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Showing posts from June, 2013

New York: Random Impressions and Thoughts

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Dirty, noisy, gritty. Diverse to the max. ALIVE! Concrete jungle with a couple of trees. Expensive. Almost worth the price.

Standing in line at Starbucks I watched a scary looking man carrying a shopping bag walk through, then out another door, then back in. He looked around, specifically at the busy barista, then stuffed a stack of New York Times into the shopping bag and quickly left. Bet he was selling them on the street minutes later. Criminal or entrepreneur? You make the call.

Walk walk walk I walked everywhere. Three days here and I did not get into a vehicle. Walked fifteen blocks from Penn Station to my hotel, walked several blocks to Museum of Modern Art, walked to Central Park, walked to a neighborhood a few blocks outside of the tourist zone. Next day walked 10 blocks to the meetings I was here for, walked to the Empire State Building, walked back to my hotel, walked back to the previously-mentioned neighborhood for dinner again. Today walked to stalk the Today Show, walk …

Failure Success

There is a persistent and largely accurate belief in life coach circles that says a person must fail to really learn. If that's true then I must be very smart. I've been fired from half the jobs I've had. I've made mistakes big and small. I've failed at many attempts professionally and personally.

The positive side is that I have recovered and learned from those failures. I also now know how to monitor myself in a way that warns me when I am in over my head. The warning sirens have sounded in my head several times this month. Ouch!

I have also learned what to do when I get close to my limit and I am at that point right now. I do not believe I am in any danger of blowing up or losing my job. I am not really in over my head either. But there are times when I am temporarily overwhelmed by the quantity of what is involved with my job.

One step toward turning the situation around is to step back for a minute, change thought patterns, take a walk, anything to shake thi…

And You Wonder Why

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Have you ever wondered why there is such passion and controversy about the English language in the U.S.?When it comes to groups of languages, English is considered by some linguists as the second hardest language to learn, behind Asian languages.In this contest, I lump English spoken in different countries together; American English, British English, Jamaican English, etc. are all sort of the same language but are as dissimilar as they are similar.Spanish spoken in Spain and Spanish spoken in Mexico are sort of the same language but are also quite different.Asian languages are not the same but to those of us who speak American English, the Asian languages are similar and all are more difficult than English … at least is seems that way.My point is that we are a nation of immigrants and our most common language is very difficult to learn.

One problem is that those of us who speak and write only American English don’t even know how to do it correctly.Look at this graphic.Do you understand…

Full Moon, Super Moon and Lunatics

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You know what PMS is, right?I sometimes use a similar acronym … PFMS.Pre Full Moon Syndrome.The behaviors are related. A full moon often brings out the worst in people and it seems like the bad behavior begins a couple of days before a full moon.I expected the recent super moon to result in even more lunatic behavior (an aside: I love word derivations, such as lunatic, from luna, which is Latin for moon and refers to someone affected by phases of the moon).The pre Super Moon should have even led to more craziness.The irony for me is that today, several days after the full super moon, began and ended with widespread lunatic behavior.
I’ll skip most of the details.Let me just say that drivers were crazy during my morning commute, combined with my uncanny ability to get behind the slowest vehicle on virtually every road I travelled on during my 22-minute ride to work, which today took 35 minutes. My first hour at work was equally nuts.Things calmed down through most of the day, but it end…

Random People-watching at the Neighborhood Tiki Bar

A diner in my new neighborhood has a tiki bar set up outside on Friday and Saturday evenings and a band plays on the plaza next to the bar.It is a great gathering of the diverse array of residents.Here are some random observations from last Saturday.

- The cover band must really love the Beatles because five of the eight songs I heard were Beatles songs. - A man from Ghana played a percussion set of three songs during the band’s break.

- There were plenty of kids dancing around; most appeared to be between three and eight years old.Some of their parents were dancing too.Can you really dance to Beatles songs? - There were several women who appeared to be in their 80s sitting on a bench nearby … except for the one who was dancing.I bet she never heard those songs before but that didn’t stop her.I also would bet these ladies all live in the senior apartments two block from this bar.

- I’ve said before that this is a multi-generational and multi-cultural neighborhood and there is plenty of e…

Patterns and Rituals

We all have our patterns and rituals, things we do on a regular basis, personal schedules we keep.I spent so many years living in the shadow of someone else’s patterns that I lost many of mine or simply gave up having my own.Never again.I can flex and compromise but I also will do what I want to do.

Do you have patterns and rituals in your life?Saturday laundry?Sunday brunch?Hit the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays?Laundry on Wednesday evenings?Wine with dinner?Church on Sunday? I don’t know if three Saturdays in a row leads to a ritual, but today (a Saturday) I realized I’ve repeated some things on the past three Saturday mornings.Shower and yogurt to start, walked to Starbucks for coffee, the neighborhood farmer’s market for produce, a local wine store for two bottles of red and creative routing to minimize the number of alleged crosswalks in which I dodged vehicles whose drivers barely realize that stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks is the law here.I like this pattern, except for th…

New Twist on Country

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Music genres sometimes blend together and blending is a trend at the younger end of the demographic spectrum these days.  People have their favorites but they listen to a lot of different sounds.  Mid boomers might remember that trend from the late 60s and early 70s.  Some will reject the current version, however.

But I don't.  I like all kinds of music and I love to see combinations of influences play out.  Several current country music hit songs by very popular artists have a pop-rap undercurrent.  This is one.  Enjoy.

Shut Me Up, Comfort Zones and other stuff

Shut me up.Just shut me up.I kind of like that I am a story-teller but sometimes I just keep going and going and going … the energizer bunny of story-tellers.I went into a friend/co-worker’s office space late this afternoon to tell him one thing, a thing that should have taken five minutes.We talked for an hour.This happens to me two or three times a week at work.Actually, I should say I cause this that often.I just can’t stop sometimes.Just shut me up.

The main star of the TV series “The Sopranos” died today.After seeing dozens of Facebook posts about that I have concluded that I am the only American who has never seen an entire episode of that show. The relatively new top boss in the local division of my company could be a motivational speaker if he chose to.He has a weekly meeting involving half the staff during which he actually does motivational speaking targeted to our work situation.One of the many points he regularly makes is ‘get out of your comfort zone’.I am a proponent of t…

Chic Magnets and Other Things

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My friend Lisa and her boyfriend live in my neighborhood.Their enthusiasm for this area is part of why I moved here.And Lisa, being the friend she is, is curious and helpful with my transition back to being single.I am done with my initial obsession with trying to ‘date’ again.Of course I am still interested in meeting women but I don’t care about the dating part; I’m more interested in sharing a drink at a sidewalk bar or sharing a concert.And Lisa wants to help.

She suggested I get a dog.She says dogs are chic magnets and meanwhile she said I can borrow her dog any time.As she was telling me this at the neighborhood farmer’s market Saturday, I recalled that she brought Daisy with her when we met for drinks at an outdoor wine bar a couple of times last summer.There were several good looking young women there on one of those days.Lisa went inside to use the restroom at one point and asked me to watch Daisy. Four different women started conversations with me during that few minutes and …

Benny

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Sometimes it is hard to believe my Dad died almost twelve years ago.Why?Because I see him every day in my mirror.I hear his voice when I get pissed off in traffic.I sense his logic when I try to solve a problem.

I remember the arguments we had over everything from politics to race to morality to religion to music.I remember him patiently teaching me how to use tools to build something or fix something.I remember how he would sit quietly in a room full of people, at a family holiday gathering for example, and he would mostly observe, then say just one thing that might be the most significant one thing in the conversation. I learned stubbornness and determination from him.I learned tolerance and acceptance by doing the opposite of what he did.Dad taught me how to find balance between conformity and ‘charting your own path’.I doubt he knew he was teaching that.He spent plenty of time analyzing ‘things’ but not much time studying ‘feelings’.If he ever cried, I didn’t see it.

Dad was the clas…

Why Dinosaurs Stopped Ruling the World

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Another "Typical" Day

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There is almost nothing ordinary about this week in Bernieville.  Here are a three examples

Yesterday Jennifer Lopez walked past my desk at work.  Yes THAT Jennifer Lopez.  She was visiting one of my radio stations and their studios are fifty feet from my desk.  She is hotter and taller than I thought.

During the first of two waves of storms that rolled through my world today, lightning struck a generator next to a restaurant just a few blocks south of my office building.  A co-worker actually got a picture of it.  A few minutes later the building power went off for a couple of minutes, although the generators kicked in almost immediately.  Creepy.

This afternoon we all got tornado warnings for the county where my office is.  Our town was directly in the projected path of a sighted tornado.  AND it actually passed within a mile or two of the building.  This picture is looking north from the 6th floor.  That thing in the middle IS a tornado; not a very well-defined one, but it is one a…

A Day in the Life

OK, here are a bunch of quick random things in my world from the past couple of days.

I had my 3 month follow up eye doc appointment today.Still 20/20 in both eyes, from a distance of about three feet out.No need for fancy glasses any more.Just drug store readers; I already have 3 or 4 pairs of those. Also went to the dentist this morning.Teeth are fine, thank you.And now they are white again, until a few more days of my daily coffee habit and nightly red wine habit.

A very cool friend of mine is visiting soon.Can’t wait to play tour guide again. Another very cool friend of mine is posting way too much BS on her Facebook, especially considering how smart and thoughtful she usually is.Just sayin’.Wouldn’t it be more effective to back off the unsubstantiated commentary and spend that time campaigning to elect new people in Congress?

This month is the one year anniversary of my last car payment.Feels good but my car now has 146,000 miles on it and I’m itching for something newer.Damn dependab…

Frustrating

Opinions are like buttholes … everybody has one.So here is mine.

We the People are at a point in our nation’s history where we are coasting down the other side of the mountain of greatness we built.While we sit around spewing partisan bullshit about gun rights and debating whether or not a man can love a man and a woman love a woman, the rest of the world is leaving us in the dust in the very thing we more or less invented: technology. Innovation in the United States led to most of the technology we take for granted.We invented it, gave it away free, stopped reinventing it, let the rest of the world get ahead of us with it and are now frantically paying to buy it back.We were the leaders, the power center of the planet, then we got lazy, complacent, greedy, indifferent.Countries we like to ridicule, like China, quietly and steadily passed us by.

Every great empire eventually falls but I never thought I’d see the day when our great nation would be less than Number One.Sorry about the nega…

Good Advice

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Action Packed Week

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This morning I was just thinking about the ‘tourist attractions’ I visited or slowly walked by during my week-long tour guide adventure.Let’s see if I can list them all.

DC – went in: Capitol Building, Union Station, Botanic Garden, Smithsonian Natural History Museum (dinosaurs, Hope Diamond), Smithsonian American History Museum (the actual flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner), Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, FDR Memorial, Viet Nam Memorial, MLK Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, DC – walked by: White House, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Holocaust Museum, Bureau of Engraving (where they print paper money), Washington Monument, numerous famous government buildings (IRS, DOJ, EPA, USDA, etc.)

Baltimore – Ft McHenry (where the Star Spangled Banner flew), the Inner Harbor (downtown historic and touristy location).Drove past the stadiums where the Orioles and the Ravens play.Skipped the Poe grave because we were advised it is not a safe neighborho…

Staycation Randomnation

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So my staycation is almost over.On one hand it felt like a real vacation, even though I didn’t leave town, because I spent most of a week playing tour guide to an old friend.On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like a real vacation because part of my local ‘tour’ involved working for an hour last Saturday on the way to a concert and I spent another hour today doing work.Completely disconnecting from a 24/7 business is quite the challenge.

A few random notes about this week: - Every time I show someone around the Washington DC area I appreciate even more the awesomeness (is that a word?) of this place, from the whole notion that this is the capitol of the free world to the majesty of the seats of power to the grand scale of monuments to people and events that shape our nation.

- Whenever I think I know a lot about this area I realize I am still learning. - I have lived here more than 25 years yet there are some attractions I haven’t visited till now, like Arlington National Cemetery.Actual…

Random Update

Kind of busy this week but thought I'd check in.  Showing a friend around the DC area, which I love to do.  Get to do it for two friends this summer.  So far we had a tour of the Capital building, dropped in the Smithsonian Museum of American History, tried to visit Natural History (the one with the dinosaurs) but it was crazy crowded so we'll try again in a day or two, went to a Tim McGraw concert, checked out two cool restaurants in my neighborhood, drank some wine (of course).  I got back from that concert more than an hour ago and still can't get to sleep so I'm writing this.  I should try sleep again.  More museums to visit plus Arlington Cemetery and maybe a trip to Gettysburg battlefield, which isn't that far.