Archive for March, 2012

Yesterday after noon I had work to do in one city over. I stopped, for a late lunch, at a great restaurant in the city. The restaurant was called “The Distillery“. If you are ever in Savannah GA, do yourself a favor and have a meal at this restaurant. Even if you are not a beer aficionado I think you will be surprised by the rich menu and wonderful ambiance, at least I was (and I was only eating lunch).  Earlier in the week I had lost my work cell phone and my personal cell phone is suffering from a dead battery.

For a full week now I have gone without a phone. This was not a large problem because I have been for this week with at least one or two friends and of course a laptop or I pad. Having this type of company one tends to never really feel disconnected. However yesterday at my late lunch I found myself after finishing my delicious meal sitting at an empty table by myself unconnected. I sat there after lunch waiting for an appointment that was to be had across the street and watched the city of Savannah GA. I participated in a phrase that I heard an old army buddy call “people watching”.

A few years back there was an interview with the actor Matthew Broderick, during this interview the topic of the Actors wife and her work came up. Matthew Broderick during the time of the interview and I believe still today was married to Sarah Jessica Parker. Sarah Jessica Parker was a star in the HBO hit Sex and the City.   The show was a run away hit about three girl friends in New York city, finding love and loosing love and staying friends through all of it. When Matthew spoke about his wife’s show and talked a little about the city. He mentioned that the show was filmed in New York and that the city had an energy and a vibe to it and he felt that along with, of course, the actors talent had a lot to do with the wild success of the show. Yesterday at lunch, despite being unconnected, I felt connected to that “vibe”, in the sleepy town of Savannah GA. 

Being “always on”, or “plugged in” has its pros and cons. I love turning on my I pad and seeing all the news stories and twitter feeds in real-time it’s really great but sometimes it can change from great to a distraction from what is going on right in front of us. Our cities are changing for better or for worse.

I think one of the best descriptions I have ever read of a city comes from Neil Shusterman in his book Downsiders. 

“Cities are never random.
No matter how chaotic they might seem, everything about them grows out of a need to solve a problem. In fact, a city is nothing more than a solution to a problem, that in turn creates more problems that need more solutions, until towers rise, roads widen, bridges are built, and millions of people are caught up in a mad race to feed the problem-solving, problem-creating frenzy.”
Neal Shusterman, Downsiders

So when you get the chance, take the opportunity to disconnect, do some people watching and maybe check out one of Neal’s books.

 

 

peace

john3c

Advertisements

So this morning I was putting on some new shoes. I really like these shoes they are blue and black and just look great! OK so take the shoes out the box, lace them up, and start to put them on my feet. As I begin to put the shoes on my feet I am faced with the unanswerable question… Which foot gets the shoe first. Besides the much appropriate worry about OCD another thought enters the mind. I have heard it said “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”.  Now before you mention it, I know that this is a part of a scripture in the bible that references giving and the danger of boosting about your charity. I hope no one felt that I was doing that in yesterday’s post. I really feel that I do not give enough, but this morning I thought about my left and right foot (and no I am not going to get checked out for any mental illness I happen to like my meandering thoughts in the wee morning hours), and I thought what if we really didn’t let our left foot or hand know what our right one was doing. What if we allowed our body to conduct itself in a compartmentalized way?

Then we may have problems. The brain would send messages to the appendage like the feet and they, like a strong-willed cat, may or may not obey.  I watched this movie when I was a kid called “Airplane”, funny movie starring Leslie Nelson.  One of the movies characters developed a drinking problem. The characters drinking problem was demonstrated when he tried to drink a glass of water and  he would miss his mouth and spill it on his shirt. I imagine if all our systems of the body keep secrets and developed conflicting personalities this is how we might look. A shirt soaked in whatever liquid we were trying to consume and a walk that would make Dr. Frankensteins’ monster look like he had the grace of Fred Astaire. You laugh or maybe you aren’t laughing(I know the jokes weren’t that funny), but this is what happens sometimes in a family or a company. We forget that despite being an individual we are a part of something bigger. It is easy on a journey to self-awareness to become selfish. Ask any parent with a teenager in the home and I am sure they will tell you that this line is crossed by their child everyday and it is the parents job to remind them of the family as a composite.

We are all part of this great big juxtaposition on “Mothership Earth” (O and by the way, Led Zeppelin rocks!) and the ride (for everyone) will be much smoother if we do not keep secrets and just work together. So Left foot, I know these shoes rock and maybe you wanted to be the first one to wear them and I am sorry but hey first isn’t always best. Everyone one else let’s all be cool and work together

peace

john3c

I know this post title is nothing new. It really isn’t we all know “it is better to give than receive”, but really is it always better to give than receive. I mean think back to the best gift you ever received. Ok so are you there? You are 16 and standing in the drive way looking at a brand new Mustang right? Maybe not but there are moments and gifts were you wer given something special and life changing and as in a mother or fathers case there are moments were you are given the gift and awesome responsibility of a life. 

Now that we have done that let’s think back to the most rewarding experience you have had giving something away. Someone at work mentioned a party where his wife gave the party guest of honor a family bible. Upon opening  the gift the guest of honor broke into tears (happy tears) this was probably one of the most rewarding gift giving events she had experienced that year.

So now that you have both  moments drawn to your conscious thought. Let’s revisit the old axiom “is it better to give than receive?” Tough call huh. My dad would tell me that if I am not enjoying giving more than receiving I need to give more and I would immediately laugh him off. Despite my laughs the guy was right.

Giving is one of those things that gets easier and becomes more fulfilling with repetition and with repetition giving, makes a notable difference. Want to see an end to poverty, violence and pestilence in your city-state country? Start giving.

I recently ran across an article accompanied by an interesting graphic, which showed both in word and picture the disparities in giving based on the income classes and it seems that the lowest class gives away the largest portion of their income. I want to believe that this amount is due in part,  to  the fact that the poor see the immediate effect of their giving in the community they live in and in turn experience the gift of giving more quickly that the rich. Poor or rich there is nothing wrong with giving and if it doesn’t feel better than receiving maybe we aren’t doing enough?? so give, not until it hurts, but at least till it feels good.  

 

peace

john3c

So I am not sure how long you have been reading my posts here on the internet but I made a promise, some time ago, to not use any sports analogies. I am not going to break that promise, however anyone who knows me will tell you I am a huge sports fan so I will not use a sports analogy but I will let you know what happened the other day while I was watching a college football game.

Enter my living room I believe it was two years ago. It was Saturday afternoon I had a bag of chips bowl full of dip and my little dog was quietly sitting at the foot of my coach enjoying the breeze from a box fan, college football was on tv, it was the perfect afternoon. I started watching the game and immediately noticed that one teams jersey had nothing where a player’s name would be and the other had something that wasn’t a name.

The lack of a name on college jerseys is not exclusive, many schools do that however replacing a name with something else was and is unique.  The names on the jerseys for The Maritime college in Brooklyn New York had been replaced with values the coach felt the team should learn and extol. The values were, from what I can remember, integrity, honesty, loyalty and duty.

This story is brought to my memory because of a rumor I heard on a radio show. The rumor says  that the NFL is considering renting out space on players jerseys to business. Basically making a player a walking billboard.  This got me to thinking about the Jersey and what was on them which made me think about coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes and what he did to his players jerseys. If I had to choose between seeing players names and commercials for shoes on a jersey, or a virtue. I think I would choose the virtue.

I mean what is more important.. who you are or how you live? 

 

peace

john3c

So this quote… I am not sure who first made it. I have, heard and read,  many different claims for it but, most recently, the most famous person to make this quote was Steve Jobs. Steve was the co-founder of one of the most successful tech companies ever Apple computers. Apple computer scientist and researchers in the early years of the tech companies founding visited a research facility for the Xerox company. During their visit the team of  researchers, (I so wanted to use the term nerd or eggheads there) were shown the graphic user interface for a computer as well as a mouse pointing device and many other amazing ideas. A graphic user interface is basically a computer desktop.

The scientist went back to Apple, armed with new ideas and concepts, and created the Macintosh  computer. The Macintosh  computer changed the world.  The scientist at Xerox came out with a computer at the same time as the Macintosh computer. The Xerox computer was more expensive and cumbersome it was developed for business use and was a complete flop. The Macintosh did not flop it flourished.

“Great Artist steal.”  I was recently told that ” there are idea men and there are men who put ideas into practice.” This is a statement I have to maybe disagree with or in a pleasant twist I will steal this statement and change it.  Ok so here it goes: “there are men who have ideas and there are men who have ideas and execute those ideas.” An idea is not a pc. An idea is a seed and without the water soil sun the seed will rot away. I am sure you heard all the analogies and stories concerning the seeds and the sowers and reapers so let me  end this here with this new quote.

“Great artists steal and that’s cool.”

 

 

 

 

peace

john3c

“Can you climb all the way to the top?” I was halfway up the playground structure at a park, whose name I vaguely remember and think was called the “Halgrene park”, in Cleveland Ohio. I looked at my dad in shock at not only his ok but request that I a 9-year-old, do something, I was sure would make my mom cringe. My mom wasn’t a “helicopter parent” but she was protective and I just knew there was no way she would sign off on this so I was that much more eager to shimmy to the top of the structure. “Yeah, I can hang on” I climbed as fast as I could to the top of the equipment and while on my knees looked down at the beam which crossed a dirt filled expanse and had a chain with a tire connected hanging from it in its middle. All of a sudden the beam got much smaller and the height I was perched much higher. I wasn’t frozen with fear, but I was maybe stunned and locked in a knees bent crawling position (which I would be hard pressed to duplicate today).  My dad told me to stand and cross the beam. I stood and immediately,  let my dad know that the structure was shaking and assumed my position of fear again. My dad standing arms crossed in the expanse of  dirt let me know that it wasn’t shaking and I should stand again I did and I crossed the beam. 

Dad pulled my cub scouts book out of his back pocket and marked off a check list item in the back that said to cross a 2 inch balance beam. Now I am sure that the BSA (a great organization by the way) did not intend for its members to cross a beam suspended 6 feet above the ground, but it worked and I got the badge.

I learned two things that day one was that dad would never allow me to use the words I can’t and the other (and this is a creed I still believe and try to live by) is  that with the proper amount of knowledge hard work and time you can accomplish anything.

 

peace

john3c

In 1980 while on the “Triumph” tour the king of pop, Michael Jackson donned a single white glove which would live on in pop music lore for what seems forever. There are many reasons swirling around as to why Mike wore the glove. Some say it was because of the skin disease, vitiligo showing up in his gloved hand while on tour. Later in his life the skin disease would creep to all parts of his body. Whatever the reason Mikes glove raised some eyebrows and made quite the impact. The glove along with red leather zippered jackets sold out of stores nationwide.

Over the last week I have noticed some other gloves on the hands on many people in public places. Bus stations, airports even the local school board employees. I am tempted to remind these individuals of the power of soap, however I refrain from this because, I have realized that what others see as neurosis is simply construed as good hygiene. 

Seeing the gloved hands got me to thinking about life though. After leaving my parents home and venturing out on my own into the wild I wanted to life a full rich life. As I got older I realized life could get messy and I wanted a clean and ordered life. Now that I am yet a “little” older, I am beginning to realize that there is no such thing as clean and sanitized. We can wear all the gloves we want and try to control everything but we will realize this control is nothing more than a facade.  The good thing is that despite how messy and dirty life gets we will always have soap.

This is a picture of a MJ action figure I took from another blog

peace

john3c