BLAINESWORLD #760

BLAINESWORLD
#760
4.18.2011

In this issue:

1. Reflections
2. FYI
3. JOKE 1: Useful advice
4. Reviews
5. TV alert
6. JOKE 2: Retirement age
7. Websites
8. Computer tip
9. JOKE 3: Camping comments, Part 1 of 2
10. A quote I like
11. Thought for the day
12. Advance planning department
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1. Reflections
A. Cynthia, my beautiful bride, and I had a marvelous weekend at the two HAND ME DOWN performances at the Diana Wortham Theatre . . . she was absolutely radiant on stage, as can be seen by this picture of her (with other members of the cast, answering questions after the show).

KUDOS to Barrie Barton, director, and the entire Community Choreography Project for making the program the success that it was . . . of special significance–some $2,000 was raised to benefit CarePartners Hospice.

And because of Cynthia, Andie MacDowell (the Asheville-based actress) even made it to the show . . . it turns out that Cynthia saw her one night in a local restaurant and went right up to her, giving MacDowell a flyer and inviting her to come!

We were both most appreciative of the many friends and neighbors who were able to join us . . . because Cynthia was busy getting ready, she wasn’t able to join me for dinner . . . but I personally had the pleasure of joining many of them for dinner at Sushi Thai . . . the restaurant went out of their way to handle our groups on both Friday and Saturday . . . SPECIAL THANKS to Reza, our sever, for her usual fine job of taking care of us . . . for more information about this eatery, please click: http://www.ichibanwasabi.com/

B. On the next day, we went for the first time to Wasabi–a Japanese restaurant just down the street (owned by the same folks who run Sushi Thai) . . . I had the hibachi chicken and Cynthia ordered hibachi shrimp and steak; we both enjoyed our respective dishes . . . Kathryn was an excellent waitress and adding to our enjoyment was the fact that we bumped into our friend Chin who manages the place on Sundays . . . we’ll be back . . . for more information, you can again click: http://www.ichibanwasabi.com/

C. THANKS to a whole bunch of my friends in Pennsylvania, including Leticia, Barbara, Jerry and Laura, along with many others, for their concern about whether we were affected by the tornadoes that savaged parts of North Carolina . . . fortunately, we did not get hit by them . . . we’re blessed by our location, in that it seems that we rarely get hit by any real extremes in the weather . . . we get to experience the beauty of the four seasons, and the temperatures in comparison to the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area are typically 5-7 degrees cooler in the summer and 5-7 degrees warmer in the winter . . . while we may have some snow and ice, it usually isn’t too severe–and within a day or two, it tends to clear up.

D. REMINDER: One lucky reader will receive a copy of the book, THE MAKING OF A CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON (reviewed most favorably in BLAINESWORLD #759). . . this is a “must” for any baseball fan, and it would look great on your coffee table . . . to enter, all you have to do is send an email to bginbc@aol.com and put CONTEST #6 in the subject line . . . in the body of the email, include your name and snail mail address . . . entries must be received on or before Sunday, April 24.
***** BLAINESWORLD BEST AWARD *****
This week, it goes to Tera Broughton–our massage therapist for well over a year.

She comes to our home, and her visit is something we look forward to every Friday . . . Tera gives us both a massage that’s therapeutic, as well as relaxing, and the result is that we always feel better afterward.

When we’ve had colds, she has even helped treat them with a combination of reflexology and the use of essential oils . . . and a few weeks ago, when I had a rare sore back, Tera had me up and about after just an hour.

Tera’s pleasant upbeat philosophy helps add to our enjoyment of her massages. Cynthia and I recommend her strongly.

She ordinarily sees clients at the Blue Ridge Acupuncture Clinic, 923 Merimon Ave., Asheville . . . for an appointment, call 828.254.4405.

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2. FYI
Friends (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) were all set to join me at Cynthia’s aforementioned dance performance. There was only one problem . . . they had forgotten the tickets at their home. So as one person went back to fetch the tickets, everybody else at dinner discussed what had happened and what could have been done to prevent the oversight.

I particularly liked this idea: When you think of something important that needs to be done, do it right then and there. So if you need tickets for a show that evening, put them with your car keys the minute the thought comes into your mind. Resist the tendency to say, “I’ll do it later.”

THANKS to Brian in North Carolina for this idea that sounds so basic, but too often is not done.
FYI, part 2
Clips: Linda in North Carolina, clip of my husband Chuck on the Apollo 13 mission; Tammy in North Carolina, Ray LaMontagne performs; Rich in Pennsylvania, Animal House Motivational Speech; Pro scores 16 in recent golf tournament; 83-meter kick and goal in soccer; and Carol in Pennsylvania, Google Exodus

Other: Diane in Pennsylvania, Pineapple Bake recipe; Jim in Pennsylvania’s latest book now on Kindle; Liz in Colorado with a REQUEST FOR HELP; Wes in North Carolina about MSG in cereals; Brooklyn; John in New Jersey about Emancipation Day mistake from last week; THANKS to Nick in Vermont for same correction; Brian in Pennsylvania about McCartins Carpet Cleaning; Larry in Pennsylvania about making newsletter more attractive; Gary in North Carolina on Facebook tip last week; Julie in Minnesota about the 2009 Yankees; Patti in New Jersey about Meet Up; and Natalie in Pennsylvania on MEET JOHN DOE

For more information, please click: http://wp.me/p1g9Ev-6A

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3. JOKE 1: Useful advice

Bombeck’s Rule of Medicine: Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

SOURCE: Erma Bombeck (1927-1996) was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column that described suburban home life.

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4. Reviews

A. SOURCE CODE is a romantic sci-fi thriller with what sounds like an implausible premise; i.e., a person on life support is given the opportunity to assume another person’s identity to repeatedly go back in time for 8 minutes to prevent a bombing . . . don’t ask me to explain how this is possible, but if you can suspend your logic, you’ll like the film . . . I enjoyed Jake Gyllenhaal’s work in the leading role, as well as the performances of Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright . . . rated PG-13.

B. THE KING’S SPEECH is now out in DVD format . . . my review from BLAINESWORLD #744 follows:

THE KING’S SPEECH is a rare film; i.e., every bit as good as the critics (and my friends) have told me it was–if not even more so . . . this is an inspiring, true story about a man thrust into becoming the King of England after his brother abdicates . . . there’s only one problem–he has a lifetime stuttering problem . . . yet with the help of an eccentric speech therapist, he manages to overcome his difficulty and deliver a radio address that helped inspire his country’s people . . . I hope Colin Firth wins an Oscar this year for his portrayal of King George VI, especially after not being named last year for his outstanding work in A SINGLE MAN . . . Geoffrey Rush also delivers a winning performance . . . rated R, I guess, because of the use of profanity . . . but I’d say it is appropriate for any teenagers and viewing it together would make for a great family gathering.

UPDATE: After its release, the film removed two swear words and got downgraded to a PG-13 rating. . . I’m glad because this is one that as many folks should see as possible . . . also, I was glad that both Firth (Best Actor) and THE KING’S SPEECH (Best Motion Picture) won Oscars.

C. There is some disagreement about whether Einstein was the first to say, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

But regardless of who said it, the belief is repeatedly challenged in William C. Taylor’s PRACTICALLY RADICAL–an excellent book that will get you thinking about change in your company or organization . . . and how you can use it to help things become even more energized.

The author, cofounder and founding editor of the magazine FAST COMPANY, looks at a wide range of for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations to determine how they have been able to succeed in today’s tough times . . . among those profiled were Zappos, Swatch, the Girl Scouts, Interpol, fast-growing banks, high-flying airlines and Providence Police Department.

What I liked were the many ideas that I got from reading that can be applied to virtually any situation, such as this one:

* Why is this unlikely group of civilians sitting on the command session of a big-city police department? Because Chief Esserman has opened his mission-critical meetings to anyone who wants to attend: government officials, high-powered community leaders, grassroots activists, ordinary citizens, even members of the press. Virtually anything and everything about crime in this troubled city is open to the public and on the record every Tuesday morning at 8:30 sharp. In return, virtually anyone and everyone who wants to play a role in reducing crime has a seat at the table. Rhode Island may have a reputation, as the Times noted, for “parochialism” and “insecurity”–but there is nothing parochial about these gatherings, and most of the participants are secure enough to speak their mind.

I also liked this spin on research:

*To design a best-in-the-world customer experience, Lexus immersed itself in its customers’ world. In the mid-1980s, a team of researchers took up residence in Laguna Beach to study the lifestyles, attitudes, and daily habits of affluent Americans. They tagged along, as their research subjects shopped for groceries, went to the country club, and picked up the kids at school. A decade later, a so-called super-affluent team conducted in-depth interviews with well-to-do Americans about everything from how they chose their neighborhood to what sorts of experiences they found meaningful. Lexus didn’t want to understand how Cadillac or BMW sold their cars. It wanted to understand how its target customers lived their lives.

Lastly, the book got me rethinking that things don’t always have to be the way they were–yet could still be successful:

* The main reason Orpheus plays so differently from most orchestras is that it operates so differently from most orchestras. The rehearsal I watched had most of the elements you’d associate with the creation of a great performance: a compelling score, world-class musicians, strong opinions, and, in the spirit of the old joke, lots of practice. But conspicuously absent was the most familiar ingredient in classical-music success-the big-name, huge-ego, all-knowing conductor. That’s because Orpheus plays without any conductor whatsoever. Ever since its creation in 1972, and through its rise as one of the most celebrated chamber orchestras in the world, Orpheus has distinguished itself as much by its unusual approach to leadership as by its unsurpassed artistic achievements. It has managed to survive even thrive, in a field defined by exacting standards, demanding audiences, and tough-minded critics without the most iconic symbol of power and authority, the larger-than-life maestro.

I’m sure I will be revisiting PRACTICALLY RADICAL in the future for any time I’m looking for an idea “outside the box” . . . in addition, it is a title that I will be recommending to many of my clients and students.

D. Heard THE STOKES FIELD GUIDE TO BIRD SONGS: EASTERN REGION, compiled and read by Donald Stokes, Lillian Stokes and Lang Elliott.

If you’re into bird watching, this is the program for you . . . you’ll actually hear the sounds of some 372 different species of birds . . . the recording quality is excellent . . . an accompanying PDF booklet gives you precise call and song descriptions.

I liked how each sound was on a separate track . . . that said, it would have been helpful to have the sounds in alphabetical order, and I would have also liked a description of each bird (along with a picture in the booklet).

Apparently, I can get such information–but only if I buy the companion book, STOKES FIELD GUIDE TO BIRDS: EASTERN REGION by Don and Lillian Stokes.

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5. TV alert
A. SINDBAD; IT’S JUST FAMILY is a new reality show for those wanting to know whatever happened to the comedian . . . he’s now remarried to his ex-wife and with his two semi-grown kids (“grids” as he likes to say), he’s now trying to revamp his career . . . Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on WEtv.

B. I always liked Paul Reiser in MAD ABOUT YOU (or maybe it was Helen Hunt that I liked?) . . . at any rate, I’m at least planning to give THE PAUL REISER SHOW a shot . . . Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

C. Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride and other ladies of country music perform in GIRLS NIGHT OUT: SUPERSTAR WOMEN OF COUNTRY . . . TV GUIDE calls it a “rousing concert” . . . Friday at 9 p.m. on CBS.

D. CINEMA VERITE is a film about the Loud family made famous by a 1973 documentary that turned out to be an early version of reality television . . . I’ll be watching just for the cast: Tim Robbins, Diane Lane and James Gandolfini . . . in addition, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL calls it “a film that ends up packing an emotional punch that’s as surprising as it is eloquent . . . Saturday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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6. JOKE 2: Retirement age
My broker called me this morning and said, “Remember that stock we bought and I said you’d be able to retire at age 65?”

“Yes, I remember,” I said.

“Well,” my broker continued, “your retirement age is now 108.”

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7. Websites

A. If you ever feel discouraged, check out this amazing story about a wrestler with one leg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdwACYJWJzM

Update: He went on to win the national championship . . . if you’d like to see the whole match, please click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5W4RZq1NRg

B. Preview of the world wedding (THANKS to Kathryn in North Carolina) . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kav0FEhtLug&feature=topvideos_entertainment . . . she said it was very funny; I agree!

C. BLAINESWORLD, the website, remains up and running . . . to view it, please click:
http://www.blainesworld.net/ . . . if you’d like to see pictures of some yours truly, as well as friends and family, then click “Blaine’s Best” to the left and “Pictures” . . . when you view these, make sure you have your sound on . . . doing so will enable you to listen to arguably the greatest song of all time!

D. Are you on Facebook? In the unlikely event we have not yet contacted as friends there, please feel free to send me an invite by clicking: http://www.facebook.com/blainegreenfield

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8. Computer tip

I recently got an instant message from a Facebook friend, David in New York; it read as follows:

Hey Blaine I just found out you were one of my top stalkers, you can find yours at fgh.fbglitch-a.info/?2tjXXX [last 3 digits changed intentionally by me to make sure that you can’t click on the link].

I then wrote David because it did not seem legitimate. It wasn’t. See below for his response:

it’s definitely a scam–I never click on any of these programs that require getting access to your friends. Either I got hacked or a friend of mine did. Sorry!

MY TWO CENTS: As David points out, if you click anything on Facebook that gives access to your computer to some application, you are risking danger. Furthermore, if you don’t recognize the link, then the odds are even greater that it is bogus. I never heard of anything that begins with fgh; hence, there was no way I was going to click it on.

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9. JOKE 3: Camping comments, Part 1 of 2

These are supposedly actual comments left on Forest Service registration sheets and comment cards by backpackers completing wilderness camping trips. Human nature being what it is, I wouldn’t doubt the authenticity of these remarks. You be the judge.

“A small deer came into my camp and stole my bag of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call.”

“Escalators would help on steep uphill sections.”

“Instead of a permit system or regulations, the Forest Service needs to reduce worldwide population growth to limit the number of visitors to wilderness.”

“Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands.”

“Ban walking sticks in wilderness. Hikers that use walking sticks are more likely to chase animals.”

“All the mile markers are missing this year.”

“Found a smoldering cigarette left by a horse.”

“Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill.”

(To be concluded next week.)

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10. A quote I like
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FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Graham (1894-91) was an American dancer and choreographer and was regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance.

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11. Thought for the day
Years ago, I came across the fable by George Reavis entitled, “Fable of the Animal School,” which further illustrates the value of developing strengths and not over concentrating on developing weaknesses or believing that weaknesses can be made into strengths.

Fable of the Animal School

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of “a new world”; so they organized a school. They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming, and flying. And to make it easier to administer, all the animals took all the subjects.

The duck was excellent in swimming, better in fact than his instructor, and made passing grades in flying, but was very poor in running. Because he was poor in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class, where his teacher made him start from the ground up, instead of from the treetop down. He also developed charley horses from overexertion, and then got a “C” in climbing and a “D” in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well and also run, climb, and fly a little had the highest average and was the valedictorian.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t look to improve upon areas and activities where you and your employees have minimal motivational interest. Your expectations, though, need to be realistic. If you or others are not motivated to do something, then your goal as a manager should be to help your employees (and yourself) reach a level of performance and awareness where the activity or function is no longer a weakness or detriment to success. To spend an inordinate amount of time trying to turn a weakness (or area of non- or low-motivational interest) into a strength is not productive because it siphons away energy that could best be used to develop strengths to their fullest. Management guru, Peter Drucker, drives this home when he states that, “Effective management is the productive use of strengths.”
SOURCE: MANAGING YOURSELF, MANAGING OTHERS by Steven M. Darter, an excellent book that I reviewed favorably in BLAINESWORLD #757

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12. Advance planning department
A. North Carolina events: Magnetic Field Improv; Theatre Awards Night at Mars Hill College; THE MIRACLE WORKER at Parkway Playhouse; and 3rd annual Winning Workshops event . . . for more information, please click: http://wp.me/p1g9Ev-6C.

B. Pennsylvania/New Jersey events: Comedy Cabaret happenings; Chocolate events open to the public; Ruth Anne Wood will appear on radio show; THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN at The Actors’ NET of Bucks County; and The Economics of Happiness, Film and Discussion . . . for more information, please click: http://wp.me/p1g9Ev-6E.

C. Other (open to ALL, regardless of where you live in the country): New opportunity for some part-time work with Demars & Associates . . . for more information, please click: http://wp.me/p1g9Ev-7f.

NOTE: I previously did work for Demars. It’s an excellent company.

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PS. If you’re like me and you celebrate all holidays (more food, fun and friends that way), here’s my wish for both a happy Passover and a happy Easter to y’all . . . and my wish that you make it a great week!

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