Monthly Archives: June 2008

Remembering George Carlin – Part 1

I was sad to see that George Carlin recently passed away. He was one of my favorite comedians of all times. In celebration of his comic genius I’ve gathered some of what I think are his funniest quotes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Some may trip over the edge of what you may personally find acceptable. All I can is just read past them quickly and move on to the next one. :-)

“I am” is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that “I do” is the longest sentence?

I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it.

If God had intended us not to masturbate he would’ve made our arms shorter.

Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that ...

The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.

By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.

What does it mean to pre-board? Do you get on before you get on?

When someone is impatient and says, “I haven’t got all day,” I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day?

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, “Where’s the self-help section?” She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

There’s no present. There’s only the immediate future and the recent past.

I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me . . they’re cramming for their final exam.

The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.

Michael

One Way To Do Things

When someone tells me there is only one way to do things, it always lights a fire under my butt. My instant reaction is, “I’m going to prove you wrong!” – Picabo Street

One of the hardest lessons of my life was to learn that there is more than one way to do things. I was the guy that used to say, “There is only one way to do this or that.” or “You have to do it this way.”

I learned to break through this incredibly narrow minded thinking by two important people; my daughter and my friend Kim who used to work for me in California. Both of them made it impossible for me to stick to that train of thought. Both showed me in a variety of ways how narrow minded and wrong I was.

As I was getting this lesson from both of them at the same time, my life was quite challengin. I couldn’t go any place where I was the one who was right. :-) I had to let go of my old thinking and habits.

By the time my daughter was out of high school, I graduated (with honors by the way) from the school of “There is more than one way to do things.” In fact, at work I stopped telling people how to do things. I only told them what needed to be done. If they asked how I had done something similar, I would always qualify it by saying this is what worked for me. Use it as an example only.

It was similar with my daughter. I started to get her input on things and not be the one telling her how to do something. This was a definite improvement in our relationship.

So, if you think you have all the answers, think again. If you think your way is the best way, think again. If you believe you have the only way to do something, get another person’s opinion. If you still are having a problem overcoming this way of thinking, hang around a few teenagers for extended periods of time. That should help “cure” you.

Michael

Newport Flower Show 2008

Rosecliff Mansion - Newport, RII attended the Newport Flower Show today. It is held at the Rosecliff Mansion on Bellevue Ave. This is my second year to go to the show and I’m a big fan now.

The botanical specimens combined with the creative art of plant/flower arranging bring surprises and creates huge excitement in the crowds that attend.

I love rich, saturated colors which is what I’m drawn to photograph when I go to this show. To the left is a shot of Rosecliff Mansion. Most of the flower specimens are around and inside the building. Taking your time to leisurely tour the grounds makes for an enjoyable day.

On the other side of the mansion from the photo above is the Atlantic Ocean. The day was hot and humid with very little wind to relieve us from the stifling heat. On the grounds between the mansion and the ocean were numerous vendors selling all kinds of crafts, clothes, plants, food and etc. I love to see the variety of creative expression that abounds in these types of venues.

Flowers at the Newport Flower ShowThe yellow flowers to the right were spectacular. They were like have the color of the sun in a flower. I’m always amazed at the level of color intensity that some flowers possess. It makes me appreciate the diversity and beauty of nature that much more.

I took a number of photographs while touring the many displays. Here is a link to 14 of my favorites including larger versions of the two on this post.

Newport has a plethora of events, attractions and fun things to do all year around, but around this time of year there are so many events to attend, that it is hard to fit them all in.

If you love flowers and plants, I suggest planning your visit to Newport, RI during the weekend that this show is happening. You’ll want to come back again and again.

Michael

Loving Friday

It is bad luck to fall out of a thirteenth story window on Friday. – American Proverb

After long, hectic weeks, Fridays are very welcome in my world. I look forward to the morning and my anticipation and excitement only increases as the day wears on. I used to think how sad it was that we look forward to Friday sometimes only because we don’t like our job. Others like Fridays because they have two days off and they don’t like their job.

I decided I don’t want that to be my reason anymore, so I’m exploring ways to make every day a Friday. That way, you get the best of both worlds. It’s your last day of work for the week and you have two days off.

Obviously, this may end up being more of a mental trick but I’ve been thinking that if you love the work you are doing, it will feel more like Friday. In other words, your day will be exhilarating but for different reasons than it is the last day of work for the week.

I’m currently looking for jobs and or opportunities to make a living that give me exactly that freedom and exhilaration I’m talking about it.

“Every day a Friday” I love the concept. More later as the story unfolds.

Michael

Positive Influences

Last week, in my post Chance Encounters, I talked about meeting one of my ex bosses from years ago. Today, I was able to meet him for a lunch and long talk. It was really nice to catch up, tell him what has been going on with me and find out about his life over the last two years.

This man had a tremendously positive influence on my life and my career. His lessons have been and will continue to be invaluable.

I learned to handle continuous change. I learned that you shouldn’t stop¬†figuring out a way to do¬†something better just because it was working fine. I learned that the people working for you were the only reason for your success. I learned that employees are assets not an expense. I learned that you treat your people right no matter what.

I learned how to prepare properly for a status meeting. I learned that it was okay to say you didn’t have the answer to a question, but that you knew where to find it. I learned the value of loyalty. I continually learned that I could be a little bit better.

I learned what it meant to be a good boss, how to treat employees with respect and what it meant to give the best service to our customer.

The lessons still continue.

Thanks Tim!

Michael

5:00 A.M.

I’d like mornings better if they started later. – Author Unknown

The older generation thought nothing of getting up at five every morning – and the younger generation doesn’t think much of it either. – John J. Welsh

The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn’t, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there. – Monica Baldwin

For many weeks now, I’ve been waking up early and not able to go back to sleep. As soon as the sun peaks above the horizon or the birds start singing in the morning, I’m up.

I’ve been pondering why this change occurred in my normal sleep patterns. I hadn’t really come up with anything except I was somehow matched to the cycles of the sun; i.e. when it becomes light outside my body tells me to wake up.

All of this wouldn’t be an issue except that I tend to stay up late sometimes making the length of sleep short. So, the point is that after weeks of this happening, I’ve started to get used to it. I just get up now (well, not every time) and do stuff.

So, this week due to work, I’ve had to wake up at 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. every morning. I found it much easier than before simply because I was used to it. The effect was that I was unusually awake and alert for my early morning conference calls.

I’m learning to enjoy the early mornings more than I have in the past. There is something about the energy of the time of day when the sun is rising. It makes me feel like I haven’t missed anything. Hmmmmm.

Bonus: I also found that freshly made coffee tastes especially good at 6:00 a.m. :-)

Michael

Dealing with Stress

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. – Attributed to both Jim Goodwin and Sydney J. Harris

Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries. – Astrid Alauda

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward. – Spanish Proverb

Wow! The last two days have been incredibly stressful. So much so, I questioned my decision to stay an extra 60 days at my current (old) job.

But, I did make that decision and I still feel that it was the right one. After getting into a fit of frustration by the end of day on Monday, I decided it was time to act. It took me almost two hours to get myself into a calm state. That was a long time especially for me.

Today was quite tough also, but I managed to keep the frustration in check much better than yesterday. Still, the stress level was high. After about 10 hours I stopped and did some relaxing things outside. I felt better. My plan is to get a good night’s sleep so that I will be ahead of another long day on Wednesday.

The plan is too not let things stress me out like Monday and Tuesday. I will take breaks and some time for myself to relax. One of the best things I’ve found is to just stop what you are doing and take a walk outside for as little as 10 minutes. You’ll thank yourself later.

Michael

Happiness is ……….

Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. – Denis Waitley

I enjoyed this quote very much. It was on a card that Erica gave me for our one year anniversary of meeting each other. It gave me a different perspective on a topic, life pursuit and way of life I’ve been living for many years now.

I’ve believed and still do that happiness is and can be quite different for each of us. That’s what makes this topic so interesting and fascinating to me.

We all want happiness and we can potentially find it everywhere, but true and lasting happiness comes from within. When we learn this simple yet elusive fact, our lives are forever changed. I know mine has been.

The spiritual component of happiness that Denis Waitley touches upon with his inspiring quote goes deep down to the core of our being. Happiness is our birthright. Happiness is a gift of being alive. Being happy is fundamental to our purpose in life. Without happiness all the rest (work, creativity, service to others, family, friends, faith, health and etc.) holds less meaning.

Are you happy enough? If the answer is no, then you can make a change. If the answer is yes, then do more of what you are doing.

Michael

Into the Wild

Sean Penn directed this incredible but tragic story of Christopher McCandless. Chris graduates from college and promptly leaves his middle class family, gives away all his money and starts to explore a life without responsibility or obligation.

Into the Wild tells the tale of one man’s determination to experience each moment fully conscious. He touches many people and in turn is touched by many also. Emile Hirsch plays Christopher brilliantly. This had to be a difficult part to play because most of the time, his character is the only one on the screen.

Erica and I watched this movie last Thursday and I’m still thinking about it after four days. There is a lot to absorb. The rest of this post contains spoilers for this movie. If you are planning on watching it, don’t read any further.

Near the end of his life, Chris has a realization which is that “Happiness is only real when shared.” I’m still questioning this statement in my head after several days of thinking about it. I have believed that true happiness only comes from within without dependencies on external influences. So, I’ve been trying to blend these two concepts together.

Can happiness be real without sharing with others? I believe so, but I do know that when two or more share their happiness, the synergistic effect is much more than the sum of its parts.

I’ll be thinking more about this in the future; probably a lot more.

Michael

Bicycles, Strawberries and Homemade Ice Cream

Erica and started off the day with a 10 mile bicycle ride around Ocean Drive in Newport, RI. It was a perfect morning for a ride; sunny, deep blue skies, early enough so there wasn’t much traffic and a cool, salty breeze off the ocean. As we approached Brenton Point Park, we could see that many people were already launching kites to take advantage of the strong winds. We particularly enjoyed two enormous (automobile size) rainbow colored kites.

After returning home, we made a beeline to Sweet Berry Farms to pick strawberries. We picked two large containers of the ripest ones we could find. Erica took some of the largest and best to make a wonderful fresh strawberry pie. Strawberries are my favorite fruit. Being able to pick them fresh off the plant and then consume them was a huge treat for me.

Lunch consisted of three slices of a freshly made, thin crust pepperoni pizza. For dessert we savored two homemade ice creams; coffee and ginger. Both flavors were exquisite. The coffee ice cream had a rich full bodied coffee taste while the ginger ice cream had large chunks of candied ginger.

The only drawback was that the sugar made both of us sleepy so we took an afternoon nap to recuperate. :-)

The point of this story is to get out and do anything fun. Don’t sit around. Go explore. Do something different. Discover new things.

Have a great day!

Michael