Fascinated With The Macabre

Drew Peterson, HLNTV.com

He's  baaack!  The Drew Peterson trail is about to begin.

 I don't know why, but I am fascinated by the macabre, forensics- why people do what they do - what causes the compulsive behavior?  What circuitry enables them to carry out atrocious acts of violence?

I had just finished watching a documentary on the infamous Ted Bundy, when I learned that Drew Peterson is now up for trial.  Jury selection has begun.  As with with most serial killers, I am fascinated.

One can feel he is full of himself, his bizarre behavior puts him right up there with Bundy, Dahmer and all the other infamous butchers.  Charming, mesmerizing, sharing the belief that they are above the law.  

Many are geniuses, but choose to exercise their genius in perverse ways.

It is part of the serial killer personality, and they do it so well.  I can't understand how they can hide the dark side so effectively.  The charm, mixed in with the psychosis- very strange indeed. 

As reported by WGNtv.com, on July 31st;  Petersen had written a smitten 26 year-old woman, in  an attempt to weave another romantic web for himself.  Apparently, the woman stopped communication with him abruptly.  Patch Newspapers reports that Drew professed:

 "I have always spoiled all of my partners, and was let down by all of them." 

 Petersen went on to tell the woman she had nothing to fear, that he was all about love and protection.  Drew Peterson's Love Letters To 26 Year Old Woman Released.

Believe it or not, I can understand women's fascination with him.  

No, I wouldn't write him, and certainly wouldn't want to share my bed with him.  Make no mistake- there are a lot of women that would.  These women crave attention, for whatever reason.  They have to understand they are playing with fire, but choose to carry on anyway.  

Sadly, that is what may have happened to his spouses.  

According to the Chicago Tribune, Peterson, 58, was a former Bolingbrook, Illinois police Sargent.  He is charged with first degree murder in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.  His fourth wife, Stacy, mysteriously disappeared in 2oo7.  

The serial killer dysfunctional personality is multi-dimensional.  Obsessive, narcissistic and  demented -they can compartmentalize the most heinous acts.  It blows me away that many have regular jobs and families. They share disrupted childhoods, peppered with abuse and isolation.  Many begin abusing animals, and the behavior escalates. The Personality Profile of the Serial Killer   

Critics of the Drew Peterson case maintain the case is purely circumstantial, as there has been no DNA evidence to support Peterson murdering Savio.  

Peterson's then neighbor,  Mary Pontarelli,  discovered Kathleen Savio's body in a bathroom tub in the couples home - on March 1, 2004.  According to Pontarelli, Savio had confided that she believed Peterson was going to kill her.

We have the greatest justice system in the world.  Because of that, we give everyone an opportunity to a fair trial.  I wouldn't want it any other way.

I think to myself;  here we go again.  The mass media attention-  including the additional expenses to taxpayers for the anticipated 4 week trial. 

 If I think of the victim, it makes it easier to understand why we have to have a trial for these depraved people.

I'm not alone when I say I just can't get enough.  That does not change my mind about wanted to see Drew Peterson locked up with the key thrown away.

The macabre is fascinating for sure.  This trial will be a case study.

Made In America No More


No wonder our economy is suffering! Yesterday, I began a quest to look for gym shoes.  I am a gym rat and go to the gym daily.  I don't like shopping for gym clothes or shoes - but after 4 years, there is no tread left on my Reebok's.

You'd think it would be a no brainer.

Not.  Gym shoes are expensive, so I thought the best place to look would be on line.  I saw scores of shoes I liked.  However, before I took the plunge and placed my order, I wanted to shop size.  One of the stores I shopped was Famous Footwear.  I explained to the clerk that I wanted a cross-training shoe.  She navigated to the side of the store where I could find one in every color.  I asked about quality and the "best" shoe for the money- at that point we began discussing where they are produced.

I was surprised to learn that everything was made in Asia.  Nike, in Vietnam, Asics, Reebok, the list went on and on.  I did note, however, that New Balance Made In America- Yeah Right almost got it right, but then outsourced 75% of its productions to money.cnn.com China and Vietnam.  I did research one visionary; Lasco; How to Make it In America.  Here is a man that means business.  Despite the high cost of producing in the United States, he refuses to give up.  This article addresses every reason why most of our production is overseas.

I never really gave this any thought, but it occurred to me if an industry like this produces everything in Asia, what about all the other products sold in America?

Here's where it gets really scary.

In researching production, I came across something you have just got to read:

Check out this website to get Robert Barrows poem on It Used to Be Made In America.

His feelings about sum up the situation.

It comes as no surprise that most of our technical products (our computer, laptops, I PODS, etc.) are also produced outside of the U.S. Today's start tech products produced outside of the US: Should we be concerned?

You're dog-gone right we should be concerned.  For years, I never paid attention the mass production of clothing, goods, services outsourced by American businesses.

Shame on me.

According to www.bls.gov, The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us the national rate of unemployment for June, 2012, was 8.2%. I wonder if this takes into account the number of people who have just stopped looking for work.  I suspect those numbers would increase quite a bit.

In my opinion, we should have a government mandate (at least at this point in time) that everything be manufactured in this country.  Of course, if there is a medical need for product, goods or services, that would be exempt.  Initially, this may prove disastrous for small businesses, but eventually, it will help put Americans back to work.

We all remember the sweat-shops that used children to work round-the-clock to produce our clothing.  Besides being a disgrace, I never looked at how that financially impacted our production state side.
I suppose it was easier to sweep under the rug in a good economy.  We can't do this anymore.

So the next time I go out on my shopping jaunts, I will consciously begin to look for where the goods are manufactured.  If enough of us boycott goods and services produced outside of the States; I hope we can start to turn around our economy.

So where am I going to find my gym shoes?

Colorado's Fall From Grace

Century Theaters- Aurora Colorado- AP photo

What's happening to Colorado?  When the pope was here in the 1990's his comment was "Colorado is God's Country..."  Lately, it is looking like it is the devil's domain.

We just got through horrific fires wrapping around northern Colorado.  Then, we dealt with Columbine massacre, JonBenet Ramsey tragedy, the dubious syringe-happy oral surgeon- and now, another massacre at the Aurora suburb's Century theater. 12 Dead in Colorado Shooting

My children grew up going to those theaters.  I had nothing but fond memories of living in Aurora when I first moved here in 1991, from Miami Beach, Florida.  I thought of Colorado as Shangrila.

There is tragedy everywhere in the world, but why Colorado?  The most heinous crimes.  Seems we corner the market on tragedies these days.

I remember leaving South Florida because I thought it too transient, it didn't attract a 'family' loving type of crowd.  I thought of John Denver and the rockies as one step away from heaven.

JonBenet Ramsey Shampop.com
How things change.

 I was looking over a website for JonBenet Ramsey, and that heavy feeling came over me again.  This angelic child, never got to live her life.  The site depcits the actual crime scene photos- which were hard to look at- even after all these years.  People have marred the website by littering it with pornographic images. Pathetic, I say. JonBenet Ramsey Images 

Perhaps everything Nostradamus predicted is coming true.  It may very well be the end of the world.  I was not going to write about this latest incident, but I couldn't stop reflecting on Colorado's morbid history the last couple of decades.

Could this just be coincidence?  After 9/11,  I can believe anything is possible. The easy thing to do is to bury our heads.  As Americans, we owe more to our country.

Personally, I believe you can teach your children until you're red in the face.  No one can determine how they're going to turn out as adults.  This kid was studying to get a Ph.D no less.  I deliberately don't want to mention his name.  Why should he get credit for anything but a senseless tragedy.

The worst part, this theater was full of young adults and children.  What did they do to deserve this?

You can't second guess anything, because all bets are off on what it takes to raise "good" children.  Sometimes, it is difficult to see any signs of instability in people.  That is, unless you have a trained eye.

I can't do much, but I can pray for the people and families that innocently sat in that theater this morning.  The same theater my children sat in twenty years ago.

What Caused Oral Surgeon To Ignore Safety Standards?

Dr Stephen Stein
Stein Dental Implants and Facial Surgery

After reading the chilling story of the Colorado oral surgeon. Stephen Stein, reusing needles on patients for over a decade I had to ask myself this question:  what were his technicians doing with these needles? 

Surely they had to know they were not sterile. Patients of Colorado dentist Dr.Stephen Stein urged to get tested for HIV, Hepatitis amid reused needles probe

I am almost certain Stein couldn't have operated on patients solo.  What kind of medical staff could overlook such a basic, critical procedure?  No doubt the State investigators are getting an earful when they interview his staff.

How can someone put their head on a pillow at night after such atrocities?  It amazes me that brilliance, and integrity are not always consistent.  You have to wonder; was this man that cheap? or was he that lazy?  Or worse, he just does not care.

This went on for over a decade, scores of innocent people, trusting in this madman.  I wonder how many of them are now infected with AIDS or other blood borne viruses.  

The medical board, along with testing doctors for medical competency, should also test them psychologically. Doctors need to be emotionally stable to serve the public.  It gives me pause to think about  operations and procedures that have been performed on all of us.

What percentage of those procedures were docs and other medical technicians cutting corners? Ignoring safety standards - jeopardizing our health and welfare?

I don't want to know.  

Something tells me this is not an isolated case.  It is frightening to think that other doctors would avert safety standards for the sake of convenience or money.

I don't blame the State, because this is the same analogy as buyer beware; we all have to look out for ourselves.  There are far too many providers to monitor every medical practitioner.  Still, it is hard to imagine  patients didn't notice needles were not sterilized and opened from sealed packages.

It seems Colorado has a new kind of fire to put out, and this one won't be easy.

Barack Obama's Brilliant Campaign

Presiding over Miami-Dade commencement ceremony- Getty Images

We can all learn something from Barack Obama's promotional campaign. There isn't one medium that he has overlooked. I get daily emails' keeping me abreast of inside campaign information, media dirt and his responses to critics.
If you don't think that he became President because of his adept marketing ability, think again. He was a green senator - with virtually no track record to speak of - sitting in the senate. He goes from that to president of the United States? 
How did he do that? 
Clever marketing and strategy. If nothing else, I have to concede that he understands the media and how to use it. Much like Kennedy, he has an uncanny ability to use the media to showcase his charm and wit. If you are old enough to remember the Nixon and Kennedy debate, you know what I am talking about. 
In my opinion, Romney is not scoring too well with his campaign. He now has to dig himself out of a hole regarding his previous stint with banking industries. Obama jumped right on that by deluging us with television spots exposing smitten Romney. 
Mitt Romney:  Getty Images

So far, Barack hasn't missed a beat regarding gaining an media advantage over Mitt Romney. I wouldn't be surprised if Obama takes the presidency again, because of his savvy marketing skills. 
Sadly, for myself, I don't like either candidate. There hasn't been a president that wooed me in years. 
When I think back to the George Bush administration, and compare his marketing and promotional ability, I understand the difference. Bush took a lot of hits because of his lack of ability to manipulate the press. 
Clinton, on the other hand, understood the media. He used his charm and good looks to woo us. I do think Clinton was a good president. I can overlook the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I may not like what he did, but I don't believe it affected his ability to be president. 
At any rate, it will be interesting to see who makes it to the finish line. I think it is going to close, very, very close. They say that not voting is a vote for Obama. 
At the moment, the prospect of voting is a frightening thought for me. I just can't buy into either candidate's agenda. 
However, I have certainly enjoyed evaluating the campaign strategies. 

The "Like" Gold Mine


Pinterest is a gold mine.  So you 'like' me, now what?  Most businesses understand the advantages of Social Media, but few understand how to leverage it to promote their products.

We've all been down the value-added  'how to' benefits.  Sharing and providing information, for example; about how to build furniture if you're a retail furniture store.  But I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg.  If you've got your followers, you now have a built in audience, what are you going to do to keep them interested?

Of course, you can offer them deep discounts as followers, make them the first recipients of information about product research, but the real payoff can come from cross-promotion opportunities with other businesses.

Today, so much information is mind boggling.  By partnering with other businesses, and understanding your demographics, you can offer your followers multiple in value-added benefits.  For example, if you produce wood furniture, your affiliation with tile and flooring companies can really help your audience in remodeling their homes or offices.

No, this is not a new idea, but it can work well in a medium where there is so much competition for "likes."  Just as bloggers' can cross promote with others by sharing their web-addresses; you can make this happen with  competitors and other businesses.  You are building so much more than an alliance.

Some time ago, I was remodeling my home.  I absolutely had my heart set on soltero tile.  My contractor fought me about why I shouldn't go with soltero.  "Yes, it is beautiful and stylish, he said.  But, are you prepared to spend $100 every time you drop an item on it and it cracks?"  I had no idea how easily soltero can be broken.  Moreover, I didn't have the budget to make this investment, and be willing to constantly repair the product.

Sharing this information can save your customers a lot of headaches.  In effect, you are not asking your audience to do this for that.  You are giving them something, as simple as "for being a loyal follower of ________, please use this $50.00 to enjoy your dinner at ______________. ' No strings, no bait and switch, just a gift.  Your cross-promotion with businesses can help you out with your budgeting.

The opportunities abound, building alliances by inviting your audience to grand openings, concerts and more.  Not as contests, but just for following and sharing. I'm talking out and out giveaways.    I say this because as contests, we know the chance to win is difficult.  But social media is so close and personal, the benefits need to match the intimacy of the medium.

It is said there are no new ideas, just ways to do them better.  Pinterest Tunblr, Reddit and the like are your magic wands.  You just have to know what to do with the wand!

Finding My Way Back To My Career

It has been on my mind for almost three years now.  I go to bed thinking about it, and wake up wondering;

I have been out of my career for for 43 months.  Wow.  Such a long time, so much change.  Social media taking the world to its' knees.  Thousands of new college grads competing for the fraction of available jobs.

It is a major concern.

To top that off, I am in a contract position, without benefits or paid time off.  I am grateful to be working, but the deck is stacked against me.  Recently, I did get a bite on my resume', but the job location would require me to move to another part of Colorado.  Did I really want to travel 150 miles for a remote opportunity?  Maybe I am not that motivated, or too cautiously optimistic about my job prospects.

At least it confirmed I am still marketable.

What I do in the meantime is continue to learn.  Be it a software program, stay abreast of changes in the marketing and communications industry.  These may be feeble attempts to paddle in a constantly evolving sea of change.

There comes a point in a career ( I want to work at least ten more years), where one has to weigh everything.  It is too easy to look back and beat yourself up for past mistakes.  The would'ves', could'ves' should'ves' haunt me.

Will I ever give myself a break?

Truth is, I have failed far more than I have succeeded in my career.  I have had opportunities people would drool for, passed some up, took some on and failed.  Yes failed, and miserably.

I know I can only work for a certain kind of boss, with a certain group of people.  You would think that would stop me from looking.  No, it never does stop.  You see, the thing is, I am so tenacious, I don't know what it means to give up.

My management style?  compassion and understanding.  Not very popular with corporate.  But I am creative, and can come up with product positioning ideas that leave competitors at the starting line.

I am exceptionally good at getting jobs, keeping them is another story.  I am no politician, for sure.

In the end, knowing one's strengths' and weaknesses are so very important.

I can't stop thinking that there is a place at there I can call home.  You see, retirement is not in my vocabulary at the moment.

Secret Service Loyalty: The Kennedy Detail

The Kennedy Detail
Agent Tom Wells escorts Caroline Kennedy to school after the White House ,
photo:  "The Kennedy Detail"

Last night I watched a  Discovery channel documentary on "The Kennedy Detail," in which the secret service agents who were assigned to President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in Dallas were interviewed about their experiences in living with, and protecting, the President and his family.

The documentary was heartbreaking.  These once rugged men, now in their 70's and 80's sharing their perspectives about being a part of the Kennedy family while he was in office.   What was particularly impressive, is that Kennedy knew each of their names:  Gerald S. Blaine; Toby Chandler; David Grant; Clinton J. Hill; Paul E Landis, Jr; Winston Lawson; Ronald Pontius;  and Thomas Wells.

This, apparently, is not the norm for the secret service.

Clinton Hill, assigned to Jacqueline Kennedy, reflected on her thoughtfulness after the assassination. Hill remarked that, on the plane going back to Washington, Jackie Kennedy requested to see him.  "What will become of you, now?" Jackie asked.  Fighting back tears, his response was that he would be just fine.

Interspersed with the interview was rare footage of the agents' with John Jr, and Caroline Kennedy.  Holding hands, going to the Beach, hovering over them at family events.  These men explained that the pay was substandard, even for the 60's, but they were so proud to serve the President.  They all said they were treated "like family."

What moved me the most that each agent, after 50 years, still has to hold back tears when asked about November 22nd, in Dallas.  

The gruesome details still play back daily.  For example, why Jackie Kennedy crawled out the back of the Lincoln sedan.  It was disclosed that Jackie wanted to "make him whole."  Apparently, after the magic bullet, (that hit Kennedy in the skull), brain matter and chunks of skull exploded on the boot of the sedan.  Jackie allegedly crawled out the back of the speeding car to collect the bits of skull.

How devastating to hear all this again.

I understand that the President was hit in the skull, but to hear the magnitude of the damage done to Kennedy, (a palm sized portion of his skull, and all the brain matter on that side were scooped out like ice cream), was too much to process.

The reflected on the President's body, laid out at the White House, prior to the public viewing.  Jackie asked for a pair of scissors to open the casket, to cut off a lock of his hair.
Details shared regarding Robert Kennedy and Jackie, going back to the grave site the same day following the funeral; to kneel and pray in private.

I was only 12 years' old when we lost John Kennedy.  However, I remember exactly what I was doing when the news was announced.  

Having lived through this tragedy is still a gift.  To have lived through his Presidency was remarkable and most memorable.

I think about the Kennedy tragedies, that have continued since then; the Robert Kennedy assassination, John Jr's plane crash, Jackie's struggle with cancer and untimely death.

Whoever said the Kennedy's were cursed was probably correct.  As much as the Kennedy family has acquired, a black cloud follows them throughout life.

I am glad I was privy to see this documentary.  I don't want to ever forget the most charming man and my favorite President of the century.

He only lived 45 short years, but he packed a lot of living and wisdom into those years.

In the end, the agent that questioned, "what we could have done better?" concluded remorsefully:

"there was nothing at all that could be done to save him."

Colorado Inferno

Waldo Canyon Fire, Denver Post Photo

It rivals the Chicago fire lore, reputed to be started by Mrs. O'Leary and her cow.  It probably started just as innocently, although how the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs did start remains a mystery .Waldo Canyon Fire Crews Making Progress

This fire, along with scores of other fires throughout Colorado just adds salt to a wound.  The temperatures here have been in the three digits for almost two weeks.  The nice thing about this state was that when it got this hot, we got a reprieve with a cold front that would cool things down for a few days.

No such luck.

Colorado has its' annual fires every year, but I can't remember one as devastating.  It is surreal to look at the pictures of neighborhoods smoldering from a fire that tore through Colorado Springs. Rampant winds accelerated it to 20 miles an hour yesterday.  This gave residents' little time to evacuate their homes.

Looking at the faces of people that lost everything just breaks my heart.  Special memories; the births, deaths, graduations, marriages- all things we associate with home-  taken away so ruthlessly by mother nature.

I am  fortunate, as I live north of the closest fire to my residence, which has now been contained in Boulder.  It gives me pause to think about what is really most important in life.  For me, it would be family, pets, pictures.  

Everything else can be replaced.

However, in Colorado Springs, there is one documented death, and 10 people remain unaccounted.

Colorado weather for the coming week is going to be in 90's.  We aren't going to get much of a break.  It's  like fighting a fire within a fire.  Not enough credit can be given to the fire fighters from all over the country trying to contain its' fury.

Soon, regretfully, this state will have lost all it's wooded areas; the evergreen's and other foliage that make it so marvelous and beautiful.

There is no doubt this is part of global warming.  A women remarked that "the world was coming to an end."

After all the bible does say it will end in fire.

I hope not.

Will Obamacare Deliver?


I am at a cross-road.  I think like a republican, but I can't afford to be one.  Part of me is delighted about the Supreme Court ruling on health care.  After all, it is the "right" thing to do.   Not because it will benefit me, (I have coverage through military) but for the hundreds of thousands of people without insurance.

I was speaking with a good friend just recently, who explained she cannot get to the dentist to treat a gum disease, as she does not have $7000 and is without coverage.  I asked her couldn't she find a dentist that would accept payments?  She gave me a vague answer, and said she was pursuing a holistic approach to treating her gums.  I cringed. 

How can you ignore a gum disease?  Yikes.  The answer is, very easily if you don't have the money to pay.

Obamacare promises an end to all this.  The  needy, poor, indigent will now get insurance.  The government cannot deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions.  That's a big one.

There seems to be everything right with Obamacare.  Any decent human being would be for this new insurance plan.

The flip side:  Is this all it is cracked up to be?

What about choice of doctors?  According to SmartMoney, Who the Health Ruling Impacts Most:

Consolidation within the industry means that people will have less choice,” says Alex Morozov, a senior health care analyst at Morningstar. In fact, the two largest insurance companies have a 70% market share in nearly half the 50 states, according to the American Medical Association". 
I am not sure this is a good thing.  One of the drawbacks, in my opinion, of social medicine is when the government expands care, there is diminishing quality of care.  This is frightening to me.  I want to be able to choose my practitioners.  Maybe I am making to much of this issue, but it is a concern.

I am also concerned how the new plan will affect businesses.  If 70 percent of health care will be facilitated by two companies, what happens to the rest of the health care industry.  It will be a trickle down effect, placing more of a burden on an already struggling economy.

The fact remains, however, that according to SmartMoney, nearly three in 5 Americans remain uninsured, that amounts to 43 million people.

Time will tell if we are in love with Obamacare, or if the costs hit Americans in other ways.  As I have said in a previous blog on Obamacare, someone has got to pay.

I will continue to evaluate the impacts of the new plan.  For me, it is too early to tell if this is a complete blessing or complete disaster.

It sounds great, but will it deliver?

The Sun Is Not My Friend

Teenage girl (14-16) looking at tan lines at beach

I just got into the office, after spending an hour-and-a half in the doctor's office.  It wasn't more than 6 months' ago that I last visited my dermatologist.  Here I go again.  I am waiting for the results of three biopsies.

I was in my early thirties when I first had surgery for a basal cell carcinoma.  Not at all as serious as melanoma, but hey, cancer is cancer.

My mother was very cavalier about the sun.  If I would break out, the sun was the answer! " Bake yourself in the sun tomorrow" would become her favorite mantra when I complained about my zits.  I was desperate, and would have done anything to rid myself of this malady!

Fast forward twenty years, I was sitting in the dermatologist office - not discussing acne- but cancer.  I'm paying a steep price for all that baking.

How would we know in 1960 what we know today about the sun?  Generations ago,debutantes' were never allowed to go out into the sun without an umbrella, covered up.  Women used to believe that the sun would destroy their fair complexions.  Turns out, they were so right.

My mother was of Lithuanian background.  She received no such instructions from her mother.  What did she know about the dangers of the sun?  She would share with me the odd story or two about my father roasting himself at the beach.

Dad got sun poisoning and apparently locked himself in a room, to hide his blistering skin from her.  I took after Dad, the palest skin, with dark hair.  Dad was Austrian-polish decent.  Mother had olive skin, and while she also baked in the sun -and was blond-  the damage wasn't as evident.

Today, I cautiously watch my skin in fear.  I am saddled with hyper-pigmentation due to my  love affair with the sun.  I look at myself with disdain, and marvel and women who have no traces skin sun damage.

I had these ugly spots since I was 30.  Not exactly an age related issue at that time.

I  blame the UV rays and cooking myself to a lobster red in my teens. Strangers would approach me on the beach, pleading with me to get out of the sun.

What did I know.

However, I am grateful I know now.  My daughter, 29, will not listen.  She has a weekly date with a tanning bed that is sure to do her in.   I have tried unsuccessfully to get her to listen, but my advise falls on deaf ears

 My son, on the other hand, is as white and pale as me.  He never goes outside with out ample sun screen.  At thirty-one, doctors marvel at his healthy skin.
According to Today Health, MSNBC.com :Everything Causes Cancer': Teens Justify Tanning Bed Use, Study Finds.  

When will American teens realize the harm they are doing to themselves? 

It is sad to think they will some day have to deal with this unpleasant issue. The not-so-lucky may have to contend with live threatening skin cancers.

Please folks, do your research.  If you don't believe me, look it up for yourselves.  Protect your skin, and no matter where you live, don't venture out without your ammunition:

Your sunscreen recommended for your skin type.

Good luck!  Please don't worship the sun.

 It is not your friend.

Rodney King: A Gentle Voice Silenced

Rodney King
Joe Klamar, AFP / Getty Images

I am saddened by Rodney Kings's death.  The first thing I thought of is "only the good die young."  This man had a tortured existence.  He wasn't exactly angel.  We all knew that.
But rather, an old sould that learned more than his share of life's lessons.
Rodney King's Sudden Death Ends Long Struggle With Demons

The beating he endured in 1991 left him with memory loss, aches and pains, and still he found strength to go on.  He prayed for his accosters'.  He had only forgiveness for the pain he suffered, and endured for his 47 short years' of life.  I marveled at how spiritually evolved king was.  I don't think I could have forgiven quite as easily.

Not for all the money in the world.

Rodney King did forgive.  He spent the rest of his life trying to right the wrong's in society. He wasn't perfect, like all adolescents he had his share of trouble.  What he did with the rest of his life is awe inspiring.

He was totally translucent, and willingly shared his sentiments.  According to the Daily Beast,  he was displeased with the progress with racism.  He was encouraged that we were moving forward, but discouraged by the Trayvon Martin incident.

Still, he did not hold himself out as flawless:
I tell people I am not perfect. and I haven't always made good decisions, and sometimes I make the same mistakes, again and again.
How sad he had so many demons to conquer.  Rodney King added something to my life.  To hear him speak, was inspiring.  It is hard to hear about the loss of a good guy.  Because we only hear about the bad guys.

King struggled with drug addiction for most of his life.  A troubled, yet gentle soul. 

The world is going to miss Rodney King.  We will miss how he handled life's problems with class and dignity.  We will miss his voice to remind us we were wrong.

We have to take the reins and follow through were Rodney left off.  We have to make sure that we don't resort to brutality to right societal wrongs.

I believe, this is what Rodney King was fighting to change.

A friend once told me " A heart recognizes a heart."

Tonight when before I lay my head on the pillow, I will say a little prayer for the 6'2" man, with the heart of a giant.

What Do You Do Best? Are You Doing It Now?

I am doing battle with myself.  I continue to beat myself up because I haven't met my software skills goal.

Woody Allen in Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen: Midnight in Paris - Sony Picture Classics 2011
In reading a Wall Street Journal article about Woody Allen, he talked about how he avoids anything mechanical, even depicting his characters using typewriters instead of word processors, the car he owns but doesn't drive:  Older Mellower, But Still Woody.

It never occurred to me that I could GIVE myself permission not to be an expert in everything technical.

I continue to challenge myself to keep up with the software programs in a quickly evolving market.  I understand the world turns because of Apple and Microsoft.  To be ignorant is not an  option.  After all, I am working  in a technical position (for which I received 6 weeks training I might add).

Yes, you can teach old dogs new tricks!  

A light went on after ingesting what Woody said.  Of course I am not comparing myself to him, but it is so easy to be caught up in the "I shoulds" that we can lose one's sense of self.

This is where I am at now.

The artist side of me wants to drop out, take each day as it comes, and do whatever is of interest.  The business and practical side says, "oh yeah, and then what?"  It is not only because of income requirements, as I know I would be bored if I wasn't working.

 More importantly, I would not be happy if I were not continuing to learn.

Courageous people don't worry about how they are going to make a living; they believe that everything will take care of itself if they are doing what they love.

They are definitely on to something.

I have always equated success with working in a corporate world.  As I grow older, I  have noticed a tendency to look at things more honestly- sans the ego- sans the money.

The biggest disservice  we can do to ourselves is compare our station in life to others.

 I am so guilty of this. 

 I just can't get it through my head that I am different than everybody else.  This falls under the beat myself up category.

So what it it you do best?  Are you doing it now?  And if not, why not?

What can change to make that a possibility?  

I am still working on the solution.

Common Sense Or Business Genius?

Medicinal Cannabis User

I spoke with a family member today. We discussed mutual friends and business acquaintances. Specifically, the multitude of people trying to jump on the bandwagon in selling medical marijuana. It seems many of the folks out there that have licenses are looking for a get-rich quick business venture; these people are unlikely to have a health-care background.

The venture is a quick way to make a dollar.

The federal government frequently places new restrictions on medical marijuana licensees'. It seems to me that this is a risky venture on  many levels

However, there are people that are going ahead anyway, despite the risk that they may be headed into a manhole. I understand there is no gain if there is no risk.  The thought of loosing the investment money would make me more than uneasy.

The line of thought is: "make money and get out quick." I, for one, do not understand the logic.

There are so many brilliant people in the world that cannot make it in business. These same people may struggle with how to tie their shoelaces.

I believe to be successful in business one has to be "street smart."  as well.  It is being to look at the whole picture, not the immediate future.  Being able to objectively weigh the risks and benefits.  I am convinced this takes a special skill set.

Common sense, is part of this ingredient.

A simple analogy:

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Correct? I guess I couldn't figure that out, as I have been entering my apartment complex the same way for 5 years.  Not only that, but when visitors call on me I carefully navigate them to the gate, give them my code, and explain they have to make this turn at this point, and another turn at that point. Ten minutes later, they still can't find me and are frustrated.

One day a friend was riding home with me and asked; “Why are you going in that gate? Let's take this other entrance to get to your building.” Why? I thought to myself. I never take that gate. My apartment is east of the entrance, so my natural inclination is to go to the entrance to the right. The point is his recommendation took me right to my front door, no twists, turns, maneuvers.

 WHY couldn’t I figure that one out?

Just common sense, I suppose.

I'm Not Mrs. Rodriquez

Bill_collector : Telephone with money – call for help with your finances
123rf.com stock photo

It's 5:15 p.m. and I've just stepped in the door.  The phone is already ringing, but before I answer I look at the call screen and see it's Portfolio Recovery.  Sighing, I decide to finally pick up the phone.  The company has called me every day for the past 5 months' and I haven't answered.  It goes like this:

"No this is not XXXXX Rodriquez.  Yes, this is my phone number, the name is Denise Fisher.  I am sorry XXXX Rodgriquez gave you this number.  This is my phone number now, and has been for the past year and a half.  Yes, I am certain XXXXX Rodriquez does not live here.  I have no idea why she didn't give you her new number..."

I have Comcast service, I am guessing this person had the number at some point before I did.  The calls continue.  It gets even better:  I get at least 5 company calls for different parties every day just like this.  I don't want to change my phone number, so I take the easy way out and not answer the phone.

Question is, who are these people?  Could so many deadbeats have had this same number?  Or, it is nobody in America pays their bill anymore?  I get the promise that I won't receive anymore calls from Portfolio Recovery.  Twenty-four hours later, I get the same call again.

This was the same drill I had with Sprint, for about a month, looking for yet another subscriber who left them in the dust.  I tell them I don't have the 411 on their customer, and beg them not to call.

My land line has been so busy with company callers, that I barely have time to take my own personal calls.  I am at the point I want to ask the caller if they are single, and what they are doing tonight.

But I don't.  I continue to dodge the bill collectors, for parties I have never met and just happened to inherit their phone numbers.

I have no idea if this is an isolated problem, but it is certainly an annoying one.

I have the same issue with the mail, I have been receiving one party's mail  for over 12 months.  Don't people notify the post office with forwarding addresses?

After careful consideration, I have a solution to the problem:

 I am training my parrot  to answer the phone; he can say "bad boy" better than I.

"To Know All Things Is Not Permitted"...Horace


Throughout my life, I have had a strange addiction to  astrology and psychics.   I  remember my mother and I using the Ouija Board when I was an adolescent.  I thought nothing of asking questions such as " who will I marry, "how old will I be when I marry,"and delighted in watching the the oracle glide over letters spelling out names and dates.         

I have consulted with more than a few psychics in my life.  Some quite accurate.  My sister has also been interested in astrology and the occult as far back as I can remember. 

As a Catholic, I knew that I should not be consulting psychics and reading my personal astrology chart.  The Catechism of Catholic church states:  (Catholic Answers)

 "All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone" (CCC 2116). 

I had an obligation to my faith, and to God not to visit with psychics, or have my chart done.  For me, it was different than just reading for entertainment, I BELIEVED in what was said.

I followed the advise, I paid close attention to dates and predictions.  I had even consulted phone psychics.

I have since thrown away my Ouija Board, and I don't consult psychics. I avoid reading my horoscope.  I worked with my parish priest over two years in learning to avoid these temptations.

I knew that these practices were dangerous; and moreover, when the predictions did not come true, I was in deep depression.  After researching the occult, I realized how fortunate I was not possessed- as can happen- when engaging in these activities.

I have come to understand that one can 'open a door' that can't be easily shut.

 Yes, I do believe there is good and evil in the world.  The priest that I worked with had performed many "deliverances" and has witnessed everything from levitation, to people speaking in tongues, and the most vile behavior.  He has cleansed many houses, and has worked with people for months' because they engaged in the occult and could not get rid of negative spirits in their homes.

Thank God that didn't happen to me.

I am so grateful that I fully understand the consequences in simply reading my horoscope.  It has the same effect on me as an alcoholic having just one drink.

While I will always be fascinated with stories of the paranormal, and amazed at psychic predictions, I realize that this is not what God wants.  It is all about having faith that someone is looking after me, and understanding I don't have to know everything.

Because, just like Saul  in the Bible, I might  find out something I don't need to know.

Birthday Reflections

By Sandratrala

 Paul McCartney's lyrics from "It's Just Another Day"  are going through my head:
slipping into stockings- stepping into shoes- dipping in the pocket of her raincoat....          It's just another day.... at the office where the papers grow she takes a break...
I do feel positive today, it being my birthday.  My desk at work is beautifully adorned with all the tinsel and cards, and I was welcomed with a breakfast burrito by my co-workers.

How thoughtful!

Although tonight will be spent quietly with my Great Pyrenees and parrot.

 Do I have to go out to have a good time?

I will do this Saturday when I don't have to get up in the morning.

Up until very recently, birthdays' were a big deal for me.  Not at all about the gifts, but the coming together with friends' and family- to enjoy the warmth of love and endearing friendships and fond memories.

These days, much of my family is gone, and the rest live out of town.   So it is, with adding another birthday notch to my belt, I think about the future with hope and optimism.

The first thing I did this morning, was thank God for my many gifts, health, friends, home.  Although, I struggle with the positive;  I have much to be thankful for.

Ever notice how easy it is to look around and think that everyone has it better?

The truth is, I am very, very lucky.

The past year has had its' disappointments.   However, it was a tremendous growth opportunity.  Let's see, here are some tough events:

  • I loved and lost
  • It is the second year I've lived alone- something I swore I could never do
  • Despite my efforts, I didn't find the dream job

If I had found my dream job, assuming it did not involve writing, I wouldn't have put as much effort into my blog.  Writing to me is like breathing, when I finish an entry or story; I feel invigorated - reborn and elated.

Relative to what's important in life, I would say my disappointments do not outweigh the positive events. I suppose I have come to the realization that birthdays' may be overrated.  

But for sentimental slobs like me, they are still important. I will continue to take inventory, and look at my goals as challenges that I welcome for personal growth.

And while this birthday may not be the most memorable, I look at it this way;

I am still around to talk about it.

Long Live The Queen

Official Website for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

"We want the Queen!"   Hundreds of thousands' of Britons' shouting out in celebration of the Queen's Diamond  Jubilee, following the St Paul's service and carriage procession.  There she stands, in all her glory, having proudly served her British subjects for 60 years.

It is pure excitement to me.  As I hobble through my charges at work today, I can't help but sneak a peek at Reuter's live coverage.

Across the pond, we are struggling with volatile stocks, an uncertain economy, bantering about the upcoming presidential election.  While the British have a far more laid back attitude about priorities.

They comment about how proud they are of their Queen.  The Queen who wasn't supposed to be Queen.  But because of a twist of fate when Edward abdicated from the crown, she was put in line for her remarkable journey.

 It is a privilege to have witnessed her spectacular reign.  The ups and downs of wearing the crown, watching her graciously welcome everyone from commoners to celebrities at Buckingham Palace;  she has met just about every foreign dignitary, with no signs of slowing down.

Only Queen Victoria has served as long.  How lucky I am to be living at a time when I can share in this history. After all, we are a part of Britain although perhaps much removed.  It is refreshing to see the color, the pomp and circumstance, and to look back at her reign.

I can remember Prince Charles, when he was still a boy, and all I could remember about him was that his ears stuck out!  Then came his adolescence, his partying era, thinking he would never marry. I adored the Queen Mother, the way she dressed, the colors and her kindly, sweet face.  Then, Along came Diana, the births' of  Prince William and Harry, and the rest, as they say is history.

It is wonderful watching her splendid grandson, William, come of age.  He is fortunate to have a Grandmother whom he can have as his mentor.

There is a new generation of royals' that the world will be watching with interest and wonder.  For Queen Elizabeth, she shows no signs of waning, and I hope to see her waving at her subjects on that balcony for many more decades.

After all, she is our Queen Elizabeth too.

Don't Let Smoke Get In Your Eyes: Ask Questions On The Interview

I have had a long and rocky career.  Most of it was quite successful, and found support and energy from my supervisors.  However, I also have failed miserably, and after I got finished beating myself up about my failures, I went back and analyzed why.

In every instance, I didn't listen to my gut.  I was so excited about the job, the industry, I never really listened to my feelings about my immediate supervisor.  Moreover, I took some risks with positions that were less than stellar because I wanted to be in a particular industry.

I can remember, very recently, interviewing for a position where I was told "do not ask questions," I am the interviewer, and I am interviewing you."  No, no no!

Most good human resource managers' will agree that the interview process is as much your business as it is the interviewer.  I now know that if someone tells me not to ask the questions, a red flag goes up.

The point is that few candidates' listen to their inner voice with regard to their feelings about their working environment.  Perhaps the money is good, the industry is what they want, and they minimize the importance of the dynamics of their relationship with their immediate supervisor.

One of my biggest failures -could have been avoided - if I walked away from a job that I really wanted. I knew was not the right fit for me. I went in for a couple of interviews, all from supervisors' who would not work directly with me.

When my immediate supervisor interviewed me, it was at a rapid fire pace.  She explained the job, and her expectations, in five minutes.  Moreover, she told me that nobody from the organization had even asked her what her about the type of candidate she felt would best suit the position.

I didn't feel good about this remark, but let it slide anyway.  In the five minutes I spent with her, which was to be my final interview, I felt as though the interview was an intrusion on her time.

I was offered the position, but it was a bust from the beginning.

 I had already failed as the chemistry was not there between us, and I was off to a bad start.

I had been out of this particular industry for some time.  The organization wanted a band-aid candidate to just have a warm body on site.  There was no start-up time for learning.  I was expected to hit the ground running.

Another red flag.

My job skills were rusty, and I asked if there would be training.  I was told that yes, absolutely, I would receive training.

Realty set in when I got a 45 minute phone session from someone in the New York market.  That was the extent of the training.  During the training, the "trainer" yawned on the conference, as if she was straining to stay awake.

Not very professional at all.

Today, as difficult as it may be, I would ask more direct questions about the position, instead of assuming I could hit the ground running.   While skills are most important, I won't let anyone dissuade me from believing that chemistry with your co-workers and immediate supervisor can make or break you.

So, the next time you go in for that dream job, have a list ready of the most critical questions you have for taking on the position.  If you're concerned, like I was, about on the job training; ask about how much training you will get.  I certainly would also ask what the timeline is for getting up to speed in your new position.

It can make the difference between success and failure in your new role within the company.

Reality Show Star Entrepreneur: Skinnygirl Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel
Skinnygirl  Bethenny Frakel,  Christopher Polk- Getty Images

Talking about  business models, and making something from nothing, I am continually inspired by Bethenny Frankel, reality star turned Entrepreneur.

Frankel, you'll recall, was a finalist on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.   While the then natural foods chef didn't win the Aprenticeship from Stewart, she was already off and running in on her own steam as savvy businesswoman soon-to-be Entrepreneur. How Bethenny Frankel Used Her Reality Show To Make 120 Million

No sooner had she wrapped the show with Stewart, when she was approached by producers of The New York Housewife's.  Frankel admits that she dodged the offer for two months', as she already had a deal on the table with  Pepperidge Farm.

After speaking to producers, she negotiated the right to promote her products' on the show.  In a world where the show makes the star, Frankel turned around the opportunity to leverage her own business efforts.

Very clever indeed.

Her first business, "BethennyBakes" she delivered and prepared organic food to the doors' of New York's health "foodies.

 Loving Margaritas, she was struck by the caloric count in the drink.  She was amazed at how high the calories are in just one margarita.  Frankel knocked on doors, approaching all the distributors with an idea for a reduced version of the Margarita.  Unable to sell her idea to distributors, she decided this product would fill a need, and  produced it herself.

Skinnygirl was born.

 She partnered with David Kanbar (formerly with Skyy Vodka).  Kanbar and Frankel met with mixologists' to perfect the ingredients.  The business model was so successful they couldn't keep up with demand.  The clever girl then sold the product to Jim Beam Distributors for a reported 120 million.

Not bad.

To date, there are two other cocktail lines in the Skinnygirl  brand.  Moreover, Frankel has her own exercise video, clothes line, and has several published best sellers on diet and cooking.

The girl has the "it" factor.  At only 42, she is already at the top of her game.  Make no mistake, it all looks so easy.  But during her career ascent she rarely slept and worked outrageous hours to achieve this level of success.

Everyone has the opportunity.  But few of us are willing to sacrifice so much and have the "pit bull" attitude it takes to reach the goal.

If you have the drive, the idea, and are willing to see it through to the end you are one of the chosen few.

The rest of us will sit on the sidelines and ogle at your victory.