Saturday, February 5, 2011


This week during a work meeting, the topic of heroes was brought up. An in depth discussion followed, in which everyone had the opportunity to talk about the people who had inspired or influenced them, and ultimately shaped their futures.
I used that opportunity to explain that in many cases, I am less drawn to the classic heroes that have dotted our rich history, either as Americans or as Humans. Instead, I explained, I tended to reserve my admiration for those who served as mentors and teachers to these historic figures. The people who shaped them. The people who they looked up to as examples.
I have to admit I was a bit surprised by the negative response I received. Some people openly scoffed at my perception of a hero and challenged my judgment at choosing those I had, to serve as my examples. Many felt I was not being "realistic" in my assertion that these individuals deserved just as much credit as those whom they had guided to greatness.
Nevertheless, my mind remains unchanged. I felt even more resolved to share with others, my appreciation for these lesser known persons, who if nothing else, have inspired me to be who I am today.
#1 - So little was known about my first hero, that we have nothing more than his last name and of course his legacy, to remember him by. His name was Mr. Miyagi. During the early 80's when Mr. Miyagi happened across a young Daniel LaRusso. He saw some greatness there that others had either missed or ignored. He determined then and there to make Daniel into the man he was meant to become. In the end, Daniel learned a lot more than Ka-ra-te and the perfect execution of the crane-kick. He learned the true meaning of what it means to ask ones self "Live or die man.... Live or die?"
#2 - Colonel Sam Trautman. Don't recognize the name? Well I'm not surprised. But I can tell you one person who hasn't forgotten who Sam Trautman is. Maybe his name will sound a bit more familiar.... John? John Rambo?
Whether he was drawing first blood, stick fighting in a Cambodian brothel, or mowing down Russian's along side Afghanie warriors. Rambo would be the first to tell you he had learned every bit of it from Col. Trautman as part of his secret training to become a Green Barret. I for one will never forget his role in extending the lives of the innocent, and abruptly ending the lives of evil doers, world-wide.
#3 - And finally, some may argue that Punky Brewster is not actually a hero in the traditional sense, but that is a decision you will have to make for yourself my friend. But I doubt any reasonable person will argue the heroic status of Henry Warnimont, her adopted caregiver and psudo grandfather.
Here's to you Henry! I will never forget how you found Punky break-dancing in the empty apartment across the hall, or the time you took that humiliating job at mall, and had to wear a camera helmet. Yours was a voice of reason throughout those turbulent adolescent years. Not just for Punky, but for all of us.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Air Strikes

I don’t understand why the use of air-strikes has been limited to the Middle-East and Afghanistan. Doesn’t it seem like we are needlessly depriving ourselves of a really effective law enforcement tool here at home? I for one would feel more secure in the knowledge that a remote-controlled Predator Drone was buzzing around somewhere over head, ever vigilant and ready to drop bombs or fire missiles at the first sign of trouble.

Imagine how quickly you would put an end to things like high-speed car chases, cross-border drug smuggling, prison riots, and most stand-off’s in general.

It would only take once wouldn’t it? You would see the initial news story about an armed man, who has barricaded himself inside his house. The SWAT team is preparing to enter, but then somebody has the idea… “Hey, lets just call in an air-strike!” What a great idea!” everyone would say, patting the guy on the back. (Because everybody loves a good air-strike). Of course, they would have to give the belligerent drunkard inside at least one firm warning before the blew the whole place to kingdom-come. But after one or two news stories ending with a precision bombing, armed gunmen everywhere would start weighing their options a bit more carefully. I am guessing that the lists of demand’s would get a lot shorter and that they would almost always start with #1 – Don’t fire any guided missiles into this building… Too late!… Boom!!! Problem solved.

Imagine how differently the OJ Simpson chase down that freeway in L.A. would have ended. “Attention Mr. Simpson… Pull that white Bronco over before the next exit, or we are literally going to blow you up in spectacular fashion.” Breaks would have promptly been applied and a collective grown of disappointment would have been heard across America.

Thus far, I don’t really see any flaws in such an approach. Sure there would be plenty of property damage and some cleanup would be necessary, but any money lost on property damage would easily be recouped in saved legal fees and a the new market for “air-strike cleanup” would give the small business sector just the shot in the arm it needs.

At this point, I am not going to say this is a perfect plan. But I'm also not going to say it isn't

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mini Shopping Carts

I want to go on record and publicly voice my disapproval of the mini-shopping carts that have been systematically replacing hand baskets in many super-markets.

I have always found the entire shopping experience to be emasculating enough without having to push around something that looks like it belongs as part of a shopping themed Barbie-Doll set.

The hand basked has historically provided men with an alternative to pushing an entire shopping cart. And unless you carried it in crook of your elbow, you could still pull off a pretty manly look, while shopping for baby food, organic soy milk and feminine hygiene products.

Now with the advent of these mini-carts, your only choice is to pick between carts, or do like I do and load up 50 lbs of groceries in your arms and then try to casually walk around with your neck veins popping out as you strain to carry 2 gallons of milk, a large cantaloupe, a jumbo pack of toilet paper, a bundle of bananas, a loaf of bread and a family pack of chicken thighs.

My only comfort comes from seeing 5 other guys in the checkout line; veins popping, beads of sweat gathering on their foreheads, refusing to give in to the mini-cart craze. As we exchange subtle gestures of solidarity, my milk jugs and the cantaloupe somehow begin to feel lighter.