Monthly Archives: March 2007

They say it’s your birthday….It’s my birthday too, yeah…

It was all about me yesterday. Yep, I sat in my house and worked until 5pm and then drove down to one of my restaurants – had to fix the surround sound system – and then ended the day by picking up some good ole KFC for dinner and then ended the night baking biscuits until my head hurt…..

I know, how lucky am I. Who has more fun than me.

Not sure how I ended up at KFC. I haven’t eaten at a KFC for years. It was weird, about 3pm I got a terrible craving for their faux mashed potatoes and gravy water….very weird….alot of weirdness is going on these days. Weirdness that wasn’t induced by stuffing myself full of little orange vitamins that would make one laugh at everything or even by drinking a full bottle of Patron. Just plain or maybe plane weirdness. I did fly to Chicago this week and everything has been a little off since then. Hmmm maybe there was something on the plane…as an old friend, Helen, would say – whatevah

So back to me – it’s kinda funny that as you age, age becomes acceptable. As I close in on 3500. Who the fuck knows how I made it this far, I am kinda thinking that life has been OK. Sure I didn’t solve the worlds problems, I didn’t invent something that made me a million dollars, I wasn’t always nice to everyone I met, I probably have pissed off and disappointed more people than I’ve made laugh, but fuck it I got a place to sleep and I don’t have to forage for dinner.

If I did all those things there would have been nothing left for everyone else to do. Shit, Bill Gates might have ended up as a local manager of a Cambridge Radio Shack -not that there is anything wrong with being a manager of a Radio Shack. However, I am not sure there is a Radio Shack manager who’s net work is over a billion dollars.

I did make a decision yesterday. I am going to reinvest in my life. Not sure what that means but it sounds positive. I believe Karma is a very strong force in the world and I am going to do everything in my power to make sure the Karma I spread is only positive. It’s called Positude!

So folks – find me this Saturday at McNeill’s in Brattleboro VT and help me start spreading some positive Karma. It’s all about the love! I’ll even buy you a beer!

“When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide

Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride

Till I get to the bottom and I see you again

Yeah yeah yeah hey”

Lennon/McCartney -Helter Skelter

Cheers

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Opening Day

I’ll admit it.  I am a baseball geek.  I have had a love affair with baseball since I can remember and for that reason I love spring.  Spring is a great season.  It’s the season of rebirth.  Throughout nature Spring signals the awakening of youth.  Whether it’s a sprouting blade of grass or crocus, the birth of a baby robin or the sound of a baseball hitting the oil soaked leather of a well aged baseball glove.

Heck I even love cutting the lawn for the first time in the Spring.  Is there a better fragrance than the smell of fresh cut grass?  I don’t think so.

Spring is about a new beginning.  A new beginning for life and a new beginning for every baseball team.  On opening day every team has the same record.  It’s a wonderfully beautiful thing.  Everyone is in first place!

It was May 22, 1966 that I saw my first professional baseball game.  Better than that it was actually a double header – the New York Yankees vs the Minnesota Twins.  The Yankees were in the throes of a downturn that would have them not getting back to the World Series until 11 years later.

I remember walking through the stands and the first sight was that huge outfield fence.  It was a menacing black and shrouded a huge field that I believe measured about 457 feet to dead center field.  Oh, yes, the monuments back then were in the field of play in dead center field.  I could barely grasp the enormity of the field.  It’s weird, as I sit here today and remember to that moment everything seems to be in black and white…..even the lush grass.

The Yankee team was comprised of aging stars and few future stars.  There was  Roy White, Bobby Richardson, Tom Tresh, the playboy Joe Pepitone, Roger Maris, Jake Gibbs, Mickey Mantle, Clete Boyer, Elston Howard, Horace Clarke just to name a few.  I think the Yankees swept the doubleheader and thus my life long love of baseball and the Yankees began.

I am lucky.  As a passionate baseball and Yankee fan I have been spoiled to be an active participant in the best rivalry in sports. I speak of the Red Sox – Yankee rivalry.  Sorry folks, there is nothing better.  I have had the pleasure of dancing on my neighbors front yard when Bucky “fucking” Dent hit the home run over the green monster on that late afternoon in 1978 and I’ve known the devasting feeling of watching the Red Sox come from 0-3 down to win the league championship series only to move on to their first world championship since 1918.  Whether you like the Yankees or the Red Sox it doesn’t matter.  What matters is the passion.

It’s funny, today alot of folks don’t really appreciate baseball.  I often hear, “it’s to slow, it’s boring.”   I almost find myself apologizing for being a baseball fan these days.  I find the strategic intricacies of the game to be fascinating.  If you know the game well you’d realize that on every pitch so many things can happen.  Plus is there anything better than being in a ballpark (of any size) on a beautiful summer night with a bag of peanuts, hot dog, cold beer and program.  The contrast of the green grass, clay base paths, white lines and bases all highlighted by the bright lights.

If you haven’t been in a while, you owe it to yourself to catch either a major league or minor league game this summer.  Have some fun.

Part of my frustration is that I believe that MLB has failed to realize that their ability to sustain their business historically was driven by the millions of kids who played baseball in formal leagues.  Whether it was Little League Baseball, Junior Major League Baseball, VFW, Legion or any of the other formal organized leagues.  In my opinion MLB has done a good job of alienating these legions of fans.  From limiting access to games on television either through restrictive contracting with broadcast partners or scheduling games to late at night.   Additionally, I believe MLB can do more in urban areas to drive excitement and interest in baseball.  Sponsorship of leagues, access and visibility of key stars all would do wonders to drive the young fan back to baseball.  Young fans are what drive sustainability.

 Spring, rebirth, youth, sustainability.  God I love the Spring!  Go Yankees!

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Corporate Ladder vs Hamtrac

I ran across a great Mark Twain quote the other day.  By the way Twain is one funny bastard.  “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”

How true.  I spent way to long in a corporate environment where I witnessed people who were mentored, nurtured and groomed for success by someone only to see that person “bite the hand” of their mentor.  It’s a wicked trap one falls into.  The lure of financial/material gain and status are strong drivers and make people act wacky. Ah, climbing the corporate ladder….

I was in one of those big box pet stores the other day and when I finally disengaged from my hypnotic trance caused by these two ferrets frolicking about in their cage when I saw something that made me think about the mythical corporate ladder.  It was the Hamtrac.

Hamtrac, no it’s not a name of a new train line that transports pigs to the slaughter house (yuck I might have to rethink that bacon purchase this weekend).  It’s actually a race track that is designed so that a hamster placed in one of those clear plastic hamster balls (I could go in a million inappropriate directions with hamster balls) can run around the track, never getting anywhere.  The poor little bastards just keep going round and round.  Sort of my take on the corporate ladder.  The alure of the ladder is what traps the individual.  The thought that there is always another step to climb, always a ceiling that is someone’s floor….like our little hamster friend except up and up with no end in sight.  Always wanting more but never being satisified….hmmm makes me want for some of those synaptic provocateurs…

My corporate experience while a great learning opportunity, it was not a great experience.

It’s weird how at some point in the corporate evolution people stop focusing on production and doing what is right and shift over to a political, cover-your-ass mode.  Then again, maybe it’s not the people and it’s more about the corporation.

Maybe it was just my experience however I found that at some point in the corporate evolution the corporation stopped caring about the individual and focused only on balance sheet entries and bottom line perforance.  The people were secondary.    Now don’t get me wrong, balance sheet and bottom line are critical evaluators of business performance.  However,  good people who are appropriately motivated and empowered are the key components to effect the factors that drive balance sheet and bottom line performance.

So people, careful what you ask for.  There is always more stuff to buy and more stuff to do.  With email and laptops work has intruded into every aspect of our lives.  My Uncle shared a great thought with me a few years ago that I have to remind myself of often:

“Make play a high priority in your life
For if you die tomorrow
No one can play for you
But
Someone can and will do your work for you!!”

Cheers

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Neighbors and the Giant Penis

Ah, where is Fred Rogers when you need him.  You remember Fred, he was the dude on PBS in mid afternoon years ago, with the funny sneakers and sweater.  He had a puppet named King Friday.  Enough about Fred.  More about his cute little catch phrase, “won’t you be my neighbor.”  Well here is a good neighbor dilemma. 

My nephew and his friend were at my house last week end and while my brother and I were out they decided it would be funny to construct a giant snow penis.  Yes I said snow penis.  And yes, it was giant.  It was also a work of art, complete with beach ball sized testicles and yes even the main vein was readily apparent.

My dilemma is that my neighbors (with two daughters) called and asked them to take down the “sculpture.”  Hehehehe, they said sculpture.  Being the good guys that they are, my nephew and his friend immediately took down the sculpture.   Now I wasn’t present for the take down, nor did I ask them how they did it but I have some thoughts. 

Maybe they walked over and kicked it in it’s snowballs?  Maybe they called the viagra line you have to call if you have an erection for me than 4 hours and held the phone upto the giant snow phallus.  Trust me, at my age if I have an erection for more than 4 hours I am calling the Guinness book of world records not some help line.  Who knows,  maybe they made it jump into cold water?  Hmmm, would cold water make a snow johnson shrink?  Hmmm.  All I know is that they did what they thought was the right thing which was to lower the boom and drop the dong.

I’ve been thinking about this over the past few days and I am not sure it was the right decision.  From a neighborly perspective it was the right thing to do, but in this day and age of political correctness I think a giant snow weiner is pretty harmless.  It’s not like they made a giant snow weapon of mass destruction or a giant likeness of Hillary Obama.  Heck all it was, was a frosty snow wang.

So my question to you is, if you came home one day and your neighbor had constructed a giant snow pud in their yard would it offend you?  Would you drop a dime and make them circumcise the snow schlong from their yard? 

To be fair maybe we could have fashioned a giant snow beaver with enormous teeth and a large tail. Maybe even a giant snow clam.

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