Tattoos

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

There is an expression in Las Vegas. Sometimes when a gambler wins a hand, someone (usually the gambler himself) shouts out loud for all to hear, “Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner.” The origins of this idiom are not completely clear, but if you click here you can read about it. Several years ago I was involved in a bet that included dinner, but was I a winner? That, I will let you decide.

My wife Emily is fairly straight-laced. I mean this only in the very best way possible. Her social history consists of: one boyfriend in high school that ended very badly, one boyfriend in college who is now a priest… and me. Of course there is more to each of these stories, but facts are facts, right?

As many of you know, my wife is an Intensive Care Pediatrician, and when you work overnight shifts in a hospital, you often end up in some pretty strange and revealing conversations in the wee hours of the night.

One day after a run of 3 + days in a row, Emily came home and said, “you know that hospital wedding we’re going to next week? Well I made a bet, and we’re gonna get a free dinner out of it, but I need your help.” […]

Mixed Emotions

Mixed Emotions

There’s an old dad joke that goes, “What’s the definition of mixed emotions? Watching your Mother-In-Law drive your new Cadillac off a cliff.” Of course, to be funny, the joke presumes two things:

  1. You really like Cadillacs
  2. You really DON’T like your Mother-In-Law

In the case of me personally, even as a self-admitted car guy, I’ve never been a huge fan of GM’s luxury brand.

My Mother-In Law on the other hand… her I liked.

I met Barbara Braunstein just about two decades ago, and without a doubt my life has been the better for it. […]

Occam's Razor

Sharpening Occam’s Razor

There is a philosophical concept called “Occam’s Razor.” You can google it to learn all the details, but the concept is this:

When there is more than one explanation for an occurrence, the simplest of the explanations is the most likely.

Put another way, if I come home and find a box of cereal on the floor of the kitchen with the box and bag all torn apart and the cereal gone; it is possible that a wild fox broke into my house and consumed the cereal. Occam’s Razor says it is far more likely my dog went into the pantry, pulled the box from a low shelf and did the damage herself. […]

honor

Honor In The Overspray

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, which honors all those who died in the service of our nation. For those who made the ultimate sacrifice, there are not enough words to express the debt of gratitude all Americans owe. That said, I’m going to try anyway.

My regular readers know I like to tell stories to make a point, and today is no exception. As you read, you may begin to think I’ve gone off the rails, but soldier on, you won’t be disappointed… I promise. […]

Shut Up

The Day I Finally Shut Up… and Saved My Own Life

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our nineteenth wedding anniversary. Nineteen isn’t a round number, nor a significant one, but I will say that other than “not stop breathing” I’ve done nothing else continually for nineteen years.

Depending on which website you believe, my wife and I should have exchanged gifts of either jade or bronze yesterday. That did not happen, but we went out for a nice dinner and decided to give each other deposits into our kids’ 529 accounts.

Whenever anniversaries come around on the calendar, people often ask… “How did you guys meet?” Well, today I’m going to tell the story, how the first date almost didn’t happen, and how I almost completely blew it. […]

Parenting

Free Range Parenting

Last week the Utah state legislature passed a new law. I don’t know its official name, but in the news it is being referred to as the Free Range Parenting Law. Essentially, this law frees parents to decide for themselves when it is appropriate to let their children do things like: play alone in the yard, walk alone to and from school, wait alone in a car, and (imagine this) play in a public park without direct adult supervision.

What is funny about this new law is that it does not nullify older laws… instead it codifies rights parents have always had. Rights that have been slowly eroded over decades by flawed assumptions, news-fueled hysteria, and flat out paranoia.

In this age of “helicopter parenting” American society has been convinced threats to children are everywhere. Furthermore, anything less than 100% parental monitoring is at worst tantamount to handing your child over to an abductor/abuser/murderer, or at best blatant neglect. […]

shoes

Shine Your Shoes

Several weeks ago I had an in-person job interview. After successfully navigating a qualifying phone interview with HR, and another phone interview with the hiring manager, I was invited to travel 150 miles to the company HQ to meet with the whole team. This was to be the third of four interviews before they would be making a final decision.

As many of my readers know, my family moved from Western NY, to Charlotte NC late last year for my wife’s work. To do this, I had to leave my job but I wasn’t worried. I’ve always been good at finding jobs commensurate with my skills and value. After spending a few months getting the kids and the house settled I set out to find my next gig, but I ran into something rather unexpected. […]

Paper

Paper Don’t Crash

“Modern marketing is all about automation.” I don’t completely agree with this statement, but if you spend any time reading about how companies communicate with customers in 2017 you will discover how “marketing automation tools” play a major role.

What is “marketing automation” you ask? Well, this humble blog uses a bunch of it. Many of you came to this post today via a link on Facebook or Linkedin. Those posts are scheduled and executed using an automated social media tool called Hootsuite.

If you signed up to receive new posts via email, then you likely reacted to a “scroll box” popup, and then the email you received was sent out using an automated platform called MailChimp. Google Analytics collects and tabulates all the traffic and visit data, which I use to adjust how I use all the other tools.

Like any other, these tools don’t actually do anything by themselves, they require content, strategy and a purpose. Clearly if you’re reading this… they’re working.

That said, sometimes the most effective way of keeping your name, brand, product, (or blog) in the forefront of the mind of your audience, can be a simple as a piece of paper. […]

Story

Tell Your Story

As most of you know, just after Christmas last year, we moved from Rochester, NY to Charlotte NC. The primary impetus for the move was my wife’s work. With that as an anchor, we have had to make many changes, adaptations and adjustments as a family.

A few months into our new life here in NC, I was looking around for something beyond work, house and family. I discovered a little group called Charlotte Storytellers and I began attending their weekly meetings. […]

Egg Salad

Egg Salad and Bug Juice

There is this idea within the American Dream, where each generation is destined to do “better” than the previous. While a noble (but potentially selfish) goal, things get a little murky when you try and define “better.” Does better mean more money and in turn more stuff? Perhaps better means more leisure and family time or a lower level of work stress? Maybe better means more (or fewer) children, better nutrition, and a longer life?

The bottom line is this… “better” is subjective and although one can tie nearly all the things above to more money, the availability of money and the conveniences it brings may not necessarily produce the “better” you’re after. […]

fathering

Inadvertent Fathering

Today we celebrate Father’s Day. I have written before about lessons I’ve learned from my Father, however the things I’ve shared to date are lessons he knew he was teaching me. Today I’d like to share two important ideas I learned, simply by observing him… being himself. […]

fix

Only Mostly Dead

I have written about this subject before, but after an experience a few weeks ago I think another go-round is in order.

As my regular readers are aware, I like to work on cars. Even stronger than my love of turning a wrench (and the inevitable skinned knuckle that comes with the task), is my disdain for unnecessary expenditure of hard earned money. Even for those who know what they’re doing, working on a car and spending money are the closest of friends… splitting a double bottle of wine in 45 minutes kind of friends. […]

Marriage

I’d Do It All Again

Today is the 18th Anniversary of the day my bride walked down the aisle to be by my side. It was a beautiful May day on the eastern shore of Virginia. All of our families and most of our friends were there, and later that day when we headed off to our honeymoon, nearly every detail had unfolded exactly as planned.

Since that day we have, spawned four children, owned three houses, churned through nine different cars, and two dogs. My wife and I have served more meals, wiped more butts, washed more clothes, and driven more miles than either of us could possibly count. […]

better

Sometimes Better Isn’t Better

It has been said that smell is the sense most closely tied to memory. Think about it… how often do you walk by a restaurant or an ice cream parlor, and the smells wafting into your nostrils transport you back to another place and time?

Last week I decided to cook Italian Sausage with peppers and onions for dinner. As the sausages were sizzling in one pan, I dumped a bowl of sliced green peppers and sweet onions into another.

As the aromas rose from the stove and co-mingled around my head, I was immediately taken back to an event from my youth, one that occurred every September. This annual experience was one of my very favorites, until the year someone tried to “improve it” and in doing so, ruined it forever. […]

tool

The Most Powerful Tool

I got yelled at on Tuesday. I was at my son’s spring track meet and as he tried to pole vault over a seven foot bar, I took a “live photo” with my iPhone 6s. A “live photo” is a funky thing my phone does where when you take a picture, the phone records 1.5 seconds of video both before and after the moment I pressed the button… pretty cool.

As you can see in the video below, he almost made it over. So, being an interested (and data driven) Dad, I walked over to show my son his vault with the idea he might correct his mistakes on his next attempt. […]