hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley

It comes in many forms

Category: Commentary

Riding the ritual of Monday night random rejuvenation

20160320_114127There are times in life when you realize it’s better to be lucky than it is to be good. It’s an old axiom, an old adage, an old “thing,” but it still rings true.
People speak of having high pain tolerances and everyone listening initially thinks “physical” pain tolerance. There are pain tolerances that span far beyond physical pain. There is emotional pain. There is the pain that comes with loss, which can span both physical, emotional, and all things mental other than emotional.
Emotions speak to our non-rational minds. And, emotions have a mind of their own. Emotions are what happen when you’re doing your job and suddenly, you lose focus and the old girlfriend you used to love pops into your brain. Or, the old boyfriend, if you’re so inclined.
20160302_191012Most of the time, we’re just drifting through life; we’re waiting for something to happen. Neil Young once sang, “Good times are comin’, but they’re sure comin’ slow.” Good times can’t seem to happen to us fast enough. When they do, we just go, “Ok, when’s the next good time?”
We really only have five good minutes to spare. Even then, if we’re doing something like public speaking, five minutes intended to be good at the onset of the presentation, suddenly seem like an eternity and quickly deteriorate into 90 seconds of quality at best. I suppose this is what’s relative.
I would suggest that being homeless is one of the most scary things that can happen to a person. Most of us with a roof over our heads take our homes for granted. You don’t have to be homeless to be thankful for a roof over your head. Yes, it does create understanding if you’ve ever been homeless for any length of time. We may know someone who is presently homeless. Or, someone who has become homeless at one time or another. While we can be empathic, if we, ourselves have been homeless, it is not a requirement to understand the nature of the condition. We should be thankful for our lack of homelessness no matter.
20160309_180056Homelessness eats away at hope. If we lose hope, unlike losing faith, it is a testament to our very will, or lack thereof, to survive. To have hope is to remain positive. To have hope is to think one day we will realize better days. To be bereft of hope is the equivalent of giving up on life itself.
One of the best qualities a person can have is being kind. If you’re kind, at times you forsake telling the truth in order to spare someone’s feelings. This can get in the way, for instance, of something like giving an annual review to your charges. If a supervisor is to be objective, they have to discard their kindness temporarily in favor of brutal honesty, especially when it comes to the cohesiveness of a team tasked with the output of a particular product or service. At the end of the day, not everyone makes the grade, even those who are kind.
20160320_114553While kindness is most probably not used frequently during the compilation of annual performance reviews, it should be practiced on a daily basis in our everyday lives. If you’re going to attempt kindness for the first time, however, I would counsel you to be as genuine as possible. People can recognize phoniness disguised as kindness. If you are a phony with respect to kindness, you are left open to all manner of scrutiny and criticism on other fronts. People just won’t trust a phony at any point once they are recognized as non-genuine.

And finally, I’ll leave you with loneliness and all the things it presents in the form of acting out. Loneliness forces people to endure life by themselves. For most, or at least, many, it is unbearable.

If it is healthy to be able to be alone for some times, it is not something that bodes well for one’s long-term health if they are lonely for large stretches of their lives.
All of us may not crave interaction more often than not. And the ability to share with others is often key to our longevity. We don’t stand a chance at happiness, however, if we are alone more often than not. Our brains may be underutilized, but our bodies display the damage when we are forced to make do on our own for most of the time.
We don’t know what others are suffering. Be kind, be empathic, give someone the benefit of the doubt. Make an effort to engage those who would not be engaged. You might save someone’s life.

Mind wanderings at the end of the weekend

20160219_135241The thing no one talks about especially, at least regarding Donald Trump, is his age. If he became president, he would be 70 years of age, breaking Ronald Reagan’s record as the oldest person to take the office at the age of 69 (if my calculations are not mistaken).
The other thing about Trump that I think about (on the positive side) is he will not be subservient to the special interest groups that are in the pockets of other candidates. What this means in the long term is anyone’s guess, but while Trump may never be accused of being a great orator, it’s nice that he can tell Goldman Sachs to take a hike if he wants to.

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peyton Manning will ride off into the sunset after all, announcing the decision by the end of the week. Really, the only way he should go regarding this. His body will not allow him to perform at high levels any more, he’s got his second ring and he goes out a Super Bowl champion. Nice.
I like rain, but I don’t like mud. Just sayin’.
I’d love a Bluetooth mouse at a reasonable price that performs well. So far, it isn’t out there.
So, Apple is a hardware company because it gives away all of its software for free. Wait, I was going to debate that, but now am thinking differently (no pun intended). Maybe Apple is just a hardware company that has free software running on its hardware. Semantics.
I heard this somewhere recently, but it’s worth repeating: the music industry is combating piracy by producing music that no one wants. I like that.
I’ve got a beer-making kit lying around in the basement that I need to use. Of all things to procrastinate about, making home brew should not be one of them.

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I like Linux for certain stuff, Apple’s OS X for some things and Windows for other computing tasks. No one OS accomplishes everything I need. If any one does so for you, that’s great. But there isn’t any reason to hate on folks that use what you don’t. Be thankful for the freedom of choice, I say.

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Relationships take kindness extended by both parties. I know some people say they take work, but if each person treats the other with kindness, gives them the benefit of the doubt, the relationship actually stands a chance to withstand words you wish you never spoke. For this one, again, I’m just sayin’.

Ronald Reagan in Dixon, Illinois.

Ronald Reagan in Dixon, Illinois. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone once told me or said and I heard that, an individual only needs as many true friends as they have fingers on one hand. I’d go just a bit further and suggest that if you have even one true friend, that is all you really need. Everybody else is just passing through your life.
A good keyboard on a desk at the right typing height makes all the difference for a person living with carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain is pain and carpal tunnel, while surgery exists to correct it, just resurfaces if you perform the same functions again that gave it to you in the first place. Don’t get the surgery, just adjust how you type and work.
The Beatles sang, “Eight Days A Week.” What if we had eight days in a week? I’d like to suggest it to Trump, if he gets in. But, this suggestion is mostly self-serving. I just want a three-day weekend.
Don’t you?

Pub university grads enjoy real world skills, less regret and save $$$

20150921_121846If a pub is a poor man’s university then I must be one of the most extensively, informally educated men around. It’s not something to take as cold, hard fact, yet, sometimes I like to think if one could, then it’d be at the least another reason to turn one’s nose up at the thought of paying for a college education today.
The biggest problem college educations have going for them, besides their being generally cost-prohibitive, is they have an expiration date. The degree one receives today may not lend the same value to one’s job aspirations and career path ten years down the road. It may not even be applicable five years from now. Additionally, once those ten years are here, individuals are still oftentimes paying off the loans they took to pay for their educations. It’s a nasty financial albatross to have around one’s neck, knowing a college degree can be rendered obsolete in less time than it took to acquire it.
20150921_115107It really sucks to have to say things like, “If I knew what I know now back then, I never would have gone to college.” What an awful thing to have to realize. But, if you can get a master’s, then you will probably have a leg up on the pub university grad when competing for the same position in the job place.

That is, unless you find a progressive employer who will take a chance on an interesting candidate whose upside may be greater than one who has shot their proverbial achievements wad during their academic lives.

20150921_120642It happens. Sometimes the most book smart people are utter and total failures, underachievers when it comes to the professional world. I’m not saying bar flies are better fits in the work place, but depending on whether or not there is a lot of sales involved for the job, they may be better suited to make cold calls. One might argue that life in pubs is an unending series of cold calls, cold beers and cold, hard stares. Knowing how to contend with all of this gives the pub university grad the gift of versatility. They can size up their audiences with greater degrees of accuracy, speed and success because they’ve acquired people skills that cannot be taught in academia.
Pubs are the real world, universities are theory-based environments. Plus, you can oftentimes get hot nuts at pub universities. We all know that food in work settings is a great perk. We know this because recent studies support this. Perhaps the food in pubs isn’t always gourmet, but it most definitely fills the void that helps us cross over into handling situations successfully.
20150921_144049If you are in college and you’re hungry, you don’t think right or as well. Not thinking as well as when your gullet is full leaves a lot of margin for error, too. It limits your ability to be successful on exams. If you grab that little cup of hot nuts in the bar, you are able to make it through the conversation with the attractive member of the opposite sex sitting next to you, confidently. Receiving a smile because your brain and words made her smile and laugh, makes you feel good, too. It carries over into the rest of your day and whatever it is that may come next.
Pub university grads also have occasion to acquire other skills they may find useful in life. Shuffleboard, pool, air hockey, dancing and darts all entail and teach us critical socialization skills. We have to have live, face-to-face conversations when we are engaging in these kinds of activities in bars. In college, these activities are frowned upon except during after class hours. And, I would suggest that if you’re hitting the clubs instead of the books, you are for sure throwing away your parents and/or your own, hard earned money.
20150924_142647I was touring the Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland recently and it occurred to me that I don’t know anyone who puts down “poet” for their occupation when they do their taxes. This brings me back to one of my original points in this post: before you decide to go to college, if you, probably, like me, will never know what you want to be when you grow up, do yourself a favor and postpone, if not entirely abandon, your college aspirations. You’ll thank me for it later when you’re able to pay cash money for a decent used car because your credit hasn’t been destroyed by the crushing debt of student loans. Life is hard enough without starting out behind the financial eight ball.
20150923_124134Visit a pub, buy a pint and talk to one of the local bar flies. The education you receive from them may be just the thing you need to help you decide what’s truly best for you, or at the least, what you should avoid.

The fall of the QB with four rings

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The phone was so smart it allegedly was destroyed by the legend whose dumb stance to do so may have cost him his legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time.
Today’s news that Tom Brady’s suspension would stand at four games by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell‘s office was released along with the news that Brady destroyed the phone containing possible evidence of his culpability in the now infamous “Deflategate” New England Patriots football scandal.
There was talk by several sports world pundits including Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon of Pardon the Interruption that Brady’s infraction was so innocuous it was tantamount to “watering the base paths” in baseball. But, to be fair, the two sports talk show hosts, Kornheiser in particular, today expressed concern over Brady’s possible phone destruction.
Brady’s camp has not responded to the phone destruction allegations, but his agent, along with a statement from the Patriots themselves have denied any wrongdoing on Brady’s part, generally expressing indignation at the attempt to sully Brady’s legacy.
Is Brady’s legacy tarnished?
If Goodell and the NFL are correct that Brady destroyed his phone containing potential evidence of his part in Deflategate, then I will unequivocally suggest the sure, first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback’s legacy is indeed tainted.
Hindsight is always 20-20, but if we’ve been able to learn anything about sports heroes who insist upon their innocence even in the midst of insurmountable evidence to the contrary, it is that it is probably not the wisest choice to contest allegations. This is not a court of law where Goodell’s ruling has originated from. It may yet find its way into a court of law as Brady is expected to file suit somewhere, somehow. But if we’ve learned anything from the business of sports scandals from the likes of Lance Armstrong, Pete Rose and Alex Rodriguez, it’s that America, and specifically America’s sports fans, are forgiving.

U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, U...

U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, U.S. Central Command, poses for a photo with NFL Hall of Famers Lynn Swann, Roger Craig, John Elway, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during Super Bowl XLIII, Feb. 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Lance Armstrong’s and Pete Rose’s cases, their implausible denials led to their banishment and downfall. If they could have their decisions to deny, deny, deny back again, they might choose to admit to their wrongdoing and ask forgiveness. After serving suspensions, paying fines, they could have easily been welcomed back by adoring, forgiving fans. Instead, their decisions to stand firm in denial led to their permanent exiles.
While Rose has been accepted publicly at the recent All-Star Game festivities in Cincinnati, he still has a long road ahead in order to be considered successfully by the Baseball Writers Association for election to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Armstrong, alternatively, revealed his doping after repeated denials that spanned years. This has more than likely doomed him to pariah status the rest of his life.
Alex Rodriguez’ handlers on the other hand did right by their client. He asked for forgiveness after serving his then record suspension and has been accepted back in full, honorable status by New York Yankees fans this year. Of course, it hasn’t hurt that he is having one of, if not the best seasons ever had by a 40-year old ballplayer. Let’s hope for his sake he hasn’t been juicing with some new, as yet undetectable-by-MLB testing houses’ PED.
As for Brady, it’s not too late to fess up. But, this is Tom Brady. Like Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez before him, he has vast financial resources to fight his four-game suspension.
If the cell phone destruction is not the smoking gun that sinks Brady’s Patriot ship with respect to his legacy, perhaps he can fight and ultimately win vindication.
Lance Armstrong finishing 3rd in Sète, taking ...

Lance Armstrong finishing 3rd in Sète, taking over the Yellow Jersey at Grand Prix Midi Libre 2002 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, if history serves any lessons, it teaches us professional athletes of superstar status have egos of equivalent status. If he’s guilty or culpable in any way in the scandal that is Deflategate, now is the time for him to come clean in order to preserve his legacy.
But, it says here he won’t. He’ll fight, the suspension will ultimately be upheld and by the time his part in any of the scandal fully emerges, the apologies will no longer be appropriate or hold any weight with fans.
Cheater apologies and requests for forgiveness most definitely fall under time constraints, if not outright expiration dates.

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