Thursday, August 31, 2006


It's football season again. I'm always amazed at how much people know about football. I'm in a fantasy football league and I tend to get a little depressed during the draft. At some point I'll hear a couple of guys arguing about the second string guard for San Diego and how he has a cold...and so they're not going to be able to run the ball as well, because they're stretch play was led by him. I usually follow that conversation by asking, "what's the great commission?" "who is your congressman?" "What's the last book you read?"

I'm a jerk.

I love football, but there's got to be some kind of limit. I played, I coached, and I just don't care that much about it. I'll watch it when I can. I'll talk smack even when I have no idea what I'm talking about. It's just football. Should I study it?

There's a guy I work with that knows way too much about football. He can give you stats, injury reports, player's gossip....he knows it all. The one thing I really appreciate about him is that he understands the game and he's gracious when his team loses (which they did two out of the three times they played my team last year). He doesn't spend fifteen minutes talking about how my coach had an x-ray of a players leg up on the bulletin board so he can show his team where to hit it to break it (another guy I work with explained that to me).

He says things like, "your team played a good game". He even shakes my hand like we're 70.

I'm more like the rest of the excuse giving world that argues every loss. (luckily I don't have to do that a whole lot....although I'm a Pirates fan....but who cares? it's baseball)

"We would have won if...." "but you're player is a big meany!" "wait 'til next year...or the next one...." "after 20 years of getting the #1 pick, you'd think we'd be good by now"

Nobody likes the person on Celebrity Fit Club that's always making excuses. It's annoying when people never follow through....except with an excuse.

I don't want to make excuses. I don't want to focus so much of my life/brain/time on stuff that ultimately doesn't matter (I'm not saying I'm not going to watch football, after all - Griff signed up for his first league this morning).

I want to be a gracious loser (if I ever get a chance).

I want to be gracious in general...full of grace, that wouldn't be so bad would it?

then maybe I'd stop judging all the guys on my fantasy football league...
(did I mention I got the #1 kicker!? Saget will rule my league this year)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

anyone seen my innocence?

Innocence is lost because it's pretty hard to keep track of. "where did I put my car keys?" "Um, did you check the kitchen table?" "ah, there they where is my innocence?"
"I think you left that somewhere in your childhood, did you check the 7th grade yet?"

I remember learning about sarcasm in grade school. Vince told Lori, "yeah, I love you too" and I said, "What!? You love her?" He was responding to her ripping on her...and all I heard him say was that he loved her. No Sean, sarcasm is when the actual meaning of something is the opposite of the literal meaning. Ohhhhh, that's great...

The opposite of innocence isn't sarcasm. I don't think it's lying, or doing bad stuff. I've seen it more as a hardening of someone's demeanor. You talk politics with someone and they spit venom on you. You speak kindly about someone who has crossed someone else and it's like you just slapped them in the face. There's a palpable bitterness that might be fun to point out when they're not around....but it just sucks the life out of a room.

It's easy to put up that hardened shell because then you don't get the innocents. You can play life like you're smarter than those who still believe in an idealistic political view that has proven false for hundreds of years, "Yeah, but wouldn't it be great if it did work?" You can point out not only how dumb other people can be, but how un-funny, un-interesting, how bad of a dresser, athlete, or person someone else is.

One drawback is that you can't like pop music, or most popular things. Cool is often the opposite of innocence. You can't have too much fun at something, for fear that someone else will let you know that that something wasn't that fun. You have to sort of hover above it all.

I think it's a little easier to point out flaws in others once you've lost your innocence. Jesus tells us to come to Him like little kids. When I come home, Griffin yells, " DADDY!" and runs to tackle me. He isn't playing it safe, cool, smart, or laid back. He's just running to dad. He screws up all the time, lies, takes stuff that isn't his, he did some time for armed robbery a few years back - but he still lives out this sort of naive innocence that's inspiring to watch.

Remember those days?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

instant success

I stopped eating bad stuff and now feel perfectly fine. I'm in perfect health. I also stopped being a jerk and now everyone loves me. I stopped wasting money and now I'm rich. I stopped throwing stuff wherever I wanted and now my house and car are always clean.

Isn't life great!?

I knew a guy in college that was a complete screw up. He went to a conference one day, decided to clean up his life....and then was shocked when people didn't want to work with him right away. "I'm a different guy now" He really thought that that would fix everything.

Years and years of being a lazy, unreliable jerk would be completely forgotten about now that he was a "different guy".

Wouldn't it be great if you could not only erase all of your old mistakes, but also the consequences? Wouldn't it be great if when you had a real change of heart, people immediately knew it. That way you wouldn't have to re-earn their respect...or their faith in you.

Life isn't like that. You have to work at something for awhile before you start to see change...and even longer before others do.

I'm not that concerned about having others see a difference in my health (I just want the incredible pain and feeling like I'm going to see lunch twice to go away). I am concerned that folks know when I'm sorry or have seen their point and changed the way I think about something. I want them to know my sincerity and not doubt it for sarcasm.

I mostly want The Office to come back on.

Monday, August 28, 2006

sick of being sick

When I don't feel well, it's hard for me to enjoy much of anything. When I'm hanging out with a group (something I do fairly often) it's hard for me to engage in any sort of banter when, all the while, I'm thinking about how awful I feel.

I found out I have crohns disease about five years ago. I decided that I was going to fight it by cutting out the foods that tended to make me sick. I cut out dairy, anything fried, red meat, anything carbonated, and red anything delicious. I went just over two years without pizza, pop, fries, a burger, steak, or enjoying eating out.

After two years I felt great. Crohns can attack your joints and I noticed that I didn't have the arthritis in my fingers, my TMJ wasn't bugging me, I had more energy....maybe there's something real about "garbage in, garbage out" (It's obviously true for what I read, watch, or spend my thinking time soaking in) When I feel great, it's hard for me to remember the pain...and it's hard for me to be motivated to keep going with the discipline. I moved to a new city and was meating 3-5 people a day...usually out I started eating whatever I wanted. And now, here I am...back in pain....and motivated to change once again.

In the past two weeks I find myself leaving social situations because I just am in pain. I've looked up the directions to our emergency room twice and driven towards the hospital once. I know they can't fix crohns and it doesn't make a lot of sense to go to the hospital just for pain...might as well wait it out and go to a specialist.

Today I'm going to a specialist. I've decided that whatever medicine they give me, or test they put me through (you'd think they'd have a less invasive way of checking me out...) I'm going to stop eating anything fun. No more red meat, pork, dairy, carbonation, caffeine, red sauce, candy, fried foods or anything delicious (I found out the candy and caffeine messed me up when I cut out the other stuff).

Seems like fun, huh? Ultimately I'd rather be able to hang out with friends and laugh. I'd rather be able to go play with Griff without pain. I'd rather not have to carry around ibuprofin wherever I go.

Now if I could just cut out the non-food items that make me sick, or prideful, or greedy, or jealous, or judgmental, or a jerk....

Sunday, August 27, 2006


If I use firefox, I can't read Fuller's blog...if I use firefox, I can't use our staff website. If I use firefox, I can't right click on yahoo mail and cut and paste. When I tried to see something on this blog (on firefox) I didn't have the last four posts...they're just gone, missing, nada....

So why do so many people love firefox? A friend of mine recently told me that 30% of the explorer users have switched to firefox. I have both on my computer...but I'm thinking of getting rid of one of them.

Friday, August 25, 2006

a haiku
Pluto a planet?
I'm afraid they are no longer
turns out they're too small

my element

Steve Bragg was kind enough to take a group of us to see Frank Caliendo last night. It ended up being a good night. (despite the 'ol Crohnes disease making me feel like someone was repeatedly stabbing me in the side)

The night started off with someone who was not quite as funny as that kid in third grade who kept repeating, "I know you are, but what am I?" I was a little disappointed because it was the first time I'd ever seen anyone ever truly bomb. It was to the point of feeling sorry for the little fella. He just didn't seem comfortable up there....or funny, which is disappointing for a stand up comedian.

The second guy (we'll call him Ryan) was great. I wondered later if he seemed great because of who he was following (you'd never want to follow David Hasselhoff or Sags onstage) or because he was just a natural. He seemed to be more comfortable on stage than he was before or after his show. He was in his element and you could tell.

Frank Caliendo started off the night with the bases loaded, three balls and no strikes on the count, and one of the Pirate's pitching. He could do no wrong. I really thought he was average, but he could do some amazing impressions and the audience knew him from they were going to like him no matter what. He got a standing ovation. I've seen some amazing comedians in NY, seen Robin Williams in a little club smaller than the one I was in last night, Dane Cook, the great Gary Gulman...none of them got standing ovations. I think if you're on tv, play in a comedy club in a mall in Northern Kentucky and don't're going to get a standing O.

The fun thing was watching just how comfortable or natural Frank and Ryan were. They really were good at their craft. It was inspiring to see how they'd put together their sets, set up jokes, went from subject to subject and peaked in the end (except Ryan kind of got screwed by the DJ).

I think that'd be a pretty good way to go. Often I'm left just sort of observing people because I don't know them that well, I'mfeeling kind of mellow, don't feel well, or am insecure because my purse doesn't match my shoes. Sometimes I'm incredibly comfortable hanging out with friends and it feels like a great night of laughing, hanging out and possibly talking about the deeper things in life. I love those nights. Lately I haven't had a ton of those nights because of how much discomfort I've had with this cursed Crohnes thing.

I'd love to be just "in my element" in how I encourage, inspire, and spur on people, that it is just the most comfortable/natural thing. I'd love to have been doing it for so long that to not do it, would seem unnatural. I'd love to be able to point to life giving words, follow up with questions that go deeper, flow from one topic to the next and have great natural conversations with people that years later would be seen as something that helped them move on to something bigger and better in their life. I'd love to not write so many run-on's just not natural.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


What's more important - being right, or making something right? I have a friend who worships being right. It's all that's important to him (and myself, much of the time) He puts it over relationships, family, work...everything.

"But this is right!" is something you'd often hear from him.

Do you know someone that's brutally the point of really insulting people? The folks I know (often myself again) rationalize it by saying, "well, it's the truth". It's an interesting argument...should being right - give you the right to just unload "truth" on people?

I'm not saying that we should lie. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be honest with the people in your life. I'm just saying that making your mission in life - to tell people about everything wrong in theirs....might be a crappy way to live.

This isn't a Yay!-diversity - every way of living is great, just you be you kind of message (would we be all about diversity of thought with the nazi, rapist, child abductor?). I'm not sure that that's the solution. I'm just saying that sometimes relationships are more important than me being right.

I'd love to be a friend that spurs people on - and I know that can hurt at times....but more often, I'm thinking that that's about encouraging and pointing to greatness, not other's weakness.

what do I know?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Haikus by guest blogger Dan Kalbach

A Woman in Clifton Who Used My Dollar to Buy Crack
a haiku
Hey out-of-stater
Gotta get to Middletown
Got a couple bucks?
Martin Lawrence
a haiku
My name is Martin
I'm crazy and I'm black, y'all!
Give me my Oscar
a haiku
A bland cereal
Kid tested, mother approved
Tastes like cardboard
A Garbage Truck Backing Up Into A Horse-drawn Carriage
a haiku
Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep
Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep
Beep, Uh Oh! Smash! Neighhhhhhh!
Family Feud
a haiku
Oh Richard Dawson
Contestant, pass or play now?
Stop making out with old grandmas you sick, filthy bastard

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


A couple of football players from Kenton, Ohio decided to play a prank by taking a decoy deer and placing it in the middle of the road to watch cars swerve to avoid it. Unfortunately one car had an accident, breaking one guys neck and putting another guy in the hospital. They say he'll have the aptitude of a 6th grader for the rest of his life.

Sometimes I wonder how some of my "pranks" or little jokes could have gone way too far. I've never been the whoopee cushion laying down, bucket of water leaning against a door, sticking a tube of toothpaste under a door and stepping on it - kind of guy. I've thrown a few rolls of tp, made some phone calls with voices that aren't my own, and even written a few notes that were forged. I'm not sure how those could go too wrong...but I'm sure they could have turned out as horrible, horrible mistakes.

I have some friends who went 4-wheeling on what they thought was just some woods...and were shot at by the guy who owned the land. Turns out kids had been destroying his property for years. He decided to fire a warning shot...and it hit the side of the jeep. It was a big deal, but it would have been a MAJOR deal if it had hit one of the guys in the jeep.

I've made jokes that I shouldn't have....been in the wrong place at the wrong time....mentioned things to people that were inappropriate. I've made some major blunders in my life, but there's something inside of me that rages when I heard that these football players were given 60 days of time in juvy to be served after football season. They ruined these two guy's lives..and they're back at football practice.

Am I just a lucky guy who's never had one of my little mistakes blow up in my face like this? Should I just say, "there but by the grace of God go I" and learn to have a little more empathy?

I guess that vengeance isn't mine, it's just that I'd like to see some legal vengeance happen a little more out there.
Am I just a hypocrite? (hypothetical question...I don't know anybody that isn't a hypocrite)

Monday, August 21, 2006

the pop-in

We love the pop-in here. It's become increasingly difficult to go out and do stuff with friends now that we have three kids in the house (2 in diapers) so it's nice when people come to us. Occasionally we push that a little bit. We didn't ever go more than 14 days in Pennsylvania without having overnight guests.

We were right in between two major highways - so part of the deal was that if anyone was headed to NY, Philly, Ohio or just about anywhere else - they'd stop by our house. It was kind of nice.

We had a visitor this weekend who left this morning - we have two visitors tonight 'til Thursday - and four more guys coming Tuesday and Wednesday.

So our new difficulty is where do you take someone who is visiting Cincinnati?

Griff just went to a movie, the zoo, Chuck E. Cheese, The Children's Museum, The pool, the park, Putt Putt, and a few places I'm sure I'm forgetting. These are all places you take a 5 year old.

So where do we take some 20-somethings?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Proud to be an Ohioan

I am officially licensed to drive in the state of Ohio. Ask me anything about driving in this far do I have to stop in front of a stopped school bus? What should I do at a stop sign? How long do I have to go to jail after I get caught drinking and driving? I know them all.

If I had a scanner, I'd show you my new license. I hadn't showered and was wearing a hat on the way to the I have that going for me. The weird thing about my experience was that they had me take the eye test with my glasses on...and then after I passed the test, they gave me a license that restricts me to only driving with my glasses on. You'd think they make me take them off and take the test before they restricted me.

I might have superhuman eyesight, but just want to have that studious - I just came from solving a major crisis, but really I'm just wearing these glasses to look smart - kind of thing going. Maybe they're to hide my secret identity. They don't know.

The long and short of it is that I have to wear glasses to drive anywhere. I'm just proud to be a registered driver/voter in this fine city.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Monster Garage

We offered our foosball table to our neighbor about 4 months ago. A bunch of people said they wanted one of them, but he was very adamant about it. He kept saying he was going to clear a spot for it in his basement. In the meantime, it's taking up half our garage and I'd love for it to stop doing that.

Flash forward a few months to where the new church in Monroe is taking in donations for their free garage sale (yup, everything there will be free) I tell our neighbor that we have an opportunity to give away the tables...but they can still have them if they want them. They tell me they'll pick them up the next day. They were apparently just kidding.

So here's the pickle I'm in - two days later when the helpful people of the Young household come over with a truck - should I give them the foosball tables?

This would make our garage available for both vehicles for the first time since we've been there. This would give the garage sale some big items. This would help us finally clean out and organize our garage.....but could also harbor some weird-it's not really my fault, but they're still mad at me-kind of vibe.

Love our neighbor? Love our space? Love the church that wants to give stuff away to neighbors? What to do...what to do?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Customer Service RIP

(picture doesn't really have anything to do with the DMV, or customer service in general...I just wanted to put it on here)

Annie coming home from the DMV: They really do earn their reputation there.

She asked the person there if they were open until 4;30 each day? "no" That was her response. (pause)"um, how late are you open?" It was some weird battle of wills where the person at the DMV vowed to never give more than one word answers.

She was at WalMart and gave them a $5 off coupon and the cashier didn't know how to register it. "do you want to just bring this back and use this another time?" That was her suggestion...keep the coupon and bring it back - hopefully she'll get a smarter cashier the next time.

If I ever wish to enter the witness protection program - I'll just go into Lowe's and act like a customer...because I know that I'm invisible there. I see the little guys with the blue vests...but they see right through me. I give them the - I'm in need of help and would love to buy some of your handy products - look...but I get nothing.

I've spent 3 years of my life (by my calculations) on hold with a company that won't help me once I'm actually talking to someone who could help me. I pay for my groceries and say, "thank you" and they just sort of nod to me. The few times they actually say thank you to me, they're not looking anywhere near me....(is eye contact dead also?)

The only place I get any sort of service is when I go somewhere where I have to tip. That's something I'm noticing have the option of tipping everywhere now. Even in places where you do all the work (order your food, wait in line, pick up your food, clear your table...) they have these little cups labeled "tip".

I keep hearing people ask, "whatever happened to customer service?" and I think it's time to call off the search. It's been more than seven years, we can officially pronounce it dead.

It's a sad day indeed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I just can't look forward to retirement. It just seems like this empty promise (in a long string of empty promises).

I was golfing with some friends at a country club yesterday and couldn't help but ask, "Is this really it? This is what everybody talks about someday doing? Golf?"

There were friends out on the course. We had people driving around with free drinks and snacks. We had golf carts and prizes...I just can't imagine golf being much better (I even hit a couple of putts) but that's it? I heard these two guys talking about retiring. One guy said, "Yeah, you'll be out there golfing everyday a long time before I do". It was so ingrained into their conversation that golf equaled retirement that the other guy knew exactly what he was describing.

I get that not everybody loves their job. I understand the allure of sitting around and watching Oprah while complaining about how cold it is. Moving to the south with nicer warmer does seem like it could be great...but that's it?

I don't want to spend my life putting together a plan for the last 10 years. I don't want to live in the hope of my golden years. I'd rather spend my life doing something that is so meaningful, life changing and satisfying that to retire would be an incredible disappointment.

I want to look forward to waking up. I want to see the lives around me changed. I want to be a difference maker...and I just don't give a crap about going out and trying to hit a 3 iron.

I understand that people love their hobbies. I just don't want to spend my life longing for more of that. Ultimately, it just falls flat. The older folks that seem to be enjoying their life are the folks that are still living for something more meaningful than their golf handicap.

There was a sociological study done with people over the age of 95. The survey asked them, if you could do life over again what would you do differently?
The Top 3 answers:
1. Reflect more
2. Risk more
3. Do more that will live on after I'm gone

I'd rather start working on those things now - than regret now doing them later...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Vacation really begins

I'm off to Bellwood Country Club to play some golf with some fellas. I'm in a group with my former boss, my friend (and the fella that followed me on staff in Middletown) and my old roommate Mr. Rick Scherr.

I really don't like golf that much. This is about the only way I'll play anymore. It's just kind of slow and doesn't really rank as a sport to me (falls into that -can it be a sport if you wear long pants? category). I like playing with Rick because he can get us onto the course any 'ol time, he can shoot a 70 and not care, and he's good people.

This really begins my official vacation. I was off on Saturday, but spent a few hours at a "conference" and then went back to my place of employment a few hours later. Sunday just felt like an incredibly lazy Sunday...but today is all about vacation.

We still haven't nailed down our plans for the week, but we do know that Friday is for fun (Monday is for Mulligans, Tuesday for touring the Children's museum, Wednesday is for pulling, Thursday is for thoroughly enjoying the zoo...)

My vote for the Leadership Summit
MVP - Wayne Cordiero
Rookie of the Year - James Meeks
Most Likely to Succeed - Jim Collins
Most Talented - Greg Ferguson
Biggest Flirt - Peg Neuhauser
Best Mustache - Ashish Nanda
Best Biceps - Nicole C. Mullen
Best Brogue - Bono
Best Penmanship - Bill Hybels

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Dub C

I'm vacating with the fam. We're taking a week to rest and recline. So far I've been to an international conference, a mega church and to the Dub C. We're keeping things kind of loose.

At some point there will be talk of King's Island, the Beach, the Zoo, the Rave, Putt Putt, Bumper Cars, TP-ing the D'Vine compound, and getting memberships to the Dub C library. (you can cut and paste this to your calendar for your upcoming vacation plans)

We figured it'd be bad to have five people in a that took out a lot of possibilities. We have access to a beach house in Hilton Head - but two kids in diapers on different nap schedules...and one five year old that needs constant activity and little kids to play with? So then we thought about State College - there are plenty of kids for Griff to play with there...but then we're staying at other people's houses or we're back to the hotel issue. It's a lot to ask of people to put up five Murphys for a week.

So, we're going to the queen city. (this feels like de'ja' vue...did I write all this in a previous post? See what going on vacation does to my head?)

So this week I think I'll write a post an hour on the blog, possibly a short novel, fix my garage door that I paid $250 three weeks ago to have fixed...and now it's even worse, bet on the horses, write a fan letter to Hasselhoff, and learn to sculpt.

Should be pretty good. Annie and Jana are taking off for a couple of for all of you people that talk about how cute our kids are, now's the time to put your money where your mouth is. Who's in for a little one on one attention from a 5 year old, 1 year old or 0 year old?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

weak sauce

I just deleted a post from this morning.

I sold out.

I thought it was better to delete (oh, I saved a copy...don't you worry) it than to worry about people getting defensive...and who really cares anyhow, right?

What's the point in railing against anything in a blog? It's fun, sure...but once people assume it's about them - then pride, defensiveness, gingivitis and scorn get thrown in the mix

I have people ask me all the time if I wrote something about them... I'd rather just delete this one (that I now have off my chest) than worry about people freaking out.

I'm soft.

I'll be the guy whimpering somewhere on the back of the bus...

get rich quick

We just bought two bottles of spices for $28. Our neighbor was hosting one of those shows where you sample food...and then buy the ingredients.

I have no problem with pyramid schemes. I don't mind when people are selling stuff out of their homes. I've personally never been to a pampered, Mary K, spices party - but I've been in the vicinity.

I really don't mind that people are having them. It just feels like this awkward deal where somebody asks you to host a party...maybe you send the invites - or maybe they're done for you...either way there's this pressure to fill a room. You don't want to say, "I'm so sorry, I bugged them all week and I thought more would show up" The spices we bought (some sort of garlic and fake bacon) look like the kind of bottle that you could get at Odd Lots for $1.50. This has a nicer label, but $28?

It was the cheapest way out. You have to buy's the law.

I want to start having bic pen parties. If a few of you wouldn't mind hosting, I'll just need you to provide some snacks, invite your friends, and give me about twenty minutes to explain why my pens are the best pens out there. These pens will be the next big thing. These pens will make your $1,200 computer obsolete. You'll be in awe once you find out these pens that save you $1,200 only cost $60 per pen. That's a mere 5% of the cost of a computer!

You're friends are going to thank you for inviting them. Just let me know when I should be there (and remember that you get a coupon for 25% off your pen just for hosting!)

Friday, August 11, 2006


I heard a great speaker talk about priorities yesterday. He argued that most of us set up most of our priorities based on fear.

He was mostly talking about how we prioritize work...and he was mostly talking about being the head, or near the head, of an organization. When you run an organization there's this extra bit of pressure that if everything falls apart - it's on you.

For ten years I felt that as the director of an organization that had no direct supervisor in my city. If things in my city fell apart, it was on me. Often I'd work a little extra because I feared things falling apart.

He also made some good points about how we'll generally cheat towards stuff that's measurable. It's easier to finish a report than to have that conversation. You can tell people the report is done, but nobody really cares that you had a nice conversation.

My last job was largely relational, so I was constantly doing stuff that felt great...but wasn't really measurable. I'd have lunch with someone, play racquetball with someone else, hang out with a guy....none of that was measurable. Then I'd go meet with a rich guy and ask him for a bunch of money. If he gave it to me, that was a productive day. If I ran a big meeting, then people were happy.

Lives change because of the little conversations we have.
People are impressed by reports and big meetings. There's this crazy balance between doing stuff that looks good (out of fear of not looking good) and doing the things that really affect change.

Insecurity can really screw up your priorities.

bummer, huh?

Thursday, August 10, 2006


A friend of mine has this great illustration that helps explain why people act certain ways. (something to do with iceberg lettuce???)

Anyhow, it helps to remind me that we all have different experiences that lead to our beliefs about how the world works, and that's why not everybody thinks the way that I do.

Empathy is something I struggle with. It's hard for me to think outside of myself for long enough to ask the question, "why would that person be so insulting and not know it?" I see people with so little self awareness about certain issues that I sometimes wonder what the interpersonal grenades that I launch are. I'm guessing that we all have blind spots that we'd be shocked to know that others (many others) have figured out....and we don't have a clue.

You watch over the top characters on sitcoms and think, "nobody is really like that" and then you meet someone who is exactly like that.

I had a friend growing up that you used to say to people, "I'm not being mean, but you're really stupid (or ugly, or smell, or horrible at something)" He really thought he was fixing it by starting with, "I'm not being mean, but..." Wouldn't it be great if that really worked?

"I'm not being obstinate, but you aren't half as smart as me officer"
"I'm not being a lecherous pervert, but can I give you a backrub?"
"I'm not be greedy, but can you give me a car?"
"I'm not being a jerk, but you're an idiot"

You could just say anything and get away with it. People would walk away saying, "He really wasn't being a jerk, he said so himself"

The problem is that you can't really get away with that. People will end up thinking your a jerk. There's often a big difference between what I say and what I mean. (whatever is perceived is received) So maybe I ought to think a little more before I speak. Conversely, maybe I ought to listen a little more before speaking.

Maybe I ought to consider what the people I'm interacting with today must have gone through to make them so bitter, mad, sad, indifferent or chipper. That might help me to empathize. That might give me pause before I react. That might help me to understand that their team has never won a major championship and certainly I'd be mad and lash out to if I'd followed them my entire life and they let me down year after year after year after loss to San Francisco after year after year...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

my theme song

I'm working on putting together some theme music. I'd like a song to play when I enter the room...just to set the mood for - Sean's here!

I don't want - Sean's here?
I certainly don't want - Sean's here....

I want something with a little pep. Not cheesy-overly dramatic. I'd like some drums for sure, some bass, something with a little energy....just not too over the top.

Af first I'm thinking about the best song of all time - The Duke of Earl - but I just don't think that gets me in the door the way I'd like to enter. So I'm not just going to go with my favorite songs, I really just want to convey the fact that I'm now here.

Someone once said to me that you either breathe life into a room or suck it out. I've been around both kinds of people and been both kinds. I'd probably rather breathe than suck...that's just how I'd like to do it. Pessimists tend to suck it out, optimists tend to breathe it. I lean cynic, realist, pragmatist and pessimist. It's part of my core. It's how I was raised. I was literally taught it. I'd like to unlearn it.

I want to breathe life into conversations. I want to speak life into other's lives. I want to inspire. I want to encourage. I want to lift up and not push down.

Maybe I'll play something that's early Abba. Definitely cheesy, but maybe good for a laugh...and people secretly kind of dig their beat....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Charles Barkley is my new role model

Five Bengals in five months have been arrested. Two Steelers in two months have been really stupid on motorcycles. I wonder sometimes why the rate of arrest is so much higher among professional athletes than it is with us regular folk...

I'm guessing these guys were allowed to get away with a lot of ridiculous stuff growing up. Because people want to say they know LeBron James, they don't think twice when he does something that most people would get in trouble doing...even if they're the teacher. Teachers, coaches, neighbors all want to one day say, "I knew him when he was this big" and they also eventually want free tickets. Lebron's not giving you free tickets if you tell on him for cheating on the test.

Speaking of cheating on a test. No teacher wants to be responsible for flunking the star football player and keeping him out of the big game. Have you ever heard these guys in interviews? It'd be helpful it there were interpreters...

Some parents do the same thing with their little star kid. I'm not talking about Chad Johnson's mom, I'm talking about the parent who refuses to say no to their kids. There's actually a book out there telling parents not to use that word. There's this thinking that innately kids know what's best for them, so let them just live. In the short run, that's probably a lot easier.

Most parents don't want to discipline their children. It's a lot easier when you're kid is going nuts at the grocery store to just buy them a candy bar. I know it doesn't feel like love when you're putting your kids ina timeout, but I know it's not love to just allow them to keep making the same mistakes over and over without some sort of guidance.

Sometimes the only guidance a five year old will hear is the silence of sitting on a chair for 5 minutes. Doesn't seem loving, but it really is the most loving way to let your child know there are consequences to their actions. Sometimes you don't feel them right away, but their actions will affect them, their family, friends...they just do.

I know it doesn't feel very loving to tell people hard things. We avoid a lot of ugly conversations- because they're incredibly difficult, and it's easier to just say, "I don't think this particular action needs to be addressed, I think I should just love them" That's great. The most loving thing you can do is have that difficult conversation.

We've replaced any sort of accountability with this excuse of just talking about love. We've replaced love with just agreeing with people and trying to smile and be pleasant around them. I'm not saying love is bad, I'm saying the sitcom love of just saying everything is ok and hugging people is an awful picture of what love is in it's entirety.

I think we're supposed to love our superstars, kids, neighbors and enemies...but I don't think we're supposed to just smile and pretend everything is ok. The people who are great at loving me, are great at letting me know when I'm headed in the wrong direction. They're great at picking me up when I've fallen, encouraging me and also kicking me in the butt when I need a little strong encouragement. They're willing to be truth tellers and to initiate in sometimes painful conversations. They love me. That's what they do...because they want the best for me.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


No matter what I asked my coach (about wrestling) he always knew the answer. Not only did he have answers, he had stories of lived out experiences to back his reasoning. He'd been around the sport a lot more than me. I had never tried or seen a move that he hadn't tried himself.

We had 5 teams at my highschool. (freshman, jv 1, jv 2, Varsity A and Varsity B) We had some guys with incredible talent that never quite reached their potential. We had some average athletes that ended up winning some tournaments and going to state. It was always interesting for me to watch how guys reacted to coach.

Some would roll their eyes at him. When you did that, you were saying that you're either smarter or better than him. Neither were the case. He knew more than all of us. He had to...he was our coach.

I coached wrestling at four high schools. I was always frustrated by the guys who talked back. I don't mean the guys who discussed and probed deeper... I'm talking about guys who talked back because they didn't want to push any further, or they didn't trust that what we were saying was best, or because of their pride they just thought they knew more.

It's silly, but really true that these 14 year old kids would not follow their coach because they couldn't understand what the point was. It just didn't make sense to them...logically. How insane is it that since a 14 year old kid can't understand something, it must be wrong?

Part of it is believing whatever you want to believe is a lot safer. You don't ever have to be wrong. You can be a god, but just following yourself (or with your coach if he happens to agree with you - that way you can feel like you're following him).

It'd be nice to have a coach that was like a buffet could just sort of pick and choose whatever you wanted to listen to.

He tells you to run laps. I don't like I'll choose to not follow you in that area.

He tells you practice is over...sounds good.

He tells you that you'll have to hit the weight room more...and you decide there are so many interpretations of weight rooms that you're just going to assume that he meant you should just live your life your way...and occasionally pick up something heavier than your socks.

It's a lot easier to have faith in a coach that tells you to do whatever you want. (as long as your intentions are good) "I've been saturated with culture telling me that I don't have to run, lift or show up at practice and things will still be great - so I'm going to not listen to you in this area"
It's nice to talk about how he's your coach. It's great to be on the team. You'd love to go to state with him...but totally follow him...that's just silly.

Friday, August 04, 2006

why didn't I think of that?

There's a place around the corner from me that will sell unpainted pottery for twice what it's worth. People have parties there where they go and paint the pottery that they've overpaid for...

I go to the Mongolian barbecue and you fill up your bowl with meat, vegetables and sauces and hand it to a guy standing next to a huge round grill while holding this long wooden sword. The first time I went the guy yelled at me for using too much soy sauce. Sorry? The second time I went, the guy just handed me back my bowl and said, "it's too light" Um.....sorry? He made me go put more in my bowl.

There's this restaurant near Dayton that lets you grill your own steak. Really? I sort of came here to let you do that...

I want to start a business where people come in and mow my lawn and then pay me for the experience. Maybe I'll have a little gift shop inside where they can take blank cards and draw pictures on them with little notes, "Hoppy Birthday!" alongside a picture of a bunny... If they were hungry they could come into my kitchen, pick out ingredients for a meal and then cook them up.

I just need to think of a clever name....Murph's Lawn, Cards & Grill?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

birthday card lost in the mail...

I thought to myself, "it's been about a year now, I should write about my year of blogging. I'll look at the date of my first blog and then do an anniversary edition" and then I realized that I'd missed it by 4 days.


I've written somewhere between 300-400 posts. My first one was a haiku about Bruce Willis....I then posted a random picture of Griff and then wrote some actual words that weren't in haiku. (a shame really)

I started it to see how many hits I could get (24,000 and counting - half by me I'm sure) and now I just keep the counter on here to bug Dan.

I've had 3,118 profile views (so close to my goal of 3,120 to match the number of hits by Roberto Clemente plus 120) and I think that represents the different people that have looked at this so far. This might also mean that my couch is on fire...I really have no idea.

The blog is an interesting thing. There were a couple of days where I'd write 8 or 9 things just to see if I could. I pretty much wrote something every day with a few exceptions and then followed Steve in taking the weekends off.

Some of my favorite posts were largely ignored (if you go by comments) and some of my throwaways spurred on 30 plus comment wars. You just never know. I wrote about politics, my family, sports, faith, slice of life-day to day living, and Bob Saget. I wrote one in the style of an postmodern, emergent traveler and many as a sardonic truth teller. I asked a bunch of questions, struggled through a few answers and always tried to point to Hasselhoff.

I hope to keep writing. I have goals. I'd like to talk more about Oprah. I'd like to have more guest columnists. I'd like to include song lyrics so that I'll be seen as either sensitive or deep. I'd like to have lots of people then ask the paranoid question, "is he saying this about me because I put lyrics in my blog?"

I know there are thousands of people starting up new blogs every day. They write a post or two...take a few weeks off...then write a blog about how they haven't written in a while so they're going to start again....and that's usually the last one they write.

I've had people ask me why I'd want to write something and put it out there. Part of the reason for me is the discipline of just writing something every day (unless you follow slacker Steve). I wonder if people ask columnists why they write for newspapers....poets why they write poetry....artists why they paint....skateboarders why they skate. Maybe it's because they want people to appreciate their work, words, art or moves. Maybe it's just something that's fun to do...and putting it out there to be consumed on some level just heightens it a bit...Maybe.

As for me, I just do it for the swag I get from Hasselhoff and Saget... and hopefully soon Oprah...


I wrote a sociology paper based upon my theory that high school kids with a curfew end up staying out later than kids with no curfew. My reasoning was that kids who were allowed to stay out until 11 always stayed out to 11.

If you didn't have a curfew and it was 9:30, then you headed home and watched tv. Sometimes you'd stay out until 1 or 2, but for the most part you just stayed out as long as there was something going on. If you had an 11 o'clock curfew, you'd sit in some parking lot until 10:55 just talking.

On average the curfew people would stay out longer. I made up all my research, proved my theory wrong (figured it'd look more genuine) and got the rare A.

I have a similar theory about vacations. When I set my own schedule, it was easy to work 70+ hours a week and rarely take a vacation (2 real vacations in 10 years). Now that I fill out vacation forms and track my sick time...I find myself being much more proactive about my time off. I don't want to lose time that I've built up. It's mind. It's in rare supply. It's precious.

When I started this job I came in during the last quarter of the year. Normally you can't carry over vacation days, but because it was the last quarter they said I could. What they didn't tell me was that I had 90 days to use those vacation days. (it's on page 362 of your staff handbook)

So no forms or procedures - no vacation. Forms and'd better bet that I'm taking a vacation.

I'm headed to beautiful Cincinnati, Ohio (I hear it's nice this time of year)

We have a free place to stay in Hilton Head...but figured two kids in diapers and one hyper kid who can't sit still wouldn't be the best vacation on the beach plan.

So we're looking for fun things to do here in the Queen City.

Any ideas? (vacation starts at the end of the leadership summit in 2 weeks)