Saturday, August 31, 2013

Obama - "My Military"

If this came out of Bush's mouth, the country would have exploded.  Instead, a sitting president calls our armed forces "my military" in his rush to war.  A war in which he has no strategy, no allies, and no end game.

Where the bloody hell is Code Pink?

Oh, yeah.  When Obama sets out to murder innocents, it's because he's the smartest guy in the room and he must have a good reason.  Hey, did you see what Miley Cyrus did?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Obamacare Advertising Now at Football Games

While attending a Green Bay Packers game a couple of weeks ago, a native American gentleman handing me one of these from a large stack he was carrying:

Sorry for the crumpling - that was my initial reaction.

A couple of thoughts on this:
  • Have you ever seen an active (and multi-channel) advertising campaign for a piece of legislation that's already passed?
  • Where did the funding come from to print these materials, staff the Twitter account, and staff people handing these out at football games (and, I'm assuming, dozens if not hundreds of other places in the United States)?
  • Of all people, none have been so royally screwed over from the US government than native Americans.  From the loss of their land and their lives at America's inception and expansion, all the way up to policies that keep their people living in abject poverty today, time and time again the federal government destroys, literally and figuratively, native Americans.  For 200 years now.  But, still, here was this gentleman operating under the assumption that the government was going to take care of him.  
Incredibly sad.  All of it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

IED Exploded at Veteran's Memorial Cross

A war memorial cross in Oregon - the same one that had previously raised howls of complaints from a prominent atheist group, was bombed by an IED this week.

The cross had already been vandalized previously this year when somebody scrawled the word "remove" on it last May.  But with the bomb, things got taken to a whole new level.

While the cross is still standing, and nobody got hurt, when the smoke cleared one thing became supremely evident - that the atheist vandals that did this had finally become the very intolerant, violent, misguided individuals that they claim to loathe.

Who is the extremist now?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Staff Sargent Ty Carter Awarded Medal of Honor

As the rest of the world is treating Miley Cyrus as some sort of deity, here's a real story for you:

On Oct. 3, 2009, many Soldiers distinguished themselves when more than 400 Anti-Afghan forces, or AAF, attempted to overrun Combat Outpost, or COP, Keating, a company-sized outpost in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan. On that day, of the 53 members of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, who defended the position, eight Soldiers were killed, and more than 25 were injured.

Of these men, one Soldier’s gallantry stood out. Without regard to his own safety, Spc. Ty Michael Carter proved himself time and time again. He resupplied ammunition to fighting positions, provided first aid to a battle buddy, killed enemy troops, and valiantly risked his own life to save a fellow Soldier who was injured and pinned down by overwhelming enemy fire. He did all this while under heavy small arms and indirect fire that lasted more than six hours.

Carter’s actions of risking his life above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in combat against the enemies of the United States, were heroic, and he would be a most deserving recipient of the Medal of Honor for his fearless and decisive actions that day.

On Oct. 3, at 5:53 a.m., an interpreter approached the troop command post and notified Pfc. Jordan Wong, who had pulled duty that night, that the Urmol Police Chief had personally relayed a warning that 50 to 100 enemy fighters were presently staged in Urmol to attack COP Keating. Wong astutely logged the warning and notified the Sergeant of the Guard. At 5:59 a.m., six minutes after the warning had been received, the hills erupted.
 The enemy engaged COP Keating and OP Fritsche with a coordinated, complex attack the magnitude and intensity of which had not been seen in the Kamdesh since Coalition Forces toppled the Taliban eight years earlier. At COP Keating, attackers fired from the creviced and overgrown high ground above all four sides of the combat outpost, initiating contact with rifles and Degtyaryov-Shpagin Large-Calibre, or DShK, heavy machine guns. The ANA guard positions suffered immediate casualties and collapsed. Ten to 15 Afghan Soldiers fled through the wire. The remainder abandoned their positions to U.S. occupied buildings in the western portion of the combat outpost, leaving the northeast corner undefended.

At the gun bursts, B Troop Soldiers jumped to reinforce guard posts throughout the compound. Staff Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, Sgt. Bradley Larson, and Spc. Stephan L. Mace, raced to fortified High-Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles, or Humvees, at the southern side that served as a Battalion Position. The Battle Position overlooked Urmol and a series of wide, roughly graded “switchbacks” that climbed a steep ridgeline to the south, providing enemy forces a convenient infiltration route. Larson and Gallegos immediately engaged the enemy in the hills with the Humvee’s .50 Caliber Machine Gun and ground-mounted, belt-fed M240 Machine Guns, while Mace engaged the east with him M4 carbine.

Across the compound, Carter had just emerged from his barracks and sprinted 100 meters across open ground, under concentrated fire, to join the others at the southern Battle Position. Upon arriving at the battle position, Carter gave two bags of M240 ammo to Gallegos, and most of his M4 magazines to Mace.

Above the din of the assault, Gallegos alerted Carter that they needed lubricant for the .50 Caliber and additional ammunition. With complete dedication to the task, and at great risk to his life, Carter ran the gauntlet a second time as enemy fire blossomed around him. Carter received two cans of lubricant from his platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan G. Hill, and then ran to the Ammunition Supply Point, or ASP, to collect ammunition. The doors were locked. Without hesitation, Carter shot off the hasps, secured additional M240 belts, and weaved his way back to the Humvee Battle Position.

The enemy attack was unrelenting, the cacophony of gunfire deafening, and the crew at the southern Battle Position quickly expended the additional M240 rounds. With suppression fire waning, the enemy fired a series of RPGs at the position, which had forced Gallegos, Mace and Carter to take cover in the Humvee. A PKM bullet struck Larson in his Kevlar helmet and he too ducked into the vehicle. At this point, Sgt. Vernon W. Martin joined the team as well.

Moments later, three to four rocket-propelled grenades, or RPGs, struck the vehicle carriage. One rocket detonated on the turret and destroyed the .50 Caliber, spraying the interior with shrapnel. Larson, Martin and Carter were wounded.

Approximately a half hour into the fight, at 6:30 a.m., with both crew-served weapons disabled, and the Humvee under heavy small-arms fire from an estimated 20 to 30 fighters on the high ground to the south, and another 30 to 40 fighters attacking from Urmol, Gallegos decided to break contact and move north, employing bounding over-watch to link up with the remaining Soldiers of B Troop, near the Tactical Operations Center, or TOC. Carter volunteered to stay with Larson and provide covering fire for the others as they attempted to bound back.

Carter and Larson left the vehicle and provided suppressing fire with their M4 carbines, while their three colleagues began displacing. As he maneuvered his team, Gallegos was hit by machine gun fire from the direction of Urmol, killing him instantly. Martin was hit in the leg and scrambled beneath a nearby laundry trailer. RPG shrapnel wounded Mace, who managed to crawl to low ground 30 meters from the Humvee.

Amidst a punishing hail of gunfire, Larson and Carter returned to the shredded Humvee. Lurching across the compound in a second Humvee, Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt, Spc. Christopher T. Griffin, and Pvt. Edward W. Faulkner Jr. reinforced the Battle Position. The new vehicle immediately encountered concentrated RPG fire from the southern high ground, and a squad of enemy fighters that breached the combat outpost through the Entry Control Point, or ECP. Eight successive RPGs hit the Humvee, including a direct strike on the right passenger door that severely wounded Hardt and sprayed Griffin and Faulkner with shrapnel. Hardt evacuated the Humvee, but was instantly cut down by PKM fire.

Recognizing the imminent threat from the enemy squad inside the wire, Carter and Larson engaged and swiftly killed two enemy combatants and wounded one. Their accurate fire under intense pressure, force the enemy into a hasty retreat and prevented them from overrunning several Soldiers pinned down in the nearby mortar pit. Griffin and Faulkner darted north toward the command post across the same open ground Carter had already traversed three times. Faulkner made it to safety, but Griffin was struck and killed instantly. Enemy fire set ablaze a number of buildings, and acrid black and grey plumes of smoke curled from the valley against the sky.

With their M4 ammunition nearly exhausted, Carter again stepped from the Humvee to secure additional ammunition and check on whomever might be in the second Humvee. Crawling through the dust and gravel as intense volleys of enemy fire rained around him, Carter found the Humvee empty, but grabbed an M249 light machine gun with a partial drum of ammunition, and an M203 grenade launcher, and crawled back to Larson.

Realizing the drum had only 50 rounds left, Carter suggested they delink the ammunition and employ it in the M4s, so both men could continue to fight. Though each had less than a full magazine, Carter and Larson engaged the enemy with precision fire. Carter killed a two-man enemy RPG team and two additional fighters in the Urmol station. Wounded, outmanned and outgunned, Carter and Larson still suppressed the enemy’s assault teams. Their accurate fire under extreme duress, with no margin for error, prevented the breach of COP Keating’s vulnerable southern flank.

Overhead, close air support and attack weapons teams hunted the hills, but the rocky overgrown slopes provided ample cover to the myriad enemy fighters. Nearly two hours into the fight, at approximately 7:30 a.m., Carter observed from the passenger seat in the Humvee, Mace moving exposed toward low ground 30 meters off. Carter turned to Larson and said he wanted to attempt a rescue. Larson initially sought to deter Carter, stressing that “you’re no good to Mace if you’re dead.”

When Mace was struck with a new volley of gunfire and pleaded for help, Carter decided he had no choice but to try to reach his fellow Soldier. Knowing that he would almost certainly be killed, and with no regard for his personal safety, Carter jumped from the truck and sprinted forward to Mace. With small arms fire riddling the Humvee and the ground around him, Carter staunched Mace’s bleeding and placed a tourniquet on his shattered leg. With enemy fire intensifying around him, Carter summoned the strength to lift Mace and carried him through the hail of bullets up to the rise and to the Humvee. Carter placed his fellow Soldier in the back seat of the damaged carriage and returned to the fight.

As their ammunition dwindled, Carter and Larson engaged the enemy with single, well-aimed shots. With inoperative radios and no contact with other B Troop Soldiers, the pair grew concerned that the rest of COP Keating had been overrun.

Recognizing that Mace needed immediate medical attention, and the vital need for reconnaissance, Carter, with Larson’s concurrence, headed toward the TOC along the same path on which Gallegos had been felled. Moving under Larson’s covering fire, Carter ran down the declining grade and maneuvered back toward the command post. En route, Carter came across Gallegos and checked his vital signs, grimly determining his fellow trooper had been killed.

Carter found the sergeant’s squad radio. Hearing traffic from others in B Troop, he turned around and made his way back to Larson. They called the command post and let them know they were alive, but still pinned down. Fires now burned in most structure on the eastern side of the compound, and it became apparent that enemy forces had penetrated the wire in at least two places. In response, the rest of B Troop had consolidated in a tight perimeter around the command post and surviving barracks.

While Carter and Larson had warded off a third breach, Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha and Hill had led a counterattack to retake a meeting hall and close the ECP. Romesha and Hill killed several enemy fighters that had penetrated the combat outpost and opened an evacuation route that was still exposed to RPG and machine gun fire. When Carter and Larson called and confirmed they had been isolated and a litter-urgent casualty, Hill’s element established a base of fire to cover their withdrawal.

Carter climbed from the Humvee and dug through the debris of the two shattered vehicles to uncover a litter. Carter and Larson then carried Mace across 100 meters of open ground still being swept with sniper and machine gun fire. With Mace at the aid station, Carter reported to Hill and joined the fight with the platoon for the rest of the day. He served as a sniper providing accurate cover fire for the teams of Soldiers who were recovering the bodies of the fallen Soldiers.

Mace reached the aid station at approximately noon, nearly six hours after initial contact, and approximately five hours after he was first wounded. Capt. Chris Cordova administered extraordinary trauma care, including a series of intravenous drips, and six blood transfusions taken from the veins of the Soldiers in the troop, including his own.

The heavy firefights in the enclosed valley prevented a medical evacuation helicopter from touching down in the narrow landing zone, until the cover of darkness. When the helicopter was able to land, Mace was immediately flown to Forward Operating Base Bostick, and then on to Bagram Airfield. He succumbed to his wounds in the hospital, despite the heroic efforts of his fellow Soldiers. About 12 hours after the initial attack, reinforcements finally arrived at the besieged combat outpost. A Quick Reaction Force, or QRF, that had set down at OP Fritsche had hiked down the interminable switchbacks, killing two retreating enemies en route, and linked up with the defenders of COP Keating. The command outpost had held, despite the unprecedented onslaught.

In operations over the next several days, Coalition Forces killed one of the top regional sub-commanders affiliated with the Taliban, turning a potential defeat into a decisive victory for Coalition Forces in the contested Kamdesh. However, the outcome might have been very different without the valor of Carter and Larson, who held the southern flank and prevented a platoon-sized enemy element from penetrating the wire, linking up with the others, and attacking the TOC at close quarters. Carter’s and Larson’s heroism bought the necessary time for multiple air assets to come on station and blunt the massive enemy attack.

Carter’s remarkable acts of heroism and skill, which were vital to the defense of COP Keating, exemplify what it means to be an American hero. President John F. Kennedy said that “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but by the men it honors.” Carter’s actions, which reflected great credit upon him, his unit, the United States Army, and the United States of America, make him a most deserving recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dealing with Difficult Personalities at Work

A mentee of mine came to me this past week, looking for advise on how to deal with a co-worker with a difficult personality.  The distractions caused by the difficult co-worker and the drama that ensued were impacting my mentee's ability to focus on her job and do good work.

I talked through some basics (e.g. establishing ground rules for when she can be interrupted from her work, listening to music via ear buds to drown out drama, getting physically out of her area for meetings, etc.), but I also had one trick that has served me well over the recent past of my career.

One tool that I use that has really helped me greatly is for me to mentally cut the difficult personality some slack.  Human beings are not wired to be jerks or cause dysfunction  and typically those that are have had to endure who knows what to end up like they are.  Hence, in my mind, I attribute their behavior to trauma they have had to endure in their life, and instead of being angry or frustrated with them, I feel sorry for them.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have our own trauma.  But the strong – we deal with it, we adapt, we move forward, and we thrive.  Some, however, are not as strong, and cannot do so.  And that’s how I look at unhappy people, as it helps me stay above whatever kind of dysfunction they’re causing.

This video gets to what I’m saying:

Thus, when the dysfunction starts around you, instead of focusing on it, focus instead on the gifts you have been given, your strength, your perseverance, and note that others may have not had the same fortune, and/or may not be equipped to deal with life’s trauma as adeptly as you.  Be thankful for who you are and what you have, because you’re have no idea of what they may be trying to endure.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Zillow Commercial Knocks it Out of the Park

A recent Zillow ad is an absolute home run:

Great presentation of benefits, outstanding use of music, and fantastic use of emotion make this ad Super Bowl-worthy.  Great job, Zillow.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Duck Dynasty Beats the Odds - Or Do They?

With their season premier, Duck Dynasty reached the highest rated show on television.  And it did it going against the odds.

The family is rural.  Southern.  Christian.  Functional.  Hunts.  Prays.  Their demographic, in the traditional sense or otherwise, looks nothing like what the media puts forth as viable entertainment.

And yet their ratings continue to grow.  As does their message:

In the early 90's I took my Dad to go see Phil Robertson speak about duck calling.  This was decades before his show, but Phil was just as he is today.  

Later, when Dad got sick, I thought that Dad might enjoy some of Phil's duck hunting videos, as Dad was now too sick to go hunting with me.  When I placed my order on the Duck Commander website, I sent along a note via email where I explained Dad's condition, and the fact that we had met Phil, used his calls, and often talked about him and calling while we were in the blind.  I asked, if it were possible, if someone could perhaps get Phil to sign the videos.

The next week my three videos arrived, and I found that all three were unwrapped.  As I pulled each out of its sleeve, I found that Phil had signed every one of them.

Some might ask why this show is so popular, and how in the world it is generating the kind of ratings that it is.  

To others, the results of the show seem glaringly obvious.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Louisiana Sink Hole Swallows Grown Trees

From Assumption Parish comes reason number 1,248 of how the bayou can flat out ruin your day:

Never seen anything like it, and will have me thinking the next time I'm down there hunting ducks.

Mother Nature is one heavy-handed bitch in the bayou...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Young People Just Don't Work Anymore

The Wall Street Journal. published a graphic yesterday which showed that a 17 year old kid today is less likely to have a summer job (or some kind of paycheck) than his 74 year old grandfather.

Check this out:
 Just 10 years ago, 50% of 17 year old boys were working in July.  Now there are barely 20%.  So what's at play here?  A couple of theories:

  • The economy is so bad that summer jobs reserved for high school kids are being taken by other age demographics
  • Business have slowly been weaning themselves off of summer help
  • Something is happening sociologically where little Johnny's parents don't expect him to get a summer job anymore
Given the slope of the decline, my guess would the be the latter hypothesis, but it is just that - a guess.

As one that manages people for a living, this is a scary graph.  The summer job used to be the place where one learned work ethic - it typically entailed a very non-glamorous role, made you get up in the morning instead of sleeping all day, and gave an appreciation for what hard work was all about.  That appreciation turned into perspective, as you were able to realize that getting an education and good job instead of doing the backbreaking drudgery of the roles summer jobs entailed was a smart idea.  Now, there will be many more kids entering the work force without that perspective of work ethic.

Only 20% of 17 year-old boys have summer jobs.  What in the world do they do with their day?  And what are they going to do after college?


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lessons from Brother Lawrence

At our last family gathering, my brother-in-law gave me The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk.  He's most known for the tome above, and the concept it represents, which is a deep and intimate relationship with God.

I've started a new morning routine of mind, body and soul, where I get to the club for an early morning work out, read a chapter (or letter) from The Practice of the Presence of God, then conduct a 10 minute meditative sitting practice.  And, no surprise, in all aspects of my life, I just feel better.

Today's reading had a passage that really struck me, and I wanted to share it with you:

Yet, I think it is appropriate to tell you how I perceive myself before God, whom I behold as my King. I consider myself as the most wretched of men. I am full of faults, flaws, and weaknesses, and have committed all sorts of crimes against his King. Touched with a sensible regret I confess all my wickedness to Him. I ask His forgiveness. I abandon myself in His hands that He may do what He pleases with me. 

My King is full of mercy and goodness. Far from chastising me, He embraces me with love. He makes me eat at His table. He serves me with His own hands and gives me the key to His treasures. He converses and delights Himself with me incessantly, in a thousand and a thousand ways. And He treats me in all respects as His favorite. In this way I consider myself continually in His holy presence.

Personally, the first paragraph defines me perfectly.  Ah, but the second paragraph - that's that payoff.  And while I'm not there yet, that's what I aspire to achieve.

It's there for all of us.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Rush

Just because we need a musical distraction, here are the boys from Rush cranking out a version of Subdivisions (a highly underrated song) from a tour about 8 years ago or so:

Some things to note:

  • This is three guys making all that noise - three
  • Note how Geddy Lee transitions from keyboards to bass
  • Neil Peart, drummer extraordinaire, is a rock and roll treasure
Now, didn't that feel good? 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Forever 21 and Liberal Misplaced Outrage

An internal memo to employees of retailer Forever 21 was "leaked," and immediately became the cause celebre for the left, and for the low information crowd.  You can see their reaction pictured below:

Of course, to them, the move has nothing to do with Obamacare.  It is all about corporate greed.

Here's some news for the left wing and for low information voters:
  • This move has EVERYTHING to do with Obamacare
  • Forever 21 is just one of thousands of employers that have/will make such a move.  Go ahead with your little boycott, but good luck trying not to be a hypocrite, unless you choose to opt out of the economy altogether
  • You voted for this.  Let me say this again: You voted for this.  

This is only the start of the dominoes that will fall on our economy due to universal healthcare.  Hence, the left and low information voters might want to save some of that rage, because they're going to need it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Attack of the Baby Turkeys

I was working in my home office early one morning last week, and looked up to spot this coming at me:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Posting Online 101

It is common knowledge that anything you post online - ANYTHING - is public.  While you can shield yourself in some ways, there is absolutely no such thing as true anonymity with any kind of online engagement.

Hence, if you don't want potentially everyone to know what you're doing, don't post it online.  Regardless of how safe you feel.

And by all means, if you're hankering for some sweet, sweet bud to get you through your shift at work, don't tweet it, dude.  Just don't:

Needless to say, the coppers shared Sunith's request with his boss.  Guess who's not working at Mr. Lube anymore...

I'm not sure if they still call illegal drugs "dope" anymore, but if they don't, given Mr. Baheerathan's actions here, they certainly should.

Friday, August 16, 2013

What Should Have Been Rolling Stone's Cover

This is Jane Richard.  She had her leg blown off by the Tsarnaev brothers at the Boston Marathon.  The bomb, planted by the brothers, not only tore off Jane's leg, but it also killed her brother Martin who was standing near her.

Earlier this month, Rolling Stone put the lone surviving killer Dzhokhar Rsarnaev on their cover in a glory shot.  The magazine tried their damnedest to explain their rationale for doing so, but a cogent argument has yet to be made.

In the meantime, little Jane here was recovering from her injuries, and her 12 surgeries required to try and fix her.  

And here she stands - dead brother, missing leg - and with a smile that could melt polar ice.  

If there was ever a cover shot, for Rolling Stone or any other rag for that matter, it is this one.  Remarkable.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ryan Longwell Retires a Packer

Ryan Longwell, the former Vikings and Packer placekicker, was back in Green Bay yesterday to formally retire from the NFL as a Packer.

A couple of thoughts on this whole situation:

  • Looking at his numbers, especially as the 13th leading scorer in NFL history, he likely compiled enough to be a Hall of Famer.  Unfortunately, he does lack a Super Bowl, and that could be his downfall.
  • There are two reactions here in town: 1) Longwell is a "trader" (it is AMAZING to read the local boards of Green Bay natives and see how many people can't spell "traitor") and should stay a Viking and 2) the Pack should sign him because Mason Crosby (aka Missin' Crossbar) is so incredibly brutal.
  • As the all-time leading scorer for the Packers, he'll eventually be entered into the Packers Hall of Fame at some point.  And hopefully our real estate value will go up at the same time.
  • Folks are still ticked off here because, upon leaving town. Longwell made a crack about Green Bay's fine dining being limited to Applebees.  And it cracks me up.  Yes, there are some very good restaurants here, but they total about 3.  Longwell was not far off, and the truth still stings some.
Hats off to a great kicker.  He had a hell of a career, regardless of the jersey.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Mrs. YDP

19 years now, and I still hope the next song that the band plays will be a slow one.

Happy anniversary, sweetheart.  I love you more than words can say.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lambeau Fais Do-Do - LSU to Play in Lambeau Field in 2016

It has been rumored for a while now - in fact it was covered here at YDP last May - and now it is true.  

The LSU Tigers will square off with the Wisconsin Badgers at historic Lambeau Field on September 3, 2016.

Murphy clan, you have a three year heads up to keep your calendar clear, make your travel arrangements, and acquire the necessary provisions.  And when you think you've bought enough boudin, buy about 20 packages more.

Our house can easily sleep 8, and I'll be tracking down additional places.

Oh, and I've already designed the T-shirts:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

How to Start a Career in Ecommerce Part 5: Social Media

In part 4 of this installment, we covered how one without any work experience could contact their favorite non-profit and conduct some email marketing for them to gain experience.  The non-profit would likely need, and would very much appreciate the help, and the worker would gain real-world knowledge on a valuable skill.

That exact same model applies to social media activity as well.

At a minimum, every organized group needs to be represented in some way on Facebook - there are just too many eyeballs in that venue to ignore it.  If a Facebook presence already exists, there are a bevy of other options:

  • Does the non-profit's work lend itself to a constant stream of updates?  If so, a Twitter campaign is needed.
  • If the non-profit has a story best told visually, then Instagram and/or Pinterest engagements will be effective.
  • Does the non-profit have stories that lend themselves to video?  If so, setting up a YouTube page for them will be the ticket.
  • Is the non-profit all about getting physical footsteps?  Then helping them with a Foursquare engagement will be appreciated.
Don't have experience with a given social media platform?  Don't sweat it - all of them are free, are just an iTunes Store download away from being on your phone, and a simple Google search on strategies will arm you with everything you need to get started.

Going into it, here are a couple of basics to remember:
  • Many people still don't "get" social media.  In fact, a recent study showed that 70% of Fotrune 500 CEOs don't participate in any kind of social media!  Many people don't use it, don't understand it, and don't know what kind of impact it can make.  That is especially true for older demographics, so expect a lot of your job to be around education.
  • Social media is just that - social.  It requires engagement, and one needs to devote the necessary time to establish and maintain a dialog
  • Your activity will be the brand voice of the non-profit.  You need to be in clear alignment with their views and goals as you're communicating.
The options for engagement are vast, as are the responsibility and learning that go along with it.  The only thing preventing you from augmenting your resume with this experience is you, so go out there and make it happen!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Flying Car

We are slowly approaching the age of the Jetsons - incredible:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Angel Priest at Missouri Accident

Trust me, this will be the best thing you've seen and read all week.  

What a nice way to start the weekend.  

You can read more about the story here

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Shake Hands - By the Numbers

It is amazing to me how many people don't know the basics of shaking hands, either because they've never been taught, or they don't think it important.  Let me clue you in - first impressions last the longest, and there is not much that comes first in a meeting than the handshake.  Doing it right can advance you to the next steps of your meeting, and missing it can derail things before you get started.

So how does one best shake hands?  Just remember a couple of numbers:

One - As in one target and one target only: the web of your hand needs to hit the web of the other person's hand.  Period.  If something happens and you end up with too much of the fingers, adjust and meet the other person's hand correctly.  They'll appreciate it.

Two - As in two eyes.  Look the person in the eye and smile.  Always.

Three - As in seconds.  Your handshake should last no longer than that.

45 - As in degrees.  Stand directly in front of the person with whom your shaking hands, and have your arms come out 45 degree angles to meet in the middle of you.  That will keep you at the proper distance from them as well (getting too close while shaking hands is a no-no).

50 - As in percent of grip.  Consider your tightest grip possible, and cut it in half.  That's about what your grip should feel like to your recipient.  Another way to think about it is the old golf grip axiom - pretend you're holding a squirming baby bird.  You need to control the bird, but not crush it.  Note that for older folks, you should temper your grip as shaking hands for folks with arthritis can be quite painful for them.

90 - As in degrees.  Your arm should fold to a 90 degree angle, and you should shake hands at mid-torso.  Not at the chest, and certainly not at the waist.

That's it - remember these six numbers and you'll have a successful handshake.  Some other thoughts:

  • Practice!  You have other people critique your resume or review your presentation.  Ask someone you trust to evaluate your handshake and provide you with candid feedback
  • Never shake left hands, unless the person with whom you're shaking hands does not have use of their right hand and offers their left.  If your arms are full and the only hand free is your left, take the time to free up your right hand and shake hands properly.
  • Germophobe?  Get over it.  The world (at least the United States) shakes hands; it doesn't wave or fist-bump.  Carry anti-bacterial hand lotion with you if you need to do so, but shake hands.  
  • Leave your left hand out of the equation and keep it at your side.  Don't grab the other person's shoulder or arm with it, and absolutely do not cover up their hand that is shaking your's with it.  Those are awkward power moves, and people do NOT appreciate them.
  • Do not pump up and down like you're using an old water pump.  A slight up and down motion, staying respectful of the three second rule above, is all that is needed.
  • Remember that the handshake is also your last impression.  It is nearly as important to execute at the end of your meeting as it is as the start.
Did I miss anything?  Feel free to post up.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Advent of the Long Play Commercial

In the past week or so, there have been three viral videos released as commercials.

The first is for NBC sports, which covers a football coach asked to take a new job.  But, it's not THAT kind of football...

The second has the Manning brothers (and even Archie) selling the benefits of Direct TV:

The last is for Fiat, which asks that you never forget that they're an Italian car company (hat-tip to my brother):

Before our eyes we're seeing media totally change.  With traditional touchstones like newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV in free-fall for audiences, a new form of advertising is stepping into the forefront.

And, like all good advertising, it's going where the eyeballs are - online.  But, unlike traditional advertising, there are the massive benefits of multiple shares and unpaid views.  

Things are moving fast for traditional media, and it will be interesting to see where this all shakes out.  But in the meantime, note that two out of three of the ads above are for companies that one would likely define as traditional media.

A very wise ex-boss of mine once said, "Change or die."  I think that is clearly what is happening right now in media.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Closing Embassies - The Terrorists Already Win

In light of "increased chatter," the Obama administration has closed 22 embassies across north Africa and the Middle East.  Although the chatter is not specific (note, we're closing 22 embassies, not just a couple), the administration is hitting the panic button, and is ostensibly surrendering. 

Embassies are our turf on foreign soil.  And instead of defending it, the administration parlays a vague threat into a massive diplomatic reaction.  And by reacting the way we have, we've already been terrorized.

All without one shot being fired.

What happened to Al Qaeda being "on the run," as they were during the election?

To a culture that respects strength and fortitude above most other things, we have to look like bumbling, cowardly fools.  

So, what happens next?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fiasco at Thornberry

While playing last Saturday, I found my ball near, but not in a water hazard.  Feeling gutsy (or perhaps stupid) I decided to take the heroic (or stupid) way to my next shot.

Result?  See for yourselves.

Ultimately I had to take a lost ball and drop.  My next shot was from the water as well, but with a much better outcome, much to the chagrin of my buddies.

The lesson?  Could be "nothing ventured, nothing gained."  

Or is it "stupid is as stupid does?"

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Packer Family Night

My company is the new title sponsor of Lambeau Field's newest gate, and as part of our sponsorship we were granted a bunch of tickets to the Packers' Family Night.

The event is a bunch of on the field activities which culminates into a offense versus defense scrimmage.  Basically, it's a glorified practice.

Only this practice takes place in front of about 70,000 people:

Our section was in the new 600 and 700 section of Lambeau, which definitely rises above the rest of the stadium (as well as the rest of the city).  Here are some views from the top of 600, but bottom of 700:

Note that this is from the bottom of 700 - the stadium rises another 20 rows or so from there.  Not exactly a good seat for those afraid of heights.

Prior to the expansion, it was accurately said that there weren't any bad seats in Lambeau.  Unfortunately, with the addition of the new nosebleed seats, I think that can no longer be said.  But to the Packer faithful - the same people that came out on a Saturday night to pack a stadium and watch a practice - I doubt there's a care.

And all I could think of when looking up at the 700 section was "I know where they'll plan on putting the Vikings fans..." 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tonic for the Soul

I have to admit that last week was very dark for me.  I was in a horrible, depressive funk.  My life felt like an endless cycle of work, exhaustion, and loneliness.  I felt disconnected, inept, and constantly worried.

Then I took a couple of days of vacation.  What an incredible relief.

It took me about three days to fully decompress and finally feel like myself again, but feeling like myself occurred.  My smile, laugh, sleep, and optimism returned.  In spades.

And when I went back to work yesterday I felt totally on top of my game.  I felt under control, happy, rested, and energized.

It is amazing what a family and good friends can do.  Their hugs, smiles, laughs, conversations, silliness, and comfort are absolute tonic to an injured soul.

So now I'm filled.  Thankfully, the dark place of last week seems like a vague, distant dream.  And it's all because of some quality time with some people that love me and genuinely want to be with me.  

The older I get, the more it becomes obvious to me that the power of love is one of the mightiest there is.  I'm awed, and so very thankful.