Saturday, August 29, 2009

Value comes from mining old personal gold

One of my greatest pleasures at this stage in life is reconnecting with long-known but little connected friends and colleagues over breakfast, lunch or beverage.

Family remains close and contacted, but time, circumstance, geography and interests sometimes keep you away from the hundreds of important players in life that have come and gone over the decades. Their contribution to your development, laughter, education and sense of community and purpose shouldn't go unrecognized.

This week found me sharing chuckles, war-stories and bon mots with three gents I worked with at a major manufacturing company -- one I hadn't seen in two decades, another I've missed for about a dozen years, and a third who shared the pain of a similar life tragedy with me several years ago.

Jim, Joe and Matt are solid citizens, great professionals and renaissance men. Seeing them in person and hearing their voices just makes you wonder why it couldn't have happened sooner. It may be months or even years before we connect again, but the effort to meet, greet and eat demonstrates that a network of associates has greater value than any Mega Millions lottery jackpot.

And, yes, I bought a ticket. And no, I didn't win. But, over the long-term, I had a more valuable week than anyone who did.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ink-stained wretch shares frustration

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are the lost days of my life. They are the local-newspaper-delivered-to-your-home-or-office days around here.

The local print rags operating under the business umbrella of a Joint Operating Agreement decided to eliminate home delivery of newspapers on those days. They encourage readers to click on their respective web sites to get Tigers baseball scores, GM bankruptcy updates, and recipes for Crunchy Top Apple Pie and Savory Turkey Burgers.

That's certainly a logical route for the digital, 21st century reader. But these pantheons of journalism still produce a printed product on those days, sold only at stores or in coin-operated newspaper boxes.

Unfortunately, they do not permit -- for some unknown reason -- third party delivery services or hustling entrepreneurs to pick up the slack for readers who still prefer ink on their fingers first thing in the morning. A U.S. Mail option is offered, but who wants an afternoon information fix of stale news?

Information is power for those who provide it and for those who read, interpret and act on it. I hope they will make it easier for all of us to access it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Belgians skate through Canada for visit

Belgian cousins Luc and Leen are scheduled to visit here beginning tomorrow after a barnstorming tour of eastern and French Canada.

It is heartening to know they are currently visiting Niagara Falls and, in the finest tourist tradition, have taken the Maid of the Mist cruise. It's now official...they are sons and daughters of North America.

We've flocked to the Falls for years and it's still a treat...providing you concentrate on the Falls. The town itself is nothing more than a glorified tourist trap filled with T-shirt shops, wax museums, and emporiums that sell those silly snowy paperweights. The area around the Falls, however, is rich with vineyards, cute Canadian villages and a professional theatre scene that transcends its remote location.

Our cousins will roll down the QEW to 401 and then down the chute that is the 401 -- North America's straightest highway -- to the tunnel under the Detroit River. There's nothing more exciting than visitors from The Old Country!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy birthday wishes to me

I'm 57 today and don't feel a day over 37. I'm just thrilled to be here.

Yeah, I admit I work at it. I play hockey three times a week, work out at the gym twice a week, throw in an occasional golf-ball whacking and saunter around the neighborhood whenever the mood strikes.

Fried is not in my vocabulary (except for the more politically correct "sauteed") and red wine is the mother's milk of conversation with good friends around a dinner table.

There are others who have followed a similar regimen who are no longer living on this planet. Accidents, disease, bad luck and other maladies can tear down and waste even the most healthy person.

So enjoying the occasional double latte, fat Dominican cigar, Roquefort cheeseburger, or coconut cream pie should be considered a celebration of living even by the most fastidious fitness freak.

Excuse me now , please, while enjoy my birthday cake!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sibling hits major milestone with panache

Hooray! It's Jim's birthday.

My brother, Jim, celebrates a milestone birthday this week...which birthday isn't important.

Very important, however, is the fact he can celebrate another year of brilliant golf shots on the 17th at Redhawk, revel in the delicacy of California Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara, enjoy the health care provided by the Federal government, smile at the serene view from his backyard, reflect on nearly a half-century of marriage, polish the red beauty of the mobile fiberglass, create great framed art out of simple digital photographs, walk the neighborhood in the morning, sip a strong Peet's coffee in the middle of the afternoon, pontificate about professional hockey strategy, demonstrate excellent Weber grilling technique, flatten a chicken with his bare hands, and just enjoy what passes for fresh air in southern California.

May we all be so lucky. Hey, life really is good. Happy birthday, brolove!