Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes

Yes, I've neglected my little corner here. Yes I have excuses. Yes, they are semi-valid. Yes, I apologize. I plan to do a little better, but in a reduced form. This is how it all began. Well, no, just this is the short version of how I'm where I am.

In the past several months I've had the following go on in my life:
Promotion at work
Injury on the bike
Restoring my car
Surgery for injury
Possibly another type of promotion at work
Elected to board of directors for my cycling club
Am hands on team manager for my club's developmental team
Director of all teams for club
Triumph Car Club functions

So, though it's 99% my own doing, I've been extremely busy. This coming year I'm making no real promises. Except to wish everyone a safe and happy new year, and to be well. Politics have me upset, but if I do what I think is right in my circle of life (oh, hello, Simba) then that's all I can hope for.

Will I blog more? Likely not, but I will try to be more consistent. How's that for a resolution? Right! Let's ring 2009's bell so hard it cracks!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Thanksgiving. Take a moment to savor the day and the company. I am.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I really hope I'm wrong

The election is over. I'm not happy, as the plane has rolled over and is starting the downward spiral. I wasn't thrilled with John McCain, either. I wish Mit Romney had made it to the election. But I digress.

I guess no one paid attention to Obama's speech in CA where he said he disliked Israel. Or how he's filling his cabinet with his cronies. No bipartisan "we'll put the best people in the job no matter what" attitude like he stated earlier. Where's the change? I hope I'm wrong, and he decides that nationalizing 401k and pensions is a bad idea, and that we can't afford to bail out every bank and company that's in trouble.

I hope he says "well, many of you have screwed up, and have to deal with it. Some will lose their jobs, others their homes. Some companies and banks are going to go away, and we'll have to raise taxes." I'm sure he'll say that we can fix it, and everyone deserves to be helped, so no one is accountable. Then we'll all be in trouble, because our government doesn't have the money or the power to do it. That is why I hope I'm wrong, but I fear I'm right.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm actually impressed

Nike has actually done the right thing, which gives me hope for American society and corporate ethics. You see, I was so incensed over the subject of my previous post that I contacted Nike. This was their response:

Hi Mike,

Nike is announcing today that it recognizes Arien O'Connell as a winner in last weekend’s Nike Women’s Marathon with the fastest chip time, completing the full race in 2:55:11. She shattered her previous time and achieved an amazing accomplishment.

Arien will receive the same recognition and prize, including a Tiffany bowl, the full marathon elite group winner received. Arien was unfortunately not immediately recognized as a race winner because she did not start the race with the elite running group, which is required by USATF standards. Because of their earlier start time, the runners in the elite group had no knowledge of the outstanding race Arien was running and could not adjust their strategies accordingly.

Learning from the unique experience in this year’s race, Nike has decided today to eliminate the elite running group from future Nike Women's Marathons. Next year, all runners will run in the same group and all will be eligible to win.

Nike has a proven track record of supporting athletes and we’re proud to be able to honor Arien and other athletes who surpass their goals and achieve great accomplishments.

Thank you for contacting Nike.


It's not often that the right thing is done by anyone. We should all celebrate this and commemerate it by making sure we do the right thing, and holding those accountable who don't.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You show up to race, you have the race of your life, you don't win when you're the fastest

Come on, Nike. Really you can do better. Really. Reminds me of the Howard Jones song "No One Is To Blame" where the line is "you're the fastet runner but you're not allowed to win".

Apparently, only the elite ever get to reap the benefits, no matter how undeserved.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Class Act

I'm a little late to the show on this one. Paul Lanier Newman has left the world, and I feel we've lost someone, something special and aren't aware of it yet. I've always liked Paul Newman. The first movie of his I remember seeing was The Sting. Most of his others followed.

Even in his less than popular movies, I always loved how Paul threw all he had into it. The characters he played were part of him somewhere, and you saw it. My father said once "any other actor could be half as talented and still be great", and it applied to to other facets of Paul's life.

Unless you've been under a rock since the precambrian era, you probably have heard of Newman's Own dressings and sauces. I remember the first time I heard about it, and the first commercials aired where I grew up. In fact, he did commercials for Nissan encouraging people to use seatbelts. The local Albany and NYC stations aired them all the time, and sometimes, Paul would be wearing the same thing in both.

The reason was that he was at Lime Rock Park raceway, a tough road racing track in northwest CT near Lakeville. Many commercials were shot between heats or after races. It was neat to see him in his driving suit with cars going by in the background.

The fact that Paul was racing cars made him cool to me, but the fact he won a national championship driving a supposedly obsolete Triumph TR6 and beat the new model TR7, well, that made him a hero to me. That's because my father raced a Triumph, and later on I raced them, too.

But the biggest thing that tells me the class Paul Newman had was the fact he never called attention to his achievements. When he won the national championship in 1977 he said "screw the Oscars, this is better", or something to that effect, depending on who you ask. How many of us truly know how many children and adults his programs have helped? What is the impact on society?

Paul Newman was like a black tux. Always classy, elegant, stylish. Quiet dignity. The world needs more like him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Contemplating Retrospective

I've been busy with a bunch of projects lately, but none too interesting to most people. I get to think while I work on my car, or bike, and reflect quite a bit.

Some reflections are pleasant, like the time I did a winter raly around Michigan in an MG Magnette. Trust me, it wasn't warm, but it was fun. At least now it seems like it was, over a decade later.

Others aren't as good. The time my best friend was killed in a firefight by my side, and I vividly remember trying to put his stomach and organs back into him, and accompanying his body home. We worked differently than the regular Army, and I was with the chaplain and some officers when we broke the news to his family.

Certain experiences are seared into our brains. Often a sound transports me to that faraway place, and tonight it was the most unlikely source. My wife was watching the Sex and the City movie. In the scene where Sarah Jessica Parker is hitting Chris Noth with flowers, she and one of her friends screamed a certain way. And it was exactly the way my friend's mother screamed when we told her he had been killed. Blood curdling screams punctuated by gut wrenching sobs.

I tried to comfort her, but she just screamed at me "HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN TO HIM? YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO WATCH OUT FOR EACH OTHER!!!! I HATE YOU!!!!" I know she didn't mean it. Two years later she was in the hospital and I decided to visit. It was difficult for me, but I knew I needed the closure, as well as her.

We spoke briefly, and just before I left, she said "I know you did everything you could. The other guys told me so. I'm sorry for what I said to you. Please forgive me, it's been eating at me since the funeral."

"Of course I forgive you. It's ok, I figured you didn't mean it. I'm glad I was able to let you vent." We laughed, talked a bit about how things were, and I watched a woman get to a place where she was at peace with everything in her life. I got up to leave, and she said "I'm glad you stopped by. Thank you. It means a lot to me." We smiled at each other as I left.

She died that night.

I'm a very lucky person. For very many reasons. Sometimes I think about it. But most times I don't. Maybe I should more.