Knee replacement turns two, and ‘Obamacare’ is still law of the land

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Still proud of myself for ‘re-purposing’ the bicycle seat that served me for 28 years as a wedding gift.

Having started with Affordable Care Act coverage when legally mandated in 2015, I’m proud to announce that the replacement knee that made me physically whole again after a dozen years as ‘a gimp’ and restored my personal confidence levels, turned two yesterday.

A physical game changer at 60, replacement was the most anticipated gift I’d ever received.

After asking my doctor if I could possibly get the surgery in December, 2017, the scheduling person said, “You’re in luck. Two cancellations means one spot has opened up. The doctor is booked on the 18th, Christmas is the 25th, and after that its a new program year. You can have surgery this Monday, but you have to tell me,” and she literally looked at her watch, “now.”

After a difficult economic 2016 as a new real estate broker, getting a knee that was totally shot at the end of 2017  fixed as a long-term negative was far from a given. In the final accounting, the numbers turned out super-doable: “Obamacare” meant my maximum out of pocket – on an insurance breakdown with a $28,700 top line was $600.  The $20 a session for physical therapy – seven weeks, twice a week – was money extremely well spent.

Thankfulness has abounded since, and I have no reason to listen to anyone knock the ACA. This past weekend I popped off an 18 mile ride without any protest or strain from “Lefty,” and while a second day of Christmas tree selling brought a minor ache, two beers watching the LSU game took care of that.

I’m a happy camper about the knee, and have said so in every survey they sent me.

Rehabbing is definitely a challenge, nothing fun

When you catch a major break like the timing and cost factors I had, you owe the Universe your very best effort in return. Whatever other exercises Amanda and Becka came up with, knowing how important a factor an ERMI was in my progress, I worked the hell out of it.

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A significant extra from having Dr. Robert McBride (OrthoCarolina) as my surgeon was getting that ERMI (Extended Range of Motion Improvement) machine as a 30 day ‘loaner.’ It’s not kidding to say, with your heel in a foot-scoop, “You pull the pneumatic lever until the bend is uncomfortable, then give it another little tug, and keep that position for ten minutes.”

After taking a break, the system calls for coming back for ten more minutes and doing that twice a day. In physical therapy for knees, they quantify your progress in range of degrees, and at least for me, clicking that lever another line or three while in the ERMI saddle and channel-surfing hit an “I got this” machismo.

I believe that *every*little*bit*more*I*do* goes directly to helping the strength and functions of my knee-quad-whatever. (What I told my PT person, Amanda, often, and strangers in grocery stores even more frequently)

Its a process, and goals help

My initial, somewhat whimsical goal for being “better” involved planting my left foot without pain and being able to hit a tree with a snowball. The last time I’d tried on a trip to NY, I literally couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Charlotte doesn’t get snow that often, so it was a touch of luck that a decent skim appeared in late February to help fulfill that “leveling up” affirmation.

By the end of May, with the help of regular, mostly flatter 8-10 mile bicycle rides for training, I could handle my favorite urban route, one that features a three-mile stretch with several long rises about the mid-point. Thumping a forehand up the alley in tennis as an opponent flails at its passage still hasn’t been put on the official scoreboard, but I’ve killed a nearby wall.

In a captain’s choice golf event before Memorial Day 2018, I played amazingly well off the tees, STRAIGHT drives that located well and allowed better players to shoot for higher risk options. For years that knee clicked and wobbled at exactly the point I settled into an optimal swing position, which was more than just distracting. When my balance was restored, wow! Without that constant niggling, my swing came through smoothly.

That old joke about, “Will I be able to play the piano after surgery, I never could before,” that’s what solid drives felt like.

My bike ride is a working antique, a 12-speed Miyata with gears on the up-angle from my pedals instead of in the middle of the handlebars. I bought ‘Clyde’ for $125 in 1990, refurbished it for $185 many years ago, and finally bought a more ergonomically friendly seat vs. the slab of leather (see photo at top) that lasted 28 years. Riding Clyde was a saving grace, what allowed my staying in shape because it was really the only physical thing that *didn’t* abuse the knee, and biking is an almost year-round possibility in Charlotte.

Post-replacement and therapy, I honestly never expected to become the long-distance shooting threat in hoops I sort of recall being a dozen years before, when I started needing a bracier brace. Having stopped playing even 4-on-4 games six years ago – I sure didn’t want to be the guy *anybody* can drive on and they want to guard – I just wanted to move naturally. I continued catch and shoot hoops by myself over the years, but having to WALK after misses, that didn’t really square with the inner athlete.

Not having to skip across the street so I didn’t get run over made having that knee replacement a simple decision.

This October, after declining to play the previous week, I tried “going easy” for a short game to seven, shooting 4-5 with three long shots, and an assist. I’ve been back four times since, even though my doctor says, “You’re playing basketball?” with concern in his voice. (No sweat doc, I’m playing with old, broken down guys…) I resisted for over a year, I swear I know my limitations, but running after misses because I can, is another reason for thanks.

When doing a content copy writing gig for a CBD manufacturer early last year, I did several articles about how CBD’s effect on the endocannaboid system (ECS) can help with anxiety and depression.  Other research, regarding physical activity as a good overall tool on those fronts, echoed a personal mantra, and that Forever Young Boomer inside me does seem to respond well to CBD’s “focus factor,” having both going for me is terrific.

In my humble opinion, when your moment comes to pull the trigger, do it. The physical therapy is going to hurt, but do it – and then do a little bit more. Happy second birthdays depend on it.

“Real Writers” still best option, AI or 1 million chimps on computers creativity aside

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Artificial intelligence and computers can do amazing things based on previous analysis, but can they imagine a perfect David without that?

After being fed a trillion-gazillion bytes of previous human blood, sweat, and tears involved in artwork or literature, Artificial Intelligence is becoming/has begun to be judged capable of original production.  Professionally speaking, that sounds more reasonable than a million (or 10 million?) chimpanzees on keyboards knocking out even a couple verses of Bill Shakespeare-worthy prose by accident.

At the current time, I’m a way better writing alternative.

Without going deeply into whether its a good idea or not, the AI future has been coming almost 70 years,  and the chimps haven’t produced anything noteworthy.  Having read on LinkedIn about AI “knowing” how to make hiring decisions though, that’s a belief I can’t get on board with.

Having a “presence” – something that might push a magic button for a potential employer of my talents – and result in a tah dah! moment HAS to be better, because its worked that way before. Many sites still don’t recognize MSOffice includes Word, or journalism as somehow lacking “media and communications.”

Case in point, the recently concluded series SUITS.

Could the Zen of Harvey Specter and Mike Ross coming together on the basis of – well, a busted drug deal – and Mike’s statistical memory out-dueling Harvey’s ego on trivia happen with AI? I think not.

Far above the vast area between accidental genius and synthesized, analytical material becoming heart-breaking romance, discovering the answer to someone’s pain about any number of factors is what INTERVIEWING is about, and where writers of all stripes wear the sales hat.

Sports writing is easier than CBD content creation

Of course there are the numbers, the stats, the win-loss conclusion and opinions of the result, but sports have their own voice, and quotes are usually the most compelling part. If we have or haven’t seen the event, can you appreciate how a journalist presents it, accurately and colorfully?

That’s part of what interviewing does for “client voice.” Putting them together, with the proliferation of websites and blogs that require on-going production, is what long-form informational blogging has become.  Although not as direct as words from a winning coach, corporate voice is THE voice.

From high school journalism on, the need to set the hook with readers in the first paragraph was considered paramount. Now its the click value of the headline, because people scan vs. read.

Relative to value, while Charlotte pays above the national rates (as reported by Indeed, Glassdoor, Payscale), its often a case of job title-category being a determinant.

Copy writers at $26.38/hr, content writers,  and writers generally are close to $50k (Payscale says $47k is 10% above national avg., Glassdoor pegs avg. @ $55k), while content creation, including editors and social media types, are in the middle-upper teens per hour. Indeed puts these North Carolina rates at 15% below national averages.

Obviously there are ranges.  ‘Freelancers’ is a relative term ($22.46/hr., Payscale), tutors average $23/hr. (I usually bill at $30) and technical writers lead the overall pack at $32/hour. While descriptions for all have terms in common (white papers, blogs, SEO), writers seem to involve more interfacing with other creatives. Content creation is often  list-cicles or amalgamated research and rehashing as a group effort, with the focus on Google positioning.

*Everyone* wants copy/blogs/thought leadership that “meets and exceeds customer expectations.”

Technical Writing

“Thought Leadership” style has become a strong part of long-form informational blogging, and contrasting two previous projects with a recent sketchy client description highlights the importance of interviewing.

According to a Thumbtack lead, the client had an ESL (English Second Language) situation, and to his credit, knew he needed some expertise to make a business proposal sound right.

In hearing the project was “between 2,000-10,000 words” represented an awful lot of territory to offer overall pricing. Informing the client my blogs are often 1200-1500 words, so 10,000 was a lot, is a concrete example of both parties knowing what a project entails. Whether this business plan was going to include enough budget for technical writing was also a consideration.

jensenprocedOn the other hand, writing procedures for Parts Ordering and Returns was for “guys in the pits” using industrial laundry equipment (driers, folders, belted delivery systems, timing), not front office people. The primary point was well-defined, especially how plucking a part off a machine and reading the number was actually the third best option when ordering.

Two pages of specific information only took 945 words, and fact it included addressing issue of returns, so extra junk didn’t clog up the back dock area, was gravy.

Interviews as sales calls

Because client-facing verbal understanding is at the core of all successful work interactions, my mantra is that the Q&A to be most effective is always about determining those factors most important to clients, not an interrogation. Good information makes for better decisions.

During several other career stages, interviews were more accurately sales calls, where I was providing the information aspect, and how other people reacted was a measurable outcome.  “Interviewing” with the lawyer of someone whose property had a billboard I represented was another slice of interpretation – most would consider that “negotiation” though.

In scholastic fundraising, there was essentially 40 minutes to build rapport, present information and possibilities, (hopefully) get the green lights and signature that meant putting it on a calendar.  Most interviews focused on “fixing” a sponsor’s group problem in tough economic times.

That (fix some pain) remains the central theme for all kind of ‘gigs’ now, and Writers understand that every RFP (request for proposal) type of content we send should  be intended as a statement of what we bring to the table.

Without denigrating ‘foreign competition’ on the content front – because getting ideas across in writing is not bound by location or time zones – language differences when I’m just trying to make a point with outsourced service operations are multiplied in complexity when clarifying a corporate tone or voice.

ESL clients require extra attention, and grammatically and professionally, it still seems like some corporate material has been put through a Google translator called “English” that comes off as stilted in “American.” That might be where AI can makes inroads.

What JFK Meant with “Instead, ask what you can do for your country”

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When Rep. Adam Schiff gaveled the impeachment proceedings into recess last Thursday while invoking the late Elijah Cummings, “We’re better than this,” its my humble opinion that plenty of Americans would want a family member to conduct themselves as honorably, in such high pressure moments, as the US diplomatic personnel proved they could.

Many regarded President John F. Kennedy’s election as the second coming of Camelot, a time of exceptional promise. That cold, cold day of his Inauguration in 1961 couldn’t be more clearly juxtaposed to the shameless conduct described in the testimony about the Trump-Ukraine scandal, with tentacles that seem to have ensnared everyone it touched.

Kennedy’s January 16, 1961 speech was 14 minutes long, and that was the only part where he spoke about public service. The rest was primarily international, the Cold War. Vietnam was nowhere near a US problem – the French had that domino held steady, right?

They did their jobs, to the T

And yes, dammit, if the Lt. Colonel respectfully asks to be addressed by his rank, that shouldn’t be a three minute exercise in linguistics. A Ukranian immigrant at the age of four, he happens to have an identical twin, also a Lt. Colonel, who also serves in the White House.

That officer was on the call because of his expertise, including and especially, language. At NO point does that invite negative questioning,  any quibbling about loyalty from those pursuing nefarious political ends.

Should we be more in awe of Dr. Hill for stating that, having grown up poor, her working class accent – what most probably think most Brits sound like – would have limited her options dramatically in the UK, or should we salute her concise flaying of a GOP talking point (Ukraine, not Russian interference in 2016 elections) as repeatedly giving credence to such a false narrative and something Russia loves to hear?

Oh, third one – You do know that her expertise, literally, is because she wrote the book on it, right? “It” being Vladimir Putin. What, they didn’t mention that on FOX?

Powerful a witness as Sondhold became, was the Saturday Night Live! skit even better?

These people knew their words, and having them answer to counsel’s, “Right?” sure wasn’t automatic. As Dr. Hill and Ambassador Taylor stated, they were ‘fact witnesses,’ what they heard or knew about a situation, nothing about guilt regarding impeachment. Even if it was clarification of the timing tag of an e-mail as being sent local or Ukranian time, it was brought into agreement with known facts being discussed before saying, “Correct.”

If David Nolan wasn’t precise in showing how Amb. Sondland held a cell phone away from his ear while Trump was talking EXTRA loudly, is the operative word still, “Get over it?” When *every*single*one* of them takes notes constantly, documents situations with time and attendees, that is what a paper trail that’s meant to be followed looks like.

Oh, State Department has all the notes, because its government property? Sorry Amb. Sondland… Oh, you actually have e-mails that show everyone was in the loop? Good to know. Without taking anything away from Amb. Sondhold’s ability to both nurse a cold cup of coffee and deliver A-B-C, 1-2-3 points about whom “everyone” was, it was legitimate for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to note that his markedly different testimony was a third try at better describing things he recalled.

For those who think former NSC advisor John Bolton should  be as courageous as those who already testified, yep.

JFK and a character moment

Kennedy called out to a generation, and despite the tear United States down the middle issue of Vietnam, we – that would be the Boomers, ok – also made major strides in civil rights, and both put people on, and got them back from the moon.

Its not cherry-picking to use that event, it was a biggie.

Maybe ask someone about their time in the Peace Corp. Was there world respect for all those idealistic young Americans, striving to change the world somehow? You betcha. Those kids from Stoneman-Douglas are turning eighteen, ready to vote. Who wants them besides Beto, anti-gun marches and a huge percentage of America agreeing about it?

Yes, for sure, ask a young person what they think about the last three weeks over a fire pit on Thanksgiving. Learn what other people think – question authority (especially if it doesn’t pass the sniff test). Those diplomatic personnel who put their careers on the line, you KNOW you’d want them in the foxhole when doing whatever was necessary and right had to happen.

Some call it heroic,  but you certainly can’t ignore it. Nor should you disparage it.

Taylor-Kent Ukraine testimony was content that counted, worthy of attention by all

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While all the heavy digging at the top of the street won’t look like a police station for quite a while, what we heard and saw from two diplomats yesterday became an unimpeachably important first step.

Understanding that mega-reams of copy have already been generated throughout the U.S., Ukraine, and rest of the world, over six hours yesterday, two U.S. diplomats presented precisely the sort of content many, many people were tingling with anticipation to know. If their testimony was the elementary start to a long campaign, those who hoped putting faces to specific and negative information (for some) would make a difference, were rewarded.

Compared to repetitive commercials or ‘witch hunt’ comments about a topic that many have almost given up listening to – and its NOT a four year old investigation, its the start of *another,* necessary one – those straight ahead, well-respected professionals held our attention most of the day.

While having an element of ‘homer’ cheering for the Charlotte Panthers after an intense loss against the Green Bay Packers Sunday was legitimate, over three hours of watching this first public session of impeachment hearings only disappointed because I’d missed a LOT of points being scored during the earlier hours.

The Prez said he didn’t watch any of it, so hopefully someone recorded it, because while everyone knows he won’t read even important stuff, yesterday was about content well worth hearing.

A sports analogy

The Minnesota Golden Gophers football team had lost 43 games in a row to Penn State up to last weekend, a string of negatives that seems unbearable, and many Americans felt this country had endured a similar series of thumpings under Trump.

On Saturday, Minnesota kept its unbeaten season (9-0) going, and rose to #8 in the polls with a 31-26 victory, with Gopher QB Tanner Morgan going 18/20 (90%) for *339 yards*, three touchdowns and no interceptions. His top receiver, Rashod Bateman, had seven catches for 203 yards and a TD, Penn State’s QB had three interceptions, and that’s really all you need to know for a righteous analogy.

To cop GOP interrogator Steve Caster’s best line during the impeachment hearings:

“It’s not as outlandish as it could be.”

That he tried to get more than simple agreement from Ambassador Taylor on “not as outlandish” brought a smile and head shake that spoke volumes.

There’s an old sports line that goes, “We knew they’d beat us at some point, I just never expected to be around when that happened.” Both Penn State boosters, who were campaigning for a spot in the year-end NCAA Final Four, and Trump’s enablers in Congress now have the remainder of this Fall (and 2020) to contemplate the pop in the chops that always comes as a huge surprise from an underdog.

Talking about “What happens if…” those Nittany Lions end the season with just one loss, much like LSU beating arch-rival Alabama, will be the subject of much scrutiny. No matter who else they beat, their aura of being too powerful has been trashed by teams that decided enough was enough of losing.

Of course, that was only the first day of these hearings, and if there were two surprising “plays” along the way, one was Ambassador Bill Taylor, Jr. stating that on July 26th, a staffer (David Holmes, counselor for political affairs in Kiev embassy) overheard a phone conversation between European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland – on an unprotected cell phone, while at dinner in a restaurant – and Trump.

How many regular people KNOW that’s the worst kind of exposure?

Call it an interception, but Trump apparently talked so loudly about “investigations” that Holmes will now be deposed behind closed doors on Friday.

Possibly the most incredible part of Day One was the recognition by many that the Democrats, like Minnesota, remained disciplined and did nothing to harm themselves all day long.  For the jaded among us, the Dems not forming a circular firing squad with the wealth of information they already had is worth mentioning.

Congratulations and sincere thanks to those dedicated public servants who stood straight and tall at a dark point in our current political history. Your country appreciates it, possibly even as much as those many others whose service and deaths we remembered on Veterans Day.

 

That one, crucial, must-have piece that moves projects forward

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I might have thought I had problems with a camera, but Mike was the boss with heat all around him before Oyster Roast.

Before packing up the laptop  and sending it to Memphis over a camera not functioning – and recognizing I’m sometimes behind the curve tech-wise – there was recently a quantity of angst over getting a specific video off my phone and attached to a Google document that needed to be sent for a proposal.

After performing the operation three times myself – then tapping Librarian #1’s understanding for forty minutes – I’d expected a $99 visit with the Microsoft people would move things from “Does not recognize camera” error message to productive asset again. Being able to move forward because I stayed on the problem until it was resolved, that’s what I call my Matt Damon in “The Martian” moments.

Sweating further delay regarding that proposal made the relief of getting some necessary help a moment worth sharing with others. Anyone who has been on group calls where a certain person – with the element that everyone is gathered to learn about – is late, knows both the feelings of frustration and relief.

Your patience factor definitely counts

Trust me, people who have dealt with someone who gets frantic about a computer snafu and wants to make it *their* problem too, probably won’t be gracious by a third time around. That two different library workers tried their darnedest, and eventually found an effective option, is also a (small) credit to submerging my often squeaky wheel style.

Journalistically and as a content creator, my expectation is that equipment should do what its supposed to – I require a keyboard and access to information. Getting many, many things in-out of electronic media daily, even as a realtor, the message was always, “Make sure your technology works.” The least gratifying thing I hear when enterprising a solution is, “Well, that should’ve worked.”

While “should’ve worked” is an affirmation that my being stymied was perhaps appropriate, it still involves a dammit! because its a sticking point unhandled.

Searching for help works best without extra attitude. Bitching about the inconvenience to you isn’t going to motivate others to provide answers or assistance. Getting to the point is like using your Elevator Speech, or that first paragraph in any article – give potential helpers a reason to keep listening, or maybe point you in a right-er direction.

After a steady extra examination with Librarian #2, the BINGO! moment came with his suggestion to utilize YouTube to download the phone, and copy the link from that into my document instead of Google Pictures/video.

After three previous attempts, bam! that simple option-change was The Right Piece, with the focus on getting a crucial detail handled a very real result. No telling how things roll now that I’ll have to use library for a couple weeks because I don’t have a backup at home, but I’m not scared they’ll consider me a dummy for asking why my machine doesn’t work.

FYI – Backed up and packed up

Sending 99% of everything a potential client asks for with position descriptions might not even be enough, so paying attention to details counts. That video I wanted so bad? It was :58 because the gig description said “No longer than 1:00 video.”

Reviewing the proposal, and recognizing some notes for a social media element hadn’t been turned into specific post samples. While stating the importance of getting that one, crucial piece handled, its always a good idea to check the details one last time.

While this unit goes into the box right after this blog, its contents have been backed up. Tomorrow I’ll go back to that refurbished library in SouthPark and thank Ed again.

Oh yeah, saying Thanks! is still a simple courtesy that makes helpers happy. My tutoring in reading and writing keeps a positive attitude about sharing expertise to carry forward, so there’s no reason not to send that outward when you’ve gotten the necessary results.

What do Andy Neumann, Trump, you, and Sweltering Charlotteans Have in Common?

Year One, the year Panthers went to the Super Bowl. We'd waited out an ice storm before starting our string of successful oyster roasts, The HedgeHog concept: making $$$ is fine, the community event rocks, and the box burning is an official ending.
Year One, the year Panthers went to the Super Bowl. We’d waited out an ice storm before starting what’s become a string of successful oyster roasts with 2500 oysters – this year its 7000. The HedgeHog concept: Making $$$ is fine, the community event rocks, and the box burning is an official ending.

Answer: Most of those didn’t blow up a $47 billion IPO valuation, get tagged with “nonsensical” about real estate economics, or get kicked to the ”CEO No-longer” curb. Yeah, it sounds a bit snarky, but the razz-berries started early on WeWorks IPO.

The old expression – just ask Biden -“Three on a match” was a tribute to South African Boer (Dutch) farmers accuracy as snipers at the beginning of the last century. It might be elementally bad luck for the last one when English soldiers tried lighting three cigarettes to conserve scarce matches. Neumann walked into that analogy last week, covered in Silly String.

Investors have been memorably slapped silly with Theranos (diabetic testing, aloof and combative executive) and Lyft (yet to make a profit, plenty of corporate drama) as essentially empty bags, and Neumann’s WeWork’s IPO represented, well, “creative content” way beyond my pay grade. With regular mentions in the press about tequila-fueled days, pot smoking on the corporate jet, self-dealing over a corporate trademark, and then submitting shoddy SEC paperwork – that never offered a timeline for the company to turn a profit – failing economic sniff tests made him a stupendous third, bigly.

Personally, from a series of sweaty 4-on-4s at regular Monday night hoops, through about 35 minutes of shooting in 91 degree Charlotte humidity on Saturday, last week involved a lot of real physical heat. It’s just a fact here, 78 days of 90-plus this year (34 is the average), with expectations for more of the same coming. Sunday it was 96 – so while semi-lazy by only doing a pair of videos for proposals – and ballin’-out with a couple cold ones, watching local Panthers play excellent at all levels again, Slye blasted one 55-yards! – here’s betting it was a qualitatively better day than those other guys had.

Neumann and Trump – the Prez, obviously, with an official House impeachment investigation – is experiencing HEAT at a whooooole ‘nother level.

Neumann, who has burned through many SoftBank BILLIONS with WeWork’s concept of premium office rental space – obviously never read or considered leadership thoughts from Jim Collins iconic management book, ‘GOOD TO GREAT.’ Top three reasons that seems true, in no particular order: (not) Facing the brutal facts (of economics), “(not) Getting the right people (lots of relatives though!) on the bus, in the right places,” and ultimately, not deciding on a HedgeHog Concept to work from.

Before finally taking the HedgeHog Concept – doing one thing particularly well, being the best at it – to be the heart of a leadership thought, the bus analogy held a lot of early consideration in my weekend blog writing. There’s no doubt such references will be used soon though, since who’s on, still in, driving, or under any buses in the next week or so in that other “nonsensical” (political) world is going to be worth watching. “Right this way Mr. Guliani; Yessir Mr. Secretary, that seat is definitely meant for you.”

IT WAS EASY TO SEE, RIGHT NOW, IN BLACK AND WHITE

‘Good to Great’ is only 210 pages long (plus appendixes) and Collins labeling of traits and consistencies that statistically created Greatness are often esoteric – which as a management theory staple, such books rarely flow – always makes it incredibly readable. My CDTalent Enterprises business features content creation and community-level projects, and the Hedgehog definition hits a legitimate chord:

To simplify a complex world into a single organizing idea, a basic principle or concept that unifies and guides everything.

Content creation is way not the same as “sound bite” or Tweets, and right now my tone is set for “Leadership Thought.” Those two video projects last weekend – one involves marketing of the legal community – and Leadership Thought (LT) is an arena where ongoing experience in creating a ‘voice’ counts. Although I’ve done that ghosting route before, it could still be a next challenge for wordsmithing.

A Unifying Concept

HedgeHog-wise, CDTalent Enterprises’ unifying concept includes a half-dozen topics I have specific expertise about (including CBD), and proposals for articles is an easily achieved expansion – it already earned a three hour schedule block on Tuesday. That concept allows for nailing down an 8,000 words (with synopsis) book proposal before Thanksgiving, which I have a running start on.

The difference between not actually wishing someone dead, but being glad about the opportunity to read their obituary, is a Mark Twain-ism worth stealing.

Trump’s week was warmly spotlighted politically by Speaker Pelosi on Tuesday, even if  his blowing off a major environmental session at the UN gained a hairy eyeball look from 16-year old super-activist Greta Thurnberg of Sweden.  He wasn’t the guy *I* would want to take handshake pictures with, and his address at the United Nations wasn’t actually newsworthy.

Really, after announcing an impeachment inquiry at what approximated a national level by Pelosi, and setting real, fast-moving Congressional goals, I still wonder how much of the country ie.- FOXers -would know whether Trump spent time at the UN or played golf.

The Twain theory of obit reading seems in line with postmortem sympathy for a crispy ‘baked’ (nyuk nyuk) Adam Neumann, and Trump’s people are really not looking forward to “some grilling time” after vacation. Having three proposals generate additional interest would still make this coming week ‘hot’ on content as business front, but bet on fact us sweltering Charlotteans are waiting to smell what Congress might be cooking over the next couple weeks.

Hey, that’s a good hook for my Oyster Roast on October 19th!

Take breaks to renew your mojo -Panthers pre-season, golf, a Sat. BBQ with pool

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This is actually the White Water Center, but the sense of easy going ambiance shouldn’t be lost, although of course it could become dramatically different. We didn’t live in fear after 9/11, we can’t allow that now.

Having done a quantity of “leadership thought” pieces recently, I also commented about how *a mother grizzly with cubs* – historically a kiss-your-ass goodbye! moment to avoid – treated the guy who saved her cubs better than Trumpster could hold it together for ten minutes into flight after visiting a hospital in Dayton.

Apples to apples comparison, one of those two did an excellent job with their PR.

In the week since those slaughters in Dayton and El Paso, TX, the over-whelming support for SOMETHING to change – by like 94% of everybody – has provided common cause, perhaps on the level of the Vietnam War protests I remember. That the recent violence was directed so specifically, that doesn’t represent the world I grew up in, so I and others will raise ours voices against it.

Does it feel like more jawing coming? Because while the NRA has clearly spoken to the Prez directly about their paid-for feelings, can even “Moscow Mitch” hold up something basic like background checks? How can this gun-racism tie in, after 18 months of barrage, still be inadequate to creating legislative changes? 

We are indeed in stressful times, and while I was pre-occupied with becoming my mother’s primary care person two memorable Valentine’s Day ago, the slaughter at Stoneman-Douglas HS raised the guns- school shootings profile to a national awareness of ENOUGH!  As individuals frequently expressed over BBQ and beers this weekend, there’s an expectation that its time to wrestle with that bear, as long as its getting shoved in our faces anyway.

UGANDA is issuing travel advisories for *their* people going to the United States, in light of constant gunfire in US.  How’s that square with “winning,” our vaunted sense of superiority?

It’s not just amplified jive from the bots, or is it?

Rep. Nadler says this IS what impeachment proceedings look like, that its a process, whether anyone believes they’ve poked strongly enough to move a monumental effort through the courts or not. This is something to be hopeful about. We have the history of Watergate, a defining moment many others – first time voters, post Nixon –  political learning curves rely on, too. Yes, I became part of that huge increase in journalism majors in the late Seventies.

This is where many stop – “There’s nothing I can do”

“Don’t sweat those things you can’t affect,” or maybe the common “Stay in your lane, bro,” begs the question of how much caring and worrying we should individually and collectively give. Was it Covey who suggested we wasted an awful lot of time/energy worrying about events that – 95% of the time – either never come to pass, or will happen in spite of anything we can do?

That doesn’t mean you completely crap out on paying attention though. IMHO, you still have to call out what’s on the other side of Decency or Right (as in correct) line, and yes, results come from changing those things you can actually affect. Since Day One, I expected that the media would need to keep hot, bright, continuous lights on what this administration will go down in history as being, and 2018 was proof of that.

While its stunning that the graft-riddled Trump Administration is still afloat, we can still hope to make certain necessary changes in bringing back our national mojo. Calling for that mojo thing isn’t just a Woodstock flashback – and its really been 50 years since the ‘Miracle Mets’ and Tom Terrific and landing on the moon? –  but this isn’t the time for Boomers to go quietly into that good night.

Social Security is NOT an entitlement program, its a payoff I’ve built up since that first inside job at sixteen, when I asked, “What’s FICA?”

This isn’t the time for Boomers to go quietly into that good night.

With all due gravity to everyone affected – and the cannery workers round-up designed to incite greater fears as a chaser – I’m glad to watch a Panthers preseason game, have a chance to whack a pretty good bucket of golf balls, and be invited to a ribs + beers gathering with neighbors and their young and college age children on Saturday to gird myself for “More.”

Pace yourself, America

I acknowledge feeling safe there, although such a scene is as ripe as any other gathering for violent changes. Yes, should the worst happen at some point, “A good guy with a gun,” showing up like NRA/GOP always exclaims would be welcome.

Counting on Wonder Woman to deflect ordinance is a fallacy, but we’ve been closer to  putting some brakes on assault weapon killings before – and it worked, remember?20190630_141650

As we consumed saucy ribs, with intelligent persons representing a variety of nationalities and ages, my interviewer gene was tickled: So excellent to hear what our acquaintances FEEL on various topics instead of hearing cable TV percentages. It was gratifying to recognize the free flow of discourse compared to naysaying, negativity, and dogmatic reactions that often lower conversations with ‘others.’

The women I spoke with – that demographic everyone recognizes brings victory – I *never* heard anyone mention Hillary, and Trump won’t get their votes either.

There’s no denying the experts saying its going to be loud and bad right through Election Day next November, but I also relaxed, because I unplugged from political analysis from Thursday-Sunday.

Nicole Wallace’s DEADLINE: White House and Brian William’s 11th Hour have been my standards, they don’t do “alternative facts.” Williams’ humor and precise, well-articulated questions of experts is still the standard to hold high regarding the power of the free press. I respect Wallace because she was in the Bush White House on 9/11, and she KNOWS what disarray with staff and a national emergency both look like for real.

Like the soaps opera manipulations your friends used to fill you in about in college, you can miss a couple episodes with politics and pick things up quick in a 24/7 news cycle. Oh, Epstein committed suicide? What a surprise, but Barr is starting a probe…

You’re gonna have to pace yourself, America. Mueller’s report wasn’t as great a “movie” as many hoped, but I’ll support the on-going, Watergate-style job designated for Congress 243 years ago; ICE bullying and savage malfeasance, unqualified clowns considered for high positions, its more anxiety than CBD oil should be called on to negate.

Becoming my Mom’s primary care person that Valentines Day shooting, can you believe we’ve gotten to THIS POINT, again, in 18 months?  Standing on “Moscow Mitch’s” feet of lead in the Senate, that’s a significant, well-defined desire by the many.

Periodically unplugging and stopping to smell any flowers, really, watch ANY high school football game, or having ribs and beers with neighbors, that contemplation of peace and joy we praise in the Constitution is out there, keep pushing for a piece of peace.

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Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talents Enterprises 
(704) 502-9947

 

 

 

 

 

Content creation, client needs are close to dating – better info turns into ‘righter’ decisions

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Typical selfie in bathroom mirror doesn’t move the needle much.

Certainly, online dating and sending RFP-level material to potential clients is a legitimate analogy. Wanting a good professional or emotional connection, one that satisfies a recognized need, works best when everyone is honestly trying on the information front.

Three specific examples of “finding the other”  involves a high, low, and medium set of informational points, and how it affects the successful matching up of elements desired by both parties.

On the low end would be a personal ad lacking any imagination or effort – one picture (the bathroom selfie), minimal written, or “If you want to know more, ask” slackery. That’s an unsatisfying combination from among hundreds of other possibilities, and its headed for the Out Bin almost as a reflex, right?

Content creation types understand that every CV or cover letter sent involves a judgment of our writing skills.

On a lovely, cool Monday morning, I declare that The Super High end of information is represented by 2 1/2 pages of printed who, what, why, how? relative to one recent company’s Content Marketing position. A statement of their corporate positioning, an introduction to expectations of a new team member, responsibilities, necessary skill set, personal qualities (hmmm…humility?), and finished up with bullet points about extras in the compensation situation you’d probably want to know about.

Almost without question – whether pursuing dates or a potential client – you’d invest more effort in something A-B-C, 1-2-3 clear about extra details to start. From the content creator side, responding to that well-defined description with an equally well-defined reason to investigate further is fundamentally right.

The best kind of middle ground is a ‘date’ that shows up as a 100% as advertised stud or stud-ette.  Great attitude, desired attributes sharp and obvious, articulate enough during the meet-greet time over coffee or a cold beverage raising expectations of a possible match. If all is in tune a couple hours later – post-concert and a snack perhaps – its much easier to discuss what Next might look like.

What needs to be done when the bell is rung

Many of us like to think we’re the middle group professionally, that it’s just a matter of getting in front of a decision maker. Perhaps we lack an attribute or two software-wise,  or depth of expertise required, but if there’s not an organic height requirement, face-to-face will win the day.

Uhh-huh.

That would be amazingly naive of the one picture profile to think, and just as unproductive for a content creator candidate to ignore the relative clues in a well-written description of  how to impress that ‘date’ appropriately. 

That Super High end information provider is a remote location possibility vs. office situation, as definite a positive as a bright smile from across the room. The role responsibilities call for a versatile style across several channels (bingo!), engaging with subject matter experts (sales career and all previous freelance writing featured interviewing as a strength), and some esoteric pieces, like “the gumption to wrestle with a problem until a thought-through solution is achieved,” and “…abiding love for processing a lot of input, (then) fishing out the interesting and relevant bits.”

That meeting Saturday’s date provided immediate, verifiable intell regarding an All That candidate doesn’t happen often. She was interesting, attractive, way better than just fit, a look-you-in-the-eye type with a compelling story about spirituality (including tarot, the hook in my books) that kept conversation flowing. And OMG! who wanted to go ‘dutch’ from the get-go.

Having seen the up-close reality of the option, it would be terrific if there was more to discuss in the near future. Hold onto that thought, because that meeting of the minds included almost two weeks of texting, and both of us had multiple pictures and profile writing.  Elementally, the dating system worked, and leaving out that information makes it sound like luck.

Never let it be thought you only did the least that could be done. Quality communications don’t need to be all-revealing bikini shots of one’s career, just promote the belief that we as responders might be that terrific person you’ll want to discuss a future relationship with. All positive responses constitute a successful ‘first date’ for a content creation person.

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Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talents Enterprises 
(704)502-9947

911, Mueller-Trump, or a Hurricane: Which one should have your attention?

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If you only have the attention span or ability to focus on a single subject at a time, what would be on your mind today? Many would say ‘Remember 9-11!’ and that would certainly be appropriate. A large number would undoubtedly select some sliver of the on-going saga of Trump cruelty/BS policies-Mueller investigation-possible impeachment-upcoming elections, and more than a few would point to (as of yesterday) a Category 4 hurricane named Florence that is bearing down on the Carolinas.

The anticipation of a Thursday landfall is a Reality, but it’s not necessary to forget about the other two.

9-11 of course, is a significant historical event, a devastating attack that was truly world-changing. The second has been a slow-rolling situation that has split this country in ways that only Vietnam or our incredibly bloody Civil War of nearly 160 years ago (‘The War of Northern Aggression’ in these parts), but that hurricane is almost here and very Now. Having seen the flooding and destruction from a close hurricane pass for eastern North Carolina a few years ago, yikes. Recognizing that when they say GET OUTTA THERE! so publicly to several million people, you reallllly should do something to prepare for the potential worst.

Last night I congratulated a gal-pal who bought her way out of a shared condo lease about a half-mile from the South Carolina shore just a month ago. It looked like a financial disaster then, more like a gift now.

Here in Charlotte, NC, almost 200 miles from the coast, nobody has forgotten Hugo (1989), and while there was a semi-freakish confluence of two pressure systems that essentially ushered-spun it this way after it hit Charleston, I’m not feeling immune to possibility it happens again. Back then, a good-sized tree came down along side of my brother’s house vs. on it, but more importantly, *I’M* here now, and current house is surrounded by large, OLD, oak trees.

Politically, I’ve checked my voter registration and will do my part to remove Trump from a position on the world stage that he’s deliberately butchered, starting with the House, but I’ve never had to dig out from under a natural disaster (or a bombing either), and yes, that brings a certain pause to all other parts of Life.

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Watching ‘The 2000’s’ on TV the other night, will praying do anything about 8-10 inches of rain an hour for several days that Katrina did to New Orleans or more recently, Houston? Here in ‘The Buckle on the Bible Belt’— and bless what the legendary late Billy Graham epitomized as a messenger of God plus over 1,100 churches listed on Google might mean—its going to be a tense week, considerably longer if we take a direct hit.

Last night I congratulated a gal-pal who bought her way out of a shared condo lease about a half-mile from the South Carolina shore just a month ago. It looked like a financial disaster then, more like a gift now. I still object to the kind of disaster relief that rebuilds homes in a place that will almost inevitably be destroyed again, but its not mine either, and that certainly counts in a significant way.

Right now it’s a terrific September morning, Carolina blue sky with a smattering of fluffy clouds. That’s probably how it looked to New Yorkers that evil, disastrous day 17 years ago. I’ll never forget how a co-worker hung up her phone and said, “An airplane just crashed into one of the Twin Towers!” and opining that was unbelievable accident, not knowing it was a BIG plane vs. just a two-engine Cessna or such. That a second plane hit the other tower and this country watched an almost surreal scene unfold all day—with three more planes-as-bombs elsewhere– was as big as anyone could imagine, a modern-day Pearl Harbor of fanaticism.

One group of passengers—and the memory of a ‘Let’s roll!’ final word of determination has produced goosebumps like I haven’t had in a long time– forced one terrorist piloted plane to crash in Pennsylvania instead of allowing it to continue on its murderous mission of crashing into the White House, and that’s something we should have a collective, ultimate respect for.

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It was related to helping my Dad vs. 9-11, but making spaghetti dinner (with modesty aside, great meatballs) once a month for three months at two stations, was my way of saying thanks.

It’s awesome that we have people who care about others enough to sacrifice themselves, which is how our military-police-first responders are somehow rigged mentally. Its almost hard to believe Nike chose an out of work QB vs. those cops and firemen of 2001 or a Pat Tillman, who left his job playing football in relative safety to give his life in Afghanistan- as worthy of an advertising campaign and rolling it out this time of year. Even knowing, and agreeing with, the reason Colin Kaepernick started kneeling in protest, its not like they didn’t know there were better examples.

The many who ran towards that disaster instead of away are justifiably held in awe, and if the NYPD and NYFD hats and shirts don’t come out as often as they did in the early years, that’s on us for forgetting.

In a simple, definitely personal and political thought, we can only hope those people we elected to represent our interests as a country, who SHOULD do something about the wrongness and despair caused by wrong-headed and often enabling inaction in Congress– based only on self-interest of a political party– somehow gets a similar ‘Let’s go” spine.

As for the hurricane, we have a spare bedroom…

Pooh-pooh a neighbors kumbaya, but MILLIONS of people showed up

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There’s always something wrong with the idea of one person gunning down a bunch of others, and an extraordinary number of those events have occurred in 2018. Since my earliest, formative years in a very effective Linton High School (Schenectady, NY) journalism program, I have always identified as a Writer, but I didn’t feel quite the same about those newspaper people being ‘more kindred souls’ killed.

Simply because of  its savage volume, the slaughter in Las Vegas had to shake you, long and intensely.

It was apparently good (?) old-fashioned “crazy guy with a long-term grudge and a shotgun” killing vs. that ducks in a barrel, blazing away version of FEAR that carnage in Vegas was. Does that mean it was LESS mindless and more about the gun? On some bottom line, that guy thought about his greivance for a long ago article for YEARS before deciding *this* was the day to take revenge.

Being a periodista (journalist) brings no additional grief, although I have  a feeling that if we back off the idea any of it is acceptable, a piece of what so many died for comes into question. Watch ‘Gettysburg’ on PBS if you get a chance, *that* was a country in full-out hate for what the other half represented. And bloodshed…! Gettysburg is on record for 52,000-plus dead and wounded in three days, and makes what’s happening now seem like piddelisky.

Months ago I told a language student that – crazy bad as I think Trump and GOP  minions have ravaged this country – those high school kids from Stoneman Douglas didn’t set the bar on civil action and effectiveness. At least in my lifetime, the Vietnam War protests did, 500,000 or more at a time. How much better the organizational ability has improved since then is about instant communications between like-minded organizations. This was all things positive, in broad daylight, a statement of the will of the people.

Over  700 protest marches

THE GOOD THING is, there were over  700 protest marches across the country this weekend regarding the mess with children being taken from asylum-seeking parents on the border. Thousands are being kept prisoner in cages, and that’s not how we as a country would choose to roll.

Were deterrent tactics finally stopped?  Uncertain, and America, the world is still watching. The world cared about those Thai soccer players stuck in flooded caves for 18 days because they were KIDS.  Caring for children is a universal concept,  and if the U.S. border fiasco is about changing focus on Russia, better let the World Cup lead.

MILLIONS of people showed up in *reallllly* hot conditions to make it known this is where the line was– and that ALWAYS counts.

Knowing LOTS of people still care about what comes between us 1-1 in this country also means civility could be part of that,  win-lose on every stinking thing is unnecessary.  No wedding cake for gays, no service for unpopular Sarah H.? Relax people, doctors tell you not to sweat the small stuff, and as the book says, it’s ALL small stuff. Save real indignation for your voting rights being curtailed.

We needed to draw the line *somewhere*

Are exact numbers involved in marches required? Not by me, maybe because I still say, “great 11 or 12- mile bike ride” without caring how far I rode in 94 degree heat lately. The people I talked to while getting gas, they seemed to feel a similar vibe—that this weekend showed we’re not being alone in thinking “We have to draw the line *somewhere* or this country doesn’t stand for what I was always taught it was about.”

It’s true that you only miss something when its gone, and that sense of living together instead of constantly trying to beat another faction into believing the same negative way- or more often fearing any and all others- I think I saw that again this weekend. It might have taken some prodding—and pooh-pooh a neighbors pie-in-the-sky, kumbaya crapola all you want– but MILLIONS of people showed up in *reallllly* hot conditions to make it known this is where the line was– and that ALWAYS counts.

Of the many gathered at a SouthPark orchestral concert in Charlotte Sunday evening, a sense of peace came with many picnic baskets and the ambiance of being together in relatively quiet circumstances, with family, friends, and potential friends, sharing a hot but joyful evening.

The people I spoke with seemed to have a similar vibe—that this weekend showed we’re not being alone in thinking “We have to draw a real line *somewhere*, now.

Watch Robin Williams and Maria Conchita Alonso in ‘Moscow on the Hudson’ —Being part of America, it still means something for those who come from all over. There’s ZERO chance of coming up with more workable immigration policy-wise when one half of this current House wants only their policies to stand while razing the other half. The choice isn’t MS-13 *or* wall at the border. America is still about dreams, even if for some that dream is as basic as keeping their children alive.