Tag Archives: family

O.M.G.

O.M.G. (Older Man’s Gift)

As I contemplate the pending ascension of my soon-to-be freshman in high school daughter, Meisha Kalila, I take a look around to see how quickly this all came about. It feels like it was just a few short years ago when I accompanied her to her first day of Kindergarten, this bouncy, yet shy girl who could already speak another language other than English. Her day care provider, Sara Chinchilla, a woman born in El Salvador, had been mindful to teach Meisha and the other children trusted to her care, the language of her native land. And now, my bi-lingual five year old was ready to begin her formal education.

Within three days the kindergarten teacher had consulted with the principal of the school to say that this Lampkin kid was not going to last long in her classroom. Seems that she was a bit more advanced than most of the children and she feared that she would be bored. And so, in just one week, Meisha had been promoted to first grade. It was quite an auspicious beginning to her educational journey.

It didn’t get any easier from that point forward. For it was then that we saw how mean kids can be…when it was learned that the first graders in Meisha’s class would tease her for not being a “real first grader.”

Just one week ago I saw my daughter walking proudly with many of those same kids who are also preparing to become high school students. No one had anything to say about the girl who was a full year younger than many of them. A girl who, when she felt like it. held her ground with each of them scholastically and athletically. Yes, the distance between them that had seemed so cavernous eight years ago is now the bridge that they individually and collectively traverse.

What a gift she has been to me. A father once more at the age of 48 years…

I know that the chance to share my story with her, in an effort to inform her of the possibilities available in this life, is what I seek to impart. The challenges we face as a nation, as a people and a family must be channeled in a positive, yet honest, conversation for Meisha to grasp. Truth with tender love is a recipe for a nurtured soul capable of serving humankind in ways that we may all gain benefit.

Today, as I have been for all of her days of living, I am a proud Father.

The next time you see the letters OMG, think of something other than Oh my God. I do.

Peace.

Older AND Wiser…

A Legal Love Letter for your Loved ones
A Legal Love Letter for your Loved ones
Now that many of us are inching closer to the Golden Years of our lives, it is interesting to see many Baby Boomers now are considering long-term relationships that may not include marriage. Having someone to share each day with, and the chronic challenges of bodies that need more time to heal, mixed families that are truly multi-ethnic and multi-generational, we have so much more at stake to gain…and sometimes, if not planned properly, to lose.

Here is an interesting article that shares some tips on ways to minimize the legal challenges you might face should you not have a legal contract in place.

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/money/2014/07/08/unwed-couples-face-fretful-money-issues/12384385/

Wait Watchers

Wait Watchers

Here we sit at the mid-point of the second month of 2012.

There are some of you who have dropped away from the regular workout routines you committed to in January…

Still a few who are still reading the affirmations that were created as the new year began…

While others have resumed their regular routine of worry, work and wonder about how to make this your best year ever…

Today I am here to applaud the quiet minority who have, for likely the first time ever, continued to do the daily little things; read the chapter of the self-help book, exchange the sweet, sugary delight for a piece of fruit, and invest in a new way to think and work…

Which of these scenarios best describes your GPS location today?

Are you waiting for another year to pass?

Are you watching others live the life you secretly wish to experience?

It can be yours…

Get off the couch and begin today to have the health, wealth and freedom that you believe is your destiny.

Stop waiting.

Stop watching.

Live free beginning today.

Peace.

Victim or Victor…

I have long been a fan of the sport of boxing. My Greatest of All Time is obviously Muhammad Ali. One other champion of note is Mike Tyson. In thinking about them, their careers and their impact on the sport and society, it occurred to me that though they both were Heavyweight champions, they had distinctly different responses after their defeats.

Of the five losses in the Ali career, I never recall him blaming the loss on anyone other than himself…never seeking to blame the opponent or undermine their credibility. Yet, with Mike Tyson, his two most compelling losses, to Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield will be forever remembered as him blaming the referee and then for losing his composure and biting the ear of Holyfield.

These comparisons are so inspiring to me as we face such challenging circumstances in America and around the world. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around as we become more aware of the disparities in the wealth of the top 1% of Americans and the remaining 99%. Yet, do we really benefit from feeling like victims…or do we now face, like Ali, that we must strengthen our resolve to regain control of our communities, city, state and federal governments?

Both Ali and Tyson were convicted of federal offenses…yet the difference in what they did after they “paid their dues to society” are as far apart as the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. One went from villain to folk hero to icon, the other from feared fighter to foolish freakster to reality television clown. One taking responsibility for his actions, the other not.

As many of us rebuild our lives and seek a new sense of direction personally and collectively, it is my belief that we must be like Ali, and take the position that we are going to bounce back and regain our sense of direction and purpose again. This may require going back to school, spending our money with local businesses versus the “big box” conglomerates, and teaching our children that it is possible to wait for that “new” thing that is being marketed as a must-have-today item.

Choosing a Tyson-like response will reap only more of the self-indulgence that brings about certain doom and despair. Since we have had 30 years of this since Ronald Reagan’s voodoo economics, it’s undoubtedly time for a new way to live.

And so in life as in boxing let’s do all we can to insure that at the end of the bout our glove will be raised as the ring announcer says, “And the winner is…”

Peace.

Flip The Script…

Flip The Script…

One has to wonder these days as we Americans prepare for the looming Christmas holiday season, what level of guilt will be heaped upon us by retailers. In looking back at the past ten years, we have gone from being scolded for being a people who had lost our ability to save money, with our ever-expanding credit lines proof of our need to have it now, to being urged to spend money that many people do not have. The good times had rolled…up and over many of us.

Then the rules, and the game changed.

So much so that today, the home I am seeking to keep out of BK…is worth less than when it was appraised in 2000. My credit score is as upside-down as my mortgage…and cash is once again all that matters. Unless, of course, you had the foresight to buy gold at $400 per ounce. Let me check my jewelry drawer for some hidden treasures that I can send in to Cash-For-Gold.

So, with my tongue firmly in cheek, I have come to the conclusion that we are deep in dog poo…because we have been scolded about our need to save money. Yet, GW Bush, after 9/11, told us to go shopping and show the terrorists that our way of living would not be undermined by a few planes slamming into buildings.

Just last week I heard that the path to economic recovery will be traveled when consumers begin spending money again. And unless that happens the chances are good that we will slip into another recession. When did the first recession end? I ask friends, family members and fellow business owners that question, and most agree that the debt storm, and personal budget crisis, has not yet cleared in their lives.

I have a different thought as to how this never-ending financial crisis can be put to bed. Congress can mandate that the banks, some of whom were given taxpayer money in the form of a bailout…give every household a grant of ten thousand dollars. Imagine what you might use that money for; a remodel project in your house (Home Depot and a contractor will benefit), new furniture (Sears and Macy’s would be happy), and maybe even purchase new equipment in your business.

One truth that we rarely hear from the economic experts, is that corporate America needs to reinvest in her people…they are cash rich and people poor. There must be a few people who can answer a customer service question about your laptop, in plain English, and who would pay taxes on that income. Is there an India-based company that hires Americans?

Let’s make enough noise this week for Wall Street, Main Street and Bourbon Street to recognize that we are awakening from our slumber and will not be tricked into believing that red is blue and that we are to blame for the woes of the world.

We are Americans.

Peace.

Dumb Down Democracy…

Dumb Down Democracy…

As I reviewed the media coverage from this past weekend’s Iowa County Fair debate, and subsequent straw poll for the Republicans who aspire to run for the United States Presidency in 2012, I found a few things rather amusing. Or amazing…

First, how in the heck can anyone truly have a serious opinion about a potential presidential candidate from a few sound bites and scripted clichés espoused at a county fair…in Iowa. Now, with respect to the state of Iowa, a place which is less than 3 hours drive from my hometown of Peoria, Illinois, I wonder how a few fair goers can accurately discern the real value of a person whose only thought is to get you to like them.

Secondly, and even more disturbing, is the media coverage that was afforded to Sarah Palin, yes, that Sarah Palin. The woman who quit her job as Governor of Alaska, in order to sell her book and make a boatload of money. As I saw Palin signing autographs for people over the weekend in Iowa, it struck me…that many Americans would rather have a person whose intellect is questionable, by her own political party, instead of a brilliant, well educated man of color. And the man of color in the GOP who also spoke over the weekend, had fewer than 10 people surrounding him as he sought to mingle with the fair attendees. Sarah Palin had a hundred people within arms reach of her.

So, the media will play quite an important role in helping to shape, by it’s choice of what to give air time to, and what to allow to just evaporate…and they’re hoping that you won’t be paying attention.

We just went through weeks of Congress’ dare gaming regarding a debt ceiling debate, only to have them go on vacation and leave this country in a worse mess than before. Could you do that at your place of employment? That is presuming that you still have a job…

So, in closing, I ask that each of us truly become better informed now, a year before the election of 2012. Talk with your friends and family…so that we can think rationally and discuss sensibly, the real issues that will impact our lives. How corporate tax breaks are padding the cash coffers for most corporations. How the ability of the wealthy to elude fair taxes is a Congress-led shell game of major proportions. And that more of us will continue to slide farther from the American dream into the new American nightmare.

Just remember that I told you so when the swelling numbers of disenfranchised U.S. citizens decide that the time for talking is over…and the revolution will be more than televised. It will be live and in living color. Make sure you realize that the reset button you are so used to hitting on your favorite video game will not be enough. How dumb can that be?
Peace.

We’re All in This Together

We’re All in This Together…

While taking my daughter and her dog, Lovey, out for an evening walk, it became crystal clear to me how to solve some of the challenges that face our cities, country and world. Speak to me…

In my little corner of the world, Hercules, California, we have had our share of less-than-flattering press the past 6 months. The hillside less than 100 yards from my home had slid down again, destroying 6 homes…the then city manager was run out of office after it was learned that he had a number of shady deals with developers…with our city now facing financial meltdown. And the final act was holding a special election this summer to unseat 3 city council members who were all too agreeable with that crooked city manager…Hercules, Hercules, Hercules. Not laughing at that movie moment anymore.

But tonight while we walked for more than 30 minutes, my belief in our city was renewed. For you see, we were not the only ones out for a walk with our canine friends. So were many of our neighbors…and the most beautiful things began to happen. We acknowledged one another and spoke. Hello. Hi. Even just the simple nod of the head to say, I see you. Ah yes…a small but significant throwback to my childhood days, when neighbors knew one another and cared, at least on the surface.

It was good to see the Indian elder dressed in his white garb, the Filipino couple with their frisky dogs, the African American male doing his best to keep his two dogs from running too fast before him, and the Caucasian woman who took time to talk with Meisha and comment how cute her dog is. We really are all in this together.

Maybe, just maybe, we can send this message to Congress. Those elected officials who are sworn to serve in OUR best interests. Not those of corporate America or the lobbyists with millions of dollars to peddle influence. Nope. Just us neighbors who are the backbone of this once proud democracy. We the People…

During the last 10 minutes of our walk I heard this song in my head, and I hope you will listen to the lyrics…and remember that there is so much more about us that is similar than not.

Do me a favor today, make it a point to speak to your neighbor, the person in line at the grocery store, the older man or woman who is looking into your eyes, looking to see if your humanity is alive and willing…

We’re All in This Together.

Peace.

In God We Trust

In God We Trust…

On one of my walls is a plaque that I have had for over 30 years. It has seen me through a few moves and a few wives…and continues to inspire me to be more today than I was the day prior.

Before I share it with you I want to make clear that the topic of this post came out of my thoughts surrounding the current debt crisis facing our nation. And the fact that the politicians are invoking as much fear and gloom as they can muster short of causing a panic and mass hysteria on Wall Street. Yet, they make no mention of the statement that is on each and every paper currency printed by the United States treasury.

“In God We Trust.”

The Republicans want us to trust that their perspective of cutting government waste, but not increasing taxes is the righteous way to solvency. They even invoke the memory of Ronald Reagan, hoping that your memory will be so bad to not remember that Mr. Reagan raised taxes on more than one occasion during his presidency.

And the Democrats believe that most of the entitlement programs are sacred cows, and not to be touched…while polishing off their calculators in anticipation of new revenues from increased tax on the wealthy. That is such a slippery slope to climb, in good times and certainly in the midst of a still-comatose economy.

And so my plaque, which has been by my side through all of my tribulations and triumphs the past three decades, has so profound an answer to our dilemma. The piece you are about to read is the full version from which my plaque has excerpts…maybe I can forward this to President Obama and the fools on the hill to read…Peace.

Please click here for the quote.

Staying Stuck on Stupid…

Staying stuck on stupid…

We are living in a truly amazing time. On one hand we have electronic products that even the Jetson’s would envy; smart phones, iPad and iPod, and Goof Off. The last item is a substance that you apply to something that has a backing of glue, and is stuck to a wall, cabinet or other surface. The Kryptonite to Duct tape.

As unbelievable as those items are, what is more unsettling to me is that we are on the brink of the biggest internal “gunfight at high noon” since the civil rights struggles of the early ‘60’s. Can you remember George Wallace, then the Governor of Alabama, blocking the doorway to the University that sought to admit a Black student? Before it was all over, President Kennedy needed to send National Guard troops to protect citizens.

The 800-pound gorilla that is beating its chest and preparing to devour us is the stand off between Republicans and Democrats, and their selfish posturing surrounding the raising of the national debt ceiling. Funny how millionaires in government are now deciding to allow a possible government default…with the President seeking to play the role of Harry Truman with the proverbial “buck stopping here.”

I wonder and ask you to also consider what it will take for Americans on “Main Street” to realize that for 10 plus years the United States has borrowed much more money than it has received. Any businessperson knows that it is a quick road to ruin, when you pay out more than you bring in. And here we are, looking the landlord in the face and seem to be willing to say; “I am not going to pay you today.”

We, the people, hold the largest ticket to this dance, as we hold Treasury bonds, and can force the Government to pay up…now. We need to instruct Congress, who are our employees, that to default on our agreement with our people, is a sure path to destruction. And to them being voted out in the next election. Maybe it will take the Gray Panthers, AARP, and other politically savvy organizations to turn up their collective heat on the elected leaders, who believe that painting our President into a corner in public is patriotic. It is anything but…

Use your voice on Face Book, Twitter, and other means to let people know that we will not allow this great country to be embarrassed by a handful of political zealots.

We can demonstrate that we are not stupid…but are empowered to use the democratic process to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Please excuse me while I go fetch my bottle of Goof Off and prepare to release some frustration on our Congress…

Peace.