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. […]

problem

First World Problem

As we head into spring I am reminded of a task for which I used to be responsible. For fourteen wonderful years, we owned our home on Hillrise Drive in Penfield, NY and with it the pool in the back yard. Having recently moved to North Carolina, I expect I will be missing my pool any day now. That said, the ownership of a shimmering blue hole in the ground taught me a lesson I use nearly every day.

I recognize that ownership of a swimming pool of any kind is a luxury, unique to our blessed and (to be completely honest) wealthy country. With 780 Million people the world over lacking access to clean water, it seemed almost cruel for me to keep 32,000 gallons of the stuff in my backyard for solely recreational purposes. […]

prefixes

The Battle of the Prefixes

In recent years the term “outsourcing” has become a dirty word. This is of course due to the practice of US companies “outsourcing” jobs to subsidiaries or subcontractors overseas, resulting in the loss of employment here at home.

Despite the bad reputation it has garnered, outsourcing is something we all do every day. In fact, Americans are more adept at outsourcing than they are at just about anything else. […]

Why Legos Matter

When I was a really little kid, Legos were nothing like they are today. Almost all of the pieces in my Lego bin were the same size, the two by four rectangular brick. There were some two by twos, and a few two by ones, but the majority of the pieces were the two by four variety, and only in three colors: red, white and blue.

Don’t get me wrong; we didn’t know any better and as a result we loved to build things with Legos… until. […]

Be Prepared

I am an Eagle Scout. There, I said it, and at 48 years old I’m finally over the feeling that admitting said accomplishment might result in some kind of machismo-rooted mockery, or worse… a wedgie.

As most people know the motto of the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared.” Certainly the Boy Scouts have no exclusive claim to the idea of preparedness, but I will give them full credit for instilling the idea in me. I wrote about this idea (sort of) in my book The Penny Collector in a chapter called Hoard In Moderation. If you’d like to read that chapter (and you haven’t bought my book – shame on you), comment below and I’ll send you a PDF.

Last week I was reminded of two stories of preparedness constructed and executed by two exceedingly smart and beautiful women… my wife and my mother. […]

To A Mouse

Robert Burns, the eponymous Scottish poet, penned a verse oft quoted in modern times, but few know the origin.

The line to which I refer is from a poem called To A Mouse,

The best laid schemes of mice and men

Go often askew

In colloquial use, the word “schemes” is typically replaced with “plans,” but the result is the same… […]

honeydew

Honeydew Terrorist

I recognize the title is odd, but I assure you the story I am about to tell involves both a honeydew melon and terrorism. Last week I saw an article about the Ozark Mountains Turkey Trot Festival.

This reminded me of (and was no doubt the inspiration for) the very best episode of a 1970s-1980s TV sitcom called WKRP in Cincinnati. The episode to which I refer, originally aired on October 30 (my brother Doug’s birthday) 1978. IMDB.com describes the episode as:

Feeling left out by all the recent changes, Mr. Carlson decides to launch his own Thanksgiving promotion. With the aid of Herb and Les, the Big Guy turns a routine turkey give-away into a comic catastrophe.

What ends up happening is this. In an attempt to make an annual turkey giveaway more exciting, the station owner arranges to drop turkeys from a helicopter flying 2,000 feet above a shopping mall. If you’re not familiar with the show or the episode, the clip is just below. […]

Go

How Pokémon Go Can Win The White House

As I sit and watch the political ping-pong, zing across the inter-webs like so many Sneetches, I have done my level best to stay out of the fray. If the experience of my forty-seven years has taught me anything, it is that another’s point of view has never been swayed by a single pithy comment, image of Willy Wonka or rapier-like jab.

Go

This has never been an effective persuasion tool.

No matter how smart you think you are, and no matter how clever your delivery; odds are at least one-third of the universe thinks you (and your opinions) are equivalent to the hind-end of some slovenly livestock. […]

ties

A Few Things Everyone Should Know About: Ties

Ties, so simple yet so misunderstood.

Welcome to the latest episode of “A Few Things Every Man Should Know About:” Every week this series will cover 3-4 interesting facts on a single topic.

This week we’re talking about ties.

No matter what you think you know – take a few minutes and have a look, you just might learn something. Even if you don’t, you’ll at least confirm that you already know a lot, which is always good for the ego. In the comments section, tell us topics you’d like to see covered. If you have info to add, please share that too.

This series is meant to start conversations, not just be a pile of facts

So, again this week we talk about Ties. Believe it or not, you could look even better than you already do. Watch, listen & learn!

[…]

meat

A Few Things Everyone Should Know About: Meat

Welcome to the latest episode of A Few Things Everyone Should Know About. This week we’re talking about… meat.

Every week this series will cover 3-to-4 interesting facts on a single topic.No matter what you think you know – take a few minutes and have a look, you just might learn something.

Even if you don’t, you’ll at least confirm that you already know a lot, which is always good for the ego.In the comments section, tell us topics you’d like to see covered. If you have info to add, please share that too.

This series is meant to start conversations, not just be a pile of facts

This week we talk about meat. So, grab a fork and prepare to fire up the grill. We look forward to seeing you back here next week. And be sure and download the cheat sheet beneath the video. […]

cars

A Few Things Everyone Should Know About: Cars

Two months ago, I began writing for a very popular website called The Good Men Project. My submissions have met with some success, but with their millions of readers, I was hoping for a little more traction.

I took some time, and did a little soul searching on how I could… do what I do, but at the same time rise above the noise. As is my custom, I came up with a clever approach and below you can see the result.

Since the website on which these pieces are initially published is The Good MEN Project, the series titles are man focused, but the information is useful for men, women, and everything in between. […]

The Student Stock Market

This piece was originally published in 2015, but as we head into the 2016 season of state testing, our children and their teachers are under tremendous pressure to focus more on test scores than actual learning. At every opportunity, tell anyone who will listen that our schools, our kids and our future deserve better.


Regular readers of this blog know that I have not lived what people would call a “standard” life. That said, I’m going to show you that there is no such thing.

Over the last several years, the issues of standardized testing and common core curriculum in our schools have risen to the top of the public conversation.

On one side of the argument is the desire to measure both student achievement and teacher performance. Politicians love this because it gives them data to support declarations of “look what I did” when numbers are up, and conversely “look what you did” (directed at teachers & administrators) when numbers are down. […]

Never Buy Expensive Cables (or cheap ones)

I had an experience with my wife’s car the other day that reminded me about this piece from 2014. I have updated the information and prices to be current for 2016. The bottom line (as I state below) is… it is ALWAYS the cable.


In 2016, you can walk into any Best Buy (or other similar store), and buy a 35”, HD, LCD, LED, Widescreen, Flat Panel television for less than $200. (The one above is only $199.) It hangs on your wall and weighs sixteen pounds. In 1996, I paid $2,000 for 35”, Square, Tube, Low-definition television that weighed more than 200 pounds. This is an amazing example of technological advancement, and price reduction, in fewer than two decades, especially when you consider that the $2,000 spent in 1996 has a 2014 value equivalent of $2,932. (you can look up that kind of thing HERE) […]

president

Dr. Seuss For President

Below is a piece I first published almost two years ago. However, it is perhaps more relevant today than it was back then. I have updated it slightly, but the point is exactly the same.

One day I was driving my daughter to her job volunteering at the hospital. As we drove, we ended up stopping at a light where we were positioned on a bridge over an Interstate.  As we sat, a stream of traffic coming off the Interstate crossed in front of us and then over the bridge to our left. Several of the vehicles were large trucks.

As the trucks crossed over from the land to the bridge, there was a palpable vibration in the bridge. It was strong enough that my daughter turned to me with a panicked look in here eye and said, “is the bridge going to break?” […]