Monday, July 29, 2013

Don’t take advice….


Thanks to a wonderful gift from my pal, Jacob, I’ve been reading/enjoying Jessica Hagy’s book How to Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps)

I particularly liked this chart.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Perspective, courtesy of North Korean refugee

This is powerful.

Reminds you how lucky you are…and how unlucky some are.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Jesus’ Home Court Advantage

My son and his friends went to basketball camp at one of the local high school powerhouses last week, Good Counsel.

The actual name of the school is Our Lady of Good Counsel, but somewhere along the line, they misread the sign and started calling it “OLD Lady of Good Counsel.”

But that’s only half the story.

They began to discuss who would win in various sports contests: God or Jesus.

They concluded that, because He is all-powerful, God would be able to take Jesus in basketball, golf, and, well, most events.

However, when asked, “what if the basketball game was played at Good Counsel?” Paco had an astute answer.

“I think God would still win, but it would be close because Jesus would have home court advantage.”

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Big Finish

Sometimes you just have to document the funny moments.

I took the girls to the pool the other day and Nadia was enjoying jumping off the side, spread-eagled into the water before swimming over to me.

I told her, “ok, two more.”

She did one, climbed out of the pool and announced, “Time for the BIG FINISH!!”

She’s 5.5.

Good stuff.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1 degree of separation from Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and Public Enemy

I pride myself on my networking skills, but I have to say, I have now taken it to a whole new level.

At the pool the other day, I overhead a couple chatting and made an inserting remark into their conversation.

We got to talking and it turns out that the guy is a member of the rap group, Public Enemy.

James “Bomb” Allen (should I call you “Mr. Bomb?”) and I had a long chat about the history of rap and who the artists they most respected were (Run DMC, LL Cool J, and Beastie Boys) and some of the craziest moments in the band’s history (Redding UK festival where they had no idea where Flavor Flav was and then he just came flying onto the stage).

We also talked about the anti-Semitic controversy in the early 90’s (all a misunderstanding, apparently, according to James.)

Seriously cool guy and down to earth. So was his wife. It was a fun peek into a group that has impacted America.

And all the while, our kids are playing in the pool.

And, in the “street cred” department…before this, I was one step removed from ppl like Obama and Netanyahu, but these are easy. Winking smile

Now, I’m one degree from Chuck D and Flavor Flav.

BTW, you can follow James on Twitter, if you want.

My 9.5 Year Old on Boys vs. Girls

It's one thing for me to say that men are simple and women are, well, a bit more complex. Not a bad thing, just more complex.

However, it's another thing for my 9 year old daughter.

"Daddy, how come boys have it so easy and girls make things so difficult?

For boys, all you have to do is give them a football and they are happy. With girls, there's always someone fighting or upset with someone. We can't even walk around the track without someone getting upset with someone else."

As her dad, I do my best to help her navigate life's challenges. On this one, I didn't really have an answer.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Question About Zimmerman Case from a Guy Who Didn’t Really Follow It

I will be the first to say that I didn’t follow the Martin/Zimmerman trial at all.

I heard about it when the shooting occurred and then, believe it or not, didn’t hear anything until Sat. night when Facebook exploded with comments.

So, I really don’t know that much about the particulars of the case. So, in reality, everything after this could be ignorance in a bottle.

That being said, I saw my friend Tjada’s comment and there was something that troubled me about it. (Truth be told, there were others along this line, but this one stood out…Also, Tjada and I go way back on discussing tough issues, so I know she can handle it Winking smile


For the sake of argument, let’s just all agree for now that the Zimmerman verdict was a total miscarriage of justice.

Here’s where I am running into issues.

If the Zimmerman verdict was a miscarriage of justice and let’s say that race did play a factor, does that necessarily mean that all courts, police officers, and prosecutors are racially biased?

And, isn’t reaching that conclusion the very essence of the Zimmerman case, in some way? (or at least how I understand it).

From what I can gather Zimmerman saw a young black man and immediately drew a generalized conclusion “young black man in wrong neighborhood can only be up to no good” because of a stereotype he had formed.

So, is it equally dangerous to have an incident where one court case in one city in one state that involves the murder of a black man has a miscarriage of justice and then automatically assume that all court cases where a black man is the victim are, by definition, going to be equally unfair/corrupt, etc.?

I suppose I am thinking that the reaction to the court case is precisely because of the danger of stereotypes, yet a statement like ‘scared for all black boys’ implies a stereotype that there’s no real justice in the court system anywhere in America.

Or, maybe I am just missing something here on a deeper level? Definitely possible and won’t be the first time, so help me understand.

Always Eat Left-Handed-Read the Book

My friend, Rohit, has done it again.

I’m often asked about tips and suggestions for being more efficient in my personal/professional life and in engaging others in conversation.

What Rohit has done in his latest book, Always Eat Left Handed: 15 Surprisingly Simple Secrets Of Success is package up many of his tips (which are similar to mine) in a fun, easy to read book. I put the whole thing away in about 3 short sittings and found myself nodding in full agreement (with 1 or 2 exceptions).

What I like about Rohit (as you’ll see in my reviews of his previous books Personality Not Included and Likeonomics) is his refreshing style of writing (it has a lot of personality) and the practicality of his advice.

This one is in Kindle format, is pretty cheap, and will make an immediate impact.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Parenting, the fear of failure, and my failure…

Some of you may recall my challenge 2 years ago when I was trying to help Tonka get over her fear of going down the slide at the pool.

Your advice then was: “back off.”

Well, I’ve failed on that one.

On Friday, July 5th, the girls had camp, so Paco and I decided we would go to Six Flags and have a “guys day.”

We went on a roller coaster and some water slides. Then, we confronted the “Tornado,” which meant we would be in a tube, do a decent sized drop, and fly up the wall on the other side.

When we got to the top—and there was no line!—Paco said he was scared.

I wanted him to confront his fears. I told him….”it’s ok to be afraid, it’s not ok to be paralyzed by fear.”

It may sound melodramatic, but I have a nagging sense that if I let him (or any of my kids) let fear stand in their way, that it will become a habit.

Frankly, I don’t have much patience for adults who can’t get over irrational fears.

At its essence, this is one of my core fathering responsibilities, in my opinion.

We had a 20 minute stand-off at the top of the ride.

He was crying, I was tense. I tried to cajole, empathize, threaten, force, and bribe him…eventually, I lost and we walked down.

Honestly, I felt like a failure.

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. Maybe next year he’ll be fine.

What I don’t want is a 25 year old son who can’t get over his unnecessary fears so that he can accomplish what that of which he is truly capable.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

You tell me the word…

Need a word to describe this situation: 

I'm sitting on a train (i.e. public place) and there's a dude talking way too loudly on his cell phone. I look at the woman across from me and we don't say anything, but it's pretty clear that we're both thinking, "why the heck does this guy have to talk so loud on his phone?"

So, the word I'm looking for describes the moment when you and a total stranger have a moment of non-verbal connection and you both know that you both are thinking the exact same thing.