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The sports world lost a true legend yesterday, when John Madden passed away at age 85.
Madden, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, coached the Oakland Raiders for 10 years, logging a record of 103-32-7. That’s the highest winning percentage among all coaches with at least 100 wins.
Madden, however, is probably best known for his work as a commentator during NFL games, something he did for three decades.
His style was unmistakable. Madden’s larger-than-life enthusiasm came through as he described hits with a “Boom!” or a fumble as “Doink!” He loved great plays and great players. And he knew the game better than anyone.
Perhaps his greatest asset, and reason for success, was his authenticity. By all accounts, what you saw on television was the real John Madden, a regular guy who loved football. NBC commentator Chris Collinsworth shared stories about Madden this morning on Today–how he’d talk football with strangers in hotel lobbies, or diagram plays on the dining room table for Collinsworth’s sons.
Madden was the guy you wanted to invite over to watch a game. And we did, every week, for 30 years.
Molly just turned 2, which I’m told is the adolescence stage for a dog. The teen years.
She’s a terrific dog and great companion, but I am seeing the emergence of a stubborn/independent streak. Makes me wonder what she’s thinking.
Here’s a possible list of her thoughts:
- I know you’re late for work, but would you chase me around the house for 45 minutes?
- Seriously? It’s raining.
- There’s that cute Golden Retriever. Don’t embarrass me.
- How’s your steak? I’m having dry Purina for dinner.
- I let you win at tug-o-war.
- You had me at belly rub.
- Are you really going to carry that bag around? It’s embarrassing.
- You haven’t petted me for 10 minutes. Did I do something wrong?
- Reindeer antlers aren’t as funny as you think.
- I like to mess with you by barking into the darkness.
- How about a trade—I’ll swap a a bowl of this delicious Purina for a couple of small bites of your greasy, overcooked steak.
- Oh, and your breath is always minty-fresh?
- Give me the word and I’ll rid this neighborhood of squirrels.
- Why did you throw that away that perfectly good piece of grizzle?
- My time on this earth is shorter than yours and I want you to have good memories when I’m gone, so let’s play fetch using pieces of that steak.
With much of Hollywood slowed by the pandemic, many of us are turning to old (and old-ish) movies. Let’s see how well you know them by identifying which movie that included these quotes.
- “You’re going to need a bigger boat.”
- “Quid pro quo, Clarice.”
- “To infinity and beyond!”
- “I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks.”
- “Say hello to my little friend.”
- “I’m the king of the world!”
- “I’ll be back.”
- “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”
- “Mischief Managed.”
- “Back off, man, I’m a scientist!”
- “We have a hulk.”
- “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
- “Wakanda Forever!”
- “You ever hear Dad introduce us to people? “This is our daughter Dottie, and this is our other daughter, Dottie’s sister.”
- “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” – Jaws
- “Quid pro quo, Clarice.” – Silence of the Lambs
- “Rosebud.” – Citizen Kane
- “To infinity and beyond!” – Toy Story
- “I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks.” – Wizard of Oz
- “Say hello to my little friend.” – Scarface
- “I’m the king of the world!” – Titanic
- “I’ll be back.” – Terminator
- “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” – Raiders of the Lost Ark
- “Mischief Managed.” – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- “Back off, man, I’m a scientist!” – Ghostbusters
- “We have a hulk.” – The Avengers
- “Here’s looking at you, kid.” – Casablanca
- “Wakanda Forever!” – Black Panther
- “You ever hear Dad introduce us to people? “This is our daughter Dottie, and this is our other daughter, Dottie’s sister.” – A League of Their Own
0 – 5 correct: No popcorn for you
6 – 10 correct:
11 – 15 correct: Director’s Chair
Rather than making New Year’s resolutions that I’ll break by afternoon, let’s look at some random thoughts that have been rattling around in my head.
My dog may be smarter than me. While my focus is on work and managing the house, she clearly knows how to prioritize — eat, play, sleep. Repeat.
Eliminating the CAPS LOCK on the keyboard could reduce my typing errors by as much as 63 percent.
Most things in life can be explained by an episode of Seinfeld.
A popular song says you’re never fully dressed without a smile. Add iPhone to that.
I’m holding a box of chocolates for a coworker and have resisted the week-long urge to open it. Truly, a Christmas miracle.
Charlton Heston’s appearance in Wayne Worlds 2 may be the greatest cameo ever.
Back to the dog … as we walk through an area inhabited by coyotes, she’ll periodically stop and stare into the woods. She’s clearly messing with me.
TV personality, author, Broadway performer, marathon runner. Is there anything Al Roker can’t do?
Those of us who didn’t experience Beatlemania simply cannot imagine how big the Fab Four were.
Does anyone really look like their driver’s license photo?
Stephen King’s 11/22/63 may be the best book I’ve read.
Finally, a serious note: COVID isn’t going away anytime soon. My wish for 2021 is that join together to fight it. Please wear a masks, practice social distancing, and wash your hands regularly.
Happy New Year!
September is National Preparedness Month, a reminder that a disaster can hit at any time, and the best way to minimize its impact is to be prepared.
During my days at the American Red Cross, I often spoke with groups about fires safety and prevention, so let’s look at simple steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe.
One morbid statistic, before we begin. If fire strikes your home, you have about 2 minutes to get out. That’s not much time, so being prepared pays off.
You should have one on each level of your home, in every bedroom, and in hallways outside of bedrooms. Test and vacuum them monthly — they collect dust that can impact performance — and change batteries twice a year.
Have a plan
Every household should have, and practice an escape plan. Identify two ways out of each room, as well as a meeting place outside for the family. And practice you plan. If you have young children, include them in the planning to better engage them.
Grab one to go
Make a “grab bag” for every member — human and animal — of the house. The bags stay near an exit or somewhere where you can “grab” them quickly on your way out the door in an emergency, such as fire or weather event. Include whatever you think would be needed if you have to leave home, such as:
– Emergency clothing
– List of medications
– Important phone numbers
– Flashight and batteries
– Small games to occupy the kids
– Dog food, extra collar and leash, etc.
– A book or a deck of card (in case you land in a shelter)
The list of possible items goes on — and differs for reach person. Spend a few minutes thinking about what you’d need to function if you were driven from your home.
Hopefully the only time you touch your grab bag is to dust it, but if you ever need it, you’ll be glad it’s there.
Many years ago, a speaker at a conference shared a story about working with the Dutch. He said while it’s very difficult to get them to make a commitment, once they do, they’re in 100 percent.
He paused and said, “Now, think about Americans.”
He makes an interesting point. As a culture, we don’t like to say no, and often regret saying yes too quickly. However, that often leads to overextending ourselves, and not having enough time or energy to follow through on what we promise.
Worse yet, it’s becoming harder to say no.
What’s the answer? I suspect it’s a combination of becoming better at prioritization, letting go of details that are less critical, and yes, learning to say no.
Implementing and following a solid time management system is also a big help.
Your turn. How do you manage all of your commitments and requests?
Baseball returns this week, so let’s wrap up the preseason with a look at my picks for the best baseball movies:
A League of Their Own
Gena Davis and Tom Hanks star in this terrific movie about the Women’s Professional Baseball League.
Minor league catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Kostner) tries to keep his shot at the “show” alive, while also mentoring a young pitching prospect (Tim Robbins) and trying to win the heart of the team’s biggest fan, played by Susan Sarandon.
A middle-aged fan makes a deal with the devil (Roy Walston) and becomes a major league star in this popular 1958 musical. Who said there’s no singing in baseball?
Eight Men Out
Based on the infamous Black Sox scandal that ended the careers of Shoeless Joe Jackson and his teammates on the 1919 White Sox.
Before he was Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman played Jackie Robinson, the Dodger great who broke the color barrier. An important move, and at times, difficult to watch the abuse Robinson experienced.
Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger lead the hapless Clevelend Indians from last place to first. Silly fun.
A brilliant retelling of the 1961 season, when Yankee teammates Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) and Roger Maris (Barry Pepper), chased Babe Ruth’s single season home run record (60) amid near-constant media pressure. Directed by die-hard fan Billy Crysal. The DVD’s extras are worth a watch, too.
Robert Redford plays slugger Roy Hobbs, an aging ballplayer with a mysterious past.
High school coach Dennis Quaid promises his players that he’ll tryout (again) for the majors if the team can turn things around. Based on the true story of Jim Morris.
That’s my list — what’s on yours? Field of Dreams? The Sandlot? Moneyball?
“If I’d only known…”
Every catch yourself saying this? We all do from time to time. Imagine the mistakes we’d avoid and the time saved if we could go back in time and give advice to our younger selves.
What would you say? Study harder? Travel? Save more?
Here’s my list:
Trust your gut
That little voice inside is correct far more than you think.
Learn from your elders
They’ve been around for a while and are happy to share experiences and wisdom that they’ve picked up over the years.
There is more to life than work. Travel, spend time at the beach, and relax by doing hobbies and activities that you enjoy.
Don’t expect to have all the answers
Not sure? Say so. People generally won’t judge you for not knowing something, especially if you promise to do some research and find the answer.
Take care of your body
Now is the time to establish life-long fitness habits, but pushing too hard at this age brings aches and pain down the road.
Take calculated risks
Too much risk is bad, but so it too little.
Stick to mutual funds
Set a 60:40 ratio of stock to bond funds, and other than rebalancing your portfolio yearly, leave it alone.
Use your ears
You learn far more by listening than talking.
Find more time to volunteer. It’s really a win-win.
Ever feel like you’re on a treadmill that’s going faster and faster? That seems to be the new norm, with less downtime to just sit and relax for a moment.
As people feel the constant tug for their time and attention, the importance of clear, concise communications becomes more important.
So how do you reach someone who is reading your message while making dinner, helping the kids with homework, and answering an after-hours text message from her boss?
- Begin with your most important message.
- Use bullets. They help break up copy and make reading easier.
- Opt for simple words and avoid jargon, acronyms, and words that readers may not understand.
- Use examples to illustrate complicated points.
- Offer a contrast or comparison to create an image in your readers’ mind (“The ship is the length of two football fields.”)
- Stay away from too many fine details.
It’s been awhile since my last post. While I’d like to say that it’s because I won the lottery and took an extended trip around the world, the truth is that I had tendinitis in both wrists, which led me to reduce the time I spent typing.
Recovery was slow, and while I’m not quite 100 percent all the time, I’m back at the keyboard and ready to start blogging again.
There’s also a lesson here that I want to share with you — it’s important that we manage our screen time. Watch your posture at the keyboard, take regular stretch breaks, and if you experience pain or discomfort, speak with your physician or the appropriate safety or wellness person at your office.
It’s nice to be back, and I hope you’ll enjoy the return of my regular blog posts.