Saturday, November 24, 2007


Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.
~ Benjamin Franklin

I heard a paraphrase of this Benjamin Franklin adage last night on the television show Numb3rs and it got me to thinking. The paraphrase was something like this, "be civil to all, social to many and friend to few." I think they should have included the enemy to none, but I don't think it would work real well for a crime solving drama when they are catching the bad guys, who naturally become an enemy.

Without really knowing of this adage before, this is how I see my life. I do try to be civil to all; I would rather think that most people are good and error on the side of being good to them and being burned once in a while than miss the opportunity of meeting someone nice by thinking most people are not nice. I try to be cordial and/or social to most people for the same aforementioned reason; blogging to the couple of handful of readers that I have kind of also covers the social part. I am more like the paraphrase I heard, friend to few, rather than familiar to few and friend to one. I can count my friends on one hand, but there is only one person, other than God, who truly knows who I, and that is my wife, Yvonne. I try to be an enemy to none, but I know that everyone is not going to like me, and that really does not bother me too much.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. And remember to be civil to everyone.


Thanksgiving is a top two holiday in my book; it bounces around with Christmas and it is often hard for me to decide which one I enjoy more.

The reason that it ranks so high on my list is because you get to spend times with friends and family around a small feast that you and they prepared with love.

Sometimes the people you see around the dinner table at Thanksgiving are ones you only get to see once a year. So Thanksgiving is a time that you make the time to spend with your loved ones, no matter how busy your hectic schedule is.

This Thanksgiving, all-in-all, was a good Thanksgiving. We went to some friends' house that I don't get to see very often. Yvonne created a new dish from a new cookbook that she got from a cooking show that she and her friend went to see together; everyone seemed to really enjoy the dish, so it will probably become a holiday regular. Our daughter and her boyfriend also made it over, so we had the entire clan there.

Although belated, Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. It is a great way to show your thankfulness for what you have.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Being Thankful

I am thankful for my wife when she says, "Hot dogs for supper"
Because she is home with me, not someone else.

I am thankful for my daughter who is complaining about doing dishes,
Because she is at home and not out on the streets.

I am thankful for the taxes I pay,
Because it means I am employed.

I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party,
Because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

I am thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug,
Because it means I am healthy enough .

I am thankful for the aches and pains after playing basketball,
Because it means I can still run and play.

I am thankful for my shadow that watches me work,
Because it means I am out in the sunshine.

I am thankful for a lawn to mow, windows to clean and gutters to fix,
Because it means I have a home.

I am thankful for the complaining I hear about the government,
Because it means we have freedom of speech.

I am thankful for the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot,
Because it means I am able to walk and I have been blessed with transportation.

I am thankful for my huge heating bill,
Because it means I am warm.

I am thankful for the pile of laundry and ironing,
Because it means I have clothes to wear.

I am thankful for weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day,
Because it means I have been able to work.

I am thankful for the alarm that rings early in the morning hours,
Because it means I am alive.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. It will give them something else to be thankful for.

Upgrading to the 21st Century

I traveled to one of my friend's in California over the weekend to help him celebrate turning 40.  I remember when I was young and I thought that forty was really old; your mind changes quickly as you approach that magical age.

While I was there we went to visit his mom - because that is where the party was going to be held - and his aunt because she was having computer issues.

When we arrived at the mom's house, the first thing said after greeting us was that she was no longer able to get the Hallmark Channel and she got this box that needs to connected so she can watch her TV.

She has the same cable company that I have back home and I knew exactly what her issue was and what the box was that she needed to have connected.  It was a digital to analog converter box that needed to be the liaison between the wall and her VCR, which then connected to her TV.  Her son Ron, who is my friend who is turning 40, thought it would be cool to not only have the digital box, but also a DVR.  So, our next step was to check out the web page for the cable company to see what packages were offered and at what prices.  Not only was this the next step, but this was also the hurdle to overcome.  Mom had a dial up connection;  oh my goodness, it felt like I was back in the 19th century it was so slow.  So now we were going to check to see how much it would cost to upgrade to a DVR and how much to get a broadband connection.  For broadband, we only had one option because the other companies had not yet developed in the area - ugh, talk about a monopoly.  So we check out the price of the broadband and find that it is not too bad; there are no prices listed for getting a DVR, so we have to go to the customer support site.  Once there, we found out that we could not just upgrade the box we got, we also had to upgrade the service to a digital classic package in order to get the DVR.  Ron did a good job on selling his mom on the benefits of the DVR that she agreed to it and we upgrade to DVR and get the broadband upgrade as well.  The customer service representative asks if we want someone to install the new services and hardware and we respectfully decline; Ron and I are relatively handy and computer savvy, so we figure this should be pretty easy.

We get home and start making the connections for the cable and broadband connection.  Relatively speaking, it went pretty flawless.  Now the next step is to make sure that it all works.  We start off with broadband; it is a painfully slow process in trying to register.  After about 30 minutes, we finally get to a screen that says we need to contact customer support.  I drew the short straw and I had to call.  I was on hold for over 40 minutes before I got to speak to a human being.  Then it took about another 30 minutes for the customer support representative to determine that we were registered and he just needed to have someone flip the flag so we could have a broadband connection.  Voila, we were now on broadband.

 Our next task was connecting up the DVR; we thought we would be done in about 15 minutes which included disconnecting most of the current connections and getting our hands through a relatively small TV stand.  Well 10 minutes later, we have all our connections made and I am ready to make the call to the cable company to register the DVR.  I am on hold with the cable company for about 20 minutes before I get to speak to the customer service representative (CSR) and she gets takes the information for registering the box and says it will take about 45 minutes for the updating of the DVR to be in place before we will be able to view the guide and start using the DVR to record.  We are watching TV and waiting for the 45 minutes to pass and we actually give it about 55 minutes as we got involved in show we were watching.  We press the magic  guide button on the remote and nothing.  I press the On-Demand button to see if that is in place; we just get an error message that states we should call the cable company.  I get on the phone and place the call to the cable company and I am on hold for about 33 minutes and Ron decides to call on his cell phone to see if he can get in any faster.  About another 10 minutes pass and we finally get to speak to a CSR on the call that placed, so Ron hangs up his cell phone and starts talking to the CSR.  After about 15 minutes of me turning on and off the DVR and the CSR turning on and off the DVR remotely, we finally have success and are able to view the guide, view On-Demand and record stuff.

Our last task is to teach Ron's mom about her new hi-speed Internet access and how to use her DVR in conjunction with her VCR.

For the Internet access, all I had to tell her was that she could be on the Internet and be on the phone at the same time and she was happy.  When I showed her how much faster everything displayed on the screen, she was nearly ecstatic.  First half of mission Upgrade to the 21st Century accomplished.

DVR and VCR remote controls and what buttons to push and when.  This was a little challenging, but the only downfall according to Ron's mom was that she could no longer watch one TV show while recording another.  She loved the fact that she could watch the Hallmark Channel and see what shows were coming on it for a couple of days in advance.  The other big feature she liked was to watch some of her favorite network shows On-Demand whenever she wanted to watch them with limited commercials; this was definitely the icing on the cake.

Even with the long waits on hold with the cable company, I think it was well worth the time to bring Ron's mom into the 21st century in regards to TV and Internet connections.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness.  They too might need to be brought into the 21st century.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

12 o'clock flasher

Are you and/or any of your friends or family 12 o'clock flashers?

What is a 12 o'clock flasher you ask? I am glad you asked. Does your VCR always flash 12:00? If it does, you probably are a 12 o'clock flasher. Are there buttons on your microwave that you have no idea that they are even there or how to use? If so, you are probably a 12 o'clock flasher.

12 o'clock flashers are people that are challenged by technical devices that normally just require a few minutes of time to RTM (read the manual) and/or spend a couple of minutes tinkering with the device.

My wife is not a 12 o'clock flasher. Whenever she goes back to her mom's place, she is the designated person to get the VCR set to the correct time as well as setting up the VCR to the cable to the television and any other electronic device because they have not worked since the installer came by and did not do them right - which could be as long as 6 months.

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, is most definitely a 12 o'clock flasher. She has had the same microwave oven for about 10 years. It is a nice microwave. It has buttons for warming a cup of coffee (my wife has no idea why anyone would ever want to do that because it alters the flavor of coffee), cooking a potato and cooking bacon, just to name a few of the functions. My mother-in-law would cook her bacon in the microwave, but always push the amount of time she wanted to cook. On one of my visits a few years back, I showed her the bacon button and she said she had no idea that button was even there.

If you are a 12 o'clock flasher, it is not too late. You can be cured. If you are not a 12 o'clock flasher, you have a civil duty to help your technology-challenged friends and family members.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. I am sure a 12 o'clock flasher will be very thankful.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Is There Enough Time?

There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done that I need and want to do. The sad thing is that the needs are all that are getting done on any given day. And sometimes all of them don't get done.

Even as much as I joke with my buddies that sleep is overrated, you can only deprive your body of sleep for so long before it starts to rebel against you.

Organization is an important factor in making the most out of your time. If you can spend some time at the start of your day to determine what you need and want to do doing the day, there is a better chance you will be able to do more of it. It also gives you the opportunity to determine whether or not the tasks on your plate should really be on there for you to do or if you should delegate them to someone else to do.

I think my next step is to read the The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. It is my understanding that this book helps you prioritize what you need to do and delegate what needs to be done, but not necessarily by you.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. The person might need some help getting things done because there just is not enough time in his or her day.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

10 Seconds

When you get put into either a crisis or perceived crisis situation, give yourself 10 seconds to let your emotions flow and then let them ebb. This way you are not battling your emotions while you are trying to deal with the situation.

Once you have your emotions back in control, you can then deal with the situation at hand. Don't concern yourself with how it will affect the future; only concern yourself with how you are going to handle the current situation. This way you are focusing on the issue at hand and you will not be clouded by things that may or may not happen.

Solve your issue and the other stuff will take care of itself.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. They might need some help getting through a crisis situation.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just Ask

I wish that Mind Reading 101 were a class taught in life. I would not want to know what everyone is thinking all the time like on Gilligan's Island when Gilligan started eating some indigenous seeds on the island and then can magically read everyone's mind. Just once in a blue moon, it would be nice to know what is going on in someone else's head.

Since we can't read other people's minds, we are just going to have to ask them what is on their mind or ask them to do things.

So, here is the reason that I actually started blogging about this topic this morning. I say that people in general are good and do good things. If you want someone to do something for you, they probably can't read your mind, so you need to ask them to do it. If the task that you are asking them to do does not put them too far out and does not cost them financial hardship, they will generally do it for you. The worst that could happen is the person will tell you no - if people tell you no, do not be offended, because this was the worst that would happen.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. It could be as simple as doing something for someone when the person asks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is Chivalry Dead?

Chivalry, as defined by is the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.

Wikipedia defines chivalry as a term related to the medieval institution of knighthood. It is usually associated with ideals of knightly virtues, honor and courtly love.

I say that it is not dead, but it is on the verge of becoming extinct. On the whole, people are very receptive to acts of chivalry, such as doors being held open or letting someone into your lane when you see the other person's indicator on, but as an everyday act, I don't see many acts of chivalry happening.

When my wife and I go to a restaurant, I find out what she wants to eat and how she wants it, so when the waiter or waitress comes by to take our orders, I order for the both of us. Even more simply, I try to remember to pull out her chair and push it back in for her when we get to the table. I also try to help her off and on with her coat when she is wearing one.

I am very glad when I do see it, but I seldom see this happen any more. So I ask, is chivalry dead? Or is it just me not seeing it?

I think the reason chivalry is being extinct is split 50/50 between the sexes. Guys are too self absorbed to be thinking what they should do when dating or going out on a date with their wives. And gals are in a rush and are not willing to wait for the guy to do things and they also want to show their independence so they want to do things themselves.

Guys - if you are married and you want that spark back in your marriage that you had when you were dating and when you first got married, perform small acts of chivalry that you did when you were courting your wife. If you are single and don't have much of a social-life (and not because you want it that way), small acts of chivalry should improve your social-life dramatically.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. It could be as simple as a small act of chivalry.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


The strength of the team is each individual member ... the strength of each member is the team. ~ Phil Jackson

Whether you are on a sports team or part of a team at work trying to complete a project, Phil Jackson's statement holds true.

At work, a good boss is not always the person who knows the most about every particular piece of the project, but is smart enough to surround him/herself by people who are or can be the goto people on each piece of the project. The boss will make sure that the team has everything they need and that they work well together. The boss will also bring in the appropriate person or people if there is a strength missing from the team.

In sports, you can't have a team of all-stars very often and still expect them to win. There are too many egos to accomplish this goal. In basketball, everyone would want the ball, but no one would want to give it up to someone else to shoot [there are a few noted exceptions.] In baseball, you have the NY Yankees. They have not won the world series in a long time. Shoot, even Michael Jordan did not win his first championship until he got a supporting cast.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness. It will show that you are not just looking out for yourself.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


The cool thing about being involved in sports is the camaraderie that you have with your team and coaches. Being on a sports team is often the only time that some people feel that they are actually on a team that is trying to achieve the same goal. I say this camaraderie should carry forward to the work place.

You are not going to be best friends with everyone you work with, but you should all have the same goal of providing the best service and/or products possible to the customer. It should NOT be one group versus another group [unless you are playing flag football and the groups are split :-)]

You should enjoy the work that you do and the people that you work with 8+ hours a day. Sometimes you are spending more time at work than you are at home with your families. BTW, more time at work and less time with your family should be the exception rather than the rule.

Make someone's day by performing a random act of kindness. It could be as simple as showing one of your co-workers how much you appreciate what they do.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Good Bye to an Old Friend

This past weekend was a very tough weekend emotionally. We euthanized our dog Sparky. He was almost 15-years-old and was losing his battle with what the doctor called "the spins." The reason we decided to take the route we did was our other two dogs could sense that Sparky was sick and were aggressively attacking him on a daily basis. Sparky did not deserve to die that way. He was a tremendous watchdog and a great companion over the 14+ years he was part of our family.

Here are some of my favorite anecdotes about Sparky.

We got Sparky when we were in New Jersey. Sparky flew in an airplane to get back to the west coast (how many other dogs can say they flew in an airplane?) I got bumped from my plane, but Sparky did not. When I finally arrived in California and went to get Sparky, the handlers were very happy to see me because Sparky broke out of his carrier and was running around the hanger. He figured he had been in the cage long enough and since they were not going to let him out, he let himself out.

Speaking of letting himself out - Sparky was very adept at letting himself out of most any room; it did not matter the kind of handle. We were living in an apartment that was across the street from a park. For a few days in a row, we kept finding Sparky at the park. We found out that Sparky was opening the door with his nose. We had to change the handle to a round nob from the push up or pull down handle, because the door would unlock itself when you opened it from the inside. On a tangent, one of the tricks that Sparky learned was to go down the slides at the park. Sparky loved going to the park and going down the slides. The little kids enjoyed it too, until he cut in line and would go down the slide without waiting his turn.

Sparky loved going for rides in the car. Oh did he love it. When he was young, he would jump into the car through the open window. If we were going somewhere and said ride -and we did not intend on taking him, we had another thing coming - if he got in the car, he would not get out until we took him at least around the block. He got so excited. We decided that we would spell the word "ride" when we did not plan on taking him - silly us, after spelling it a few times, he learned what r-i-d-e spelled. We had to spell it backwards so he did not know what we were talking about.

Sparky loved three things more than anything else to consume. Yes, I did mean consume and not eat. Sparky loved tuna fish and coffee - light and sweet. Sparky was one of the few dogs I have ever encountered that would actually share food - except for his tuna fish and coffee. The last item I will talk about shortly.

Sparky was a border collie - German shepherd mix. He was a land dog that would herd. Well, at least that is what the book says he is supposed to do. Sparky loved the water. He knew how to swim and loved to do it in his younger years. We used to have a natural pond of sorts by one of the places we lived that we would bring Sparky. The pond was not exactly clean; it had wood, branches and an old tire in it. Sparky would bring stuff to us out of the pond, and we would toss it back in and he would bring it back. After a few runs of this, Sparky got tired of us tossing things back into "his" pond and he started bring the stuff to the other side of the pond. He was cleaning it out. He wanted his pond clean.

Sparky was "the" watchdog. The other dogs would bark at just about anything. Sparky would only bark if there was something to be concerned about. Unless Sparky barked, I would not go check on what the dogs were barking at.

Last, but not least, Sparky loved his treats. We had the treats in the pantry in the hallway. Remember when I said he could open doors? Well, we put a child gate up to keep the dogs from running up to the front door as well as keeping Sparky out of the pantry, because he knew where his treats were. It was quite humorous to watch him open the door, get into the bag of treats and take one treat at a time. He would finish the treat and go back for another one.

Sparky was a wonderful dog, and a wonderful companion. He was so happy to see us come home and would do a happy dance. He will be missed and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Make someone's day and perform a random act of kindness.


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