Prayers For (Insert City)

6 10 2017

“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.” ~ President Barack Obama, December 16, 2012 in honor of the victims of the shootings at Sandy Hill Elementary. 

This link contains a list of the people murdered this week in Las Vegas. Take a good look now… see their faces, and read their stories. News cycles (fake or not) in 2017 are shorter, and these people will all be forgotten by the weekend. Like the names and faces of Orlando, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook.

Gone, and quickly forgotten.

We have to move on because the world is chock full of interesting stories – some that inspire, some that make you sad, and some that scare the crap out of you. North Korea will be back in the news, as well as BREAKING NEWS Russian-election-collusion stories. Khloe Kardashian’s pregnancy must be analyzed. Big World Cup Qualifier match for the USA tonight, and there’s an Eagles game this weekend! Jeez… I hope no one kneels.

My attention span is short too. When I look back on my social media this week I see posts and comments about soccer, Puerto Rico, Tom Petty, flights to Ireland… and just a few things about our President. I posted some cartoons and videos about guns too, but not to be funny.

There are lots of things going on. Who can keep up? It’s just human nature, so we should be forgiven if we can’t continue to focus on just 58 lives out 322,000,000 plus in our great country.

Umm… No.

I remember the Sandy Hook school shootings and the sadness we felt. I remember the beautiful words above from President Obama and all of the other lawmakers. And then nothing was done. Nothing. Twenty children were brutally murdered that day, and our country did nothing. Those children were just a number… like the Orlando 49, the Virginia Tech 32, and now the Vegas 58.

Are we all just numbers?

Maybe we should be honest for a change. Let’s remove those “Prayers For Las Vegas” Facebook and Twitter photos. If nothing is going to be done, we should save our prayers and good thoughts for other things.

Keep making those awesome 2nd Amendment arguments, and the classic – “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” And let’s stop the sideshow Rose Garden moments of silence by the first families because their heads are dealing with spinning policy to protect their jobs, not grief.

We should keep supporting the NRA, the gun lobby that says they support gun owners but only exist because of gun manufacturers.

Since the number of mass shootings in America is so, so offensive, let’s debate the exact amount of people dying that makes it an official “mass” shooting event. Four isn’t enough for a good statistic… ten is a better number. Problem solved!

We should be posting more clever memes about how lack of mental health care and parental discipline is the real problem, and more prayer – not gun control – will stop people from being killed.

Most importantly, we should all keep our fingers crossed that the next massacre is somewhere else. Some other person’s neighborhood or workplace. And that our friends and family members are not in the next set of numbers.

Or we can speak out.

All assault rifles, ammunition, and supplies should be illegal. Automatic, semi-automatic, bump stock, tripod, high capacity magazines… everything. Immediately. Period. It should be illegal to sell them and a crime to possess these items. If you have them, too bad. Turn them in or go to jail. It is as simple as that.

As simple as pulling a trigger.

If you disagree, please say it out loud for everyone to hear. All of your friends should know and clearly understand that you have a basic disregard for human life. Not speaking out against these dangerous weapons makes you part of the problem. I will no longer be part of the problem.

And if you are denying that this is the biggest danger we face as a country, or you are actively taking a position against gun control – that makes you a murderer.


What’s The Big Idea?

16 08 2015

I’ve recently been watching the television show “Shark Tank”. If you aren’t familiar, the show introduces entrepreneur contestants to several high-profile investors, hoping they will back their product or business.

The show is a very entertaining and compact look at how deals can get done given the right ideas and circumstances. I especially like it because of the entrepreneur’s commitment and enthusiasm for the products, and their absolute belief that it is a worthy investment.

Some of the strangest ideas in history became huge winners… like Snuggies, or the Singing Fish, or the Pet Rock. I remember years ago thinking that someone, somewhere came up with the idea for the cocktail umbrella, and probably reaped millions for the invention. Why can’t I come up with something? Anything?

During quiet moments lying in bed or on long drives, we’ve all fantasized about having that “big” idea… an invention or product that everyone wants and needs. And , of course, will make a boatload of money! For many reasons, some ideas end up being bigger than others.

1SEn6BgcThe other day I had a short conversation with Bruce Wilson. He and his wife Erin are founders of If I Need Help, a non-profit organization that provides products and services that help reunite loved ones with those who might become lost or disoriented. These are people with autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s – anyone who might have problems communicating that they are lost, or where they live. If I Need Help provides a variety of products with a QR Code that contains contact information for the person’s caregiver.

qr-code-id-keychainThe company I work for has been providing the technology they use to make the various products – name tags, patches, t-shirts, key chains, etc.  I remember when Erin first contacted us a couple of years ago, and explained the idea. Their 13-year-old son Jay has moderate to severe Autism, with limited language ability. He had gotten lost in the past, so they came up with the idea out of concern and love for him. Their “system” provided a measure of security for him and greater peace of mind for them.

QR-code-id-shoeBruce and I were talking about the business relationship, how it all started and what it has become. He said something that resonated with me… “It was just a small idea because we wanted to help our son.” But it was a tremendous idea, and one that needs to be shared to help people in similar situations. There have been so many success stories, about people who have wandered and been quickly found.

It seems that I see an item in my social and news feeds every day about a challenged person who is lost or missing. I always think about Bruce and Erin, and I wonder if the products from If I Need Help could have assisted in finding these people.

Success can be measured in many ways. I fervently hope that If I Need Help becomes a hugely successful organization, and the good stories come by the thousands.  But I doubt that the Wilsons will be millionaires, and I’m sure they are not concerned.

But when you measure the success of an idea by how much you’ve helped people, Bruce and Erin are the richest people I know.

For more information about Bruce and Erin Wilson and If I Need Help, please go to their website – Read their story, make a donation, and/or spread the word!

Go Raibh Maith Agat

28 11 2013


“Go Raibh Maith Agat” is gaelic for Thank You. That’s for you, Mom… 

Just a few of things I’m thankful for today…

2013 has been a good year, thus far. I’m in a nice place in my life right now. Could I be happier? Of course… who would answer “no” to that question? But this year has been full of smiles, laughs, creativity and change. Many people had a big part in that, and I’m grateful.

I’m thankful for the creative people I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time with, and learn from. All of my marketing and social media friends – Chuck Hall, Lynette Young, Rick Toone, Jen April, Pat and Peggie Walsh, and Christina Kristofic. I’ve been amazed by the creativity of authors Dennis Tafoya, Jonathan Maberry and the members of the Philadelphia Liars Club.

My love for soccer has been enriched by the passion and creativity of others… John Whitesall, Mark Jenkinson, Kelly Christine Delaney, Kenny Hanson and Earl Gardner… and all of my fellow Sons of Ben. And I can’t forget PPL Section 110 friends Sean and Allison Malloy, and their son Declan… each match I’m thankful to see the love of the game through a child’s eye.

I’ve spent time with you all this past year, and am happy to count you as friends.

Friends go in and out of your life. I am rich with friends, but there is that close group. I used to say, “I don’t want to make new friends because I don’t have time to see the friends I have as much as I’d like.” Those people are my core… Laff, Ness, Dick, Nimh, Fluge, Chas and Helene. Last night proved… I’m at my best when I’m with you, your spouses and your families.

Sisters are a pain in the ass, and I don’t know what I would do without mine. Can’t wait to see you both today because “Ah… family. It’s what it’s all about.” Families named Taylor, Zlakowski, O’Hagan, Carr, Macowski, Cohen… sounds like the Eagles offensive line, and they provide protection too. They take care of me.

I have good boys. My oldest, John, has an unbridled enthusiasm for life and he is a fierce friend. He has great work ethic, and I’m so happy about how he is getting down to business and making things happen for himself. Colin is just starting out in his journey, and I know he will embrace his challenges with thought and good humor. He is the funniest person I know, with a smart understated wit and just the right amount of cynicism. Not sure where he gets it, because he has stated on numerous occasions that I’m not funny at all.

I’m proud of them both, every day. My Mom always said to me that “you are judged by the company you keep”. Both of my boys have made great choices there, fostering long and wonderful friendships. I’m an extremely fortunate Dad, because my sons are my friends.

No matter what happens in my day, my week, my life… I can always count on the best welcome when I walk in the door. Stan is the man…

All credit for these “three” boys goes to their Mom, who’s every decision is made with the well-being of her children in mind. I’m continually awed by the work she does with cancer patients everyday. Most amazing is that she puts up with my lunacy and I haven’t been tossed out on my ass… yet. And she makes me coffee. Sometimes…


Quickly… I’m also thankful for the wonderful craziness of Penn Emblem and ImprintsUSA, the brilliance of Elvis Costello, the hilarity of Kevin Smith and Ralph Garmin, the quirkiness of Sheldon Cooper, the energy of PPL Park, the community of Academy Sabres, the old friends from Bandon Drive, the tradition of Manchester United, the grapes on the Ryan High School vine, and for discovering the many wonders of Cape May.

I live in the City of Brotherly Love, and there is nowhere else I want to be. Everything I need is right here. I’m in a good place, because of all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Daddy Day Care

15 06 2013

Father's DayI don’t remember Father’s Day much growing up.  I think because my Dad worked two jobs most of that time, and probably wasn’t home.  My Mom wasn’t given to sentimentality, so Mother’s Day is not very memorable either.  Those days were certainly simpler, different times.

Now even Father’s Day is a little lost in the shuffle.  Someone pointed out to me yesterday that it was “National Strawberry Shortcake Day”!  That is so awesome, I love that stuff!!  But yesterday was also “Flag Day”, commemorating the 1777 adoption of our national flag.  It’s a “real” holiday, made official by an Act of Congress in August 1949.  So when I look at my calendar on June 14th, I’m celebrating the yumminess of Old Glory.  Maybe I’ll have some dessert after dinner.

I must rage against all of these made up holidays that have clogged my calendar.  For example, today is simultaneously “Smile Power Day”, “National Jugglers Day”, and – my personal favorite – “National Hollerin’ Contest Day”.  I better run to the store and get a Hallmark card for all of my smiling, juggling, hollerin’ buddies.  You know who you are!

Hasn’t this gotten a little out of hand?  And it’s not just days we recognize.  Just so you know, June is Aquarium, Candy, Dairy, Adopt a Cat, Fresh Fruit and Vegetables, Rose, Turkey Lovers Month… and another fave –  National Accordion Awareness Month!

Before I start getting hollered at by cat lovers, I understand the need to recognize important people and events.  I’m all for Nurses Week, Teachers Month, Hug A Policeman Day, etc.  In work, Customer Service Week is awesome!  But of all of these recognition days and calendar cloggers, I’m going to throw my considerable weight behind Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Tomorrow is my 23rd official Father’s Day… “official” because I did get some special treatment before my oldest was born in 1990.  And I deserved that living with a women in her third trimester, and working with a boss going through same.   So I will unabashedly say that I like this weekend.  Not because of any one memory that sticks out, but because of a few little things the day or weekend brings.

I love the cards from my boys, the phone calls from my sisters, and now all of the fun social media stuff.  I always get to choose my meals and whatever I want to do.  I get control of the TV remote – hilarious because I always have that!!  It’s just a good day!

A few years, Johnny had soccer tournaments on this weekend – that was great fun!  Our sports club, Academy Sabres, holds an excellent event this weekend… Father’s Day Tent City – a campout on the soccer fields!  And of course, Father’s Day for me is watching the final day of the US Open.

I think about my Dad this weekend too, and I miss him.  Once I became a Dad myself, Father’s Days with him were always so much better.  Better, because he was retired and we had more time together.  He would be here a lot for whatever I was doing with my sons.  Three generations… cool shit.

Tomorrow will be unexpectedly great because Colin is coming home from the shore tonight to be with me for Father’s Day.  He’s heading back early Monday morning for work… I’ll take it!  Johnny is working tomorrow night, so I’m looking forward to a great morning and afternoon with my sons.  They are both adults now, and the days of climbing all over me like the photo above are gone.  So I’ll take all the conversation and laughs they have for me now.  Later I’ll fire up the grill, and my ass will be planted firmly on the couch watching Tiger, Rory and Phil, with my beverage of choice!  It’s shaping up to be a great day – this Dad doesn’t need anything else.

Because of a few things that happened this week, I now realize that nothing in our lives is guaranteed.  While this might be the first Father’s Day for some guys out there, it may be the last for others.  So enjoy the hell out of it, my friends!  That is my plan!  Tomorrow and every day, the only thing that is guaranteed is that I will love my boys for the rest of their lives… not just mine.

That said… Happy Father’s Day!  Have fun and some great food!  Because Monday is “Eat Your Vegetables” Day.

Where Have You Gone, Lydia Limpet?

14 05 2013

bookworm2I wish I had more time, energy and the inclination to read.

I’ve been fortunate in recent years to meet and get to know some – in my opinion – terrific local authors.  In talking to them I see how much they pour their hearts and souls into every story, every word.  The creative process is astounding to me, and I admire them all for sharing their gifts.

There is nothing like completely immersing oneself in a good book or story.  I get that committed to reading only in short spurts, mostly in the summer.  I assumed that when I got an iPad a couple of years ago I would read more, once I got used to not holding a bound book in my hand.  I embraced the technology, but it didn’t increase my reading.

I recently joined Goodreads, a mobile app community where your online friends can rub it in your face that they are reading many more books than you, and the ones they are reading are much more serious and mature.  But I’m not bitter!!  Like I’m sure everyone did, I listed all of the books that I’ve read that would help people find me oh so fascinating.  I also listed a few glimpses into my silly soul, like “Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopy Pants” – check it!  But Goodreads is a neat little thang that I had hoped would motivate me to read more.  Alas, not so much…

I must point out, dear reader, that there are so many distractions these days for me… work, family, friends old and new, soccer games anywhere, bike riding, the previously mentioned iPad, Facebook, Twitter, OMG Instagram, “Big Bang Theory”, CNN, my dog Stan, more work…  Wait!  Is “Wipeout” on TV tonight???  When this list started to form in my mind it was, again, much more serious and mature.

Guess I have to make a effort to read more.  Set aside the time.  Give it the old college try.  And not just because my reasons/excuses for not reading are shit.  But because reading is good for the soul, even one as silly as mine.

UPDATE:  The previously mentioned author friends of mine are Jonathan Mayberry and Dennis Tafoya.  Both dark, troubled men… Check them out!

The Trouble With Tenure

9 05 2013

1236266Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement as manager of Manchester United yesterday. Immediately the questions were being asked as to who would take his place.  I am formally removing my name as a candidate because of my dislike of the UK climate, and the British refusal to use ice in drinks.  David Moyes seems the likely choice to me, but I’m sure it will not be a quick process.  It is clear is that Sir Alex will play a major role in picking his successor, and rightly so. Given his success, he deserves that respect.

Joe Paterno never got that chance, although he was equally deserving. I can hear you all grumbling already about the Sandusky case, but even without that dark cloud JoePa wasn’t going to be involved. There was a movement within the university to remove him for years, which certainly would have translated into a sad exit. And it happened anyway.

Similarly, a local high school coach with a successful resume has retired, and through some behind the scenes machinations has been denied the transition he had hoped. I know this man fairly well, and am very disappointed that the (what I perceive to be) right thing wasn’t done. He is a good man at heart, but has certainly rubbed some people wrong along the way. But does that make it right?

Now that I’ve presented three sports related scenarios, I’ll ask the question… What’s the point of tenure? I don’t think we will see the likes of these three again… people who do a great job in one place for decades. Our attention span won’t allow it. We are always looking for the next thing, and the one after that, and so on… It’s a world of instant gratification.

The same thing applies for people like us.  I’ve been with the same company off and on for almost 30 years. You might think that longevity and a bunch of white hair would make me the wise, elder statesman. Not so much…

I was recently dubbed a social media “expert” in our company. Although I’ve had the skills and knowledge for some time, it wasn’t really recognized until another expert outside the company pointed it out.  No biggie… I get that it isn’t always easy to see something right in front of you.  But I was suddenly aware that I’ve been guilty of this myself, and I’ve recently had several conversations about this very subject.  While the years don’t entitle one to special treatment, the increasing perception that longer tenured employees lack new and exciting ideas is disappointing.  And while we say there is value in experience, our actions sometime say something different.

I’m going to make myself a promise to first look inside, then outside the box. Seems fair to me.

UPDATE:  As I said in my first blog… Writing is difficult for me.  I started this entry 12 hours ago.  Since then it was announced that David Moyes is the new manager at Manchester United.  Of course I will be gracious and wish him the best.

Glory, Glory Man United!

… I’m Sticking To It!

6 05 2013

photoBicycle rides usually clear my head.  When I jumped on the bike this afternoon, the idea of a blog surfaced in my head for the thousandth time.  “Might be a perfect thing to do on a Sunday evening”, I said to myself.  But just getting started – with anything – has always been most difficult for me, personally and professionally.  Certain friends will want to insert a joke here – please go directly to the comment section below.  But once I get started there is usually no stopping me.

So here I sit… Hopefully this process will get easier as time goes by.

Many people… Okay, two people… have suggested that I should blog.  Not just because I’m funny, smart, creative, and have a point to make to this crazy mixed up world.  These are all valid reasons, of course.  As a marketing professional I get that blogging will give me a credible online presence.  It will increase my Googleability.  And that is a word.  Google it.

So I’m going to make this first blog an easy one… no rants, stands, opinions, essays, controversies or outrageousness – at least for now!  This is my “strategy”… When the mood strikes me I will wax poetically about me and my thangs.  Subjects may include professional stuff I know, like email marketing and social media.  Maybe I’ll write about my love of the beautiful game – I’m a Red Devil, a proud SoB, and an American Outlaw.  As I get more comfortable I may tackle issues of the day and my extremely slow journey from conservative to liberal.  Perhaps I should issue some advance apologies to my family and friends for personal stories I may reference.  Most of all, I’ll be honest.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

I’m not sure why Google or any of you will be interested in my ramblings, so I shall write for myself and let the chips fall where they may.  I’m hoping it will be therapeutic, and maybe get some interesting conversations going.  I’m a proud American, but also an Irishman who loves me some good craic.  Feel free to Google that one too.

So that’s my story, and…