You Wake to Her Breathing

robin williams poetry

Dedicated to Robin Williams.

When reality escapes you,

Late at night,

And you don’t feel right.

You wake in the dark to her breathing.

To know she’ll never be leaving.

Someone’s there, someone who cares.

You can close your eyes,

And dream the dreams,

No one else can share.

Morning face in the mirror,

A familiar one.

Your hands on the razor,

There’s a job to be done.

You’re one in million,

But you’re not the only one.

‘Til she reaches for you,

And she touches you,

Upon the rising sun.

Point the car down the highway,

There’s work to be done.

You face each day,

The same old way.

Lift the phone off the receiver,

Makin’ someone a believer.

You sell your soul to be with her.

One more day, one more day!

And when your day is done,

Your pals are lookin’ for fun.

You steer your head clear,

Towards her waiting arms,

And the setting sun, the setting sun.

You know you’ll never be a genius,

But you’re sure,

Nothing will ever come between us,

Because she’s the only one,

The only one.

 

Your World’s Too Connected

social-media sites logo

Your world’s too connected,

For an original thought.

You’re a poet, a writer, a pundit, beware,

Your words of wisdom, already shared.

You may as well be down under,

Or over the moon.

Your words aren’t your own,

And they can’t come too soon!

The world’s all a Twitter,

And your yesterday’s news.

Your 140 characters,

Have already been used.

Eyes wide open… Reflections

Cody Bear is gone. The questions remain…

Idea Capitalists

Cody Bear Cody Bear

In the darkest hours of the night, when sleep should prevail, without prejudice, without mercy, questions pour into my head.  I lie awake and I wonder…

Have I lived well enough to make many friends and fewer enemies?

Do I have the courage to cherish my friends and to vanquish my enemies?

Have I spread enough smiles?

Have I shared enough hugs?

Have I planted enough kisses? 

Have I caused enough laughter to earn reciprocity?

Have I studied enough history? 

Have I been engaged enough in current affairs? 

Have I earned a degree in knowledge?

Is knowledge a benefit? 

Is knowledge the revelation of truths, or is knowledge the realizations of falsehoods?

Have I learned from every victory and every folly? 

If so, am I a benefactor; more important, am I a teacher?

Today, in this world that reports the past in real-time; in time to worry for…

View original post 222 more words

Shattered Glass

Pins and needles,

Are what you need.

Walking on the edge,

Stepping off the ledge.

Shattered glass,

Will only make you bleed.

Drugs are smiling,

When you should.

Pop those pills.

Swallow that pain.

Happiness kills.

What’s real remains.

The doctor going to make you,

Do what the doctor says,

The doctor’s going to take you,

Because of what you said.

Smile for the camera.

You’re going to make your bed.

Smile for the nurse.

Careful what you said.

The bad news,

They can live in your head.

The good news.

They can’t live,

If you’re dead.

Pins and needles,

Are what you need.

Walking on the edge,

Stepping off the ledge.

Shattered glass,

Will only make you bleed.

Me 09/14/2017

Rev. 10/08/2017

In Life, the Most Important Decisions Are Made Alone.

It’s easier to make the tough decisions if you know someone has your back. Loyalty is earned, not deserved.

We are experience!

My experience from a flailing and fledgling salesperson to the owner and CEO of a successful software company, the most important decisions you make, you make alone.

I’m not a life coach.  I’m not a marketing guru. I’m not a motivational speaker or social media guru.

I have nothing to gain by sharing my personal experiences, so I will spare you any hype. I just want to reinforce my own beliefs, that people can make a difference, if they are willing to open their minds and hearts, without prejudice.

Whether you are a family man or woman, a CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation, if people depend on you for guidance, you are held accountable for the success or failure of others.  Therefore, you have to make decisions that affect other people for better or for worse. That is my definition of a leader, plain and simple.  You don’t have to be Bill Gates to shine or suck. Worse, you probably have less to gain by making the tough decisions, at least from a monetary perspective.

Others will pontificate as to what a leader is, what a leader must do and how a leader must act.  I don’t have time for all that and if you’re like me, neither do you.  The best way to describe how to deal with your life’s biggest challenges is to rely on your past experiences and your gut. Do something!

When it comes to crunch time, a leader must decide on their own and act accordingly.  You’ll no doubt, get plenty of advice, but no one is going to know better than you, what to do.  So there is nowhere to turn.  Ultimately you are the most qualified to make a decision that affects you and your loved ones.

You must make the most important decisions in your life, and make those decisions on your own.  Sorry Doctor Phil.  This isn’t a TV show.  This is real life.  The same holds true in business.

When the time comes no one wants to make the important decisions for you.  Don’t get me wrong.  You will get plenty of advice.  “If I were you…” “You should…”  “You could…” “You might…” Later on, after the decision has been made, you will summarily receive the same words, only in different context.  “If it were me…” “I would have…”  I could have…”  “I would have…

I am sure you have heard these expressions as well, “It is lonely at the top.”  It matters less your stature in life.  It matter most, the decisions you make based on the challenges you face.  Trust me, from a person of experience, the most difficult decisions you have ever made and the most important decisions you will ever make, will be your decisions alone.

We are experience.  Small business owners are the lifeblood of free enterprise. Their heart is still beating.  Their soul is intact.  They epitomize what comprises the backbone of our country.  They are the chief cook and bottle washers; the real risk takers.  Small business owners are essential to the future success of the US economy. 

Small business owners are the spine that stands up and remains strong in the face of diversity, against ever increasing government regulations, against subsidies to big union, subsidies to big businesses and big government.  Small businesses must prevail if we are to remain strong and maintain our leadership position in the world economy. 

We need to lift our voice above the fray.  We need to unite. We need to be heard, above the voices of the mainstream media, the politicians, above the voices of divisiveness and hate, above the voices of fear and doubt. It is time to come together.  The future is now.  The future is no longer an individual choice and your choice alone.  We need to unite. Let’s make some noise.  Let’s take a stand.  What are you doing to preserve the American dream?  Email me: ideacapiltalists@gmail.com

 

 

Poetry and Passion

Depression is not easily understood. It’s not an easy topic for discussion. Even when a comedic genius like Robin Williams kills himself, people just shake their heads in disbelief.

Maybe the problem isn’t with the Robin Williams, maybe the problem is with you?

Listen to the whispers. Save the one you love. Just maybe you can manage to save yourself along the way. Live life for poetry and passion. Find the light. Embrace life.

Some impactful Robin Williams quotes:

“Do I perform sometimes in a manic style? Yes. Am I manic all the time? No. Do I get sad? Oh yeah. Does it hit me hard? Oh yeah.”

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy.”

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering – there are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love – these are what we stay alive for.”

“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”

robin-williams-dark moments

Gone

Your smile is someone else’s now.

Your dreams are not my own.

I’ve been so happy, for so long,

Thank God I’m not alone.

Your eyes are gray, not brown today,

Where has my love gone?

Look away, look away.

Love will come another day.

Look away!

You Decide

20140725_101755

Your ceiling is the sky.
Blister or bathe in the sun.
Shiver or sing under a rainbow.
Each cascading sunset,
Defines your horizon.
What you do in the moment,
What you do in a day,
May define you for an eternity.
May erase all the love,
Or erase all the pain.
And for lack of better reason,
You live in the moment,
And that moment,
That moment is you.

Never let go…

Sunrise Bar Harbor

What’s hurting you,
Is hurting me.
That’s just the way,
It has to be.

Those tears rolling,
Down your face,
I can’t catch,
I can’t erase.
I can’t let go.

You’re my sunrise.
I’m your sand.
Walk on me.
I have your hand.

Don’t let go.

You’re my sunset,

I’m your horizon.

Set on me.

Your sun is rising.
I won’t let go.

Never let go.

Idea Capitalist

8/17/2015

You Cannot Govern Leadership

individualism

While small business owners are putting up their houses and their life savings to survive, to cash flow their business, to hire employees, President Obama was and still is, greasing the palms of his political donors in the name of greentech failures, spending billions of our taxpayer dollars.

The alarming failure of big government was never more evident than when President Obama publicly and carelessly joked about a trillion dollars (stimulus (taxpayer) money) wasted on “Shovel-Ready Was Not As Shovel-Ready As We Expected.”  Where was the red flag then?  Where is the red flag now?

The only hope I see for this country is individual responsibility, and leadership that creates prosperity, not big government. You cannot govern leadership.   Today individual responsibility, leadership, and American exceptionalism are too often political talking points and empty words. When individual leadership fails, or fails to materialize, it creates dependency.

Leonardo da Vinci said it 480 years ago and he said it in Italian. Here is the clearest translation:  “People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.”

I don’t do what you’re passionate about, but be passionate about what you do.  Don’t follow your passion.  Let your passion follow you.  That’s leadership.

As a small business owner after 25 years it has been my experience, the most important life decisions you make, have to be made on your own.  I built my business and leadership is key.

Others will pontificate as to what a leader is, what a leader must do and how a leader must act.  I don’t have time for all that and neither do you.  The best way to find out if you are a leader is to deal with life’s biggest challenges when it comes to crunch time.

Decide on your own and act accordingly.  You’ll no doubt get plenty of advice, but no one is going to know better than you, what to do.  You are better qualified than anyone or anything to make the decisions that affect you personally and those who depend on you.

There’s a disturbing trend in our day-to-day lives towards dependency on others, big institutions, big labor and big government.  Sweat equity has been replaced by entitlement equity.  People measure success based on what they can get, not what they can give.  

A major new study by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, however, shows things haven’t changed all that much. “Children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution relative to their parents as children born in the 1970s,” it finds.  “That doesn’t mean politicians can’t improve people’s chances of rising. It’s just that the best way they can do so is by getting out of the way.”  The Foundry

The problem is the more you lean on the government, the more your life depends on government.  You are governed by more  laws, more regulations and more public policy today than ever before.  Who you become, what you do, and how you do it, is shaped by public opinion and the mainstream media.

In this new era influenced by mass media and public opinion, big government is their divined solution to all your problems.  American exceptionalism, entrepreneurship and the multitude of small business success stories that built a thriving post WWII economy, are too often ignored, discounted and discouraged with crippling regulation and  laws that are the new normal.

What if a typical family spent like government?

What if a typical family spent like government?

Individualism and leadership are sorely needed.  People, not big government, can make a difference.  You and I need to step up to the plate.  Our country’s in peril as is our next generation.  Take on the career politicians who have created roadblocks to personal responsibility and leadership.  Our country is on the line. Vote them out in 2014 and 2016.

Career politicians passing laws that control our lives severely curtail the entrepreneurial spirit and small business startups, the little engine that could, that should and does grow the economy.   Consider the cost of healthcare has virtually doubled for small businesses in the past 5 years.  

Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of free enterprise. Their heart is beating for their next customer, for their fellow employees and their families.  Their soul is intact.  They epitomize what comprises the backbone of our country, small business.  In their shadows are the real leaders, the chief cooks and bottle washers; the real risk takers that stand behind their champions, small business owners.  Small business owners are essential to the future success of the US economy.

Entrepreneurs are not the only leaders.  Leaders are people I see when I come to work before dawn.  I see them after dusk, when darkness settles.  They are resourceful.  They don’t think twice.  If you say something to them about the long hours they keep, they will readily commiserate with you, complain if you will, but there is a sense of pride in their voice.  There is a smile on their face.  These hard working people who are the heart and soul of the US economy.

In an atmosphere where people lean more on government, blame others and institutions for their circumstance, we need more leaders. Whether you are a parent, employee, small business owner or CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation; people depend on you for guidance.  You are accountable for the success or failure of others.  You have to make decisions that affect other people for better or for worse. 

In business or in your personal life, when the time comes, no one will make the important decisions for you.  Don’t get me wrong.  You will get plenty of advice.  “If I were you…” “You should…”  “You could…” “You might…” Later on, after the decision has been made, you will summarily receive the same words, only in a different context.  “If it were me…” “I would have…”  I could have…”  “I would have… Draw on your own experience.  Make your own decisions.

The most important decisions you can make, are made by you alone.  That’s leadership.  You can change the world, change you can believe in.

Politifact – How the Liberal Media Carried Obama’s Water to 2 Elections

The Tampa Bay Times liberal media bias shows itself time and again while claiming to be a reliable source on the truth or lies politicians make.  Cancel my subscription.

In October 2008, when Obama still had two Presidential elections coming up, PolitiFact rated his statement as “true.”

In June 2012, when Obama only had one more Presidential election coming up, PolitiFact rated his statement as  “half true.”

In December 2013, when Obama could no longer run for President ever again, PolitiFact rated his statement as “lie of the year.”

The Mergansers Are Back

 

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

It has been three years now since dad passed away and the mergansers are back each year. 

Dad was in a losing the battle with an unforgiving and relentless disease, Alzheimer’s.  Simply put, Alzheimer’s is an hour glass of life’s memories forever sifting and slipping away.

There was a small sign with my father’s name, outside his 10 x 12 room, but when reality sunk in, dad just wasn’t home.  There were many occasions thereafter, I realized just how much I missed him.

Dad was a conservationist.  He loved the outdoors and natural surroundings. He took great pride in building and placing wood duck and blue bird houses all along the river in Wisconsin, on which he and my mom lived.

For that reason, I was excited to see wood ducks on a pond behind my office.  Keep in mind I live in Florida, not Wisconsin.  I was so excited, I called mom and she sent me wood duck houses for the pond.  I mounted them on some beautiful cypress trees on the pond.  It turns out the “wood ducks” didn’t want anything to do with their new homes.  In fact, they weren’t wood ducks at all, they were Hooded Mergansers!

Of course dad would have known they were mergansers.  He would have laughed and told me mergansers are migratory. They were just passing through, just like dad.

Private sector velocity!? In 2011, IBM CEO, Palmisano offered the Obama Administration to fix Medicare and Medicaid to the tune of $900B for FREE. He was turned down twice!

AM-BB803_Watson_G_20140108221204

IBM Watson

This is mind boggling to me.  IBM’s CEO offering the Obama Administration software to fix Medicare/Medicaid for free…$200B in fraud, plus remedies for other healthcare concerns to the tune of $900B!  Reportedly the Obama Administration refused this offer not once but twice!

The obvious reason is Obama is running for re-election on Obamacare.  His reelection depended on the hype of the success of Obamacare as a means to reduce Medicare and Medicaid fraud.  It is one of their five major talking points of their Medicare.gov website.  “The life of the Medicare Trust fund will be extended to at least 2029—a 12-year extension due to reductions in waste, fraud and abuse, and Medicare costs, which will provide you with future savings on your premiums and coinsurance.”  Why would you want someone in the private sector solving the problem?

Plus. if you were a freeloading on Medicare or Medicaid, would you vote Republican?

I had to dig to find this original video, because I was very skeptical.., scroll to two minutes into the video. My jaw dropped by the end.  VIDEO —> http://on.wsj.com/193939f

HERE’S THE NARRATIVE…
The video opens with the Journal’s Alan Murray saying: “When President Obama was elected, you started spending a fair amount of time at the White House.”

Palmisano: “Yes, I did.”

Murray: “What was that all about?”

“Well,” Palmisano replied, “part of it was the administration was reaching out to the business community. I mean, I was one of many, obviously … around economic (issues)… So we were having lots of input, lots of exchange. That’s what we all were working on at the time.”

Asked how he thought the White House visits had turned out, Palmisano replied: “We haven’t made any progress. It doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot of interaction.”

Murray: “Well, what’s the point of interaction if it doesn’t lead to progress?”

Palmisano: “You’d have to ask the people who aren’t progressing.”

He added, We’ve done tons of work, and for whatever sets of reasons, we haven’t been able to establish, be in sync with, the priorities.”

Palmisano offered an example: “We — and I’m fairly confident about this one because it required no legislative change — we could have improved quality and reduced the costs of the health-care system by $900 billion… It was self-funding. You could have insured anybody you wanted to, illegal aliens, dogs, cats, ponies, whatever, right? And the stuff was simple. Did not require any big legislative change.”

About $400 billion of the reduced costs could be realized through negotiating discounts with drug companies, just as IBM negotiates its own discounts, he said. “Buy a nationwide discount,” he said. “Just like pharmaceutical companies sell to us on a nationwide discount. It’s no different. I said, ‘Take the IBM discount! Take the IBM discount.’ ”

Another example of savings: “Two hundred billion in fraud. That was a 3 percent improvement, by the way. This wasn’t transformational. … There’s so much fraud in the system — 3 percent and then Year 7 was 8 percent, Year 5 was 5 percent. It’s 200 billion.”

Murray: “And why didn’t they do that? Is there a fraud –”

Palmisano: “I said we would do it for free to prove that it works. They turned us down. You’ll have to ask them… Free. Free wasn’t good enough.”

I didn't know!

I didn’t know!

Murray asks again: Why?

Palmisano replies, “I think what it is, not to be judgmental about these things, I really do think what it is that we weren’t aligning with the priorities. … the priority at the time, if I stay on my example of health care, was not to reduce costs and improve quality. It was to provide insurance and coverage for more people. That was our priority in the line. All we said, if you did this you could fund the priority without increasing the deficit, taking taxes up. And we couldn’t sell the case.”

We have all paid a huge price for the 2012 election bid made by Barack Obama.

They Shuttered Two More Mines in Wayne County, WV. Congratulations Mr. President.

coal2Here is our “jobs” President speaking out about his War on Coal, “When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I’m capping greenhouse gasses, coal power plants, natural gas…you name it…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations. That will cost money…they will pass that money on to the consumers.”

A few more interesting facts have come to light in the last few days concerning coal in WV. The EPA can cheer that they shuttered two more mines in Wayne County, WV November 5th, laying off another 250 miners. They’re certainly going to have a Merry Christmas.

Two years ago the WV state budget ran a $140 million surplus after balancing the budget. Last year WV swung to a $90 million dollar deficit and now 4 months into the new fiscal year WV is down $42 million dollars! Because of EPA rulings  and signing up to participate in ObamaCare WV is running a $10 million monthly deficit that’s growing! How will this have a happy ending? When you look at the remarkable change in just the last 30 months the fiscal change is incredible. WV is on track for a $140 million deficit this year after running a $140 million surplus just two years ago!! Move over Detroit here they come!

An interesting story regarding a high-ranking member of the iron workers union which you would suspect his story is common with all of his constituents. During the George Bush era he worked on various “clean coal” technologies at power plants in WV and Ohio and his pay year after year was well north of $100,000. Since the “Obama era” started in 2009 not only has he never made $100,000 annually again, he’s never made $50,000 in a year!

Half the time he’s been on unemployment collecting food stamps. The other half he’s traveled all over the country working for sub par wages on various “shovel ready” government stimulus jobs. He’s truly never made 1/2 of the wages he was earning just 5 years ago. Once again the irony of it all? He’s a life long democrat and voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012! This guy in the last three years has literally sold his car because he can’t afford the payment, taxes and insurance but still votes straight Democrat in all elections. He has to take a bus to the polls, yet he doesn’t see the connection.

Now I know where the expression “die-hard” comes from.  Liberals.

Read more here…

coalminer-e1328803782694Obama’s EPA and Their War on Coal – If You Can’t Compete You Cheat

Excerpt – Obama doesn’t have to win any more elections so his views are much harsher since the 2012 election victory. Obama’s stance on coal in 2011 and the difference in 2012 are striking.   The 2 most recent years are the war on coal, of course we had growth from the bottom of the recession till 2011. The debate with the liberals has been, there are more jobs in the coal industry today than there were when Obama took office.  Tree huggers always use the number of jobs created from the depth of the recession and usually concentrate on job growth in 2011.Anybody who states there are more jobs in the coal industry today in spite of Obama’s EPA is truly drinking the Kool Aid.

raked-over-coalObama’s War on Coal – You Need to Create Two Jobs for Every One Job Obama Eliminates

Excerpt – Who would hire a 50 year old with a high school education with only mining on his resume? Couldn’t they retire you ask? Many of the coal companies laid them off because they’re filing bankruptcy. Even those who were retired from a coal company had a federal judge uphold the coal company could cut their pensions by 70% and end their health care. In short, THESE PEOPLE ARE SCREWED!

Rock My World Innovations – Part III – Driverless Cars – Stuff We Can Live With

Driverless car

Driverless car

Technology waits for no man.  Technology will solve many problems  politicians refuse to solve, such as energy independence.

What if we could eliminate DUI’s?  No more accidents?  No more collision insurance?  No more speeding tickets?  No more traffic cops?  No more traffic jams and erase handicaps, too?  PLAY SHORT VIDEO

What if we save the billions with a “B” the DOT is spending on high speed rail?  Politics aside, what if we spend our billions more wisely on potentially more ubiquitous technology, like driverless cars?   What if driverless cars were allowed 1-2 HOV lanes on a perpetual traffic jam like the notorious LA freeway system?

What if we send a driverless car to pick you up for work?  What if the system of freeway Park and Ride’s was expanded to use driverless cars at the same rates per seat as other mass transit?  What if what we do for bikes in the inner city, like Divvy bikes, we do for cars?

One idea Google has been studying is how its vehicles could become part of robo-taxi systems in which a fleet of self-driving cars would pick up passengers and work commuters on demand, according to people familiar with the matter. Google believes that such systems could potentially reduce the need for people to own cars and reduce accidents. Google Designing Its Own Self-Driving Car, Considers ‘Robo Taxi’ 

We know politicians.  Money is burning a hole in their pocket.  If they are going to spend taxpayer dollars on infrastructure, would our dollars go further if driverless car makers were offered responsible loan guarantees and driverless car buyers were offered the same subsidies we afford to other green initiatives?

Electric cars and gas-electric-hybrid models currently for sale in the U.S. have captured just 3% of total sales through the first eight months of this year. The Toyota Prius line accounts for more than half of the hybrid sales. Electric cars such as the Leaf account for barely a 10th of the market. About 1 in 10 of today’s new-vehicle owners say they will consider an electric the next time they buy a car, says Strategic Vision.

driverless intersection

VIDEO – Driverless Car Intersection

Watch the VIDEO of a Driverless car intersection.  Technology advances rapidly. Consider in a 2004 desert test the Google driverless car went 8 miles.  In 2010 it went 140,000 miles.  They used the staggering amounts of data collected for Google Maps and Google Streets. View to provide as much information as possible about the roads their cars were traveling. Their vehicles also collected huge volumes of real-time data using video, radar, and LIDAR (light detection and ranging) gear mounted on the car; these data were fed into software that takes into account the rules of the road, the presence, trajectory, and likely identity of all objects in the vicinity, driving conditions, and so on. This software controls the car and probably provides better awareness, vigilance, and reaction times than any human driver could. The Google vehicles’ only accident came when the driverless car was rear-ended by a car driven by a human driver. Google’s is now looking to build their own driverless cars, has a fleet of Toyota Prius’s, that exist today and have traveled over a half million miles without an accident.

We already have the technology to automatically parallel park cars, from Toyota Prius, Ford Escape and VW Tiguan. New technologies also include early warning systems to warn drivers if they are following to close.

 “Giving automobiles auto-piloting features—up to and including completely hands-free, eyes-closed operation with trusting souls aboard—is the Space Race of global auto makers, and you are the monkey in the capsule. Last month Nissan and Renault chief Carlos Ghosn promised that Nissan would bring affordable autonomous cars to the public by 2020. Mercedes-Benz already markets some of its driver-assist technologies as “semiautonomous”: automatic lane keeping (positioning the car between the lines during brief periods of hands-off operation); and Stop & Go Pilot, an optics-and-radar-based cruise control that can see traffic ahead and adjust speed in heavy traffic.” Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal September 2013

UPDATE: Fully self-driving cars expected by 2030, says forecast

The future is now if we stop playing politics and start employing innovation, entrepreneurship and the technology at hand.  See Part II PCs are dead and Part I on Smart Phones.

Obama’s EPA and Their War on Coal – If You Can’t Compete You Cheat

coalminer-e1328803782694If you can’t compete, you cheat.  It’s clear the EPA is trying to shaft the coal industry.  Last year the state of WV balanced their budget and had a $140 million surplus. Today 12 months later they have a $90 million deficit. The reason is lost coal tax revenues. A negative swing of $230 million in just one year!

This next year will be much worse, WV will be lucky to survive. Many experts believe the state is the next Detroit because of EPA policies.

What does the EPA do to compete with coal?  They cheat.  The Obama administration poured over a billion dollars into alternative fuel technology’s like solar, which gave us the Solyndra debacle.  We flushed $535M of taxpayer money down the toilet and we are going to blow over a billion on wind power.

Caithness Corp.’s Shepherds Flat was awarded $1.3B from the Obama administration and $30M from the State of Oregon for wind power.  This project is highly suspect.  In a Politico article, it’s stated “Its developers gorged themselves on hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers for 45 jobs, and government officials were well aware it was over-subsidized.”

In the WSJ yesterday, “In announcing the EPA’s new carbon regulations, Administrator Gina McCarthy said that new power plants “can minimize their carbon emissions by taking advantage of modern technologies.” The fact is that the coal-based industry cannot realistically follow these rules without putting itself out of business.”

So the question I have for President Obama and the EPA is, “Why not subsidize clean coal?”

If foolish spending and subsidies for energy industries that cannot compete isn’t enough, the EPA will strangle the coal industry with new regulations.  U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) vows to fight destructive policies that harm America’s economy.

Senator Manchin, a stout Obama supporter until 2012, slammed President Obama’s proposal to address climate change, which imposes unreasonable restrictions that will have disastrous consequences for not only the coal industry, but also American jobs and the economy.

“The regulations the President wants to force on coal are not feasible. And if it’s not feasible, it’s not reasonable.” Senator Manchin said, in an interview with the Washington Post. “It’s clear now that the President has declared a war on coal. It’s simply unacceptable that one of the key elements of his climate change proposal places regulations on coal that are completely impossible to meet with existing technology.

“The fact is clear: our own Energy Department reports that our country will get 37 percent of our energy from coal until 2040. Removing coal from our energy mix will have disastrous consequences for our recovering economy. These policies punish American businesses by putting them at a competitive disadvantage with our global competitors. And those competitors burn seven-eighths of the world’s coal, and they’re not going to stop using coal any time soon.

“It is only common sense to use all our domestic resources, and that includes our coal. Let’s make sure that government works as our partner, not our adversary, to create a secure and affordable energy future, and let’s invest in technology which will have the ability to burn coal with almost zero emissions.”  

Obama doesn’t have to win any more elections so his views are much harsher since the 2012 election victory. Obama’s stance on coal in 2011 and the difference in 2012 are striking.   The 2 most recent years are the war on coal, of course we had growth from the bottom of the recession till 2011. The debate with the liberals has been, there are more jobs in the coal industry today than there were when Obama took office.  Tree huggers always use the number of jobs created from the depth of the recession and usually concentrate on job growth in 2011.Anybody who states there are more jobs in the coal industry today in spite of Obama’s EPA is truly drinking the Kool Aid.

While the Obama administration is subsidizing green energy with billions to create a few hundreds of jobs, he could help save thousands of high paying jobs in the coal industry.  Again it begs the question, “Why not subsidize clean coal?”

 

Obama’s War on Coal – You Need to Create Two Jobs for Every One Job Obama Eliminates

raked-over-coalThe war on coal is in full steam with the latest EPA regulations that went into effect. This Bloomberg story talks about how sneaky the Obama administration is. Here’s a little background.

Because of the carbon tax levied on power plants that burn coal and the over drilling of the Marcellus Shale, natural gas became a cheaper alternative for power plants to create electricity. In February of this year natural gas prices spiked and power plants started to burn coal again because it was cheaper. The Obama administration raised the carbon tax very quietly by 60%, making natural gas with its elevated price once again the cheapest source.

The Bloomberg article details how it was done by slipping it in with some new air conditioning regulations so they wouldn’t take any heat over it. I might remind you Bloomberg is a raging liberal, and even his publication is crying foul. Coal doesn’t have a chance with an administration that simply raises the fine for burning coal every time coal becomes a cheaper solution. It truly is a war on coal. The next war will be on natural gas after they destroy the coal industry.

The human toll is something that’s not being reported anywhere. The average pay in the coal industry is $68,000 per employee. That’s not just miners, that’s secretaries, clerks, etc…  Extremely high paying jobs that are being eliminated 300 – 500 at a time. The last mine to close in WV laid off 504 employees that averaged this pay. When you see the Obama administration tout the jobs they’re creating, those jobs have average pay around $35,000 annually.

That’s one reason our economy is stuck, you need to create two jobs for every one job Obama eliminates. And that would only keep us even. For growth you need 3 jobs at the Obama pay rate to replace one good job in the coal fields. When you live in WV you can easily see the problem with Obama’s so called jobs plan.

Obama claims, repeatedly, ad nauseum, he is trying to save the middle class, while his war on coal is proof, he is busy wiping out the middle class and increasing middle class dependency on big government.

And by the way, most of these people who were making $68,000 a year have high school educations only. Their average age is around 45. Where will they find similar jobs? There aren’t any coal mines in cities the size of Tampa. These people live in rural areas of KY and West Virginia mostly. Why don’t they move you ask? How will they sell their homes? 500 of the richest people in a coal mining community of 5000 lose their job on the same day and put their houses on the market. With that glut of homes how could they get a fair price even if the could find a buyer?

Who would hire a 50 year old with a high school education with only mining on his resume? Couldn’t they retire you ask? Many of the coal companies laid them off because they’re filing bankruptcy. Even those who were retired from a coal company had a federal judge uphold the coal company could cut their pensions by 70% and end their health care. In short, THESE PEOPLE ARE SCREWED!

A statement from the West Virginia Coal Mining Association, “The Administration’s “War on Coal” has been waged with a barrage of ill-conceived administrative actions, litigation and regulatory actions such as EPA’s Spruce mine retroactive veto, the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation’s totally unnecessary efforts to rewrite of the stream buffer zone rule, the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s ill-conceived and scientifically baseless regulatory changes and EPA’s regulatory “train wreck.” The “War on Coal” is not rhetoric. It is real, and it is killing us.”

And finally the irony of it all. Without exception most of these miners are Democrats and supported Obama in the 2008 election. Even after he turned on them, the UMWA labor union still supported him lock, stock and barrel in the 2012 election. Romney came to WV and held a rally and told the miners, if he were elected he’d restructure the EPA and have them back to work in 100 days. They still supported Obama. There is a saying about folks like that. If God didn’t want them shorn, he wouldn’t have made them sheep. Obama was very blunt in 2007 when he said, you can build a power plant that burns coal but we’ll bankrupt you. For once, he is a man of his word.

NOTE: Nearly 300 coal-fired power units nationwide have closed or will be retired this year. Other plants have switched to natural gas. A total of eighteen (18) coal-fired units in West Virginia have announced their plans to close.  It is estimated that each unit accounts for approximately 100 full-time positions, thus the total number of jobs impacted in West Virginia by these closures is approximately 1,800 additional jobs.  Across the Appalachian region, the damage is even worse, with approximately 10,000 direct mining jobs lost and another 40,000 indirect jobs lost.  The net effect is the removal of $719 million from West Virginia’s economy and a $2.05 billion loss from the region.  These are real dollars that have been lost, impacting every family and business in their area.

Rock My World Innovations – Stuff We Can Live With – Part II

Laptops are doomed

Laptops are doomed

As I stated in Rock My World Innovations – Stuff We Can Live With – Part I, when I began researching “rock my world” innovations and how it affects us and our workplace, the hardest part for me is I couldn’t stop. It’s because in the course of studying innovation, much that you read and hear about today is already old news.

I found some rock my world innovations but more often than not, I found new stuff we can live with.  Stuff here today, possibly gone tomorrow…

I’m a big fan of the future and enjoy learning all I can about new innovations.  In studying innovation in my work I quickly discovered you can erase the past and create the future as quickly as you can erase chalk from a chalkboard.

One of my favorite recitations is that as a CEO in the technology business, we as a company must constantly reinvent ourselves.  We need new technology to keep up with the existing technology and the tsunami of information we have to deal with every day.

We live in a world of plentiful accurate data, and massive storage capacity and processing power.   So anything’s possible. here is Part II.

Game changers include Tablets.  So laptops are doomed.  In the next five years, tablets will displace notebook-style computers to become the dominant personal computing platform.  And the transition from laptop to tablet has already begun. Tablets are expected to outsell laptops in 2016 as tablet shipments increase by 5x from 80+ million in 2011 to 425 million by 2017.  A third of those sales will be directly to businesses, as tablets become standard tools for executives, sales staff and other information workers.

Another driving force, China and other emerging markets will drive tablet growth because they aren’t already saturated with laptops and smartphones. Emerging markets will account for 40% of tablets sold by 2016.

Here’s a great example of how technology can supplement and even trump government run programs who receive taxpayer dollars and quite honestly many of the non-profits too, who receive charitable contributions and government funding.  More money could be invested in entrepreneurial endeavours, in promising, proven and economical technology, and less in politically motivated boondoggles, like the Solyndra scandal.

Tablets are killing laptops

Tablets are killing laptops

Here’s an account from  Jim Nuttall, East Lansing, MI on how apps on mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones can help the handicapped improve their quality of life, and become more productive.

I am legally blind and have an iPhone. This is what an iPhone does for me and how it affects our economy.

– iPhone reads books to me — no more human readers required
– Internet books for blind — no more library
– Internet radio — no more standard radio
– iTunes Music Store — no more physical music store
– App Store — no mall software store
– Kindle — no more book store-
– GPS — no more maps or dedicated GPS
– Internet news — no newspapers
– Google — no more yellow pages
– Internet weather — no TV weather man
– Cell phone — no more landline company
– Camera — no separate photo or Video camera
 

I love my Kindle app on the iPad and access to social media sites is easy and easy to provide updates.  I can’t imaging the need for a separate digital camera or GPS.  I won’t give up my Garmin Edge on my bike or my Go Pro cam on my next great adventure.

I still have a PC (laptop) and I prefer my laptop when I am sitting at my desk reviewing volumes of information which requires editing, using spreadsheets and even blogging, but there is certainly a great deal of evidence mounting that we can and will readily adapt to new technology and innovations as they present themselves.

See Part III and the next great game changer.

Rock My World Innovations – Stuff We Can Live With – Part I

Sign of the times.

Sign of the times.

When I began researching “rock my world” innovations and how it affects us and our workplace, the hardest part for me is I couldn’t stop. It’s because in the course of studying innovation, much of what you read and hear about today is already old news.

I found some rock my world innovations but more often than not, I found new stuff we can live with.  Stuff here today, possibly gone tomorrow…

I’m a big fan of the future and enjoy learning all I can about new innovations.  In studying innovation in my work I quickly discovered you can erase the past and create the future as quickly as you can erase chalk from a chalkboard.

One of my favorite recitations is that as a CEO in the technology business, we as a company must constantly reinvent ourselves.  We need new technology to keep up with the existing technology and the tsunami of information we have to deal with every day.

We live in a world of plentiful accurate data, and massive storage capacity and processing power.   So anything’s possible.

We live in a world where computers improve so quickly that their capabilities pass from the realm of science fiction into the everyday world!

Like Watson the IBM Computer who can beat the world’s finest chess players or champions at Jeopardy and we’re not talking about surpassing the realm of science fiction over the course of a human lifetime, or even within the span of a professional’s career, but instead in just a few years.

So What is Innovation?smartphones

1) There are the Game Changers that can disrupt and create whole new markets.
2) There are Breakthrough Innovations that Introduces a new technology into an existing market and

3) There are Incremental Innovations that are Small but Significant improvements to our lives.

people toothbrush

More people with cell phones in the world than with toothbrushes.

So let’s talk briefly today about one of the most obvious game changers.  Smartphones.  There are more people with cell phones in the world than with toothbrushes.  Seems impossible right?  Well believe it or not, this guy owns a smart phone!

toothless guy

This guy owns a smartphone

Let’s talk about THE FUTURE of the smart phone 2013… Below is a short video about a new app called Project Glass from Google.  I’ll tell you, I’m definitely going use this app!  I couldn’t find my way around a department store if I had to save my life.  Here’s the story.

I had taken my 2-year-old daughter shopping with me for my wife’s Christmas gift.  I chose the local mall which was a mistake!  There were too many stores, on too many levels and subsequently too many choices.  My two-year old decided she would decide when to leave for me and declared in a high octave it was time to leave.  When I tried to get her back into her snow suit she decided to take it up a few notches so I made my exit as quickly as possible.  I was plowing through drifts of snow with a screaming kid under my arm, like a football and I couldn’t find the car.  I thought it had been stolen.  I quickly dismissed the thought, thinking who would steal a yellow Ford Pinto with a black racing stripe, affectionately nicknamed, The Banana.  When I came to my senses I had realized there was an East and a West entrance to the mall.  It seems I had been rendered temporarily geographically dyslexic.  It is strictly a male trait brought on by the trauma from entering a shopping mall and likely departing with a lighter wallet.

google glass

Google Glass

Here’s the short video…the future of smartphones a.k.a. Google Glass.

What are some of the other game changing innovations? Hint: Laptops Are Doomed!

A Dog in the Life of a Day

Cody cools off in Al's pool

A Day in the Life of Cody

The more important you think you are, the less important you become.  This is an important lesson in my life.  I am reminded of this lesson every day.

I have learned many of life’s lessons, from people who are widely heralded as the most influential leaders in technology, people like Steve Jobs.

I have learned from world leaders who have left a legacy of influence on freedom in our world, like Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King.  I am humbled by their genius, by their resolve and by their vision.

I have to say, again the more important you think you are, the less important you will become.  I guarantee it.  Here’s how it works.

You have an important meeting you have to attend or an important call you have to take, at certain time of day.  You are waiting for that phone to ring.  Before it does, your chocolate lab, Cody comes into your office, places his head on your knee, looks up to you and says…time out.

You can have plenty of demands and plenty of reasons to deny Cody his walk, but he’s there to remind you just how special you are to him.  If you take that call, no matter the circumstance you are diminished in his eyes and there’s an ache in your heart.

You might ask me what the difference is whether it be a spouse, a child or a pet you put off?  I am here to say, you’re loved one’s will buy your story line, but if you want a truly honest assessment of your character, choose Cody.  You can’t get a line past him.

You can get a surrogate to walk him, feed him, bathe him and more, but you own him.  And he owns you.  Your family makes allowances for your behavior.  They know just how important you are; or you’ve become; or you imagine.  Cody knows you’re just the guy picking up his poop.  It’s that simple.

Think about it.

Gallup Poll – Small Business Gains the Trust of Americans

Americans' Confidence Gallup Poll

Americans’ Confidence Gallup Poll

Virtually all American small businesses hire Americans.  They spends their money here.  They pay their taxes here. Their profits stay here, helping to grow our economy. They support local businesses.  Small business grows American jobs.

While big government, big business and big union continue to capture the headlines in the Mainstream Media (MSM) the latest Gallup Polls tell the real story – Americans’ Confidence in Congress Falls to Lowest on Record. Small Business continues to garner the trust of most Americans – 76%!

Americans don’t discriminate when it comes to entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurship and American exceptionalism is an equal opportunity endeavour.

This message needs to resonate with more politicians, whose confidence with the American people is at a new low – only 10% according to the Gallup poll!!  Yet who do politicians pander to, Big Business 22%, and Big Union 20%, right there with them.

While Big Government is busy making deals with major corporations like Amazon and Time Warner here in Florida, small businesses are left to compete for business at lesser margins.  They compete for qualified employees at higher salaries.  Why?  Big government subsidized competition for big business through tax incentives, tax breaks, and now even Obamacare, delaying the corporate mandate.

What politicians need to do, is pay attention more attention to small businesses. Recently I tested my own theory that small business grows jobs at a much greater rate than big business. I arrived at some interesting conclusions.

Using a calculator from PoliticalCalculations.com How Many People Are Employed by Small Businesses? I did the math and here is what I found.

A large portion, over 50% of the 55M employees recorded by the SBA in 2008 employed by small businesses, are concentrated in the 1-50 employee businesses. One could then draw the conclusion, the more start-ups the better. Feeding start-ups to grow quickly into the categories of 5 – 25 employees is a path to greater job growth, than big business.

Business size – Category No. Employees Percent of Total Employees under 500 Increase in Employment by Business Size
1-4 3,724,975 7%
5-10 6,338,025 11% 63%
11-25 11,124,498 20% 53%
26-50 8,761,696 16% 29%
51-100 8,397,904 15% 22%
101-250 10,299,022 18% 21%
251-500 7,186,709 13% 13%
Total 55,832,829

There needs to be more start-ups, a.k.a., small businesses.  To encourage the increase in numbers of employees in the 5 – 25 employee categories would mean enabling small businesses to create more jobs, at a faster pace.

To demonstrate this further, another US Government Small Business Administration (SBA) study shows companies between 20 and 100 employees produce the most significant rate of growth both in employment and revenues.

Legal Form U.S., All Industries Employment Size of Firm
of Organization Total 0 * 1-4 5-9 10-19 20-99 100-499
Firms 3,781,343 13% 43% 19% 13% 11% 2%
Employment 45,087,926 0% 8% 10% 14% 37% 30%
Est. receipts 7,168,325,343 2% 9% 10% 13% 35% 31%

More of the incentives afforded to the large corporations should shift to smaller businesses to increase the numbers of smaller businesses who succeed.  Check out: America Runs On Small Businesses Infograph.

Consider as larger corporations continue to downsize, largely due to technology replacing people, where is job growth going to come from? The answer, entrepreneurs and innovation. There’s more to this story. Let me know what you think?

If politicians want to win elections, they need to run on a small business for jobs platform.  They need to ask, “What can be done to increase the success of start-ups, reduce their failure rate, sustain their growth and the rate of employment to the extent they can grow and produce significant gains in employment and revenues?”

A combination of small business development, combined with technology and innovation will grow this economy faster than dishing out boondoggles to big business.

In Life Too Often, It’s the Tail Waggin’ the Dog

100_0003 (2)I love the beat of Cody’s tail wagging against the floor, against the door, against the wall, against the bed he is lying on.  I’m not sure whether it will be Cody’s heart that gives out before his tail stops wagging.

Cody’s my 10 year old chocolate lab.  We’re kinda attached at the hips.  He goes to work with me every day.  He goes to work most days, I am out of town on business. I now have a ramp he uses to load up into the back of my SUV.  It is a ceremony.  He’s not fan of the trip up.  I’ve employed what is best to describe as a soft suitcase I wrap him in, to coax him up the ramp.  He’s frantic, so there’s always a treat waiting for him.  Upon arrival, and his descent, he reminds me of an arriving dignitary, including the obligatory pause for photo ops, before his parade trip down the ramp.

Cody knows when it’s time to go to work.  He knows when it is time for his 10 and 4 o’clock walks.  He knows he goes to North Park in the AM and he knows he tours the office park in the afternoon.

Most important he knows when it is time to go home.  Dinner!

If you ask him to change his routine, you meet with the stubbornness of a 100+ lb. dog, who knows who’s in charge.

He knows when the UPS truck arrives.  He knows the drivers.  He knows whether to expect a biscuit or a good rub.  The drivers know him, too.  After all, “What can brown do for you?”

You might say Cody has it made.  Even before you see his beds at home or the leather sofa he spends an increasing amount of time on at the office, but there’s a point to all this dribble. So bear with me.

Cody’s hips are giving in to father time, so he’s getting laser to strengthen his shoulders and flanks.  If it works for him, I’m next in line.

Cody now goes to bed before Terri and I do.  Both of us cracked a smile and laughed the first time he left us to head for bed.  Now we know Cody has more common sense than we do.

A former neighboring business owner had a 10 year old white lab named Jack.  Like Cody, he came to work with his owners each day.  Jack died suddenly.  We were commiserating when Jack’s owner said to me, “give Cody a good back scratch for Jack.”

When I scramble to meet a deadline, decry the political theatre, grouse over a lost order or worry about where the next dollar is coming from, all I have to do is look to my friend.  He’s most often at my feet.

I am reminded.  I have so much to live for, why not make things right in this messed up world?  The solution?

Everyone should get a good tummy rub and a nice back scratch every day.  Cody does.

It Is Time for Tough Love

Tough Love vs. Dependency

Dependency – not confident, prone to mistakes, indecisive, desires security and support, fears having no guidance or support, frequently feels envious, not productive without reassurance, gets very attached to people, feels guilty when they disagree with people, seeks acceptance and recognition from peers, dramatizes their suffering, impressionable, can be talked into doing things, fears being unwanted or unworthy of love, never knows what to do next, personality is centered around low self esteem issues, swayed by emotions, can’t handle people being mad at me, freezes up in stressful situations, influenced more by others than self, avoids responsibilities, life lacks direction, prone to paranoia, prone to shame, daydreams about people to maintain a sense of closeness

Adam Zyglis Cartoon

Does the government breed dependency?  Certainly, for many, and not for all the right reasons.  There are kids growing up on welfare, who don’t know any better. They don’t choose entitlements, entitlements choose them.  Entitlements are all they know.

As a teacher’s aide, my wife worked in a dropout prevention program. There was a young women she had taken under her wing.  Our family welcomed her and her younger sister into our home and we treated them like family.

These young girls were basically in the same age group as our own daughters.  We did a lot of family functions, meals, movies, theme parks, etc… together.

When their behavior became more aggressive,when they began expecting to receive special treatment, whereby our own daughters did not, it was time to end the party.  Tough love.

Tough love?  Thinking back, there was never really any real familial love.  There was caring, a lot of caring.  The plight of these girls still tugs at the heart string of our own family members, but there was no familial love given, for that matter, none shared.

It was a voluntary union by all, arguably a noble union.  No one really got hurt, right?  This was what we knew.  This was what we considered acceptable behavior.  Others would consider doing much less, and find it acceptable behavior.

Why do seemingly noble gestures tend to haunt us?  Most of us “do-gooders” never learn from the ensuing realities.

Like Erich Fromm wrote about many years ago, in his book The Sane Society, as a society we’ve stopped short of loving.  One of my favorite Fromm observations, is also the most thought-provoking.

“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.”
― Erich FrommThe Art of Loving

Loving someone is very, very, tough to do.  And according to Fromm, love is an art.  To become a master artist, you have to practice long hours, every day.  I would have to say “tough love” is becoming a “lost art.”  Does the absence of love breed dependency?  Is Fromm right?  Is our society going insane?

Romney Was Right! Small Business Owners Are Getting Screwed!

Help WantedI have been shouting from the roof tops about small business owners getting screwed by the Obama Administration’s “drum beating” campaign of class warfare to tax the rich.  Small businesses without a capital infusion from Venture Capitalists (VC) or angel investors, take many years to grow and become profitable.

Our investment capital comes from our own savings accounts, 2nd mortgages and personal loans.  We work immeasurable hours and spend our own money to build our businesses, while our famous “You Didn’t Build That” president, Obama, is trying to take all that away.

Small business owners are not “rich.”  They are getting screwed by Big Government and Big Business because they pay their taxes as individuals if they file as a Sub Chapter S or LLC corporations that pass all income down to the individual small business owner.

Now, as part of the fiscal cliff deal, higher taxes have become a reality for many small business owners.  Obama has done a great job of pitting the poor against the rich at the expense of the middle class, of which, include most small business owners.

The election’s over. Romney was right! Small Business Owners Are STILL Getting Screwed by Obama and his cronies!

Romney in the first 2012 presidential debate was absolutely right when he said,  “The gap between the rich and the poor has gotten larger. The rich will probably do fine if he (Obama) is reelected,” Romney said. “It is the middle class that is in real trouble. And the poor. I want the poor to get into the middle class. So many have fallen into poverty by virtue of his (Obama’s) policies. So this for me is all about the 100 percent.”

The Business Roundtable comprised of 150 of its corporate titans, in return for various forms of “pork”  threw small business under the bus.  As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Big Business Sells Out Small Business“One million small American business owners who pay individual income taxes shoulder a big rate hike (up to 39.6%, from 35%) while radically lightening the tax load for the Roundtable’s own corporate behemoths (to 28% from 35%).”

Additionally, when a separate bill is passed to lower corporate tax rates, by which any corporate tax reform will hinge upon on closing “loopholes” to pay for a lower corporate rate. Small business owners would lose tax perks along with everyone else—meaning they would pay even more—but they would not benefit from lower corporate rates.

As reported by the Blaze, Who’s Really Selling Out Small Business, “The $625 billion tax increase passed. Big business didn’t get their corporate tax cut…yet. But boy did they get goodies $40 billion in crony capitalism payoffs. The new tax bill gives away $78 million in tax breaks to benefit NASCAR; $62 million in tax credits for companies operating in American Samoa; $222 million of tax rebates to rum companies; $430 million in tax rebates for Hollywood film producers; $12 billion (with a “b”) in tax credits for wind power phonies like GE; $2.2 billion to renewable diesel companies; and $222 million in accelerated tax depreciation for businesses located on Indian reservations. Many of these companies will pay no taxes at all because of these rebates and credits.”

Much of the money small businesses earn, gets taxed as individual income, and would be reinvested in their businesses.  The naysayers would say, the money that is reinvested in the business is tax deductible because it can be expensed and therefore is not taxable.  The problem with that theory is a little thing called cash flow.  Cash flow is the Holy Grail of small business, money held in reserve, money not yet spent, which is essential for a small business, money that fuels business growth.  That money is is taxed as individual income for a small business owner.

Finally, there will be so called experts, that will say change your filing to a “C” Corp.  Without getting into all the details, every small business looks at the pluses and minuses of S Corp. vs. C Corp, vs. LLC etc… and a properly run small business will know best how to file their taxes.  Only they would know, based on their situation, what’s best when it comes to filing their taxes.  If you think you know better, start your own damned business and see how that goes.  I’ll still be shouting from the rooftops, that small business owners are getting screwed!

Here’s a small business owner’s take on how small businesses are being sold down the river by this administration and he voted for Obama.  Gia Pronto owner Marco Lentini on how government policies’ are impacting small business growth.  Is Government Getting in the Way of Small Business?

2012 – You’re Dead To Me… Part Three – You Didn’t Build That!

The Real One Percenters - Small Business People

The Real One Percenters – Small Business People

Pants on Fire! Where’s Politifact When You Need Them?

The Tampa Bay Times Thursday July 26th, 2012 issue, posted this front page headlines…

“Tampa businesses criticize Obama at Romney event, but live off government work.”

EntrepreNever

If it takes you 25 years of sweat equity running a ‪small business to make it into the 1% don’t you think there should be a waiver from the Obama administration on his tax on everyone who makes $250,000 or more?

Entreprenever Barack_Obama

The Endangered Species, Entrepreneurs, a.k.a. Small Business Owners

President Obama is disingenuous when he says he is championing small business and the middle class.  Most small business owners are Sole Proprietors, Limited Liability Corps (LLCs) or Sub S Corps.  I own a Sub S Corp.  President Obama knows the challenges I face.  He is counting on you, the voter, to lump small business owners like me into his campaign to denigrate the high income earners in this country.Hug

The Regulatory Tidal Wave – Vote Early and Vote Smart

The current path for our country includes tax increases and a tidal wave of more than 4,100 new federal regulations with a calculated cost of a half-billion dollars. This is a reality looming in Washington that has not been pushed to the forefront of discussion as “pending” under the current administration. It is impractical to think that businesses large or small can continue to hire employees without some semblance of predictability on taxes and regulations.Capture

Small Businesses – Over Regulated? Thousands of Community Banks a.k.a Small Businesses May Disappear!

Many community banks and credit unions are small businesses too and are subject to the same laws and regulations facing big banks.  The Feds have closed down 10 of our FI customers, costing them their jobs and costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.  Speaking to many of our contacts at these FIs, most closing could have been avoided.

According to several of these sources, the Feds come in at the end of business day, Friday and take over the bank.  One source, described it similar to be treated as a criminal as she was forced to stand outside her cubicle while they accessed her PC.  She was kept there until after midnight.

Recently, an expert on financial services stated “there will be no de novo (startups) financial institutions due to the steep financial requirement and regulations.”

regulations.gov

As the number of community banks and credit unions shrink we are forced to seek new markets.  An added burden to  already burdensome economic conditions.  While the Obama administration panders  to big business, big union and advocates big government, small businesses continue to bear the brunt of over regulation.

This is the official government “fair warning” website regulations.gov.  Be afraid!  Be very afraid!

 

2012 – You’re Dead To Me… Part Two – Reflections

June 2012

Cody and Tug - Lazy dayzEyes wide open… Reflections In the darkest hours of the night, when sleep should prevail, without prejudice, without mercy, questions pour into my head.  I lie awake and I wonder…

Tallahassee Fire Dept Extrication Team 911

Tallahassee Fire Dept Extrication Team 911

May 2012

“If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche  I made a point to take my two young daughters to NYC shortly after 911 even though they missed the ascent to the top of the Statue of Liberty for security reasons, they were able to ascend to the top of the Empire State Building.

April 2012

400px-Rick_Scott_official_portrait

Governor Rick Scott

The Tampa Bay Times “Scott Bashing” on the Wrong Track… The Tampa Bay Times in the editorial section of the 04/10/2012 edition AGAIN trashes Governor Rick Scott on the issue of rail.

r-CUSTODIAN-large570Have You Hugged Your Building Custodian Today?  Leadership begins with mutual respect.  The leaders I respect the most lead by example.  Politicians, pundits and the media can go around trying to divide people into haves and have-nots, but there’s really no divide between most of us. 

2012 – You’re Now Dead To Me – Part One – Forewarned is Not Forearmed

2012 – You’re Now Dead To Me… is about my early 2012 blogs – a time when I imagined sanity still ruled the earth.  I blogged a lot about stuff hoping reason would or could prevail.  Nope!

middle seat fullJanuary 2012

The Real Middle Class?  Invisible. The mainstream media and the politicians can’t see us from where they’re sitting.

Getting Religion – People only know you’re a Christian by your Facebook.”

What does “shovel ready” really mean to a small business owner?  It means building a business from the ground up!

What were you thinking?!

What were you thinking?!

Lick of Sense! I wish we could all afford to be like Newt Gingrich.  Gingrich is obviously someone who is used to getting what he wants.  If he doesn’t get it, he throws a childlike tirade.

February 2012

Paul Ryan for President – “America Deserves a Choice”

0_21_101508_Wallenda01Who isn’t afraid of failing?!  The Wallenda factor is just a normal fear of falling!  Who isn’t afraid of falling?!

March 2012

Added Regulatory Burden is a Tax on Community Banks, Credit Unions and Small Business

Lead with Words. Live Free, Not Die! John McCain said we should arm the freedom fighters in Syria.  John needs to spend more time on his iPad.

Alien_movie_poster

Alien Nation a.k.a., The Obamacare Nation, Alien, the movie was all about spreading spores and breeding aliens to prey on mankind, should the spores reach our planet.  Obamacare and its spores are already here.

Don’t hold your breath, but call me maybe, I have more rants in 2012.  I plan on summarizing them just for you, but I’m busy right now, sleeping.

How Do You Spend a Trillion Dollars a Year and Not Cure Cancer?

How do you spend a trillion dollars a year, over 6 trillion dollars in less than 6 years, and not cure cancer?

Cancer kills one in four Americans, making it the second-most common cause of death after heart disease. That’s nearly half-a-million Americans dying from cancer each year. More than 1.5 million new cases are diagnosed annually.

The average health care spending on a cancer patient is around $20,000 annually on treatment.  All told, more than $125 billion is spent on cancer care per year, just in the United States.  Yet, in 2013, the U.S. government funded a mere $4.8 billion.

Why are we not a nation cancer free?  Where are our priorities?  What are we thinking?

This is getting personal.  I have three sisters.  My youngest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and she is a breast cancer survivor   Now my oldest sister has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s no longer about Obama simply reaching into my wallet. It’s not so much about the money anymore.   It’s about the waste.  It’s about wasted time, wasted money and wasted resources.  Tic-toc, cancer is rampant and destroying more and more lives.  Government waste is a cancer, too.  Here is a case in point: Millions Spent on Storytelling Science.

Do you want to see real gains in life saving procedures and reduced medical expenses?  News flash!!!  Put your money and energy behind curing  the disease.  One of the most appealing aspects of Obamacare is providing for coverage to people who have  preëxisting conditions.  I’m all for that.  Make the insurance companies toe the line.  My contention is, what if preëxisting conditions didn’t exist?  Cure cancer. There would be a lot fewer preëxisting conditions if we attacked the real problem, cancer.

What if Obama had the cojones to take back the $16 Billion he gave to his mega-rich campaign donors, including blowhards like Ted Turner, recipient of around 1 billion in green energy money from Obama, for failed green energy initiatives  and put that money it towards cancer research?  No.  Now that he’s been reelected at all cost, we’re $17 Trillion in debt.  Now it’s everybody’s  problem that our healthcare is going to be too expensive for many small businesses because we are going to be taxed.  If you want to blame Bush or the Republicans, argue your case with John Roberts, Chief Justice, Supreme Court.

All politicians have it wrong when it comes to priorities on health issues, but the Mainstream media and Hollywood have placed the focus on our savior and savant, Barack Obama.  All this President was about was keeping his job by dividing America, the have’s and the have-nots’.  He succeeded.  All President Obama has done is grow a new cancer.  A cancer that is equally daunting and will grow as our economy shrinks under his leadership.  Get to the source of the problem.  Why waste time and money on Obamacare?  Why not cure cancer?  That’s what a real leader would be all about.

Murder by guns vs. cancer, a look at our current death toll in this country (based on trends – not actual numbers).   —> 2012 Mortality statistics for USA

One more reason we have our priorities wrong… click on the picture for the video or this link.

UPDATE: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and IBM today announced that MD Anderson is using the IBM Watson cognitive computing system for its mission to eradicate cancer. Following a year-long collaboration, IBM and  MD Anderson will showcase a prototype of MD Anderson’s Oncology Expert AdvisorTM powered by IBM Watson. The organizations will discuss their shared vision to leverage Watson’s cognitive computing power to help patients by enabling clinicians to uncover valuable insights from the cancer center’s rich patient and research databases.Capture

The Regulatory Tidal Wave – Vote Early and Vote Smart

Many issues have been discussed during the Presidential debates including entitlements, healthcare, federal debt, education, housing etc., but no single issue should be more important to the electorate than job creation and economic growth being THE very staple of how we as a general public of a free nation thrive. During the last days of this election cycle the President of the United States of America should win because they succeeded in persuading the voting public that they are THE best job creating candidate.

A Gallup poll conducted in July 2012; named “Americans want next President to prioritize jobs, corruption” states nine out of ten Americans believe job creation should be the top priority for our next President. During these past few years we have all experienced a tremendous amount of economic struggle, whether one had to budget at home or at work, suffering job loss or minimal gain. Reality has to set-in with the voting community in order to ensure the economic pendulum stays on a track to recovery during this economic situation.

The current path for our country includes tax increases and a tidal wave of more than 4,100 new federal regulations with a calculated cost of a half-billion dollars. This is a reality looming in Washington that has not been pushed to the forefront of discussion as “pending” under the current administration. It is impractical to think that businesses large or small can continue to hire employees without some semblance of predictability on taxes and regulations.

The National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Manufacturers underscores the uncertainty of how small businesses and manufacturers are feeling about the economy. The study reflects 67 percent have too much uncertainty in the market today to expand, grow or hire new workers. Additionally, 69 percent of small business owners say President Obama’s Executive Branch and regulatory policies have hurt American small businesses.

More than 85 percent of Florida job creation is through small business. Willing job creators need to see regulatory reform. One of the easiest and least expensive, fastest ways to create jobs is through commonsense regulatory reform that provide needed health and environmental protections and remove barriers to growth so that entrepreneurs can invest, hire and expand. We need to give job creators certainty on federal regulatory policies. Since 2006, there has been a 60 percent increase in regulations with an overall nation cost of more than $100 million. In fact, a 2010 study completed by the U.S. Small Business Administration showed compliance with federal environmental regulations costs small businesses 364 percent more than large firms.

Small business owners, as survival of the fittest, can attest tremendous focus on ensuring the health and safety of their workplace and products – otherwise failure is the ultimate demise. The current administration is missing the fact that a health regulatory thrives on job creation. The significant increase and burdensome nature of regulations makes things more expensive, time consuming and often duplicative of the procedures small businesses already employ.

As a passionate small business owner, take aside my choice of active involvement in the community, I push for a high level contribution from elected officials. Through the next few days I must express shame on the voters who choose to ignore the right to vote during this election season as well as those who choose to ignore hard working Americans making an attempt to enhance our economy and way of life. As we come down to the last days of choosing the Leader of this great nation I would ask for Floridians to vote early and vote smart.

The Streets of Baltimore

Thaddeus%20Logan%2C%20author%20of%20Hey%20Cabbie%2C%20published%20in%201984%2C%20which%20describes%20life%20in%20Baltimore%20as-he-see-it%20through%20the%20windshield%20of%20his%20taxi%2C%20has%20came%20out%20with%20the%20sequel%2C%20Hey%20Cabbie%20II.%20%28Kenneth%20K.%20LAM%2C%20Baltimore%20Sun%29

Thaddeus Logan, author of Hey Cabbie, published in 1984, which describes life in Baltimore as-he-see-it through the windshield of his taxi, has came out with the sequel, Hey Cabbie II. (Kenneth K. LAM, Baltimore Sun)

I have never met Thaddeus Logan, but I can share a moment in time with Thaddeus several years ago.

There’s a great restaurant, highly recommended for its blue crab, in Baltimore.  To get there you had to leave your swank hotel and drive through the slums on the east side of Baltimore.  What I saw from my vantage point in a Yellow Cab made me lose my appetite for crab and left me empty at the same time.

 I will never forget the sight of a man, who may now own a piece of my soul, sitting on the steps in the projects in Baltimore. I have often wondered, is my soul his for the taking?

Do either of us have a choice to create a better life? If there is hope, the choices should be available for us both, but should either be necessarily more gratifying?

The experience prompted me to write this:

The Streets of Baltimore
Our eyes met in a moment.
One, sitting on the steps to nowhere.
Where hallways echo empty promises.
Where memories too often perish,
Where misery too often survives.
Ever so brief, our souls meet
On the streets of Baltimore.
 
One, just another fare,
All we shared was a glance.
A moment, no more.
One asks resolute.
Is it not too late?
Can you snub out your smoke?
Can you swallow that last drink?
On the streets of Baltimore
 
One both born rich in life,
Both born poor to circumstance.
Both bodies whole,
Both born spirits unscathed,
Both born undiscovered,
Only one is born,
On the streets of Baltimore.
 
One white, one black.
One who can’t look back,
One can only look away.
One lives on, in stark reality,
One lives on, with memories.
One lives filled with hope.
One lives on the streets of Baltimore.

 

Updated Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I’m not going to get a copy of Hey Cabbie or Hey Cabbie II.  Thaddeus Logan’s driven along those very same streets 1,000 fold and he too, understands, one can not look back.   I have a feeling  he is a good man and he has written a couple of good books that need to be read and taken to heart.

Serendipity is alive and well on the streets of Baltimore, but  I’m going to stick to the romance of sadness or even the empathy I experienced, while visiting, so as for reading his books, I’m just not going there.

Master of Ceremony

You live for the moment,
In that New York state of mind,
On every street corner,
In every pizza place,
You’re just another slice in time.
 
In the midst of the masses,
Sits a beggar, a mere ghost,
Imitating a man.
An unfortunate icon of the city,
Short of shoes, sitting on lifeless wheels,
His tin cup, barely clutching his hand.
 
You…, you have a place to be,
Master of Ceremony,
Your parade marches on…
Past his dimming, glassy eyes,
Eyes you will never meet.
You sail past his hopes
Hopes you can never sink.
Past his tin cup, from which,
You will never drink.
 
Originally written after a trip to NYC in 2007
Updated 10-09-2012

You Are My Bright Stars

Live in the moment,
Or endure the past.
Blister or bathe in the sun.
Shiver or revel in the rain.
Make love or lose love.
Live free or imprisoned in self doubt.
Open or close your eyes to great dreams.
Travel the road of gods or demons.
Find peace in the bosom of friends and family,
Or fall at the feet of failure and his companion, evil.
Wherever fate finds you, choose to remember well…
There will always be bright stars in dark skies.
And you will always be the brightest star.
 Love forever and always.
 
0
Dedicated to my daughters
Updated 09-30-2012
 

If I Could Write You a Song



If I could write you a song,
I’d be asking you to sing along.
Lyrics without the music,
They just don’t belong.
Like this plane I’m sitting on.
Going nowhere, I’ve always been,
Into the setting sun, away from you,
Away from you.
 
If I could write you a song,
There’s no now, there’s no then,
My life’s not taking off.
There’s no place I’m landing soon,
So much for life’s baggage when,
I can’t even carry a tune.
No place I’m going soon.
 
If I could write you a song,
The music would be all wrong.
In this lonely hotel room.
Trying to forget, drinking wine.
Thin walls, thin lives, keeping time.
Keeping me away from you.
I need to be moving on.
Always away from you.
 
If I could write you a song,
The lyrics would be too long.
City streets, no place to turn around.
Can’t keep these feet on the ground.
In time, it’s always back to you.
If I could write what’s wrong,
This song would never end.
I’d be on my way back to you,
Back to you…
 
++
Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Pops!

Dad’s 80th – August 11th, 2007

It’s August 11th, my Dad’s birthday and Paul Ryan has been named the Mitt Romney’s choice for VP running mate in the presidential election.  My dad passed away in December 2010, I was 58 years young.  I was thinking about what Paul Ryan said today about his Dad passing away when he was only in his teens.  I can’t imagine my Dad not being around for all those formative years, especially high school and college.  I would have had a ball, j/k!  In retrospect, I would have had to look elsewhere for a mentor, a backstop, a person who would make sure I didn’t self-destruct.  Somehow Paul Ryan managed to turn out to be a really good guy, and successful by anyone’s measure.

I think Dad would be proud of Paul Ryan, and pleased his appointment was announced on my Dad’s birthday.  I think he would be in Mitt Romney and Pul Ryan’s corner.  After all I’ve never met anyone with more backbone or higher ethical standards than Dad.  Dad would say Paul Ryan was, “a chip off the old block.”  So enough about Paul Ryan and politics, what kind of birthday message can I leave my old man?

Well I could begin and end the story by saying he was a successful small businessman, husband and father.  We are a family of six siblings, including three sisters and three brothers and we all get along, Mom too!  Seriously, we actually know where each other lives.  We celebrate holidays together, sometimes vacation together, and even have each other’s cell phone numbers. 

We’ve friended each other on Facebook and “Like” each other’s posts, although there’s been a couple times Mom’s wanted to wash my keyboard out with soap.  We text each other.  Mom IMs most every day with daughters and daughter-in-laws to complain about sons and son-in-laws.  Mom actually Skype’s!  We even have a family Blog site.  Dad wanted little or nothing to do with computers but he would have expected no less from his family than ,a family that Skype’s together, stays together.  Happy Birthday Pops!

EntrepreNever

If it takes you 27 years of sweat equity running a ‪small business to make it into the 1% don’t you think there should be a waiver from the Obama administration on his tax on everyone who makes $250,000 or more?

There are waivers for Big Union and Big Business for Obamacare.

  small business  owner is a community organizer too, only he’s not spending other people’s money.

After all, a small business reports income taxes on what the business makes and then must determine how much of that income has to go back into the business for the business to survive and grow.

Why should Obama decide how many employees I should hire?  Why should he decide how much we decide to invest in new and existing products and services to survive or grow?

 

 

 

 

 

“If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche

I made a point to take my two young daughters to NYC shortly after 9-11 even though they missed the ascent to the top of the Statue of Liberty for security reasons, they were able to ascend to the top of the Empire State Building. 

“Today the World Trade Center is again the tallest building in New York one year after the killing of Osama bin Laden and more than 10 years after the attacks that brought them down.  It is still a work in progress: The hulking steel structure known as the Freedom Tower is still 500 feet shorter than it will be when complete.  But it is already a tribute to American resilience, a reminder that whatever devastation we face, we can still come back bigger and better than before.”  Aaron Vaughan

Tallahassee Fire Dept Extrication Team. Liberty Street across from Ground Zero

I can understand where the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is coming from.  I was young once upon a time.  I took sociology in college and a course called American Ghetto Environment, if you can imagine how “not PC” that course name would be today.  I wanted to help people who had a hard time helping themselves.  A Nelson DeMille character in the General’s Daughter reflected, while “Life’s Grown Soft, I’ve Grown Hard,” reflecting on growing up in a post WWII era.  Life was hard.  Today life is soft by comparison.  There are plenty of folks out there that deserve help.  I say “help” because I detest the word “entitled.”  To me the word entitlement defines a benefit given someone in need, not in want.  Our so called entitlement programs, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, other mandatory spending programs were programs designed for hard working people who need and whenever possible contributed to their own welfare. 

A lifetime of work experience allows me to say there are people who believe everyone regardless of work ethic and moral fiber are entitled to the American Dream and those who believe the American Dream is earned through a good work ethic and morals.  I am from a middle class family.  I was the second child of six.  I was always wanting but never needing.  If I wanted something I would find a way to get it.  Ok, I could pout with the best of ‘em for a nickel package of bubble gum and baseball cards.  Mostly I learned to earn what I wanted.  Since the age of 11-12, I always had an after school job, be it paper route, bagger or stock boy at a local grocer.  In high school I washed pots and pans in the cafeteria on my lunch hour.  Later, I was promoted to making and serving milk shakes and sandwiches to my fellow students.   If you have ever worked in a school cafeteria at age 16, worn a hair net, while serving sandwiches to your fellow students, in particular, the girl you had a huge crush on, you would understand the price you pay to earn a few extra dollars.

During college, I worked for a janitorial service from 4 – 7 AM daily at a local hotel to help supplement my $15 per week expense allowance.  Summers I worked on a crew with 3 occupational day laborers, landscaping and mowing lawns.  My boss was a machine operator and had a landscaping business on the side. 

He made me, the 18 year old college kid the crew chief.   I made less than my crew, but I wanted a job.  My crew was ages 18, 30-something and 40-something.  18 had a wife and a new baby.  He showed up for work every day.  If he didn’t want to work, he’d sit in the shade and smoke.  He outweighed me times-two and that was just his arms.  If I pressed him to pick up his shovel, he wanted to arm wrestle or place a lit cigarette between our forceps to see who would pull away first.

30 and 40-something worked 4 days a week.  My boss paid them on Friday.  They got drunk on weekends, nursed a hangover on Monday’s,  then dragged their sorry asses back to work on Tuesday. 

The summer break next year, I went to work for the local school district doing the same thing.  At the school district, I worked with 3  guys also.  One was a friend and fellow college student.  We worked our butts off.  The other two guys complained and cajoled us to slow down and slack off.  The experience wasn’t much different than the summer before.   To me acting busy was harder than being busy, but in the end there are no great gigs in the lawn care and landscaping business.  Did I mention the mosquitos were nasty?

Life is so much softer now, but we all have a responsibility to pull our own weight.  We have a/c, cell phones, flat screen TVs and cold beer on every street corner.  So what’s the big deal?  Go to work.  Get a job.  If you can’t get the job of your dreams you can still go out and earn a living.  If you want something more, go out and earn it.  I know some retired guys who worked hard all their lives.  Now that they are no longer working, they are willing to live (want) with less.  It’s habit forming, but we can’t all be retired.  So if you need something, go to work.  Work can be habit forming, too.  My experience wearing a hairnet left me wanting more. 

Coming into this election, there’s an underlying current of ill will.  Call it hate, dividing Americans. I have never before experienced such divisiveness before between conservatives and liberals, in my youthful 60 years of age.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous quote, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”  

This quote should serve as a warning to all of us, especially this President, Congress and influential leaders.  We are at risk of a great divorce, with all the ingredients including hate, resentment and financial ruin.  Worst is how it will affect the children, many who call themselves Occupy Wall Street (OWS) the citizens of this great nation.  It’s always the children who get hurt the most.

Note from author on 11-27-2012:  Now that the election is over I feel more strongly than ever this message should resonate with anyone who is concerned about the future of this country.

My Colorado

Winter’s snow cascades into Spring.
Avalanches and rainbows,
Wildflowers bring,
To protest the clouds.
 
Celebrate Colorado!
I can’t catch my breath.
I’m missing you.
 
On every passing face,
A mask is wearily worn,
In a race against time,
The sun and the wind,
Creases faces into smiles,
To protest the clouds.
 
Celebrate Colorado!
I can’t catch my breath.
I’m missing you.
 
 
Updated
Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Living Backwards, Still Moving Forward

Diane Petersmark, with Danny Altenburg and John Whittenhall celebrating the finish of a century ride bikeMS 2010.

My reflections on bikeMS2012:  With quiet courage and conviction, those I meet with MS radiate hope, determination and optimism.  Even afflicted with MS, spiraling their physical selves backwards, their indomitable spirit moves their minds and souls forward.   Their hope gives me hope.  There’s a better world out there.  They inspire me, the ordinary man.  They are moving forward into the hearts and minds of all of us. 

Maybe those of us who clicked in Saturday AM for bikeMS2012, can take away a valuable lesson.  It’s not just about raising money, or the route, or the weather, the wind or the ride, it’s about the challenges in our very ordinary lives of living backwards and still moving forward.  It’s about the challenge of living extraordinary lives, like living with MS.

I’m very proud of our supporters and my Team iDentifi.  Individually, collectively we scorched our goals both as athletes and fundraisers, exceeding $25,000 in contributions.  Thank you!

Made in the USA

The Real McCoy for Small Business

“Made in the USA” isn’t about the Big 3 automakers…

It’s time to put the brakes on government spending. The road to recovery lies with the success of small businesses, not with behemoth car companies and big labor. If we were going to bailout anyone, we should have bailed out the car dealerships and auto supply companies to allow them to remarket, retool and invest in new technologies. We should be growing our tax base, which is only going to happen if we fuel the small business private sector. Speaking of which, why are we not doing more to grow and keep promising small business technology companies and their technology jobs in the USA, where our best talent and our best jobs can remain right here at home?

“You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living…

View original post 618 more words

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

The Real McCoy for Small Business

Business is improving, despite all the obstacles in this unpredictable economy that remain and those ahead of us.  This is largely self-fulfilling prophecy as our engine runs on premium personnel and our management team isn’t half-bad either.

We have invested a great deal in new products and new markets.  I’m a big fan of Alan Kay’s expression, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

I guess you could say this message comes somewhat diluted by the BP oil spill.  Accidents, like the BP oil spill and natural disasters are unpredictable but they are going to happen.  I can see the raw and gut-wrenching affects as they unfold for our neighbors in the Gulf States and the Florida Panhandle.  We are certainly not exempt from the fallout.  We are also far more fortunate.

There’s little one can do in the moment but there is much that can…

View original post 356 more words

Who isn’t afraid of failing?!

The Wallenda factor is just a normal fear of falling!  Who isn’t afraid of falling?!

“Just in case you haven’t heard, the Wallenda factor refers to the fear of falling or failing. Shortly after Karl Wallenda fell to his death in 1978 (traversing a 75-foot high wire in downtown San Juan, Puerto Rico), his wife, also an aerialist, discussed that fateful San Juan walk, “perhaps his most dangerous.”  She recalled: “All Karl thought about for three straight months prior to it was falling. It was the first time he’d ever thought about that, and it seemed to me that he put all his energies into not falling rather than walking the tightrope.”

Life is like traversing a tight rope.
If you think you need a safety net,
It won’t be long before you fall. 
Live your life without a safety net,
Or be prepared to live your life
Closer to the ground. 
 
Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist says, “Pessimism is complacency.”   I think generally speaking I would have to say at times I exercised pessimism in certain situations.  I can relate it to looking in the mirror each morning and thinking, “I’m not getting any younger or thinner,  for that matter.”  I’m over that now!

To see the video – just click on the picture

Last year I spoke of challenges.  This year, I believe anything’s possible!  Last year I spoke of good fortunes, we were fortunate enough to have earned another year in business.  I said I was proud of the intellectual property (IP) and talent we had.  This year I am confident our talent pool here is second to none.    Everyone has bought into The Rational Optimist theme, “Everybody is working for everybody else.” Last year I said opportunities present challenges.

We have faced those challenges.  We have conquered many and we are prepared conquer the future.   While politicians in Washington scrum over the economy and jobs,  free market goes out and creates 100 mpg cars, even driverless cars. We need to tell our politicians…anything’s possible.This year we will focus again on making our products easier to use, easier to install and cloud ready.   Inside Integra, we will continue to concentrate on developing and acquiring better tools to do our jobs in a more productive environment.  Last year’s message was, “Attitude is everything.”   

This year we will continue  to encourage a positive attitude in the workplace, with our customers, partners and suppliers.  Everybody is working for everybody else (click on the picture to the left for the video) because again…. anything’s possible.  Finally, last year I predicted growth would be next our greatest challenge and we grew significantly.  We remain well positioned to take advantage of those significant gains in 2012 and beyond.

To see an awesome video – just click on the picture

I’ll leave you with a great video (click on the photo below) and when you feel that wave of pessimism coming on, remember, anything’s possible.

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle

Hold Me in Your Heart

CaptureWhen I write,

Words may be erased.

When I speak,

Words may be forgotten.

When I hold you in my heart,

We may share an eternity.

 

From the Ground Up!

The oldest living Live Oak in Pinellas County

What does “shovel ready” really mean to a small business owner?  It means building a business from the ground up!

Are you sick of this class warfare?!  Do we want to elect a President that knows more about how to spend OP’s money or one who knows how to cut spending and increase revenues?

I started my own business over 23 years ago and I built it from the ground up.  My business has gone from a one man band to well… suffice it to say,  we have increased full-time employment (FTEs)  significantly, but not by this President’s standards.      

As a community organizer, President Obama certainly can appreciate the value of a grassroots movement.  In other words, contributions made from the ground up can have a very positive effect on the community.  In Obama’s case, that would pertain to social issues and how he was able to help people who were impoverished and disadvantaged.  Admirable, but the money he raised had to come from somewhere, most likely charitable contributions and local, state and federal government tax revenues which to a significant percentage, come from small businesses.  So get behind us!

In my case, contributions to my small business came in the form of personal sacrifices; from my personal savings; taking no salary for some time, taking less salary for some time and mind you, no vacations for many years.  I had to continue to pay my bills, feed my family and keep a roof over our heads.  When my saving ran out I took a second mortgage on my house.

I chose to go it on my own.  I took all my savings, borrowed from family, friends my home and started my own business.  My kids saw me on weekends.

The President refers to Middle American’s like it doesn’t include small business owners.  I’m a small business owner and a 99%er unless you add what my business earns and reinvests in the business.  The President knows how small businesses earn income and chooses to ignore it.  Small business people “pay it forward.”  Our income goes back into our business, meaning jobs and if for no other reason, in today’s economy, it’s grow or die! 

I’m offended by the President’s misguided belief that wealthy Americans are the problem in this divide between Republicans and Democrats. 

At the end of the day I’m “bone tired” and the threats of higher taxes, more regulation and Obamacare chill me to the bone.  Most wealthy Americans are hard-working, who have their own plan on how to spread the wealth around.  I have much more faith in free enterprise.

President Obama just doesn’t get it!  How could he?  He’s never walked in a small business owner’s shoes.  Mr. President, walk in my shoes and the shoes of millions of small business owners.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Take a huge chance.
  3. Put your own money behind it.
  4. Believe you can do better.
  5. Commit yourself, your family and your friends to get behind you.
  6. Repeat Numbers 1 –5.

Free enterprise comes from the ground up.  Powerful stuff! 

 I think Mitt Romney knows how to cut spending and raise revenues.  Romney-Rubio would be my ticket to defeat Obama.  Say yes to R&R!

 

Leave it at the Door

Leave it at the Door

They should change the expression from the Holiday Blues to the Holiday Reds

Tis the season we all go a little crazy spending money.  Debt can pile up.  It can pile up for your Company, too.  The expression, “those that help, help themselves.” is never more of a challenge than it is right now.

As a business owner, I’m here to say, “We’re all in this together.” There’s no one, no one, who will be more disappointed than myself, if I cannot compensate you fairly, provide great benefits and a bonus for this year. 

So it’s worth sharing just a few observations from a guy that’s been doing this a while…

·        The longer it takes to deliver our products and services, the less likely we are to get paid.  Customers go out of business, get sold, or change suppliers.  We need to deliver.

·        We carry a large sum in Accounts Receivable each month – that’s money our customers owe us.  Imagine the possibilities for all of you if we could cut our delivery time by one-third or in half?

·        These are competitive times.  We are good, we are very good, but we still have a great deal of competition.  That means we need “great references.”  Great references come from great products and great service.  Great products and great service have to come from you.

·        The longer we stay in business, now 20 plus years (imagine… some of you were still in diapers) providing our customers with great products and service, the more opportunities will present themselves.

Imagine… some of you were still in diapers.

So what it all comes down to, everyone depends (not for diapers) on you.  So when it is all said and done and with the all the best of intentions, “Look to yourself , look to your fellow professionals and then ask yourself, “What can I do to produce opportunities?”  Then go do it. 

No one needs you to be looking at your watch.  You don’t need someone to tell you just to show up and get less done.   And everyone is entitled to take time to commiserate, socialize and share their personal lives here at work.  It’s a healthy work environment.  Still you want your time to be well spent.  BTW no one wants you to bring your personal problems to work.  In a work environment that delivers great products and great service, no one needs to hear you’re less fortunate than the next person.  So take care of your personal lives and your personal problems first.  If you do, you will receive more support from your co-workers and from me.  There’s more willingness to help those trying to help themselves. 

You can’t get better at what you do if you’re too stressed, too tired or too sick to help yourself and your company professionally.  Help yourself personally first and second professionally.  For all of us here the best medicine is a healthy, happy and productive you. 

We all have the tendency to have good days and bad, lick our wounds, get down in the mouth and to think no one cares.  If you know me, you know I care.  I truly care!  I do, but I don’t employ a priest, a doctor or a shrink.  If you need professional help, go get it.   If you’re a part of the company, you’re a part of my family. 

Family pulls together and as my Dad would always say after I have had a bad day, “Just leave it at the door.”

Express “yourself.” Leave your comments, share or spread the word click on the Stumble Upon button below. Subscribe or come back often to visit.

Threadbare – Not just a pretty face – Reg update

Reg Update – Resume

Reg’s story Threadbare – Not just a pretty face.

Jobs in the retail profession and clothing business remain scarce in Atlanta.  I recently spoke to Reg who was taking an OSHA class for his not so temporary job.  He had taken a “temporary” supervisory job in construction to help with the Lepper household cash flow.  That was almost three years ago.  It requires a hard hat and steel toed boots.  Hartmarx evidently, doesn’t sell steel toed boots.  He bought the boots from Wal-Mart – $19 bucks.

There are blisters on every toe.  He’s up at 5 AM.  It takes an hour  to get to the job site.

It’s 6:45 PM,  so he’s just getting home now.

I hear some of our Congressmen and women are complaining about the hours they’re spending away from home and now they are complaining about how much they make.  They’re getting a steady paycheck and Cadillac benefits.

They won’t pull this economy up by it’s boot straps.  Reg and people like him will.

Maybe they need a swift kick in the keester from those boots I’m talkin’ about.

Maybe they should just go home and be with their family?

Meantime, Reg has been and is actively looking for work.  Sending out his (click on the link to Reg’s “resume“) doing  job interviews, volunteering his time for Career Ministry and consulting their members regarding many aspects of their search for new opportunities and careers.

Threadbare – Not Just Another Pretty Face

“When you bust through all the layers of brevity and you have shaken all the hands of hope, you can begin to share the depths of depression joblessness can bring.”

This pretty much sums it up if you are over 50 and looking for employment.

Reg – Not Just Another Pretty Face.

When I decided to do this story about my good friend, Reg Lepper I thought maybe it would help him by building on the social networking he had already begun on LinkedIn and Facebook.

As I began learning more from him about his 27 plus year career at Hartmarx, known for its Hart Schaffner & Marx and Hickey Freeman suits, and for making President Obama’s inauguration tuxedo and topcoat, I realized the complex struggle he and his cadre of sales professionals and the plant workers endured.

The company and its United States subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy in January, 2009. Workers threatened to occupy Hartmarx’s plant if the company’s creditor, Wells Fargo Bank, attempted to lay off workers and liquidate the company’s assets.

In August 2009, Emerisque Brands UK and its partner SKNL North America completed their purchase of Hartmarx.While Reg survived the bankruptcy of Hartmarx, the acquisition, ultimately of a foreign owned conglomerate based in India, many of his friends and fellow employees lost their jobs.

Not to be outdone Reg took it upon himself to write an impassioned plea, (click on the link “a letter to the President”) a letter to the President of the United States, Barrack Obama, the beneficiary of the afore-mentioned Hart Schaffner & Marx suits.  Fifteen (15) months after the acquisition Reg, too lost his job.

Like many who are unemployed, Reg wants to work.  He wants to support his family.  Like millions of Americans, there have been forks in the road and to make ends meet, he needs a job.  Reg is, as I describe him on LinkedIn.com business social networking site.

Reg’s now been unemployed for 7 months.  Not for lack of trying.  Reg has employed every means of looking for work.  Shunned by “head hunters” most likely due to his age, Reg is 64.  I can personally vouch for the fact he doesn’t behave or look a day over 30… OK so he looks a bit older, but he’s a firm believer in exercise, has been a long time distance runner.  Now his knees are telling him he needs to go shopping for a good bike – cheap!

That aside, Reg has been and is actively looking for work.  Sending out his (click on the link to Reg’s “resume“) resume doing  job interviews, volunteering his time for Career Ministry and consulting their members regarding many aspects of their search for new opportunities and careers.

Reg isn’t alone.  This is a nationwide plight affecting thousands of households across America.  If you are over 50 and unemployed in today’s economy, you could be facing many challenges including a mortgage underwater.  In such cases, how can you move to accept a job offer across the country?  What if you took a second mortgage out to pay for your kid’s tuition?  What if your kid is living at home because he or she can’t find a job or can’t afford to make ends meet on their own?

So is Reg’s story only about being a high income earner and over 50 an age related layoff?  I began to see there are many other dynamics in play.  Those dynamics include government and politics; how an increase in payroll taxes on corporate America has impacted US manufacturing jobs; and the shift in manufacturing jobs overseas.

Add TARP and “too big to fail”. i.e., Wells Fargo into the picture.  Let’s not forget the unions. Hoping to save their jobs and start a national movement, Hartmarx workers were pressuring Wells Fargo, the company’s main creditor, to approve the sale of Hartmarx to a buyer that would keep it alive instead of liquidating it and most likely putting its celebrated labels on suits made overseas, The New York Times’s Steve Greenhouse reported.tty face.

While I’m not going to rehash all the events which took place and detail the timeline I think it is interesting to point out there were a number of high profile players involved in the decline of the 124 year old company.

While researching this debacle 9 out of every 10 – news articles or posts reference corporate greed or the big bad bank, in this case Wells Fargo, as the culprit.

“That begs the question, “who buys Hartmarx suits?”

The answer is, “Wall Street bankers.”  OK, so who is demonizing Wall Street?  Obama and his posse, including Dick Durbin, Chuck Shumer and Barney Frank those who were championing the case for Hartmarx and union labor against Wells Fargo.

As reported by Progress Illinois:   The news of a potential liquidation (of Hartmarx) caused workers, union leaders, and members of Congress to spring into action to aid the company, which employs 3,000 people nationwide, including 1,000 in Illinois.  Rep. Phil Hare, who spent 13 years as a Hartmarx employee, described himself as “livid” at the bank, which accepted $25 billion in federal bailout funds. He went on to enlist the help of Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Rep.  Jan Schakowsky, whose great-aunt found a job with Hartmarx after emigrating from Russia, called Wells Fargo CEO John Strumpf and urged him to keep the company running.  Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, meanwhile, sent a letter to Strumpf threatening to sever the state’s business with the bank if Hartmarx was ultimately liquidated.

Days after suit maker Hartmarx was sold to Emerisque and its Indian partner S Kumars Nationwide Ltd, SKNL a textile giant three US plants of the clothier have been shut down resulting in the loss of over 500 jobs.  Not a peep out of President Obama, then or now and the Hartmarx factory making his suits in Des Plaines… still open.

Obama, proudly flashing the Hartmarx label

While they may have saved some jobs, politicians and union bosses who should know better and who have voted consistently for more government and more spending weren’t helping the cause.  They may have acted like they are helping Hartmarx employees but their votes for higher taxes and more spending were helping to drive manufacturing jobs overseas.

Reg, on the other hand took it upon himself to champion the cause for Hartmarx workers.  He wrote a letter to the President and stirred the political “hornet’s nest” to get politicians pontificating and deserves a lot of credit for saving US worker’s jobs.

Let it be stated, from all accounts, Emerisque, a British private equity firm working with SKNL, has been doing all it can do to promote and keep the US plants open. In fact, Bud” McCullar, a partner at Emerisque called Reg and commented on how much he cared about the company and fellow employees.  Here’s a quote from Mr. McCullar on Reg’s LinkedIn profile.

“Reg is the consummate seller for an ever evolving apparel and consumer products segments.  From presenting to closing, ever the professional.”

There’s a great book called Built to Last written by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras.  A very dear friend of mine recommended the book to me.   She has been fighting breast cancer for the past 10 years or more.  Apparently she, too, is “built to last.”  Thank God.

The authors define their choice of successful companies’ continued success to be built on “core values” and continued innovation by trying many things through change and recognizing and staying with what works.

If you are the management (CEO) of a company large or small it is your job to see to it you take care of the bottom line and all that goes with it.  That would be principally “cash  flow” management.  Too often, cash flow management is lost on CEOs who are paid for short term gains which inevitably cause long term pain.

That’s why small business is the backbone (more than 70 percent) of the US economy.  For small business cash flow is king.  Our only short term goal is to stay in business, cash flow and grow.

Maybe if more corporate giants and Wall Street bankers had stuck to their core values we wouldn’t be in as big a mess as we are now in today?  Case in point, the merger and acquisition (M&A) frenzy in the 90’s.  Corporate giants, including banks, joined in the M&A rush, to the extent some industry experts were predicting there would only be 3-4 large bank holding companies left in America.

Hartmarx too, jumped into the fray with an acquisition in late 1996.  They added two more in 1998.  In late summer 1999,they added another.  Maybe these acquisitions were good for the company.  I’m not here to judge.  What’s intriguing about the acquisitions is the correlation with offshoring.

In the 1990’s Hartmarx began the offshoring of production facilities to control costs. During that period, they closed ten domestic factories and shifted production to the Far East, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

Someone should have written a book titled Built to “Be” Last – The Decline in Manufacuring Jobs in America – as American manufacturing companies began moving production overseas.

Now here’s the strongest argument yet to keep as to why there are fewer and fewer manufacturing jobs here in America.  If it were not for payroll taxes many more manufacturing jobs in America would have been saved.

While everybody was pointing fingers, blaming everyone but themselves for plant closings and lost jobs, you need not look further than, “it’s payroll taxes… (I’ll let you finish the sentence).”  Granted corporate greed is a factor here.  The problem is many large corporations are multi-national and feel the pressure from foreign competitors not burdened with the higher payroll taxes on workers.

Our government raised payroll taxes in April 1983.  The illustration here shows the investment US corporations began to make overseas according to PoliticalCalculations.com as “unintended consequences” of the payroll tax increase.

If you are a “for profit” company and it is your job to increase shareholder value, you are going to look for ways to lower your costs.  Increasing the payroll taxes on American workers was a major impetus to shift American manufacturing overseas.

We vote to place politicians in office to spend our tax dollars wisely.  They don’t.  On the other hand, we vote with our investment dollars to allow corporate “greed” to profit on the backs of American workers.  They do.

It’s time politicians wake up and reverse the course of lost manufacturing jobs by eliminating payroll taxes and adopting  the FairTax – see www.Fairtax.org.

Ultimately it is up to us as individuals to make the right choices.  This debt crisis is our wake-up call.  Let’s get back to our core values.  If you ask Reg it’s about God, family the desire to contribute his tremendous talent and work ethic to a company and a country “built to last.”

Made in the USA doesn’t have to be about politics or unions.  My good buddy Reg and many of those that have suffered the “unintended consequences” of increases in payroll taxes and lost  manufacturing jobs, will find no comfort here.

For more on Reg click here resume.

Broken Hearted

Recently, a dear friend’s mother passed away at 93 years of age.  More than a lifetime, yet only a moment in time.  Where do we go from here?  When the light goes out and the smile fades away of another loved one?

Aged and revered.  Adored and adulated.  Respected and to whatever degree possible, emulated.  You have to wonder how you can replace a legacy, an individual with such an enormous history; with another, a light so bright, here today, gone tomorrow.

In years past, there was the love and dedication to one another that reaches far beyond what has become practice today.  Our sovereign past was punctuated with marriages that endured 30, 40, 50 years and more.  When I say endured, I mean marriages suffered financial hardships far greater than we face today, unborn children, children suffering physical and mental handicaps and many other maladies we no longer face today.

Today, marriage is commonplace if not convenient.  The slightest hiccup is grounds for divorce.

Today, whether by a barrage of socio-economic altered DNA or as I would prefer to define it, our progeny are spoiled, people no longer live for one another, unless it is better suited (in our best interest) to do so.

There is a commitment to convenience.  Principles are defined by rule of law and politics as opposed to personal ethics and spirituality.

Formal education today has schooled us in cynicism and prejudice against a society built on “sweat equity” and capitalist ideals.  Today our future is in hands unsoiled by the earth and unscathed by the tools that built our rails, roads and bridges that made our country great.  God help us.

In the book Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, a story unfolds about a man, Louis Zamperini, a WWII hero who endured (there’s that word again), along with thousands of WWII prisoners of war and victims of Japanese imposed terror, torture and genocide, unspeakable crimes against human nature and survived to become a true American hero.  If you read his story you will come to realize, the use of the term “hero” today is used at a whole different level.

The book is a best seller.  People marvel over the fortitude and unrelenting willfulness of a man to do what’s right in the face of sheer evil.  Louis Zamperini and hundreds of thousands of Americans of his era were doing what they thought was the right thing to do.  Let’s hope that spirit of America doesn’t die!

I don’t wish to diminish simple acts of bravery, or people doing the right thing when faced with a choice.  My problem is it has become unexpected and uncommon to do what’s morally and ethically responsible in the face of popular alternative.  And God forbid you’ll get sued!

Now it’s time to get off my soapbox and on my knees.  It’s time to give thanks to God for the bright lights and great minds that will outlive the memories of most.  God rest your soul.

Eyes wide open… Reflections

picasabackgroundEyes wide open… Reflections
In the darkest hours of the night, when sleep should prevail, without prejudice, without mercy, questions pour into my head.
I lie awake and I wonder…
Have I lived well enough to make many friends and fewer enemies?
Do I have the courage to cherish my friends and to vanquish my enemies?
Have I spread enough smiles?
Have I shared enough hugs?
Have I planted enough kisses?
Have I caused enough laughter to earn reciprocity?
Have I studied enough history?
Have I been engaged enough in current affairs?
Have I earned a degree in knowledge?
Is knowledge a benefit?
Is knowledge the revelation of truths, or is knowledge the realizations of falsehoods?
Have I learned from every victory and every folly?
If so, am I a benefactor; more important, am I a teacher?
Today, in this world that reports the past in real time;
I see images of life, in real time, how can I relate?
In time to worry for our future.
Have I focused long enough on the anguished faces, I cannot truly see?
Have I listened hard enough to the desperate voices, I truly cannot hear?
Have I seen enough of their pain, I truly cannot feel?
Have I felt their hunger, I cannot feed?
Have I shared in their grief, I cannot quell?
Have I touched enough people?
Has cuddling become a lost art?
If you learn my darkest secret, will you forgive me?
Will I forgive myself?
Did I stop smoking soon enough to live forever?
How much double churned ice cream is too much?
Will I die and when?
Will it be too soon!  Of course!
Would I fight for my life to the very end?
Out of fear?
Out of courage; for you?
Will I let go?
Can I fall away?
Will you miss me if I’m gone?
Will you miss me when you are alone?
Will you miss me when you are amongst friends.
Will you still be laughing and smiling?
And for how long?
Don’t tell me.
My dog is asleep at my feet.
He has all the answers.
He won’t say, but I finally get it.
It’s not about me.
So now, I can close my eyes…

It’s God’s Will

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I’m a firm believer in the expression, “God helps those that help themselves.”

I’m not a big fan of the expression, “It’s God’s will.” Everyone needs to make important decisions every day that affect their own well being. Often you make decisions for others, to a lesser or greater degree, depending on your circle of influence.

Your circle of influence may be considerable, but there are those of us whose circle of influence can be much smaller and still have a much greater impact. Someone else’s decisions can be far reaching, worldwide, but ineffective. You and I can influence a family, maybe friends or a small business. If someone screws up worldwide, it’s up to you and I to win life’s battles… one at a time. That’s the way life should be.

Every day things happen unexpectedly, often uncontrollably, that affect you and me. Some good and bad things happen because we want them to happen. Some people can eat anything, get no exercise and never suffer the consequences. Someone can eat right and get plenty of exercise and never truly see the benefit. Sooner or later someone very close to you will be in a crisis. It may be emotional and or physical. It may be a divorce, an illness, or a death of a family member or friend.

I have a sister, Kay who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s my “littlest” sister. I have two other “little” sisters, Diane and Beth and two brothers. I love them all dearly.

Kay is very close to God and her family. I have it under advisement, that I am only one of hundreds that pray for her, which is a really good thing. Kay and I, we live far apart in so many ways. Oddly enough, we think alike in many ways. If I were to be reincarnated, I think I would be a lot like Kay, obviously an upgraded version due to our combined skill sets (ha-ha) and without the same plumbing, of course. Being a guy is so easy. My boys are much safer than her girls. You know what I mean…

If you know me, you know I don’t look or act like a guy that prays. Surprise! I pray for my family and my friends. I pray for Kay. Maybe this makes no sense to you, but I pray for me first.

That’s right. You’re second. I have tried to convince myself, the reason I have adopted this indulgence is; if I don’t take care of me first, I can’t take care of you. So I pray for you second. This might explain why some of you are so miserable (ha-ha). Get over it! We all have a cross to bear. That’s life. Marcus Aurelius, a way…way… long time along said it best, “Life is what your thoughts make it.”

Then there’s this…if I pray for you, does it really matter? Is God really listening to me? If you are in my prayers, you should pray God is listening, because I don’t pray enough. When I do, I want to make sure it’s important. So get in line! God’s a busy guy (excuse me… but PC would be to say…entity). There are a lot of people out there that need His or Her help a lot more than you or I do.

So why am I not a big fan of the expression, “It’s God’s will?” Well, I’ve heard that expression all too often. When I hear it from someone that I’m trying to help, it leaves me little room to offer my own advice, council; or an alternative. I’m competing with the best. God. So all I can do is pray for you?

Maybe God’s will is a blessing for those who are totally helpless, but if I have one ounce of strength left in my being, I’m going to be looking out for “numero uno” and I pray someone’s got my back. If you know me; if you and I are family or friends, I have your back!

What I love about Kay is she does not hide her love for God and her faith in God, but from my seat at the table, she is totally into the expression, “God helps those that help themselves.”

Kay has explored all her options in terms of her treatment, surgical, chemo and radiation, for her type of cancer. She has consulted with all the resources available to her and recognized all of her opportunities and risks. Once Kay made a decision, she was all in. I love and admire her for that. Most of all, I love her courage, to strike out on her own. Of course, all of you and I have her back.

Kay isn’t looking for someone to blame. She isn’t looking for someone to make it all better… She is all in. Now it is up to you and I to support her. We’re all in. Maybe that’s God’s will?

May you live every day of your life. Jonathon Swift

Was it so long ago?

Who amongst us never experienced the thrills and spills learning to ride a bike? You may still remember the cement sidewalk in front of you, rushing closer and closer until you kissed its rough surface with your face, your hands or your knee. Then, finally you were able to roll over those cracks (the one’s that broke your mother’s back) spinning freely, and spoiling gravity’s hold upon you. It is your first freedom ride, a ride outside your parent’s grasp, still sharing a rewarding moment in time with Dad, Mom or both.

If you never tried cycling, you’re never too old to acquire some pedal power, whether it be a beach cruiser or a sleek racing bike. You are just a few bumps and bruises away from one of the best of times life affords us.

Many of us have always had a bike. We will take it for a casual spin, but the bike spends more time resting in a corner or hanging from the ceiling of the garage. At the opposite end of the spectrum there are a select few who have become elite cyclists, who have made a profession out of cycling. The most famous of all cycle races, the Tour de France is in its 4th day of 21 days of speed and endurance racing.

A growing number of us have taken up cycling as a sport, like tennis or golf. We may ride 4-5 times weekly on local bike paths or the more serious among us, cycle on the roadways, preferably in bike lanes, where afforded us. The more serious riders may have taken to Event riding, from charity rides, like bikeMS, a weekend ride; to endurance rides, like Ride the Rockies, a seven day ride through mountainous terrain. Club rides are also popular, for the social aspect and riders gather based on skill level and ride in numbers before or after work hours and weekends.

Where the rubber meets the road, there are always conflicts of interest. Those of us who are more taken to automobiles than bikes may not appreciate the sight of spandex in its many shapes and sizes, slowing or getting in the way of our progress. Some cyclists are rude and blatantly disobey the rules of the road. Some are ignorant or unaware. Some are just plain day-dreaming or not paying attention, as they should, in traffic, where the same rules apply for both cyclists and automobiles. Subsequently the same applies to motorists. One might suggest, the same personalities whether on a bike or in an automobile act in much the same way.

Cyclist or motorist, let’s reflect back on our childhood memories; those precious moments we share in common, when we first learned to ride a bicycle; then try to getting along. It could be, “just like getting back on a bike”.

Alan J Wiessner
Share the road.

Two Faces

 

 

 

 

 

Two faces.

One and the same,

One’s for fame.

One’s for shame.

One plays a part,

One pulls us apart.

 

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Your reflection tells it all.

The pain on your face,

Still leaves a trace.

One turns a blind eye,

One lives a lie.

 

Two faces,

One hides the strain.

One feels the pain.

One will let it ride,

One will run and hide,

From the fear within.

One will grin.

 

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

Your reflection tells it all.

One draws me in,

One makes me sin.

One makes me shout.

One leaves me out.

 

Two faces

Words, one will fear.

Words, no one will hear.

One leaves me out in the rain.

One leaves me all your pain.

One life’s open behind closed doors.

One can’t take life anymore!

 

Mirror, mirror on the wall,

I’m happy to take the fall.

Still here to pick-up the pieces.

Still here when love’s not that easy.

Still here when life’s wiped your smile away.

Too late to love you any other way.

Your Soul is Your Flame

20170525_203751A sunset should never steal your smile,
You are the woman who has given birth,
To many sunrises, to many beautiful sunsets.
You have breathed life into beautiful souls,
So that life never grows old.
God has filled your soul with the gift of life.
I will chase your smiles forever.
Forever, I may find them.
So that our love never grows old.
Your soul is your flame.
Your smile is your claim to fame.
Light up my life. 
Burn bright for me.
I will catch your smiles.
Whenever they are fleeting.
So look into my eyes,
Look no further.
Leave your fear at life’s altar.
Our love will never falter.
Your soul is your flame.
Your smile is your claim to fame.
Light up my life. 
Burn bright for me.

How Much Can My Heart Hold


How much can my heart hold,
Until my blood runs cold?
Fills my heart with sadness,
How can I stop all the madness.
I’m not gonna bend
I’m not gonna break.
Longer I’m here, later I’ll fold.
I’m gonna forget I’m getting old.
I’m gonna live forever.
Love you forever.
Kiss the cross,
On a mountain high.
Cross bridges,
Climb ridges.
Never rest until I’m on top!
And the sun sets before me.
How much can my heart hold,
Until my blood runs cold?
Breaks my heart,
Why we are apart.
I will pick up the pieces.
For all the Theresa’s (sic).
I’m gonna live forever.
Love you forever.
Kiss the cross,
On a mountain high.
Cross bridges,
Climb ridges.
Never rest until I’m on top!
And the sun sets before me.
How much can my heart hold,
Until my blood runs cold?
Fills my heart with sadness,
How can I stop all the madness.
I’m not gonna bend
I’m not gonna break.
Longer I’m here, later I’ll fold.
Never too late, to break the mold.

 

 

 

 

 

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