Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Help 360 MERIDIAN win a small business grant!

Help us win a small business grant!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2010 tickles me green, black, and red, white and blue

GREATER NEW YORK - As a relative of numerous military veterans and a Veterans History Project Official Partner/New York, I've observed Veterans Day all my life. But this year is special. Veterans Day 2010 tickles me green, black and red, white and blue.

To explain what I mean, I've color-coded this post.

First Lady Michelle Obama helped kickstart the day with a long-awaited appearance on Sesame Street (taped in May). Attractively clad in garden-green, she got her well-manicured hands dirty, doing a great job teaching the muppets to plant healthy, tasty garden vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes). Afterward, she displayed a tempting tray of fresh salad fixings and explained: they not only taste great, but can also help one grow strong and tall like her. (The segment - which featured Big Bird's fancy for seeds - inspired my breakfast selection: a crispy mixed salad tossed with trail mix. Booyah!)


What does any of this have to do with Veterans Day? For one thing, I had time to savor Sesame Street 'cuz many establishments are closed for this federal holiday. More importantly, Mrs. Obama's husband, Barack Obama, is the nation's 44th president and "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States." Although (like 13 predecessors) President Obama lacks military experience and is not, technically, a military veteran, he is America's Supreme Commander, or as Alexander Hamilton phrased it: "first general and admiral." President Obama is the first African American to hold those positions.

FYI, Colin Powell has held the highest national posts held by an African American military veteran.  These include Four-Star General (since 1989), National Security Advisor (1987-1989); Commander-in-Chief, United States Army Forces Command (1989); Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-1993), and Secretary of State (2001-2005). Think the significance of race has declined sufficiently to avoid citing it? Think again.  As Colin Powell stated: "Many interviewers, when they come to talk to me, think they're being progressive by not mentioning in their stories any longer that I'm black. I tell them, 'Don't stop now. If I shot somebody you'd mention it. "

Red, white and blue, of course have been the colors of the national flag of the United States of America since June 14, 1977, when Congress...
Since then, the "Star-Spangled Banner" (aka the "Stars and Stripes" and "Old Glory") underwent numerous changes until July 4, 1960.  As "History of the American Flag" describes:
Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.

Today the flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with 6 white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies, the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colors of the flag are symbolic as well: Red symbolizes Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue represents Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Lion Slept Last Night: Remembering Senator Ted Kennedy

GREATER NEW YORK - Saddened and profoundly touched by the news that the Liberal Lion (of the Senate) slept last night, I feel compelled to jot a few words remembering prolific, highly accomplished Senator Edward Moore Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). Personal politics, opinions about Citizen Ted's private life - and even nationality - notwithstanding, it's well-nigh impossible for any adult on the planet to be unaffected.

Personal recollections tend to be egocentric; mine are no exceptions. For instance, as a Veterans History Project Official Partner/New York, I am extremely interested in the experiences and contributions of America's military servicemen and women. That includes the Kennedy brothers.

As did older brothers Joe, Jr. (who made the ultimate sacrifice), Jack, and Bobby (all of whom served in the Navy), Ted served in the United States military (Army, 1951-1953). Later, during his 43 years in the United States Senate, the handsomest Kennedy brother (and perhaps the most controversial) actively addressed military issues, such as cheating on promotional exams, armor issues, and military blogs.

A more poignant memory of the tireless, influential public servant and one of America's most famous Irishmen was made the day I graduated from Harvard. After receiving my diploma, I'd stood on the crowded steps at Dunster House, scanning the crowd. "Where's that Ted?" I complained to my roommate, whose beau had promised to snap our photos.

Unbeknownst to me, Ted Kennedy was standing immediately behind me. He stepped up close, and when I turned around, he smiled mischievously, stuck out his hand, and said something like, "Hi, I'm Ted Kennedy. How do you work that camera?"

Hence, one of the first utterances by this newly minted Ivy Leaguer: "Humina, humina, humina!"###

Saturday, June 20, 2009

This is Goode work if you can get it

GREATER NEW YORK - Now this is Goode work if you can get it. Murphy-Goode Winery in Sonoma Valley posted the following ad in April:
We at the Murphy-Goode Winery got to thinking about the new age of communications and we figured it was a pretty good thing. So to get going, we’re looking for someone (maybe you) who really knows how to use Web 2.0 and Facebook and blogs and social media and YouTube and all sorts of good stuff like that — to tell the world about our wines and the place where we live: the Sonoma County Wine Country.

In exchange, we’re offering you a “Really Goode Job” — a six-month job paying $10,000 a month plus accommodations!

We want to hire a social media whiz (your title will be “Murphy-Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent”) who will report on the cool lifestyle of Sonoma County Wine Country and, of course, tell people what you’re learning about winemaking.

Did we mention that the compensation was $10,000 per month Plus accommodations in a beautiful home in picturesque Healdsburg, a popular vacation destination in our neck of the woods. Working hours are flexible. And all you have to do is experience wine and good living, and then tell people about it. (Do you play Poker, or Liar’s Dice? Don’t worry; we’ll teach you.)

You (we hope) will become part of the Murphy-Goode crew — for six great months.
Apparently, 775 applicants thought so, too. Make that 776.

Sour grapes: Not everyone drinks from the same vat. In contrast to Murphy-Goode, us above-mentioned 776 souls, and those who organize and sponsor bloggers to attend wine conferences, some say winery blogging is a waste of valuable resources.

Send in your one-minute video (just like when you tried to get on Survivor) to see if you make the cut. The top 50 contestants (just like Miss America) will get winnowed down (just like American Idle) until you win win win!

Who will win this crown? Oops, hat. Who will win the right to become a spokesmodel, to live on Maggie’s Farm and sing the praises of the juice of the grape?

And when you start your gig (please let’s not call it a job) try not to use the word passionate when describing anything having to do with winemaking. It’s been done.

Another funky note: WinePredators' report told me something not so Goode about an attempt to cloud the clarity of Murphy-Goode's Lifestyle Correspondent selection process:
And then I’m cruising the internet and find this: a wine marketing think tank, VinTank, has already vetted the existing candidates, chosen their favorites, and even helped them promote their candidacy. At one point, they even offered Murphy-Goode $100,000 in services if M-G chose one of their favorites!!
Hello? Murphy-Goode Dream Job? My dream has been squelched before I even finished my video!
Seeds of inspiration: ArtPredator (the same blogger as WinePredator) reports that the inspiration for the Goode job offer stemmed from Queensland Tourism's Best Job in the World Contest. The winner, Brit Ben Southall, won a 6-month, $150,000 gig as Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

I raise my glass to all the Goode applicants and have a few words for you. Salutations for submitting. Bona fortuna throughout the process. Savor the experience. If you win, don't forget to spit! And lastly, but most importantly: (1) Don't make these millennial mistakes and wine-blogging blunders, (2) Don't mistake the essence of your mission, and (3) don't rest on your grape leaves; prepare your long-term career strategy now.

I'll be looking forward to following (and rooting for) the M-G winner and Ben Southall in the blogosphere.###

Saturday, June 06, 2009

What time zone are we in when it's not Eastern Daylight Time? (settling a bet)

IMAGE: Standard time zones of the world as of June 2008 (SOURCE: at
It was about 7:00 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (19:00, local military time), and my sunlit office had begun to dim. I glanced out at the horizon, debating: tear myself away, now, from the proposal I was completing to flick the light switch and grab an Oreo cookie (or three), or polish off my paragraph first? Then the phone rang.

The call was from a couple who had a question: "What time zone are we in when it's not Eastern Daylight Time?"

Easy question. I gave the easiest answer: "It's Eastern Standard Time." However, the more complete answer is layered, like that snack I was salivating about.

[IMAGE: A Double Stuff Oreo Cookie (SOURCE: at]

Her triumphant "Right answer!" and request to repeat it to her spouse signalled there was more to their matter. My guess: they needed help settling a bet.

She mentioned that he'd cited "something about military time." As he's a US Naval Academy alumnus and sailor, he was probably referring to Zulu Time or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Harold F. Maybeck does a fine job of explaining the origin and use of Z- or UTC-time here.

They wanted a hit-and-run answer, so for that time being, I opted out of addressing military time and email time. Instead, I shared that I'd previously blogged about time zones and promised to email the posts. I'll be sure to include this one to help even the odds.

(Afterward, I'll strike a light and scarf some sandwich-cookies.) ###

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day and Veterans Day: what and when are they, and what's the difference?

Because my large, extended family boasts of many military veterans and because I'm a Veterans History Project Official Partner/New York, I often find myself answering two common questions about Memorial Day and Veterans Day:
  1. Exactly what and when are they? and
  2. What's the difference between them?
Here are the quick-and-dirty responses:
  • WHAT:
Memorial Day (formerly known as "Decoration Day"), and Veterans Day (also known worldwide as "Armistice Day," "Remembrance Day," "Remembrance Sunday," "Poppy Day, " "National Day," "Polish Independence Day," and the "Day of Peace") are two USA federal holidays - roughly six months apart - that honor America's military veterans. Memorial Day honors those who have fallen while in service to the country, while Veterans Day honors all who have served in the US military, both living and deceased.
  • WHEN:
Memorial Day is currently celebrated on the last Monday in May (although there is support for reverting to the original, May 30 date or Armed Forces Day weekend - the third weekend in May - to focus attention on the holiday's intended meaning). Veterans Day is celebrated in the USA on November 11.

It's easy to confuse all of these interrelated holiday names, aliases, dates and meanings, even after reading about them on official USA government sites, such as US Information Agency>>Celebrate! Holidays in the USA and>>American Holidays. For one thing, articles such as the US Department of Veterans Affairs' "History of Memorial Day" and "History of Veterans Day" highlight the fact that both holidays have undergone changes in name, date, and scope since their inceptions.

Consequently, as Wikipedia>>Memorial Day notes, in addition to the federally recognized remembrances, some communities continue to honor the original traditions, while still others follow parochial practices, as well as rites unrelated to the holiday's intention. For example, my family adheres to a popular Memorial Day tradition of decorating the graves of all loved ones who predeceased us; we don't confine our commemorations to military veterans or those who died during wartime. (Of course, most of my family's plots feature veteran and civilian graves situated side-by-side, or stacked atop each other.)

Further diffusing Memorial Day's meaning is its extension, to three days, of the weekend that symbolically starts the summer. Throughout the USA, May's final weekend kicks off many outdoor (and some indoor) activities, and the beginning of boating, beach and barbecue season. Consequently, most Americans (myself included) mark Memorial Day weekend not only as a time for reflection and remembrance, but also for recreation.

To "help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day," the White House passed a "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution in December 2000. It asks all Americans "to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all."

Like Memorial Day, Armistice Day - Veterans Day's precursor in the USA - also serves mixed purposes, and thereby generates some confusion. The holiday was initially conceived as an international commemoration of the end of World War I. However, as Wikipedia>>Armistice Day notes, World War I ended on different days in different locations, and many countries have adapted the Armistice Day concept in a variety of ways:
Armistice Day is the anniversary of the symbolic end of World War I on 11 November 1918. It commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Rethondes, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front. The cease-fire took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month". While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the cease fire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.

The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. An exception is Italy, where the end of the war is commemorated on 4 November, the day of the Armistice of Villa Giusti. Called Armistice Day in many countries, it was known as National Day in Poland (also a public holiday) called Polish Independence Day. After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed to Memorial Day[sic] in the United States and to Remembrance Day in countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Armistice Day remains an official holiday in France. It is also an official holiday in Belgium, known also as the Day of Peace in the Flanders Fields.

I hope this write-up (and its linked resources) fulfilled its four-eyed mission: to inform, instruct, intrigue and inspire. If you'd like for me to address your group, or feature you in my media or cultural documentation programming, feel free to contact me.###

Monday, May 18, 2009

On TV: I'm a sucker for these three Kojak catchphrases

GREATER NEW YORK - Watching roundups of popular TV shows and TV characters always reminds me of favorite, but long-forgotten lines. For example, I'm a sucker for these three catchphrases from Kojak, the popular TV cop drama which starred Telly Savalas in the 1973-1978 CBS-TV series, and Ving Rhames in the 2005 cable TV remakes:
"That seems like a big, fat sloppy-lip kiss-off to me!"

"Who loves ya, baby?"
"You're beautiful."

Savalas' hard boiled and bald-headed, lollipop-loving and sharp-dressing, charismatic and unconventional detective, Theo Kojak, first appeared in the 1973 TV movie, The Marcus-Nelson Murders. The movie was described by IMDb as "Season 1, Episode 0" and by as "a ratings hit that encouraged CBS and writer-producer Abby Mann to create a trend-setting series (based on a book by Selwyn Raab)." (Read a roundup at Television Heaven).

Several TV-review venues explain the show's hit appeal. For example, Classic Telly credits the show's original star and Kojak's character:
Telly Savalas, the Greek God of TV, stars as the eponymous no nonsense police Lieutenant Theo Kojak. The tough New York streets need a tough New York cop even if it means bending the rules to see that justice is done.
TV Guide diagnoses:
Filmed in New York, the series was gritty and authentic in its portrayal of cops and crime.
And Television Heaven concurs, adding:
Kojak reclaimed the city of New York's dubious crown as 'Crime Capital of the World', from a decades long stint on the sun-drenched head of the street's [sic] of Southern California. The television viewing world loved Savalas for it. New Yorker's [sic] loved him even more.

In March 2005, Kojak followed the fad of remaking classic TV shows (which I'm not fond of, except for the opportunities that revivals provide to actors of color). In the reimagined series of Kojak TV-movies, Ving Rhames reprised Savalas' role as the jazz-loving, straight-shooting, lollipop-loving gumshoe.

SavalasFan's critique of Rhames' remakes reads:

It is superb. The character is still a sharp dressing prince of the city. He still doesn't do everything by the book and he still protects the innocent. Bobby Crocker is back. Frank MacNeil is back. The lollipops are back. The bald is back too. Most importantly, Kojak still has his heart of gold. I'm as happy watching Ving as I am watching Telly in the role on DVD. Both men bring their own individuality to the role, but the heart and soul of Kojak is there in both versions. The 2005 series truly maintains the integrity of the original character. Kojak is still one hell of a guy. This is how all remakes should be. It's excellent.

Kojak (2005) aired on the USA Network cable TV channel and on United Kingdom's ITV4. However, despite the fact that "Ving Rhames' Kojak remake managed a solid 4.5 million viewers for its premiere," and fans' reviews were generally raves (such as these and these), USA Network cancelled Kojak after one season.

Despite that big, fat sloppy-lip kiss-off, Kojak, I still love ya, baby!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Twitterer, thy name art...what?

GREATER NEW YORK - Sticking my proverbial toe in the Twitter-pool has aroused my curiousity. Twitterer, thy name art...what, exactly? Does sending tweets on Twitter make one a "tweeter", a "twit", or plain old "tweeple"? ###

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Recently tweeting

GREATER NEW YORK - I'm an early bird member of Twitter, but only recently have begun tweeting. The inspirations: wanting to walk the talk with, and send reminders to, my clients and classes, such as "Mastering Marketing."

Click the images and these links to access Twitter resources and products.###

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Make today a Shay Day (Tito, pass me some tissues)

I've received this story from several sources, most recently from my friend Julie over at Creative Planette, who entitled it: "Two Choices." It's fitting that she sent it during baseball season.

I'm unsure who the author is, but this story always makes me cry. Hope it'll touch you, too. Why not make today a Shay Day? (Tito, pass me some tissue.)

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.

Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.

Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued:

"I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story:

"Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?'

I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the
plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first!

Run to first!'

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!'

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay!'

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third!

Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!'

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team."

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!"


We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate.

The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the 'appropriate' ones to receive this type of message Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference.

We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things."

So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:

Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said, "Every society is judged by how it treats its least fortunate amongst them."

You now have two choices:

1. Delete
2. Forward

May your day be a Shay Day.###