn't like having to do that. It kinda made Blogging less fun. And being that I had no or little time to Blog, the draw just kinda wasn't too powerful.

But two things have happened this day. Blogger figured it out, and, I actually have a couple of free hours. So now maybe I can get back to doing what I do best: being annoying, like a Monday.

And now that I have been de-BOTted, I understand I can write a whole bunch of nonsense, and schedule it to publish in advance.

So, folks, I'm back.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Things I Thought I Thought About


While it's true that I have been less-than-active in the Blogger world, that doesn't mean the brain hasn't been working overtime.

I think I might give up my current career. Yeah. And become a burglar.

Why, you might be thinking?

My current career has me on the road for many, many hours. Something has changed.

Is anyone ever at home anymore?

There was a time, we had "rush hour." A couple of hours before the workday began, the roads would jam up with cars because everyone was on the road getting to work. And of course, the same would be true for a couple of hours after the workday ended. Everyone was going home.

So this would leave a few hours during the day where non-essential travel could be accomplished rather painlessly.

Not anymore.

24 hours a day, 7 days a week now, the roads are packed. Millions and millions of cars out there, clogging the roadways. Where the hell is everyone going? Do they not like their homes anymore?

No one is ever at home. Either that, or the census count is way, way off.

So yeah, this apparent lack of at-home citizenry could be a bonanza for burglary. I just wonder who's feeding the dog, ya know?

And speaking of going places, howbout this?

I saw one of those infomercials the other night. It was for this device which uses ultrasound waves to chase rats and roaches out of your house. It doesn't kill them, it merely urges them to find somewhere else to be. Get lost.

So...just suppose for 30 seconds or so, that this product really did work as claimed. Now everyone with half-a-brain who wanted to be rid of rats and roaches would simply buy one or two of these toys, and plug it in. Roach and Rat free house. Voila!

Except: where would all the rats and roaches go? Where would they call "home?" And how nasty would that place be, huh?

See?

Time on my hands is rare, but it's still very productive.

Oh, and Blogger still thinks my blog is being written by a BOT. Imagine a robot this dumb?

Friday, September 12, 2008

9.11.08 - Seven Years On

I always find this day a tough one to get through, and, seven years later, those feelings haven't gone away. I just want to share my own recollection from that day in September, 2001.

People who write recollections of terrible events usually start out with something along the lines of "It was an ordinary day."

September 11th, 2001, for me was very much an ordinary day. It was a workday, and I was on my way in to work. I was running late for a meeting, and was a little sour about that. I had decided not to stay in NY City overnight the previous evening. We'd been working on a large project, and Monday night the 10th was the last working night before the project went into effect after the meeting on the morning of the 11th. I was regretting my decision to instead, go home that Monday night and skip the hotel.

About 8:30, my ferry into NY landed on the dock. I was hurrying to get from the East Side over to the World Financial Center, just west of the World Trade Center. I was using a Blackberry device to communicate with a partner of mine who was at the meeting and who had agreed to cover for me.

Then around 8:40 AM, he sent me an email to tell me that all was well, and that I should just head right to work at the Exchange, and meet him there. Everything worked out fine, so my mood was a little less hostile when I got to the Exchange.

I stopped in the office coatroom and hung my suit jacket. I put on my work jacket and headed upstairs. As I reached my work area, a large group had gathered around one of the large TV monitors that we had installed. They were watching CNN.







Apparently, at around 8:45 AM, an airplane had struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The plane had smashed into the north face of the building, at the higher floors of the building. The reports were early, but there was a video crew on location already, and images were being broadcast. We could see the building burning, and heavy smoke coming from the building.

I turned to one of my partners and he asked if I wanted to join him outside for a smoke. Two of my brothers were working at 4 World Trade Center, which to those who might not know, are those black buildings we could see at the base of the larger towers. I suggested we walk over to the WTC as it was still early, and I could see that my brothers were OK.











Kevin and I began to walk north on Nassau Street toward the Trade Center. As we walked, huge amounts of paper were floating down from the sky. A good portion of these papers were charred on the edges, but we could see that they were mostly letterhead, computer printouts, and the like. The street was already fairly covered by the paper. I reached down and picked up some of the paper as we walked. The letterhead was printed with familiar company names, but I felt as though I shouldn't be reading what was printed on it, so I dropped it. There was a pretty heavy smell of smoke in the air, but we were far enough at the moment that it wasn't a real problem for him or me.





As we got to Liberty Street, we got a clear view of what had happened. There was a large, gaping hole in the side of the building and large amounts of smoke pouring out. People were milling all about, not quite sure what was going on. We watched the building as we walked closer to the site, and the smoke became thicker as we approached.

We walked together, looking at the building. We could see burning debris falling from the sides of the North Tower, and the noise from the responding emergency vehicles filled the air. People were heading in both directions, toward and away from the towers.

A few minutes later, as we got closer to the South Tower, it was apparent that this was a lot more than a small-aircraft crashing into the building. The damage was too widespread for it to have been anything less than a commercial airliner. Unfortunately, as we got closer, we could also see that among the debris that was falling, there were also people who had jumped from the higher floors. We weren't quite close enough to actually see who they were, but we knew what was going on.











We were a few hundred feet from the actual base of the South Tower at shortly after 9 AM. He and I had stopped in a rather empty area and were standing quietly. There was a Burger King restaurant to our left, and people were standing in front of it, and the adjacent firehouse.

Suddenly, there was a very loud sound and a large explosion over our heads. We didn't know it that moment, but a second plane had flown in and crashed into the South Tower. As it sunk in, very quickly, people began to run toward Kevin and me. We turned and began to run as well, as debris and smoke began to rain down.

I remember as we reached the corner of Liberty and Nassau, he and I stopped next to a large white truck to catch our breath. Kevin looked at the truck and said, "We might not want to be standing next to this truck."

That was actually the first time that thoughts of anything sinister going on passed through our minds. Up to that moment, this was all one big, horrific accident.

We caught our breath, and joined the crowd of people running south on Nassau toward Broad and Wall Streets. As we reached the Exchange entrances, the first sets of doors had their gates pulled down. We continued to the south end of the building, which was also locked.

He and I found an alcove another block down and stopped there. It was next to a Timothy's Coffee Shop, and offered some resting space off the street. The crowd thinned somewhat by that point.







I took my Blackberry device from my belt and began to read emails from various people. The partner who had attended the meeting was in the Trade Center Plaza when the first plane struck the north tower. He had run toward Albany Street and was on the other side of town from where we were now. He and I exchanged a few messages for the next few minutes. I also began to receive emails from my brother, who was working in Jacksonville, Florida, and who was watching the news on CNN. He began to send me updates. Among the first was the revelation that the media was declaring this an act of terrorism, and that the country was under attack.









I emailed Kevin's brother to find out where he was, and to let him know that Kevin was with me and we were ok. A number of people stopped and asked if I would send emails on their behalf, to check in with family, etc. One woman told us that she had gone in late that morning, and was due at an office in the North Tower. She asked if I would email her husband.

In the meantime, a number of my friends were sending me messages, telling me their whereabouts and inquiring as to mine. We were exchanging whatever little information we had, trying to not only make sense of what had happened so far, but trying to figure out what we should be doing next.





At one point, my brother's emails increased in frequency and urgency. Kevin and I were still standing by the coffee shop when I got one that said there had been another attack, this time at the Pentagon.

It's hard to remember exactly what I was thinking or feeling in those few minutes. I was grateful to have the Blackberry device, as apparently all the cell phone service, as well as the land lines, had been knocked out of service, yet this Blackberry continued to stay connected. I was exchanging emails with anyone who could write, and learned that quite a few of my coworkers were still inside the Exchange. Kevin and I could not get inside, so we holed up right where we were.









About 10 AM, my brother emailed me again. This time, he was borderline frantic.

"Look, they confirmed an attack on the Pentagon in Washington. There are rumors that the Washington Monument was hit, as well as Camp David. CNN said there are more planes unaccounted for. Get the hell off Manhattan. Get off and be safe."





I began to read this message out loud to Kevin and a couple of people who were standing with us. I was interrupted by a very large rumbling sound, followed by what sounded like something crashing. Kevin and I reacted the same way: "shit, another plane is crashing!" As I stepped out onto the street, a huge black cloud blew at us, and I immediately thought that a plane had crashed, and this was the fireball. Instinct said, "run." As the cloud hit me, that's exactly what I did. I got a couple of lungs full of this smoke, dust and debris, and ran coughing and choking back toward the building.

While we later learned that it obviously wasn't a plane crashing, but rather the South Tower collapsing that was plunging us into terror, we didn't have that knowledge at that moment. We didn't know what was happening at all.

It isn't lying to say that we were in utter panic. This all happened a lot more quickly than I can describe in writing. He and I ran into the building that we'd been standing in front of. We ran inside, and without speaking, decided being inside was not what we wanted to do. We both ran to the east entrance to the building, opposite of where we'd been standing. The glass doors were locked, and I ran for the fire extinguisher I'd spotted. We were going through that door one way or another. But luckily, a guard ran over and unlocked the door, and we ran out onto New Street.











The wisdom of that choice was quickly questioned by both of us. We ran right into a stifling cloud of smoke and dust so thick we actually couldn't breathe. I made the futile attempt to filter the air with a handkerchief as I ran, but quickly discarded that. The smoke was so thick, I could no longer see Kevin as we ran.

There was a NY City Traffic Agent running with us, and she was as scared as I was. We ran south, as it turned out, but I couldn't tell where I was. It occurred to me that Kevin was no longer with me. Nor was the traffic agent. I looked around a moment and yelled for him, but he was gone. As I made my way south, I spotted the familiar sign from a restaurant I knew. I headed toward that, and got inside. A very kindly gentleman was working the counter, and as people ran in, he offered large cups and bottles of water. My eyes were burning and swelling some, so I took one of the cups of water and stepped outside with two NYC policemen, and we proceeded to pour the water into our eyes. As we stood in the street, one of the officers wandered a few yards west to check things out. He turned and came running back toward me and the other officer, and he was yelling, "Run, run, get down, get down" and in an instant, the narrow street filled with the unmistakable sound of another jet engine, moving quickly and toward us. The streets in that area are very narrow, and the tall buildings make the area cavernous, so it was extremely loud.

People panicked and ran. I remember standing frozen for a moment or two, trying to get bearings as to which way to run. Suddenly, a woman ran up behind me, screaming and wailing, and literally jumped on my back as I began to run. She'd wrapped her arms around my face and caused my nose to bleed from the force, and she was screaming in my ears as I ran. I hollered at her to hold on and stop screaming.

It turned out the jet we'd just heard was actually military aircraft moving into the area, but we didn't learn that until days later.

There was actually a comical moment at this point. As I turned the next corner and began to run through the smoke, I ran, literally, head-on into a pole from scaffolding that was erected on the building. To this day, I am amazed that I didn't go down, or at worst, drop my passenger, who finally stopped screaming. I'd opened up a pretty good gash on my forehead to add to the bloody mess that was going on in my face.







I ran west after that, and entered South Street. For a few minutes, the air had cleared, the woman had stopped screaming and we could both breathe. I asked her to climb off a minute so I could gather myself a little and figure out what to do. She got off, and simply ran toward the north. I didn't ever see her again after that.

The East River was across the street from where I was standing. Through all the chaos, here I was standing right where I'd started the morning off at 8:30.

I worked my way across to the Ferry landing. There were a number of people from my job standing there on the pier. A group of young children, along with their mothers and teachers, were standing there as well. Apparently, they were all on a field trip to Manhattan from New Jersey that morning, and had gotten caught up in the chaos as well. Another gentleman named Kevin, who also worked with me, was standing next to me now, and he had a large handkerchief over his nose and mouth. He was looking at me rather intently, but not saying anything. I forgot about my bloody nose and forehead. One of the women offered me some tissues and I used those and my water bottle to wash off a little.

Then we heard the same rumbling crashing sound again. It wasn't as loud this time, but it was distinct. The North Tower was collapsing now, and the dust spread out and covered the entire Lower Manhattan area. As we watched from the pier, the smoke, dust and debris cloud blew out at us from between the buildings. I remember that there was no panic on the pier at that point. A few of us gathered the children and mothers between us and moved them toward the actual dock where ferries could tie up, just in case the ferry companies decided to send help. But other than that, we stood engulfed for only a few minutes until the wind from the river cleared the air again.









We lucked out over the next half-hour. A ferry company called SeaStreak sent its whole fleet to Manhattan shortly after the situation and the need for evacuations became obvious. The boats were there in a very short time, and the crews aboard them worked very quickly to get people on. the mothers and kids from the field trip were the first on board, and they moved to the inner cabin, while the rest of us moved to the upper two decks. I wound up on the top, outdoor deck with some other fellas from the Exchange. It took only a couple of minutes for our ferry to pull out and as we pulled back and began to turn around into the channel, we could see the entire skyline covered in a huge cloud of smoke and dust. There was a brief moment where I urged the ferry on; it was time to get out of there.

But we were now safe for the time being. I remember talking to one gentleman as I tried to get my cell phone to connect. He asked who I was trying to call and mentioned that my brothers worked in the trade center. He walked around the top deck and returned to me with a working phone and told me to make my calls. He then took a look at my face to see where the blood was coming from. It was mostly dried blood now, as the bleeding had mostly stopped, but I would wait until I got off to try and clean up. With all the smoke and dust on my face, it didn't much matter.





After 45 minutes or so, the boat docked in Highlands NJ. As we disembarked, we could see that the parking lot was jammed full of emergency vehicles, doctors, policemen, firemen, nurses, EMT's etc. It was quite a scene. As I walked off, a nurse approached me to help, but I assured her that I looked a lot worse than I was. She looked at me a minute and said "OK."

The next Lady wasn't going to be convinced. She took my arm and lead me to a waiting ambulance where she sat me down. The took out a few bottles of what I assume was saline solution. She flushed my eyes, nose and mouth, and I have to admit that it felt very good. She cleaned up the cut on my forehead, noting that the scalp bleeds like crazy, even from small cuts. She cleaned me up nicely, and checked my eyes with that little light they use. She suggested I go to the Emergency Room on that ambulance, but I assured and convinced her that I was ok, and that people a lot worse off than me would be coming in on the later ferries. I had to sign a medical release form and they let me go.

I realized that I'd left my car keys and wallet in my suit jacket at the Exchange. A friend who had been off from work that day happened to come looking for us to see if we needed a hand with anything, and he offered to drive me home. That was a nice lucky break, since it was at least 12 miles to my apartment. When I climbed into the front seat, his wife and kids were in the back. The kids were very curious as to why this man with dirty, dusty, bloody clothes was in there car. We decided not to go into details with them, obviously.











I remember the moment my cellphone went back into service. The first call I received was from my friend T., who had been the family babysitter at one time, but who was now like family. She was very upset on the phone, but at the same time very happy to be talking to me. I was just as happy to talk to her. We were brief, as I needed to get in touch with my kids and the rest of my family, but there are some things you never forget, you know? A friend was looking for me to be safe.

The best part of that week was the moment I laid eyes on my kids. It took some doing because I had no car for a couple of days, but eventually, all was right again with my family.





My brothers were fine. My older brother never got off his train from the lower level of the Trade Center. The Transit command told the train crew to keep the doors closed and go back to NJ. My younger brother was at work in 4 World Trade Center, but at the first sign of trouble, the entire division there was moved out of the building. He was actually standing a few hundred feet from me when that second plane flew over our heads, but he evacuated to Brooklyn.

You never quite forget seeing the loss of life that took place that day. I saw people choose to end their own lives because the conditions were so horrific in the upper floors of the towers. Those are memories that never leave you.

I think about how fortunate I was that day, seemingly being in the right places at the right time, or rather not being in the wrong places. I saved some items from that day, including the shoes that served me well. I also think about the decision not to stay overnight at the hotel as I had for 2 nights the previous week, the hotel being the Marriott World Trade Center Hotel, which was destroyed in the attack. Who knows what time I'd have gotten up, or when I would have been in the plaza, or countless other "what-if's". I just count my blessings.

I didn't lose any family members that day, but I did lose some friends.







Lt. Stephen Bates was a NY City Fireman. I was friends with him from a local neighborhood hangout in Queens, as well as some time spent during summers in the Hamptons. I attended his memorial service in October 2001.



Eustace (Rudy) Bacchus was a friend from work. He was among the group of people that trained me when I first entered my industry. He had become an independent contractor, and was attending a meeting at the Windows on The World Restaurant the morning of September 11th.







Alvin Bergsohn was another friend I had made when I began my career. He was a mentor to me during my early days, but also became a good friend with whom I shared a lot of laughs on the Exchange over the year. Al eventually left the Exchange and was working at Cantor Fitzgerald on September 11th.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Danger Zone

I did something today that no father should have to do with his kids.

Think a minute.

It's worse than what you are thinking.

Yeah. Back-to-school shoe shopping.

Brings chills right?

I have a 15-year old daughter, a 13 year old son and a 9 year old daughter. Pretty formidible task, I'd say.

We first tried our luck at a place called "Famous Footwear." See, to me that name means you're likely to find name-brand shoes right? In reality, that place carries one size in every style. Thousands of shoe boxes on the shelves, and only one size to choose from, at least where the girls' shoes were concerned. It's not like they're sold out, they have very few empty spaces on the shelves. It's ridiculous to see 20 pair of size 3 shoes in one style, unless your school allows kids to wear silver shoes, that is. Those you can find in any size.

My son managed pretty well. He's not too particular in his choices...luckily I did check his selections and found 1 size 10 shoe in the box with a 10 1/2.

For me, it solved the mystery of where all the crack-heads disappeared to: they're all merchandise managers at "Famous Footwear."

Kohl's made it easy. Every shoe in the department was loose on the floor. A good chance to play Treasure Hunt. Find an actual pair of shoes.We found "High School Musical" brand sneakers for the 9 year old.

PayLess was more like "Buy Less" in my case. Walked out of there practically empty handed. I mean, there's a Lippy in the store just looking to fork over cash, and they didn't want any of it from me!

The 15 year old found a pair of black flats at a store called Mandee's. And then a woman I quickly grew to love informed said 15-year-old that the "Converse" Chuck Taylor's were up front. What an eye-opener that was though. When I was 15, those suckas were $9.99 a pop. Now they're $49.99. Incredible what a desperate man will put up with in order to just go home.

Forgot to get myself a pair though.

Oh, and Blogger still thinks I'm a Bot.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

So Here We Are...

I can't believe how fast time goes by when you're not checking the clock. I don't want to write all that stuff about "how busy" I am, I've been, because sometimes that sounds like you're trying to make a hero out of yourself, when in reality, it's more likely that I'm just a lousy time manager.

Another year has gone by since my friend took her life. I liked to write about her every year, and I missed that opportunity this time around. I promise her a beautiful, lengthy memorialization next year.

I'm making a go of the new career. I'm not knocking the cover off the ball by any means, but I am following the right path, it seems. I just attained my first promotion. The promotion doubled my pay scale, so that means it really matters. I look at my kids, every night. Every single night. And while they are lying there sleeping, it reminds me of just how much they depend on me, and also reminds me of the responsibility I absolutely have to to live up to. So there's no time for the "victim" mentality. Things took a wrong turn, and I was feeling wronged. Yeah, and that will buy about half a cup of coffee and little else.

So that means a lot of hours, a lot of work, a lot of aggravation. And only a little blog time. It's funny how much you can miss that.

Some other things I miss:

  • Music. Music I looked forward to driving to; music I couldn't wait to buy. This isn't the lamentations of an old fool looking for the Beatles to come back. I was always a huge Popular Music fan, very progressive, always on top of the latest. What we're being fed now is crap. Pure, adulterated techno-tweaked garbage. I can't wait for the next "movement."

  • French Fries. Fresh sliced potatoes (ok maybe frozen, alright?), deep fried in vegetable oil. And that's it. No sprayed-on seasoning (I'll do that myself pal)and better yet, no sprayed-on starch or whatever the hell that gunk is. It turns the fries into finely seasoned styrofoam. Yuck, barf, whatever you want to interject there. Gimme potatoes and oil and maybe some salt. I'll worry about my own arteries.

  • Human face-to-face conversations. You know, the ones that aren't interrupted by cellphone calls. See, if we're chattin', and that call comes and is more important, that's your prerogative. But I'm done and I'm walkin'. These damned things have become like baby pacifiers for grownups. People can't seem to be off them for more than a minute. Technology isn't always great, I guess. I see them lining up outside Walmart every morning here, so they can get inside and start making their cell calls. Just friggin' stupid, in my opinion.


So what else is going on...? I don't think my interest in a Presidential election has ever been this low at this point. I hope it gets a little more engaging before November. I don't want another vote of mine to be cast for the lesser of two evils.

Oh, and, I think giving someone a "self-help" book is somehow contradictory, don't you? There's a group of folks I spend time with, and lately they've been on this whole "improvement" kick. I don't think that's bad at all. Heck, none of us is a finished product. But one of the ladies was talking about it, how she was going to fix a lot of things about herself. She then listed all these traits, habits, etc., about all these other people, and how they annoy her. And while she stated that she was going to be sure not to do any of those things herself, I couldn't help but think there was just one more correction she might want to consider, you know?

Hmmm...I'm also having a problem with the commercials from the drug companies lately. There's one where the woman is discussing an asthma drug, but she's a silhouette. You can't see her face or anything. She's like a spectre. Kinda like those idiotic Charles Schwab commercials, where they turned everyone into cartoon characters. And this other commercial, for some fibromyalgia medicine; they have probably the most annoying woman I've ever encountered as the spokesperson. I wonder if that's how they cross-market drugs? You'll need to buy the company's tranquilizer after a few viewings of the fibro drug commercial.

Oh alright, it's not all bad, ok? I'm just letting loose a little. I would love to ask you this: Is being feminine and exclusive trait? I mean, if a woman is all feminine, pretty and elegant, does that somehow detract from her other qualities? If she has pretty hair, can she not be smart and strong? Is femininity a bad thing to admire?

I'll leave ya with that. My many self-improvement categories include one for talking to much. I'm working on it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sorting...

I often think about how a blog is a great way to unload, a means to share troubles and get some support during tough times.

But it can also become a trap. One can fill a blog, day after day, with one problem or another, and soon it becomes a way of life. The blog gets bogged down, and it seems routine after a while.

I think the one way out is when hope appears on the horizon, a way out, so to speak. And maybe that's how one gets energized; friends can come and remind one to keep one's eye on the prize. The stories can be more engaging that way, because I do believe that people like to root for others in trouble, despite what the Internet might otherwise lead us to believe.

This sort of explains the lack of activity here in my own Blog. I've run into a sort of personal quagmire of late. There are a lot of things happening, some of which have been out of my control, and others which I do believe it's my personal responsibility to get into hand.

I'm having a lot of trouble, but I haven't given up, or even given ground. My life, at the moment, doesn't have a lot to write about, but that doesn't mean that I'm not doing my best to get out from under. I'm in a very unenviable position, taking into consideration my age, my physical condition and my occasionally dark frame of mind. It makes for interesting living, to say the least, but not for enthralling reading.

There have been some bright moments mixed in though. This weekend there was an intensely bright moment, so hope is never completely lost, and life does allow us the occasional smile, even when times are overwhelmingly nothing to smile about. It reminds me that I have people in my life whom I care about, even those I haven't had the pleasure to personally meet. And sometimes we allow ourselves to neglect those people. Seeing someone I love, this weekend, and meeting someone else who is great, for the first time, well, that brought to mind the fact that I have the habit of going underground for extended stays.

I apologize.

Being part of a great community such as this, requires that one doesn't just go away without an explanation. Or a hello. I hope this covers both.

Life isn't over. It's just hard right now. I'll dig my way out, and then be back to annoy y'all.