Yes, I Was Wearing Pants

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I admit it. I’ve been itching to write this column for more than two months. But other things needed to be said first.

There’s a time to be serious. There’s a time to be funny. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, much like the sudden nature of the coronavirus crisis, everything shut down abruptly. Serious people took over doing serious things. It offered a calming confidence.

Then, one day – one night actually – the time for non-stop seriousness ended. On Saturday night, September 29, 2001, nearly three weeks after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Reese Witherspoon stepped onto the stage at NBC Studios in New York City’s GE Building for the airing of the season’s first episode of Saturday Night Live.

Only she wasn’t the first one on the stage. In lieu of the standard cold opening, Mayor Rudy Giuliani appears on stage with members of the New York City Fire Department, the New York City Police Department, and the Port Authority Police Department. In a quiet and Continue Reading “Yes, I Was Wearing Pants”

A Bothersome Burden Has Just Been Lifted From My Shoulders, Did You Just Get the Same Feeling?

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A terrible bothersome burden has just been removed from my shoulders. Did you just get the same feeling?

The last time I felt this weighed down was, well, maybe a half century ago. For those of you who think “half century ago” must refer to ancient times, do the math. I’m talking about the late 1960s and early 1970s.

It’s a very uncomfortable feeling. It’s a drag. And I don’t mean “drag” in the sense that was used in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but “drag” in the sense of physics, specifically as engineers use it in automotive design and aeronautics. It a gnawing downward pressure that prevents you from moving faster or soaring higher.

Like so many others, I am free of that burden now. I didn’t do it alone. I have Hal to thank. Continue Reading “A Bothersome Burden Has Just Been Lifted From My Shoulders, Did You Just Get the Same Feeling?”

Home, Sweet Home: The Joy of Our Return to Space

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I sat fixed in front of what seemed a massive TV screen, my eyes glued to the shreds of white steam shooting from the rocket’s body.

My own body remained tense. “Would the mission be scrubbed at that last minute?” “Would there be an in-flight ‘anomaly’?” “Is there any Tang left?”

What year is it?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

1968? It was a terribly bad year.

1969? It was a joyful year of ascending achievement.

Today? Well that’s an interesting idea.

Let’s return to the beginning. If you’re a member of the “space age” generation (like me), you’ll enjoy (and reflect) on this brief trip down memory lane. If you’re too young to remember the 1960s, you’ll appreciate the eerie similarities that might have you question Continue Reading “Home, Sweet Home: The Joy of Our Return to Space”

The Torch Is Passed

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Like a bright beacon, Jack Leckie stood as a steady torch light, forever illuminating our lives, our community, our very essence. In his remarkably demur way, he reminded us of where we came from, why it was important to embrace that past, and how those previous travels help guide our future.

I was the new kid on the block when I first met Jack. Literally. I had just moved to Mendon (well, technically, it was a permanent return after an earlier short residence at my parents’ new home). I was also a “kid.” I was only 26 years old when I moved into my home.

You get the picture. Definitely the new kid on the block.

So you could understand why I might have been nervous when, shortly after moving in, Jack invited me to his home on Boughton Hill Road. Imagine my thoughts. There was me – a newbie – and Jack – the Town Supervisor.

I was in awe. I was unworthy. I was a mere peon of youth compared to this big man of Continue Reading “The Torch Is Passed”

Ready. Fire! Aim.

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Ask any entrepreneurial wannabe what’s holding them back and they’ll say, “I’m just not sure if I have everything I need.”

Ask any successful entrepreneur to name the key to their success and they’ll say, “Moving forward without having everything I needed.”

There are two immutable laws when it comes to starting a business or any new venture. The first neatly packages a box for comfortable perfection. The second… well, let’s talk about the first law first.

The First Immutable Law of Every Successful Entrepreneur: “Never proceed without a Continue Reading “Ready. Fire! Aim.”

This True Story Reveals The Meeting That Gave THE SENTINEL Its Name and Why It Got That Name

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Yes, you’ve heard part of this story. In fact, you probably think you know this story. Or, do you only think you know this story?

Bits and pieces have appeared throughout the years. Some of these have been true, others mere rumors meant to delight and excite the mind of the reader.

But this – this column – will for the first time reveal what really happened that dark winter night in January of 1989. Here it is, for the first time ever told by the one who was there at that meeting.

First, here’s the part that’s true. You already know this part. Or you may not. Here it is.

The Honeoye Falls Weekly Times began publishing during the era of hometown newspapers in 1882. “Independently Devoted to the Best Interests of Honeoye Falls and Vicinity” and running a dense seven columns over four pages, it was published and edited by William O’Brien and Wilson A. Gillette.

The fledging media entrepreneurs admitted in their inaugural op-ed (Thursday, August 31, 1882): “This is the first number of the Honeoye Falls Weekly Times. As to whether it is a readable paper for a first issue, remains for our readers to decide.”

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle offered a less than charitable opinion of the effort. Its edition of Friday, September 8, 1882 bluntly stated: “Honeoye Falls has four newspapers Continue Reading “This True Story Reveals The Meeting That Gave THE SENTINEL Its Name and Why It Got That Name”

Do You Have The Wisdom To See What’s Not There and To Not See What Is There?

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I woke up one morning to find this in my text messages: “Hi, Mr. Math Award. I need your opinion on this.”

Not “good morning” but “hi.” It was from my west coast daughter. It was a group text for some reason, so, although the question was directed at me, the whole family was involved.

About the “Mr. Math Award” thing. It’s an inside joke about a speech I once gave to a class of graduating seniors of my old high school. It told the story of my greatest high school disappointment – winning the math award instead of the science award. But, as they say, that is another story.

This story is about one of those rare occasions when my kids actually thought I was funny. Continue Reading “Do You Have The Wisdom To See What’s Not There and To Not See What Is There?”

Given a One-in-a-Million Chance, Always Take the One

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This crisis, like any other crisis, reveals the inner-most souls of many. For some, that means sharing a brightness that exudes hope, honesty, and optimism. For others, it’s a darkness of depressing despair.

It’s a glass-half-empty/glass-half-full sort of thing. People are different. Sometimes it’s easier to hide those differences. Other times it’s not. We were already in one of those times when it’s not before the crisis hit. The crisis only makes it even more difficult to hide the secrets of our souls.

We see this national Rorschach Test being played out in the media – both social and traditional. The two came together recently in a group I belong to. It gave me pause to think. Not about the superficial issue the group was discussing, but about the underlying philosophy it entails.

On the face of it, the post mentioned an article that exposed how journalists and certain Continue Reading “Given a One-in-a-Million Chance, Always Take the One”

Just Get Past The Peak

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There’s a bridge between here and Toronto. It’s in St. Catherine’s. It’s not high, but it’s high enough.

As you cross the Lewiston Bridge, the 190 turns into Route 405 in Ontario. The 405 quickly merges into the QEW and from there its straight on through to Toronto.

By way of this “high enough” bridge.

It’s called the “Garden City Skyway” and it soars 130 feet above the Welland Canal at its greatest height. Not too high. But high enough.

Nearly a mile long, when approaching from the east (which is what you do when you’re travelling to Toronto) before it crosses the canal, it ascends to a gentle curve. But not gentle enough.

To compound matters, the Canadians built the Garden City Skyway as an open road. There is no high structural steel to cocoon you comfortably within its path.

This, combined with it being as tall as a 13-story building and a curve that hides your ultimate destination leaves you with a feeling of flying unbound, high above the endless horizon of Lake Ontario.

And that’s just enough to give one smitten with a not-so-mild case of acrophobia sweaty palms.

I happen to be that one.

We all have a fear of falling. It’s natural and it’s meant to protect us. Acrophobia – the fear Continue Reading “Just Get Past The Peak”

A Life of Flabby Loneliness

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It was a cold February winter more than 35 years ago. I sat uncomfortably close to a diminutive manually assembled Bush Furniture computer hutch. You remember those things. They looked like the mutant offspring of a too short desk and a flimsy book shelf.

Little did I know I was on the leading edge.

Actually, I did know I was on the leading edge… and loving it.

Hunched over what was then a new Wang PC, I had convinced my employer I needed to Continue Reading “A Life of Flabby Loneliness”