Posts Tagged ‘childhood memories’
Some of the younger readers might not know what a paperboy is and barely know what a newspaper is. Those who were around when paperboys were commonplace you can skip a head a couple of sentences. Back before Al Gore was kind enough to invent the internet for us commoners, a human being typically less than 16 years old would deliver the newspaper to your door by either walking or perhaps using a bicycle. I kid you not this really happened.
What lessons can we possibly learn from such an out of date media form and delivery method? We can learn plenty, in my opinion. It will be my job in the next 400 words or so to explain. The paperboy can teach us at least three things.
- Use of technology
- Customer service
- Keeping bad debts to a minimum
Let me begin with technology. The smart paper boys who wanted to have the largest route and most efficient delivery method would utilize a bicycle. You may think that a bicycle is very low tech but compared to walking it was very advanced. What we can learn is that employing some technologies even if not on the “bleeding edge” can yield results. Fine, don’t be an early adopter but by now you should be using things like social media to replace traditional advertising like yellow pages or, dare I say, a newspaper advertisement. Get rid of your dedicated fax line and use a scanner to send and receive pdf files over the internet at a much lower cost.
What does a 12-year-old paperboy know about customer service? If he is a good paperboy he will not fling your paper in the drive way but ask you for your preference. Would you like your paper between the storm door and the main door or shall I bring it in the kitchen and set in on the table by your coffee? This kind of thing really happened. (Ask my dad he will tell you) Of course this also was before doors were locked and remotely monitored with a smart phone. Alas, technology giveth and taketh away. How far do you go to make the customer happy? Can you tailor your customer experience to fit each customer’s wishes? Amazon does this and they are a huge company yet they maintain a unique customer experience that does not feel impersonal despite dealing with you through the internet.
Face to face interaction and good service leads to lower dead beat customers. The paperboy interacts with his customer almost daily or at least monthly when he collects his money. What we can learn from this is to become like a friend to your customer. Some good advice I got from my boss at the CPA firm where I worked was to do your best at becoming a friend of the customer. He said it is easy to fire a service provider but hard to fire a friend. We can also learn to stay on top of our receivables by monitoring them regularly. The best way to stop bad debts is not allowing the receivables to become past due in the first place.
My 400 words have been used; I hope I have reminded you that we all can learn a little from the paperboy. Have a great week.
Christmas Eve is upon us. I have many childhood memories of the excitement that hits a crescendo on Christmas Eve. I can remember one Christmas Eve when I tried to go to bed at about 7 O’clock just to hurry things along as I would sleep – time traveling so to speak. My parents would not allow me to do it but I survived until Christmas morning.
My parents always did well with my Christmas gifts. I can’t remember being disappointed with what Santa brought me. I always reasoned that I got such nice gifts because I was such a good boy. You might want to check with my parents to see if my reasoning was faulty.
In addition to the awesome gifts, I also was blessed with many extended family members who would visit. Having family visiting was a lot of fun for me. My motto back then was “the more, the merrier”. Read the story of my rock star Uncles here. In addition to the circus atmosphere that having visitors produced, there was the food. So much good food and I didn’t have to worry about my cholesterol or my waistline. Many baked goods and delicious desserts too numerous to mention as well as a spread that would make any buffet line look skimpy. Back then my mom cooked the old-fashioned way. The way Mom’s around the country did before we found out that eggs and butter were bad for you. Bacon was a staple for breakfast too!
As I look back on it, what I remember most are the good times we had with each other as a family. The toys were nice but they are long gone and some are forgotten. The memories I have with my family are still with me and will remain for as a long as I have a memory. Try to buy the best gifts you can but don’t ever cut corners with the time you spend with your family this Christmas. You can never make more time – spend it wisely. Have a great Christmas week.
In the next 2 weeks, almost all schools will be back in session. Some schools in Northwest Georgia went back on August 1st. That is crazy if you ask me. When I was in elementary school I think we went back the last week of August or early September. I can remember in 6th grade we had a teacher’s strike and did not go back to school until early October and did not get out until late June. My dad had planned a 1 month vacation in a Winnebago starting on June 6th. Read about it here. I think I only went to about 160 days of school that year but I managed to do just fine in 7th grade.
Some things I remember about going back to school:
Getting new clothes. I can remember one year (late 1970’s) that corduroy was a real popular alternative to blue jeans. I also remember getting a corduroy winter coat - an alternative to the jean jacket. I actually liked upgrading my clothes for the new year although by the time I was in high school I usually wore a T-shirt with a silk screen image of some sort on it.
Catching up with the buddies and seeing how much everyone changed. This was especially dramatic in the Junior High years when some guys would grow 6 inches over the summer and the girls also grew in areas that were particularly “noticeable”.
Getting homesick. I remember in first grade I was homesick for my mom. I was two years behind my older brother so for two years when he was in school I had her all by myself most of the time. I can remember that being very cool. What a shock when I had to go all day without her! I did not have this problem in kindergarten for some reason perhaps because it was only a half-day. When I was entering kindergarten it was not required and my district did not offer it so I went to a neighboring school. That makes me sound old, but it is an anomaly I assure you.
I hope everyone has a good kick off to the new school year regardless what stage of life you are in. I only regret the beginning of school because that means traffic will be worse. Have a great week.
The summer Olympics open on July 27th this year in London. This will be the 11th summer games that I can remember beginning with the 1972 games in Munich. Oddly, the 1972 and 1976 games are the ones I remember most even though they were so long ago. It is probably because I watched so much of the coverage. In the later years I was working or had better things (in my opinion) to do.
My memories of the competition from 1972 were mostly Mark Spitz winning all that gold and Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut winning the hearts of the world. I also remember the US basket ball team losing to the soviets but only from the commentary as I did not watch the game. I was and still am not a big basketball fan. Away from the competition the games were marred by a terrorist hostage situation that led to the deaths of 11 Israeli’s. The games were halted as I recall but eventually continued to conclusion.
In 1976 my memories were of Bruce Jenner, Sugar Ray Leonard and much of the boxing team doing very well. I also recall Nadia Comaneci with her perfect 10 scores in gymnastics. After the 1976 Olympics we boycotted the 1980 games in Moscow and the Soviets and eastern bloc countries returned the favor when it was held in 1984 in Los Angeles. Why was it that I lost interest? In 1984 (and 1988) Roger Kingdom from my Alma Mater, the University of Pittsburgh, won the gold medal in the 110 meter hurdles. I also have vague memories of Carl Lewis who won gold medals from 1984 to 1996. I also remember Edwin Moses who won gold in 1976 and 1984 and a bronze in 1988 in the 400 meter hurdles at the ripe old age of 33. Moses won 107 consecutive finals form 1977-1987 that is dominating your sport if I ever hear of it. My most recent memories that come to mind are the 2008 Beijing games in which Michael Phelps managed to win 8 gold medals(presumably between hits on a bong).
Despite all the controversy and politics that surround the Olympics I will probably make a point to watch a little bit as long as there are no baseball games for me to watch. Have a great week and get ready for the London games.
What were you doing in the summer of 1982? Here are few things that I found on Wikipedia. See the entire list by clicking here. Of course I will start a little early by using the Cal Ripken item from May 30th. That is too historically significant to leave off the list.
- May 30 – Cal Ripken, Jr. plays the first of what eventually becomes his record-breaking streak of 2,632 consecutive Major League Baseball games.
- June 12 – A rally against nuclear weapons draws 750,000 to New York City’s Central Park. Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, and Linda Ronstadt attend.
- June 14 – The Falklands War ends: Formal surrender of Argentine forces, and liberation of the Falkland Islanders.
- June 21 – Prince William is born at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, West London.
- June 30 – The Equal Rights Amendment falls short of the 38 states needed to pass.
- July 2 – Larry Walters, a.k.a. Lawn Chair Larry, flies 16,000 feet (4,900 m) above Long Beach, California in a lawn chair with weather balloons attached.
- July 9 – Intruder Michael Fagan visits Elizabeth II in her bedroom for a chat.
- July 11 – Italy beats West Germany 3–1 to win the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain.
- July 12 – Checker Motors Corporation ceases production of automobiles.
- August 12 – Mexico announces it is unable to pay its large foreign debt, triggering a debt crisis that quickly spread throughout Latin America.
- August 13 – In Hong Kong, health warnings on cigarette packets are made statutory.
- August 17 – The first compact discs (CDs) are released to the public in Germany.
These 4 songs were stayed at number one in the charts throughout the summer starting with:
- Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder – Ebony and Ivory
- Human League – Don’t You Want Me
- Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
- Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra
Have a great week, and guys get your Members Only jackets out of moth balls and ladies get your leg warmers ready for a workout.
(In chronological order)
1) 1992 — Sid Bream (if you are a Pittsburgh Pirates fan you know what I mean)
2) 1994 — Buying my first house
3) 1999 — My wedding day
4) 2000 — Y2K
5) 2000 — Moving to the snow belt
6) 2001 — 9/11/01
7) 2003 — Northeast power outage of 2003 (8/13/2003)
8) 2006 — Starting Paceline Business Consulting, LLC
9) 2008 – The great recession
10) 2011 — Moving to Georgia (out of the snow belt)
These are the first 10 things that came to mind and some of them are really not that important but have left a lasting impression for one reason or another. Y2K was really a dud as far as the event itself but the months leading up to it and the turning of a century was still significant. Some events like my wedding day will last forever as well as the starting of my business. The great recession is also leaving a big impact as it is now approaching 4 years later and unfortunately we are far from out of it. Items 1, 2 and 7 were big for the day and left lasting memories but did not change my life all that much. Items 5 and 10 are similar and have and will leave many memories as they affected my life every day in both good and bad ways. Item 6, September 11, 2001 is my “John Kennedy” moment. I suppose it also is for any one older than about 17 or 18 and younger than 53 or 54. That is a large segment of our population that has the same “moment” that they can recall what they were doing when…
I know I left some items out like Hurricane Katrina and other disasters but I kept my list to things that affected me personally. I am sure some of you may have a few items that are the same as mine. What are your other watershed events in your life? I would be happy to hear from you. Have a great week.
Season’s greetings, my name is Jimmy Sad Eyes and this week I am writing the blog and giving the regular guy the week off. He asked me to do this and I held out until I got what I wanted – a 5 minute tummy scratch each week in January. I wasn’t supposed to tell anybody so keep it a secret between us.
I am going to write about my favorite things of Christmas. I am not quite two years old so it will be a short list as my experience is limited.
Jingle Bells. In case you don’t know it starts out like this:
Woof, Woof, Woof
Woof, Woof, Woof
Extra Large Rawhide Bone (with a compass in the stock*)
Favorite Christmas Television** Special:
Anything with Snoopy in it. That dudes rocks!
Christmas leftovers, hey a dog likes to splurge once in a while too.
When the neighbors and their dog Tina come over for a Christmas visit – if you know what I mean.
Eggnog – ‘nuff said
Eating the milk and cookies left out for Santa. So far they haven’t figured it out.
This is the part when the other guy tells you to have a great week but I always have a great week. I mix in a few walks, a couple of meals and about 12 hours of naps throughout the day. You should try that some time, I recommend it in fact.
*Editor’s note – OK, I added that due to my affinity for the movie A Christmas Story
**Editor’s note #2 – Jimmy doesn’t have a high def Television or use the abbreviation “TV” either - read about low def eyes in a high def world here
After 47 Christmas holiday seasons spent within 10 miles of the Pennsylvania and Ohio borders, I am spending my first in Georgia. So far it has been a little weird. I am not getting the normal environmental cues that Christmas is coming. For example, there are usually a couple of months of very lousy cool/cold weather that leads up to Thanksgiving which leads to cold and snowy conditions.
I am writing this on November 23rd and it was 77 the past two days for a high temperature. It has averaged about 68 degrees around Atlanta for a high temperature this month. It has been about 3.5 degrees warmer than usual up North this November and the average high has been 56 degrees. My mind is telling me it is late September or early October. The calendar wins the argument. I went to the grocery store in shorts yesterday and they had Christmas trees for sale! Something is wrong with that picture.
As we enter the first full week of December I am thinking about the things I will miss about that cold weather. Despite loving the warmer temperatures, I can list a few. Here they are:
- Christmas parties with friends in a house warmed by a roaring wood fire. It is so good to feel warmth after being in the cold.
- Warm beverages such as mulled cider or hot chocolate. We can have them down in Georgia too but it won’t taste the same in shorts.
- A fresh blanket of white snow covering a field and sparkling as the sun shines brightly upon it. That is a sight I will actually miss. Of course, the sun is a rare bird in the winter months in the Great Lakes “rust belt”.
- Houses decorated with pine wreaths and snow-covered roofs. That is an appropriate cue that Christmas is on the way.
- Snow men and snow forts in front yards.
- Sled riding down the local sledding hill.
Have a great week – wherever you are.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a professional baseball team – allegedly. They have fallen on hard times since the 1992 season. Since that season, which ended with Sid Bream sliding safely into home for the Atlanta Braves for a walk off win, they have not had a winning season. I will do the math for you, that adds up to 19 years. I grew up a Pirate fan and in the 70’s they were actually a very good team with World Championships in 1971 and 1979 and numerous division titles. I have a very deep scar that has been lying open and festering as those years of futility approach 20. Many things can aggravate that scar and the worst is when baseball is not on my mind. The wound does not affect me much, even when watching a Pirate game. I am able to contain it in a hidden place and watch and enjoy the game – even if they lose. When I really have a stabbing pain from the trauma of the past 19 years is when I have to embrace it unexpectedly. That just happened before I wrote this. As any blogger will tell you, we are always looking for a topic to add to a blog post.
What happened? A few weeks ago, I was minding my business preparing to take a self-study continuing education course for my CPA license and it happened. The scar was opened up and salt was poured into it. Actually, it was coffee. I was working at my desk and I spilled a full cup of coffee all over my desk. I scrambled to contain the spill as it slowly rolled over my desk onto papers and anything in its way like the waves down on the beach. (Listen to the song Cars Hiss By My Window by the Doors by clicking here) As I began my clean-up effort, I realized my prize possession was in danger of becoming soiled by the toxic coffee. In its path was my Richie Hebner Bobblehead! When I saw what was about to happen, the years of losing and the pain of the last 19 years boiled up as I screamed loudly; “No, not Richie!” I was too late. The defiling had taken place and I was dealing with the pain and complete hopelessness all over again. Before I go any further let me explain that Richie Hebner was my favorite Pirate during my formative baseball years. His playing days are a memory I have of the glory days. Click here to see Richie’s modest stats.
The damage was done; papers were turned brown and were sopping wet. A magazine I had already read was in its path and was luckily serving as a levee against the flood of coffee. My picture of my wife took a hit. But worst of all (yes, worst of all and I know what you are thinking) the Hebner Bobblehead was swimming in the mess. As I re-lived the horror of the past 19 years in my mind I also was berating myself for treating the Bobblehead so carelessly. I got a towel and soaked up the worst of it and then got paper towels and cleaned everything up. I took special care when cleaning up the soiled Hebner. He took it like a man and kept smiling as he stood at attention with his bat in hand.
There is usually some good that comes from a disaster of this magnitude and I must say this was no different. My desk was really dusty and needed a good cleaning plus I got a blog post out of it. After I took a few moments to survey my cleaned up desk I realized things were going to be OK. The pain from my wound has lessened as I write this and I think the rest of the day will go well. I need to get back to my Continuing Education.
Have a great week.
I grew up listening to FM radio in what was probably its golden age – the 1970’s. Who can forget Wolfman Jack? The Guess Who even wrote a song about him. Today, I don’t recognize what is on the radio if I even bother to turn it on. I’ll admit that this has a lot to do with getting older and no longer being on the cutting edge of anything except maybe a surgeon’s blade.
Many things have contributed to radio’s decline. Two things that played a large role in my opinion are the MP3 file and the digital music players that play them. In addition, the smart phone with internet access play tunes from web sites and the phone itself can hold countless hours of music on memory cards with players that come standard with the phone. Cars, which served as a great venue for listening to the latest release, now have inputs for MP3 players which further contributes to the erosion of the terrestrial (versus satellite) radio audience. The digitizing of music has done to radio what 8 tracks, cassettes and CD’s couldn’t – it has made it possible to take your entire library of music with you in a device the size of a deck of cards. If you tried that with your 8 tracks you would need a small U-Haul trailer filled to capacity to carry them all. You don’t need radio, you now have a month’s worth of music in your pocket and you can sort it and shuffle it and not worry about commercials for Oxy 5 acne medication! Does anyone else remember those obnoxious commercials?
Perhaps it is already too late but I am going to mourn the loss of FM radio, my friend from a bygone era. For its eulogy I will recount some classics that rocked the airwaves that are favorites of mine for one reason or another.
In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry – Quirky and a great anthem for the lazy crazy days of summer and what the heck kind of name is Mungo Jerry?
Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin – Probably the most played song ever
A Horse With No Name by America – I liked the imagery
Brother Louie by Stories – a one hit wonder as far as I know but this song grabbed my attention mostly for the screeching vocals than anything else
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen – I had never heard anything like this song before
Satisfaction by Devo – I still like their version of this Rolling Stones tune better than the original but they are almost completely different.
Freebird by Lynyrd Skynryd – This song was on almost as much as “Stairway” the live version was particularly nice
Coconut by Harry Nilsson – another quirky early 70’song this one with a calypso feel
Radar Love by Golden Earring – cool syncopated drum beat and awesome horn section
My eulogy is done but I leave you with this:
Now that it is no longer In The Summertime, my Brother Louie and I are going to ride off into the distance on A Horse With No Name or perhaps fly away like a Freebird looking for a Stairway to Heaven. If we don’t reach our destination it will be with the Satisfaction of knowing that we drank the sweet milk from the Coconut and danced in Bohemian Rhapsody as a tribute to the protection provided by the Radar Love contained in the mysterious light-wave absorbing materials of our stealthy nameless steed.
This is your daddy-o on the rad-e-o saying so long and have a great week cool cats!