Archive for June, 2009

30
Jun
09

Just Before Dinner

It was dinner time, as it always is, when the “invader” called. The
conversation went like this:

Me: Hello?

Him: Hello… this is Jeff, with Florida Power & Light.

Me: I’m sorry, who did you say?

Him: This is Jeff, with Florida Power & Light and we would like to ask you a few questions about your
local power company.

Me: Well, I’m getting ready to eat dinner right now.

Him: This will only take a few minutes of your time.

Me: Ok, I’ll talk to you until my dinner is ready.

Him: Ok, fair enough… Do you know the name of your local power
company?

Me: I think so.

Him: What is the name.

Me: You aren’t a spy for them are you?

Him: No, sir.

Me: How do I know that?

Him: Well, I’m just not.

Me: Who do you work for?

Him: Florida Power & Light.

Me: Can I have your word on that?

Him: Absolutely, sir.

Me: Ok, I get this bill every month from Florida Power & Light. I suspect that they would be my power company.

Him: And do you know the location of their closest nuclear power plant.

Me: Closest to you or closest to me?

Him: To you.

Me: Yes.

Him: How far away is it from you?

Me: At least a days walk.

Him: About how many miles is that?

Me: It was forty the last time I walked it.

Him: If I were to ask you how you feel about the nuclear facility
being so close to you, would you answer:

A I don’t like it at all,
B I somewhat don’t like it.
C It doesn’t matter to me
D I somewhat like it.
E I like it.

Me: I don’t know. Why don’t you ask me?

Him: I just did.

Me: No you said, “If I were to ask you.”

Him: Well, let’s just say I asked you, what would your answer be?

Me: I asked you, what would your answer be.

Him: What?

Me: You said, “Say, I asked you what would your answer be.”

Him: Actually, no… I wanted you to answer the question.

Me: What was the question?

Him: How do you feel about the nuclear facility being so close to you,
would your answer be:

A I don’t like it at all
B I somewhat don’t like it
C It doesn’t matter to me
D I somewhat like it
E I like it.

Me: It doesn’t matter to you.

Him: No, how do you feel about it.

Me: About what?

Him: The nuclear power plant being so close to you.

Me: I don’t know.

Him: Would that be the same as ” It doesn’t matter to me?”

Me: I don’t know, how do you feel about it?

Him: No sir, I meant would your saying that you don’t know mean the
same as you saying that it doesn’t matter to you?

Me: No, my saying “I don’t know” would mean the same as me saying, “I
don’t know.”

Him: Ok, do you know what they do with their waste?

Me: I think they flush it down the toilet.

Him: What do they do with the nuclear waste?

Me: I don’t know.

Him: If you found out that they had plans to bury it in your backyard,
would you:

A Be angry
B Be concerned
C Not be concerned
D Be “OK” with it.

Me: If they buried it in my backyard they’d have to be pretty sneaky,
because someone is here most of the time and one of us would see them.
Well what do you know! Supper is ready! I have to go! Bye!

I had my fun and hung up. How simple can you get? Thinking that this
was the end of my dealings with the Florida Power & Light, I ate my dinner and had a relaxing and enjoyable evening…

However, my path would cross that of the Florida Power & Light again in the near future…

The next evening the phone rang again. Guess who? The conversation went
something like this:

Me: Hello?

Him: This is Rodney at the Florida Power & Light. How are you this evening sir?

Me: I’m fine. Didn’t you people call me yesterday?

Him: Yes, sir, we did… and that’s why I’m calling this evening. I’d
like to ask you a few questions about the questionnaire you took
yesterday. Is that ok?

Me: Well, I’m right in the middle of sorting my paper clips right now,
and I have an 8pm deadline to cut my toenails.

Him: This will only take a minute.

Me: I’ll start the clock.

Him: Ok sir… was our representative courteous in his presentation of
the questions.

Me: What are my choices?

Him: Choices?

Me: Well, the guy I talked to yesterday gave me choices to pick from.

Him: Oh, I see… Well, just give me you best recollection.

Me: I have a lot of them. It’s difficult to pick just one recollection.

Him: I was referring to last night.

Me: Oh! Ok! Dinner was great!

Him: Very funny, sir. You have quite the sense of humor. Haha! Was the
person you talked with last night nice to you?

Me: No choices, huh?

Him: Haha! No choices.

Me: I would say he was mostly nice.

Him: Did you have any trouble understanding the way he presented the
questions.

Me: No but some of the questions were confusing.

Him: So the way he presented the questions confused you?

Me: No, I understood the way, it was the questions that confused me.

Him: I don’t understand.

Me: If I were to ask how do you feel about the way you don’t
understand, would you answer:

A I don’t have a clue at all
B I mostly don’t have a clue
C I somewhat don’t have a clue
D I don’t know what a clue is.

Him: (click)

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23
Jun
09

Today

Today as a I awoke to the normal South Florida thunderstorm and my sweet dog shaking with fear, I dreamed of how my newborn first granddaughter looked. Then as normal I went to check my emails and not only was there a email from my son but pictures of our newest family member.

My excited fingers immediately started clicking the mouse to see all of them. I suddenly stopped on one picture of my son holding his small, fragile and beautiful little girl.

I was overwhelmed with joy, warmth, delight and amazement. Suddenly I saw my son and my new granddaughter together. As tears filled my eyes I smiled…and remembered the first time I saw my son as a newborn. That feeling has never left me and I am sure it will never leave him.

It seems no matter what age they are now, you will never forget the first time you held your child. I have not forgotten that moment with both of my sons.

Now I look forward to creating another image with my granddaughter. A great chapter in my “Book of Life.”

18
Jun
09

A Letter To My Son

Dear Jason,

I write this to you because you are on the doorstep of an ever changing part of your life. You have endured many things so far; lost to some and defeated others. But now there is a chapter in your Book of Life that will change you forever.

That Chapter is entitled ” Now You Are A Dad”

As your mind travels through this chapter you will be filled with overwhelming moments of the first time you saw her face. The first time you touched her fragile tiny body. A sense of protector, defender and champion will fill you like rain from the sky…and you won’t want to come in from the rain. You will dance in it as I did.

You see for the next many years you will reap the love and the life you get from her. You will hold her high in the eyes of God and lead her to the best you pray she will be.

But you will also have to deal with the pain. Because life is not without pain, sadness, disappointment and tears. You will make it through those dark days just as I did because you are a child of God.

This part of the Life Story brings emotions and feelings that will be your memories forever. This chapter brings fear, laughter and above all responsibility. Now that you have been given great responsibility, you have been asked to hold the commission of being a Dad. Not just a Father…but a Dad.

Now you must wash dirty hands and faces. you will pick out dresses, post drawings on the refrigerator, attend birthday parties and soccer games on cold Saturday mornings. You are required to meet her teachers, check her homework and hopefully approve of boyfriends.

You must teach her to walk in the footsteps of right and wrong. You will pick here up when she falls…physically and spiritually. You applaud her when she does something right and you guide her when she has done something wrong. But more than anything you tell her you love her.

She will  make you smile, even laugh, undoubtedly question, always wonder, sometimes cry, continually pray and often become confused and exasperated. But that’s all part of your job.

Respect that job.

Do that job even if you are tired from work, hurt by her words, angry at someone or seemingly defeated by the world. The only pay you will ever receive is an “I love you Dad.” And that’s worth the effort.

14
Jun
09

What I Have Learned From Life & Friends

I’ve Learned- that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

I’ve learned- that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.

I’ve learned- that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

I’ve learned- that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I’ve learned- that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.

I’ve learned- that you should never ruin an apology with an excuse.

I’ve learned- that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something.

I’ve learned- that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do.

I’ve learned- that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I’ve learned- that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I’ve learned- that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I’ve learned- that you can keep going long after you can’t.

I’ve learned- that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I’ve learned- that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I’ve learned- that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I’ve learned- that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I’ve learned- that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I’ve learned- that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I’ve learned- that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I’ve learned- that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I’ve learned- that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I’ve learned- that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I’ve learned- that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I’ve learned- that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.

I’ve learned- that your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t biological.

I’ve learned- that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you are to learn to forgive yourself.

I’ve learned- that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I’ve learned- that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I’ve learned- that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

I’ve learned- that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I’ve learned- that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I’ve learned- that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I’ve learned- that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I’ve learned- that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.

I’ve learned- that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I’ve learned- that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I’ve learned- that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I’ve learned- that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings, and standing up for what you believe.

I’ve learned- that people will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

And finally…I’ve learned God is very forgiving. I had to believe and ask Him.

13
Jun
09

While traveling I am always taken by what some people write on the walls of public bathrooms. This great realm of overlooked art form is alive and well. However, I wonder if these same prolific ponderers write on the bathroom wall at home. Here are a few I have collected and more some friends have sent me over the years.

Actual Bathroom Graffiti

A Woman’s Rule of Thumb: If it has tires or testicles, you’re going to have trouble with it.

(Women’s restroom – Dick’s Last Resort: Dallas, Texas)

At the feast of ego, everyone leaves hungry.

(Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea: Tucson, Arizona)

Beauty is only a light switch away.

(Perkins Library – Duke University: Durham, North Carolina.)

Express Lane: Five beers or less.

(Sign over one of the urinals – Ed Debevic’s: Phoenix, AZ.)

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

(The Bayou: Baton Rouge, Louisiana.)

God is dead.           – Nietzsche

Nietzsche is dead.  – God

(The Tombs Restaurant: Washington, D.C.)

God made pot.  Man made beer.  Who do you trust?

(The Irish Times: Washington, D.C.)

If life is a waste of time, and time is a waste of life, then let’s all get wasted and have the time of our lives.

(Armand’s Pizza – Washington, D.C.)

If pro is opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress?  CONGRESS!

(Men’s restroom – House of Representatives: Washington, D.C.)

If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

(Revolution Books: New York, New York)

It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.

(Written in the dust on the back of a bus: Wickenburg, Arizona)

I’ve decided that to raise my grades I must lower my standards.

(Houghton Library – Harvard University: Cambridge, Massachusetts.)

Make love, not war.   Hell, do both, get married!

(Women’s restroom – The Filling Station: Bozeman, Montana)

No matter how good she looks, some other guy is sick and tired of putting up with her shit.

(Men’s Room – Linda’s Bar and Grill: Chapel Hill, North Carolina.)

No wonder you always go home alone.

(Sign over mirror in Men’s restroom – Ed Debevic’s: Beverly Hills, CA.)

Remember, it’s not “How high are you?” – it’s “Hi, how are you?”

(Rest stop off Route 81, WV.)

The best way to a man’s heart is to saw his breast plate open.

(Women’s restroom – Murphy’s: Champaign, IL.)

To do is to be.       – Descartes

To be is to do. – Voltaire

Do be do be do. – Frank Sinatra

(Men’s restroom – Greasewood Flats: Scottsdale, Arizona)

You’re too good for him.

(Sign over mirror in Women’s restroom – Ed Debevic’s: Beverly Hills, CA.)

As a man I am glad to see that this form of expression isn’t limited to the men’s room only. Thank you ladies.

My favorite was on a wall at a club in Dallas, Texas many years ago. The management had the foresight to make the bathroom walls out of chalk board. So with hundreds of sayings, names, slanders and off color humor, someone had wiped a large space in the middle of it all and wrote the following in large block letters.

THIS WALL SOON TO BE OUT IN PAPERBACK

11
Jun
09

You Have The Right To Remain Apathetic.

A senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is accusing the Obama administration of quietly ordering the FBI to start reading Miranda rights to suspected terrorists at U.S. military detention facilities in Afghanistan.

The move is reportedly creating chaos in the field among the CIA, FBI and military personnel, according to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich. The soldiers, especially, he says, are frustrated that giving high value detainees Miranda rights — the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney — is impeding their ability to pursue intelligence on the battlefield, according to a story first reported by the Weekly Standard.

“What I found was lots of confusion and very frustrated people on the front lines who are trying to, well, make Afghanistan successful for the United States and its allies,” said Rogers, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.

Rogers, a former FBI special agent who served in the U.S. Army, just returned from Afghanistan and a visit to Bagram Air Base, where he said the rights are being read.

“I witnessed it myself, talked to the people on the ground,” he said. “What you have is two very separate missions colliding in the field in a combat zone. Again, anytime that you offer confusion in that environment that’s already chaotic and confusing enough, you jeopardize a soldier’s life.”

U.S. commanders told FOX News soldiers are not reading Miranda rights to detainees, but those commanders could not speak to whether the FBI was doing so. The practice has not been instituted at detention facilities in Iraq or at Guantanamo Bay, according to U.S. senior military officials.

Asked if the Obama administration had ordered that Miranda rights be read to certain detainees, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, “I have no reason to disbelieve a member of Congress. But I don’t know any of the circumstances that are involved around it.”

But Gibbs acknowledged that it wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that it was happening

Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd denied there has been a policy change covering detainees.

“There has been no policy change nor blanket instruction for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas,” he said in a statement, adding, “While there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas, at both Bagram and in other situations, in order to preserve the quality of evidence obtained, there has been no overall policy change with respect to detainees.”

Some senators wonder what would have happened if Khaled Sheikh Mohammad, a self-confessed architect of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, had been read his Miranda rights.

“I’d be very concerned if we’re sending FBI agents over to Bagram Air Base in the middle of a military operation to start reading Miranda rights to detainees caught on the battlefield,

“Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said.

Reprinted from Fox News

11
Jun
09

Tough finding a job?

Everyone knows the economic times are very difficult. People have been fired, laid off, riffed or whatever you want to call it. But whatever the term…they don’t have a job.

Recently a friend was just given notice that her job at United Way would be cut. Her last day will be June 30th. Today she emailed me to say she was picked up by another organization and will get to go straight to work without any time off. Of course I was excited for her because she is a friend.

However, a little bit of jealousy crept in when I heard of her new found fortune. You see the company I was with, as Vice President of Marketing, closed in September of 2008 and I have been unemployed ever since. Oh, don’t say, “You could get a job if you look hard enough.” Well today I have applied for over 2,600 position and received only five interviews.

Three of the five positions were for executive positions and I interviewed all the way to the president of each company. After the interviews I waited and waited for an answer as to the status. In each case I never received anything as an answer. The only way I knew I did not get the job was to call and ferret out an answer.

Which brings me to my main point. What has happened to common courtesy in the workplace? Not at just an executive level, but all levels.

I hear from many people that they never got a notice after they interviewed…at any level. I may be very old fashioned but common courtesy should not be something that we as a civilized society lets die. Other than the ability to accessorize, civilized behavior is what sets us apart from animals.

Although Human Resource is not there to find an applicant but to disqualify applicants, they should at the least have a system to notify those applicants that have a face-to-face interview.

I still send in the applications, attend networking events, utilize Twitter, Linkedin.com and all of the other methods of personal contacts, nothing seems to create results. Whether it is skills set, ethnicity, age or whatever the reason I am not hired, at least give me some feeback as to why. It might help me and rebirth sensibility of politeness in others which just might let your conscience know you “did the right thing.”