Saturday, August 30, 2008

The achievement of dreams

I once had a teacher who was a very talented commercial artist. He always said, “All my students will surpass me.” We would say “NO! NO! You have so much talent-much more than any of us!”
But ol’ Butch knew what he was talking about. All his students did go on to great success, while he remained behind.

I went to visit him years later and found him living in an old trailer behind a junk yard. I just landed a huge contract which required me to put together a team of about ten artists. I offered him a leadership position on the gig and more money than he earned that entire year.

He was a no show his first day on the job.

We met later to talk about it. I had seen him sabotage himself like this many times before.
After a long talk, we finally got to the root of the problem. Butch was scared of success. He knew how to get by. He knew how to live on the streets, and how to survive, but he did not know the first thing about complex tax returns, 1099 forms or corporate culture. He was out of his comfort zone in that world, and it frightened him. I understood, and bid him goodbye with a small gift of 100 dollars to pay his rent.

It’s been many years since that last visit with my street wise instructor, and I have met many other travelers along the road of life who remind me of him. Women who remain in abusive relationships, because that life is all they know, or think they deserve. Children from broken homes who grow up engaging in a merry go round of dysfunctional dating relationships and reliving their past; People who have dreams of building a better life, but never take action, or quit half way into a job.

It’s a strange phenomenon in human psychology how people will gravitate to the familiar, even when they know the alley they walk is nothing but a dark and painful dead end.

In a recent television biography of horror writer Stephen King, the author recounted the story of his success. He said his father was a writer too, but never rose above mediocrity, even though his work was very good. King’s mother told the boy his father lacked “stick-to-it-ivness.” He would become so discouraged by rejection, he would just drop completed projects after one rejection and move on to something else. King made a promise to himself he would not make the same mistake. After a series of over 100 rejections, his perseverance paid off. The title of the book: Carrie. A work King himself says he “didn’t think was very good.”

We all know what happened after that.

I suppose we all fall into that trap of giving up from time to time, but as for me, I am taking my cues from King. I “will not go softly into that good night” because the achievement of dreams is too much of a miracle to miss.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Whats What with the Clintonistas?

US Senator Barack Obama campaigning in New Ham...Image via Wikipedia I had great fun last night, appearing on the What's What with Mike Cole Show on WVKO 1580 AM radio. The hour long program began with call in guests Dan Stewart, Rich Cordray, and John O'Grady, who were all reporting live from the Democratic Convention in Denver.

(Maybe that's why I was invited on the show...I'm the only Ohio Democrat not in Denver today!)

It was a great interview. We discussed women's role in politics, specifically Hillary Clinton's race, her speech last night, and the mood of Clinton supporters.

We took a look at the silly John McCain commercial with the "former Hillary supporter" encouraging women to cross over to the GOP. HA! Any woman who would fall for that has no clue of the party platforms.

Women interested in the economy, equal pay for equal work, in women's rights, health care, the environment, quality public education for their kids, affordable college tuition, and the all important concept of not needing to send our children off to war, MUST vote the Obama/Biden ticket.

But don't take my word for it, Hillary said it much better:

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.

This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win.

I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights at home and around the world ... to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain.

Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president.

For more information about her speech, check out these fine links:

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Obama Biden

Well, we have a ticket:


Nothin against Joe, but...

Barak Obama picked a WOWI (WhiteOldWashingtonInsider) to be the face of CHANGE.

Suprise Surpise.

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA- JUNE 02:  Senator Joe Biden ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I wonder how he looks in a skirt?

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Friday, August 22, 2008


I just found a new blogging tool called

Zemanta. I found it while surfing the exhibitors for the upcoming
Blogworld Expo in Vegas Sept. 20-21.

This post is just a test to see how it works. If you notice any difference in the blog, please let me know.


Homework Hurdles

"With good people, and this goes all the way back to my grandmother...she didn't tell my dad, "Now you go to the study table." No, no. She said, "I'll meet you at the study table." And that's where your good parents and you're good teachers are."
-OSU football coach Woody Hayes

Its homework time kiddies! Break out the book bags and get yer gray matter in gear.

My daughter is off to a fine start. She wrote a “letter of introduction” to her English teacher last night, (the classic “about me” and “what I did this summer” piece.) It was good. She typed it up on the computer, and brought it down for me to edit three times before printing off the final. I felt like the father in the movie "A River Runs Through it," marking up her work with my red pen, and handing it back saying "Again, and half as long."

During this exercise my son was engaged in twenty minutes of required reading. He picked a book called Halo, based on the ever popular X-Box video game. Momma is none to happy about this. The war game culture of the little boys in our neighborhood disturbs me. Sometimes I feel as if our sons are being marketed to by a secret Spartan military culture.

With his reading completed, his next task was to write a summary paragraph. Unfortunately, this did not work out so well. I asked several questions about what happened in the story, and got some pretty vague answers. So, mom got the fun duty of reading the first chapter of Halo. Holy snooze fest Batman! How in the world did this thing ever manage to get published?!!!! The entire first page is about the character SLEEPING!

Sleeping mind you! Some sort of waking up from cyber ice sleep bullishness. Roll me over and shove a pillow down my throat. No wonder my munchkin could not tell me what happened in the story.

I’m no great writer, (even though I would love to play one on T.V.) but I do know when you write a book, the first rule is to drop the reader into the action on the very first page.


Commander Kel on a mission:

Commander Kel went ballistic over the book, and immediately marched to her personal library to pull a few good examples for Private Munchkin to review.

“Here baby, read the first paragraph of this book, it’s a war story too, but written a lot better.”
(I know, War again, but ya gotta meet em where they're at, right?)

Thus my boy and I read the first page of Homer’s Iliad together. It’s more than a little above his grade level, but I think he saw my point about writing style in the example.

Then Commander Kel goes on a hunt around the house for age appropriate books he might like. I pulled six from the shelves, and he settled on Everlost by Neal Shusterman. Shusterman is a great writer. I highly recommend him.

For those of you looking for "just right books" to foster a love of reading in your child, you might want to visit The Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature (DAWC). Reference librarian Lisa Bartle put together this wonderful site with a customized search engine. You can plug in your child's age, interests, language, and even search using specific key words like "rock climbing", or "bugs," whatever your little tyke likes. Thanks to her site I now have a whole years worth of non war like ideas for age approriate books my son is sure to enjoy.

Till next time, This is Commander Kel saying "Over and Out."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

McCain Fumbles Pizza Purchase

The lead story in todays Columbus Dispatch newspaper slices the hard breaking news story that Republican presidential candidate John McCain does not know how to purchase pizza.

The article states: "McCain stopped yesterday for a 20-minute photo op and tour of the main fire station, carrying two large pizzas. As he glad-handed his way down a line of 24 firefighters, he told an aide, "I don't think I brought enough pizza for everybody. We'll have to send out for some more."

Clearly this is an issue of great concern for all den mothers and little league dads who routinely purchase pizzas. These parents know full well that two large pies will not even begin to satisfy the feeding frenzy of even a small group of half a dozen pint sized pipsqueaks, let alone 24 full grown macho men.

*The ratio of pies to people is a half a pie per person for thin crust and a quarter pie for thick if the eaters are male and over the age of 12. The ratio can be cut by a third for women, picky eaters, and parties involving ice cream and cake. Every parent knows this.

As a result of this story, voters across the nation are rethinking their position on a McCain presidency. Can a man who has never ordered pizza for his family or football team really lead the free world? What will happen when he invites heads of state to the White House and they run out of food in the middle of tense negotiations? The results could be catastrophic, even if he does remember to hold the anchovies.

In conclusion, I must commend the main stream media for it's in depth coverage on this event, as clearly this is the type of hard hitting analysis the American People look for when casting their votes. The Dispatch led the charge admirably with this piece, keeping the focus on important issues and avoiding any complexities that might bore the average reader or make peoples brains explode while enjoying their morning coffee.

After all, who wants to bother looking at McCain's record as a "maverick" who fought for campaign finance reform, wrote the legislation, got it passed into law, and then does everything in his power to use every legal loophole in the books to bypass the spirit and intent of his own law!

We don't want to know about that. We don't want to hear about the $50,000 donors in Dublin he is hanging out with...who they are, or what they expect in return for their money. NO. We want to see him in a firehouse, with his sleeves rolled up, ready to have pizza and beer with regular hard workin' folks like ourselves who never donate to campaigns.

Why in the world would readers want to think about something so complex and boring as
ETHICS or campaign finance reform when deciding who will be the next leader of the free world?

Not me man. Pass the pizza.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Letter to The Editor

Tiberi and Taxes

I just got a nice little postcard in the mail from my congressman.
The tag line reads ''Congressman Pat Tiberi: easing the strain on your wallet.”

Then of course, I look at the 'paid for by' campaign disclaimer and see the words “Official business- This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.”

Wow. It sure looked like an election year campaign piece to me. With close to one million dollars in his campaign account and even more in his PAC account, it's so nice to know Pat is “easing the strain on my wallet” by letting the taxpayers foot the bill for this timely little pre- election “informational” postcard.

Assuming it costs approximately $1.00 to print and mail each post card to the 630,730 people in the 12th district; we are looking at a whopping huge sum of money! (I know what The Mid Ohio Food Bank could accomplish with that kind of cash, and I’ll bet the readers of this letter could offer the congressman hundreds of suggestions on how those funds actually COULD be used to “Ease the Strain on our Wallets” here in Ohio.)

This type of moral ambiguity is the reason people don’t trust politicians. The American people don’t ask much from our elected officials; only that they be honest, and strive to do the right thing. Spending our hard earned tax dollars to print and mail this flyer is NOT the right thing to do in a time of economic crisis. It is not "easing the strain on our wallets" at all. It’s simply helping Pat Tiberi exploit the system and get himself re-elected at tax payer expense.

The Republican Party is going to have to raise the “fiscal responsibility” bar quite a bit higher than this if they want to be believed.

As for me, I’m voting for David Robinson. It’s time for a change.