Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No Kryptonite Allowed

Do you have a Fortress of Solitude?

Two explanations and I am out...

A fortress is a building designed to be defended, which means it was very hard for enemies to get inside.

Solitude is a state of being alone without being lonely and can lead to self-awareness.

Got one? No? Get one...now.

Yes? Good for you. Always remember where it is.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Run it up the Alley

This year, I coached both of my sons in flag football. It was my third year (2 as head coach) coaching my oldest son Jack and my first year coaching Charlie. It was a tremendous rush for me to be able to coach both boys and I definitely have the coaching bug. This particular blog is going to focus a little more on my experience with Jack's team.

One thing to realize with kids this age is that they still can be easily tricked or manipulated by misdirection (reverses, multiple pitches, etc). We won the championship this year (8-1-1) and we did it with very little misdirection. Footnote; The first year with Jack, I was an assistant coach and the head coach taught me a lot about coaching at this level. I also learned what not to do from him. He had this one play that was based off of total deception and trickery and had nothing to do with teaching the kids anything. I swore I would never go down that route if I were head coach. I started the year off by teaching the kids two basic plays...the fullback dive and the pitch/sweep. The kids worked at those two plays and by the end of the season had it down beautifully.

Take this to another level all together with the Wisconsin Badgers this year. They had one of their most prolific offensive years in their history due to executing the basics in the running game. They were successful in large part to a fantastic offensive line. There was one play in particular that stood out for me against Purdue. It was a picture perfect power sweep where the LT (Gabe Carimi), the LG (John Moffitt) and the C (Peter Konz) executed it beautifully. Konz and Carimi pulled while Moffitt made sure no back side pursuit got by. Carimi sealed the edge (actually blocked two guys), Konz kicked outside and there was a beautiful alley for the back to explode through. Touchdown...6 points.

These two examples at extremely different levels of football all point back to the man that has his own Broadway play about him right now. Vincent Thomas Lombardi and the power sweep. Lombardi's power sweep is iconic to football because it all came down to execution. Everyone knew it was coming but no one could stop it. He typically ran it with both guards (Thurston and Kramer) pulling, the tackle (either Skoronski or Gregg) sealing off the inside and the lead back clearing out anything that is left. Like most Lombardi plays, the sweep relied on a minimum of deception but a maximum of effort and execution.

The fullback dive and the sweep/pitch exemplify the simplicity, beauty and uniqueness of football. It really is the only true team sport where it takes all 11 guys doing the right thing on each play for that play to be successful. Whether it's flag football, major college football or pro football...it all comes down to the same thing...execution.

Jack's team was successful...the Wisconsin Badgers were successful...and of course the Green Bay Packers were successful because of it.

One more thing...I am certainly not drawing any comparisons to myself and Lombardi. The only two connection points are the pronounced gap between our front top teeth and the Italian heritage.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I was nineteen and thought zinfandel was the answer.
I drank it with some, all and none
by the neon glow that I thought was the moon.
It looked real…but it was way too light.

I was thirty-five and thought zinfandel was the answer.
I drank it with some, all and none
By the moon glow that I thought was neon.
It was real but deeper…darker…crimsoner.

Now I still think zinfandel is the answer.
I drink it with some, all and none
And we create our own glow.
Complex…yet oh so very simple.

The Redder the better.

The Black and White Pirouette

Editor's note; First of all...please accept my apologies. Been way too long since my last post. I've been meaning to...I think I need to re-prioritize. Also...I was in the mood to pull some old stuff up. And Again...I apologize if you don't quite get these. The next two are going to be old school writings but then I want to talk about Vince Lombardi and the beauty of the power sweep, good friends and holidays. I know...you can't wait.

It was a dance. A dance no one else could do
to a song that doesn’t exist but in her mind.

Everyone, everywhere was chasing the ball but her.
It was black and white. Kicking it. Goaling it. Score.

She wasn’t interested. She danced.
Oh, how wrong. Why?
Because we say so.

It’s black and white. Forget the dandelions.
Forget the clouds. Score.
That’s how we win the game.
Who’s game?
Not mine.

It’s not the score. It’s not the game.
It’s the dance of the black and white pirouette.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Think about this one...

Yeah...I know...it's been too long and I will apologize in advance for the heavy topic but it hit me today...

I hate cancer.

I hate cancerous people.

I have known people who I have loved dearly who I have lost to the former.

I have known people who I have loved dearly who have lost themselves to the latter.

Usually, the people who live in the latter have some discontent in their lives. I get it...we all have it. I am not trivializing it or being patronizing. You have problems. They are hard. You feel you aren't getting a fair shake. It's OK to lick your wounds. It's OK to seek comfort. It's OK to seek mutual discontent. Misery DOES love company. You are being human. It's OK...

It's not OK to spread your discontent. C'mon people...it's time to take a count of your energizing inventory. Focus on what you have...not what you don't. Actually...scratch that...you can focus on one thing you don't have...Cancer.

This post is not intended to be dark or preachy (yeah, I said preachy). Sorry if it came out that way...just trying to keep perspective on things. It's like one of those eye trick exams where they ask you what do you see. What do you see? If you change your perspective, the picture tends to look a whole lot better.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Go ahead and say it

Editor's note; Sorry for the long delay in getting a new post out. That thing called "real life" got in the way of my writing.

Psssst...want to hear a secret?? Would you like to know how you can make a huge difference in someone's life?

It really is quite simple and it never fails.

I know the suspense is killing you...

Here it is...

Give a compliment to someone. That's it...that's all you have to do. Now it has to be heartfelt, real and well deserved but that's the one thing you have to do (there's that one thing from Curly coming back again)to make a difference in someone's life.

Think back on how you felt when you worked on something and someone recognized you for it. It felt pretty good didn't it?

Here is the really cool part...when you compliment someone for what they did...you will feel better for making that person feel better. It's a personal positive viral reaction (I should copyright that one).

Go ahead and try it. I dare you.

Remember though...this is secret between me and you...please tell everyone.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Editors note; Every once in awhile, I am going to throw down some of my writings from the past. Sorry in advance if they don't make a lot of sense...they do to me and served a purpose when I wrote them.

Someday, past thoughts will be remembered
Someday, new memories will be made
Someday, past roads will be covered
Someday, new territories discovered.

Someday, past songs will be sung
Someday, new melodies will be created
Someday, past games will be replayed
Someday, new events, there will be play.

Someday, past friends will be found
Someday, new loves will find again.
Someday, past hearts will be whole
Someday, new souls will be complete.

My only wish is that
Someday comes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What is right?


the state or quality of being creative.
the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.
the process by which one utilizes creative ability: Extensive reading stimulated his creativity.

There are not many formal definitions of words
that actually make for good reading...but #2 really does. Think about it...."to have the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships of the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc." We are talking powerful stuff here...the stuff that moves mountains.

Each and everyone of us is creative in our own way. Let me say that again...EACH AND EVERYONE OF US IS CREATIVE IN OUR OWN WAY! I know there are some people out there who say to themselves..."I am not creative"....but I have news for you...you are.

We are born with creativity.

When my son was small, he was playing with a box and pretending it was a car. So what did I do...I did what any sensible, sound, logical, left brained parent would do...I bought him a car so he could actually play with a "real" car rather than use his imagination on the box. I didn't mean to go left brain on him and take a little piece of that right brain real estate away but I did.

The next time you see something like that...let the right brain go for a little while longer...you'll never know what could happen.

And the next time you are thinking that you aren't creative...think back to when you were a child and you let your imagination run loose on the right brain playground.

We are all created equal...we call equally can create. Go create something.

Everyone has the power to be creative. There is not a single person on this planet that isn't creative because creativity is an individual attribute that can be displayed in an infinite number of ways.

Creativity is at its peak when we are children. As we grow older, the rules of society try to diminish our creative skills. Case in point, when my son was a young toddler, he was pretending a box was a car. So what did I do (as any good parent would've)? I bought him a car so he could actually play with a car rather than pretend the box was a car. Sensible, rational, sound choice...right? Sure...very left brain. But...I actually took a part of my son's right brain away. A box couldn't possibly be a car, right? Oh...but it was for my son. I wasn't trying to left brain him...I was just trying to do the right thing (by society's measures).

Look, I am not saying never buy your kids a toy car...all I am saying is appreciate and encourage the imagination it takes to make a box a car.

We are all created equal...we all equally can create.

Pretty cool, huh?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ray Kinsella is no CEO

I am in advertising. I've always loved the power of it. It has the ability to move people to make decisions. It plants the seed of choice.

My primary purpose and goal when I work with clients is to help them define their brand and then help develop stories to promote that brand. It's a pretty cool gig when you think about it.

I truly believe that every business needs to advertise in some way. I really don't care how they do it or what medium they choose...as long as they do it.

It still boggles my mind. There are still business owners out there that honestly feel that their business is a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field in Dyersville, Iowa.

"If you build it, they will come."

They honestly feel that all they have to do is open their doors and people will flock into their business. I got news for you...that ain't gonna work. There are too many competitors telling their stories about the "why" factor for their individual business. The "why" factor is THE reason people shop in that store, utilize a service or purchase a product.

It's not about the bricks and mortar...it's about the "why." We make decisions from the heart and then try and justify them with the head. To start with the heart...there needs to be an emotional connection...and you don't get there with just an open door.

Terrance Mann would agree.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Enjoy the Ride

No matter what your age is...no matter what your stage is...

Life is a roller coaster.

There are times when you are riding high...heading to the top baby. And then in a split second...you are heading down so fast that you don't even have time to scream.

Faster and faster you plummet towards the earth but just before you hit the bottom...you are propelled back upwards.

When you are feeling on top of the world...something usually happens to bring you down a bit. I think it is God's way of keeping balance and keeping us humble. Conversely...when you are down and out...there is no where to go but up.

It's actually harder to stay up than it is to dig yourself out.

It's scary and it's daunting...but at the end you always say...let's do it again because it is exhilarating and it makes you feel alive by attacking every fiber of your being and tantalizing every one of your sensory touchpoints.

It's cliche' but true...it's not the end of the ride...it's the ride itself that keeps you going. Do yourself a favor...enjoy it while you can.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Keeping it Real

What are "real" people?

Real people are people who are in your life that offer true unconditional friendship and/or love.

There are no hidden agendas.

There is very little drama.

They genuinely care.

They have a sense of the greater good.

They have a sense of humor...especially about themselves.

You enjoy hanging out with them.

They are very smart but you wouldn't know it because they don't brandish it like a sharp sword.

They are successful.

They are comfortable in their own skin.

You can always rely on them.

They keep you grounded.

They have big hearts and engaging minds.

They are all about substance and depth.

Know people like that? If so, hold these people close to you. Don't ever take them for granted. They are there to help you become a better person.

I am blessed to know a lot of real people. As a matter of fact, two of the most important people in my life are two of the best examples I can find. If you know Lynn or knew Cos, you would know what I mean.

This ain't no reality show...this is a show of reality!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Fall just got Better

It's official.

Nebraska is now in the Big Ten and I am loving it.

First of all, I think Nebraska is a great choice for the conference. They bring tradition, passion and a commitment that is exemplified throughout the conference already.

I would put the Big Ten against any other conference in the country now.

The Big Ten is a traditionalist's dream conference. Can you image what Lombardi would say with some of the spread offenses in the Big 12 or the SEC? "What the hell is going on over here?"

It's not three yards and a cloud of dust...it's three yards and the road to glory in the Big Ten.

I think the best way to separate the 12 teams would be East/West divisions.

The current split conference rivalries will remain intact and Nebraska/Iowa (geography) games or Nebraska/Wisconsin (will the real Big Red please stand) games could be epic battles for the ages.

There might be more expansion coming down the line which I would not have a problem with but for now...who needs them(yeah, that includes you Notre Dame)?

The Autumn colors just got a little more red and my Saturdays in the Fall just got a lot better.

You don't Have it so Bad

You really don't.

No matter what situation, predicament, ordeal or problem you are in or encountering...
there are people who are going through worse.

We are in the process of trying to sell a house in Michigan and figure out what we are going to do back here in Wisconsin. We can't buy a house here until we sell there and we don't know where we are going to live in a couple of months. That being said...

It could be worse.

I have several friends that are going through hardship right now that I would consider a heavier burden than mine.

Each and every one of us has a cross to bear. Your cross may be paralyzing for you but someone else may perceive it as you don't have it so bad. At least not as bad as they have it...

When you are in the eye of the storm, it is hard to focus on what I call "energizing inventory." Energizing inventory are the things in your lives that are catalysts for positive movement and achievement. They are the things that drive us.

We tend to forget them during times of distress.

My "energizing inventory?" I think it is pretty good.

A wonderful family. Good health. Great friends. A promising career.

Others would be envious.

The next time your cross weighs heavy...first look in and appreciate your "energizing inventory" and then look around...things could be worse. A lot worse.

My life...it doesn't suck...that is for sure.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It wasn't Marconi's doing

Ok...confession time.

The real reason I got into radio?

Don't get me wrong. I always enjoyed it when I was a kid. I used to sit in my bedroom and pretend I was the DJ on my hometown radio station (WGEZ AM1490). I used to turn up the radio during the music and then turn it down during the talking parts so I could record my own stuff. Classic radio geek kind of story.

But the real reason came to me when I was 14. I saw this picture of a DJ who was on WGEZ. Her on-air name was Cindy Leighton (have no idea what her real name was) and she was...to put it in one word...hot.

She was looking for a teenager to do a show with her. It was going to be a show about...teens (appropriately named Teens N' Talk). I interviewed for the job and got it. In addition to the hour show every week, she let me come into the studio while she was working and learn more about radio. Of course at the time, I wasn't necessarily thinking about radio..I was thinking about something a little different. More along the lines of a Benjamin Braddock/Mrs. Robinson thing or a Hermie/Dorothy kind of thing (Summer of '42...great flick..I highly recommend). You know...the type of thing that leads to the younger inexperienced guy getting the hot older woman.

Yeah...needless to say, that didn't happen.

So next time you are listening to the radio and you hear a woman by the name of Cindy Leighton, let me know. I do owe her a thank you. This radio thing...it's been pretty good to me. No complaints.

PS; She was only 6 years older than me at the time...but it felt like a lifetime.

Quicksand or a Hamster Wheel?

Don't know why I was thinking about this today but I started wondering (while running) if I would rather be stuck in quicksand or stuck on a hamster wheel.

I surprised even myself with my answer.

I would much rather do the quicksand thing.

Indulge me on this one...

With quicksand you have movement and progress. It's reverse progress but at least you are going somewhere. With the hamster wheel, you never go anywhere. I would rather be going somewhere than running in place.

Quicksand has a point to it. It's about survival. You can see hope all around you. There is no hope to the hamster wheel.

Quicksand has a beginning and end...there is closure (may not be an ideal end to the situation but...).

The view changes when stuck in quicksand...the view on the hamster wheel...not so much.

I guess this is why I prefer to run outdoors rather than on a treadmill. No matter what a bitch the hill is...at least I am getting somewhere.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Random thoughts on a Sunday morning...

There are lots of axioms and sayings out there...most are irrelevant or too cool for the room.

I have found two that I feel carry the most truth.

"The grass is greener"

"One in the hand is worth more than two in the bush."

We all tend to focus on what we don't have or could have rather than what we do have. I remember one night when I was single after my first marriage ended. I was sitting around a bar with several of my married buddies and they all talked how envious they were of me and I asked them a question...

"Who are you going home to tonight?"

They of course all answered their respective wives...I then told them who I was going home to...no one. It was all about the perspective.

Take my advice...your own grass is plenty green.

You know mechanical pencils are an oxymoron? The term mechanical inherently implies formulaic, procedural, routine, exact...in some cases perfect. A pencil though almost invites mistakes because you can erase and start over.

I once told a friend of mine who felt he "had settled" in his life to stop looking at it as "settling" and start looking at it as "adapting." I think it helped.

What is better? A sunrise or sunset. Depends on the day for me.

I think religion is not the path to heaven. Spirituality is. A lot of people confuse the two.

I promised earlier to talk about the word "catharsis." I always looked at it as a feeling of cleansing or healing. I actually looked it up once for Webster's take on it (not the character Emmanuel Lewis played) and according to them, one of the definitions is "evacuating the bowels" and a synonym for catharsis is "laxative." I laughed because then catharsis took on a much more relevant meaning to me...


To conclude...get rid of your own bullshit and dump it on your yard. Therefore, your grass will be greener.

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No Arcs or Circumferences...just Birth and Death

This past week, I had the opportunity to celebrate birth and mourn death.

It made me realize how true and real the circle of life is.

Both are forever connected...forever intertwined.

When someone dies, we remember their past.

When someone is born, we dream about their future.

Both birth and death share innocence. Both share peace. Both share tears.

The circle connects us...in birth and in death. We realize the beauty of the trip in both.

One a sunrise...one a sunset. Both glorious in their own way.

Both ends and new beginnings...doors closing and doors opening.

Live in peace...rest in peace.

The circle is complete.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Running is cool...and here is why...

1.) It lightens up the mind and firms up the muscles.

2.) It's about the journey, not the end.

3.) It's a great way to listen to all of the music on your Ipod.

4.) It's better than an alarm or shower for waking you up (still doesn't beat coffee though).

5.) You can run with someone and not say a word and feel a connection.

6.) You can run by yourself and feel a connection to the rest of the world.

7.) You get a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

8.) It's a great way to enjoy a sunrise or set.

9.) You get to explore new places (remember a road you have never taken is a new place).

10.) It gets the heart and blood pumping.

11.) It allows you to receive selective temporary amnesia because you forget your troubles.

12.) You feel alive.

12.5) It's just damn good for you.

Just run baby!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The power to move

I've always known it was powerful. It's able to move you without a moving truck. It doesn't have an engine but it can take you places you once were or never been. It's a timeless time machine with no gears or gadgetry. It means one thing to me...and another to you.

What is it?


I have been in radio since I was 15 or 16 (thanks to Cindy Leighton...more on that in another blog) so I have always known the power of music. It can bring you out of a mood or put you in one faster than you think. Sometimes all it takes is one note and you are there. Sometimes its the lyric...sometimes its the instrument. No matter what it is...it packs a wallop. I didn't know though how powerful until tonight.

Three years ago, my Dad died. The funeral home did a wonderful job on creating an everlasting memory. They made a memory DVD that played during the visitation. Whenever I need my Dad (and that's often), I play the DVD. Underneath the pictures, is a musical score. Don't know the name or the artist but when I hear it, I always think of my Dad.

Tonight, I was at a visitation of one of my friends' moms. It was the same funeral home that my Dad was in. I walked in and felt a sensation but not an emotional one. It was a deja vu kind of feeling...one that may accompany you anywhere. As I was standing in line waiting to see my friend and his father, I heard the music. Immediately, I teared up and thought of my Dad. It was the music that took me there. Not the sights, smells, or touch...but the sound of the music.

I realized tonight what a wonderful power music holds.

It's the power to move.

PS; The picture on this article is one of my Dad holding my newborn son Jack.

PS #2; Some of my favorite artists that move me for different reasons (in no particular order) are Buffett, Marley, Dylan, Armstong, Simon, Bocelli, Sinatra and Martin. Who moves you?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

If you can't find me...

Calico Jack's.

Just the name of it oozes freedom and randomness. It's a hole...but it's a hole on a beach. It's Buffett and Marley wrapped around Zen. It's a place where spirits are shared and secrets are bared. It's where you make a fool of yourself...but don't be a fool. It's Jack Keourac, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean or Benjamin Braddock cool. It's a place where you can go and start off alone and end up at a table of ten. It's where your tab runs high one day and then everybody else is buying the next. It's a place to clear the mind and cleanse the soul. It's where advice is free...and lacking attitude. It's a rare find...but you see it everywhere. Decompress? When you walk in you completely forget to compress in the first place. It's a slice of heaven...that looks kind of like hell. Conversation? Always. Smiles? Everywhere.

It's my little Utopia.

If you ever can't find me for awhile...look it up....I will probably be there.

The bar stools are ungodly high...

...but the climb is worth it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Curly gets it

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger]
Curly: This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: [smiles] That's what *you* have to find out.

Curly got it. I was 23 when "City Slickers" came out. Even though I was already married and a father, I didn't get what Curly was trying to say. I kept waiting to find out through the whole movie what that "one thing" was.

It wasn't until several years later that I got it. That one thing is defined differently for everyone. We are all born with a natural pilot light. Usually something happens to us personally that lights the fire. It could be something that hurts like hell when it happens but in the rear view mirror becomes a blessing or it could be something that is a true blessing to begin with.

Look inside yourself and find that inner light. Ignite the spark! We all know people who always have that spark and it is great to be around them. We also know people who never get out of the dark, who are dying on the inside and just letting life happen rather than living it. Which group of people do you enjoy being with more? More importantly, which group are you in?

Anybody got a light?

Thanks Curly!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Do you want the Corona or the beach?

The ultimate goal of advertising is to create (or exploit) a desire for a specific product or service and lead that consumer to action. Advertising puts the person in that Lexus....dressing in that Armani...or shaving with Gillette. The person can imagine themselves using the service or product. Once you can envision it, you can live it.

I really think the one advertising campaign that gets it is Corona's TV campaign. My "happy" place is on a beach, with the sun and waves splashing all around, a good book in my hand and a drink in the other. I have been there many times but I go there in my mind even more and the drink I associate most with that picture is Corona (Dirty Bananas, Red Stripes, Margaritas also work but Corona has the top rung on my ladder).

I want the beach...but I have to go through Corona to get there.

It's all about the mental real estate, baby!

God, I wish I was there today.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What's up with blog, dog?

You know...I think I owe you an apology. I prematurely blogged! My first blog (although highly cathartic* for what I was going through at the time) should not have been the first blog. Second or third...but not the first. I need to answer the question...

"What's up with blog, dog?"

Let me give you some background. I have always found writing highly thearaputic. It makes me think...takes me away from my problems and gives me reasons to smile (regardless of my mood).

It started in school but really hit its high water mark after I left my first wife. I started writing a book entitled "The Single Weekend Warrior." It was basically about the trials and tribulations about trying to fit back into the singles game while parenting my daughter. There were such award winning chapters like "They say when you fall off the horse to get back on but what if the horse is a zebra?" and "At least I got a futon out of the deal."

As time went by, that book went by the wayside and I started others. One was entitled "The Summer of '85" and another was entitled "Green 21." Both started....never finished.

Every once in awhile, I like to email some friends regarding what's happening in the local sports scene. A really good friend of mine (Brother Jake) encouraged me at the time that I should start a blog because he enjoyed my reading. It occurred to me that if I start a blog, I no longer will disappoint myself with failed attempts at a whole book because each blog is kind of like its own book (or maybe chapter but at least there is closure).

So there you be....that's what up with blog, dog.

Fo shizzle

*Remind me sometime to tell you my observations regarding catharsis.

Fork in the road decisions

In life, there are moments in time where we need to make a decision between two choices. At that moment and on the surface, both choices seem to be valid and both have merit. One may appeal to more people, but one may affect the right people. One may be logical in nature and one may be emotional. But there is always a clear cut "right" choice. The problem is that we won't know which one was right until after the decision is made. Ultimately, the wrong choice is made. Can't take it back. You wish you could though. So now what? Come to grips with the consequences (every choice has them), move on and learn from it. That's all you can do because once it's in the Cosmos, you can never take it back.

I wish there were decisions that were more like spoons or knives in the road. They seem like they have easier answers.