Ode To The Open Road

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Photo by Debbie Schiel from FreeImagesIn the minds of many, the fast-approaching Labor Day represents the metaphorical end of summer. Before we take that literary leap, however, let’s spend one final weekend basking in the glory of the sun and the freedom of endless fields of rolling hills, chirping nature, and fragrant wild flowers.

There’s more to it than that, though.

From the beginning of our lives, we’ve come to see summer as a 10-week break. It starts with the calendar of school. Out in June. Back in September. July and August became the Continue Reading “Ode To The Open Road”

The Road All Runners Run

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Photo by Jennifer Marr from FreeImagesThe world is an imperfect place. And we are its imperfect inhabitants.

You shouldn’t, as the saying goes, allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. For all our imperfections, we all possess some ounce of good.

Like hating the sin and loving the sinner, it is that ounce of good that we should glorify, amplify, and dignify. It’s what gives us all hope in a world marred by inadequacy and faultiness.

So it was with A.E. Housman, the troubled poet of the 19th Century. If you’re on your toes, you may have caught that the title of this piece alludes to a line in Housman’s greatest work.

While Housman’s works reflect the tragic demons that tormented him, the poignant poem still contains that ounce of good that makes it memorable.

A behavioral economist might call it “reframing.” Us regular folk simply say it’s looking at Continue Reading “The Road All Runners Run”

Will Teenage Minimum Wage Hurt The Poor?

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Talk to any restaurant owner and you’ll immediately get two comments: “Covid was H-E-double toothpicks” and “We might not survive Albany’s minimum wage mandate.”

Of course, both points cover many different types of businesses, but it’s the latter sentiment that impacts businesses that rely on entry level workers to butter their bread, especially restaurants (yes, the metaphor was slyly chosen).

Interestingly enough, up until 100 years ago, the Supreme Court deemed minimum wage laws illegal. In 1923 the Supreme Court declared it “simply and exclusively a price-fixing Continue Reading “Will Teenage Minimum Wage Hurt The Poor?”

Hooray For The New Space Race!

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Photo by David Cowan from FreeImagesAn amazing thing happened in the course of a week and a half this month. Did you notice it?

On July 11th, Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic spacecraft, fulfilled a pledge he made decades ago to fly into space. He brought along five others in his rocket plane.

Nine days later, and on the anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, Jeff Bezos took a crew of four to the edge of space in his Blue Origin rocket. Aboard with the Continue Reading “Hooray For The New Space Race!”

Here’s Why You Always Ask The Obvious Question

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Photo by Troy Sherk from FreeImagesHow many times does this happen to you?

Someone asks you for help in dealing with another person. It could be a negotiation, it could be to convince them, it might even be to ask them for a favor. You judiciously listen to their plight, absorbing where each party stands and what exactly the person seeking your help wants.

In your mind, you construct a verbal argument carefully built to nudge the other party towards the position sought by your friend. You start by suggesting your associate ask the Continue Reading “Here’s Why You Always Ask The Obvious Question”

‘There Must Be A Pony In Here Somewhere!’

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If you’re old enough to remember simpler times, you’ll recall this title as the punch-line to one of President Reagan’s favorite jokes. The gag revealed not only Reagan’s engaging sense of humor, but also a lot about his political philosophy and his outlook on life.

The essence of the story goes something like this. It’s Christmas morning and two young brothers hurriedly amble towards the Christmas tree to discover their gifts. On one side lay piles of wonderful toys for one of the boys. He looked at it and sorrowfully said, “They’ll all be broken in a day or two.” The other boy’s gift, on the other side of the tree, was nothing but a pile of manure. He quickly grabbed a shovel and began to dig, joyfully telling his dour sibling, “There’s must be a pony in here somewhere!”

It’s the age-old tale of the wonders of optimism contrasted with the annoyance of Continue Reading “‘There Must Be A Pony In Here Somewhere!’”

The Great American Maxim: Stand Alone And Win

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The Conqueror“The game was created to demonstrate the futility of individual effort. Let the game do its work… If a champion defeats the meaning for which the game was designed, then he must lose.”

So says Mr. Bartholomew in 1975’s classic film Rollerball. It’s an American tale. An epic retelling of the classic mantra that fills the heart of every red-blooded citizen from the very founding of our country.

Don’t believe me? Just look at some of the most popular books, films, or any other place where a character must confront personal and public obstacles in heroic fashion. The most compelling of those stories are built around a single individual.

No, it doesn’t take a village to succeed, it takes self-discipline, self-reliance, and, ultimately, Continue Reading “The Great American Maxim: Stand Alone And Win”

Let’s Start Laughing Again!

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Everybody loves to laugh. So why don’t we anymore?

This isn’t funny. It’s true.

If you want to know the reason why, go to almost any social media platform. For that matter, read any headline. Whether from the right or from the left, you’re vilified once you stray too close to the shoulder of an ever-narrowing path.

Time was you could walk smoothly in a sea of honest humor. You’d laugh. You’d cringe. You’d get that awkward feeling. But it was all good. You accepted this variety of hits and misses because you liked to laugh. And there were enough hits to keep you laughing which made the trade-off worthwhile.

It seems today people would rather get angry than laugh. They’d prefer to take the easy Continue Reading “Let’s Start Laughing Again!”

How Has Your Workday Changed?

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It’s been a year. For twelve months we’ve been (or at least many of us have been) working from home. Even those fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough, depending on your perspective) to have returned to the office have discovered there’s no going back to what once was.

If you can take a moment (do you even have a moment anymore) to sit back and consider the evolution of work, it may strike you we’ve come full circle.

Skipping caveman times, let’s accelerate right up to what is known as the “Agricultural Economy.” You remember learning about that in school, don’t you? It existed pretty much Continue Reading “How Has Your Workday Changed?”

Forget About The Known Unknowns, It’s The Unknown Unknowns That Get You Every Time

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There’s an old adage that stipulates “generals are always fighting the last war.” This says more about the stultifying effects of age and experience than it does about military acumen.

As we live our lives, we accumulate knowledge. We use this knowledge to provide convenient short-cuts when we make decisions. That’s a good thing.

But those short-cuts assume a certain kind of status quo that cannot exist. That’s a bad thing.

Since we’re on the subject of old adages, there’s one from ancient Greece which warns “you can never step foot in the same river twice.”

At first that makes no sense. Why, just about any GPS will lead you to the same river time and time again. You can even dip your toe in each and every occasion.

Ah, but is it really the same river? Has not the water you touched that very first instance traveled far down the river and probably emptied itself into some larger body of water?

You see, a river is like time. It is constantly moving. The only way to make it stand still is to Continue Reading “Forget About The Known Unknowns, It’s The Unknown Unknowns That Get You Every Time”