Why Do We Say “Happy” on Memorial Day?

                 
Despite all the problems we have here in the U.S.A. Its remains the greatest country to live in. The multiple freedoms that we enjoy came at a heavy cost, the lives of those who chose to fight for our country.

To all the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force members who paid the ultimate price I owe a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to re-pay. To the 58,000 plus who gave their life in Vietnam for a war that we had no business being involved in, thank you. Thank you for going even though you were treated like an alien  upon your return to an ungrateful country.

Today you can see the enormity of all those lives by visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. It’s a humbling experience.

Iraq and Afghanistan have added thousands more to that toll with most of them in the 18 – 24 years old range. That’s too many lost sons & daughters, brothers & sisters, fathers & mothers, nieces & nephews, & grand children in the prime of their life.

I live near Camp Pendleton, the busiest military base in America and I see these kids everyday ready to pay that price. Kids from small towns to large cities, who would rather be hanging with their friends back in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New York, California & any other state in the U.S. but made the decision to keep us free another day, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Don’t think they’re not afraid, they are, but they also believe in keeping a commitment they made to their friends, family & country.

I don’t have an answer for the Happy Memorial Day greeting but I do believe that it shouldn’t be “Happy” when we honoring those who have lost their life.

So instead of getting wasted on Memorial Day do something for these kids.

 Even if it’s a simple “thank you for your service.”

SEMPER FI

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Merry Xmas To Those Who Mean The Most

TOM KIZER

As I’m writing this blog this morning listening to different renditions of  “Oh Holy Night,” sung by Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, & the master of the aria Andrea Bocelli, images of three people keep popping into my head very vividly and a mixture of joy, happiness, and elation are combined with a tremendous amount of sadness.

As many people know I lost my life long best friend, my brother Tom Kizer this past April to Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Leukemia. It’s hard when you lose someone very close to you and in your heart you know that you’ll never get another chance to spend a Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve with them ever again. I’ll never get to laugh, cry or just hanging out with Tom and that fills me with great sorrow.  His passing has left a tremendous hole in my heart and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about him.

So to you Tom, wherever you may be, Merry Christmas and I hope to see you again someday.

TRENT & TREVOR KIZER

My sons, Trent and Trevor bring me incredible happiness and joy. I’m not sure what I did right in life to deserve to be their father but I thank my God each and every day for those two gifts.  It may sound a bit sappy but every time one of them wraps their little arms around me and says “I Love You” I feel complete by that one statement, that one show of affection.  They’re both very bright, loving children who love spending time with me and I couldn’t even begin to count the blessings that are called Trent and Trevor Kizer.

I won’t pretend that I knew what the phrase unconditional love meant prior to being a parent. I had some ideas of what I thought it meant but, boy was I ever wrong. I’ll never forget the first time that I held 1 day old Trevor for an extended period and I started singing “You Are My Sunshine” to him and the tears flowed. That was the exact moment that I learned what the definition of unconditional love means to me.

Incidentally Trevor will be 11 on the 7th of this month and I continue to be amazed by both my sons.

These are the three people whom I think about the most; the loss of one, and the growth of the other two.

The holidays are about family. Mine got smaller by one but the two that are left will make my Christmas a joyous one. I hope that yours will be filled with those who mean the most to you.

Resolutions


Welcome to the last few days of 2010. This time of year is always interesting. It’s a time of reflection upon another year of goals met and the ones that we just missed. Of course it’s also a time to look forward and make resolutions that we know we’re not going to keep. I think that making resolutions is just a way of making ourselves temporarily feel better about ourselves only to be followed by feelings of failure and shame because we didn’t reach our goals.

Know what month gyms sell the most new memberships? Right, it’s January. Know what month those gyms empty out of the resolution makers? Right again, it’s January, usually around the end of the month. By now the gym has you on a 1 year airtight contract that you’re left paying for without any results. So not only are you still miserably out of shape, you’re out several hundred dollars and you spit on the ground everytime you  hear the word “gym.”

I was at dinner tonight with some friends and the topic of New Year’s Resolutions came up. It was a clear consensus that no one at the table was going to make any resolutions for 2011 for the simple fact they had always failed and one person at the table put it in a way that even I could understand. She said that too many people made resolutions that they had no interest in, i.e., joining a gym rather than doing some they liked such as walking along the beach.

So what resolutions is Bill going to make for the New Year? None, absolutely zero.

Happy New Year!!!

Life’s Crossroads

Have you ever come to a crossroads in your life and not known which branch to take? They all seemed about the same at the time but in retrospect they were about the same as night and day.

So, what to do, you ask? Beats the heck out of me, I can’t answer for anyone else but myself. Making wise decisions was never my forte when I was younger and I’ve only got smarter as a result of repeatedly taking the wrong road. Taking short cuts seemed to be the easier, softer way, and they were fun. But life has a way of turning shortcuts into valuable life lessons.  Fast forward a few years to 2001. I had a small business and my partner ran off with our remaining $91,000, left the country and me with few options.

See where this is going? Crossroads? Decisions? I was at a crossroads and I was willing to listen to others. I received a call from a friend who had been selling Oracle software for a few years. He had made the switch from Oracle to Sage and was the Sales Manager at Sage’s largest partner.

He asked if I wanted to come to work for him selling software. I told him “sure” but I’d never sold software. He told me not to worry, he’d teach me everything that I needed to learn. Thus, my career in the world of software began. He left the company shortly after hiring me but I wanted to stay because I was really enjoying what I was doing.

The owner of that company became my first software mentor and even though I left his company I still consider him a friend today. Occasionally we get together for lunch (almost always sushi) and we catch up with each other.

When I left his company I was at a crossroads, I thought that it was time to take what I had learned out “into the world.” It wasn’t my best decision. The difference in this decision and the ones that I made when I was younger; was that I was making this decision to take better care of my family.

Since then I’ve had to make a lot of crucial  decisions, but that’s part of life, making decisions each and every day and the one thing that I keep in mind when I’m making those decisions is this, how is this going to affect my family?

One of the hardest decisions that I’ve had to make in the past year was my relationship with my son’s mother and how we both knew it was time for me to get my own place. I remember leaving the house that night and I was filled with a feeling of  “failing.” I sat in my car that night for a long time wondering how things had gotten to this. Since that night to right now I’ve grown more and as a result of that growth I have become a better person. I make sure that my wife has plenty of whatever she needs to continue to give the boys what they need and I treat her with the up most respect because no matter what she’ll always be their mother and I’ll always be their father and I’ll always be the father I never had. I don’t talk bad to the boys about their mother Why do I do this? Because it’s the right thing to do.  As a result of doing the right thing I get to spend quality time with them and that’s extremely important to me.

I was at a crossroads when I left the house and I had two roads to take, the first would have been the selfish one and my sons would have had to pay for that. The second and the most rewarding road is the one when I do things for other people because it’s the right thing.

I’m Not Your Peer



(All photographs are from the 1957 Film Classic 12 Angry Men)

Here I sit in the jury lounge with approx 100 other people, none who want to be there all hoping not to have to sit through the voir doire phase of picking a jury.

I’ve used all kinds of excuses to get out of going, but I think I’m on to something with this one. How about a narcoleptic with tourettes? You’re either snoring or cursing. The prosecutor and
defendant’s attorney couldn’t get you out of that courtroom fast enough.

The real reason that I dislike jury duty so much and don’t believe in it is simple. Defendants are given the right to have a jury of their peers determine their fate.

Follow me on this; I’ve never robbed a business or another person. I’ve never shot another person, I’ve never stole a car, nor have I been involved in a high speed chase attempting to elude arrest. Using that as comparison criterion I’m not one of the defendants peers therefore making me ineligible to be on a jury of their peers.

So if I’ve never been involved in the various array of criminal activities that most defendants are how can I be a peer? Shouldn’t their peers be like minded individuals who participate in the same behaviors that the defendant does?

The 6th Amendment guarantees the accused the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. Speedy and public? You bet. Impartial? No way. There is no way on this Earth that I could be impartial to a drunk driver crashing into another car and taking lives as a result of his/her drunk fest. Who is so cold that they could sit through an entire trial listening and learning that the victim was a vibrant person in the peak of their lives and not be impartial? Not me. Hang him/her, take their lives just like the one they took out. Compassionate? Yes. Impartial, sorry I’m not your guy.

They are under the misconception that Moms, Dads, working people, students, etc.can make one of the important decisions for someone else basing those decisions on a singular incident in the defendants life on a very small amount of information that has been choreographed by the respective attorneys to win a case for their client.

Remember that as a good defense attorney the one question that is never asked of their paying client/defendant is “Did you do it?” Neither the prosecutor or defense attorney ask a question that they don’t already know the answer to. I think those two items are taught on the very first day of law school.

There is no way that I could sit through a trial as a juror, listen to all the evidence without falling asleep, not let my mind wander. The truth is most course cases are boring events.

Personally I’d rather leave my fate up to the experience of the man sitting on the bench. At least he understands the law and should know how to interpret the evidence.

By the way, we just heard the announcement that all 4 trials that were trailing (whatever that means) have been settled and none of the potential jurors are going to be needed and you’ve never seen 100 people exit a building faster than those that were in that room. That qualifies me as a citizen in good standing for attempting to fufill my civic duty.

Safe for another year.

Working More, Enjoying It Less?



Weren’t we told that computers were going to make our lives easier? Allow us to spend more time with our families? Play more golf? Take that long overdue family vacation? That was the concept, but it just hasn’t turned out that way, has it?

Those of us who are natural-born workaholics now have VPNs and other methods of connectivity that keep us tied to our laptops, iPads, iPhones, Black Berry’s. I spent a solid hour at Verizon playing with the new Droid Incredible a few weeks ago and found a new tool that will keep me “more in touch.” With over 150,000 apps there isn’t too much that you can’t do on an iPhone, iPad or even the iPod touch.

While these innovations are really cool, they keep us closely tethered to the office 24/7. We can run, but we can’t hide.

More than 10 years ago, when the work day was over, it was over. You simply got into your car, went home and didn’t give work another thought. And even if you did think of something, there wasn’t anything you could do until you arrived on the job the next day. It could wait.

Are we more productive?
But the question is this: Are we being more productive as a result of all this technology?

According to Kelly Services, “Global Workforce Index (via eMarketer) shows that no less than 78% of workers in the U.S. & Canada – across all generations – believed that technology, such as laptops and mobile phones have effectively increased their productivity. Over half of the respondents even said they felt ‘much more’ productive, and only 2% said made them worse workers.” (Slackers)

Other key findings: More than 7 in 10 workers from across the globe considered the ability to work outside of the office a ‘positive’ development, and a whoppping 87% agreed that telecommuting was an attractive benefit to any job.

In addition, 30% in North America, 33% in Europe and 41% in the Asia-Pacific region agreed that they were working longer hours because of mobile communications.

Okay, so we’re working more hours, are more productive, BUT are we making more money? Are we enjoying it more? The jury’s still out. It’s a yes and no answer, here.

While some of us may be making more money, it’s likely the U.S. government is taking more in taxes. Add additional state taxes into that equation and the disposable income level falls about 40% less than the gross amount earned.  And we have less time to enoy the extra money because we’re working longer hours!

Or as educator and author of Overcoming Time Poverty, Bill Quain puts it, “Many people are playing a work game that robs them of quality time.” Quain explains that most employees trade their time for dollars on a job. If they need more money, then they have to ’sell’ more of their time. “Soon, they spend so much time working for money they have too little time for everything else,” says Quain.

One thing is clear: The definition of work-day is growing up.  Are you growing along with it, or you fighting it?