March is supposed to go out like a lamb. Not a tyrannosaurus rex. I have had it with winter. February in Chicago was the coldest on record. Friday was the coldest March 27th in 140 years. This morning it was 20 degrees. The Cubs pennant run starts next week! ENOUGH!! Enough winter!! I’m perfectly content when the thermometer notches into the 90’s. I put on my Speedo, a t-shirt and flip flops and head off to work. But today, I walked out the door bundled up like Admiral Byrd.
Last year (March 6, 2014), I had a post about “Winter’s Full Court Press.” The laments of a horrible, suffocating winter. It is a year and four weeks later. March is required to go out like a lamb. &*#x@+%! And we’re still getting the full court press. Spring in Chicago is a fiction. We usually go from 30 degrees and slushy to 90 degrees and humid on a Wednesday afternoon in April. Where is “global warming” when we need it? Of course that’s pretty much a fiction too as we’re learning. . . . .
So there’s this single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business.
When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed to find a wife with whom to share his fortune.
One evening, at an investment meeting, he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.”I may look like just an ordinary guy,” he said to her, “but in just a few years, my father will die and I will inherit $200 million.”
Impressed, the woman asked for his business card and three days later, she became his stepmother.
Women are so much better at financial planning than men.
You ever done something stupid? Said anything you regret? Said a bad word? A word that wasn’t politically correct? If you say no, I won’t believe you.
In my post of February 1, 2012, I mentioned how I had used an offensive slur at Boy Scout camp when I was 12 years old. None of your business what it was. And I was grabbed by 6 fellow Scouts and had my mouth washed out with soap by the guy who went on to be best man at my wedding. It was the Damascus Road. I learned. What ever happened to washing someone’s mouth out with soap when they use a bad word? How ’bout if we grab those boys from the University of Oklahoma and wash their mouths out with soap? Oh yeah. Progressives will condemn it as cruel and unusual punishment. Better to just play the race card (which lately trumps freedom of speech) and crush them.
I have an idea. How about having a “stupid card“? I remember being 19 and I was pretty stupid. How about if we give those under the age of 21 several “stupid cards” for dumb things they do or say? Not the criminal stuff where you throw the book at them but the stupid things — like singing a vulgar and hateful song. Wouldn’t it be better to play a “stupid card,” then sit down with the culprit and talk to him (or her)? And make them understand that what they did was wrong. Give them a chance. And then move on. What about forgiveness? Mulligans (see 11/9/14)? To me, rehabilitation is a lot more productive than trying to exact a pound of flesh, to crush and to destroy.
In my post of November 27, 2011, I talked about “Fasty and Slowy” — two mischievous tabletop spiders (my right and left hands each with an index finger “head”) who would often visit in restaurants when Lauren as a toddler was getting antsy. Fasty was speedy and very light (easily picked up) and Slowy was ponderous and heavy. The two would ply the tabletop – one sprinting all over creation, the other lead-footed and sluggish. They walked up, on and around Lauren. And she would squeal with delight. We learned that this activity would enhance her appetite and feeding her became easier.
Fast forward to my esteemed role as grandfather. Fasty and Slowy have made their debut with Eve but so has talking food. When we’ve been out with Eve – and we want her to eat her asparagus – suddenly the fork bite of asparagus jumps to my ear and begins whispering. And I translate. “You want to go visit Eve’s tummy?” The asparagus nods. “Don’t you want to go back on the plate?” The asparagus shakes side to side – and begins whimpering. “Don’t cry I say.” Eve looks at me like she’s not quite sure. And I offer Eve the bite. “Make the asparagus happy.” And she does. Next comes a bite of chicken. The chicken has the same modus operandi. “You’re lonely for your friend asparagus?” And it seems to work pretty well. The dessert remains silent as it doesn’t have a chance to say anything. . . .
When I was a kid, my father used to tell me – over and over – “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” I think I learned. We all want friends we like but more importantly, we want friends who are good for us. Friends who enrich us. Make us think. Make us better. I work with really good people. And in my off hours, I try to hang around good people. Really good people. Smart people. Good golfers. :) I have a vague idea of who I am. But the jury’s still out . . . . .
And I tend to view food the way I do friends. I normally want food that’s good for me. Food that likes me. Food that’s not going to cause me trouble – if you get my drift. I have avocados for breakfast (August 20, 2013) and Saturday lunches are pretty healthy (March 15, 2012). Donna feels the same way about food. It’s gotta be nutritious. So dinner can be pretty boring. . . . .
But on Friday night, the planets aligned. The stars stood still. Sages from ages past looked down. And rubbed their chins. Looked at each other. Solemnly. And gave the nod. Donna’s been home recuperating from the hip replacement. And Friday we had no plans for dinner. I threw out “how about some burgers and fries from 5 Guys?” I quickly ducked. But no missile was forthcoming. I looked. Donna was rubbing her chin. She looked up and said brightly “sounds good.” Oh my socks and shoes. I grabbed the keys and dashed off to 5 Guys before she could change her mind. The last time we’d had 5 Guys was maybe four years ago. I walked in and ordered. Got the goods. Burgers. Dripping with onions, cheese, lettuce, tomato and ketchup. Crisp greasy, salty fries. And I returned home. And we ate. Slowly. Seriously. O’m’gosh it was delicious. We looked at each other and resolved right then and there that we are going to do this again. At least once a year. . . . .
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might . . . . .”
Edwards Deming (1900-1993) was an American engineer and management consultant who is best known for his work in getting Japan back on its feet after World War II. I have read several of Deming’s books, watched some of his lecture videos and I remain a devotee of his management style. He was a stickler for quality, knowledgeable effort and excellence. And I love his words of wisdom. “There is no finish line for excellence.” “It is not enough to do your best. You have to know what to do. And then do your best.”
Deming was a firm believer that problems within an organization come from the few at the top — not from those below. “Hold everyone accountable? Ridiculous!” Deming believed that those at the top of an organization were fully responsible for pretty much everything within the organization. “A bad system will beat a good person every time.” “Does experience help? NO! Not if we are doing the wrong things.” “There must be consistency in direction.”
If one chooses a book of Edwards Deming – to read and absorb – it would likely be Out of the Crisis. It is crisp and well-written and speaks to how to be a great manager and respected leader. The reviews are abundant and positive. Given the erratic and unpredictable direction of America, I’m tempted to send a few copies to . . . . never mind.
When you place a telephone call and the receptionist says “who may I say is calling,” you give your name. Right?
One day years ago, I got this question when I called a close friend. My eyes narrowed and I responded “this is his parole officer.” A few weeks later, I identified myself as “his tap dance teacher.” A few weeks ago, I said “I’m from the Garden Shop and I wanna know – do I dump this load of manure on his driveway or in the front yard.”
I called my Boy Scout pal Doctor Bill in Lexington, Ky. “Who’s calling please?” I said I was putting the new roof on his house. Well – patients took a back seat for the moment. He quickly answered and said “WHAT??” Apparently he’d just asked for a quote on a new roof and was debating the subject. We all gets the “who’s calling please” business and — maybe it’s just me — one day I decided to be different. “My name is Marv McClurg from the Reader’s Digest. I’m calling about his million dollar prize.” And I hear in the background . . . sir – this man’s calling about your million dollar prize.
At this point, when I call and say “This is Nelson Snodgrass from the White House,” receptionists will giggle and tell the recipient – always with a smile – “Scott’s on the phone. . . .”