Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Night Classic Music Video

Last month I listened to this song for the first time when my step-daughter Abby asked me to create a special version of this song for her upcoming wedding reception.

The day for that wedding and reception has arrived and as this posts online we are between the two.

Abby became Mrs. Morris this afternoon and this evening this song will be one of the ones that she dances to.

By the way, over the past 11 years that I have known Abby, I have also known her father, Dwight.

And out of respect for Dwight and his relationship with Abby, I often refer to her as my step-daughter, even though I love her as much as any and all of my others.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Horse Tales

Earlier this week I was digging thru my archived emails, the ones I was saving for "the future".

Like this one from Harvey:

Make sure your perspective is perceptive

By Harvey Mackay

We've reached a point in our country's history where authority and power seem to be manifested by the need to shout down the other person. Discussion and compromise are words freely bandied about, but they've largely lost their meaning.

What is really lost is perspective.

Just as there are two (or more) sides to every story, there are plenty of different ideas on how to get things done. No one person has a corner on that market.

A lot depends on who is doing the looking. Consider the story of three people of different occupations as they looked at the Grand Canyon:

The priest said, "What a glory of God!"

The geologist said, "What a wonder of science!"

The cowboy said, "What an awful place to lose a horse!"

How we approach an issue often colors our thinking about the result we wish to achieve. What we want may not line up with the next person's desired outcome. Our motives are not wrong, just very different. We need to respect each other's views and consider that our own may not be the only one with real merit.

Sure, that's easier said than done. But it can be done! And some of the most creative and powerful people in the world have offered very helpful suggestions for expanding our perspective so that we can truly work together.

For example, Thomas Watson, Jr., the late chairman of IBM, shared some wisdom from his father, Thomas Watson, Sr., founder of the company: "Father was fond of saying that everybody, from time to time, should take a step back and watch himself go by."

If you did that, would you like what you saw? Be honest!

Will Rogers, a uniquely American humorist known for his homespun wisdom and keen wit, summed up perspective this way: "You must never disagree with a man while you are facing him. Go around behind him and look the same way he is looking and you will see that things look different from what they do when you're facing him. Look over his shoulder and get his viewpoint, then go back and face him and you will have a different idea."

Note that both of these examples are from an era gone by, when folks seemed to be kinder and less contentious. We haven't necessarily improved our society since then -- in fact, I would contend that we've gotten meaner. How does that seem to be working?

Perspective is critical in competitive situations. If you can't see solutions from a competitor's point of view, you can't compete. How will you know what they are doing better than, different from, or instead of you? Who are they appealing to with their approach? How are their customers responding?

I love to ask customers what their ideal product would be. What would their ideal supplier do differently? More than once I have been stunned at the simplicity of the solutions. Those questions open up a new line of communication and trust which benefit both sides. Don't just file away that information -- use your new perspective to prepare for your next customer and competitor.

Whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of dismissing issues with statements like "it's all just a matter of perspective." That is too often another way of saying that the other person's perspective is not as important as yours.

Have you heard about the aging race horse that tried and tried but just couldn't run fast enough to win any races, or even finish in the money? His impatient owner told the jockey, "Either that horse wins some money in today's race or his next assignment is going to be pulling a milk wagon."

The jockey loved the horse and did everything he could to spur the horse on. He muttered sweet words to him as they went around the first turn. And on the backstretch, he shouted loud words of encouragement. But as the horse faltered in the stretch, the jockey started laying on the whip with terrible force.

At this, the horse turned his head to the jockey and said, "Hey, man, take it easy on that whip. I've got to get up and go to work in the morning."

Mackay's Moral: The difference between a horse's front end and back end is a matter of perspective.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Videotime: The History of Windows

I'm not geeky enough to watch this entire video but you might be:

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011


from the DLM folks:

Is Willpower Alone Working For You? If Not, Read This

Posted: 02 Aug 2011 05:48 AM PDT

How often have you tried to achieve a goal that requires a lot of willpower?

How often have you failed?

So many goals can feel almost impossible, because they need a constant commitment to changing our usual ways. If you’re trying to lose weight, get out of debt, cut out the procrastination or even brush your teeth twice a day, you’ve got to keep on making the right choices – and it’s all too easy to let a moment of weakness derail your plans completely.

Exercising willpower or self-discipline takes up a lot of energy. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of starting several new goals at once (perhaps in January) – trying to get fit and quit smoking and cut your spending and read more books. Chances are, you didn’t manage to stick with any of them – your willpower was simply stretched too thin.
So, are you doomed to fail? Of course not. You just need to make sure you’re using your willpower the right way.

How Habits Work
Unlike willpower, habits don’t require a massive amount of energy. They’re automatic – like taking a shower in the morning or putting on your seat belt when you get into a car. You barely think about them.

When you’re using your willpower to make changes in your life, you’re going against many of your established habits. For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight:
  • You’re cutting out the usual doughnut with your morning coffee
  • You’re switching from a fast food lunch to a healthy sandwich
  • You’re trying to exercise in the evenings, instead of flopping in front of the television
The problem is, it’s all too easy to let things slide. If you stop at the coffee shop every morning, those donuts will be there, tempting you. If you have to walk past three fast food outlets to get to a store that sells healthy sandwiches, there’s a good chance the lure of a burger and fries will be too much for you. And once you’re at home in the evening, how likely is it that you’ll get up from the sofa and go out to the gym?

Use Your Willpower to Set Up New Habits

Instead of fighting your habits, turn them around.

It’s much easier to use your willpower once to set up a good habit than to keep on struggling again and again to overcome a bad habit.

For instance, if you want to save $100 per month, then don’t force yourself to write out a check every time. Instead, set up an automated transfer from your bank account – that way, the money will go out without you lifting a finger. It becomes more effort to not save than to save.

When you’re trying to establish a new routine, do your best to find ways to break old habits. Don’t stop at that coffee shop, intending to order a skinny latte (chances are, you’ll end up with a full-fat cappuccino and a doughnut). Instead, cut the coffee shop out of your routine altogether. Go to a smoothie bar instead, or take a thermos of coffee with you.

Here are a few other ways that you can use willpower once to make a new habit easier than an old one:
  • Freeze your credit card in a glass of water – so that you have to melt the ice before you use it

  • Clear all the junk food out of the house – so that if cravings strike at 9pm, you won’t be able to dig into your candy stash

  • Block any websites that you waste time on – so that you can’t just flick to them in moments of boredom
Sometimes, you might not be able to use willpower just once – but you can try exercising willpower at the start of the day (when your motivation levels tend to be higher). For instance:
  • Put food in a slow-cooker in the morning – so that a healthy meal is waiting in the evening

  • Throw your gym kit into the car – so that you can drive to the gym on your way home

  • Set your alarm half an hour earlier – so you’ve got time to work on a goal or project that’s important to you
Maybe some of these suggestions have sparked off a new idea for you, or perhaps you’ve got your own way to use willpower effectively. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Written on 8/2/2011 by Ali Luke. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.Photo Credit: ashleeappendicitus

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Who is That Person...

... staring back at me in the bathroom mirror?

I know that previous generations had the same thoughts but these days we are living longer than ever.

There is often a disconnect between how we see ourselves and our true physical appearance.

Women wear make up and do all sorts of things that I don't want to think about to create a more youthful appearance.

But it's not limited to just one gender as more and more men either go under the knife, get a shot of Botox, visit the tanning salon, the dentist or add some color to our gray hair.

It was 11 years ago that I was dating my wife and she convinced me to try some hair coloring and I went from gray to nearly dark black in 30 minutes or less.

I wasn't too sure about it, and have since tempered the coloring and usually have a mixture of gray and brown.

But there are still societal pressures that push us, and recently Mediapost presented a dozen questions that we should consider:

The Death Of Ageism

An exercise like this may not be very appealing or comfortable, but it can be invaluable for your business and yourself. Understanding ageism may seem like an odd subject when discussing advertising to Boomers, but it's actually crucial. Eliminating ageism is one of the keys to successfully communicating with them because it will help enable what every Boomer strives for: Positive Aging.

Here are a dozen thought-starters to help you begin what will be a very profitable process personally, as well as professionally. Think about these issues and, over time, it will reduce negative attitudes against young and old alike.

1. Do you believe that you're an ageist?
If you take umbrage at the very suggestion, perhaps you protest a bit too much. Take a closer look at your most cherished and certain beliefs about aging, and see if there's any prejudice to be found.

2. Are you afraid of aging?
It's a natural fear, particularly in our youth-worshipping culture. But if you don't face down that fear, you're setting yourself up for a horrendous fall if you're lucky enough to grow old one day. In the meantime, your fear will color your advertising and marcom decisions, much to your company's detriment.

3. Have you made an effort to learn about key aspects of aging?
The more realistically informed you are about aging and what to expect, the better you'll be able to evaluate and resist the inaccurate and negative stereotypes so often associated with the aging process. Strive to understand the differences between what's relevant in aging and what isn't, and you'll be on the path to enlightenment.

4. Do you harbor misinformation and erroneous beliefs about aging?
Once you understand the important aspects of aging, do you use facts to actively challenge the misconceptions and myths that can distort your thinking and behavior? Be sure to analyze your "positive" prejudices as well as your negative ones.

5. Do you believe in the stereotypes of aging?
To begin to answer this, examine the language you use when talking about aging, then go from there.

6. Do you appreciate the difference between ageism and discrimination?
You may never have done a single discriminatory thing to any older adult, yet still be an ageist at heart. In fact, some very well-meaning people overcompensate.

7. Have you carefully listened to how ageism can affect Boomers?
You can do this informally by speaking with them one on one, or you can do it more formally in a series of focus groups. Whatever you choose, there's no substitute for going directly to the source.

8. Have you monitored advertising, marcom and the media, observing how they reflect aspects of aging and ageism?
Carefully considering the negative ways in which older adults are portrayed in marcom, ads, commercials, films and television is crucial to understanding and overcoming ageism.

9. Have you considered advocating against ageism?
Obviously, sponsoring an initiative that champions the fight against ageism can do wonders for your company's image. But on a personal level, when someone you know uses ageist language or images, do you tactfully advise them to reconsider their attitude? Face it, even innocent jokes help keep ageism alive.

10. Are you careful about your own language and behavior toward older adults?
No matter how loving and generous you may be, nobody's perfect. A little self-examination just might prove profitable.

11. Do you talk openly about aging issues and ageism with your staff?
Hidden ageism that's never spoken about can be even more destructive than the overt kind, because it makes it easier for people to wallow in ignorance. A powerful way to fight ageism is to showcase people who don't fit any stereotypes in your advertising and marcom.

12. Can you build intergenerational bridges to promote better mutual understanding?
Ageism thrives in the Petri dish of ignorance. However, when all generations understand that they're interconnected throughout their lifespan, they'll begin to appreciate the power they have to affect each other's well-being.

Vincent Vassolo is the founder of Vim, Vigor & Vassolo, an agency that creates strategies, advertising and marcom programs targeting Boomers.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Give A Little

It used to be that if you were invited to someones home, you brought a gift. AOM wrote about this recently:

A Gentleman Never Arrives Empty-Handed

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Raymond.

It’s a sultry summer night, and you’re on your way to an elegant dinner party given by your boss and his charming wife. You arrive at the appropriate time, impeccably dressed in casual evening wear and greet your hostess with a smile—and nothing more.

Imagine your mortification and horror when you pass a table in the hall loaded with bottles of wine, flower arrangements, gourmet coffee, and other small gifts. You search your brain…is it the host’s anniversary? A birthday? Did someone retire?

Although the party might be a celebration of one of those occasions, it’s far more likely that guests with better manners than you brought thoughtful tokens of appreciation for their hosts.

Like thank you notes, the giving of gifts to your hosts is becoming a lost art. When we do remember to bring a nice little something, it’s invariably a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine from the corner liquor store. Really, can’t we do better than that?

Gone may be the days of bringing your hostess lavish crystal or a pair of mourning doves when you arrive at the manor for a weekend stay, but we haven’t become complete savages. Your hosts have expended a great deal of time, effort, and expense to provide you with an evening (or weekend) of food, drink, and entertainment. The least you can do is thank them with an appropriate gift.

Summer is here and with it a bevy of seasonal social obligations: barbeques, picnics, dinner parties, and weekends away. Never arrive at someone’s home without something more to contribute than your personality, as stunning as it might be. Take this opportunity to man up and accept this simple rule: no matter what the occasion, a gentleman never arrives empty-handed.

The Rules of Appropriate Gifting

A hostess gift doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful. Consider the types of activities your hosts enjoy, and gift accordingly. As a general rule, your budget should be around $15 to $30, depending upon the formality of the occasion.

An important rule to remember is that you should never bring anything that makes more work for your hosts. The best example is that of flowers: If you bring a cello-wrapped bouquet, your hostess must stop what she is doing, find a vase, trim the ends from the flowers and greenery, arrange the bouquet, and find a place for it. If you’re giving flowers, be sure to bring a bouquet that is already arranged in a vase.

Likewise, never bring food to add to the menu unless your hostess has specifically requested you do so. If you’d like to bring food or drink as your gift, make sure your hosts understand that the gift is for their enjoyment, and you don’t expect them to share it with their guests.

Give Thoughtfully

Although wine and flowers are traditional hostess gifts and will always be appreciated, why not challenge yourself and come up with something a little more creative? Try one of these suggestions:

  • Gourmet coffee. Always opt for whole bean coffee (if they’re the kind of people who will enjoy coffee as a gift, they’re likely to have their own grinder). Skip the fancy flavors and select a medium brew from a recognized brand, not the mystery bag you find on the shelf at Ross.
  • Fine chocolate. For a gift of chocolate to be a hit, it must be unusual and special. Visit an upscale department store or chocolatier for a small box of exquisite truffles.
  • Posh spices. If you know your hosts enjoy cooking, visit an upscale market or boutique for a selection of interesting peppercorns, cinnamon, or other often-used spices. A set of sea salts will likely be a big hit. You might also consider a small assortment of spices for ethnic food, such as turmeric, saffron, or coriander.
  • Scented candles. Yes, these are overdone, but there’s a reason for that—most everyone enjoys them. Opt for something well-crafted, not a Glade candle from the supermarket. For a host, try a candle with a uniquely masculine scent–like one that smells like a barbershop.
  • Kitchen gadgets. Hosts that frequently entertain will always enjoy adding another tool to their party arsenal, like retro metal cocktail skewers, linen kitchen cloths, or a set of unique coasters.
  • Fresh produce. If you happen to garden, bring a small box of your garden’s bounty, packaged so that it can go straight into the refrigerator. Even if your hosts are carnivores, they’ll delight in your interesting gift. Skip this option if you don’t garden or settle for something simple, like a large basket of succulent road-stand strawberries.

Avoid overly personal gifts, such as perfume, bath products, or articles of clothing. Although etiquette guides disagree, skip the houseplant unless your hostess has a renowned green thumb; otherwise, you put her at risk of worrying if she’ll kill it.

Although it may seem terribly clever, resist the urge to develop a “signature” gift, such as a particular bottle of wine you bring each time you visit. You might think your hosts delight in receiving your special brand of manliness, but in reality, they’re probably chuckling about the fact that you’ve brought the same bottle of poor quality chardonnay to their last three dinner parties.

Let the Gift Match the Occasion

Your hostess gift should reflect the occasion. An elaborate flower arrangement isn’t appropriate for a pool party, just as a six-pack just won’t do for a formal dinner. Consider the tone and nature of the party, and gift accordingly.

Occasions that demand hostess gifts include dinner parties, pool parties, weekend visits, extended stays…basically anytime you’re foisting your presence on someone in their home.

Although Peggy Post, descendent of etiquette doyenne Emily Post, says that it isn’t necessary to bring a gift to a cocktail party or open house, what could it hurt? Who doesn’t want another bottle of premium vodka for their bar? Who would be offended by a simple flower arrangement? It’s far better to err on the side of graciousness and bring a little something, regardless of the occasion.

Wine, Beer & Spirits

All this talk of flowers and scented candles aside, most men prefer to bring liquor to events they attend. Yes, as we’ve mentioned it’s not very unique, but it’s well-received, it’s easier, and it’s something many men feel more comfortable buying and giving. Appropriate to nearly every occasion—except if you’re visiting a “dry” house—alcohol can be a thoughtful hostess gift if you think a little before you purchase it.

Take wine, for example. If your hosts are oenologists, don’t insult them with a bottle of two-buck Chuck. Visit a real liquor store and purchase something in the $20 range, like a nice chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon. Or you could exercise a little creativity and select an interesting sauvignon blanc, viognier, zinfandel (red only, please), muscat or shiraz from a more unusual wine region, like Alexander Valley or Chile. If you are helpless around wine, ask the proprietor for help.

Fine liquor makes for another excellent hostess gift. Unless you know your host has specific tastes in spirits, stick to the basics, like brandy, fine gin, flavored vodka, or top-shelf tequila. Jagermeister, Goldschlager, and flavored schnapps are never acceptable.

You might think that beer isn’t an appropriate hostess gift, but you would be wrong—provided you give it at the right occasion. As previously mentioned, a formal dinner is not the right event for beer, unless, of course, your host is a microbrewery aficionado. In that case, opt for something unique and interesting, like something you’d order from a beer club. For more casual occasions, pick up a six-pack of good beer, like a stout or an IPA.

Giving the Gift with Style

Although it isn’t necessary to stick a bow on your sixer or your wine in a fancy bag, you should take care to present your gift with style. Non-alcohol-related gifts should be wrapped or otherwise artfully presented, with the price tags removed and the store bag left in the car.

When you arrive, don’t thrust the package at your host the moment she opens the door. Say hello, walk inside, and only then present your host with your thoughtful gift. Make certain she knows that she is under no obligation to share; the gift is purely for her amusement and enjoyment.


Raymond is a beer enthusiast and casual blogger. Currently he writes about beer for, a site that reviews and rates Beer Clubs.

Related posts:

  1. How to Be the Perfect Party Guest
  2. ProFlowers Valentine’s Day Giveaway: Win a $70 Bouquet of Flowers for the Woman In Your Life
  3. How to be the Perfect Houseguest
  4. How to Give Flowers Like a Victorian Gentleman

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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Combining Business with Pleasure

I swipped this from my employers website.

Last week I was reaching out via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn along with phone calls and emails to invite folks within driving distance to Fort Wayne, Indiana to this event.

And now you know about it too:

You'll learn ...
Best Practices for developing new products
How to grow and support your dealer/distributor network
How to apply modern marketing tools - websites, search engines & social media - effectively across your entire product distribution network.

Register online or call 260.420.2222
11:00 AM - 3:30 PM
(Lunch Provided)

Northeast Indiana Innovation Center's Cole Auditorium

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Collaboration and the Regional Economy
JOHN SAMPSON, President / CEO NE Indiana Regional Partnership
John provides the strategic direction that helps the Partnership fulfill its mission to generate business investment in the region. His primary role is to support collaborative relations with stakeholders, encourage regional communications, and expand all channels of business development.
Prior to joining the Partnership, John served as Vice President for External Affairs and President of AEP-Indiana. He also served previously as site vice president and plant manager of the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, Michigan, and as maintenance production manager at the Washington Nuclear Project No. 2. John holds a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy.
Managing Your Innovation Pipeline for Manufacturing Growth
Steve Franks
Director of Programs
Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC)
Steve is an expert on product innovation and works with successful startups, corporate spinoffs, and new product launches on a daily basis. Recent successes include clients such as Schwartz Biomedical and TrustBearer Labs – both of which achieved sizeable angel investment and developed significant technology products and platforms.
Growing and Supporting Your Dealer/Distributor Network
Mark Burke
Cirrus ABS Corporation
Mark is an expert in online marketing technology and helps Cirrus ABS clients use it more effectively to achieve their business goals. Formerly, he was the Chief Infrastructure Architect for Sony/Time Warner-owned Columbia House at the height of its success in the music and entertainment industry.
Program Information
Karl LaPan
President and CEO
Northeast Indiana Innovation Center
Case Studies & Panel Discussion
Tim Litton
Director of Marketing
Waterfurnace International
Case Studies & Panel Discussion
Nick Bond
Russ Moore Transmission

Register for Manufacturing Growth Symposium in Fort Wayne, IN on Eventbrite

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