Which pretend superhero are you?

DC Comics supervillain, the Joker, stared back at me across the conference table. His skin bleached white and his hair a ghoulish green, the Joker asked in a high squeal if the paper he held in his hands was my best work.

The Joker is a homicidal maniac, bent on creating havoc, and rarely, if ever, fights fair, relying on acid-spewing flowers and fatal laughing-gas. I knew better than to take his bait.

I simply imagined what would Batman do in this situation. I sat up in my chair in my best Caped Crusader pose, smiled back, looked him straight in the eye and said, “My team and I gave it our best shot. We put in a lot of hard work, sought out feedback of others and polished and polished our proposal until we thought it shined.”

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My dream: a hug and a vision of peace

I’m flawed.

I get angry and fly off the handle easily with little warning. I’m selfish and impatient. I hold grudges and write others off for the smallest of offenses. I can be mean and disagreeable. I curse and swear and would sooner run over you than let you sneak in front of me on my way to work.

I criticize and complain. I focus on myself instead of helping others. Despite my many flaws, I look up to find Mary, the mother of God, waving to me to come closer. I shake my head and squint my eyes. She’s dressed in a long robe and her arm is definitely motioning toward me. I have to be seeing things. This can’t be right.

No, it’s clear as day. She’s got a bright smile that wraps around her entire face and is pointing and waving to me. I take a hesitant step forward. I look behind me. Is she waving to someone else? No, there’s no one there.

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Killing time

iphone-518101_640I love my iPhone. I wouldn’t say that it’s attached to me at the hip, but I definitely rely on it for a multitude of tasks that I never would’ve guessed just a couple of years ago.

In particular, I love that it’s turned me, a one-time technophobe fearful of all new apps and social media outlets, into a lover of all things technology. I can’t get enough of it, mainly because it helps make life easier.

However, saying all that, there’s one simple app that I’m ready to kill. It’s not really an app per se, but I hate it all the same. I hate the alarm clock on my phone. If I could, I would eliminate it, but, of course, if I deleted it from my smartphone, I would need to go back to a real-live alarm clock and I hate them even more.

Like most people, I need my alarm clock to exist, to start my day and get off to work. As I blogged recently, we purchased a new bed and that has made a ton of positive improvements in the quality of my sleep, but I’m still not getting enough sleep.

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Finding myself in the silence

The long tree branches block out the sun’s hot rays — and on this day when the mid-day temperature hits the mid-90s, it is most certainly hot — but I’m most appreciative of the gentle breeze that runs through the woods.

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I tread carefully through the wooded area, moving from tree to tree, watching where I put my foot down. I take a step or two, stop and look around, and then then start up and take another few steps, before stopping again.

I’m walking as quietly as I can to see what I might find, perhaps a doe and it’s fawn or even squirrel or two rustling through the trees, but I’ve really come to get away. In my job, I’ve been running lately from busy meeting to busy meeting, conference call to conference call. And then my weekends seem to be filled up with trips and excursions, never really giving me any down time.

I’ve come for the silence

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The wisdom of Solomon

In the Bible, God comes to King Solomon in a dream and offers him whatever he wants. The mind explodes with possibilities: wealth, jewels, power, fame, and status all come quickly to mind.

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If in Solomon’s position, knowing me, I’d probably snicker or take on the “doubting Thomas” role, suggesting that God’s offer had to be a joke.  I would more than likely say something sarcastic like: “God asking me what I want? Yea right, when pigs fly.” I would assume it was a mixture of insomnia and a very active imagination.

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Happy Birthday: Hello teenager

When I became a teenager in the early 80s, we listened to Rick Springfield sing about Jessie’s Girl and Diana Ross and Lionel Richie sing of their Endless Love; played Pac-Man and Centipede in a downtown arcade, read George Orwell’s 1984, went in droves to see The Empire Strikes Back and spent our free time trying to figure out a 3-D combination puzzle called the Rubik’s Cube.

We worried that the Soviet Union — including Russia — would one day nuke us, cheered when the Iranian hostages came home and the U.S. launched the first space shuttle, and watched amusingly as a rich, young billionaire named Donald Trump made headlines in his bid to take over Manhattan.

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Babies are such a nice way to start people & other stories

My three kids have “big people” problems.

–Dad, I’m going to need a car to get around for my summer internship, what should I do?

–Dad, which meal plan should I choose for college?  I’m thinking about Meal Plan #3, but it costs $800 more than the other two. What do you think?

–Dad, I’m thinking of joining the marching band in the Fall, can you give me $150 to cover the middle school activity fee.

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Making dreams come true

Parenting has its challenges. Whether you stay home with your kids or work all day and have to pick them up and race somewhere, your job is never complete. There’s always something to do (um, what are we having for dinner?) and you’re often left feeling like you’re working without a net.

But once in a while, you have a day that’s just perfect. You get to see your children in a new light or achieve something they’ve been working on. It can be a big or small event.

For me, one of the fun things recently has been helping my kids make their dreams become a reality. I’ve been blessed that I’ve had a few of those days lately where everything comes together. I’m convinced that there’s not a better feeling in the world.

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Giving back

In 1981, wealthy businessman Eugene Lang was asked back to his old elementary school, PS 121 in Harlem to address the graduating sixth grade class. They would be soon going off to middle school and hopefully high school.

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He planned to tell the kids to study and work hard—all the usual stuff. However, on the way to the podium, the principal told him that 75 percent of the class would never graduate high school.

“I suddenly realized that anything I had to say that was ordinary, conventional would be completely out of place, would be completely meaningless,” Lang told reporter Harry Reasoner and a 60 Minutes crew in 1986.

Boy did he go way off script. Continue reading “Giving back”

Searching for opportunities

I’m quitting my job.

Yup, it’s official, I’m quitting. You’re the first to know. I haven’t told anyone else, not my wife, my boss, coworkers, no one. I’m sure my wife will be shocked, maybe even a little worried, but when she hears my plan, she’ll love it.  

I’m quitting and moving to Florida. I’ve got everything covered. I’m quitting so that I can get a job at the Happiest Place on Earth. Yes, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

I’ll take any job, but I have my heart set on one job in particular: driving the Disney Monorail. (The park’s monorail system built in 1971 is one of the most heavily used monorail systems in the world with more than 150,000 daily riders, surpassed only by the Tokyo Monorail in Tokyo, Japan, with 300,000 daily riders and the Chongqing Rail Transit in China, which has over 900,000 daily riders.)

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