Sunday, September 24, 2006

Football is a violent game

Chris Simms, the embattled quarterback for the Buccaneers, suffered a ruptured spleen in the game against the Panthers.

His spleen was removed after the game. Simms is out of danger. Who won? Who cares?

Please keep this kid and his family in your prayers.

They're Back, Eagles Win

The defense showed up big time when the Eagles traveled to Candlestick Park and faced the San Francisco 49ers. In the first half, Jimmy Johnson's boys only permitted 3 points. The Eagles management was wise to pay Johnson a boatload of money to keep him in the fold. He is a brilliant Defensive Coordinator. Teams fear his defensive strategies. McNabb did begin the game with a little old school flea-flicker which led to an early touchdown by the offense. After last week's second-half conservatism, this play got the game off to a great start.

After last week's fourth quarter collapse, the defense played like men on fire. Brian Dawkins, arguably the best Safety in the league was everywhere. In the third goal line stance in the third quarter he knocked himself out. He did not return to the game. But he did not have to.

His teammates on both sides of the ball stepped up and recovered from last week's train wreck.

In what appeared to be a slow speed chase, Michael Patterson recovered a fumble and ran for 98 very slow yards. Clearly, the highlight of the game.

The reports that Eagles are without competent wide receivers are as accurate as the looming success in Iraq. Brown & Baskett managed the receiving duties admirably in Stallworth's absence. He is sidelined with a hamstring injury.

The fourth quarter wasn't pretty. The play was sloppy and undisciplined. There were far too many dumb penalties. The Eagles need to clean this up. Against a stronger opponent, they would have lost.

But a win is a win. Eagles 38, 49ers 24.

The Cowboys (BOOOOOO) had a bye this week so there is nothing to report. Let's hope for #20's speedy recovery.

The Corner Office

The corner office is the most coveted location in Corporate America. It represents success and power. Oh Whatever. I have mixed feelings about my office. The good news it is big, has a wonderful view and blessedly a door. On the other hand, I must walk by my staff in order to get to my office. At times I feel like I am running the gauntlet. Most mornings, I do not make it to my office before I am assailed by my staff. {Please note that I have an "open door" policy. I have never required my staff or make an appointment to see me.} To date, I have yet to be faced with a crisis that could not wait until I actually reached my office.

Last week, was particularly challenging. I don't know whether everyone was suffering post traumatic stress associated with the latest restructuring; the astrological changes; or they have just exhausted my patience.

The final crisis to be dealt with was an e-mail that a new employee sent to one of her peers and carbon copied me.

Did I need to be copied on it? Nope.

Knowing that the employee to whom she sent the e-mail would take offense, I asked the new employee why copied me. NE said that she worked for micro-managers who have punished her when her coworkers did not share client intelligence. When I reminded her that my management style was not even close to that, she was horrified. Her intentions were not to get the OE in trouble. She just wanted to document the request.

The Old Employee was so enraged that she had a temper tantrum in my absence. I had the nerve to attend a scheduled business lunch. Upon my return, I found that the OE got the entire department worked up over this e-mail.

Even after I informed the OE that I chatted with the NE, it was clear to me the OE just wanted to be angry. I let the OE begin her weekend early. What the OE has not figured out, this was not good, for her.

Fear and neither employee giving the other the benefit of the doubt is what led to this situation. What a shame.

At the suggestion of my best friend, I am finally using the door. I find that I need it for my own psychic well-being.

All things considered, I think I prefer the location of my old office. It was smaller but it was close to the front door.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Iraq for Sale

War profiteering and outsourcing are not new. Throughout our country's history, businessmen took advantage of war time to make money. Ugly but true. There was a time in our history when news reporters investigated these practices and stayed with the story until an elected official DID something.

HOWEVER, words can not begin to describe the new lows that Halliburton, KBR, CACI, Blackwater (just to name a few) have reached.

I joined my best friend and a gang of folks who convene at a local Drinking Liberally to take in the movie "Iraq for Sale: War Profiteering."

I consider myself to be well informed. To be frank I did not think this administration and our" do nothing" Congress could shock me. I was so wrong. What is happening to our troops is treason. I am filled with despair.

They have outsourced this war and put our country in jeopardy. I doubt that the subcontractors sign non-competes or confidentiality agreements. So whatever military information that they have been privy to leaves Iraq with them. After the cold war Russian scientists sold their expertise to the highest bidders.Are we so naive to think this would not happen again? These folks are performing jobs that have historically been performed by members of our military. As a member of the military there are some things that you are bound by. And yet, I am supposed to feel safer. When the waste, abuse and war crimes were brought to the attention of Congress, the truck driving witnesses were ridiculed. If they were well spoken management types would they have been treated better? Not to worry, these folks were not supervised or managed.

The theater was full and the audience engaged. This gave me some hope for my nation. The first question for the post movie panel was, what can we do? Of course the response was to take action. The movie is not being shown in traditional venues. The DVD is 12 bucks. The hosting package is a whopping 20 dollars.

What am I going to do?

Check my mutual funds and make sure that none of the companies involved in this nightmare are in my portfolio.

Buy the DVD and the hosting package and host a party.

Support candidates who have not taken money from the PACs or lobbyists affiliated with the companies mentioned in this movie.

It is time to think about we as citizen taxpayers have been exploited.

Monday, September 18, 2006

While we slept

"So long as people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of god, religious and otherwise to put shackles upon sleeping men." -Voltairine de Clyde

"We the People" just love anniversaries. This goes back to the founding of our great nation. Recently, we got caught up in the one-year anniversary of Katrina, and the five-year anniversary of 9/11. Both are nightmares for our country. Barely a blip on the radar screen of our collective consciousness was the anniversary of the Constitution.

Life was first breathed into this document on September 17th. Maybe "We the People" have accepted the notion that while we slept, this administration stole our democracy. While they proport to spread democracy in a region that clearly has not requested our version of reality, "We the people" gave away our rights willingly because they did not want to "embolden the enemy." Well, the enemy is us.

Freedom of speech was the first to go. Anyone who questions this administration is called unpatriotic and gutless. The Congress that is supposed to provide a major check and balance is acting like the kid in the high school cafeteria afraid of being called a pussy by the popular jock on the team. (The only way to get rid of that label is to not act like one.)

Thank God for the progressive bloggers and Keith O, trying to keep the principles of the constitution alive. They can't do it alone.

As citizens, we have to WAKE UP and get involved. Voting and making sure your vote is counted is a start. To say this upcoming election is important is not shrill rhetoric.

My God, if the Dems manage to regain this branch of government, they should read the Constitution, grow a set and reclaim our country.

"We the People" need to spend a little time with this document. Only then will we discover what was taken "while we slept."

What a Man

Ryan Howard belted his 57th Homer in the third inning of the Phillies' 6-4 victory over the Houston Astros. The Phillies swept the Astros in their house.

Historically, the Astros have shut down the Phillies this time of the year ending their playoff hopes. The tables have turned this season. With two weeks to play in the regular season, the Phillies are in the hunt. Howard has a shot at MVP title and setting a "clean" seasonal home run record. If opposing teams respect him less and pitch to him, there is no doubt in my mind Howard will hit 62 or more homeruns before the regular season ends.

Ryan Howard, you are the man!

Manning and Buress connect with a walk off TD

A collective groan blanketed the city. You could feel it.

The Eagles led for forty-five minutes. The defense was dominant. McNabb's passes were crisp and flawless. Then the wheels came off the Eagles bandwagon.

My daughter remained optimistic throughout the game. However, my Daddy was concerned with the lack of scoring by the Eagles in the second half. When McNabb was called for offsides, I thought Dad's head would explode. (I am still trying to wrap my brain around that call. Ugh.) After that call, my Dad barked at my Mom to put on her shoes, the game was over. My daughter bellowed, "Pop Pop, you have no faith! There is plenty of time." Dad reminded her how old he was and he just knew. My folks did not leave but as in most cases, parental wisdom was dead on.

In what seemed like a bad recurring dream, the Eagles in a slow painful manner handed the game to the Giants.

The offense was too conservative. What is so wrong with burying an opponent? You will not amass negative Karma. It's football, for God's sake. After this asswhippin' at home, we can only hope that Reid finds the killer instinct required to win a game like this one in my lifetime.

Props to young Eli Manning for running a come-from-behind, no-huddle offense. His play calling and execution elevated him to position of leader on his team.

To add to my misery, the Cowboys beat the Redskins, 27-10. It's going to be a long season.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It Takes a Sportscaster to Save a Country

My affection for Keith Olberman dates back to his SportCenter days. I became reacquainted with his work through his version of news, MNBC's Countdown. Since this administration seized power, he has been the voice of sanity in what been an insane version of America. When King George was handed the airwaves of the major networks to defend his decision to invade Iraq, blessedly, the next day Keith had a response. It is evident that he takes his role as a citizen seriously.

I shared his response with two co-workers who have only recently begun to pay attention to world events. (For whatever the reason, I will take it.) The boys suddenly have something to work with. They are both sports nuts, so I mentioned Keith's commentary. (Much to my horror, they did not know that he was back on the tube. But I digress.) Since they were fans, I seized the moment. I asked the sales rep to shut the door in my office. I fired up the old computer and let Keith work his magic.

When the piece concluded we sat quietly for a bit, then we talked for an hour. Yes, ladies, two grown men talked voluntarily for about an hour. Between the two of them they have four children under three. They are concerned about the mess that is being left for their babies.

History has shown that it is usually an average man who starts a revolution. Maybe this time, it will be a sportscaster.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Stallworth the Missing Link

The Eagles beat the Texans yesterday getting the season off to a good start. McNabb spread the ball nicely ensuring a balanced offense. A running game was evident throughout the game. A necessity to be successful late in the season. Although Donte' Stallworth joined the Eagles about ten days ago you would never know it. He went deep a couple of times. He was 6-141. I'll take those numbers any day. He scored without fanfare. I do not love the endzone celebrations, but Stallworth's businesslike approach when he scores is a welcome change. I think it is safe to say the stench of that other guy has been cleansed from the Eagles locker room.

The icing on the cake was the Dallas loss to New Orleans. The other guy went 6-80 and was clearly winded at the end of the game. I guess he should have spent more time on the football field during the pre-season than doing his Lance Armstrong imitation.

A perfect way to start the work week.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"Maybe if I clean up my sidewalk, they will too"

My best friend was born and raised in the big city. She served her time in suburbia. This past spring, when it was time for her to move, returning to the city was a no brainer. Her home is a cute one-bedroom nestled above a music store that specializes in the teaching and repair of violins. A Chinese restaurant is on the corner, an African American-owned newspaper is next door. Across from her is a neighborhood revitalization project. The condos are scheduled for completion the end of October, early November. To know my friend is to appreciate the hustle and bustle surrounding her new home. The street noise and activities may be an intrusion for some; she soaks up the energy with amusement. She grew up in a urban Catholic working-class home. Her father worked four jobs to feed the five he helped give life to with his sacred sperm. Although her intelligence is without question, attending college was not a viable option for her after she graduated high school. Her parents were thrilled because she got married the "right way" before she had her two boys.

After her divorce, she took her artistic skills to a local newspaper. Despite the awards she won for her writing, her upward movement in this field was hampered by her lack of a four-year degree. Her curious nature has led her to study Jung, astrology, music, art, revolutionary war history and current events. She was posting her on-line diary before it became a movement. If she were a boy, during a different era, she would be hailed as a Renaissance man. I lay this out for you to get a feel for the woman behind the "cause of the day."

A couple of weeks ago, she decided to clean up her portion of the sidewalk. She was tired of stepping over the trash in front of her door. Did I mention the fact that she is a Libra? "Maybe if I clean up my sidewalk, they will, too," she said hopefully. Trash cans are placed strategically on the sidewalk. So the mission began. Every day, she swept her sidewalk. Whether it was a sudden sense of responsibility or the guilt of watching this middle-aged uberblonde woman cleaning up their trash, her neighbors started cleaning up their sidewalk. When I met her at her place to go to a play, I looked around and was thrilled. Her block was clean. Maybe she was too close to the situation to notice. When I saluted her good deeds, she just smiled.

It is so easy to point out other people's failings versus taking a personal inventory of how one's action's or inactions could have created the situation - or made it worse.

Someone smarter than I has suggested that you should clean up your own sidewalk. My friend is applying this principle to all areas of her life. By owning and cleaning up our crap, there will be a ripple effect in the universe. If we all clean up our sidewalk, whether this means spiritually, emotionally or physically, like my friend, the world will no doubt be a nicer place.

Where did I put my broom?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Baby what a big surprise

When I assumed my current position, the president of the company asked me what I needed to be successful. My response: a salesperson dedicated to my product. We had this chat almost two years ago; the request was ignored.

There have been no new sales and a couple of accounts have left for various reasons. The result? Earnings are down. What is amusing, he just wrote to me and the CFO, demanding answers.

I failed to listen to my own 24 hour rule, which is: "Don't respond to dumb e-mails in the first 24 hours." (Let's put it this way, the CFO said that I should have captioned the response "No Sales, No revenue, Dumb Ass.") This is not complicated. Have a product, sell a product. This no different than a slumping hitter. He has to see the ball and hit the ball, period. Now the spotlight is on our division. The new owners will either try to save, sell or let us continue to wither away.

Time will tell.

Ladies like the long ball...

The Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has crushed the ball 53 times so far this year. The season is just heating up.

What makes this remarkable is, this young team was written off. Even GM Pat Gillick stated publicly these kids would not be competitive until 2008. What the nation is seeing is teamwork in action.

Howard and Chase Utley have emerged as the leaders of this team. There is no trash talking on or off the field. They are just getting it done. Utley ended his post all-star break slump Monday with a walk off home-run.

Ooo, baby. Ladies like the long ball.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Welcome Fall, Go Eagles

After a few days of what seemed like endless rain, the sun returned yesterday. Much to my joy, today the air is crisp and the sky is blue. As the summer comes to an end, football season (at least for me) begins next Sunday. My friends know that I am watching the game. Other Sunday activities are suspended until the season ends. When all eyes were on Dallas (BOOO), during the pre-season, my beloved Eagles put together a nice little football team. I loved Fraley, Simeneau and Detmer but there are only 53 roster spots and they had to go. Feeley, returns, Baskett, and Stallworth have plugged in the holes quite nicely.

I grew up watching the Eagles with my Daddy, brothers and insane cousins. When we did not converge in somebody's living room, the phone lines were burning up. My mom does not answer the phone on game day. Pop knows it is one of us, cussin' or cheering. My baby, who is almost 20 - her first words were [much to her father's horror] "Jesus Christ!" and "Son of a bitch!" She would watch the game with a "swear cup" and rake in the quarters. Unfortunately, her sweetie, her man, is a Cowboys fan. (BOOOO). Talk about sleeping with the enemy. Ugh.

It won't be pretty, but while that guy is destroying yet another locker room, the Eagles are going to sneak into the play offs.

Fly, Eagles, Fly!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Because I want to be like them."

The mid-term election will be here before we know it. The administration has taken to calling those who do not fall into lockstep with the decision to go to war in Iraq fascists. Nice. The last time that I checked I live in America. Under my Constitution, I have a right to an opinion even if it does not agree with the government. I do not agree with anything this administration has done but they are permitted to speak. I would defend that right. While Bushie and company are putting our Constitution in the shredder, outsourcing jobs and blowing through a budget surplus faster than a teenager with daddy's credit card, what are the Democrats doing? Engaging in a verbal dance about whether they represent the poor black people or middle class white folks.

Are you kidding me?

During the recent housing boom, Mr. & Mrs. Middle America bought more house because the interest rates were so low. Or worse they think they got more for their money because of ARMs. The fast-talking mortgage brokers glossed over the fine print. But predatory lending only happens to "those" people.

Winter is fast approaching which means increased energy usage. More house, more energy. I don't know about you but I haven't seen a decrease from my energy supplier in the 20 years that I have been paying my bills.

If Mr. & Mrs. America admit it, they are one paycheck away from being one of "those" people. A day doesn't go by that it is reported that Americans are not saving. ANYTHING. To compound the problem, Americans are spending more than they are taking in. White-collar raises are not keeping pace with the cost of living increases.

How are they taking care of the bills? Credit cards. The average person doesn't read the fine print on the credit card solicitation with any greater care than the mortgage. Nor have they been reading the fine print associated with the tax cuts that this administration has insisted upon. I am all for tax breaks, but I do not spend more than I take in. Eventually, you and I will have to pay our home and government's bills.

I forgot, bad things only happen to "those" people. Oh, the list is endless: from being "lazy" to "lack of desire." Bullshit.

Many of the jobs that provide a living wage are gone. I doubt that the seniors who are bagging groceries in the yuppie grocery store are doing it just to get out of the house. I suspect they are there because the corporations did not fund the pensions. Those people worked for corporations 20-30 years, helped them make a lot of money for the shareholders for the promise of retiring with a pension. When it was time for the corporations to deliver on their end of the promise they change the rules, with the government's permission. The ERISA statute was shredded before the Constitution.

The Dems have assumed that poverty only exists in the colored community and that the only leaders in the minority community are Jesse, Julian and Al. These assumptions have made the poor white people and religious middle class blacks easy prey for the Republican party.

The Republicans appeal to the average American's ego. The average American is more inclined to think he or she will become rich versus becoming one of those poor people. The fear and disillusion are palatable. The Republicans frame their message in plainspeak. Why? Because it works. The Democratic leadership refuses to speak so that they are heard. The result is that traditional Democrats have left the party - or simply stay home on election day.

One of my sales reps is a thirty-something father of three whose wife has the privilege of not working outside the home.

He was the first member in his card-carrying Catholic family to get a four-year degree. He is a registered Republican. Knowing his roots, I ask him why. "Because I want to be like them," was his explanation. I almost fell out of my chair. THEM? "Who is 'them'?" I challenged.

"Them" are rich, have nice homes, cars and send their kids to the best schools.

He wants to be rich. His wife has a master's degree in education, but insists that she stay home. This is his version of the American dream. As he pursues this dream, terror of not making his numbers and losing his job is everpresent. Fear is what drives him. He wants to be affiliated with a winner. The Republicans win. He pays more attention to the sports section than the opinion page. When he bothers to vote, he votes for the Republicans because the Democrats remind him of where he came from, not where he is going. To not make the six figures he is making is to consider himself a loser. Hmmmm.

The Dems have an opportunity to save themselves and the country if they have a clear concise, positive message that includes the poor and working-class, and the middle class, too - what is left of it.