The Buffalo Bills: The Real “America’s Team”

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buffalo-bills-americas-team-dcp_4495The Buffalo Bills and I have a lot in common. We were both conceived in 1959 and emerged into the world (and the playing field) in July of 1960. That I was born in Buffalo means I was born a Buffalo Bills fan. That doesn’t make me much different from any other red (and white and blue) -blooded Greater Western New Yorker. Of course we cheer our team (and curse it, depending on the effectiveness of the particular play call). Actually, we don’t just cheer our team, we eat and breathe and live and die our team. We are the very definition of “fan” (as in “fanatical”).

How do you know you’re a rabid Bills fan? For one thing, you felt personally attacked and oppressed by the national media during the Bills’ four-year Superbowl run (they, along with the NFL, were out to get us, weren’t they?). But die hard Bills fans don’t limit Continue Reading “The Buffalo Bills: The Real “America’s Team””

What The University of Chicago Can Teach Yale

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nathan_hale_statue_flanked_by_two_soldiers_yale_university_1917They took all incoming freshman on a special tour within a day of our arrival at the campus in New Haven. Those were ancient times, when many (like me) had neither the time nor the treasure to visit colleges prior to matriculation (let alone application). To this day, one fact from that introductory outing stands out in my much more crowded brain – the visit inside and around Connecticut Hall. Completed in 1757, this last remaining survivor of Yale’s “Old Brick Row” served as a dormitory for nearly two centuries. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

But that’s not what I remember.

Here’s what I remember: First, there was some obscure graffiti left on an interior wall. Supposedly more than a century old, I don’t remember what it said. All I remember feeling upon hearing this story is that college students have always been rascals and Yale apparently didn’t mind – and even glorified – these youthful misdemeanors.

The second memory carried far greater weight. Outside of Connecticut Hall stands a Continue Reading “What The University of Chicago Can Teach Yale”

You Can’t Go Home Again… Or Can You?

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20160806_130542“δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης.”

Heraclitus of Ephesus (535 BC – 475 BC) said this. He’s also the guy who introduced the term “Logos,” meaning “order” and “knowledge.” It’s more commonly referred to as “logic” and, together with Ethos and Pathos, represents one of the three modes of persuasion identified by Aristotle in Rhetoric (350BC).

Oh, yeah, if you’re like me and can’t read Greek, Heraclitus’s quote translates to: “You could not step twice into the same river.” And therein lies our tale.

Oddly, I found inspiration for this Commentary while researching for my upcoming book Continue Reading “You Can’t Go Home Again… Or Can You?”

Welcome to the Real New Year

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wildflowers-1353003-1919x1278The calendar doesn’t say summer ended during that first week of September, but we all know it did. How many of us squeezed out those last few days, those last few hours, those last few minutes, together with family, friends, or just within our own thoughts. Each year, the long Labor Day weekend becomes a bittersweet reminder of the promises of June, soon to become forever just another memory.

For me it’s the tastes, the smells, and the sounds I remember most. They’re all so interwoven I can no longer distinguish one sense from another. Is it the taste of the aroma from a field full of wildflowers? Is it the smell of those late summer nights, its muggy air thick with the chirps of crickets and twinkling with the flicker of fire flies? Is it the sound of those sumptuous family meals, whether cookouts, roasts, or omnipresent macaroni dishes? It’s all a blur, a collage of happiness, a pleasant memorial to the waning moments of freedom.

What I most forlornly recall, though, are the last visits. For far too many times, the Continue Reading “Welcome to the Real New Year”

To The Final Frontier… and BEYOND!

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Star_Trek_300As a kid, when you visit older cousins you rarely see, you step tentatively. Going through the front door of their house, you step tentatively. Pacing through their immaculate living room, you step tentatively. Finally, when the adults take their leave and you’re left alone with your cousin and he invites you into his play room, you step tentatively.

First of all, he’s older than you. That makes him smarter, which means he can trick you in almost every dimension. Second, he’s Continue Reading “To The Final Frontier… and BEYOND!”

Are Better Educated People Easier to Fool with Persuasion Tricks?

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Dropped maskThe following is mere observation. You’ll understand why I’ve had to put the (rare) qualified at the beginning of the piece when you get to the end.

As I am wont to do given the demands of my primary profession – that would be picking (hopefully) winning stocks – I tend to read a lot. There are two types of articles I read. The first you might consider obvious. I read about anything that smacks of “the coming thing.” I want to know about the leading edge before the “L” in “Leading” appears. To do this, you’ve got to read a ton of articles detailing wild and crazy ideas and hope you’re alert enough to connect the dots before the rest of the (investing) world does. Then you find a publicly traded company (hopefully no one has paid attention to for a long time) and begin buying. This way, when the euphoria of that crazy idea reaches its climax and the rest of the (investing) world is doing everything it can to buy that stock, you can ride into that rising wave, confident you can sell (for a tidy profit) to those over-eager buyers.

OK, like I said, that was obvious.

The less obvious type of article I read doesn’t talk about wild and crazy ideas that become products. Instead, these articles provide potent examples of just how wild and crazy Continue Reading “Are Better Educated People Easier to Fool with Persuasion Tricks?”

You’re Never Too Old to Learn

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duck-with-ducklings-1543709For some reason, I never felt part of my high school peers. Actually, I know the reason. I never fully accepted moving from the comfort of the community where I was born to this strange new place. Mind you, the non-acceptance didn’t start with me. It was quite mutual. But that’s another story.

This story is about psychology. I can’t remember what interested me in the subject, but it had to be something very early in my life. By ninth grade, I had psycho-analyzed the entire high school population, separating them into nine distinct demographic groups based on their psychological profile as determined by their observed behavior. I never showed it to anyone, but I’m pretty sure I Continue Reading “You’re Never Too Old to Learn”

Olympian Thoughts…

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beach-volleyball-1252930-300x225What’s with the pageantry of the opening ceremony of the Olympics? I’m sorry. I just never got into watching the Rose Bowl Parade. Show the actual game, then I might be inclined to sit a spell and take in the sport.

You can well appreciate, then, my attitude going into this year’s Summer Olympics presented a less than enthusiastic air. Left to my own devices, I would have skipped the entire spectacle, opting instead for a series of classic John Wayne movies. Alas, we have a “stay-at-home-son” (as he refers to himself) who, doing his best to maintain male stereotypes, can’t go a day, an hour, a minute, a second, without sports. Thus was I imprisoned in my own home, forced fed a steady diet of Olympian athletic cuisine.

“What the heck,” I thought. “Why not turn lemons into lemonade?” And so, what follows represents the good, the bad, and the ugly of my experience perched in front of the magic Continue Reading “Olympian Thoughts…”

Soaring With The Eagle… and Beyond

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Sam Carosa - IMG_7127-300x395It snows a lot in the towns south of Buffalo. That’s why they call them the snow belts. So when a young dad wants to teach his two small sons the fundamentals of football, he only has one option: The finished basement of the raised ranch home he built for his family.

That young dad was my father, and those two young sons were the six and seven year-old version of my brother and me. There we were, in our bare feet (lest we slip on the linoleum tiles), running and defending simple pass patterns drawn by our father on the cold basement floor. We’d take turns. One series of plays I was the receiver and Kenny was the defender. The next series of plays Kenny was the receiver and I was the defender. We could barely catch the oversized ball, let alone comprehend the intricacies of basic square outs, buttons, and hooks.

Yet we persevered. Such was our enthusiasm to play the sport that no amount of failure could discourage us. More important, though, were those reassuring words I remember my Continue Reading “Soaring With The Eagle… and Beyond”

All Quiet on the Email Front

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email-or-e-mail-1243632_300For nearly two days now the many email folders in my universe have remained quiet. It’s called “propagation” in the jargon of internet specialists. I call it “bliss.” I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be off the grid. A long, long time ago (in what seems like a far distant galaxy), I shunned email. Does this surprise you? It should and it shouldn’t. I’ve always told people I was either born fifty years too early or fifty years too late. The former is revealed in my affinity for such things as classic trains, old time Americana, and the Marx Brothers. The latter manifests itself through my enthusiasm for astronomy and space exploration, the social possibilities of crowd-based technology solutions, and the new media.

Truth be told, for all the technology edges I’ve found leading, I’m really a stubborn old coot. Yes, it’s true that in 1989 we were able to start a weekly community newspaper in no time because we utilized the strange new world of “Pagemaker” and “laser printers.” But, do you realize, I had still avoided all use of ATMs? I had no problem digitizing print media. I abhorred the thought of ceding my preciously small bank account to some soulless Continue Reading “All Quiet on the Email Front”