Thank you to my mentors through the years ….

  • To Vince Coultis, for always motivating (even when we’re no longer coworkers) and with whom I worked to create a mantra of “What, So What, Now What” for turning data into information and insights
  • To Alex Sodek, who said “When something is urgent, slow down” to make sure you get it right versus making mistakes
  • To Bill Hartel, a client at Hallmark Cards, who pointed out “If you’re not in Sales, you better be supporting someone who is”

Mentors also come in academia:

  • To Steve Parker, my college adviser, for helping me love marketing & research
  • To Greg Allenby, my favorite teacher at any level (who taught Multi-Variate Analysis for Decision Making while I was working on my MBA at Ohio State) for showing lots of things … including how to look at both numbers, the situation and how it all fits together

The reason I’m thinking about mentors today?  One of the leaders / mentors at my company posted the following this morning:

Remember your mentor. Celebrate them. Remind them how much they mean to you. Are you paying it forward? Are you sharing, nurturing and guiding people coming up the ranks?

This is a great reminder to remember our mentors and pass on wisdom to others. Also, don’t assume the mentor has to be the older one; I’ve learned an awful lot from those younger than me.  In fact, two people can even mentor one another on different topics.

Read, Read and Read some more

I love to read.  I find it relaxing and a distraction from what’s going on in the world.  As we hit mid-March, I’ve now read 8 books as part of Mid-Continent Public Library’s #WinterReadingChallenge (so far this year) plus I’m in the process of reading 2 more and I’ve got another 2 waiting next to the bed.

I also love to read  The Kansas City Star … and not just because I work for McClatchy, its parent company; I also enjoy magazines, like Sports Illustrated and Time.

I’m in a book club at Avondale United Methodist. I’ve read some but not all of those books; here’s the current list & when we discussed them:

  • 11/10/2018 West with the Night Beryl Markham – I enjoyed this one but the title was about only one small moment in the story
  • 12/08/2018 A Wrinkle in Time Madeline L’Engle – this is a classic and a quick read; recently, I watched the movie and didn’t feel it did it justice
  • 01/12/2019 The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits Les Standiford – this had a lot of back story that was probably necessary but harder to get through; once it got to when Dickens was writing “A Christmas Carol” it was much more interesting
  • 02/09/2019 The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession Mark Obmascik – I really enjoyed this book (it’s one of the 7 I’ve read this year) & also liked the movie
  • 03/09/2019 The Country Club District of Kansas City LaDene Morton – I started it but ran out of time and didn’t finish it so I didn’t attend the book club meeting which was too bad because the author met with the group

Next up for the AUMC Book Club:

  • 04/13/2019 The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland Jim DeFede – this one’s next to the bed waiting to be read; if you’ve read the book, join us for the discussion – details are here.
  • 05/11/2019 Devil in the White City Erik Larson
  • 06/8/2019 The Women in the Castle Jessica Shattuck
  • 07/13/2019 Killers of the Flower Moon David Grann – I’ve seen this listed by others in #WinterReadingChallenge so I’m hoping some of them join in on our discussion.
  • 08/10/2019 A Gentleman in Moscow Amor Towles
  • 09/14/2019 Flat Broke with Two Goats Jennifer McGaha
  • 10/12/2019 The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Jonas Jonasson
  • update from the leader of my book club … FYI the 911 book got swapped around with Killers of the Flower Moon, due to a mixup at the library this month. 

A few months ago, my brother Dave (who has written several books and is also really into music, but that’s another story) started a book club for Classic Books.  The book club was inspired by a list of The Top 100 Works of Fiction and everything they read comes from that list.  I decided to read some of the books they were reading.  For a couple selections, I’d already read them; otherwise, I’ve only missed one.

With a few of the selections, I found myself thinking of a movie (or more often a specific character from a movie) where others might not see a parallel.

Here’s the list of what the group has read so far:

  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment(August 2018) – when I read the words of the main character, I kept thinking of Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck; it’s more about the way he speaks or perhaps his attitude about life that gets me.
  • Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Part 1 (September 2018) &
    Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Part 2 (October 2018) – I kept thinking of Monty Python and the Holy Grail; by the way, I love that movie but am not as big a fan of the series & there’s a parallel to this book … it’s great to enjoy a story about Don Quixote but having several small stories (that are essentially the same) over & over starts to get a big tiresome for me.
  • Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude (November 2018) – well, I started it but couldn’t get into it and had several other books I was reading at the time so I decided to step away from my brother’s book club for a little while.
  • John Irving A Prayer for Owen Meany (January 2019) – I had read this one years ago but actually knew the story before I ever started as my brother described it to me in great detail as we walked to “The Point” at Boy Scout camp near Osceola, Missouri.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby (February 2019) – I had read this previously and consider it my least favorite of anything I ever read; I saw the movie a few years ago and my opinion of the movie wasn’t any better.
  • J. D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye (March 2019) – I actually made it to the discussion of this one (my first time joining them rather than just telling my brother what I thought of the books) … I shared that this made me think of Ferris Bueller; others said that the friend in Ferris Bueller would make a better parallel.  Either way, both have the story of a teen sharing in the first-person in a world revolving around him & his adventures.  This was also one of the 8 that I read this year as part of the #WinterReadingChallenge.

Next up:

  • Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 (April 2019) – I read this one immediately before reading The Catcher in the Rye after ordering both at once from my library. This was also one of the 8 that I read this year as part of the #WinterReadingChallenge.
  • Evelyn Waugh Brideshead Revisited (May 2019) – this one’s next to the bed waiting to be read … I’m not that excited about this but hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised
  • James Joyce Ulysses (June 2019) – I have been warned it’s long; doubt I’d read it on my own but want to read it so I can discuss it with others
  • George Orwell 1984 (July 2019) – I read this in December 1983 so I could find out what was in store for the new year; thankfully, that wasn’t the case.

In addition to those books that I’ve read as part of a book club, I’ve been on a baseball kick lately, having read …

  • The Art of Scouting: Seven Decades Chasing Hopes and Dreams in Major League Baseball by Art Stewart and Sam Mellinger … bring on the Kansas City Royals#RaisedRoyal
  • The Silence, the Series, & the Season of Sungwoo by Chris Kamler
  • The Night the World Turned Royal Blue by Jason Sivewright (this is a children’s book and I read it twice to my granddaughter; she’s 2 so wasn’t around to experience the joy of post-season baseball with the Kansas City Royals … hopefully she doesn’t have to wait 30 years)

The two books I’m currently reading are also related to baseball:

  • Ted Williams: the Biography of an American Hero by Leigh Montville
  • The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime by by Jason Turbow

Finally, I also read The Last Days of Summer by Sophie Pembroke; I thought it was going to be a baseball book; it definitely wasn’t (there’s a baseball book with the same title but by a different author) but I’m glad I read it; it’s about a young writer visiting her grandfather (a famous author) amidst lots of family drama.

When I attended the Classic Books discussion, my brother had us do introductions that included a favorite book; I mentioned one on Top 100 list: The Old Man and the Sea (1952) by Ernest Hemingway … who started his writing career at The Kansas City Star – details

To keep the conversation going and have a virtual book club, here are two questions:

  • So, what are some of your favorite books?
  • What are you currently reading?

P.S. After posting this, I realized that I left out my favorite of the 8 (not 7) books I’ve read this year: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown; my friend Anita (who is also one of my Mom’s neighbors) recommended this to me and I really enjoyed it. It takes place in the time immediately before WWII and is both a study in living in hard times and competitive spirit.  I really enjoyed both elements of the (true) story.


Categories: Books, Uncategorized

Biggest and Smallest Ads

I thought it was interesting to read about Arby’s setting two new Guinness World Records to promote switch to Coke:

I hadn’t seen the ads (since I don’t live in New York or Nebraska) but now I’ve read an article and watched a video all about it and I’m sharing it no my blog and through social media.  So, I guess I’m helping give Arby’s and Coca-Cola free advertising.  Yet I’m okay with that because I think it’s clever.

4 things kids need 1st thing every day

At the most basic level, here’s what children need immediately upon waking-up:

  1. hydration for body and brain functioning
  2. physical affection
  3. small wins for confidence
  4. appreciation and affirmation

For the full article, please go to this link:

I didn’t write this nor do I have any connection to the author or the organization; I just think it’s good advice.  As a Step-Dad of 3 and a Grandpa to 6 (soon 7) kids, I am eager to see as many people as possible making a positive difference in the lives of children.

Categories: Family, Kids

Garage Sale & Alex’s Lemonade Stand

We’re having a garage sale at my home this Friday (5/18) and Saturday (5/19) plus all beverage sales will support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to fight childhood cancer; if you stop by on Saturday, you can purchase some lemonade from my grandson.   We’ll also be supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation on June 1st and 2nd at the Hy-Vee off of I-29 and 64th Street in Kansas City North, located at 5330 NW 64th St, KCMO 64151.  If you prefer to donate online, please click this link  (Lauren Kelly is my daughter-in-law)

As far as the garage sale goes, we have a variety of items including (but not limited to) …

  • outdoors
  • cooking
  • automotive
  • tools
  • children’s toys

If you don’t know where I live and want to stop by, send me a message.

Martial Arts & Life Lessons

I just read a blog on Medium titled, “Before You Choose A Martial Art Read This.” and while I’ve never done a martial art, I’d recommend reading this.

However, here’s the shorthand version in one quotation:

you must have a natural liking or disposition to the martial art you choose

I think that applies to a lot of things in life.  It’s going to be a lot of work and take a lot of time so make sure it’s something to which you have a natural liking or disposition.  That could be a sport but it could also be your job/career, relationships or hobbies.

So, what is natural for you to like?

Give … blood, coats, money, time, prayers

We all have ways that we can help others. It might be spending time helping your favorite charity or maybe you make a financial contribution. And despite what some say, I believe that keeping someone in your thoughts and prayers is a good thing … as long as you actually do so and they’re not just throw away words.

Anyway, I think each of those are outstanding ways to help your neighbor and encourage you to continue but I’d also like to mention two ways you can join me in helping others:

  • This weekend, I’m going to donate blood to the Community Blood Center.  They’re having a blood drive at Avondale United Methodist Church this Sunday (Oct. 15, from 8am to 1pm) and I’m planning to participate.  I received a reminder in the mail from the community blood center that my blood type (A+) can be safely transfused to almost 50% of all patients.  So, come join me in giving blood – you never know whose life you might be saving.
  • You have an opportunity to donate your “gently used” coats and blankets to Project Warmth Kansas City.   The official donation day is Saturday, November 4, from 9am to 3pm.  That day, you can drop off your donations to one of several area locations.  However, if that day doesn’t work, we’re fortunate to have Prime Sleep helping out this year by accepting coats & blankets at any of their 9 area locations in the next couple weeks leading up to donation day.

Think Globally, Act Locally.  Do your part today!

Categories: Church, Project Warmth Tags: ,