Saturday, October 01, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Yes, Bowling is a Sport

Wrapping up best of Really? archives this week with:

Last time I went bowling, I had all of the above except the beer. Mt. Dew was my drink.

The next time I go, I'll be better prepared thanks to this piece from the AOM blog:

How to Bowl a Strike

Bowling has a long and thoroughly manly history.

But if you’re like me, then your contribution to this legacy of manliness hasn’t been anything to write home about. Which is to say, for much of my life I was a pretty sorry bowler. I liked going bowling with my friends and reveling in some manly camaraderie, but being a competitive guy, it was hard to enjoy a game while getting trounced by everyone else.

And I rarely got to experience the sheer joy and ecstasy of bowling a strike. There’s nothing like seeing all ten of those pins disappear from the lane. So lately I’ve been trying to up my game. With some practice, reading, and advice from guys who bowl strikes on a regular basis, I’ve been able to improve my strike ball. I’m not bowling perfect games by any means, but I’ll get three or four strikes in a game now.

And so to help my fellow floundering bowlers, I offer a few tips on how to bowl a strike.

Be flexible. Flexibility and the ability to adapt are essential to consistently bowling strikes because every lane you bowl on is different. Why? Well, have you ever crossed the foul line and found yourself on your butt? That’s because bowling lanes are oiled and the amount of oil and the way it’s spread on the lane can differ from lane to lane. Heck, the oil pattern on a single lane can change throughout the game. Changes in oil amount and pattern can cause your ball to break differently. So be prepared to adjust your approach.

If you're right-handed, aim for the ball to hit the pocket in-between the 1 and 3 pins.

The key is in the pocket. The key to consistent strikes is to angle the ball into the “pocket.” For a right-handed bowler, the pocket is between the one-pin and three-pin. For a lefty, it’s between the one-pin and two-pin.

Choose a lighter ball. Yeah, I know. You want to show off your manly strength by hurling an 18 pound ball down the lane like the thunder god Tor. And yeah, it’s fun to see the pins fly in the air when a heavy ball hits them, but if you want to bowl strikes, consider lightening up a bit. To bowl strikes, you want the pins to hit each other, and not just fly up in the air. Heavy balls make pins fly in the air; lighter balls make the pins hit each other. Many pros these days have started using the 14 1/2 or 15 pound balls because of the advantage lighter balls provide. So go ahead. Use that girl ball without shame.

Focus, but not on the pins. The pins are your target, but you don’t want to focus or aim for them. Instead, pick one of the arrows in the middle of the lane and aim to have your ball roll right over it. If you’re a right-handed bowler, aim for the second arrow from the right. Lefties, aim for the second arrow from the left. Because most lane oil is in the middle of the lane, throwing your ball on the outside will give it more traction down the entire lane.

Line up your approach. Before the foul line, you’ll see three rows of dots that parallel the lane–one row right before the foul line and two rows a bit back from it. Use one of these latter rows to line up your approach to the foul line (which one you choose is determined by how many steps you take before releasing the ball). If you’re right-handed with a slight hook, place your left foot just to the right of the middle dot. If you’re left-handed, your right foot should be placed just to the left of the center dot.

If you consistently hit the pocket from that approach, you’ve found your strike ball. Keep approaching from that spot. If you’re missing left, move a bit to your left on the approach. If you’re missing right, move right. Yeah, that seems sort of counter-intuitive, but a righty bowler misses left because his ball hooked too early. Sames goes for a lefty. Moving towards the direction you’re missing and aiming for the same arrow will force the ball farther down the lane before hooking into the pins. Try it. It works.

It's all in the toes.

Make your approach. Start your approach towards the line. The four step approach is the most commonly used approach by the pros, but if the Fred Flintstone twinkle-toes thing works for you, then do it. Keep your eye on your target arrow the entire time and make sure you’re walking in a straight line.

Keep your arm straight. On the backswing, keep your arm straight and close to the body. Your hand should come up to shoulder level.

Step of power! The power step is the second-to-last step in your approach and it gives your body a bit more momentum which adds to the leverage of your armswing, giving you a stronger release of the ball. If you’re right handed, your power step will be with your right foot. Lefties, with the left. Your power step leg should have a nice bend to it which will help you slide on your left foot. Watch that you don’t cross the foul line!

Release the ball at the bottom of your downward swing. You want to time the release just right. Too early and you can lose velocity, too late and you’ll cause the ball to bounce.

Curve it. Remember, to bowl strikes we want the ball to hit the pocket, and to do that effectively, we need some curve to our throw. This takes some practice to perfect, but here’s some general advice to get started. If you’re right-handed, rotate your thumb to a 10 o’clock position as you release the ball. If you’re left-handed, rotate your thumb to a 2 o’clock position. This will give your ball a bit of spin as it hurtles towards the pins.

You want the ball to curve into the pocket.

Follow through. A mistake that many novices make in bowling is not following through after releasing the ball. Failing to follow through reduces rotation on the ball and consequently decreases accuracy. Once you release the ball, keep your arm going in the pendulum motion until your hand is above your head.

Be like Frank. Take it nice and easy. Don’t rush. It’s easy to get in a hurry especially when you get flustered. Maintain a slow and smooth approach and release.

Fist pump/air pistols/Jesus Quintana Dance. Revel in the sweet sound of a strike with a celebratory fist pump. Or you could go with the classic Pistol Pete air pistols and pretend that you’re shooting all the pins down with your fingers.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011


This is a transition week, and I've scheduled a few Best of Really? posts from the 2011 archives. Like this one from January:

Living in Real Life too

Before you had a computer and a cellphone, (if you are that old!), you had an off-line life.

In order for you to spend time online, you had to reduce time you spent doing something else.

Do you know what that was, that you used to do, before you started spending time online?

Do you spend less time watching TV?

Do you spend less time talking with your spouse?

Do you spend less time exercising?

Do you even know what you used to do with the time you created to be online?

Please use your time online appropriately.

This means different things to each of us.

If relationships are being neglected, make changes.

If there are other projects that are being neglected, make changes.

One more point on this subject, and it's about giving.

These days, my kids are grown, getting married, making grandkids and doing the things I did 25 years ago.

My wife and I have more freedom with our time than we did years ago. Yes, we both work at least 5 days a week, but without kids we really enjoy being able to pick and choose what to do after hours.

One of the things I do is give of my time. Some of the organizations that I am involved with include the Fort Wayne Central Lions Club, The Anthony Wayne Area Council (Scouting), The Fort Wayne chapter of the American Advertising Federation, The Gus Macker Basketball tournament, The Three Rivers Festival, and a few other events and organizations as they come up.

We also attend a weekly worship service at our church and have launched a couple of businesses.

And just because our kids are in their 20's, doesn't mean we are not involved with them. Between last year and this year, we have 3 weddings, another college graduation, my stepson had a daughter, his third child; and my youngest and her husband are expecting their first child.

Everything that I'm aware of right now with our kids will be over by mid-August, but they will be replaced with new things.

I challenge you to keep a balance in your online and off-line lives, use the online world as a tool, not a replacement for life in the flesh.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Case You Missed the News

I am preparing for an online transition this week, so I have scheduled some repeats from earlier this year including this one from July:

Thought I'd take a moment and let you know what I've done this summer in case you missed the announcement a few weeks ago.

After 8+ years working in sales and management with the Summit City Radio Group of stations in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I decided to accept an offer from Cirrus ABS, also headquartered in Fort Wayne.

This new opportunity is wide open as I help Cirrus find clients for their Net-Centered Marketing Agency.

Every year, while working in the radio business, I had people contact me asking me if I would consider working for them, and I always said no thanks.

This time was different.

I get to apply my marketing consulting background to the web world and help businesses and organizations find solutions that are cost effective and make good strategic sense.

I don't need to know how to write code to build websites, because we have 30 others at Cirrus ABS who handle those details.

I'm here to to act as an interpreter between the geeky-tech world and your business world.

Quite frankly, it is amazing.

I'm also in my 5th year on the Board of Directors for the Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne and involved with multiple other volunteer organizations.

Anything I can do to help? Just ask.

And please think of me first when you are needing anything web related.

My contact info is: and 260-255-4357


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This week I'm featuring Best of Really? posts from the 2011 archives. This is from February:

Make Room for Silly

I read this yesterday from the DLM Blog.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

The Happiest Day of a Dying Marine's Life

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 10:12 AM PST

A few weeks ago, while packing up after a speaking program for a high school’s support staff, I had the privilege of chatting with one of the custodians. His name was Frank.

Frank shared with me a story from his childhood, starring his father, a career Marine. The family operated pretty much as you might expect under the head of a someone who’d spent his whole life in the service and saw action in two wars. The kids had buzz cuts. The household was in perfect order. And when Dad spoke, you listened.

One day, during a family drive, Frank’s father came to a stoplight. He abruptly put the car in park and announced, “Alright everybody! It’s time for a fire drill -- everybody out of the car!” The rest of the family was temporarily stunned, but what choice did they have? An order was an order! Within moments, they joined the 5-foot-8-inch spark plug outside and did several laps around the parked car. Then he commanded the eldest son, who was only 13 at the time, to get in the front seat and drive.

“But Dad,” the son exclaimed. “I don’t know how to drive!”

“You can drive. Let’s go!”

Well, the son did what he was told, and after a few shaky, herky-jerky blocks, the dad ordered the car to a halt, saying with a chuckle, “You’re right. You can’t drive. I’ll take it from here.”

The family’s shared laughter lasted for miles and miles and years and years. According to Frank, from that day on, his dad was a changed man.

Frank’s father died last February from emphysema. While he was in the hospital, in the middle of his final battle, the old man reflected back on his years. With tears in his eyes, he declared that day to be the happiest day in his life. Not the day he was married. Not the day his kids were born. The day he ordered the Chinese fire drill. The family that was with him on that memorable day was with him as he shared his deathbed reflection. And that night, he passed way.

Not only had Frank’s dad seen war firsthand -- with an abundance of wounds to prove it -- he also watched his brother die in the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the time of the famous fire drill, his duty to turn boys into men and train them for war weighed heavily on him.

It’s hard for me to imagine the burden he carried and the nightmares that must have perpetually haunted him. But what a testament to the power of a small rebellion! Imagine it with me: a disciplined, serious, strait-laced Marine who one moment is navigating the family station wagon and the next is circling it wildly with reckless abandon, amidst a chorus of silly giggles and hearty chuckles.

Today, there are many people who are being asked to do more with less. Our world is still wracked with war. We hear story after story of people losing their jobs, their homes, their battle with cancer. Perhaps you are among them.

Life isn’t easy. Sometimes it seems too hard to bear. But no matter how hopeless or heavy it seems, hang in there.

You see, as difficult as things can get, I am encouraged and inspired by the fact that sometimes, a tiny action -- a decision to zig instead of zag -- can be more powerful than corporations, governments, or an army of powerful tanks.

So even if the cause seems lost or a solution out of sight, try instigating a small rebellion. Who knows? A random act of silliness may just turn the tide and turn today into the happiest day of your life.

Written on 2/25/2011 by Jason Kotecki. Jason is a cartoonist, author, and professional speaker. Jason and his wife Kim (a former kindergarten teacher) make it their mission in life to fight Adultitis and help people use strategies from childhood to create lives with less stress and more fun. Stop by for more tips for escaping adulthood.Photo Credit: Jason Kotecki

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Monday, September 26, 2011

96% of the world can't see this

This week I'm featuring Best of Really? posts from the 2011 archives:

Because you have a computer you are in the Top 12%.

Internet access puts you in the Top 4%.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Transition Time for ScLoHo

This week my afternoon updates that I post at 4:08pm are going to be some "Best of Posts".

Here's why:

This summer when I transitioned from my 8+ years at Summit City Radio to a new career with Cirrus ABS, my co-worker Kevin Mullett challenged me to create something new.

Since 2003 my online persona has been as ScLoHo.

It actually began back in the 1990's when I was looking for a unique email address. Then when I launched my first blog on the Blogger platform I began using ScLoHo as a 1 name identity.

My given name is not unique. Google Scott Howard and you'll come up with the character that Michael J. Fox played in the movie Teenwolf; you'll find doctors, basketball players, crooks, restauranteurs, just about any profession has a "Scott Howard" in it.

ScLoHo is a mashup of my First, Middle and Last names: Scott Louis Howard. And while I have not purposely hid my identity, there are some people who know me only as one or the other.

The challenge that Kevin gave me was to create an online identity as Scott Howard.

My challenge was the transition. This is not a simple task, but there is enough stock in the ScLoHo personal brand that I decided to accept these challenges.

Earlier this year I bought domains for each of my websites and Blogger made it simple to change from their domain to the custom domain without losing any of the "juice" that I had built.

After talking with Kevin, I bought another domain which will be the new home of all of the blog posts that I post starting in October. is the domain in case you want to check it out as I am still developing it.

One of the challenges I'm learning is WordPress. Blogger (also known as Blogspot) which has been the home for most of the websites I've been working with, has been very easy to use and even customize.

While WordPress has plenty of options, the Dashboard interface and posting is different from Blogger and it took awhile for this limited geek to learn the differences. already has over 100 posts that I imported from my other sites. In my learning process I discovered how to export then import over 4000 blog posts, out of the 11,000 that I have created in the past 8 years.

For those of you that have been using WordPress all along, you probably haven't had some of the struggles I went through.

I was also looking for a way to organize 4 separate websites into one new site with 5 or 6 categories.

I needed a theme that gave me the option of presenting all the updates, or the updates according to category, in a layout that would be easy to navigate for both you and me.

And I wanted to be sure I was employing Search Engine Optimization along with Social Sharing options. Quite frankly, these were not a big priority until recently when I started working for Cirrus ABS.

Cirrus is the largest website development company in the area and what attracted me to them was their understanding of marketing which is the heart of what I have been doing since 1986. Cirrus developed their own Content Management System which is the heart and engine of their Web platform and makes SEO and Social Sharing very, very easy for our clients.

But I decided to initially build on the WordPress platform so I would have that background knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of WordPress which is commonly used by many website developers.

One thing I have learned off the bat is that WordPress is not out of the box friendly to non-professionals the way the Cirrus Small Business Suite is very friendly.

(If you want more info about Cirrus's website solutions, or net-centered marketing, just drop me an email: and mention Cirrus in the subject line.)

One of the ways I have promoted my 4 blogs was social media including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. These will continue to be a factor with the new website.

In the past year I have posted 46 updates per week spread over the 4 blogs. There will be a new strategy in place with the new site as I continue to strive for quality over quantity.

I still have lot's of work to do to be ready for the official public launch of, but am confident that most will be put in place over the next 7 days.


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