Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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On the Eve of Independence

August 15, 2012

I have found myself saying, “I can’t believe how fast time has gone” more and more these past five years of being a parent. Almost to the point where I know I am annoying other people because I am annoying myself. But the truth is, it has gone fast. Tomorrow my first child… my little girl… my sweetie… is going to kindergarten.

Addi has given me the greatest gift I could have ever been given, the opportunity to be a father to a daughter. I’ve had to learn patience, how to remove a “piggy holder” without pulling hair, change a diaper, cry and not feel unmanly, love deeper than I ever have, and to understand and embrace change.

It is that last one that gets us all. It hits us deep. Our little ones aren’t so little. They aren’t so dependent. They are growing up and in a fast way.

It all hit me tonight. Maybe I internalized it, maybe I tried to avoid it, but it is here. As a parent none of us are really prepared, how could you? Until you have been through 12 weeks of sleep deprivation, spit up, mustard poop, crying (from all involved), when does the belly button fall off, and any other first time parent stresses, as a civilization we would have died off long ago if this thing came with a pre-test.

Those first 12 weeks of her life seem so distant now. She has changed, I have changed, our family has changed, our lives have changed.

Addi, I know you’ll do well, not just in kindergarten, but in life. Your sense of humor, your compassion, your competitiveness, your kind heart, your smile, will all serve you well. I have had the privilege of seeing you grow as a helpless infant into a classy and fabulous five year old who has helped her old man understand the importance and priority of things in life. You have given me an even greater love and respect for my parents, your mother, your brother, my sister, our entire family and friends, and that what we do in life means nothing, if we aren’t living for something greater than our own self.

When you get on the steps of that bus tomorrow and we wave as you head off on your next journey, don’t forget the thousands of amazing steps we have already taken in your first five years together. I only wish with every step you take, I could hold your hand, because it is so damn hard to let go.

I’m proud of you. I adore you. I love you Addi.
Dad

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We are…losing grasp on what is important

November 10, 2011

After all the events that transpired since the weekend and then the 10:00 news conference last night, I am, like many, saddened.

But not like most die-hard Penn State fans. Not like the ones who are crying foul that their beloved head coach has been treated so poorly by administration, media, and some fans; that he himself has faced a criminal act. No I am sad that people are placing a higher value on the game of football and a coach, than the true criminals who hurt and abused countless little boys in University facilities.

How can anyone lose sight that the real issue here isn’t an NCAA violation, it is the violation and vile acts against innocent children? Sure, I am bitter. I spent 35 years cheering for a man and program that up until last week I would have defended like my own. And the weight of feeling cheated and let down is crushing.

I can see why people can’t let go and acknowledge this was indeed the right thing to do. In a world that seems to get more violent, disgraceful, disgusting, and selfish every day; there was a man whose values rose above those acts; a man who single-handedly changed a game, a city, a University, and even a culture.

And it just that reason why I feel no sympathy or sadness for Joe. Had he truly been the man above, he would have used that idol status that so many in central PA and around the country anointed him, to do the right thing. To go above and beyond a protocol, to tirelessly defend those who can’t defend themselves, and selflessly, not selfishly put himself out there at all costs.

Everyone makes mistakes and ironically the biggest mistake this icon made, might be the best lesson he inadvertently taught. As a society, we all fail, when we sit idly by and hope someone else will make things better. All 6’5 and 230 of Mike McQueary could have been used to stop a stomach churning event and helped a little boy who God only knows how much he has suffered and sadly will probably always continue to do so. Instead he cowardly left, he left the facilities. He talked to his father and then to Joe and they left it up to someone else, who then left that repulsive excuse for a human, back into their facilities until last week.

I hope as a society we all take back responsibility, accountability, and respect in ourselves so that we feel empowered as individuals to make a difference and do the right thing, especially when those decisions and actions impact the world’s greatest gift, our children.

I’m not sure if I will watch this weekend. I so badly want to move on and cheer loudly for the 125 young men who want nothing more than to escape on the football field and do what they love. They have done nothing wrong. However, at this time cheering for a game seems wrong and almost inappropriate in light of what has happened. I’d rather cheer knowing that those guilty will never see the light of day again and for any victims who have overcome this. It is their strength, comfort, and peace I pray for.

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Designing the future.

March 1, 2011

Last week I had the privilege to sit down and talk creative strategy, critical thinking, and innovative ideas with two junior visual communications classes at the Herron School of Art.

A close friend of mine from high school, Professor Jeff Tzucker (wow, does that sound funny) invited me in to “critique” the work his and Marcia Stone’s students were presenting this week to their clients. They had all been separated into groups, “small agencies”, and were paired with real clients looking to re-brand, in some cases launch a brand, and get their message out.

I got a little of what I expected and a whole lot of the unexpected. I expected to see creativity in visual form. And I did. There was some serious eye candy. I expected to see some students fighting the internal struggles of what to do and how to do it. Check. And I expected to feel the fun and excitement of being back in a college setting. Check there too. I witnessed a Cheez-It run, a tub’o’animal crackers, and lots of amazingly cool style. I was thankful, unlike my college and fraternity experience I was not overcome by the smell of cheap whiskey and waffles. (That will be a blog for another time.)

What I didn’t expect to encounter was the unbelievable amount of strategic thinking and prepping before the designs were created. These students knew their intended audience, they understood their client and clients’ personalities, and they knew their creative vision would only be worth it’s salt…if it worked hard to achieve a measurable result.

This is an obvious reflection of Jeff and Marcia’s guidance but also that young, fresh, and curious mind working hard to discover, process, and digest information. It always seems that no matter how many times I step back in the classroom, I always leave feeling refreshed myself. And thankful that I have pursued a career in an industry that changes daily and critical and strategic thinking is a must.

The future is bright for our industry.  With young people like the ones at Herron, there will certainly be no shortage of ideas, innovation, and intelligence joining the creative landscape in the next couple of years.

“You see things; and say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and say, “Why not?”
George Bernard Shaw

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5 things I never thought I’d see musically

November 15, 2010

I am a huge fan of music. However lately some of the music that is on the radio makes me wonder how these “artists” got contracts. For someone who can’t sing it gives me hope. And then my iPod dies in the middle of “Hey Ya” by Outkast and no, I mean no, studio post work could help my falsetto.

However it did get me thinking about five things in music I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.

Straight Outta Compton and Straight Into Carmel
Ice Cube is in kid’s movies, Dr. Dre is in Dr. Pepper commercials, and Ice-T is in TV dramas. I wonder how may parents who watched “Are we there yet” actually know who O’Shea Jackson is. The truth in this was my mom cheering for Lil Kim on Dancing with the Stars. I guess “It’s All About the Benjamins.” What.

Someone sampled a Lionel Richie song and it wasn’t “Dancing on the Ceiling
I am not a fan of Enrique Iglesias, although I did go as him for Halloween several years ago. I had a sock hat, tight sweater, fake mole, and a nametag that said, “Hello, Let me be your hero.” He sampled “All Night Long” for “I Like It”. I didn’t. I guess I am glad he didn’t sample “Hello” and have to remake a video where he stalks a blind woman who used modeling clay to create a giant horse-head replica of Enrique. Freaky.

Michael Jackson died
I mean no disrespect with this since he left children behind, but if anyone was going to live forever it was MJ. He slept in a hyberbaric chamber, had all the money in the world, and had his plastic surgeon on speed dial (actually I think it was the woman above with the modeling clay.) So much for the “We are the World” 100 year anniversary special in 2085 with Mike there live.

Paperboy didn’t have another hit after “Ditty
Oh no wait, yes he did, he just changed his name to Nelly. Seriously they do sound eerily similar.

This guy never made it big in the US, Mr. Trololo Guy, Eduard Khil
I’m not even sure if this is a real person. He looks like an automated death machine from one of the late 70s James Bond movies. And the high notes he hits in the middle are not human. Yet his stage presence is captivating, engaging, and can’t turn away good.

Is there anything you have seen that surprises you?

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After suffering the big sister pinch of death as a younger brother… it all worked out ok

October 1, 2010

My sister is celebrating a big milestone birthday today. I won’t mention which one, but let’s just say any age is now the new 30. And honestly age doesn’t really matter anyway. If you stay current, love life, keep a positive mental attitude, and take care of yourself, they’ll be many years ahead of getting carded when buying a nice bottle of Pinot.

I always struggle with what to get her. She is an architect, has amazingly cool style, and lives out East where trends come and go before we see them here in the ol’ Midwest. I didn’t want to get one of those yard signs, you know, “A little birdy told me your thirty” or “Lordy Lordy guess who is 40?”, I bet I know, the person who lives in the house with the stupid yard sign and 40 foot inflatable purple gorilla.

Instead I thought I’d focus on some of the things my big sis taught me in life.

Be yourself
Gina has never afraid to be an individual. From how you dress, to your belief system, to what kind of car you drive. If it feels right go with it. Only you can truly be the judge.

Be musical
I can’t sing and when I do there is a slight seismic shift in the Earth’s crust. Gina is a great musician and appreciates the joy of music. I grew up with her influences of the 80s; Edie Brickell, Paul Simon, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, and on and on. That background really set the foundation for me moving forward. I might not like country all that much, but I certainly appreciate the songwriting, passion, and effort put into sharing yourself through music.

Be passionate
My sister has many passions. Cooking, baking, architecture, family, friends, music, and really anything that requires creativity, cool, and a unique perspective. A couple of years ago she made a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. It wasn’t the fact it was one of the best desserts I had ever had, it was the care and connection with what she was doing that was impressive.

Be tough
My sister is 5’7 and five and a half years older than me. I didn’t grow until I was in high school. Do the math, she always seemed to be a foot taller through half of my life. Sure I was stronger, but she had a pinch that made the Vulcan Nerve Pinch feel like a day at the spa. She found a way to quickly get me to stop whatever annoyance I was causing. She was tough by being smart. Which leads me to…

Always be learning
I might be a better athlete (although even there I’m not sure), but one thing I am 100% certain, is that I am not match from an intellectual standpoint with my sister. And she is not just book smart, but understanding the bigger picture and going for it. What happens when work slows down with the economy? She studies, learns, applies, and receives new designations, licenses, and certifications to put her ahead when things pick back up. Too bad more people and companies didn’t follow suit.

So Happy Birthday Gina. We may be half a country a part but the memories, lessons, appreciation, and love is never far from my heart.

Happy Birthday and I love you!

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What business can learn from athletics

September 23, 2010

I had the privilege to go to a luncheon yesterday put on by the Indiana Humanities Council. The topic was Sportsmanship, Competition and Civility in Athletics and the panel included Chairman Jim Leach, Bill Polian, Dr. Bernard Franklin, and Coach Beth K. Wilmeth.

The panel was asked a question by moderator Clark Kellogg about what one word each panelist would use to describe not only the civility in sports but business, politics, and life.

Chairman Leach went first with team. He used examples of Iowa football players who now play for the Colts and how their journeys weren’t always from point A to point B. His main focus was these players did what was asked of them to make the team better. What a concept for business. Instead of a group of individuals focused on their personal needs, get the team focused on collaborative and collective goals and move as a unit towards the end result.

Bill Polian was up next and picked respect. His examples were around the NFL’s decision to cut back on celebrations and taunting. He also eluded to the fact that after 60 minutes of physically beating on someone, the players leave with a tremendous amount of respect for their opponent, the game, and the product. One of my old bosses always used to stress that above all else you respect the position even if you struggle with the person. After working on numerous communications teams throughout my career this is so true. It takes every person in the agency, department, office, etc. to accomplish whatever goals are set in front of the team. When people start losing respect for each other, trust and the willingness to succeed are not far behind.

Coach Wilmeth was next with integrity. Her story was unique and very inspiring. Her volleyball team decided as a group to challenge themselves to be better, to impact people around them, and to leave a lasting impression. The team decided to call hand fouls at the net if the referees missed the call. In a society where winning is everything these women decided to do what was right, even if that meant it would cost them a win…and it did. Each day we go to work and hope that everyone is holding themselves accountable and responsible for their actions. Yet many times there are instances of pointing the finger, passing the blame or simply delegating work through to the next person. When did we get so far away from taking ownership and pride in our work, even if that means we sometimes have to admit mistakes? In most cases we can learn from them, move on, and become stronger.

And last but not least was Dr. Franklin. His word was character and how he felt it is a byproduct of your value system. I agree completely. I’m not sure why as a society we can spend so much time tearing someone down instead of building them back up. I also believe adversity shows someone’s true character. When the world around you is crumbling do you motivate or devastate, inspire or conspire, or lead instead of follow?

Most sports and businesses are a team concept. From top level management to the rookies, everyone has an active, responsible, and important part in achieving goals and upholding reputations.

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3 writing jobs that I’d like to have

September 13, 2010

Password cryptologist
I’m not even sure if that is a real title and I’m not sure these things are really done by people, but even so, it would be fun. I mean why not add some fun when filling out a credit card order or setting up a new online account? Here are some ideas:

Toilet passion
Eager phalanges
Baboon pressedham
Flushing dope
Wool dickey

These might also be great names for bands now that I look at them.

Writer for SkyMall products
Look I’m not saying that a planter that doubles as a cat’s litterbox or a yard Yeti needs persuasive copy to sell millions. I’m just saying you have to connect to an audience who really feels an emotional tug to buy a hearing aid that is also a police scanner and full body compression underwear that keeps you looking highschool reunion ready.

Brightfeet lighted slippers
Feel safe, secure, and ready for the next Rave with these lighted slippers! Scare the hell out of your kids when you “float” aimlessly into their room at 3am! Tired of missing the toilet? Try this in tandem with the floating ring of fire toilet target and you’ll find out why an enlarged prostate is fun!

Personalized license plate writer
I’m sure someone out there is the go-to person when you can’t think of one yourself. So why can’t that be me? Here is some of my finest work, in 7 letters or less, of course:

Golf Pro
Stroker

Pen maker
Uniball

BP Exec
MyBad

Peyton Manning
SeenmyD

Plastic Surgeon
oo 2 OO

I can dream, right?