Tag Archives: social media

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…”


“Do You Feel Lucky?”

Do You Feel Lucky?

I have taken a little time off from my regular writing…needing to spend some time reflecting on my family, business opportunities and other entrepreneurial endeavors. However, the last few weeks have given me a renewed energy, and focus, as I seek to make sense of the senselessness that is pervasive in our society.

Many of us today wonder what must happen in order to get the elected officials to whom we have given power to make laws to benefit us locally, at the state and national levels, to respond to this continuing financial and jobless crisis gripping our nation. Just today I read an article, where the discussion surrounded the plight of those seeking full-time employment, and it stated that the Great Recession ended in 2009…and my first thought was ended for whom. Warren Buffet? Donald Trump? Mary Smith?

As I mulled over this article and a subsequent conversation with a friend, it dawned on me that maybe someone had truly felt lucky, in a bizarre kind of way…like the criminal whom Clint Eastwood, aka Dirty Harry Callahan, asked while looking up at the barrel of a 44 magnum revolver, “Do you feel lucky?” In that infamous movie scene, the criminal is inches away from a shotgun while Dirty Harry is playing a mind game about whether or not he has one more bullet in the gun pointing at him…and the criminal has a choice to make. Tempt fate and hope that the revolver is empty…or guess wrong and get his head blown off.

As we head into the last four months of this year, I am really beginning to feel as though the middle class citizens of America are looking up at that 44-magnum revolver. We are told one week that jobless claims are down, yet in the next article tomorrow we read that jobless numbers do not include those persons who have stopped looking for work…to whom would that apply? Do they just feel lucky? Did they decide that a job was now going to find them instead of them finding it? Did their numbers come up in Lotto?

No. I believe we are still in the Great Recession…and the government and corporate media mind games are the smoke and mirrors that politicians and economists use to keep the masses confused and hopeless. Pay close attention to the next 10 weeks as the 2012 election cycle gains more attention, as well as the approaching holidays…and make note of whom will be the focus of these who seek to tell us we are really better off today than in 2010. Really? Seriously?

And just like the criminal in the movie…saying “I got’s to know”,when the trigger is pulled, and I flinch in anticipation of the worst, I pray that I, too, can just be a little pissed that I was right all along. And, that I was even luckier than I had imagined…Peace.

Drunk As A Skunk

“Drunk As a Skunk”

Much to the chagrin of my now deceased parents, I have been one to ask the “why” questions….all of my life. I’d like to think that has assisted me more than hindered me; but the jury is still out on that.

And so today, as I sat and listened to a magnificent presentation by David Glover at the AgeSong Emeryville residence, he made a statement that caused me to do just that thing; why, do we say that? The cliché that he stated was, in talking about things we all did as newly minted 21 year-old adults is to get “drunk as a skunk.”

Of the 40 people in attendance, it is quite likely that no one but yours truly took umbrage with that comment and began to wonder how those furry, funky rodents must feel about being associated with the over-indulgence of alcohol beverage. I got home and took a look through Google and Wikipedia, and have yet to find a photo, article or reference to that skunk that got drunk, and thus became responsible for that cliché.

Now before you think that I have lost all of my senses, and am putting too much on this skunk concern, my bigger thought is about how often we say things that we have no real understanding of. I mean, has anyone said they saw the skunk getting drunk? Saw him pulled over by the CHP and given a breathalyzer test? Even been referred to rehab to “kick the habit?” No, none of us has had that experience. Yet, we use that cliché as though we speak from a position of authority. Like we were the designated driver for his bachelor party.

My lesson for this post is that we should really become more mindful, in a new way, with the use of platitudes and clichés, and not just ramble on without considering the origins of that statement. In the meantime, just remember that Diamonds are forever; Tastes great, less filling; When it rains it pours; Where’s the beef; and when in doubt, Just Do It.”


What Will it Take?

What will it Take…?

To agree to eat two pieces of fruit each day.

To match each other and drink 4 glasses of water daily.

To insuring our walking partner will not succeed in quitting.

To give away those old, big clothes.

To parking the car and taking mass transit one day each week.

To commit to reading a new book each month.

To agree to spend money with a local business instead of a Big Box business.

If you and I will agree to this, we can make a difference. Every day. In a society where we are bombarded with what is wrong, what the problems are, and the belief that there is little chance for change…we will prove just the opposite is true.

We can have better health. We will lose weight and lower blood pressure. We can help local businesses succeed against the Big Corporations.

What will it take for YOU to make a difference in your life and those who are watching YOU?

Check out this article and consider another way to live.


Baby Steps to Bangs

Baby steps to bangs…

Today is the 8th anniversary of the birth of my youngest daughter, Meisha Kalila Lampkin. It was only a few short years ago that we celebrated her taking her first steps. And now she runs faster than many of her friends. Just recently she let me know that she is not a little girl anymore, when she said she could now do her own hair. What, the old ponytail in the back is not good enough? No. She now wants bangs….oh man.

She is truly a gift from God, and keeps me laughing about things that I would have likely never known about without her in my life; Sponge Bob, Hannah Montana and iCarly just to name a few…what is coming next, at my age, is going to be quite an experience. It is during these times that I realize the importance of telling our children how much we love them and want them to be good people as they mature. I don’t want her to have any doubt about how I feel about her.

I often sit and watch as she interacts with her schoolmates, our family and even new acquaintances, and am grateful that God gave me another opportunity to get it right as a parent. For being a father who can say “no” without guilt seems to be a rare quality in these ultra-permissive times. Yet, I want her to remain my little girl for as long as possible. What kind of world will she inherit? It is the major question I ask myself…and you.

Let’s take inventory today of how we live, interact and prepare for a more global environment where people will live longer and require more services than ever in our history. Will American culture learn to honor the elders of society and the wisdom and experiences that have shaped them, or will we be cast aside like an unwanted or broken electronic game? I believe we are at a major crossroads.

So, enjoy the beauty of Spring and I shall be ever humbled by the majesty of life as I celebrate my daughter’s 8th birthday…a truly sacred gift from the Creator.


Miles, Minutes, Money…

Miles, Minutes, Money…

Some things are so geographical in their descriptions and understandings. As a young man in the Midwest, we often replied to someone asking us how far away a person or place was, by saying it was about 20 miles. Moving to California, and particularly the Bay Area, that same query brought about a response like 30 minutes. And so the same place that I wanted to get to was likely a similar distance, but when traffic was factored in, and thus added time on the road, the more definitive description was about time versus distance.

Fast-forward to 2011, and the challenge we are faced with $4.00 per gallon gas pricing, and the next generation of describing time and distance is likely to be formulated by how much it is going to cost. Since automakers want us to believe that the miles-per-gallon listing of their vehicles is true, then we might now seek to validate it. And since we have instant access to calculators, via our smart phones and GPS, we can accurately determine how far it really is from point A to point B…and now divide the number of miles by the mpg of our car, and come out with a general cost per mile to travel.

Is this what our society has come to? So, a friend needs to go to see the doctor, and you have the only car in the building, and you have to calculate the cost to transport them…sounds like we are all becoming glorified taxi services. Heck, I did not even consider the rising cost of auto insurance. This could get really ugly.

Hold on for a second, my phone is ringing…I gotta go. A friend is calling. He needs me to pick him up. He ran out of gas on the freeway. I told him to call the road service. He told me it was cheaper to pay me to pick him up than to have them to do it.
This is becoming a whole new enterprise. See you when I return; about 19 miles, 26 minutes and $34 dollars later.


“If It Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It”

“If It Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It”

We all know that cliché, and are likely guilty at one time or another of trying to make something work that is just not going to function…the way that we want it to anymore.

We are now in the second week of this new year and, for most of us, still seeking to honor the resolutions that we have made. The BIG question I have for us is, are we willing to let go of a person, place or thing that is no longer needed in our lives? How can it be so clear to see that imbalance in others, yet is so difficult to fathom in our own circumstance?

Maybe it is the thing we must do as this year begins to take shape, and we desire for a new way of thinking, feeling and being…could it be the reason a surgeon is paid better than a general practitioner? They have to make the tougher choice. Instead of putting duct tape on a broken piece, let’s get rid of it. Cut it out. Pass it on.

So, today, let’s honestly reevaluate whether or not it is them that needs to be different, and be willing to see that it is us that needs to see the situation with open eyes.

Because that square peg is never going to fit into that round hole. NEVER!


All Things Being Equal…

All Things Being Equal

As you know from my blog posts in 2010, I have a penchant for picking apart clichés…and this is the leadoff batter for 2011.

So tell me dear sir or madam, what things are ever equal?

Someone in the work environment receives the same wage, but does more of the work than their counterpart.

One of the partners in a marriage/relationship is doing more to nurture and maintain balance…than the other person. Teddy Pendergrass may have made a popular song about a 50/50 love, but we all know better than that.

Even our children, who are reared in the same home, with the same parents and values, end up being quite different in many respects. So, where is this equal?

Finally, at my age I get it….it never is going to be equal. The ebb and flow, the yin and the yang, is always fluid. It shifts and grows where expansion is needed. There is always a low point that will need to be elevated. But it won’t be equal. It will just be raised.

If you are waiting on someone or something to be equal before you make your move…

Instead, do your part right now with all that you have at your disposal and watch as you begin to attract the people and resources you need to fulfill your assignment. And as you get closer to the finish line, you will see that someone is at the starting line where once you stood…and you will be the one to fill their cup from your reservoir.

Make this your year to wait no more for equality…


Are YOU a Cell Out…

Are you a Cell out…

Funny how the more things change, the farther away from the past we get. Now I know you were expecting a different conclusion to that old cliché, but I had another thought.

Some of us are seasoned enough to recall a time when you were told by a parent to always keep a dime, so you could make a phone call in an emergency. Great advice when you had pay phones on almost every other block. Then along came cell phones. They were these big deals…literally and figuratively. My first cell phone weighed about 6 pounds, as it had the battery block attached to it. Something you would see in an old army movie. Big rubber antenna. Left it sitting on my car seat in Oakland’s Chinatown one afternoon in 1992…came back to the car and it had been stolen. Oh snap. Do I have a dime?

Here we are today, and almost everyone has a cell phone. Small enough to fit in your pocket, purse or other grandmotherly hiding place. And to see how we have been programmed to where we feel lost without it is a sad state of affairs. I even heard a friend say recently that if he had left his briefcase at home during the morning commute, no problem. He could just wing it that day at work. But, if he had left his cell phone at home, he would have turned around and headed back home. The risk of being “out of touch” superceded the fact that he would be late for work. I shook my head in disbelief.

The next time I see a person riding a bike, pushing their child in a stroller or standing at the checkout at the store and talking on their cell phone, I might just scream at the top of my lungs…LET IT GO! I mean do we have to be connected to someone all the time? Can we have a few minutes of alone time? Must we be at the end of the tether and available at every moment of every day? During your bath/shower? Meals? Prayer?

As we ramp up toward 2011, I just want you to consider how we might become a bit freer when we can put the cell phone down, and spend time really engaged in a conversation with our fellow brother or sister. No sneak peek at your device when it buzzes, rings or sings the newest Beyonce song. Show the person with whom you are talking that they matter when the next digital interruption occurs. It just might make them feel important to you.

More importantly, you might find that life is pretty good without that incessant interruption. By the way, if you do not hear from me for a few days, call and check on me. But only after 10:00 PM and before 7:00 AM. It’s a free incoming call for me…


Stop, Look, Listen…

Stop, Look, Listen…

We are all seeking answers to something. A better way to do our job. A more efficient method by which we can serve a client. An improved approach to communicate with our children; adult and adolescent.

The old school song by the Stylistics, Stop, Look, Listen has some real answers when one is dealing with affairs of the heart. I wonder how many of us are moving too quickly through our daily lives and miss out on the answers to our dilemmas…

Do me a favor today. Stop in your tracks at a new location. Take a look around you. I mean a real look. Allow yourself to see what is there…look at your environment…listen to the sounds that you miss each day.

You will then notice something, albeit even a small thing, that can make the difference and solve one of your challenges. I guarantee it.