John Y’s Musings from the Middle: L’il Latin

My daughter was studying for her Latin exam last night.

I tried to sound clever by telling her “Carpe Diem!” (Seize the day)

She smiled as I walked out of the room but then called me back in.

“Dad, do you know many Latin words?”

“Some. Why?”

“Tell me some of the Latin words you know” she asked in that way that suggested I wasn’t as proficient at Latin as I wanted her to think.

jyb_musings“Well,” I said, “let’s see….I know what, um, ‘carpe’ means. And ‘diem.’

Squinting incredulously at me, my daughter asked with amusement, “Anything else?”

After a long pause I said, “Hercules?” And pointed out that Julius Ceasar often spoke in Latin, especially when addressing Brutus.

At that point I told my daughter I would be in my office working if she needed any more help studying for her Latin exam.

She apparently didn’t need any help the rest of the night.

Julie Rath: Do You Wish You Got More Sleep?

Sounds good, right? With some foresight and planning, you can save valuable time in the morning so you can have that extra 10 minutes in bed. Read on for 13 tips on getting out the door quickly, efficiently, and of course stylishly.

Men's Personal Stylist: Wardrobe Valet
1) Lay your clothes out the night before. We learned this back in grade school, but at some point along the way we stopped doing it. If you have the space, get a wardrobe valet to keep things neat and visible as you make your selections. It also helps to check the weather so you can decide on what shoes and outerwear you’ll need.

2) Maintain an organized closet so that you can find everything you need the moment you need it. For my tips on how purge your closet, click here.

3) Once you’ve cleared out the things you don’t need, keep your clothing organized by type (suits with suits, blazers with blazers, shirts with shirts, etc.), then by color within each type. Again, it’s all about easy access.

4) If you don’t have heavy beard growth, shave the night before. This also reduces irritation.

5) Put your keys on top of anything you need to bring with you, like the Netflix envelope you’ve been meaning to mail for the past few days.

Men's Image Consultant: Supply Basket

6) Keep all the things you know you’ll need right before you walk out the door in one handy place, for example in a basket in your closet, or in a hallway drawer. This might include a lint-brush, hair product, glasses, sunglasses, change for coffee/the paper, mobile device, wallet, office security badge, transit pass.

Read the rest of…
Julie Rath: Do You Wish You Got More Sleep?

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Letting Down Dads Easy

It’s polite to let dads down easy.

The transition from the role of a strong, dominant , all-knowing, father-knows-best, man-of-the house to the diminished role of amusing obsolescence is hard on the male ego.

We are on our way to dinner in the care —my wife, daughter and me. My wife and daughter were talking about me and agreed I had been “good” this weekend. My daughter joked that maybe I …should get a gold star. My wife suggested we have a special board on our refrigerator to track my success.

jyb_musingsThey were laughing good natuturedly and I was even begrudgingly agreeing I deserved some sort of recognition for my “good behavior” this weekend.” But my daughter sensed I was slightly wounded by the receding role in the in the family and tried to reassure me. And that meant a lot and didn’t take a lot of effort.

She simply turned to me where I was sitting in the back seat and patted me on the leg and told me she was proud of me and would make sure it was a big gold star.

Rebuilding West Liberty, KY — Selected for the Clinton Global Initiative — Please Sign Up to Join Us

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Rebuilding West Liberty, an Eastern Kentucky community initiative aimed at reconstructing a small rural town nearly destroyed last year by horrific tornadoes to be a 21st Century model for sustainability and entrepreneurship, today announced that Tim Conley, the Morgan County Judge/Executive helping to lead this effort, will attend the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting June 13th and 14th in Chicago.  Judge Conley will participate as a member of the Residential Energy Efficiency Working Group (one of twelve working groups convening at CGI America) to share Rebuild West Liberty’s Residential Energy Efficiency Project.

On March 2, 2012, the town of West Liberty, Kentucky suffered a massive tragedy. An EF3 tornado ripped through this community of about 3,400 residents, killing seven, devastating nearly 400 homes, businesses and government structures, and destroying much of the downtown area. While the disaster was an unprecedented crisis for the tiny community, it also represented an extraordinary opportunity: to rebuild itself with a 21st century, lower-cost, sustainable infrastructure, and develop a path to create job‐producing business opportunities, increasing the tax base and attract new residents to West Liberty.

The community’s residents and leaders chose this bolder path. After a year of extensive discussions among key stakeholders and outside experts, the community completed a thorough visioning process to rebuild West Liberty in a thoughtful and sustainable manner, giving careful consideration to the need to preserve the region’s Appalachian heritage and resources.

Clinton Global IniativeIn January 2013, the town issued a strategic report: Rebuilding West Liberty, Kentucky, outlining thirteen locally-inspired strategies that would make West Liberty not only a model for disaster-ravaged communities, but also for all of rural America. (Click here for a PDF-version of the full report.)

Judge Conley will provide insight on one of Rebuilding West Liberty’s most urgent stakeholder-inspired strategies and most critical needs: rebuilding roughly half of the 300 residential homes that were lost to the storm. To meet this dire need, Rebuilding West Liberty has committed to the construction and development of 150 affordable, highly energy-efficient factory-built and site-built homes. The three year project includes a $27 million investment of equity, grants, debt and operating grants to complete the project in West Liberty and scale innovations piloted for other disaster response efforts and affordable housing projects for factory-built homes across the nation.

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Please join us in this critical initiative.

Sign the petition below, to take part in the grassroots coalition supporting the project:

We Support Rebuilding West Liberty, Kentucky

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169 signatures

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139Kathy PonsollDanville, KYJun 06, 2013
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137Kathy GarrettCampton, KentuckyJun 06, 2013
136William DixonWest Liberty , KYJun 06, 2013
135Jackie Elam WoosleyAltamonte Springs, FloridaJun 06, 2013
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132Pearliee PalmerWheelersburg, OhioJun 06, 2013
131Jennifer ClickSandy Hook , KYJun 06, 2013
130Elizabeth MinixJun 06, 2013
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126Betty CarpenterFranklin, OhioJun 05, 2013
125Linda WattersonWest Liberty, KyJun 05, 2013
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123Belinda SparksWest Liberty, KentuckyJun 04, 2013
122Jacy WooleyKentuckyJun 04, 2013
121Jackie BachellorHudson, FloridaJun 04, 2013
120Shuavon PrewittElkfork, KentuckyJun 04, 2013

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About CGI America
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 211 commitments valued at $13.6 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.

CGI also convenes an Annual Meeting, which brings together global leaders to take action and create positive social change, CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI Latin America, which will bring together Latin American leaders to identify, harness, and strengthen ways to improve the livelihoods of people in Latin America and around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at  facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

Josh Bowen: Bacon or Eggs – Part One

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”
– Vince Lombardi

What is the difference between dedication and commitment? As one of my best clients I ever had told me years ago; the difference between commitment and dedication is like the difference between the bacon and eggs. The chicken is dedicated, dedicated to hatching eggs for all of us that love eggs. However, the pig is committed. committed to the cause and willing to sacrifice their life so all of us can enjoy the great taste of bacon.

So here is what I have done:

1. Given you a visual of the difference between being dedicated to something and being committed

2. Completely over-dramatized the difference between both dedication and commitment and bacon and eggs

3. Introduced my next piece on how to become committed

Extra Credit: Hopefully I made you chuckle…just once.

joshLet’s bring it back down to planet earth now. Commitment is a huge part of success in anything, not just fitness. However, without commitment to the cause, the results will become hindered and adherence to exercise maybe damaged. So lets first look at some common reasons that challenge people’s commitment to fitness.

1. Time- We live in a world that goes from 0-60 the moment your feet hit the ground. It is easy to use the excuse of “I don’t have time.” Here is the hard truth, we are all given the same amount of time everyday, how we use that time is on us. An hour of exercise a day is 4% of your day. Honestly, in some cases you could get by with 10-20 minutes of exercise. So now you are telling me you don’t have time? Dedication versus commitment.

2. Cost- Money is always an issue in things that are perceived to cost money. Gym memberships, personal trainers, fitness clothes, organic food etc. can sometimes interfere with people starting and/or continuing a fitness program. Truth is fitness can be free. With the wealth of information out there (ie my blog) that is free one can start and continue a program without really having to shell out any cash. However, if buying a gym membership and maybe a personal trainer (come see me!) is what you want to do but are scared of the cost remember value versus cost. If you see value in something you can always budget for it but if you look at it as a cost it will always be just that, something else you have to pay.

Read the rest of…
Josh Bowen: Bacon or Eggs – Part One

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Gratitude for Our Era

It’s important not only to be grateful to be born the way we are but also to be grateful we were born when we were.

If I had been born early in human civilization —for example, during the Hunter-Gatherer era—I would have struggled to fit in.

When asked which group I was in, hunter or gatherer, I would have been faced with the harsh reality that I wasn’t good at either. And I would have aske…d if there was a third option available. Maybe for consultants?

But the Hunter-Gatherer-Consultant era just doesn’t have an authentic ring to it.

I guess I should be grateful to have been born when I was. When there are more than just those two job options. It would have been painful for me each day to have been the last one in my group picked for either the hunter or gatherer team. Like playing in a 4-on-4 pick-up basketball and you are the 8th guy and only one under six feet tall who didn’t play basketball in high school or college. That awful exasperated final pick (forced on the team stuck with you)….and hearing the captain mutter “Oh, man. Not him” as he realized after the seventh player was selected that only left you.

I would have had to deal with that kind of humiliation daily during the Hunter-Gatherer era. And this was the period in human civilization after fire had been discovered but before the discovery of affective mood disorder medications, talk therapy, or support groups. And satire. And obviously before outsourcing.

jyb_musingsLife really would have lousy for me and probably included a lot of passive-aggressiveness toward my group coupled with a lot of difficult to explain acting out. And no one knowing at that time about intervention processes– and just writing off my bad behavior and attitude to not being good at hunting and gathering.

And no Facebook or other social media outlets to vent about my sense of alienation and being misunderstood.

What a bizarre culture to try to survive in.

I may come up short in many areas of my life, but when it comes to the period in human civilization (era-wise) for me to be born, I nailed it.

Hemp Legalization Has Strong Popular Support

From The Huffington Post:

A significant majority of Americans favor legalizing hemp, according to a HuffPost/You Gov poll. The poll found that 56 percent of Americans support the plant’s legalization. Twenty-four percent are opposed, while 20 percent are unsure.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have introduced an amendment to the farm bill that would make it legal to grow hemp domestically. Hemp can be imported legally from Canada or other foreign countries, and it is legal to produce and sell shirts, soap or other hemp products with foreign-grown hemp. But it is illegal to grow hemp domestically under current laws, since cannabis is a “schedule I controlled substance” — though it is extremely difficult to turn hemp into a drug with the psychoactive properties of other cannabis-associated substances, such as marijuana.

Click here to read the full piece.

Lauren Mayer: How to Make Controversy Worse

As any parent has reassured her kids time and time again, none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, and a simple apology can work wonders.  But apparently most public figures with misdeeds for which they want to be forgiven have gotten a bit side-tracked, issuing “I’m sorry if anyone took offense” non-apologies that make the initial mistake even worse.  Sometimes it works – Mark Sanford never really apologized for his “hiking the Appalachian Trail” nonsense, other than explaining that his mistress was his soulmate, and South Carolina voters forgave him enough to elect him to Congress in a recent special election.  Sometimes it’s just entertaining, like waiting to see what will happen with Anthony Weiner’s mayoral ambitions (as well as with the unfortunate juxtaposition between his last name and his texting).

But sometimes the non-apology just makes matters worse, as in the case of Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO.  A several-years-old interview resurfaced recently, in which Jeffries explained the store didn’t sell large sizes because they only wanted ‘cool, popular, thin kids’ wearing their clothes (the store had already generated some controversy because of their policy to burn irregular clothes, rather than run the risk of them being worn by unacceptable ‘poor people’).  Unfortunately, Jeffries’ response was to apologize ‘if anyone took offense,’ which just fanned the fires, on top of opening himself up to critiques of his own fairly odd appearance.  (And while I do agree with those who say that it’s hypocritical to criticize Jeffries’ looks while we complain about his looks-ism, I understand why people couldn’t help noticing Jeffries’ amazing resemblence to Biff from Back To The Future as well as to Jocelyn Wildenstein, the wealthy socialite who has spent over $4 million on plastic surgery to make her face look more like a cat.   (Who needs to write fiction when reality is this weird?)

Several journalists and celebrities weighed in (pun intended) in fairly creative ways, like a journalist who bought up thrift shop A&F clothes and donated them to homeless people, a plus-sized model who created her own spoof ‘Attractive & Fat’ ad campaign, and comic Ellen Degeneres, who explained that ‘coolness isn’t a size’ while holding up an ‘extra small’ A&F logo shirt that would have been small on Barbie.  (I also loved her take on ‘size double zero,’ wondering if people who wore that size would ask, “Do these jeans make my butt look invisible?”)  And hundreds of teens have responded to Jeffries’ Facebook non-apology, writing in that they are thin enough to wear A&F clothes, but not that shallow or snobby.

Karma seems to be doing a fairly good job in this case, as A&F’s sales have plummeted (although it was great fun to watch Jeffries attribute the slump to an ‘inventory problem,’ which is probably a shortage of superficial trend-obsessed teens who are stupid enough to pay for the privilege of doing A&F’s advertising for them, wearing logo-encrusted poorly made shirts).  But I still couldn’t resist weighing in musically, with an actual apology to Sir Elton John . . . .


 

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: How Can They Be So Sure?

How can they be so sure?

Quantifying things can be a way of creating the illusion of certainty when it really doesn’t exist.

Take for example all these helpful and often wonderfully written advice advice books and articles (on business and life) that have titles with the exact number of some uncovered mysterious truth that is about to be divulged to the reader.

The 7 Secrets; 21 Immutable L…aws, 12 Principles, or 8 Cardinal Rules (see below), and so on.

How do they know that is the exact and final ultimate number of whatever secrets, rules, laws, etc that is being disclosed?

Are they sure?

Have they looked for and ruled out a possible 8th Secret, 22nd Immutable Law, 13th Principle or 9th Cardinal Rule? Or are they lazy or perhaps had an editor pressing them with a publishing deadline and they had to stop with whatever number they had at the time?

I would be really peeved if I bought a book on the 11 Rules of Success and paid full price only to find out later there are actually 16 Rules of Success. Or, God forbid, even more? Could we get a pro-rata amount of our money refunded on such books? If it turns out we only got half the “Secrets” then it stands to reason we should only pay half the price for a book claiming to possess them all and distilled down to a single number.

And what if the Universe is less precise than these authors think? What if in some instances a happy life is comprised of both secrets and habits? It’s conceivable that the formula for a happy life could involve, say, 11 habits, 14 secrets, 3 laws, and 9 immutable truths. jyb_musingsI’m not saying it does. I’m just saying it could. And if anyone ever proves that, book authors dispensing advice are going to have to entirely re-think they way they organize and deliver their great ideas. And might even find themselves faced by some sort of class action law suit by their readers on fraudulent claims about the exact number of important items that make up an entire truth.

What about a book titled, “Here’s a bunch of randomly culled ideas I wrote down that may or may not be helpful to you and I’m charging you $15 for it”?

It’s not a catchy title but I think I might buy it anyway. Whatever is inside the book, I at least have a good feeling about the author being trustworthy and not forcing me to risk getting entangled in some complicated class action lawsuit in the future I’ll probably never get any money back from anyway.

Jeff Smith: Do As I Say — A Political Advice Column

Jeff SmithQ: If you were Anthony Weiner, would you run for mayor?
—L.G., Brooklyn

Full disclosure: Not being a native, I’m just learning New York City politics.

I always find irony—and sometimes tragedy—in the stories of disgraced pols who rush for immediate reinvention in the same ego-nurturing and soul-crushing arena that initially got them in trouble. It’s as if the Weiners and Sanfords of the world have determined that the artificial politico personas they have so painstakingly created are the only versions of themselves that they can still recognize. But true redemption requires you to hit the pause button, to sublimate ambition and reflect on what truly matters.

That said, if I were Weiner and felt that I’d done the necessary reparative work in my personal life, I’d run for either comptroller or public advocate. Though comptroller candidate Scott Stringer is familiar to Manhattanites, no one in either race has high citywide name ID, so both would be easier races and would be outside the blinding glare of a mayoral campaign. Of course, Weiner would still get more press than just about any candidate in the country, except perhaps the two who make the mayoral runoff.

In a nutshell, if he loses his next race, he’s done. So if he wants a career in public life, he should pick a race without a well-known front-runner like Christine Quinn. Then he can get time in a low-profile office where he could rehabilitate and position himself for a mayoral race in which his chances are better. Given his skills at self-promotion, this would seem reasonable. But right now just seems too soon to go for the Big Enchilada.

Q: I’d like to run for office in the next decade, but I’m a Democrat in a Republican-leaning area. I could move a few towns over and run as a Democrat, or I could switch parties and stay where I am. What would you advise?
—K.G., Location fluid!

You might also have noted in your signature that your principles are fluid.

I understand party affiliation can be easily shed—hell, look at Mayor Bloomberg. And I’m not averse to the concept; I helped an old friend switch parties years ago, and he may end up becoming Missouri’s next governor. But you seem a bit too malleable—willing to move, willing to switch parties, whatever it takes.

Ideally, a candidate needs a strong set of principles and a deep commitment to his community. Often candidates have one or the other. You appear to be lacking both, which is troubling.

It’s one thing to be a hungry candidate. It’s another thing to be starving. If I were you, I’d try to nail down exactly why you’re a Democrat, and then do some civic work in your community. Then write me again in a few years and I’ll be glad to help.

Read the rest of…
Jeff Smith: Do As I Say — A Political Advice Column

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