Memorial Day

us-soldiers.jpgMost of this holiday will be spent enjoying a beautiful spring day with my family. However, I am taking a moment or two or three remembering those who died or were injured in war.

I am lucky. I did not have to go to war. The draft lottery was still on but I had a high number and anyway the draft was not being used by the late 1970’s. I am even luckier in that I do not even know anyone or the family of anyone killed or injured in the wars in Afganistan or Iraq.

In some ways “being lucky”  makes the body counts heard on the news every day less personal, less meaningful. Yes, I would like it to stop. Personnally I am with those that believe there is no good the US can do in Iraq. Today, however is not about politics. It is about people.

The Chicago Tribune had a story about the impact of soldiers’ deaths on the remaining families. As with all good reporting the story focused on one family while sharing the larger statistics. This death broke the family apart. I can imagine this happens far more than we would like to think –or think about.

Take a moment or two.

Dilbert Stole My Idea

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OK. This needs some explanation, a willingness to follow some circumstantial evidence and a leap of faith.

It all started on May 12. Based on frustrations at work I had penned I was a Living Dilbert Cartoon. The post immediately prior was Head Exploding.

Three days later Frank at KnowHR referenced my Dilbert post in his We Put The “Cult” In Culture. If you click on this link you will see that Scott Adams himself left a message indicating that he would read my post. While Scott left no message here at 48Facets, I am sure he read this blog and chuckled if not outright guffawed.

On May 25, the Dilbert above appears. OK. The punchline is not mine but what about the whole exploding head thing.

I find Scott Adams to be a genius at capturing the dark realities of the workplace in an amazingly funny way. I am honored just to believe that I might have contributed to a strip– regardless of the lack of direct evidence. Now I will be watching to see if he uses my Dilbert like story line. That would be tres cool.

Scott. Mr. Adams. If you are out there. Show give me a sign.

50 + 50 = Priceless

p5190061.jpgFifty plus fifty does not always equal 100. Not when you are contemplating the lives of Lorin and Lesley. These identical twins recently celebrated 50 years each of livening up the planet. That is priceless.

These two are as close as sisters can be. The love they share make many of the rest of us jealous that we do not have a twin in our lives. And yes they are very much alike. The look alike. It took me awhile to know which one I was speaking to– much to their pleasure. They talk alike. I mean not only do they sound similar they TALK. English, French, Italian, no matter the language it is hard to get a word in edgewise. I experienced Lorin before Lesley and at first the whirlwind nature of the encounter was tough to take. I learned to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Eventually, I discovered that dialogue existed for the patient. And it was interesting and excited  and personal. All the things I look for in a conversation.

They go a mile a minute. Few people, other than my wife, can keep up. It is through my wife that I became friends with the two of them. Lorin was a college roommate of my wife.  The sisters keep in touch with each other several times a day even though Lorin is in Chicago and Lesley lives in Rome.

For all there similarities they are not exactly the same. Sure there are subtle physical differences but I am not referring to appearance. Lesley is the consummate marketer and entrepreneur. She moves from one endeavor to another with astonishing ease. Lorin has been a French teacher at a private school for many years. Beyond just teaching, she has established a niche that has her on the speaking circuit all over the world.

The same yet different. Different and yet the same. Somehow one and more than two all at the same time. I have had the pleasure of being in their circles for only a decade or so. I would not have missed the experience for anything.

Happy Birthday! Priceless!

Pigs on Junk Food

gaiv.gifI am referring to actual brutes as opposed to human gluttons. Apparently, given the high price of corn, pigs and cattle are being fed all sorts of fattening foods. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, these animals are beeing fed trail mix, cookies, licorice, CHEESE CURLS, french fries and peanut butter cups. Sometimes this mixture is mixed with chocolate powder. Yum.

These “foods” have replaced the traditional meal of corn, soybean meal, fat and vitamins. The feeders only seem to care about getting weight on the animals at as low a cost as possible. I don’t completely blame them. I am sure that raising livestock is a tough business.

On the other hand, I have got to believe that this trend cannot be good for those of us who consume these consumers of junk food. I have enough extra weight and high cholesterol from the junk food I intake directly. I gotta believe that beef and pork are less nutritious when the animals eat more cookies than I do.

Where are the Douglas’ of Green Acres when you need them?

Eye of the Beholder

Beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder. Some prefer brunettes over blondes, some prefer abstract paintings over classics, or the poetry of a great basketball team over a golf swing. You get the picture.

The same holds true for blog posts. The topics and/or writing style that pleases the senses of one may be of little interest to another.  As I was discussing the rather modest readership of this blog as compared to that of some of my friends’creations, one of my readers surmised that writing about my bike rides, as personally important as they might be, may not be as interesting as other blogger’s topics. Almost any other blogger.

Once I realized that withholding sex would hurt me as much as this reader, I decided that punishing the messenger is not helpful. So instead, I am looking for more feedback. If all 3 of you that read this regularly blog along with the 25 or so that check in occasionally would share your thoughts about what you like best it would be much appreciated.

I am a person who likes feedback. However, since I follow my own path, I often don’t use the advice I get but I like to hear it anyway. So fire away.

A Tough 35

I have this dream, fueled by memories from not so long ago, that I am biking on a sunny day with the temps in the low 70s. I am more than half way through my planned 50 mile ride when due to an adrenaline rush caused by the beautiful weather and legs that still feel strong, I turn from my typical north/south route and head west adding 10 miles to the total. Awhile later I am pushing the last mile feeling tired but in that good I accomplished something today kind of way. I get home, shower, and my family and I head for a picnic where I play with my son for awhile and then doze off with the warm sun on my face.

Yesterday the temps hit 80 but I was too busy to ride. Anyway, I reserve Sunday mornings for this pleasure. Today was in the 40s with a strong wind in my face for the first 18 miles and the last 2. It was overcast and the gods decided to drop some rain on me from time to time.

Some days I ride for the pure pleasure of riding. Other days I ride so that I will be in shape to enjoy the former. Today was such a day.

Mother’s Day was Sunday

Mother’s Day can be, how to best say it, an interesting day. My wife has had high expectations that her loving son and husband will demonstrate their love on this day. The expectations early in our life together had been, how best to say it, challenging to meet. For many years it was up to me to meet them given that a young child can not go and buy presents on his own and will rarely be good at planning the day or making brunch reservations. Success in meeting those expectations was, how best to say it, rare. But that was then.

This year my wife asked us to plan a fun day, make a card and buy something that my son picks out.  (All his life he has had better taste in gifts for his mom than I have.) We even got off easy on the gift since there was a dress she had fallen in love with that we eagerly purchased. 

Extremely reasonable expectations this year by any standards. And yet, leaving the responsibility in the hands of a 16 year old boy can test the most patient father –whoever that may be since it is no longer me. Somehow we not only survived but thrived.

Much of the day was spend on bikes. First riding to a new place for breakfast. Then an attempt to ride downtown, cut short when one of us was less than enthusiastic. Some miniature golf and batting cages followed by stuffed spinach pizza for dinner. Then the piece de resistance!

My son came through with a beautifully written card. It included a picture of his mother and him when he was about 3. Tears of joy. Then more tears of joy when we unveiled last year’s photo montage that apparently we never got around to sharing with her. A fine end to a lovely day.

Several days later I finally learn to download picture from my digital camera–yes it was incredibly easy– and here we are. Below is my son being a teenager on our ride. p5130036.jpg