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. […]

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 free 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. […]

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. […]

question

Answer The Damn Question!

In High School and College, we used to write essay tests in something called “Blue Books.” If you’re unfamiliar, a Blue Book is basically sixteen pages of lined paper with a light blue cover used to keep test answers in a tidy package.

My High School A.P. American History teacher taught me a valuable lesson, but it was not something you could ever find in a textbook. One day before an essay test, he explained to our class, that even though the grading of an essay appears to be subjective, the truth of the matter is the opposite. […]

Who Wants To Be In My New Book?

Every so often I run across a story of true selflessness. These are stories about people who go above and beyond to “do the right thing,” even though for many reasons it doesn’t make sense.

You all know the kind of story I am talking about. Someone sees an opportunity to help someone or something, and despite the risks to his or her own well being, reputation or personal safety, they plow ahead and do it anyway.

My next book is tentatively titled There’s Less Traffic on the High Road and it will be filled with stories like this – stories of risk, reward, noble kindness and ultimately human triumph. I have several tales ready to tell, but this is where I need your help. […]

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. […]

The Thing We’re Finally Talking About

This is a piece I wrote last spring, but I believe it may be more relevant now than it was when it was first published on The Good Men Project.


More so than any other time in my life, racism is at the forefront of the national conversation. I was born in 1968, the year Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. By the time I became self-aware in the early seventies, things had calmed down some, and throughout my formative years, racism as a societal topic was less prominent.

I have been giving this topic a lot of thought recently and three specific snapshots from my life come to mind. I do not have answers. My goal is simply to keep the conversation out where we can seek solutions together.

I am a 48-year-old white male, who grew up in an upper-middle-class household. My ancestry is 50% Swedish (mother’s side) and 50% Armenian (father’s side.) Both sides of my family immigrated to the USA in the late 19th century. […]

Best

Fiona Knows Best

About five years ago, my friend Fiona moved to South Dakota. She and I became friends working together on a local TV show almost a decade before, and we would get together maybe once a year for lunch, that was at least until she moved. Fiona is one of those people who you don’t see often, but when you do you’re able to pick up right were you left off, as if no time had passed at all.

Two years ago, I was driving back to Rochester from a day in Buffalo and my phone rang. It was Fiona, and she said, “Hey Steve. I have this new philosophy about far away friends. Whenever I think about them I don’t wait, I just pick up the phone and call or text them. I was thinking about you a few minutes ago so here I am giving you a call. How are you?”

We chatted for fifteen minutes, about nothing in particular, and went on with our lives… 1,500 miles apart.

[…]

neighborhood

Sourdough Starter

As many of you know, my family recently moved from Upstate NY to Charlotte, NC. One of the hardest things for us to leave was our amazing neighborhood. Sure the houses were nice and the streets were well maintained, but people are what make up a neighborhood, and what we left was simply the best there is.

I am not a baker. That said, I do know a little bit about making bread, and the history of the practice. As you scan the shelves at you local grocery store and marvel at the variety of choices before you, it is important to understand how bread today is very different than it was 100 years ago, and all the time before that. […]

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. […]

waffles

Waffles Are For Breakfast

The other day I dropped my eleventh-grader off to take the PSAT. As we drove the mile and a half to the high school, I blurted out the one thing I remember from my SAT prep course thirty years ago. “Scan-Discard-Select-Move On.”

In addition to all the content we covered, this was the lion’s share of the strategy I was taught, to conquer this all-important measure of my seventeen-year-old brain.

After exclaiming the one thing I remembered from three decades past, my daughter (as is often the case) looked at me like the alien creature she believes me to be. However after wiping the sour look off her face she asked, “tell me more about that.” […]

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. […]