Wednesday, February 27

The Operation Failed

Microsoft is known for giving error messages that are at best useless. I was greeted by one of these messages this morning as I tried to launch the program Outlook. A split moment after clicking the icon that worked fine last night, I was greeted with a message saying"the operation failed". No explanation, reason or solution, only that it had failed.

I knew the reason it failed, I have another program that synchronizes with Outlook and it was locking up the data tables Outlook uses. I knew that it would finish in a few moments, and all would be fine.

These error messages might be a lot like the soundbites you get in life. Like co-workers who simply announce that something didn't work and walk away, or news headlines from various media that deliver  you a ten second soundbite with no real understanding behind the issue. They just bring you bad news, lots of it, every moment, of every day, and they smile while doing it.

Too often, like this error message, the focus is on what is not working, what is wrong, even when the solution may be simple. All too often I have seen operator error as the root cause, in computers, and am life. I am guilty of making my share of error messages, I just hope to do more than Microsoft in explaining them and doing something about them.

So my lesson is learned from this morning, on my computer and in my life, I often try to do too many things at the same time. Sometimes it's better to slow down, wait a few moments, make sure that everything is complete, before moving on.

Sunday, February 24


I like to call him the little man with a big smile made a dent in the world of music and international relations.

Paul Simon at one point in his life was experiencing multiple setbacks. He was involved in a relationship and was married while touring, with no time to spend cultivating the marriage, it suffered.. Overworked and under pressure he at the same time produced an album that he did not have the drive to promote and it also failed. His personal and professional life both plummeted at the same time.

Taking some time off, he drove often to Long Island, listening to a tape given to him by a friend. Soon it became his favorite, but it had no label.. Curious, he did some research and found it was from an African band. Paul was longing for a change from Folk Rock and had a desire to broaden his scope. A spark ignited in his mind.

Something on that tape spoke to him and he traveled to South Africa and immersed himself in all that was good and positive in the nation under such terrible oppression. According to Paul he "learned to listen on a level you never experienced before".

From professional and personal failures grew a tremendous cross-cultural education album called "Graceland". Countless millions of albums sold. People globally shared in African music and learned respect of a people who through such poverty and pain could still have such joy. The music was a common language that is Paul said "created an unusual degree of understanding among people who just met".

That was nearly 3 decades ago, and the message still shines like the diamonds in the soles of her shoes. Thanks Paul.

Watch the whole song HERE

Monday, February 18

No baggage? you're funny

A few ago I professed online that I had"no baggage" on some website. Some time after that the woman I was dating, who had great insight and a way with words said:"you don't have baggage, you have a freight train".

Well, it may have not been quite that bad, but she was right of my overly optimistic self assessment of traveling through life with the mental equivalent of only sandals and a Hawaiian shirt.

The visualization I came up with was a series of on matched bags, all overflowing and strewn about the bed, each needing varying levels of attention to get them organized. There was luggage for careers, relationships, missed opportunities, mistakes, successes and more. Mentally, I carried all these bags everywhere.

I did find a nice organizing tool has helped me out recently, it was in the form of prayer, that simply says you can affect change to some things, others you cannot, and you may need a little help from somebody a bit wiser than you to figure out which is which.

Having applied that rule, I now have only 2 bags. First, I have a large check on bag, for things I may want to remember or need, but if it was permanently lost, I could move on easily. This bag will travel with me, but now that it's checked in, I don't authority about it. It just follows me to my destination.

My other mental luggage bag is a carry-on, with only a laptop  in it . In this are files that I need to deal with life.  such as exciting items as taxes, budgets, legal documents and other exciting items.

But more important, there is a special folder right on the desktop for quick access. This folder is full of images of my children growing up, fun times at amusement parks, vacations. It contains videos of dancing, events and laughter and moments, and songs of life and love I've been able to share with them and others who matter most. 

I love this device because it allows me to carry around what is important in the here and now. I carry it everywhere and access it often. It even helps remind me of things I need to do to get to my destination safe and on time, on a daily basis.

Pack Wisely and Safe Travels 

Saturday, February 16

Overcoming Cancer

I have a very close friend who has struggled with cancer for nearly three decades. For the most part he had been able to live a normal life; wife, house, career, kids.

The cancer would come and go in waves, but he was able to fight it off many times through willpower and some home medications and exercise for the longest time.

However, as time wore on, cancer got the better of him. It dragged on his career, affected his marriage to the point of divorce, and the cancer began to affect all around him.

Last year, just after the joyous occasion getting engaged, cancer hit him hard for some reason. He became unable to hold a job, unable to take care of his kids, his bride to be left him, he would eventually lose most everything.

Depression was overwhelming, sleepless nights caused him near insanity. And then the cancer also indirectly caused a legal blindness and made him unable to read or drive. Due to cancer, he hit bottom.

Losing all will to live, the  cancer nearly killed him. Lying on the floor of his living room, unable to move due to massive malnutrition, he was hospitalized. After about a month of visits to the hospital, many treatments, scans, medications,  procedures and medical bills in the tens of thousands of dollars, all indications are the cancer is under control.

He will have to live with the threat of cancer for the rest of his life ( a few decades to go hopefully), but he is coping through the support of cancer survivor groups who encourage his mind and spirit stay strong and always fight against cancer.

As of this writing,a  short four months since his first hospital visit, he has regained much of the strength and eyesight. He is rebuilding his career, family and his whole life one day at a time, hopefully never again having to be a victim to cancer.


Now - replace the word Cancer with Alcoholism and  does your perception change? For so many, Cancer=Empathy and Alcoholism=Apathy.

They are both diseases that affect many millions of people every day, and kills many of them. There is a club in my home town called the Windsor Recovery Club, if you are feeling like alcohol is becoming a problem in your life, stop in and listen for a while. Meeting Schedule HERE.

Sunday, February 10

Incarcerated by snowflakes

A local traffic reporter posted on FB on Friday night that she felt"trapped" in her house due to the storm. I suppose if you're claustrophobic you can be a bit unnerving knowing that you cannot really go anywhere.

The television is pretty much useless, by the time the storm hits you're sick of hearing about it. All of the reporters get sent to the same locations they go to during every storm. Just once I'd like to hear someone from the DOT respond to reporter "were going to salt the roads, pepper the highways and sprinkle some garlic on the exit ramps".

I prefer to use this time for focusing on organizing thoughts, goals in life. TV off, music on, candle or fireplace if you have one, something good to read and a cup of tea. Relax and enjoy the time. Make a few phone calls to friends, and check in on those who may need help.

Relax, rest up, the storm was a great excuse not to rush out anywhere, but rather to reflect inward and enjoy the peaceful beauty the snow.

The shoveling of life can wait till tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 5

Give a little bit of

OK -  gotta comment on Superbowl Ads - I liked the Samsung pitch ad's clever, the Wishes car ad, ok - I got confused by the Oreo Ad.

Coke has the knack for the soft sell, bringing together life, people community, hope. Like the old "I'd like to teach the world to sing" ads.

This one was a clever use of technology - and another Great song by Supertramp.  Enjoy again or for the first time if you were away on a bio break when it played.

Saturday, February 2

Fathers and Football

I'll start this by saying AD's pizza has been a fixture in my life since I was very VERY little. Sunday nights back then consisted of Disney (UHF Channel 30), Rootbeer Soda ... and an AD's Pizza

Zoom forward a few decades, I'm a long time Steelers fan, AD's is starting a Steelers Fan Club (1995) in their new facility. My fav Team and Food, all in one location.

But why?

What was the link?  The original owners son is a huge Steelers fan and now current owner there, OK that make sense.Brings in business, that makes sense. But there was something more.

It wasn't until a few days ago when I read the BlittzburghCT fan club write up when it all fell together for me. John, the original owner who started AD's in the 50's would spend lots of time with his son Joe watching the football games when he was growing up. Their history together.

Now, the family is carrying on the business, and also the memories of Father and Football time spent together.

So when Joe, his sister and their mom all show up for work, it's more than Pizza and Ziti, It's about remembering John the father every day, through his portraits on the wall and the roar of "Touchdown" coming from the lounge.

I'm having AD's Pizza this Superbowl Sunday with my Kids and some RootBeer!