Friday, July 22, 2011

You Can't Always Get What You Want

You can't always get what you want. That's a hard lesson for children to learn. It's why you'll often hear frustrated parents tell their kids, "You get what you get and you don't get upset." That's the more poetic, polite and kid-friendly way of saying, "Suck it up and deal!"

These days, it seems like there are a bunch of adults who need a reminder of that life lesson. I'm talking to you President Obama and Congressional Leaders. I'm talking to you Governor Malloy and Connecticut State Employee Unions. I'm talking to you NFL Owners and Players.

I'm don't want to get political... I don't want to take sides -- I just want everyone to work together here. My wife compares the fighting to our kids bickering over what TV show they want to watch before bed. One wants "Jake and the Neverland Pirates"... the other wants "Phineas and Ferb" -- mom and dad are seconds away from saying, "Go to bed... you're not watching anything!"

I'm all for standing up for your beliefs... for fighting for the best possible results. I can't imagine where we'd be if people didn't do that. But there comes a time when you have to go back what you learned in kindergarten and come up with a compromise. You may not be happy... they may not be happy.. but you get what you get and you don't get upset suck it up and deal!

Today's title: Take it from Mick

Monday, July 18, 2011

Did You Get My Message?

So, some of my friends found this new place to hang out. I was invited to check it out, and have stopped in a few times, but so far I'm nonplussed (that was pretty clever dumb, right?). It seems like a nice enough place -- reminds me a lot of a few other places I like to visit from time to time..

Google+ is the next big thing. Or so some "experts" are telling us. It's Google's attempt at a social networking site. It's part facebook -- you can share photos, videos, status updates, etc. and comment on other people's posts. It's part twitter -- you can "follow" people without having to ask permission to "be their friend." And there's a little tumblr in there, too -- with people reblogging and sharing others' posts.

What's nice about Google+ is the way everything is linked together. Picassa, YouTube, Blogger, etc. are all Google-based. I also like the "circles" feature -- you can put people you "follow" in categories and send your posts to a specific group. That's a cool feature -- though, I'm not gonna lie, it's stressing me out a little bit. Are you an acquaintance or a friend? Do I like you or do I "like you, like you"? What I don't like is how a post streams, so that a new comment will push an older post the top. I feel like I keep seeing the same things. But maybe that's because we're all just getting started and I'm not following... or friends with... or acquaintances with... enough people.

The reviews from really "plugged in" tech people have been very positive. To them, Google+ is the place to be. They never liked Farmville or Mafia Wars or whatever game du jour people were playing on facebook. And, quite honestly, they were kind of freaked out when their parents and grandparents joined. The reviews from friends -- or acquaintances, I'm not sure what to call them -- is undecided. These networks take time to develop. I feel like G+ has developed pretty quickly -- I've only been there a week. I figure I'll stick around, in case it truly is the next big thing. But I don't see a mass exodus from facebook or twitter. Not yet anyway. 

Oh.. and it's summertime. I'm not going to be spending long stretches of my days sitting on the computer or staring at my phone if I don't have to! I'd rather be social and network on the beach or at the park or at a BBQ.

Today's Title: Did you get my message, because I left it in, like, 20 places!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


This used to be one of my favorite nights of the year. Baseball's Midsummer's Night Classic. The All-Star Game.

It's not what it used to be. And that's too bad.

Baseball's All-Star Game is - or was - the one that still seemed to matter. And not because of this relatively new development where the winning league gets home-field advantage in the World Series. That's sort of silly. It matters because it's a true showcase of the game's best. Because, by design, baseball is a team sport of individual accomplishment and individual match-ups. It matters because - at least it seemed - the players cared. They were representing themselves, their teams (wearing their teams' regular uniforms, not a special All-Star jersey) and their leagues.

Football's all-star game - the Pro Bowl - has been irrelevant forever. Sure, a post-season trip to Hawaii is nice, but it always seemed like guys came up with all kinds of injury excuses to miss the game. And football is a game that involves hitting. Guys aren't going to risk an injury in a meaningless exhibition.
Hockey can involve physical play. But not in the NHL All-Star Game. Scores like 12-11? That's not hockey. And forget the NBA -- most of those guys barely play defense during the regular season.

There's was always been debate in baseball about who's been named to the team. The fans don't always pick the best players; the managers always snub someone deserving. This year, the pre-game talk has been has been about the 16 players who can't make it. And particularly about Derek Jeter who, days after collecting career hit 3,000 (and then some) is joining a few Yankee teammates and sitting this one out.

I'll still probably watch a few innings of the Sub-Star Game. But it's not what it used to be. And that's too bad.

Today's title: Hey now, you're an All-Star, get your game on...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tragedy at the Ballpark

Part of my job is delivering bad news. Murders, fires, car crashes -- bad, sad, tragic things happen every day. Self-preservation and sanity often require me to distance myself from the stories I report. I have to have a short memory. I understand the story I'm delivering and I try to convey that. I understand the impact it has had/may have on people and I try to convey that. And then I allow that story and that emotion to wash out of my system.

But sometimes a story leaves a pit in my stomach and a hole in my heart. And I can't wash it away.

The story of Shannon Stone is one of those stories. He's the Texas Rangers fan who fell to his death Thursday night while reaching for a ball tossed into the stands by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Stone was at the game with his young son. I can imagine the thrill as that ball was coming his way -- the anticipation of handing that souvenir to his little boy. The thought that must have been passing through his head as he reached for that ball, "My son is never going to forget this." He was right, of course, for the wrong reasons.

Stone fell 20 feet, but was conscious when paramedics got to him. He was moving. He was talking. He asked someone to check on his son, who was alone in the bleachers -- looking down at his dad -- no doubt confused and scared. But within the hour, Stone was dead.

The story breaks my heart. I don't know Shannon Stone. I don't know his son. But I'm like him. I'm a baseball fan. And I'm a dad. Just this past weekend, as the Mets rallied to beat the Yankees, I saw my daughter get more excited about a baseball game than I'd ever seen her get.

I look forward to sharing the game with my daughter and with my son for many, many years to come. Maybe someday I'll even be able to get them a game ball. If that happens, I will think about Shannon Stone's son -- who went to a ballgame with his dad and went home without him.

No title song today

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Couple Days Off

I need to write more often. Seriously.

I'm back at work today after taking an much-needed four-day weekend. Don't get me wrong, I love my job -- and I'm not just saying that because my bosses may be reading this. But every once and awhile, you've got to take a little time to recharge the batteries. Especially when you work the kind of hours we do on the morning shift. I'm not sure I'm back at 100% just yet. But I'm closer to 90% than I've been in awhile.

My family spent the Holiday Weekend doing typical Holiday Weekend stuff. We visited family.. hung out with friends.. did some swimming.. had a BBQ. It was fun. It was relaxing.

It's how I spent my "bonus day" Tuesday, that's got me scratching my head. I turned into my dad got a lot accomplished. After dropping my daughter off at camp I ran a bunch of errands -- returned bottles, dropped some recycling off at the dump, went to the bank, picked up the dry-cleaning. That was bad enough. Then I spent almost three hours in the afternoon cleaning the garage, spraying weed- and pest-control around the house and hosing down the siding and deck. But the clincher is that I went to Richlin (an odd hardware/auto parts/general store type place in town) because I needed something for one of my projects. It was about then that I thought I'd morphed into my dad. Ask my brother, he'd understand.

Those things said, I must admit I feel very proud of myself. More accomplished than if I'd hit the driving range or lounged on the beach all afternoon. But I wonder, at what point does that happen? When does that voice in your head that says, "You know, there are a number of projects around the house that could use your attention..." outweigh the one that says, "Dude, the day is yours!" (Actually, I don't think the voice in my head ever calls me "dude," but you get the point.)

Today's Title: Huey Lewis -- on vinyl!